Saturday, November 19, 2016

Coffeeneuring #7: C&P Coffee

Stock photo

I was saving the best for last and it almost didn't happen.  Like the hare in the story I breezed through the first 6 controls by October 30th, I was way out in front of this thing and only needed one final coffee ride and had almost 3 weeks to do it, no problem.   The first problem, the weekend of the 5th the elevator in my building went out and I live on the top floor.  I could have probably lugged my heavy steel bike up and down 4 flights of stairs but I figured I could wait it out, so no bike ride.  Second problem on the weekend of the 12th I needed to head down to Portland to pick up a replacement vehicle since mine had been totaled as a result of being damaged while stolen.  On the way home I started feeling a cold coming on.

I ended up burning two sick days and working from home the rest of this week, on Thursday, still coughing and sniffling and with my lower back seized up I reflected bitterly that with only two days left, I wasn't going to make it to ride 7 when it had seemed so easily in reach.  

Handsome Devil out front
Fortunately I started to feel marginally better and more importantly my back loosened up on Friday, so early today (Saturday) I set off on a rainy dark morning to complete the challenge.  As I mentioned above I had saved C&P for last intentionally, I live literally right next door -about 55 steps away, so I had to do a two mile ride first.   I didn't mind the cool and wet because I had been convinced a few days ago it wasn't even going to happen.   With the ride out of the way it was time for coffee!
Mocha and ham & cheese croissant
My friend Cam (the "C" in C&P with her Husband Pete) was working the espresso machine and made me my Saturday standard a "weekend Mocha" with local Theo chocolate.  I have been coming to C&P since they opened 12 years ago and I used to joke when I was unemployed and job searching from the Coffee shop that my apartment was my home away from C&P.   Why do I love the place; it's located in an old bungalow, the coffee is great, the people are awesome, the vibe is comfortable and welcoming, they serve beer and wine in the evenings and they host live music.  Why would I want to go anywhere else?  did I mention they are right next door?

I start most days by walking out the back door of my building, strolling down the alley and walking through the back yard to C&P, the back is a nice cool place to spend an evening on a warm summer day sipping a beer or wine and winding down at days end.

As I slip in the back door I am warmly greeted by my C&P only nickname as I enter and usually take a peek at the sports page while sipping my coffee before heading off to work.  Like I said I saved the best for last.  I can start my gratitude list early by being thankful that I was able to complete this challenge and that I have such a great coffee shop in my life.

Summary for ride #7:
  1. Where: C&P Coffee, 5612 California ave SW, Seattle WA
  2. When: Saturday, Nov. 19th, 7:30 am
  3. Drink: Theo Mocha and Ham & Cheese Croissant
  4. Ride: Damp, dark and cool, good bike friendliness with rack right in front of the shop and as my theme continues < a mile from home -in fact right next door!
  5. Distance: 3.26 Kilometers/2.02  miles
Challenge complete.

Ride.Smile.caffeinate Repeat.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Coffeeneuring #6: Cafe Ladro

snow? nah
What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday the sun was shining and I was riding in a short sleeved shirt, today the sky was leaden and I was wearing a merino wool sweater.  I really had no intention to coffeeneur today, but I rode to the market for some fresh veg. and on the way home I had a slight downhill and I just kept going all the way to Cafe Ladro.

You may recall that this was where I went on my Coffeeneruing training ride, today it counted.  I decided to get the specialty of the house -a Medici which is essentially a mocha with orange zest, and the raspberry scone was talking to me so I got one of those too.

And yes despite the coolness of the day I sat outside under the awning in a comfy adirondack chair, in part because I was already wearing the wool sweater and because I had produce in my pannier that I wanted to kept an eye on.

So now I have until November 20th to log one final ride, the last one will be to my favorite coffee shop in the world which happens to be right next door.

Summary for ride #6:
  1. Where: Cafe Ladro, 7011 California ave SW, Seattle WA
  2. When: Sunday, October 30th, 1:30 pm
  3. Drink: Medici with Raspberry Scone
  4. Ride: 180 from yesterday's ride, cold enough to need a merino sweater, leaden skies, good bike friendliness with rack right in front of the shop and as my theme continues < a mile from home
  5. Distance: 5.12 Kilometers/3.18  miles longest ride yet! included a trip to the farmers market.
Ride.Smile.caffeinate Repeat.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Coffeeneuring #5: Bakery Nouveau

What started as a cool rainy morning in Seattle, typical fall day in the PNW, gave way to sun breaks and shirt sleeves kind of an afternoon.   With the unexpected sun and mild temps I gave thanks and mounted up to get some errands done and of course tick off another Coffeeneruing ride.  I am temporarily car-less so it was nice to make a few stops along the way, long story short on the car; car stolen, car recovered, car damaged while stolen, car old and of low value ('98 civic), damage may exceed value, waiting on insurance verdict.   No excuses not to ride my bike for now.

When Bakery Nouveau opened about a decade ago it was a local secret, a little slice of la belle france in our own backyard! that lasted about a month and then word got out and soon folks from all over the greater Metro area were flooding West Seattle to get a taste.  Today you will see lines out the door every weekend morning, with that in mind I strategically made my visit after 1:30 when I was able to breeze in and even get a table.

While everything there is great they are famous for their twice baked almond croissants, however they are so rich I find I need to be either really hungry or have a person handy to split with.  I needed about a 20 mile ride before tacking one.

famous for miles around
My ride was only about 1.5 miles  I wasn't feeling up to the task and I was solo, so I opted for a very fine peanut butter cookie and a hazelnut latte.

Unlike all my previous stops there was not a bike rack directly in front of the shop, instead I had to walk a whole 30 feet away to find one.  The Handsome Devil was feeling a bit lonely while I was in the shop..its by that white sign on the sidewalk.
wait don't leave me!
I couldn't visit such an authentic french bakery and not get my Parisian on...

Tres Bon!
To sum up ride #5
  1. Where: Bakery Nouveau, 4737 California ave SW, Seattle WA
  2. When: Saturday, October 29th, 1:45 pm
  3. Drink: Hazelnut Latte with Peanutbutter cookie.
  4. Ride: break in weather sun breaks and shirtsleeves kind of an afternoon, bike rack about 30 feet from shop so good not great bike friendliness and as my theme continues < a mile from home
  5. Distance: 3.49 Kilometers/2.17  miles (via a loopy route with errands)
Ride.Smile.Baguette. Repeat.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Coffeeneuring #4: Uptown Espresso

I wasn't really planning on doing a second ride this weekend but it was just too nice outside to pass up and I know I will be doing a road trip on one of the November weekends so it seemed like a good chance to get ahead.

Uptown is a long running local chain, and they have two locations in my greater neighborhood including one in my theme zone.  The location used to be a Skippers and for some reason I can just never settle in here, the coffee is very good the pastry selections is good but there is just no there -there.  The fact that its on one corner of a 5 way intersection might have something to do with it.

Still a bit Skipperish

I had a very nice Irish Cream Latte with a blueberry muffin and it was very good, I even had a nice view of my bike.

There is some nice chalk art and photos paying homage to the 1930s era West Seattle.  I sure wish we still had street cars, the line used to run right in front of where my apartment now stands.

Chalk art -would love a Street car today
To sum up Coffeeneuring #4:
  1. Where: Uptown Espresso, 4301 Edmunds ave SW (California & Edmunds), Seattle WA
  2. When: Sunday October 23rd, 1:45 pm
  3. Drink: Irish Cream Latte with Blueberry Muffin
  4. Ride: Sunny day shirtsleeves weather, bike rack out front -bike friendly and as my theme continues < a mile from home
  5. Distance: 3.52 Kilometers/2.18  miles (via the loopy route)
Out and About

Since I was in the area I visited my favorite purveyor of hop based beverages, The Beer Junction, and got myself a Silver Moon Brewing (Bend Or) HOPopotamus IPA.

hmm Hoppy
I also spotted some cool bikes, a nice Centurion Elite GT that had been converted to a city bike with north road bars.

A very cool Minty Green mixte from a brand I am not familiar with Bobbin.

Which was locked up with a Velo Orange Rando - a model that is a year or two older than the one I had.  I admit a bit of envy that A) that person still had their nice VO Rando and B) they were hanging with a lady with a cool mixte.  Maybe someday.

VO Rando

Until next time; Ride. Smile. Caffeinate. Repeat.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Coffeeneuring #3: Red Cup Espresso

On a lovely Fall day; clear, crisp, with golden leaves in the trees, I set off for my 3rd coffee bike ride of the challenge.

Red Cup Espresso was my destination for today, a local independent coffee shop that has been in the neighborhood about as long as I have -approximately 15 years.  The shop has rotated through owners but kept it's comfy community vibe.

The Red Cup also has the distinction of being the only independent drive thru coffee place in West Seattle and one of only two in the area - the other is a mermaid place. I could have been a wisenheimer and "drove" my bike through but A) I prefer to sit down over a cuppa and B) I don't have a good set up for carrying coffee on the bike.

For today I only got coffee, a vanilla latte as I had a pastry earlier in the day.  The coffee was good and since I got it "for here" it came in a red cup- naturally.

hmmm coffee
This shop is really geared towards the 4 wheeled kind of traffic but although small the shop itself is comfy and not a bad place to hang out for walk-ins.  I lounged on the leather love seat in view of the gas fireplace. Today the weather is nice but this would be a great place to hang out on a rainy cold day.

(Postscript) Since I forgot to get a shot of the bike at this shop I used part of Coffee ride #4 to ride back to stop #3 and get a shot of where I was parked.

the shot I should have taken on Saturday

Earlier in the day I spotted this bike in my alley, an Extra Cycle with E-Assist.  When I was carless for about 4 months in 2012 I thought seriously about getting a cargo bike like the Yuba Mundo and something with an e-assist would make sense in my hilly neighborhood.  Perhaps someday.

Anyway to sum up Coffeeneuring #3:
  1. Where: Red Cup Espresso, 4451 California Ave SW, Seattle WA
  2. When: Saturday October 22nd, 11:00 am
  3. Drink: Vanilla Latte -Slate Coffee roasters
  4. Ride: Beautiful fall day, sunny crisp and clear, bike rack out front -bike friendly and as my theme continues < a mile from home
  5. Distance: 3.33  Kilometers/2.06  miles (via the loopy route)
Until next time; Ride. Smile. Caffeinate. Repeat.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Coffeeneuring #2: Cupcake Royale/Verite Coffee and Steak!

Costal weather
I decided to put off my ride until Sunday as we were getting allot of rain on Saturday and were expecting an "Epic" winter storm with winds up to 70 mph on Saturday night and Sunday morning, it didn't quite live up to that but Sunday was clearly the better option for riding.

I have ridden and commuted in the rain many times, its Seattle after all, but that was with fenders and I don't currently have a bike set up with them.  Its almost criminally stupid to ride a fender-less bike in Seattle in winter but I have been riding so infrequently that I have gotten away with it.  I do have a nice set of VO fenders that used to be on the Handsome Devil before I went to 700x47c tires and I think they will go on the Schwinn Passage during the rebuild so I'll have a good rain bike.

Before getting coffee I decided to get one of my favorite meals in West Seattle -Steak and eggs at Jak's Grill.   I used to do this all the time but its been awhile, too long in fact and since it's literally next door to the coffee shop I did the combo.  In the picture below that isn't a mimosa, its a MANmosa.  Steakeneuring?

Steak and Eggs - like budda
After that yuumy detour it was time for Coffeneuring #2 at Cupcake Royale/Coffee Verite

Although this place is more famous for their cupcakes then their coffee they aren't exactly serving up Boyd's in glass carafe.
Cupcake bias
but serious coffee cred
Its very hard to come here and not get a cupcake, but their "normal" cupcakes are "uuuuge" to quote a certain New Yorker, fortunately they have the "Babycake" so I could have my cake and eat it too (sorry).

I ended up with the Triple threat chocolate babycake with a hazelnut latte, both were excellent.   The shop itself had kind a college hangout vide despite being at least 5 miles from the nearest college.  I can just see meeting your study group here, spreading out at a table and working on your class project.

Like most places in the commercial core of West Seattle there is a bike rack right outside the door, and for this location even a whole bike corral right across the street.

So ride number 2 is in the books, here is the summary:
  1. Where: Cupcake Royale/Verite Coffee, 4556 California Ave SW, Seattle
  2. When: Sunday October 16th 1:30 pm
  3. Drink: Stumptown Hazelnut Latte and a triple threat babycake
  4. Ride: Since the coffee shop is only .7 miles from me I did a few loops, the location was very bike friendly with a rack right out front.  Wet leaf strewn streets in the aftermath of the storm.
  5. Distance: 3.79  Kilometers/2.355  miles
Until next time; Ride. Smile. Caffeinate. Repeat.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Coffeeneuring #1: Hotwire

Before starting out today I had to attach my Association of Caffeinated Wheelmen button to my front bag, I had a cool enamel pin once upon a time but couldn't find it so I went with the button.

 I had intended for this first Coffeeneuring ride to happen on Saturday but between waking up to rain and needing to get my Daughter organized and off to a Soccer game I decided it was better to go with Sunday.  The streets were still wet this morning but it was not raining, the leaves in the trees are changing and it was cool but not cold, all in all a pleasant ride.

 My coffee shop of choice this morning was Hotwire, they started life as an internet cafe- remember those, its a tiny space in an historic building, they have 4 internet stations and a couple bar stool like chairs so the inside is not really a place to linger but they do have some nice outdoor seating and it was dry enough to do that this morning.

They make an excellent cuppa here and one of their specialties is the Mexican mocha with a bit of cayenne pepper- I only get a gringo amount but it adds a nice bit of spice to the drink.  It also doesn't hurt that the barista was cute and had a wonderful smile.
Mexican Mocha
And like most of the coffee shops in my area they had a rack out front where I could park my steed which is always appreciated.
Handsome Devil at rest
So ride number 1 is in the books, here is the summary:
  1. Where: Hotwire Online Coffeehouse, 4410 California Ave SW, Seattle
  2. When: Sunday October 9th 8:30 am
  3. Drink: Mexican Mocha - and a ham and cheese scone 
  4. Ride: Since the coffee shop is only .9 miles from me I did a loop and it was very bike friendly with a rack right out front.  Very light traffic.
  5. Distance: 3.8 Kilometers/2.3 miles
My theme/guidelines for my first ever Coffeeneuring attempt are:
  • Coffee shops are all within 1 mile of my house - since I have to ride at least two miles I will be taking some long-cuts
  • Coffee shop can't have a mermaid logo
  • Coffee shops are all located on the main thoroughfare of West Seattle -California Ave.
So until next time; Ride. Smile. Caffeinate. Repeat.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Training for the big event!

LeMond Vs. The Badger 1986
Don't let the picture above fool you I have not been asked to ride the Tour de France, but I did do some training today, and it did involve riding my coffee.

I have been aware of the Coffeeneuring challenge, now in year 6, for a few years and read others blog accounts of their participation but have never done it myself.  I decided to change that this year and since the event kicks off on October 7th I figured I had better start training.

The basic tenet of the Coffeeneuring challenge is to ride to 7 different coffee shops over 7 weeks, since I live in one of the most coffee addicted and coffee shop dense places on earth, Seattle WA, that shouldn't be a problem.  In fact I found 7 coffee shops that are less than a mile from me and that's not even including the place with the Mermaid mascot.  One of the options of the challenge is to have a theme, so my theme is the coffee shop is less than a mile from my house, which makes things interesting since rule 7 states coffeeneuring rides must be at least 2 miles.  I will be doing some looping for this challenge to meet the two mile minimum, especially since my favorite coffee shop in the world is literally right next door - approximately 55 steps away.

For my training ride I selected a shop that is at the southern limit of my with in a mile rule, its  9/10ths of a mile away.  To get into practice I am logging the details of my practice run:

  1. where you went (address and website, if possible); Cafe Ladro, a local chain, West Seattle Location.
  2. the date you went there; September 27th -dry run
  3. what you drank; Short Irish cream latte
  4. a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride, including your assessment of the “bike friendliness” of the location; The ride is a straight shot from my apt. and although the street has "sharrows" and a short section of bike lane its fairly busy so not a great ride route but bike parking is available at Ladro.  
  5. total mileage. 1.8 miles as this was training I didn't feel the need to loop for extra mileage to hit the 2 mile minimum.

One of the things I like about this particular Ladro location, in addition to the fine coffee, is the adirondack chairs out in front of the shop sheltered under an awning.  In temperate Seattle you can sit out front sipping coffee on all but the foulest of days.

Hopefully I will be up to the challenge of 7 grueling 2 mile coffee rides from October 7th to November 20th.

Until next time Ride, Caffeinate, Smile, Repeat.