Retooling

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

Well thanks to some friendly prodding with a rather pointy stick, I’ve decided to try and revive this website. I have a list of about 25 different coffee places that I must visit, and to try and keep myself honest, I will be setting up some rules that I must follow or be punished.

I hope to be back up in about a week.

The Collegiate Coffee Scoot

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

The year is getting a heck of a lot shorter, and I still only have 1 out of the 26 coffee houses I’m supposed to visit this year checked off. Yesterday I took a bravery pill and decided I would venture down the paths of smelly slacker zombies (a.k.a. a college campus).  So I strapped on my helmet, kick started Vic, and shot down to George Tech where the “Le’ Petit Cafe aka Coffee Snobs “ resides. 

I’m still riding on an injured scoot, but thanks to my 2 year warranty and to good People at Twist ‘n’ Scoot, I soon will have a whole new front fork assembly. Of course the words of Steve, one of the proud crew at Twist ‘n’ Scoot, “take it easy on the front fork,” has rung in my head since I last talked to them. While it is easy to think about taking it easy, it’s much harder to put into practice because Atlanta is a virtual minefield of potholes, metal plates, manholes, and storm drain grates. All of these obstacles and more pop up multiple times on the same stretch of road, and  you would think that a college that produces engineers and scientists would have spotless shimmering roads with repairbots ready to fix the smallest of blemishes, but no. My ride from home base to there was as bumpy as it could be. The one upside to the whole ordeal of this spine-jarring ride was the fact that Georgia Tech has parking for motorcycles. 

As I pulled in some young student saw Vic, and being that he was a fellow scooterist I gave him a wave. Pretending he didn’t notice me he went about load his on scoot for his journey to the gene splicing pool, robot domination center, or whatever else our future scientists and engineer go to these days. Also he apparently thought that he needed to prove how cool he was so he decided to kick-start his scooter. A minute later  I had pretty much taken all my gear off, and by that time he just surrendered and used the electric start instead. With deflated ego he zipped off hoping that I would tell no one of his failed coolness, but of course I am now sharing it with all 3 of my loyal readers. 

Le Petit Cafe (aka Coffee Snobs) resides in the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (get it, Le “Petit” Cafe), and while that’s one heck of a mouth full for a building name, it does make it pretty easy to remember. The aforementioned building was about a block away from my parking spot; so I took a nice stroll taking in the sites of a collegiate world that is now but a foot note in my history. Granted I never went to Georgia Tech, but at the end of the day all college campuses have the same feel. While the location and size may be different from my former alma mater, Appalachian State, at the end of the day all of the little inside jokes, nicknames, and special feeling you get from walking through an institute of higher learning are all roughly the same. 

When I arrived at Le Petit I was happy to see that there was a long as heck line. While most students will eat anything to gain the need energy for the next paper or test, it still takes something good to produce a line 10 people deepbecause Le Petit is not only a coffee shop but a gourmet lunch spot with every thing from fish tacos to quiche. The closet that the three in behind the counter was a virtual mad house of 

This was only part of the line that remained after I walked in.

food production. While I was certainly tempted to grab a lunch of fish tacos. I remained strong and ordered a cappuccino. With the large lunch order from the other 10,000 people that were before me, it took a little time to get my drink out. I must say that my expectations were rather high since this place has classified itself as coffee snobs. Prior to my drink I did notice that they do use good coffee, and they seem to take care in actual making of  the drink. 

My beverage was offered to me in a white cup with a chocolate stain on the handle. Being this is a college campus I don’t think they get many “for here” orders, but none the less the first sips filled me with confidence that the people of Georgia Tech are getting good coffee based drinks. That being said, I think the moniker of “coffee snobs” is a little presumptuous. I would argue that a true coffee snob would care about every aspect of the drink from how it tasted (the most important thing) to how it was presented. Of course the lack or presentation didn’t stop me from downing this rather tasty well measured drink. 

The shop itself is more of a food stand than a coffee shop, but that is to be expected of a place that is located in a building who’s main purpose is not the consumption of coffee. Granted I’m sure that much java is consumed during late night cram sessions, genetic experiments, and the all around torturing of the horrors the have created in the bioengineering department, but most likely they’re more interested in the charge of their cattle prod that is holding back the bunny eating horror in incubation cell Z4267 then the quality of the joe they’re taunting it with. (Unless they’re messing with the genetic horror that is the Valdonkeguar. A monster that was created by mixing the DNA of a donkey, jaguar and the finest Colombian coffee beans;  if it ever gets out poetry slams across the country massacred by a pleasingly aromatic beast.) 

With a good another good cup of coffee in my veins I took to the road once more. Thinking  it would by nice to shake of the jitters that occur between cups 47 and 65 of my coffee drinking day, I headed to the nearest local purveyor of adult beverages that had a nice place to sit . As the beer calmed me down to a slightly more normal heart beat I realized that if I’m going to hit 26 coffee houses by December 31st I better do a few marathon coffee benders.  The very thought of an adventure like this makes my dark roasted blood percolate with excitement. 

My Baby Weeps

Today I finally reached my breaking point and said, “Damaged front fork and torn upper back muscle be damned, I’m going scooting!”

For the past two weeks, my scooting has been hamstrung by these two things mentioned above, the latter being by far the more serious of the two. All I can figure is that one of my Wednesday runs went a little awry, and 3 days later I’m at a walk-in clinic just shy of moaning in pain. The issue with Victoria’s front fork, while making my ride currently a little bumpy, has only made me gun-shy from scooting because the last thing a healing back needs is an even bumpier ride.

This weekend has been nothing shy of beautiful with clear skies, temperatures in the low 80s, and the better half of Atlanta’s driving-impaired population somewhere else; there really was no excuse to not go for a ride. I descended the hill of doom with a  plan.

1. Hit REI to see what their Labor Day sale is like.

2. See if 5 Seasons Brewery is open.

3. If 5 Seasons is closed, start working on the long list of coffee shops I must visit.

4. Drink beverage and write about it.

With these thoughts in mind, I hit Peachtree Rd. and was in awe of how vacant it was. I have taken this road in both car and on scooter for years at all times of the day, and never  have I been on this road with no fewer than two or three cars around me. Today was the first time I have ever looked at the road in front of me and seen nothing. For those of you who do not live in Atlanta, this street is one of the main bloodlines of the city that is not an interstate or highway, and to top it all off this shot (to your left) was taken at noon.

After literally two miles of it just being me, I started to wonder if sometime last night someone working a late-night shift at the CDC didn’t have a “woops” moment, and if this now meant that I would be forced to don crazy  post-apocalyptic gear, grab Laurie and our dog Gus, and drive through the streets of Atlanta looking for food while Laurie kept her trigger finger ready to take down the now flesh-eating citizens that had been turned by “the sickness.”  Luckily for me and all of humanity, I discovered that most Atlantans were actually feeding on the final remains of yet another Labor Day sale. It was with a great sigh of relief  that I headed further north toward my first goal, but I did make sure to keep an eye out for any suspicious flesh-eating activity.

About half a mile shy of REI, I took a wrong turn down an office park drive, but I knew that if I could just make it to the other side of the building I would pretty much be there. Normally in this situation I would just make a quick u-turn and backtrack, but today being Labor Day gave me a golden opportunity. I pulled back on the throttle and entered the un-gated parking deck letting my Prima Pipe echo through its nearly carless interior. Three flights of roaring fun later, I found myself being spit out on Abernathy Rd., and one turn after that I had made it to REI (which aside from the fun ride there ended up being a complete bust).

With task one being complete, I turned my sights toward the second most important liquid substance on earth: beer. Since January of this year I have been the proud owner of a mug from 5 Seasons Brewing Company. This stylish mug allows me to get one free beer every day for the rest of the year. Granted, living near the city center, making this a daily venture would be a little bit excessive, but I do tend to find reasons to head up to Sandy Springs from grabbing a can of paint at Lowe’s to the more primitive,”need beer now” excuse.

Sadly, my sudsy dreams of hoppy joy were crushed when I found out that like so many other things on Labor Day, 5 Seasons was closed.

Hellbent on finding a purveyor of beverages that was open, I soldiered on and headed back towards Atlanta. While I knew that there was a 99.9% chance that the #1 coffee shop on my list, Coffee Snobs, would be closed I headed toward another location that I’m only starting to know, Octane.

Even though I’ve been in Atlanta for over ten years, I still have only scratched the surface of the coffee culture here in Atlanta. Octane contains about 90% of what I’m looking for in a good coffee place. First and foremost, they have amazing coffee made by skilled baristas.  The staff behind the counter actually can be seen stepping aside to get a nip from their own mugs to satisfy their coffee demons. My only issue deals with the uncomfortable industrial style seating that covers most of the location, with the exception of one area that contains a few coveted comfy chairs. That being said, if I wanted comfy seating I would have stayed at home. I came for good coffee; in this area they do not disappoint.

Today for example, I walked into Octane and ordered a simple cappuccino, which like some of my other favorite coffee places only comes in one size. This is not because they’re trying to screw you over, it’s because they want to make sure that the quality of this cappuccino is as good as the last one you had.  This little piece of tasty artwork was made by a guy who unironically  wore a “New Zealand Barista Competition Finalist” t-shirt. I sat on my bar stoolish seat, sipped my very tasty and well-made drink, and read my book (Geek Love by Katherine Dunn)as I casually observed the nice cross- section of humanity that too had stayed in Atlanta over Labor Day.

The Plan

Posted: August 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

Well at torn back muscle, and a damaged front fork on Victoria have given me time to figure out how in the heck to get this blog back up and running. I really do miss writing about my adventures, so I decided to hit the internets and make a list of coffee house I want to hit up. Right now the list stands at 26 coffee shops that I want to hit by the end of the year, but we shall see if this is doable or not. So hopefully my back will be good enough tomorrow for trip number 1.

Today is Helmet Day

Posted: March 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

Well today I’m hopefully buying the wife her first helmet. I finally trust myself with a rider, and who better to take my first two up ride with then that wacky wife o-mine.

More to come…..

Neglect Makes the Mind Grow Dull

Posted: February 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s far, far, faaaar too long since I wrote anything in this little blog, and while I’ve had a an cock-ton of ideas, I’ve zero with said ideas.

That being said, I’ve been keeping loyal to my mission of drinking copious amounts of coffee while traveling the mad streets of the Atlanta area. The one theme that has carried over these past few months is the fact that it’s been cold, and while that entices me to drink more coffee, it also attempts to weaken my scooting resolve. So while there have been many days I’ve braved the cold, wind, ice, polar bears, and coffee pooing civets, to get to my destinations. There have also been many days that I’ve been a warm cozy cager, listening to a Harry Potter audio book (Yes, I’ve actually read the entire series, but the audio books are so well read that I had to listen to them.), and sipping coffee from my trusty mug.

Needless to say, I need to get back on this blogging horse,  and hit up some places, write some reviews, and scoot my flipp’n pants off.

Lattetude

Posted: November 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

As requested by loyal fan of this site I hit up a new coffee based establishment that sits on the corner of 17th and W Peachtree called Lattetude Coffee.  Since I now live on 25th my ride was nothing to really write about. Needless to say I always enjoy descending the hill of doom and heading out to a new coffee establishment.

IMG_0123 So I hopped on Victoria, and took the longish way around to 17th Street. The one thing I can certainly say is that the fall weather seems to be effecting the psyche of the average Atlanta driver. Most people have just decided that life is clearly not worth living, and for that reason they must take out as many people as possible on their way towards a death full of rubber and steal.

I dodged a few more cars on my way, and within a couple of minutes I made it to my goal, Lattetude Coffee.

IMG_0145The first thing that can be said is that the location doesn’t have any decent parking for scooter or car, but since this shop is located in the business district of midtown, most of its business is coming from employees in the surrounding office complexes. The exterior itself has some nice outdoor seating, and aside from the slightly too contemporary furniture it looked inviting enough. My first impression of the staff was not a good one. The young woman behind the counter was talking about how she’s really not a “coffee” person, and she prefered sweeter sugary drinks that drown out the flavor.  Now the coffee snob in me wanted to leave right then and there, because personally I feel that if you’re going to work in a coffee shop you better not only like coffee but have a strong passion for the bean as well. Also the business hours on the front door are cutely labeled “Hours of Caffination*”, and the mispelling of one the key elements in coffee is a little alarming. That being said I was doing this for my reader so I decided to stay. The Decaf Barista won a couple browny points by being very friendly and polite. While I found it hard to forget what she had just told the other customer, I must say that the right attitude can win just about anyone over. I decide to test her skills and ordered a cappuccino. I was little alarmed when she asked me how much foam I wanted in my cappuccino (Personally if you’re no automatically following the rule of thirds you’re not making a cappuccino.), and I told her how to make a cappuccino and she went to it.  Now I must say the Decaf Barista did a much better job I thought she would. The espresso was pulled very well, the foam was dense and airy, and the milk was steamed just right. The only thing I didn’t like about the drink was out of her control, and that was the mug it was served in. The poorly named smaller “national” size (The larger size was international, and considering how your average European likes their coffee I would say that the size names need to be reversed.) was too tall and trapped the layers in too tightly. All in all when you got the actual flavor of the drink it was rather tasty.

IMG_0146 Also while I was there I was feeling rather hungry so I decided to try their one of their sandwiches with a little pasta salad on the side. After perusing the panini menu I decided on a turkey sandwich with basil artichoke spread. This took a great deal of time to make, but it was well worth the wait. The pasta salad was made with sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, and the sandwich was crunchy on the outside and warm and tasty on the inside.

IMG_0148

My final impression of the Lattetude Coffee is that the friendly demeanor of the staff makes up for their lack of experience, and while this will not be a normal haunt for me. I will be coming back from time to time when I don’t want to travel too far for a pretty good cup of joe and a tasty sandwich.

The rest of my ride went without incident, and I can only hope that as we head into the winter months it stays that way.

Next post, will be a pet carrier storage extravaganza.

* While caffeination is technically not a word, they should at least use the proper spelling for caffeine on their door signs and website so it reads “Hours of Caffeination.”