Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Conversation and Coffee: Latte Da!

 (Photo from El Mono/Latte Da Website)

A few years ago, when I was still living in the big city and dreaming of returning to my small town roots, I had a dream of opening a coffee shop.

I even had a name picked out.

But, then, in the two places where I hang my hat, they just so happened to have perfect coffee shops.

Yup, perfect. Cozy atmosphere. Good organic coffee. Locally made baked goods. And, "regulars". (And, by the way, I think it is safe to say that I'm considered a "regular" in both.)

I know, I know, I went on this whole spiel a month or so ago about the ten best investments you can make, including making your own coffee. And, well, I do make my own coffee. More than I used to, in fact. But, for me, having a really good cup of organic coffee in a cozy place where friends and strangers gather is a critical and grounding experience for me. The conversations, the friendship, the smell of good coffee--all really good stuff.

Well, here in the Eastern Sierra, THE coffee shop (wonderfully named Latte Da) -- the best little coffee shop ever -- closes its doors at the end of October and re-opens when fishing season begins.

I've been anticipating the opening for quite some time (read: a long winter without my favorite hang out)...and, I'm so happy to report  that this past weekend marked the opening.

On opening day, I arrived shortly after the doors were unlocked (I had to drag my kids out of bed...)--and, things were just as I'd left them in the Fall. A fire was burning in the old stone fireplace, the smells of freshly baked pumpkin spice cake and good coffee beckoning and friends talking and laughing.

I was so caught up in the socializing and reconnecting that I didn't even realize that there were some folks "from away" sitting in the corner of the coffee shop.(This is particularly funny given the shoebox-size of the coffee shop!) I didn't notice them until they stood up and walked to the door...then turned around and said, "This has been the highlight of our trip. What a charming experience."

On the beautiful painted walls (Kelly, friend and proprietor, is quite artistic) of Latte Da, there is a quote, "Where coffee is served, there is grace and splendor and friendship and happiness." So very true.

I recently learned that this quote, written by Sheik Ansari Djezeri Hanball Abd-al-Kadir more than 400 years ago, goes on to say, "All cares vanish as the coffee cup is raised to the lips." Yes. Exactly.

I'm signing off to head there now -- for a little friendship and a really good cup of joe.

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