Various members of my family have been going through various degrees of sick lately, meaning that a full night's sleep has been somewhat elusive. One morning, about a week ago, a few hours after my daughters middle of the night feeding, and a few of those miserable, near waking minutes prior to my alarm clock Wah Wah Wah'ing! me into full consciousness, I was having one of those false awakening... those pseudo-lucid moments, where you're convinced that you've already gotten up, showered, fixed your oatmeal, and made it out the door. Except in this one, I could see with perfect, vivid clarity, an image of myself sitting at the Dazbog on Speer, (a place that I hadn't been to in a couple of months) sipping a perfect double shot from a porcelain demitasse (the only way to drink straight espresso, no matter what kind of hurry you're in. Even in my dreams I'm a stickler for such things)
Well, I'm psychic. Within an hour, I was doing precisely that. Mad props go to the girl at the register - a verifiable Coffeecrush, with her blonde bob and cat-eye glasses, she reminds me of Lisa Loeb on that show, but actually cute and goofy and independent, not just a self absorbed twit - for remembering that I used to order a coffee w/ a shot (redeye, shot-in-the-dark, "Keith Richards", etc.) But that day, I needed it straight, like a liquid defibulator. And special mention goes to the sweet faced barista, for pulling just the shot I had dreamed about.
Ever since then, any time I've got a couple extra minutes in the morning, I've gone out of my way to get 2, or 4, or sometimes, if it's a dire emergency, 6 ounces of pure awakening. "Little cups of black coffee, strong as heroin" as Douglas Copeland said in Generation X.
For Valentine's day, Mrs. X bought me a coffee card for "Perk and Pub". I was generally unimpressed with their original location near Washington Park, a little hole in the wall only slightly bigger than the Laundromat next door. But I've since discovered the Uptown P and P, which used to be Sweet Rockin' Coffee, one of those open mike places that scared away the paying customers. The space is comfortable, but it'll be nice when time takes it's toll and gives the place a more lived in feel. They have a nice long bar at the front, ideal for small talk w/ the baristas and a few quick sips to start the day.
The owner (?) manager (?) was nice enough, since I like a few raw sugars in my espresso, to make it up Cuban-style for me, brewing the grounds and sugar together, in the porta-filter. This is the first time I've had it that way, as I've always heard an urban legend that the sugar can possibly gum up the machine. The "Uptown" is currently only open until 2 pm, but there are signs stating that the location will soon be offering beer and wine and they'll have entertainment at night. I've recently acquired a taste for the vino, so I think this'll make a nice "grown up" date kind of place for me and the Mrs.
So there I was, in my review of Leela, pissing and moaning about the lack of 24 hour joints in our fair city, only to come across an article in the Capitol Hill paper about Aviano Coffee, located on Lincoln, in one of those upscale prefabs that look like a cross between an exceptionally large home in Highland's Ranch and something out of Tim Burton's Batman.
Aviano boasts that it will be open 'round the clock, Friday thru Sunday (to be fair, the only time in Denver you really need to be open 24 hours) Much ado is made of Aviano's dedication to the art of coffee and barista culture. Waiting for my espresso, I read a sign about the "head barista" a guy who apparently has placed 7th in a national barista competition. Pangs of jealousy set in as I read on; I've heard the reverent stories of professional baristas in Italy, artisans in a respected profession. I always dreamed of that sort of respect when I was a coffee jockey. Alas, I'm doubtful that level of "groupiness" will ever exist on this side of the Atlantic, but they'll get it from me... my triple espresso, no more than three ounces (as it should be) was EXCEPTIONAL. Easily on par with any I've gotten from Kaladi Bros. (My usual vote for best trained baristas) And that's saying something, seeing as they use the bulk roasted (though still good quality) beans from Allegro. Not only that, they use a completely manual machine, like their Italian forefathers. My only complaint is with the atmosphere. Considering the shop's proximity to Broadway, the late weekend nights will bring in the posers and frat boys from The Church / Vinyl / Funky Buddha (I feel less hip for even typing that last one), and the stock Italian prints are something of a buzz kill. Some minor touches and some appropriate acid jazz / trip hop selections should help to bring some true cool into the lives of Regas Christou's minions.
So there it is, folks, 3 more reasons to not go to Starbucks. Get out and keep these guys in business!
About the Author
6 years ago