Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Communal coffee

Community Coffeehouse is a chain but it's a local one with nice locations, at least the locations we've visited recently.

I don't like Starbucks' coffee and I don't like the Seattle's Best coffee served in Borders book stores.  I don't mind Community Coffee.  If that sounds like faint praise, it's the best I can muster.  I always finish my small cup of black, unsweetened coffee over the course of reading the newspaper.  That's saying something.

I don't mean this to be an endorsement of one coffee shop over any others.  We just happen to have enjoyed three Community locations over the past week and each for different reasons.

The one at 2917 Magazine Street has a nice courtyard hidden from the street.  The shop shares the building with a yoga and exercise studio and a cafe.  It shares the courtyard with the cafe.  There are always people coming and going and the semi-secluded tables offer a bit of oasis.

The one at 900 Jefferson Ave, on the corner of Magazine Street further Uptown, has tables along the sidewalk under an awning sporting overhead fans.  The fans keep the sidewalk cool and this easy going neighborhood location is laid back and lackadaisical.  The other day a mother left three under-school-age children and their dog at a table while she went inside to fetch refreshments.

We went to my favorite today and the lady of the house agreed that this one is probably best.  The shop at 2800 Esplanade Avenue is a triangular flatiron building, two stories tall with its stucco exterior painted a faded orange-pink, with an array of tables in a triangular park shaded by tall and wide, twisted old oaks.  Even though there aren't any fans there is ample shade to beat off the day's heat.  Esplanade Avenue is a beautiful street so even though this locale is out of our way, it trumps the Magazine Street outlets for charm if not convenience.

This was my second time at the Esplanade shop and the people are more talkative and outgoing there.  We've been to all three locations more than once.  This unscientific sampling shows that each of New Orleans' neighborhoods has its own vibration.  Everyone has been friendly and helpful no matter where we've been, be it in Central City or Mid City or Broadmor or Carrollton, the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans East, or the Lower Garden.  A city is a collection of people and New Orleans has collected some of the nicest I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.  

For our New England-based readers:  Esplanade Avenue is pronounced ES-plan-aid, not es-pla-NAHD as we are accustomed.  This one was relatively easy for me to master.  Though I thought I was making some initial progress, I still find myself saying crayfish instead of crawfish.  It's led to some double takes but everyone knows what I'm talking about since I tend to point while talking and it's readily apparent that I'm not from here originally.


Caitlin said...

Glad to hear you've found some good coffee. As we're a little more lacking in options in the neighborhood, we'll raise a cuppa to you from the Sugar Bowl. It's that or standing around on the sidewalk with something from DD...

Whalehead King said...

I haven't yet tried out the reflexive phrase, "I'll just have a cuppa." I feel self-concious enough when I catch myself saying "crayfish." Thanks for the reminder.

In a pinch, there's nothing wrong with getting a small DD at New Store on the Block across from the Sugar Bowl. I prefer the memorabilia in the Sugar Bowl's back room though. Cheers!


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