Friday, July 18, 2008

(better late than never blog post)

I tagged along with my wife last month as she had a conference in Vancouver.

When we first got into town it was past my normal coffee drinking time, but I wanted to kill some time and it had been a day since I had espresso, so I wandered down to an Artigano near the hotel. I got a macchiato, which was quite good. The person at the cash register did verify I wanted the small cup drink (not the starbucks "macchiato"). I wonder if he had pegged me for being a Yankee? The last day in town I grabbed an espresso there (closest shop to my hotel) and snapped a pic:

Artigano espresso

The next day was a busy one. I had gotten a tip from Lindsay that Vince Piccolo opens 49th Parallel on weekdays, so I wanted to make that my first stop. The space is really classy looking- I couldn't do it justice with pictures. I loved the ladder on a rail thing to access higher storage. Something about the chandelier and the rolling stones in the background just worked for me. I started with an espresso, then introduced myself to Vince as a visiting coffee enthusiast. He was very welcoming, and forced a fantastic solo macchiato on me!

Coffee paradise

I had tried the epic espresso blend at home before (courtesy of Steve) and enjoyed it, and it was even better at the hands of pros.

I needed to continue on my espresso quest, so I headed out towards the Elysian Room. There was one woman on the whole street heading towards me, and just as she passed it registered- it was Lindsay on the street!That was very cool. At Elysian, I had an espresso.

Espresso from elysian

My favorite thing aboiut Elysian is that when you order espresso the first thing they do is pour a glass of water and hand it over. It is just a simple move, but it is both classy and practical. if you are going to cleanse your palate before the espresso, you need to get the water first. It reminded me of the best coffee place I visited in Venice.
Since this is Alistair's place I had to try some brewed coffee. I ordered a cup of their featured ethiopian coffee brewed on the clover. It had a remarkable floral tea quality, but i didn't drink much, I was starting to get jittery. I had to sit a while, stitch a bit on my footbags to get my bearings.

My next stop was Origins on Granville Island. I am ashamed to admit it took a while for me to find the place, that Granville Island is amzingly crowded and twisty, with cars and people meandering every way. I had been in contact with Drew by email and he was expecting me when I dropped in. He immediately started pulling shots on thier LM GB5 (paddle controls, WBC test machine). They had some of Stephen Morrisey's WBC blend, and I got to taste it. Next we had some of the Origins Espresso blend, both straight up and in a small milk drink (single capp, i believe). I really liked it.

origins espresso

Through my impaiered tasting ability I still found it to be one of the most "balanced" espressos I've tried, by which I mean that there seeemded to be a wide variety of flavores in the cup, all acting in harmony. Drew was amazingly cool, taking the time to pull me some amazing shots, and really just chat about coffee stuff.

Wicked- so of course I leave the Chicago area for a little break, and I have to go seek out some Black Cat. Is that like trying to get Chicago style pizza in Boulder? I don't htink so . The shop has some really cool features- including the big table in the middle, which must force people to be somewhat sociable. For anti-social people watchers like myself, the big mirror at the shelf you sit at allows you to be a bit discrete when you are trying to see what people are up to.



Steve said...

Thanks for the Origins' espresso!

Yours Truly said...

I've often wondered if caffeine affects you when you take these trips. I wish we had a real coffee place here... although I did just discover that we have a coffee roaster less than half a mile from my apartment!

mikep said...

I did drink more caffiene than normal on the trip, but we didn't have the kids with so I drank more alcohol at night to try and offset it :)

Are you going to give the coffee from the local roaster a try? It wouldn't be hard to beat most of the stuff that's available most places.