Last night, on my way to do a bit of reading with Ryan at Sweetwater's Cafe on Washington St., I walked past Frita Batidos, a new Cuban-inspired restaurant opened by Eve Aronoff, who owns eve the restaurant. From the outside, you see big park benches on the inside (I should have taken this as my first clue), which are painted entirely white, to go along with the white walls. (In retrospect, it made the place seem super sterile.) When you walk inside, you notice oddly that in the far corners of the restaurant sugarcane hugs the walls. There seemed like a lot of options to order from, which you do at a counter. (I should have taken this as my second clue) On the menu were listed Cuban-inspired burgers, fries, shakes and coffee. It was a cold night, I tell you, and the sound of a thimble-sized shot of espresso sounded really good. They said that it was brewed with "demerara sugar," which I thought was intriguing. (It turns out that demerara sugar is just brown sugar. Talk about exotic advertising.) So, I order the thimble-sized coffee (which was $1.06), and I realised I had no cash. Crap...I paid for it by card, and got a receipt (trash!). But this is just the beginning of the ordeal. I walk to the side, where there is a fancy looking Mirage coffee machine, which surprised me, because (not to be judgemental) it didn't seem like anyone there was...into coffee. When I looked at the top of the machine, where baristas generally keep the mugs and espresso cups to warm, I notice only plastic and paper cups. OMG. (Here is a picture of the thimble. The mouth of it is a little bigger than a quarter. It seems that two thimbles would make one nice sized shot of espresso.)
Me: Are there any glass cups you can serve me in?
Girl: No, we just have these plastic thimbles.
Me: I just don't want to throw anything away. That's all.
Girl: Why not?
Me: I just don't like throwing stuff away...
Girl: Well, this is made of corn and is recyclable, or compostable, whatever.
Crap. She proceeds to open up a little packet of "demerara" sugar (a packet of Sugar in the Raw), and pours the sugar into the filter, and fill it with coffee grounds. I was surprised with the amount of coffee she put into the filter; it seemed like that was enough for two whole shots of espresso. She tries to fit the filter into the machine, and she can't. (It was just a little misaligned, that's all.) So she throws out all of the coffee and sugar. "Hmmph," she goes. She opens another packet of sugar in front of me (I'm flipping out inside) and puts in another bunch of freshly ground beans. She tries to fit the filter in, AND CAN'T! So she throws THAT sugar and coffee away too. "This stupid thing," she goes. She opens a third packet of sugar, fills the filter with beans, and finally gets the filter fixed into the machine. She puts a glass beaker under the mouth of the filter, and two whole shots of espresso come out, as expected! I am thinking, "Oh man, this isn't boding well." She takes the little thimble, fills it up, and throws the rest of the espresso, three thimbles worth down the drain! I was close to having a seizure.
The coffee in the thimble was gone in a second. It was good. But I was left with a receipt, a corn-based thimble, and take responsibility for three packets of sugar, and enough coffee for a small family.