I live on the other side of the river – so bridges are part of the daily routine. In 19 years, I’ve never tired of the view crossing the 35 bridge. Heading north the skyline of St. Paul with whatever backdrop the sky gods have chosen for the hour . Heading south, the shimmer of river , bisected by an island of green. In winter a monochromatic blend of ice floe , limbs, infinite grey sky. And crossing the High Bridge, I never fail to admire the perfect site line of the classical Capitol Building, its dominance over the landscape until the sky opens over the south end of the bridge and announces St Paul Cathedral’s more dominant psychic hold over the land, and then, a smattering of skyscrapers to the east.
What does this have to do with coffee?
The ramp to the 35 bridge is closing this week, cutting off the mainline to my usual coffee joint. So I was out scouting an alternative yesterday, and reminded by someone from the Minnesota Food Bloggers to visit Claddagh Coffee.
It’s a sweet, clean place, admirably designed with a light touch. Brick walls backdrop the obligatory coffee shop gallery display. Huge blackboards serve double duty as design elements and daily menu announcements. The proper quotient of hard-working folks sitting at wified computers, and good-natured baristas in training made for an approachable place. Delving a bit into the menu I found that the pastries came from all the well reviewed places around town. Add to the mix some custom baked items. Boars Head meats and cheeses are used for panini. Fresh and organic produce comes from nearby Mississippi Market. There’s a downstairs seating area with a conference table for groups who can reserve it for meetings. And for a basement, it was cosy rather than close with a nose of mildew.
And the coffee. Well, I had already consumed my daily quota; the caffeine was still creating a nice buzz in my mouth, where, according to the baristas at my usual place, caffeine from espresso preparation works its magic.
The ramp to the bridge is closing on September 6. I’ll be back with a coffee report then.