I first heard about Lo-Fi Coffee during our time recording our new album. Between bouts of singing and strumming and frantically writing last minute lyrics, I needed to fuel up. Cold sandwiches and water can only go so far to energize, so as soon as we entered Studio Thunderdome, I was on the lookout for a good cup of black blood.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel guilty about going to Lo-Fi Coffee. You see, Bob Hoag, the recording engineer and producer on our record, "Dayglo Necros" (what a plug!) insisted we go to another coffee shop located right down the road. "Don't go anywhere else," he warned. "You order up a brew from anywhere but there, you are dead to me!" he screamed. Turns out, you tell me to not press the red button, I will make absolute sure I will press that red button.
Actually, it's because of their store hours. Nameless Coffee Shop (which I won't mention the name, 'cause I'm sure I'll review it later -- don't wanna jump the gun, ya know?) was either open for a tiny bit, inside a window of whatever-hours-they-felt-like-making-up-that-day, or just plain closed. Granted, the few times I was there, it was most delicious and positively quaint, featuring an outdoor patio and a wood paneled, Hobbit-like den where you could sit back and pretend that you didn't actually just spend five bucks on a latte.
It is what it is. When you can't supply the demand, you have to make your way to the next establishment. Which, conveniently, was right down the street.
Located near the studio near the other coffee place, we have ourselves Lo-Fi Coffee. It sits aside the Nile Theater, a venue where local and national acts play themselves into a stupor. Crowds go wild. People dance and party. So on and so forth.
Calabrese has only played there once, but in previous, highschool-era bands, I played here a lot. At any rate, I'm sure anyone could play here. If you aren't rockin' the upstairs "main stage," you can absolutely play down in the dark, musty basement. Which I have. A lot.
It's not bad, though. A great spot to hone your chops and to achieve that "intimate" feel. Believe me, nothing says "warm and cozy" like sweat dripping from the ceiling and into your mouth.
So yeah, we now have a coffee joint to accompany our live shows. And if that wasn't enough, the Lo-Fi doubles as a venue in itself. Set up in the corner, pluck that acoustic and get wired. Get a cappuccino. I think I'll get a cappuccino.
Of course, they have every liquid you'd expect in place that sells coffee -- you know how it goes. Now, food wise? I only ever saw food once, ranging from a small plate of vegan-friendly muffins and pre-packaged biscotti. I felt so alternative and hip.
Their Secret Weapon, though, is a bizarre science-lab looking device that brews a single cup of coffee in a mere couple of hours. Priced at ten bucks a pop, you're given a chance to experience...I don't know. I cup of coffee that took forever to drip. It's so absurd and unnecessary. I'm in love.
Honestly, really delicious. I don't expect much with cappuccinos, since they're either too salty or lacking the right "froth to espresso" ratio, but the Lo-Fi exceeded and prevailed. I received an abundant amount of creamy foam atop my drink. I'm addicted to this milky swirl. I would die for this globule of lather.
The only thing that sucks is that if you're paying with card, you sign on a converted iPad, with a big, bold TIP OPTION at the end of the transaction. Tip a buck, tip two bucks, hell, type in 39723 dollars and tip your heart out! Now, I could be paranoid, but I swear, the three times I was here, I could just feel the cashier's eyes as I ever so gently ignored this route. I even tried to look quick and hasty, as to give off the impression that I was in such a hurry that, whoops, I didn't even notice that I could tip!
I understand tipping. I really do. It's a topic of conversation I hate to go on about (someone in the serving business, past or present, will always make a stink) so it's best if I keep my mouth shut. I'm all for it, I get the concern, but at the same time....I REALLY like playing Devil's Advocate on this one. "What's the big deal with tipping? Why do I have to? If it's such a harsh world in the food industry, why don't the employers pay more? Why don't the employees just quit and get a higher paying job then?"
That stink people make? I love it.
That red button I was told not to push? GODDAMN I AM PUSHING IT.
I've tipped in this situation, purely out of an attempt to not look like a douche, but I can't always. After paying four bucks for a medium cup of hot liquid, I can't live with paying MORE on top of that, every single time I order. Some win, some lose. Sorry, barista who lost.
I'll get ya next time.
...and I think I'll end on that.