So it's true
One of the most common questions me and my sister Laura had when we were watching Friends was: are the coffee houses really like that in the US? Do they have big cups and couches where to sit? Then, we asked ourselves this questions when we saw One tree hill’s coffee house with shelves full of books: do people don’t steal the books?
It was kind of our perfect world to find a place like that in Buenos Aires, where, despite the artistic era she had, no coffee house was like the ones in the US sitcoms. Actually, the whole coffee house culture is not even developed. One upon a time, in the 50’s, Buenos Aires has her own bohemia, her own coffee meetings with famous writers that gathered to talk and discuss matters of the present. That is no longer existing. May be in the underground world, but not very common. There aren’t such things as coffees to go, people sit and chat or read the newspaper when they drink a coffee. Well, lately shops have been buying cups to go, but you rarely see someone with a coffee and walking down the avenues. There’s no such thing as taking your laptop to the coffee house, someone will be waiting outside of any place to take it away from you, besides, not a lot of people own laptops. We do get together to study and talk and enjoy friendship, but coffee houses in the US have a special magic and I was extremely happy to realize that TV didn’t lie for once.
The first one I discover was Insomnia, in the Beverly Blvd, in West Hollywood. As a matter of fact, me and my first American Hispanic friend went to another one next door, which was charming and colorfull …, I had a white chocolate mocha, which was something completely new to me (and I’ll expand myself later with coffee flavors), and a tiramisu cake. Amazing! But this place closed early so walking down the street we found Insomnia. This is what I’m talking about! I said to my friend. Wooden walls, old velvet sofas, shelves and books, it seemed like an old French library! How can I not love it?
The second coffee house I discovered with the same friend was Lost Souls in Downtown, we went to an art gallery and again, walking the streets we found a secret path the lead us to Lost Souls. Hidden, kinda dark, I discovered so other fun stuff: art hanging and board games. My friend ordered a Chai Tea, I had no idea what that was, but I fell in love with it. Later, Lost Souls would be the place were The Groove took place, and I was gonna be a part of it.
Coffee houses fill me with innocence. Sicco bubble in Los Feliz, where the Australian guy listens to Manu Chao, Karma Café in Selma and Cahuenga where a guy plays the piano on Monday nights, and they have comedy nights and many other things. The bourgeois pig on Franklin block next to the Daily Planet where my former roommate Ash works. I can’t get tired to visiting this amazing places where people go to do something alone, but surrounded by people. Isn’t that socializing any way?
Going back to the whole coffee flavors experience, I can’t not mention Starbucks. I’m not sure if they were the pioneers or the ice lattes and the cinnamon dolce latte –which I love-, but the first experience in the states with all this coffee culture amazed me. My mom offered me iced coffee many times at home and I always rejected it, but once you try a Starbucks, how can you?
Argentina doesn’t have ice coffee culture either. Will we ever? Starbucks will arrive by 2008, but will Argentineans embrace this passion?
Coffee houses. What does it mean to me? A place to read, a place to write, a place to meet, but for ever more, a place to dream.