Dreaming of another cappuccino from Satsuma Cafe on Maple Street. They use GTO Espresso Blend from Coffee Roasters of New Orleans. Not only do they have great coffee and food, but they are the nicest staff ever… an unfortunate rarity when surrounded by college students and snobs…or snobby college students!
Giant mugs of macchiato for your Monday morning pleasure from Antoine’s Annex…
On the corner of Oak and Carrollton sits one of New Orleans’ most famed coffee shops, Rue de la Course. Since John and I are both self-employed, we often choose Rue as a convenient, public place to meet clients over a tasty cup of coffee and a nice snack. Both of us love the historic bank building that the coffee shop is housed in, with it’s majestically high ceilings, gorgeous, iron chandeliers and architectural details. Also, due to it’s prime location, there’s tons of seating outside where you can enjoy your java alfresco. Essentially, it’s a wonderful cafe, all except for one thing…obnoxious baristas.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the difference between a good and bad barista and the skill involved with making the perfect espresso, but does that require acting like a jerk? Let me give you an example…
A few weeks ago, I went into the cafe to meet a client and friend to discuss some work he had planned for me. I arrived at Rue a few minutes early, so I went to the counter to order some coffee. I was the only person in line, yet the two baristas behind the counter completely ignored me for several minutes while they continued their conversation about some absent employee. Being the polite person I am, I waited patiently for them to finish their discussion, but, when it ended, both employees walked away from the counter to finish some menial task like wiping the counter or restocking straws. Really? Was I not standing there, cash in hand, quietly waiting to order a cup of overpriced coffee with a freaking smile on my face?
If this was only the first time it had happened, I would let it go and not rant about it on my blog, but this (and similar rude behavior) has happened to me almost every single time I walk in there. I mean, the nerve of me expecting to get a barista to serve me when I walk up to the counter! And I even tip exceedingly well for a single cup of coffee, so that a trip to Rue costs me almost $10. It has gotten to the point where it’s just not worth it to me…especially when Zotz is right down the block.
Last week I was running errands in the French Quarter with John, when we stopped into Antoine’s Annex for a quick meeting and a cup of coffee. Not that we needed the extra caffeine, we were already bouncing off the walls from the three cups we drank earlier, but sometimes you just have to have one more cup.
Located at 513 Royal Street, the Annex is a clean, well-lit little coffee and sandwich joint which is, I assume from the name, affiliated with Antoine’s Restaurant around the corner on St. Louis (which I have not yet visited…I know!). The black & white decor with splashes of color coming only from the photos on the wall or the food on your plate is elegant and inviting, not to mention a huge tourist magnet.
For some reason, I started thinking about when I was a tourist to this city. Over ten years ago when I first visited New Orleans with my mother, I recall the awe and wonder on our faces as we strolled through the Quarter with its historic architecture, decadent food and exquisite shops…oh the shops! I am pretty sure we walked into every single store on Royal Street from Esplanade to Canal. I suppose the memories came flooding back because Antoine’s Annex was exactly the type of respite we would have sought on that long, 14-block trek. Even as I sat there, trying not to intrude on a meeting I wasn’t involved in, I saw several groups of shopping bag-laden tourists stroll inside to buy a bite to eat or pick up a chocolate gator to take home.
I only stayed long enough to enjoy a delicious Butter Rum Latte, but while I was sipping, it was quite refreshing to take a small trip back into my first memories of the city. I realized that my awe of New Orleans had not diminished – only changed into a deeper, richer understanding of the culture and environs I’ve always loved…even before I was a wide-eyed tourist.