After this tour stop I was reminded why I don’t ride on Monday mornings… every one is pissed off, especially the people that are running late. The only exception was the handful of people playing golf at Forest Park at 9 am. They must be artists too. Although Google Maps wanted to send me down Lindell, again, I tapped into my local knowledge and took West Pine all the way to Vandeventer, then north to Washington Blvd. It was an extremely easy route and void of the angry rush hour drivers. The 8.5 miles to 14th and Washington took about 35 minutes, and Blondie’s was immediately on my good side due to the bike rack out front and sweet corner patio.
I actually got a sneak preview of the namesake “blondie” at the St. Louis Magazine A-List Party last week, and it’s one of those desserts where you only need a few bites to be completely satisfied. Sweet, soft, and loaded with caramel flavor. Since I had already experienced that, the friendly staff pointed me toward the city-block-sized brownie. I was even so distracted by the size of it that A.) I forgot to order the popover that I saw online, and B.) I forgot to take a picture of what I was painting. The second half of my order consisted of a single origin 16 oz. coffee, which I’m assuming was from Kaldi’s since the company is all about single-origin beans.
The interior of the cafe was very well decorated, professionally done in my opinion. A lot of deep wood and leather, a combination of rustic and modern. I chose a table by the window with a view of most of the coffee shop, but decided to paint the vase on the table nearby instead of a subject in the distance. My coffee came out a few minutes later, and by the time I washed my hands and unwrapped the colossal brownie the cup was the perfect temperature. That’s actually a big deal in my book because the first two sips are wasted when the coffee is scalding, on top of obliterating some taste buds. Also around that time is when my brother-in-law came down from his office above the cafe. I’m sure his excuse of meeting a cycling artist with a sweet tooth went over really well.
It was simple black coffee, but it had a wonderful flavor (not sure what, but it was there) and wasn’t acidic whatsoever. The brownie had a rich cocoa flavor, dense and firm but not dry, and not as gooey as the blondie. The only thing I think could have made it better would have been some dark chocolate chips baked in, and served warm so they’d be slightly melted. Luckily it was wrapped up so I could take home the brick that I didn’t eat. I decided to leave my sketch with the staff and owner as a token of my appreciation. Then it was back on my bike in the 95 degree heat, though as usual the caffeine made the ride home easier and quicker than expected.
Once the weather mellows out I’ll head back to the amazing looking patio, some place I could camp out for hours and get lost in a painting, book, or some other quiet form of entertainment, such as people-watching. And lastly, next Tuesday will be the final stop of my initial Great St. Louis Coffee Tour. I hope it’s a good one!