Jan, the owner of the Red Coyote Café in Virgin, Utah greeted me yesterday by asking how chilly it was on the other side of the park. I met her just a few times and although she didn’t remember my name, she remembered where I cruised in from for a cuppa. This impressed me because often I slide into coffee shops with my laptop, sit quietly, and simply observe the world around me unnoticed by anyone.
Something I like about the Red Coyote is that I can do either – slide in unnoticed or I can participate in conversations with the locals while having a cup of coffee, playing on the computer, and eating my breakfast. The best of both of my coffee shop cruising worlds.
The breakfast menu includes a basic breakfast plate, burritos, and some items that are more creative, like her southwestern version of Eggs Benedict. The sauce is homemade and I’ve been told by her guests that it’s delicious. I have yet to try it because I like the basic plate of two eggs, potatoes, and toast. As someone who ran a bed & breakfast/inn and dislikes making eggs, I can appreciate the perfect over easy eggs. Neither too runny nor too hard, it’s always made perfect for dipping my buttered toast in it. By the way, I love the bread – if not artisan, it tastes like it.
The ambiance is perfect for me – couches, tables and chairs inside, and a beautiful set up on the outdoor patio with a view of Utah’s red rocks. It has a Utah desert with a touch of country flavor to it. One of my favorite places to hide this past summer on Sunday mornings.
The outside of the Red Coyote displays the gorgeous artwork of Patti Lewis, a local mural artist. The mural depicts a scene id Utah desert and wildlife. Patti’s work can be seen on quite a few buildings inside and out around the Zion National Park area, as well as in Las Vegas. A sample of her portfolio and her husband, Jeff’s photography can be seen at www.lewisartservices.com.
What sold me on The Red Coyote was an experience I had this past summer. After camping at Coral Pink Sand Dunes, I took the back roads towards Colorado City, then headed to Zion National Park by way of Hurricane, Utah. Once I got to The Red Coyote, I planted myself on a cozy chair, turned on my computer, and got lost in the world of Facebook and email writing. After an hour or so I realized that the café filled up with people – singles, couples, and families. The chatter in the room reflected the clientele – international visitors heading to and from Zion National Park as well as a mix of locals who came for the Sunday afternoon music. That was inside the cafe. Outside there was a spectacular lightning display as a thunderstorm rolled through. Although the storm brought many of the weary and not-so-weary travelers into the café, I’m sure the ambiance, service, and music kept them there.
I was loving the experience – lost within a sea of people – something I often desire, especially when coffee shop cruising.
During the winter there is music on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons to keep the locals and off-season travelers entertained. The summer brings many tourists through the area, so the live music schedule extends into the week. With the later sunsets in the summer, it’s one of the best places in southern Utah to end the day after hiking in Zion National Park. I can’t wait to return next year!
It’s been about a year since I wrote on my coffee shop cruising blog. Yesterday I had a bug to go to my favorite in the area, take some photos, and write about it. Unfortunately it was closed yesterday, which pushed me to keep driving until I landed in Cedar City, Utah at The Grind Coffeehouse.
My drive there took just under three hours, which may seem a bit crazy for the normal person. I accept that I may not be normal, especially where coffee shop cruising comes in to play. I love it – being in them, people watching, spending time on Facebook, and sometimes talking to people. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of coffee, but I do enjoy holding a warm cup of coffee in my hand, smelling the aroma of it, and allowing my mind to wander to other places.
It’s a social thing for me whether I’m with people or not – a way for me to be where people are, without being with people. That is what I love about The Grind. I find it to be a great place to write in my journal, sit in the morning sun in or outside, and to watch people with friends and family enjoying their drinks.
Now that it’s fall the college students have returned and it seems to have a little beatnik flavor to it. This surprised me in Utah, but Cedar City is different. The community has an artsy flavor and reminds me of a very small Portland, Oregon – almost like a small neighborhood in Portland. It’s also similar to the downtown area of Fort Collins, Colorado. With the new and used bookstore next door to The Grind, it reminds me of Matter Bookstore and the Bean Cycle, where I spent a lot of time while in the Fort Collins area. Then of course, Portland and Fort Collins remind me of Madison, Wisconsin which is home for me. I guess that’s why I’ve driven hours to have a cuppa at The Grind – it has the ability to take me back home.
Yesterday I got a dose of home while in Cedar City. I enjoyed a spiced Chai Latte while I sat and watched people, remembering the coffee shops I’ve been to over the years. There was an elderly couple at the table next to me playing cribbage and sharing a salad. A few teenagers came in, got their smoothies and foo-foo whipped cream topped drinks and were talking about the day at school. There a few people with laptops busy on Facebook, one man on Skype, and a group of college students discussing the Make-A-Wish fundraiser they are working on for a class.
Usually “the grind” stirs up thoughts of work, anxiety, and stress. Yesterday The Grind put me at ease because it provided for me what I needed to settle my anxiety before heading home for the day. It calmed my restless soul enough that when I drove through the mountains and found snow, I took the time to pull over, touch it, and take some photos. A finely grounded day.
One day I see boys looking unhappy, as they were going home from school on a Saturday. When they walked by a lake, they saw bamboo raft and thought about borrowing it.
When a quarter past the lake, they decided to use it. They couldn’t resist and were suprised at the cheerful activities they had on it. The boys hurriedly opened their shirts, and carefully carried the bamboo raft.
One boy sat too close to the water and the bamboo raft began to swing. This surprised the other boys, and spontanaeity arose to jump into water to save himself.
They are filled with the sensation to jump into the water, and so they did this repeatedly…
They are very funny, and not thinking about the dangers and worry of the dirty water. They were only thinking about how to make today great and better than yesterday, knowing that tomorrow will be even greater than today.
Dody Ido D, photographer – www.didphotoworks.wordpress.com
Coffee shop cruising has become a way of life for me, so I’ve decided to share it with the world.
Through words and images I will bring my coffee shop visits here. Each one is unique and wonderful in its own way, whether it’s the coffee itself, food, ambiance, people, views, nearby attractions, or conversation. It’s all about the relationships of these things with each other and a recognition that it we’re all in this thing called life together.
I’m an observer who has has a passion and genuine love for people and the earth. Given a chance and with (or maybe without) permission, I will take some photos while visiting my jaunts to share visuals with you.
After writing that, a man came to mind – Ward Torke. He owns Torke Coffee, a coffee roasting business in Wisconsin. When I was in fund raising, I had the pleasure and opportunity to meet with him a couple times. Much of the pleasure was listening to him talk. He speaks with gentle grace and exhibits a passion for buying and roasting coffee, and for people.
I raise my cup of coffee to Ward!