I think the idea of a coffee shop is more appealing than most of the ones I’ve visited. So, where are the waking melodies of the soul, complete with chic décor, beautiful women, and damn fine coffee? If there’s such a place in the Phoenix area, I’ve yet to find it.
About a week ago, I tried the coffee at Lola’s Tapas. Some Chowhound wrote that the owners used to work at Lux and knew their way around a cuppa joe. I ordered my drip coffee there, black. First taste – nothing. Second sip – nadda. The drink lacked anything resembling panache. I asked the barista there, she of the petiteness and cute curly hair, if the coffee was supposed to be wear. My drink was medium-bodied, I was told, and was supposed to taste that way. If I desired, I could have a red-eye. I declined.
I must mention that I like Starbucks coffee, even though they burn their beans. At least I have some semblance of a coffee taste when I drink it black.
The Drip Coffee Lounge filled me with anticipation. Good Joe! Yes, HO!. I drove there during my lunch hour. It’s located next to Trente Cinq, near Lisa G’s. Parking’s all right, but I had to sneak my car in to one of the contractor slots.
The inside of the Drip Coffee Lounge reeks of whiteness and a little bit of damp. I had no indication of what to do once I step inside, so I stared at people blankly for a minute before decided to risk it all on a little table next to the window tables. The sole barista at work was busy on another order so I took a few minutes to contemplate the menu.
My turn to order came quickly and the barista – cum – waiter met my communication needs instinctively (you would not believe how many people panic on finding out they have to communicate with the deaf). I ordered an 12oz Americano ($2.00), and the Soup and Sandwich combo ($12.00). For the sandwich, I chose The Italian (Pancetta bacon, ham, tomato, arugula, parmesan, olive oil, and Italian seasonings).
The soups are made off shop by The Art of Soup. Today’s selection was broccoli leek.
My coffee came quickly. I know I can’t quite compare drip coffee to Americano, and I’ve already established my tongue by stating I like Starbucks coffee, but I honestly can’t say anything more about my first sip of Drip Coffee Lounge’s Americano than it tasted hot. As the coffee cooled, more flavors came to tongue. The earthen essences in it were over powered by the heat. Coffee shouldn’t be served cool, but there seems to have been an optimal temperature for their coffee. It just took some time and eating to get there.
The food took some time to arrive at my table. Given that the place wasn’t exactly hopping. I was not impressed. Also, because the soup was likely re-heated, there’s no excuse for the time it took to get me my bowl. I’m a corporate drone. I didn’t go to relax and look all artsy like the gent across from me with his Macbook Pro and his puma track suit. I want my food, now.
Its arrival was immediately appealing to my senses. The soup overflowed with ingredients, placing it, in my eyes, much above stock restaurant soups that are mostly broth. The broccoli florets littered liberally, showing both yellow and green buds. I saw chunks of leeks, and potatoes, as well as onions. They meshed in a salty, vegetable broth. The Art of Soup clearly is.
I am a fan of crusty breads. Sandwiches served in limp, wonder bread style wrappings are wretched wastes of the animal that died for the meal. Drip Coffee Lounge delivers with a beautiful bread, crisp on the outside and lovingly soft on the inside. My only complaint was that it was cut narrow, making it a bit hard to keep the insides off the plate. When I finished eating, I had to hunt for a utensil to eat my new-found salad.
Bacon is awesome. I could eat it all the time. That said, the pancetta bacon made me grin. But, liberal use of it overwhelmed all the other flavors. The ham became a texture agent rather than a supporting member of a nice sandwich caste. The other ingredients were fine, but I didn’t see any use for the olive oil. Its use made the sandwich needlessly greasy.
The total for everything was $15.16. I expect to pay about the same at chain soup and sandwich places, such as Wildflower.
I’d go to Drip Coffee Lounge again – just not for the coffee, or the ambiance. Maybe they could rename themselves Drip Soup and Sandwich?
800 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85014
2333 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
4404 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Drip Coffee Lounge
2325 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Lisa G Cafe Wine Bar
2337 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Wildflower Bread Co
1380 N Litchfield Rd Ste K1, Goodyear, AZ 85395