Going Places, in Spite of Taxidermy

four barrels smiling pig nooooo

“Hey y’all!”

Go to Four Barrel.

Ask for the affogato. It’s not on the menu, but they’ll probably have it. Pay closer attention than I did when the wizard behind the counter is making it. I don’t know what she did, but something about it made it one of the finest affogatos I’ve ever had. The texture, the ice cream, the just-right slight bitterness of the espresso, even the feeling of the cup against the saucer… yes.

And as you leave, look back at the taxidermy. Look back and up, look at the pig heads, and think… why.

I will be glad when this fad passes. I’m looking at you, Smith, Linda’s, and Assembly Hall. Especially the latter, where there’s this moose head that sits at eye level next to you, mouth open as if he’s just waiting, just waiting, for his chance to interject. Shudder.

Post-script: despite all this sincere icky-poo-pooing, I must tell you that I spent a couple parts of a fine afternoon at Loved to Death, which I found fascinating. I bought two postcards and a fossilized ammonite. For some reason, the context is ok, because they know this shit is fucked and are profiting off just that. Go figure.

Brown Ice: A Uniquely Seattle Scourge

I have lived in the Midwest and Boston, as has been established here. I am not a stranger to cold, to weeks of below-freezing temperatures, to cars careening off roads and sidewalks turning to slush and then ice beneath your feet, leaving you to discover just how catlike you really are.

In Boston, snow falls, and people shovel or stomp thin trails through the foot-plus banks of snow on the sidewalk. They walk their dogs along it too, of course. This results in yellow snow that can last for a month or more, little growing piddle patterns that you grow to know well as you walk to class or work, day after day.

Seattle has its own version.

Freaking frozen coffee in freaking SeattleFigure 1: fuck this.

Ok. So.

You get up in the morning. It’s a cold-ass day. You pass many fine coffee-serving establishments, as is the way of most stretches of sidewalk in our fair city. On your way to work, you stop and get your Americano or your latte or whatever other syrup-filled business you feel starts your day in the right way. You clutch it for a few blocks, waiting for it to get just below boiling lava hot so you can drink it.

And then, for a few blocks: BLISS.

The temperature is genuine, Goldilocks-grade just right. Quiet, EMP – this is nirvana, this perfectly hot-enough caffeinated bliss in a cup, yes, here we go, we may survive another day yet.

And then, too soon: lukewarm.

So what’s a Seattlelite to do? Chuck it. Pop that lid off, splash your coffee dregs in the bushes or, well, near enough. On the sidewalk’s fine. It’ll go away, right?

Wrong. WRONG.

There’s a certain kind of weather in Seattle that combines uncommonly cold with uncommonly dry. And then your goddamn coffee puddles last for-freaking-ever. For days on end, your fellow man has to make your rejected coffee another landmark to remember, because it’s too cold to melt and too solid to be scraped away by their sad, shuffling feet.

Don’t do this. You can carry the extra few ounces all the way to the next trash can with a bag, FFS.

I walk up and down hills to get to work, man. I can’t be dodging this stuff all the time. It’s early out, and like 20 degrees. Come on.

We can get it together to stop this. We separate our trash into no fewer then seven bins at this point, and we can master this too. Do it for you. Do it for me.

But let’s be real. It’s mainly for me.

Thank you.

I Love Bedlam

I think it makes me a bit of a traitor to Capitol Hill, but Bedlam in Belltown has been rapidly approaching the top of my list of favorite Seattle coffee shops. I know, I know. But there’s something about their constantly shifting art and t-shirts, their self-consciously-but-perfectly Seattle-funkā„¢ decor, and their wonderful earnestness that just… works.

Also, the coffee is good, if you care about that too.

I was there today, and I spent some time reading in their excellent upstairs closet-turned-reading-nook.* Before I took myself upstairs, though, I saw this.

No-Sip Coffee Cup!Amuse your friends!I asked the adorable, always-incredibly-friendly ponytailed gentleman barista, “Did you guys get a shipment of bum lids?”

He grinned and gave me the slightest nod.

So this kind of thing? Where someone gets a super-goofy idea and carries it out to the tune of graphic design and completed packaging? This is genuinely what makes my days worth living sometimes.

Bless you, Bedlam. Bless you and your iced decaf Americanos, served in a mason jar with a handle.

*I am fortunate enough to be able to tell you that said nook is also a stellar place to squeeze in with someone you fancy to be cozy and ever-so-slightly inappropriate in a public space. Yes.