Part of my commitment is to support businesses who aren't part of Sprawl cancer.
One Happy Big-Box Wasteland
Oh my yes, there is indeed one force that is eating away the American soul like a cancer
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Do you want to feel like you might as well be in Tucson or Boise or Modesto or Wichita or Muncie and it no longer freakin' matters, because we as a nation have lost all sense of community and place? Why, just pull over, baby. Take the next exit. Right here, this very one.
Ah, there it is, yet another massive big-box mega-strip mall, a giant beacon of glorious community decay, a wilted exclamation point of consumerism gone wild. This is America. You have arrived. You are home. Eat it and smile.
On our trip, we got south of San Jose minutes before the Friday afternoon get-out-of-town weekend commute. Xena mentioned we hadn't brought enough coffee, so I hopped off the freeway at the top end of Gilroy.
"This smells good," said Caitlan. "Is that garlic?"
"Yep, this is the Garlic Capital of the World. We'll come back for the Garlic Festival and eat garlic ice cream this year. Okay, everybody keep your eyes out for a coffee shop."
We drove down the darling streets filled with small shops and pedestrians. A toasty August Friday afternoon and all the people already out, visiting with each other, getting set for the weekend--
"I like it here. It's like Alameda, but better," said my son. "Why are we driving through?"
"We're looking for a coffee shop."
"Oh! There's one you just passed!"
"On this side of the street? Ok, I'll circle back around." (sotto voce) I thought I asked everyone to be looking for a coffee shop...
We parked easily and went in to Sue's Coffee Roasting Company. The place was so friendly feeling I immediately sent one of the kids back out to the van to get Xena. I knew she'd enjoy the coffee paintings on the walls. Maybe I can get Caitlan to blog about those.
This is Don, and the bucket of beans he brought out.
"Good afternoon, what can I help you with?"
"I'd like a half pound of coffee." I still hadn't entirely caught on to what a gem my boy had discovered.
"Do you like your coffee rich? Or mild...?"
"I like it pretty full-bodied. Oh, I see you've got Colombian. Tell you what, let's make it easy and I'll just have that."
Don said, "I'll bring out the beans, and you can look at them and decide." He brought up a couple of buckets of fresh-roasted beans. The smell was overwhelmingly transporting. I started to bliss out.
"These are our Colombians. What you buy in the supermarket is from the Robusta bean, and it's not as good. Ours is the Arabica bean. See the darkness of the roast, how the oils are still in the beans? That's because we roast them perfectly ourselves."
"You roast your own beans?"
Both Don and his co-worker pointed to the roaster that I walked past when I entered. I gave myself minus 2 observation points. I sampled a bean. "Mm, that's really good. Okay, I need to buy a pound of that, not a half pound."
We also bought Xena a candybar coffee named something like 'Vesuvius,' I don't really recall. She liked it very much. The poor woman's work week left her with so many stress chemicals in her bloodstream that the coffee relaxed her to sleep a few miles later!
We drove on through town, and discovered we were bypassing a traffic jam on the freeway. I stayed on surface streets until I reached the end of Gilroy, and only had to drive 5 minutes or so in the tail end of traffic before the road opened up. More evidence that we were traveling in harmony with the Cosmos!
This morning I'm sitting here, typing away and sipping another fine cup of Sue's Colombian. Thanks Don, for helping me slow down and transition into my weekend.