“You’re the cream in my coffee . . .”
— Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown

Latte and a book

Latte and a book

Hardly a day goes by without my taking the time to savor a cup of coffee.  My drink of choice is a two-shot Americano to which I add half and half until the color is a rich caramel brown.  Sometimes I splurge on a more fancy (and expensive drink) like a latte, especially if it is hand-crafted by a barista.  I love those leaf-shaped and tulip-shaped flourishes on the surface of my drink.

I consider a cup of “good” coffee a small indulgence, and life should be peppered with small indulgences, don’t you think?  A good cup of coffee elevates this ordinary beverage to — not quite a sacrament — but a little grace note in my days.  You can’t drink coffee fast.  I appreciate the slow savoring of the pleasures in my cup — the warmth absorbed by my hands, the fresh ground scent, the rich bitter flavor.  All good.


Embellished lattes from Zoka Coffee Shop

Embellished lattes from Zoka Coffee Shop — a small indulgence

” . . . small, frequent gestures have a greater impact on our overall well-being than bigger, infrequent events.”
— Laura Vanderkam, All the Money in the World:  What the Happiest People Know about Getting and Spending

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about spreading Christmas joys in smaller doses throughout the year.  Today’s quote is another reminder to take our pleasures in little, but frequent, gestures rather than in one, big splash on Christmas Day.  Turns out that those small treats and indulgences, like splurging on a fancy latte, are the recipe for happiness.

So, take the time to enjoy the little pleasures of the holiday season — an eggnog latte, cookies. . . Often is better.

A plate of Farmhouse Chocolate Mint Cookies

A plate of Farmhouse Chocolate Mint Cookies

(I posted the recipe for these cookies in December 2009.  You can find it here.)

Christmas cookies -- a simple pleasure of the season

Christmas cookies — a simple pleasure of the season

Olympic Sculpture Park, Space Needle with Calder’s Eagle

My siblings are a far-flung bunch, and I always enjoy their rare visits to Seattle.  Out-of-town guests give me an excuse to play tourist in my home town and to re-visit my favorite places. It’s no surprise that I’ve blogged about most of these excursions already (links to past posts included below).

Here’s a list of things I did with my sister and brother-in-law — what else would you have included?

Watching the sunset from Golden Gardens beach

Flowers at the Pike Place Market

Busker outside the original Starbucks store in the Pike Place Market

  • Savor the flavors of the Pacific Northwest.  We enjoyed lattes from Zoka’s Coffee Shop, salmon, steamed clams, fresh peaches and cherries from the Olympia Farmer’s Market, dinner at the Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant, Fran’s chocolate Gold Bars and truffles, homemade blackberry pie, and pizza at Tom Douglas’s Serious Pie (among other things).

Morning lattes from my neighborhood Zoka’s

Mocha latte at Zoka's Coffee Shop

“Sometimes I think that the upscale cup of coffee with the foam poured into a little rippled heart is the last luxury a lot of the young here can afford, some of them, and they buy it still.”
— Rebecca Solnit, Infinite City:  A San Francisco Atlas

I, too, see “upscale” coffee drinks as small, but affordable, luxuries.  I indulge myself on occasion, but I’m too frugal to buy them daily.  When I do spend more for a fancy coffee drink, I take the time to savor its specialness.

I’ve been thinking about the L’Oreal commercial that shows a sophisticated woman flouncing her hair, saying she buys L’Oreal (the more expensive brand of shampoo) because she’s “worth it.”  I don’t think my feeling worth it comes into play when I order coffee.  I do mental arithmetic to see if the coffee itself is worth it to me — value and taste vs. price — but my own sense of personal worth doesn’t measure in.  Does it?



Virtual Coffee

March 22, 2011

Seattle is known for its coffee.  (The very first Starbucks store is still in operation here.)  Here is a virtual trip to Zoka’s, my neighborhood coffee shop:

Barista prepares fresh drip coffee.

Steaming milk for a latte

Barista presents an embellished latte

A literate, cafe society

Empty chairs, a temporary lull

Isn't it time for a coffee break?

Fancy-Free Thursday

April 2, 2010

Yesterday was the first Thursday of the month, and my friend Carol and I took advantage of  free admission to the Seattle Art Museum and other offerings in downtown Seattle. 

Our bus got us downtown half an hour before the Art Museum opened, so we indulged in lattes at Fran’s Chocolates across the street.  We were treated to two complimentary chocolates.  What a great start to the day! 

Latte and complimentary chocolates at Fran's Chocolates

Carol and I had already seen the Calder Exhibit, but we enjoyed an encore visit.  We were again delighted by the paintings, sculptures, mobiles and jewelry.  We took a quick walk through some of the permanent exhibits as well.

Some/One sculpture by Do-Ho Suh, a robe constructed of 40,000 dog tags

 Carol and I then took a bus to Pioneer Square in the ride-free zone to enjoy free pizzas at Pizzeria Napoletana, which was celebrating its grand opening.  We waited in line for 30 minutes, and were treated to a free coffee from Cafe Vita while we waited.  The pizzas were delicious!

Crew assembles and cooks individual pizzas for a never-ending line of customers

My free pizza from Pizzeria Napoletana

 I then made my way by bus to the Seattle Asian Art Museum to see a new exhibit of Japanese woodblock prints.  Another exceptional exhibit and well worth a visit even for paying customers.

Woman Sewing while Man Watches by Eishosai Choki, the exterior sign for the current exhibit