Yet More Coffee

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P.S. I did try a new coffee shop today. La Colombe is in a hard-to-find, around-several-corners, surely-it’s-not-back-here location alleyway near the Convention Center. No signs. So you feel like you’ve discovered a secret just walking in the door.

Clean, airy feel, with large open windows. Laid back vibe. Good coffee. Interesting porcelain mugs and saucers. Pretty good prices for fair trade coffee. Nice spot for a first date, which was the (rare) occasion for me.

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Day 7 – Drink with Friends

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Benjamin Franklin

 

 

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I first discovered the Iron Gate 10 years ago when my boyfriend and I walked past it on our way to the Tabard Inn. It has a small, discreet entrance set back from the street, giving it a feeling of seclusion and mystery. Through the narrow vaulted bar lies an outdoor courtyard and carriage house that are both ideal for a late Spring happy hour. I met two friends there after work. It was my first time inside the place since first stumbling across it a decade ago.

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Both friends know I’ve been blogging about my “different” experiences, and they wondered how drinking with your friends qualifies as different. I decided the new location counts for something. Plus, I don’t remember the last time I’ve lingered over wine (and fried fetta) on a Wednesday. Not to mention some fun, punchy conversation about gay life in Washington.

Eating and drinking together is such a basic act, a fundamental part of being human together. We probably often take it for granted or ignore its deeper dimensions. But sharing food and drink, meeting our basic needs together, keeps us alive and keeps us animated. We talk and laugh and open up to another, and in so doing are fed, nourished, enlivened, by more than just the food and drink.

“More than just.” This is really my 30 day challenge, to experience new things as more than just experiences, but as invitations to discover what is deeper, broader, truer, and more beautiful, what may be hidden in plain sight in things like wine, cheese, and good conversation.

 

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Day 3 – Unexpectedly Good Coffee

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I discovered this gem by accident. A few Sundays ago we were driving through the leafy, sleepy side streets of Logan, when I noticed a corner bar in the midst of a residential section. It was simple, spartan, and charming. Later I learned it was a coffee bar. The Coffee Bar in fact.

TCB converted an old neighborhood market into a coffee joint a year and a half ago. But it was new to me. So it was a natural pick for something different. 

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My friend took his black, while I waited for a latte. Cheeky signs perch atop the wide, sturdy sea foam green espresso maker. “This bitch is crazy” caught my eye. The vibe was relaxed, though, for a place that slings caffeine in uptight, button-down DC.

The latte, most importantly, was good. Really good.

I was reminded that there are simple, good things that make my day when they are crafted and savored with attention. How much time and money have I wasted at Starbucks? This creamy, tart goodness was waiting for me the whole time, tucked away at the corner of 12th and S.

I could go even further, drinking and savoring more coffee. I could learn to taste the bold, subtle differences. There’s this whole world of flavor already there. I just have to discover it.

That’s got to be an invitation to some kind of spiritual experience. It’s like something lingers just below the level of routine awareness, waiting to be tasted and enjoyed. The question is whether or not I’ll slow down and take the time to savor it.

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P.S. I found this WaPo article about TBC and the growing third wave coffee movement in DC. This blogger’s quote made me think and inspired this post.

“When I started, I never knew coffee could taste good,” said Reithmaier, 31, one of the region’s more prolific bloggers about the coffee scene. “And now I enjoy bringing that experience to other people, who can learn to love coffee, too.” This is how he hopes to convert residents in the District — one cup at a time.