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Back Buzz - May 23, 2007

pumping heart The Cafe, 195 Crookes Road, Crookes, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

For the sake of diversity I normally wouldn't write a review about a cafe located a few doors from the cafe I reviewed last time. But last time I had intended to visit a brand new cafe in Crookes, but I never found it. It turns out I wasn't hallucinating after all -- there was a new coffee cafe in Crookes where I thought I'd seen one. But on the day I went in search of it, it had quickly become nothing but a shuttered memory.

Not long after, however, the storefront reopened as The Cafe, and I was fortunate enough to visit during its first week in business. The Cafe, run by the owners of the sandwich shop across the street next to Choices Video, is a small and clean cafe decorated with white walls, light-coloured wood, and paintings of beaches. The biggest painting of two classic canvas beach chairs reminds me of my childhood with my beach bunny of a mother who would lie on the beach for hours with her best mate Bettye Anne in a quest for TPT (That Perfect Tan), while I romped around in the little waves with my brother and my friend Barb. Gazing at those chairs transported me back to the sands of Alamitos Bay or Belmont Shore -- and the new classic Italian-sports-car sandals I happened to be wearing enhanced the whole image.

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The only espresso drinks on the menu were Cappuccino and Americano. The owner apologised for this, explaining that she did not yet have proper espresso cups, which we could respect. After saying we were happy to have our double macchiatos in cappuccino cups we then described how to make them -- and they turned out surprisingly good! She certainly doesn't have much to learn about making espresso drinks. The coffee (Verde) is quite good, the shots are good, the milk froth is just right, and the presentation is acceptable.

While we were there we had lunch. The food is pleasant and very basic. I had a tuna, cheese, and olive panini, served with crisps and a salad, all for only £3.50. And it was a good panini, made with crusty chewy bread and stuffed green olives, and the tuna wasn't drowned in mayonnaise like I always fear. Andrew's jacket potato with chilli looked good. The cafe caters for children as well, and there are 2 tables out on the pavement where we spoke with the owner while she chatted with passing neighbours during a cigarette break. She's obviously been in the area for a long time and is an established part of the community.

So did Crookes ever have a beach? Hmm, perhaps a very, very, very, very long time ago, back when the Isle of Axholme was still an island and Romney Marsh was still a marsh...

Speaking of the past reminds me of a brief e-mail exchange from a decade ago with my Bay Area friend:

A quick report from my trip to El Paso: My neck was feeling pretty good until yesterday morning when I bent over to tie my shoes while wearing a tight collared shirt and tie; then I rode around all day in a small pickup truck, having to hoist my heavy laptop and bulky garment bag between the pickup bed and the passenger compartment each time we stopped somewhere. Will it take another three weeks to recover from that?

It's this whole getting-older thing.

My advice is to quit wearing clothes when you travel. That way not only will you have no restrictions on your neck when you bend over but you'll have no need for a garment bag, either.

And on the same nostalgia wave, here's another brief exchange from time past:

The wind is blowing like crazy, more cold weather is coming this weekend, and Xmess is in the air! After Andrew unconsciously hummed the first few notes of a bad carol followed immediately by "OH, FOR F**KSAKE!!!!!", we got a great idea for a Christmas album: A Tourette's Christmas. It could be a recording of all sorts of Christmas carols with background choruses of lines like "F*******CK!!!!", "OH FOR F**KSAKE!!!", "FORCHRISSAKEPUTSOMETHINGELSEON!", "SHADDUPPPP!", "AAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!", and background sounds like jukeboxes being kicked, rifles being cocked and shot, bricks being thrown through windows, slugfests, etc. The tracks would naturally have to include "Sleighride", "Little Drummer Boy", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", "Do They Know It's Christmas", "When A Child Is Born", "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer", "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", and, of course, a few of those less offensive but insidious tunes that creep into your idle whistling like chewing gum commercials: "Winter Wonderland", "I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas", and, of course, "Merry Christmas Everybody" by Slade. (Don't know if they ever play that last one in the States, but over here some shopping malls have put a moratorium on how often that song can be played. Fortunately the wonderful "Fairytale In New York" is finally gaining on the glam-rock hit.)

The Tourette's Christmas is a great idea! Could we get real Tourette's people to sing them? Don't forget "Away in a manger, no crib for a JESUSF**KINGCHRIST!!! . . . "

...and why not another chestnut? There's plenty of room:

Didn't we have an e-mail discussion in the past year about pets having their own mobile phones? I just read that Vodafone and Takara Toys have teamed up in Japan to release the BowLingual Device, which sends text messages from a unit in your dog's collar to your mobile phone whenever the dog barks or growls. The sound is analysed in the unit in seconds against a database of thousands of canine sounds which have been translated to human text. They plan to release a MiaowLingual device soon.

Apparently the device will send text messages such as "I love you", "Careful who you mess with", "That's not what I want", and "Look at me". I think they should go for more realistic messages such as "Watch me while I lick my genitals", "Please come home -- I would like to hump your leg", "Where did you hide the chocolate chip cookies?", and "I am upset with you leaving me alone, so I have just peed on your pillow". No, no, no, no! You're joking aren't you? "BowLingual" and "MiaowLingual"? That sounds like something out of a future JC novel. I agree that they seem to have left out the more common and useful messages. I think cats will be a more difficult challenge. And they'll need a different vocabulary analyzer for Siamese cats. I suspect that my cat Mia's speech defies analysis. After nearly three years together, she's finally starting to meow at me when she's hungry. She still meows while facing the wall or looking into the mirror. I'd really like to know what she's saying.