the Salt & Pepper Diner Essential Songs o’ the Day for 8/19

I remain deeply ensconced in a ’90s alternapop rabbit hole and I’m loving it. Couldn’t choose just one song to go with today, so we’re getting two bangers. You’re welcome!

First up, I’ll admit this one’s a bit repetitive. And the video doesn’t do much for me. But given this whole conceit is based on a bit about playing the same song 21 times in a row, we’ll forgive its flaws and just listen joyfully without watching the video.

Way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, I saw They Might Be Giants in a smallish venue on their first full-band tour (they were awesome – I mean, just look at that set list). The opening act was Frank Black, who strolled out by himself with an acoustic guitar and just laid down some great songs. The curse of the opening slot, no one seemed to notice that the front man of the freaking Pixies (!) was slaying it. Damn. This beauty was one of the ones he played. It might not be everyone’s taste but I like the goofy video, too. Enjoy.

finally, outstanding coffee near work

Since my friend Sami no longer has his coffee cart parked around the corner, I’ve continued to search for a terrific cup of coffee within an easy stroll of work. And now I’ve got one.

Tigerella, a new restaurant/café from DC’s Elle restaurant, has opened at the Western Market building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. I haven’t been to Elle as getting a reservation is next to impossible, and I haven’t been in the neighborhood during the day to visit the coffee window.

When Western Market first started its renovation I had my fingers crossed that we’d get decent coffee there, and I’ve been waiting hopefully ever since it was announced that Elle was taking a spot. Tigerella finally opened the coffee shop part of the operation this week, and the wait was definitely worth it.

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well I for one….

….do NOT welcome our new robot overlords.

I got to San Francisco’s airport early this morning, and after passing through security I saw a reflection in a nearby window of the word CAFE. Wandered over to see a small coffee kiosk, but on closer inspection it was a Café X, ‘manned’ by a robot. Ugh.

I was going to bypass it on principle alone, but I felt an almost journalistic imperative to try it, and was made to feel slightly better after using the QR code to open the menu, where I saw the beans were from Intelligentsia. So I gave it a chance.

Verdict: you will love this if you have the patience for a very fiddly website that makes the payment process painful, enjoy watching a robot wave at you and dance around instead of just giving you your coffee, and/or like a completely watered down, neutered, tasteless coffee. Otherwise, give it a hard pass and find an actual human being making your drink on an espresso machine instead of a pile of wires and bolts grabbing you a sadness cup out of a basic fully automatic coffee maker. What a waste of good beans.

And tell those kids to get off my lawn.

blech. I tried it, so you won’t have to

that back there is your very basic fully automatic industrial coffee maker

don’t do it, mister…. save yourself!

That reminds me, I need to give the folks at Old Glory Insurance a call to update my policy.

bELieve it

In my recent post about exploring new coffee shops away from home, I neglected to mention one place in particular. Not a problem, as it’s deserving of its own story.

The name Eric LeGrand may jog your memory; if you are of a particular age and from New Jersey, you definitely know his story. A Garden State native, LeGrand played football at Rutgers until he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a 2010 game which left him paralyzed. His fight to recover, build a new life, and help others has been a tremendous inspiration.

Among his many endeavors, LeGrand founded a coffee business, LeGrand Coffee House, which began life in 2021 as a single-origin roaster, and in May 2022 opened a bricks and mortar café in LeGrand’s hometown of Woodbridge, New Jersey. They encourage people to have a “Daily Cup of bELieve,” the last word one that LeGrand has used in his philanthropy and the title of his autobiography.

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