Cafe Witness

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Charting a Course

I'm wondering whether I should establish a course for the coming weeks of Cafe Witness. As much fun as it is to comment arbitrarily on the cafes I visit, I have so many other pressing duties in the course of a day that I feel I may let this blog lapse if there's not a concrete reason for updating it. So I've been kicking around some possibilities.

- The Best ___ in Pittsburgh? (search high and low for the best mocha, the best chai, etc.)
- The Best Drink at Cafe X? (sample each specialty drink at a cafe to decide which ones top the list)
- The Differences Among the Crazy Mochas (there are over half a dozen Crazy Mochas in Pittsburgh, each with its own flavor)
- The Cafes of Region X (Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, South Side, etc., all have multiple cafes to choose from)
- Cafe Patrons: A Compendium (people-watching has led me to realize that every cafe gets its own variety of the same stable of "types")

If anyone out there has any suggestions, feel free to pass them along. I'll do my best to make this blog as informative and entertaining in the minutes I can devote to it every weekday. In the meantime, I'll start with one approach next week and test-drive it to see if it takes.


Today, I'm at the Crazy Mocha in Shadyside, on Ellsworth Avenue. This is the "smoking permitted" Crazy Mocha that confounds me every time I'm here because I'm not used to seeing ashtrays at my cafe table. The regulars who are here seem to value two perks of the place: Crazy Mocha's chain-wide free wireless and the ability to puff cigars while web surfing and latte-sipping.

Another thing I've noticed, having been here in both the daytime and the evening, is that the baristas here seem to play a wider variety of music than those at the South Side Works location. I've been told before that the SSW baristas can't play anything with "objectionable content" in it, whereas I was once treated to a (very good) barrage of rap at the Ellsworth location. Perhaps it's a measure of the personal differences among baristas or an indicator of the difference in milieu (SSW is certainly meant to be a more posh, pseduo-corporate location to complement the upscale national chains it resides beside), but it's worth noting. Personally, I can only handle so much BOB FM, so it's good to know Ellsworth provides an alternative.


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