La Dolce Vita

Think about the last time you wandered, I mean, aimlessly. I try to make it a weekly occurrence, particularly when I’m in a new place. It familiarizes me with where I am and gives me a ton of exposure for possible Craigslist “Missed Connections.” You don’t need an excuse to wander, but if you’re doing some hardcore tramping, you may need a prop of some sort. If you’re a huge douchebag, walk around with a bunch of sports gear on. If you’re all business, pretend you’re texting and look at the world through your iPhone. Me? I like having a camera, it gives you a free pass to take as much time as you want and to stare as much as you want. Is he from the paper? Is that the Sartorialist? Having a camera around your neck is like having a VIP pass to life, and my camera got me backstage here in the North End yesterday afternoon.

After locking my keys in the office, I thought I’d piddle around while the hordes of commuters got out of dodge. I made a good decision. I headed up Salem St. and stopped into Policari’s Coffee to grab a half pound o’ beans. This place was opened by a first generation Italian woman and is the type of store that can only exist in a place like the North End. That’s right, if you want to buy coffee, you go to the coffee store; for meat go next door to the butcher’s; and there are stores specifically for pasta, produce, booze and cigarettes, too. Move over Whole Foods, we got us a neighborhood.

I told them who I was, what I do and if I could take some pictures. We talked coffee for a bit as I tried my hardest not to play the “HAV U EVAR HAD STUMPTOWN??/? I WUZ A BARISTA IZ UR BEANS EQL XCHNG??/?” card. I told them that my morning routine usually involves a few hundred calories plus seriously menial tasks and that I need some kick to avoid pulling a Costanza and converting my desk into a bed by 10 a.m. They offered up the Copenhagen blend- a lighter roast, and I obliged.

“Matt, dudebro ur coffee guys r idiotz. They thnk that lite roasts are dankr than dark?”

Yeah, and they’re right. Its simple, though I guess somewhat counterintuitive- the more you roast, the more caffeine you lose. That’s why they serve French Roast at dessert. Compared to a light roast, there is actually a considerable difference in caffeine content. If they gave you the real dank after dinner you’d stay up all night tossing and turning, that is unless you have a SleepNumber Bed.

I brewed my Copenhagen this morning and yowza, it’s amazing. Dark roasts taste more chocolatey, more bitter, because it concentrates the acid in the coffee. This is sweet, dare I say fruity and it doesn’t seem to taint my breath as much as darker br00s. But as anyone I’ve dated can attest to, I’ve never been a good judge of my own breath.


In addition to coffee and tea, they’ve got canned goods, dried fruits and nuts, a selection of stovetop espresso makers and a ton of bulk beans and spices. If I lived anywhere near there I would not have a pantry, just Policari’s. Ahh, the wonders of a local economy.

Breakfast recipe coming up, I promise. I got some pepperjack back at the house and some bell peppers to use. I’m going to try my hand at baking eggs again and see if I can’t rustle up some noms.

Bob Dylan – One More Cup of Coffee

Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs – Sugar Shack


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