September 5, 2011
It’s a shame I haven’t really written about Mon Ami, the West ‘Couve community caffeination epicenter. I don’t mean to slight the other phenomenal coffee shops in Vancouver, since, as I’ve said before, there are plenty. In every good community, however, there’s the community coffee shop that’s the default choice when you talk about going to chat and grab a coffee.
Mon Ami is a community coffee shop, meaning they’ve got a lot of local–and loyal–regulars. They’re a Stumptown coffee institution, which is cool if you’re into that kind of thing. Even if you aren’t (*ahem*), they’ve come up with some great coffee concoctions, such as the “Cuppa Cho” latte special, so they aren’t just sitting back on their haunches. The floor plan leaves a bit to be desired, with about half of the seating stretching into a narrow corridor between the counter/kitchen and wall. Fortunately that works well in catering to the drop-in-and-chat-with-a-friend crowd. This also serves the I-love-my-laptop clientele with wifi and lots of wall outlets, because who wants to lean under their table to plug things in?
There are a few other shortcomings as well, most of which are really pluses with a slight drawback. Their crepes are excellent, but they’re also their only non-pastry food offering. From a craperie perspective, that’s great. From a coffee shop perspective, it can leave you wanting. This can be limiting to those craving a simple and cheap eats from their local cafe. In addition, with typically two folks working behind the counter at a time, orders can run into a bit of bottleneck, particularly when one of the folks is making crepes. If you want a crepe in a hurry (and who does?), you may be out of luck
The thing is, beyond the tasty crepes and reliably good coffee, Mon Ami is just simply a great place to hang out, and it’s a community location. If you live in the West ‘Couve, you’ve likely already been there, and know the name of most of the baristas. So to you folks, keep going there. If you’re from PDX and you haven’t been there, it’s a definitive answer to the question “why the hell would you want to live in Vancouver?”
Because Mon Ami is there.