Welcome To Seattle
by juli boggs
I know that you’re lacking the back-story, but to keep it simple this is my status: I’m living in Seattle now. I moved up in August to begin working on an 83 year old gaff-rigged schooner called Lavengro in Lake Union. Summer aboard the boat in close quarters with two eccentric young men generated a lot of interesting stories to be related at another time. Our concern for now is to relate to you that there is a new blog to be cared for aside this one: apartmentxfiles.wordpress.com is where you can find the daily warstories of my room and boat mate Ryan and I in regards to our totally terrible apartment, Apt. X (no kidding), and the people we find ourself interacting with in the Cascades neighborhood of South Lake Union.
I have just MOMENTS AGO updated the Apt. X files page, but was so tickled by it I thought I’d re-post it here on Juliblogs where it’s likely to get more traffic. If you’d like to view the material at its original address you may do so here.
Again, I apologize for my absenteeism but do plan on updating both blogs regularly from here on out. Enjoy!
Cascades, the neighborhood surrounding our home sweet home, is a recovering industrial area on the edge of downtown, populated by an equal mix of junkies, scum bags and yuppies. My roommate and I live in the unnumbered basement unit of a 100 year old building across the street from an abandoned brick complex with a large white smoke stack, and even here there are more than four coffee shops within a quarter-mile radius. Welcome to Seattle.
In my ample free time I have perused a number of coffee shops in the area, judging each on a complex scale of varying criteria such as quality of music playing (and its subsequent volume), variety of seating options, décor/ ambiance, and of course, the care with which they present me with a double Americano.
Meeting these criteria are a few choice cafes in the area, each one of which I’ve carefully staked out in order to be on a first-name basis with a roving staff of baristas in order to receive free coffee from each. The process of this endearment is simple: you show up at the same time three days in a row to order the same drink. You make small talk as necessary, but on the third day will invariably introduce yourself to the now-familiar looking employee behind the counter. By day four, your coffee is on the house. While this may appear to be a scam for self-indulgent ends, baristas do invariably make great acquaintances. They typically interact on a highly-caffeinated level, and emit a positive attitude in regards to their easily-relatable hobbies (which they’ve picked up in order to relate to a wide discrepancy of clientele). They are usually well versed in pop culture and music, being as “ipod operator” is their secondary responsibility to food-delivery system, “the regrettable, necessary step between chow and chow-hole”* which means they can likely recommend a good show for you to see any night of the week. In the case that such a recommendation is provided, you now have an opportunity to invite them out as your platonic date in order to buy them a drink, thus recouping them for all the free java they’ve passed your way. This also legitimates your relationship beyond that of mooch and provider (unless you’re tipping them for each free coffee, in which case you’re already a good person and the provision of beer is unnecessary unless you’re actually trying to get in their pants).
While I have met a number of fine coffee-industry employees and spent a great deal of time at both Café Vivace on Yale Ave. as well as Uptown Espresso on Republican (a shout out to their respective baristas, Mike and Bryan), the one spot I long, but have yet, to infiltrate is that of the Mokka Café and Coffee Bar, home of the most dangerously delectable mocha in this entire city. In fact, I’m going to go get one right now in order to better describe it to you: holy shit it’s delicious.
The perfect Mokka Mocha is a delectably suffused amalgam of espresso and chocolate mixed in harmonious proportions so that neither overwhelms the other. It is like a sugary yin yang, just enough coffee to chocolate so that the two combine to taste like a tall cup of steamed cream. This being Seattle, said coffees are always topped with impeccable latte art, which has unfortunately become more requisite than impressive. Ryan says that he recently witnessed a barista creating a latte-art skull in preparation for the Barista Olympics (but let’s not go there), which is impressive. That’s what I want to see more of. If not a skull, then possibly a badger- to ask me how my day is going. Practice, practice, practice.
*The Stranger- How To Be A Person Who Isn’t A Failure; Jobs- How To Be A Barista, Sep. 2009