After finally settling into our hostel late at night and having a pleasant nights’ rest despite the still significant light level for 62 degrees of latitude in July, the next morning we awoke and start out exploring the greater Tórshavn area in earnest. We soon found ourselves downtown, exploring the particularly nice harbor area, and, once businesses started opening for the morning, checking out one place located right on the waterfront: Kaffihúsið. (As an aside, I’ll mention that, once you start to learn the translations for various names, you learn that the Faroese seem to like rather simple names for places and businesses. Kaffihúsið means… “Coffee House”).
One of the pieces of advice we got from the few people I was able to talk to that had been to the island was to tour a coffee plantation. And I discovered that this was a bit harder to set up… most of the plantations are very small family farms, and you have to set up the reservation via phone, often with a member of the farmer’s family who speaks no English and doesn’t understand my French. But it’s worth doing: the plantations all focus on a single variety of coffee: the Bourbon Pointu coffee bean. Bourbon Pointu was grown long ago on the island (back when it was Ile Bourbon), and was a highly-prized variety, and thought lost when the island shifted to a sugarcane economy. But starting at the turn of the last century, an enterprising agricultural engineer discovered small plantings of the plant that had been maintained in a Japanese horticultural greenhouse, and was able to successfully reintroduce the plant to the island. The result is a small but growing industry of coffee producers on Reunion producing one of the world’s best-regarded, and most expensive, coffees. So we set out one rainy day in search of La Maison du Laurina, a small coffee grower on Le Grand Coude on the Southeastern corner of the island
Every once in a while I encounter a place that’s not really a restaurant, but still deserves at least a mention here. In this case, we were walking through London, on our way to meet up with some folks for Vietnamese food in Shoreditch, but were running early, and decided to stop and have a coffee. Doing a quick search of the area, several people recommended The Bridge Coffee House, so we decided to check it out.
While I may have mentioned this before, one of the things I generally don’t like when I’m traveling is free breakfast in hotels. I have several reasons for this, but the big reasons are that (a) hotel breakfasts generally suck, especially for the price, and (b) one of the perks of the otherwise dismal life of the business traveler is the ability to try new places to eat. So, like most every time my schedule allows me to try a local place for breakfast instead of having bland waffles at the hotel, I try to do so, even if it requires getting up early. This time, I decided to walk several blocks from the hotel to Northside Social Coffee and Wine in Arlington.
On weekend and vacation mornings, I really enjoy relaxing with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, and have a nice sweet breakfast, such as pancakes, waffles, or maybe a sweetroll or something. Unfortunately, this sort of thing can be a little difficult when you happen to be in New York City. Luckily, about 18 months ago my sister-in-law introduced me to Le Pain Quotidien (“The Daily Bread”).