Thursday, July 8, 2010

Traffic Aversion

By five o’clock on a Tuesday, I'm ready to jump in their cars and zip directly home. Zipping down Freedom Parkway to 85 North at 5:00 p.m., however, is a feat akin to attaining warp speed or ordering a perfectly boneless catfish fillet. So, as I traveled with the speed and agility of a garden slug, I scanned the radio this particular Tuesday in search of some relaxing snippet off the indie scene. I then remembered no indie artist worth her salt will appear on a regular line-up of radio stations; the next hour-plus looks pretty bleak.

Happily, Freedom Parkway is not that far from N Highland Avenue and its veritable cornucopia of local flavor and corresponding indie tunes. En route to my favorite haunt, I noticed a familiar yellow stone wall somewhere between Broad and Ponce, outlined in painted grapevine. Typically, I scoot right past this, acknowledging it as a visual Poncey-Highland checkpoint--much like the wild-eyed, futuristic man painted on the video store across the street--without taking a closer look. Turns out the spunky purple grapes encircle a name: JavaVino. Coffee and Wine. Is there a better way to kill traffic time?

Entering the glass doors, I met the buzzing whir of an espresso machine set against the sweetly bright tones of Katie Herzig, limited seating, and a glass case of non-corporate baked goods. A glance at the menu confirmed my stay, as it boasted a choice among homemade hummus with fresh veggies, a wedge of brie accompanied by crackers and cabernet, espresso options and oatmeal-raisin cookies. What to choose? As a first timer, I ordered the basics: something menu-marginalized like a vegan hummus wrap and a skim cappuccino. I figure, if they can't make vegetables stand alone in a wrap or make a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 capp, then the fancier offerings feel fake to me. It's as though they're making up for a dodgy base model with bells and whistles in a luxury edition; they're not maintaining the reputation they claim. My order didn't disappoint.

Locals parked their bikes outside, walked their dogs to the patio, or typed jauntily on laptops. Sitting at the window-side bar, I felt that rush of peace found only in the steady hum of afternoon coffee shop busyness. By six thirty, I knew I found yet another excellent spot to wile away the rush hour stress. Definitely worth a repeat. Cabernet and brie next time! Or a cookie and tea...

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