Swanky swank


Taken from a series of wonder paintings, @ www.newenglandpainter.com

Ahhh, New England Summers

New England is a mythical land of white clapboard houses, lazy streams and windblown beaches. It always smells like leaves dying in crisp fall air, except when it smells like salt breeze, or like homemade pumpkin or apple pie.

New England is synonymous with prep schools, L.L. Bean, and foliage. But there’s something else you should know about New England. Any true New Englander would walk across a mine field in the morning to get sweet, sweet Dunkin Donuts coffee. That orange and pink color scheme is as familiar to New Englanders as the sound of Adhan is to Muslims.

As such, I have to say the coffee in Virginia is mostly swill. Pete’s, Starbucks, even Caribou, can all go jump in the Potomac. If you need a caffeine rush, they’ll do, but appropriately considered, they’re all the liquid equivalent of defibrillator paddles. Chances are your unlucky enough to work in an office that stocks one of these wretched brands, or even worse.

What’s a poor drone to do? Gaze longingly across cube-land? Drive up to Lee Highway every morning? Sneak Dunks into the break room like Clint Eastwood sneaking Nazi gold out of Europe? There is always the ridiculous option of having coffee delivered. Dunks treats you right! But do you want to be ‘that guy‘?

Coffee Is Art

Instead, hark to this knowledge. Hark. Two words: French Press. Stop you’re francophobic cursing. It’s a simple little device that makes delicious coffee just for you, the way you like it. Strong or weak, with the blend or roast you want.

The apparent complexity can be daunting, to some mental weaklings. You have to … PUT the coffee in, THEN hot water? THEN push down on the … what is that? A plunger? I don’t know if I can work that, because I’m an idiot.

It’s not hard. Even the French do it, without surrendering. You can buy a press is a wild array of styles, colors, and prices. Thom and I both favor the simple glass and black combo, classy, subtle, refined. Like our coffee.

There’s just something dapper about using a press. When you have one of these in the office, it speaks loudly to your individuality. It says that we may be stuck in cubicles, far from the sunlight, in front of  an indistinguishable computer. But coffee is one of the finer things in life, and we believe in ourselves enough to do it right. A french press says that we know what’s good in life. That whatever our station or stature in the office, outside these four beige walls, away from these non-dairy creamers, we believe the finer things should be savored, that life should be lived!

We’re the best! Around! And nothing’s gonna keep us down! Ahem… sorry, too much caffeine.

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Not that I know what high society tastes like. I actually have no idea. In my wheelhouse of operation on a scale from Cleveland to High Society you can usually clock me at about a Rocket Bar; which coincidentally is where 3/4 of Bonus! was last night. What I’m talking about is the Army and Navy Club in the Farragut West neighborhood. Never heard of it? Yeah me neither, until Wednesday. A relative of mine was staying there and gave me a brief tour of the place which quickly made it known to me there is another side of DC unbeknownst to me called “classy”. Yes, they have staff readily available to open doors for you. Yes, there is a dress code. Don’t think about showing up to the restaurant without a coat and tie. Yes, it is decked to the nines in history and art.

What was really interesting was the library. Tucked away on the second floor is an exhaustive collection of all things American war history. Anything ever written about the military, about war, about Colin Powell can be found here. I spent a good half an hour flipping through the original copy of the US Army’s complete documentation of WWII (yeah know, the one that has “top secret” written on every page and has every detail of every US engagement for every month of the war, down to the very last POW?) Pretty cool stuff. One disappointment was General Sherman’s personal memoirs were not as fiery as I had hoped they’d be. Baaa-zingggggg!!!!!!

I bring this up not because I’d like to find myself in high society, but for you to share with friends and family in the military who plan on visiting DC and are looking for a place to stay. And then once they get there immediately ask them to invite you over for a tour. Be as self-serving as possible. My brother-in-law is in the Marines, and you bet I plan on telling him to book a room at the Army Navy Club next time he’s in town.