A Howl for The Red Coyote Cafe

Back porch view at Red Coyote Cafe in Virgin, Utah.

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.

 

Red Coyote Cafe in Virgin, Utah.

 

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.

 

Southwest mural by Patti Lewis

 

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!


Finely Ground at the Grind

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.


Cuppy’s Cuppa Holiday Cheer

Yeah….I already wrote about Cuppy’s awhile ago, but they had such an awesome holiday open house, I had to write a little more and share some photos.  After all, it was Joe and Krista that helped me to open up and receive the love northern Colorado had to offer me. 

I’ve done a lot of coffee shop cruising over the years, and I think this year was the first time I was invited to a holiday party at a coffee shop.  Beer, wine, and snacks for customers and friends – it sounded like so much fun.  As usual, hesitating to make a commitment to anything, I sent my RSVP as a maybe. 

The morning of the party, after I was asked to return to my job in January (woo-hoo!), so I knew I needed to go to the open house and reconnect with the people who were part of “Kristy finding Kristy” in northern Colorado.  Not only did I spend many mornings hanging out talking to Joe and Krista before work, but I spent a lot of time laughing with them, often at myself, and often about my Facebook and other social media blunders.  For me, it’s all about laughter at Cuppy’s, whether about me, Joe, Krista, Jim, or Krista’s postings on Facebook.  Just the thought of Cuppy’s makes me smile and often laugh out loud.

The party.  They had an impressive spread of snacks, platters, trays of food, chocolate, cookies, and cheesecake.  I joined my little social group and snacked away.  I spent over an hour eating, talking, and of course, laughing.  Although I didn’t know everyone, there were many faces I recognized, and not one without a smile.  What a great gift they’ve given all of us.

Holiday Cheers to Cuppy’s!


The Wild Boar Coffee Shop

Fort Collins, Colorado has no shortage of coffee shops, each unique in its own way.  The name itself makes this one a little unusual and what caught my eye.

What I discovered about The Wild Boar Coffee Shop was the feeling of home.  The building is a 1924 bungalow – and I have  a love for the Arts and Crafts style homes.  The lines, woodwork, and design flow to integrate with nature are all things I love.  The porch is enclosed and makes for a fun sitting area, along with all the little rooms.  Windows are in abundance, yet the lighting is just right – neither too bright nor too dark.  The furniture complements the bungalow with Stickley-style tables, leather couches, and even some of the lamps.  My two favorite places to sit are in the parlor on the leather chair with the ottoman and outside in one of the many patio tables. 

Their burritos are delicious, especially the potato and egg one smothered with green pork chili sauce.  The menu includes delicious soups with artisan breads, sandwiches, and some baked goods that look sinful.  The beverage selection includes coffee drinks, teas, sodas, wines, and microbrews.

During the summer it became a habit to stop by after my night biking, to enjoy a lemonade, check my email, and do some people watching.  They attract a wide variety of people, including a lot of students – both high school and college.  So many “kids” seemed to hang out there to meet and socialize over a mocha latte, Bhakti Chai, or other drinks that resemble dessert.  It was enjoyable to sit back and watch the gatherings between friends, families, and students.

I’ve been to the Wild Boar many times and have never been disappointed with the staff.  In fact, what initially kept me returning last fall was a young barista who worked what seemed to be every morning.  He was always friendly, quick, and seemed to remember what people liked to drink.  Often the night closing staff, much like bartenders at last call, would have to budge people out the door, but did it with much grace.  I’m not sure I would’ve had the patience that they did.

Across the side street from the Wild Boar is the CSU gardens.  During the spring, summer, and early fall, it was not unusual to see friends and families wander over there with their artisan drinks in hand, appreciating the glory of the gardens.  A beautiful thing to see on the weekends, and sometimes quite crowded. 

Wild Boar…it’s a beautiful place to sit and enjoy a cuppa!


Cuppy’s Cuppa Cheers….where everyone knows your name.

Cuppy’s is located in the Drake Professional Plaza on Drake, near College Avenue in Ft. Collins.  I started coming here in April, when I was working for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  Once I planted myself here, it was difficult for me to expand my Ft. Collins coffee shop cruising.

When I think of Cuppy’s, I think of Joe and Krista, the owner and manager.  I also think of music, Italian coffee (they serve Caffe’ D’arte), and social media.  Late spring I was being “pushed” to dive into Facebook, but I resisted.  Joe and Krista were both having fun with it, giving me updates on their pages, and telling me that I would enjoy it.  Kicking and screaming, I started in sometime around late June.  If you know me on Facebook, then you know that I dove in without asking how deep the water was, and just started swimming (thanks, Krista!).

The coffee here is from Italy.  Yum-yum!  I have to admit, I have a special love for Italy, having worked in and managed Italian restaurants, enjoyed Italian food and wine, music, and having taken a course in Italian.  Watching an espresso being made here reminds me of Nunzio Vincitorio, the baker at Vincitorio’s restaurant in Tempe, Arizona.  If you’ve ever been there and have met Nunzio and his brother, Mario, you would know why that’s a great memory to have. 

Although it was the Italian coffee that brought me back here the second or third time, it was the customer service and personal connections that Joe and Krista make, that kept me coming back.  Not only are they friendly, but I think Joe is the reason I met and made Jim a friend of mine (I didn’t give him a choice).  As it turns out, Jim is from Iowa and actually was in my small hometown in Wisconsin many years ago for a high school band concert.  Small world, big connections.

Cuppy’s Cuppa Cheers!  One of the best experiences I’ve had in Fort Collins.


Loodles Coffee, Books, & Art

My Saturday morning wanderabout has turned into an all day coffee shop cruising event.  After having lunch at Bruce’s Bar in Severance, Colorado, it was suggested to me that I find Loodles Coffee Shop in Windsor before heading back. 

Located on Main Street in Windsor, Loodles is in an attractive small strip mall near the medical center and Hospice.  The front entrance is off main street and showcases an attractive patio decorated with lights.  Even before walking in it has a tiki bar feel to it.  Upon entering the front door, you find that tiki bar coffee station in front of you. 

Once room has a study-library theme going for it, with a large flat screen TV on the wall.  I was please to find the room quiet without the TV on.  A couple women were reading some books from the shelves and a man was busy on his laptop.  It’s a pleasant, quiet room – a great place to sit on the couch and read a book.

In the main coffee shop is a double sided gas fireplace.  I planted myself on the secluded side – where there are only two chair available – one for me and one for my baggage.  Located above the fireplace is a very unique selection of children’s books.  Upon looking closer at the books, I found they were written by the coffee shop owner, Mark Ludy.

Ahh….a little investigation after another cuppa, and it all begins to make sense – coffee, book, and art.  Mark is an author and illustrator of children’s books.  Now that I have a clue, I’m checking out his artwork and find it very fun and whimsical.  You can find his work at www.markludy.com

What a wonderful way to end the day….at a coffee, book, and art shop created by a children’s book author and illustrator on Halloween.  I feel like a kid today.

 

 


Johnstown Java Jams or…Jesus’ Juke Joint?

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Last night I decided that I would start my Saturday morning with a back roads drive, a cup of coffee, my camera, and eventually a small town coffee shop. 

It was one of the few nights I slept past 3 am, and woke up shortly after 5.  I took my time getting ready, but was out the door within an hour.  My first destination was to be a quaint little coffee shop off Taft and Highway 402 in Loveland, but I was unable to find it.  What I did “wanderabout” upon was Schmidt’s Bakery where I found coffee and an apple pastry.  I believe that I was divinely guided to start my day there. 

The sun would be my next destination, so I headed east, finding a road that must’ve been muddy yesterday with the melting snow, which was now frozen.  This took me on a slight incline where I found myself between two fields – one on the east where the sun was just beginning to rise, the other as the foreground to a view of the Rocky Mountains.  Morning heaven.  Coffee, apple pastry, Nickelback in the background, and the sunrise.  Yes, I’m living heaven on earth this morning.

After taking a few moments to enjoy the break of dawn, I hopped back in The Bluebird (my car), and headed toward Johnstown.  I was able to find an eclectic little coffee shop right away – Johnstown Java Jams.  The sandwich board outside caught my eye, so I turned my car around, parked, and headed in for a cuppa.  A non-profit coffee shop that features live music on the weekends.

Dana, the “coffee shop curator” greeted me and gave me a brief overview, but Larry and Bob, a couple of locals, filled me with information about the coffee house.  They referred to it as 3 J’s, and pointed out that it could also be known as Jesus’ Juke Joint and told me about Mississippi Blues roots in that nickname.  Music, coffee, and community seem to be what flows freely and easily here.

This is a non-profit business that benefits everyone, not just the youth in the area.  A retired group meets here on Friday mornings, a young woman who’s working on her undergrad in international business sets up her laptop every Saturday morning, and there’s a group of about eight locals who have gathered around the coffee bar area.  Discussions range from family reunions to economics to the coffee itself.  What’s so wonderful about the conversations I hear is the lack of pity party about the economy and more about how people are looking at making changes to overcome hardships. 

What a beautiful, friendly place to sit and enjoy a cuppa for a few hours, just outside the Land of Love.  I must say, the people here and around the Loveland area are some of the most friendliest I’ve met in Colorado. 

www.3jscoffeehouse.org – Johnstown’s Java Jams!