After the Hot 8 Brass Band performance was over, I wanted coffee and beignets, and since I heard that Morning Call had opened a new location of their coffee stand in New Orleans’ City Park, I decided to drive out to it instead of paying to park in the Quarter for the Cafe du Monde. The distance from far Uptown New Orleans to the French Quarter seems significant (and actually is, due to the bends in the Mississippi River), but at the lake end, New Orleans is not all that big a city, and one of its peculiarities is that following Carrollton Avenue north from Uptown leads to an intersection with Esplanade (yes, the one from the Quarter) at the entrance to City Park. The park itself is monstrous, large and dark, seemingly bigger than Memphis’ Overton Park, or New York’s Central Park, full of winding roads, lagoons and forests, but the one building lit up with a couple of cars nearby proved to be the Casino (likely an old dance hall rather than a place to gamble) and in this building Morning Call has decided to operate. WWOZ radio was playing when I entered, and a couple of employees were sitting down waiting for customers. A 24-hour location in City Park actually seems a little strange, but the coffee and beignets are exceptionally good, slightly cheaper than the Cafe du Monde, and I was heartened to see a trickle of other customers come in while I was there.
The Primos name is an old one in Jackson, Mississippi, with a long tradition of great food, and in its newest incarnation, Primos Cafe, it is the best place in Jackson to have breakfast. Yes, it has its oddities, such as waiting in line to order and pay fast-food style, and self-service coffee and drinks, but the food is great and comes out quickly, and having numerous coffee choices is refreshing. There are traditional breakfasts, omelettes and pancakes, and breakfast is now served all day on weekends. Primos is open for breakfast and lunch at their two locations in Ridgeland and Flowood, and they also sell their unique T-shirts with slogans such as “True Grits” and “Biscuits are like bagels, except they’re warm, soft and taste good.” It’s a mandatory experience when in Jackson.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Austin, Texas is coffee-crazy. The city has a bewildering array of coffee houses in almost every neighborhood, and the only real difficulty is in deciding which one you want to try. Well, suppose that you could, by enjoying good coffee, help struggling people in a developing country? The fact is, you can, if you get your coffee from Dominican Joe at the corner of South Congress and Riverside. Unlike most coffee bars, Dominican Joe is affiliated with an Austin-based non-profit called Makarios, which provides education, vitamins, hot meals and clean drinking water for the impoverished children of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. When you buy a cup of coffee, or pounds of coffee to take home, you help to change the lives of children (and their parents). So you can enjoy your coffee, and feel good about what you’re doing for others at the same time. That’s a win-win in my book.
Around the corner from Burgerworx in downtown Asheville is a cafe on Battery Park called the World Coffee Cafe. As the name suggests, it is a great place to get espresso-based drinks, but it also offers exquisite desserts, including cakes and cheesecakes. Judging from what I saw under the glass, there’s an amazing array of different desserts to choose from, and in addition to the cafe’s seating area, the World Coffee Cafe also runs a Sky Bar at the top of the Flatiron Building, where you can enjoy your coffee and sweets along with a delicious view from high above Asheville. Visit them at http://www.worldcoffeecafe.com/.
If you’ve had lunch at the nearby M. L. Rose Burgers on Charlotte Avenue, and now you want a jolt of caffeine before getting back on I-40 (or heading back to work), Headquarters Coffee is the spot, just a couple of blocks west down Charlotte Avenue amongst the thrift stores and flea markets. West Nashville used to have a fairly dangerous reputation, and the area still has some rough edges (the Headquarters closes at 7 PM as a precaution). But the Headqaurters offers a small, cheerful place to enjoy a latte after lunch or on a break from browsing the second-hand shops nearby. The best way to show them you like them is to pay them a visit in person, but you can also visit them at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Headquarters/495917113756637 and hit the “like” button.