Monday, February 10, 2014

In a Desert

Post by Kristi

One of my favorite websites is  Today I used it to look up 'desert' and found that the #5 definition perfectly fit what we have been thinking of the portion of the Midwest prairie that we now occupy:  'any place lacking in something'.

Followers of this blog know that Al and I love coffee, and visiting coffee shops!  And now, we realize we must finally acknowledge that we have become coffee snobs.

I was born here on the prairie.  I can remember my grandfather spooning coffee into my mouth when I was about 5 years old, sitting on his lap.  I learned to drink 'real coffee' while at college and studying for finals, drinking from a huge urn that had been on for hours.

But since 1986, I have been living in the Pacific Northwest, home of Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Peet's, Stumptown, and so many other quality coffee purveyors. There are many jokes about the 'saturation' of coffee shops in the Northwest.

When I came 'home' for a visit in 2006, I searched high and low for a 'coffee cart' on the square in Windom. If you don't know what 'dearth' means, look it up at   I was expecting some improvement in the situation over the past nearly 8 years.  But playing with Google maps, I have discovered that the nearest Starbucks locations are 80 miles away, in opposite directions!

A week ago, we were in Windom to get our Minnesota driver licenses and register to vote.  My sister-in-law said we should try the River City Eatery.  We sat down and opened the menu, when -- music to our ears! -- we heard milk being steamed at an espresso machine!  Our food was excellent (soup and sandwich for Al, lasagna for me), but we were quite disappointed with the coffee.  Served in a paper cup even though we were eating in, we couldn't decide if the taste was of paper, or staleness of coffee or milk.

Again turning to Google maps, I went to Storden MN and clicked on Search Nearby and put in 'espresso'.  It brought up 5 locations:  the River City Eatery (the closest at 18 miles away, and had already disappointed us), 2 in Iowa, a closed Starbucks location in Fairmont MN, and the Left Bank Cafe in Slayton MN, 28.2 miles away.

We have lots of plans for 'when we have better weather'.  We will have to get Mom and Dad out the door early one day and have breakfast in Slayton.

We'll let you know whether we were impressed or not.

OH!  The title of this post is 'In a Desert'.  You've probably guessed by now that the 'something' lacking in this place is 'espresso' or decent coffee shops.  When a disappointing one is 18 miles away, 2 more are out of state, one that MAY have promise is 28.2 miles away, and one is closed -- I think you can say the area is 'lacking'.  Compare to Friday Harbor WA (pop. 2162 in the 2010 census), where we most recently hailed from:  Al and I counted up all the places we could WALK to for espresso.  TWELVE!!!

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