I think my blogging spirit died a little with Bella’s Garage.

Bella's Garage

R.I.P. Bella's Garage. You were...a garage.

Sure, I took a hiatus while my wife/partner/sidekick and I merged into a new apartment and while I gallivanted around the globe (Jakarta, Venezuela, Palm Springs, etc.). Sure, I had a busy holiday season with the fam(s), and I have new iDevices to erode my self-dependence. Clearly I’ve still been tweeting, snapping, gigging. As for blogging? No excuses. If good, consistent, blogging were easy, I’d be charging ad revenue on this damned thing by now.

Outside of pure laziness, the hiatus has gone on longer than expected largely due to my 7am-8am blogeriffic self being sadly displaced due to the recent departure of Bella’s Garage coffeehouse on Terwilliger. Being a stones throw away from work, the place couldn’t have been a more convenient hangout for my morning commute. They also only charged $1 for 8-16oz morning coffee, which I dare someone to beat. I’m still not sure what exactly happened to Bella’s for it to so abruptly shut down, so I’m going to blame the Los Angeles Lakers because I already despise them and lumping this in just makes things more efficient.
Latte Da on Urbanspoon

Interior of Latte Da

Dude, your living room has a lot of chairs. And a lot of tables. And a cash register.

Latte Da has somehow crept up behind me and set itself down, like, two blocks from my apartment. Seriously, I have no idea how I missed it since, for a coffee shop, it’s absolutely ginormous. While Latte Da is on the wrong end of my commute to be a morning hangout destination, it’s  a quaint, community-oriented coffee destination that brings back the home-y vibe that the dearly departed Marcell’s had once epitomized. Friendly folks, good coffee selection, and quiche!

The problem? It feels too much like home. Perhaps this is because it’s a house that happens to sell coffee. It reminds me of a hotel in Fiji where I could retract the bathroom walls, and thus create a giant bathroom with a bed in it (which was awesome, by the way). The interior of Latte Da feels like a house except you can buy espresso in the living room. This would be great if it were my house, but with them being only two blocks from me, I just end up wondering why I’m not using the espresso machine sitting in my living room.

Oh yeah, they also have sandwiches and wine. Bravo, if you’re into that kind of thing.

In short: Do I like Latte Da Coffeehouse and Wine Bar? Yes. Will I go there a lot? No, but once a week on Saturday morning is a possibility. Is it for a petty reason that has little to do with the quality of their products or establishment? Yes. Do they solve my morning commute hangout issue? No. Do I recommend? Yes, particularly if you like drinking coffee in someone else’s living room.

Coming Soon: Why the bland, pricey, uninventive, Los Angeles Lakers, trashcan-lacking JoLa Coffee is not my new morning hangout. Wait, I kinda just explained it. Never mind.

Que Bella!

April 20, 2011

Bella's Garage Coffeehouse on Urbanspoon
Like a typical middle-class American, I measure my life in pop songs, presidential administrations, and places…to get coffee. You say junior high, I say Barnes & Noble. You say high school, I say Bertolino’s. College? Jazz & Java. Grad school, Cosmos Coffee (R.I.P), and then Grounds for Thought. My first teaching job…I can’t remember but it was a nice place to play a gig.

A picture of Bella, a bird.

This would be Bella, the owner of this coffee establishment.

Downtown(-ish) Vancouver’s got plenty of options, and I never really picked a regular. Actually, it probably would have been Marcell’s had it not caught fire. So, now that I’m regularly commuting to Lewis & Clark College, what’s it going to be?

Bella’s Garage, sitting pretty on Terwilliger Blvd., is what any college neighborhood coffee shop should and could be. At the moment I’m hard pressed to figure out what they don’t offer. They’re serving up a full coffee menu, wi-fi, local pastries (yay for the apple empanada), local tea, and even a greeting card section. They’ve also got generous and varied seating options (even a kids section!) without being stingy with power outlets.

If you drop in between 6am and 9am you get any size drip coffee for a buck. Sure, my knee-jerk reaction is to be suspicious of deep discounts, but $1 coffee is much different than a dollar cheeseburger. Anyways, I can go here five times a week for morning coffee and spend less than I did stopping in most other places twice a week.

cup of coffee in Bella's Garage. Chairs too.

If you look closely at the cup, you can tell I am only slightly capable of feeding myself.

The icing on the cake? The wireless service is dodgy, and by “is dodgy” I mean “has yet to actually work in my three visits.” While this may be a red flag to most folks, to me, it means I might actually get something productive done.

Bella’s Garage: a place where the prices are low, comfort level is high, and the wifi is fubar. I think I’ve found a new home.

***4/23 Update***

I think it’s only fair of me to point out that the wireless has worked for the last two days I’ve been there. I’m not changing my marketing slogan, though. That’s poetic gold.