Tuesday’s tour to Park Avenue Coffee really broke the bank, not because of the $7 coffee and cake, but the $29 cab ride home because of my flat tire. My two squares of gooey butter cake must have offended the gods of nutrition, because I was greeted with a deflated front tire after my hour on the patio. So much for working off my dessert-for-breakfast on the way home.
As expected, it was quite the adventure getting there, weaving through Forest Park, rumbling down rocky side streets, waiting for the MetroLink to pass, and then finally crossing Grand and coasting down Park Ave. The 9 mile route took about 45 minutes, 7 of which I was standing still. Don’t get me started!
Once I locked my bike to a parking sign (no bike rack) all stress melted away as I entered the sleek, expertly designed shop with large, sharp menus and a fantastic looking counter of pastries. Luckily for the nice man on the other side, they were well prepared for my appetite, offering 12 different varieties of gooey butter cake (made by Ann & Allen Baking Company). Obviously I had to try the traditional, but spiced it up a bit (no pun intended) with carrot cake, and paired all of that sugary goodness with a Park Roast coffee.
I headed out to the serene back patio, which looked like a mini version of what’d you see at a nice hotel, minus the pool. Nice landscaping and plenty of shade. Instead of creeping out the girl on her laptop, I maneuvered a small table to get this view of the stairs and brick buildings behind the shop:
Now here’s where I get to stretch my foodie legs… The house blend coffee was terrific, probably as good as any cup I’ve had in town. It is roasted by Chauvin Coffee Company, and I even saw the driver dropping off fresh beans at 10 am. Some of the gooey butter cake options were triple chocolate, cookies & cream, red velvet, and seven others that sent my head spinning, but all looked and sounded amazing. Maybe one day I’ll do a Park Avenue gooey butter cake tour. The traditional was thinner than the cake you’d find in the grocery store, probably about 1/2 inch thick, which added some density and subtracted some gooeyness. Basically a more gourmet version of the usual pastry. The carrot cake had more of a baked cake consistency, and the sweet icing made a perfect primer for each sip of black coffee. I know that just made you hungry, so be sure to check out all of Park Avenues’s varieties online, which you can order in different sizes.
Below is my watercolor sketch, which I think is an improvement over last week. It’s fun to see how simple brushstrokes can create bricks and other textures, and I pumped up the blue and orange to give life to the rust-colored image. The diagonal powerlines complement the angles in the stairs, and break up all the vertical lines. Next week I’m going to try using the black on my palette since the overall painting is a little brighter than what I was going for.
I’m not sure where I’ll head next Tuesday, but I might stay closer to home until I can fully trust my front tire again. Hopefully the weather continues to cooperate. It’s been beautiful!
Enjoy the rest of your week,