Saturday, March 9, 2013

Catalina Coffee Shop


Originally posted August 3, 2012


Lots of tastey looking pastries and all I want is a plain croissant. Good coffee, too. But to be honest, I have yet to have a bad cup of coffee anywhere in town. Maybe I have no taste buds. I don't know.

Sort of like Brasil, the front entrance is only for show. Hardly anyone uses it. I guess the main reason is the parking is in the back.

There was someone to finally enter through the front.

I've taken some pictures but, as usual, the low early morning sun makes composition difficult.

Acoustics here are better. But still just as loud as any Starbucks with the coffee grinder supplying the bulk of the noise. But overall, the level of noise is much lower.  Very little echo with the same number of people as Brasil had.

From the front, the coffee shop appears to be empty.  But when you turn the corner to park, you see otherwise. This is a very popular place.

As far as the croissant is concerned, I like the fact they took the time to glaze the croissant with egg white (I think that's what they use). Not as fresh as the croissant at Brasil - which is now my standard. The shell isn't crisp, but it is flaky. I'm sorry, I want fresh baked.

The interior walls are brick - not old brick.  Patches of stucco were added to give it an older look, but I'm not sure the effect is, well, effective. Wall hangings are mainly patches of wood flooring slats that had been painted to give a rustic feel. I'm not sure what they were attempting to achieve. One hanging is of a Star Wars Trooper's helmet. Another is of Winnie the Pooh. Another is of a couple of guys with the inscription "Fight Me".  One of the faces is identical to the avatar Tyler Durden uses on the Zero Hedge blog.

I may be getting too picky. The whole thing just sort of blends in the background. If you don't pay attention, you would never notice this. Same as with Brasil.

The modern coffee shop phenomenon can be traced to the popularity of Starbucks (I may be wrong. This is just my observation). These cafes have not copied Starbucks (thank goodness) but have become something...British. The coffee shops here are very similar to the ones in London.

On the other hand, cafe's in Italy are completely different, for the most part. There, the espresso reigns as the caffeine shot of choice.  Many of the cafes are cramped and narrow.  There may be four small tables that sit two per table. Maybe there is one large table in the back against the wall. The main feature is the bar. A real bar like you would see in a...well, a bar. That serves beer. Most patrons order their espresso, and after two or three sips, they are done and leave. On the other hand, I'll stand at the bar and order the "cafe Americano" After 15 sips, I'm still standing there...getting tired of the whole experience.  In the meantime, 20 people have come and gone after downing their espresso.

I have often wondered how this name came to be. The concoction is simply espresso diluted with hot water.  Drip coffee in Italian Cafes are unheard of.  I never understood this name since the Germans invented drip coffee (or so my German friends have told me).

In fact, no matter where you go in the world, it's "cafe Americano". When I lived in Ulsan, South Korea, I would order coffee with this monicker.

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