When I want to indulge myself, both sensually and intellectually, I head to Caffè Artigiano with my favourite newspaper (the Saturday Globe and Mail) under my arm.
There are several Caffè Artigiano locations in Vancouver; sadly, none of them is close to my home. However, on Sundays it’s a scenic and easy drive from Coquitlam, along the Barnet Highway and Hastings Street to my favourite coffee house.
What makes Caffè Artigiano so special? Well, first of all, their espresso is vastly superior to what I’ve tasted at any other coffee house, including the ubiquitous S–––––––s. One shot of it in a latte or mocha is so powerful that it’s like having three shots of that other brand—at no extra charge! Also, the baristas at Caffè Artigiano have to be artists: this company has won awards for its “latte art.” The milk is poured into your cup with special flourishes at the end so that a beautiful leafy pattern or other design is created. (Sure, it doesn’t last long, but neither do snowflakes.)
My Sunday trips to Artigiano are about more than grabbing my favourite caffeinated beverage, though. I like to hang out there for l’ambience. The coffee shop is made up of two adjoining rooms, with plenty of small tables, comfortable banquettes and a large table for people who like to spread out their computers, paperwork or newspapers. I let myself become immersed, dreamlike, in the background music (often jazz) and conversational buzz of happy people in weekend mode.
Very soon I have my own buzz going. I love the simultaneity of relaxation/stimulation that happens after I’ve done a hard workout, ingested a good shot of caffeine and become totally engaged in reading or writing. On this particular Sunday, I’m browsing through the Arts section of The Globe. I feel all my “reader” neurons getting excited as I take in the “favourite books of 2011″ as described by many top writers and other eminent people. Suddenly I have another ten books, at least, to add to my “must-read” list!
All these wonderful book plots and quotes lead me to my own creative thoughts. I come up with a plan for a new page on my blog. WordNerds—coming soon!