Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Women in the Kitchen

There are two Starbucks shops on the route from my kids' daycare to my office. Sure, once I get to the office, downtown, there are several other better local independent coffee choices, but on the long cold road, I need a quick and reliable jolt of Joe.

The first is in Multnomah Village. The village is a small alt.goth.granola shopping district in the hilly SW arts district of Portland. It is quaint and friendly. Low key. Pedestrian friendly, which means, no parking.

Really, there's like three parking spots. If none of the three are open as I pass by, I have to bypass that first stop, and jog on to the next shop.

The next one is, in fact, in Hillsdale, the slightly upper scale, more suburbany top-of-the-pass neighborhood. The coffee is the same, the crowd is slightly different. Parking is better, and it works well as a back-up coffee stop.

Problem is, it's packed with loafers. Students, writers, haus fraus and lay abouts.

It can get packed, and when it does, I'm hosed.

That is, until recently. A month or two back, I was confronted with a coffee crowd and a long line at the Hillsdale Starbucks. Time was tight, and I dejectedly turned tail to head into town without my first hot fix.

Then, suddenly, I spied something new. Or, at least new in my mind since I hadn't seen it before.

A small bakery, two doors down. Baker and Spice. Cutesy name, kinda turned me off, but I needed coffee. Surely they had some.

It was warm as I passed through the doors. Strong scents of cinnamon, yeast and cocoa filled my nose. Well-packed cases displayed absurdly perfect pastries packed tightly into trays. It all had that glowing sense of freshness; it was begging to be eaten.

I saw that there was coffee to be had, and the line was short. The available tables were taken. The crowd was mixed.

I looked at the coffee menu. It looked standard. Prices were the same as Starbucks.

Then, I saw the woman at the register, taking orders. Tall. Thinish, but not wafer-so. Customary compliment of Portlandy tattoos. No make up... Short finger nails... Boyish hair cut... Ahhhhhh. Gotcha.

Not an issue. Besides, I just wanted my coffee. But then, I looked up...

The kitchen was expansive, open, glimmering white, punctuated by industrial stainless steel. Populated by about two dozen very angry-looking lesbians. All busy. All working very hard making terribly yummy concoctions. All looking hell-bent for leather. Ticked off. Full of piss and vinegar.

OK, so I wouldn't necessarily expect a kitchen loaded with artisan lesbian bakers to look like the goddamn Keebler tree, but really, I was taken aback by the palpable anger.

Now, the coffee was nutty and delicious. The vanilla cupcake I ordered was divine, and I have now returned many times for their fine morning fare. The amazon-like register girl is always friendly. The coffee is always respectable.

The lesbians in the kitchen? Always Angry. Always.

Just part of the charm...

Next time you're in Hillsdale, stop at Baker and Spice and pick up a little snack. Don't fear the kitchen staff. You'll be glad you did!


  1. How many of these flour-clad pissed-off bull-dykes are now in your spank bank?

  2. Did I ever tell you about 'Lesibian Burrito' on Merchant Street in Downtown Honolulu?


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