Life Beside Gastroenteritis… Or Visiting Coffee Shops.

by Dori Nicole

 Coming at you again from my cozy little closet work space! This time in pitch black darkness (save for my laptop) typing away past the midnight hour. I’m terribly hungry, but my boyfriend spent the whole of 3 hours puking his guts out in our toilet due to a cayenne pepper overdose before passing out for the night. Our apartment is tiny and everything echoes so the sound of his insides spilling out and splashing into the water is still ringing in my ears killing my appetite.

This is why men don’t seem to live as long without marriage. They need someone around to tell them why it’s not such a great idea to pour a buttload of cayenne pepper into ramen noodles of all things and ingest it. I always tell him he has strange eating habits, but perhaps I should work on being a bit more specific.

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Any who, I’ve been consumed into this uni-bomber look lately.  I am recovering from my own cold and have been feeling much better the past 2 days so I’ve been making a consistent effort to get out of the house to exercise : a run along the beach, 6 sets of up down stair case runs, yoga and weights.

Living near the beach is just as awesome as I always knew but the fall chill and up and down temperature changes has been enough to keep me squared away in my apartment bundled up and cozy. Now I’ve become that girl in the turban and black hoodie. The hood is kept securely tied in a fancy bow under my chin because my ears are cold, and if it’s bright I’m adorned with my bug-eyed sunglasses.

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If you are visiting the Los Angeles area for the first time or are planning a future move, here is a quick tip : Always have a bag on deck.

It’s not a secret that L.A county charges $0.10 for every bag you need to carry your purchases in. It sounds like a small charge but it’s a small charge that will add up quickly if you are spending your day shopping, or picking up groceries. So when you are at the checkout counter with your pile of stuff and the cashier asks “any bags for you today?” Don’t be rude and say yes as if it’s obvious you need bags because the real question is “Can we charge you a few penalties, today?” I carry a bag or two at all times. My backpack and a reusable grocery tote that I keep folded up inside just incase I need another.

I don’t find the bag charge to be annoying or an inconvenience. I use it as a game. If I can’t carry it, I’m not spending my money on it. I’ll wait until I come back with my own bag that way I’m saving both my money and the environment in a major way.

This morning I skipped my workout and hopped out of bed at 6:30am to explore an adorable coffee shop a short ways away called Portfolio. It is arguably the highest rated coffee shop in Long Beach on yelp. Someone on there recommended readers to check out the vanilla almond latte so that’s what I ordered. Ecstatic that almond milk was a dairy free option here though I prefer coconut milk above all.

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The atmosphere was very friendly, clean with tons of geometric patterns and baby succulents upon the tables. It almost had a thrifted garage grungy feel to it. Cute tattooed baristas in loose clothing and beanies, and the morning regulars not having to speak a word of their usual order before it has already been rung up and started.

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The morning pastries were abundant which was a beautiful sight to me, someone who used to manage a place similar to this not too long ago. I grabbed a deliciously chewy ginger cookie to go along with my vanilla almond latte and was out the door in under 5 minutes.

I’m far from a coffee connoisseur so I’m sorry if you were misled that this was a review. I’m uneducated in that world. Coffee isn’t really my thing, but I liked it. I’m going back very soon to try their more of their menu.

Coffee, to me, is coffee. I’ve never been able to taste the vanilla or caramel flavorings in any latte order I’ve ever had. I’m rarely even able to tell the difference between certain roasts. All coffee tastes burnt to me. And whenever I sampled an extra burnt tasting coffee in the past, the more experienced drinkers beside me would claim it’s their absolute favorite. This latte, however, was at the perfect temperature without having to say “extra hot”. The texture was way more silky and than any latte I’ve had. I’ll order it again if the mood strikes me but it did not taste like vanilla or almond.

I can say that the to-go coffee cup let me down. The shop had a cool name that reminded me of all types of art so naturally I expected a very cool coffee cup to go. What I envisioned when I popped my eyes open this morning to peruse their website and to read the raving yelp reviews by locals and travelers alike was that the place would be “so cool and hipster” because that’s exactly what I read. A stylish little shop with great vibrations and unusual patrons.

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The atmosphere was indeed stylish, and hipster and straight out of one of the neighboring thrift and skateboard shops on 4th street. I dug it. And when it comes to the to-go cup I totally understand how it ties in with the theme. It’s a hipster to-go coffee cup that wants everyone know it.

its one of those. It came to me purposefully hideous, white cup, black top, blue sleeve. nothing on it matched. It doesn’t care to put that much effort into it’s look of the day since no one cares that much anyway. It’s only carrying coffee from one of the top rated coffee shops in Long Beach, no big deal. Just living it’s life.

But as a woman who drinks coffee on the special occasion and who made a walk at 6:30am for a vanilla almond latte and ginger cookie, I fully expected a black cup, grey top, and a sleeve with black and white vintage photos printed all over it; maybe even records with the name of the company written across the sleeve.

My imagination gets the better of me. I still would have just thrown it away in the end.

A coffee shop made my morning.

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