Jones Coffee Roasters is in a kind of mini-strip mall/mini-industrial park space. I turned in to park. Don't waste your time: there are only two spots reserved for Jones customers. I was annoyed by this turn of events, especially as I had a heavy bag, completely jam-packed with books and laptop. (Note to Self: get a good-looking backpack soon -- your shoulders will thank you.)
But my friend Tom had recommended the place to me, and I was all the way out in Pasadena. So I persevered. I parked on Bellevue (one of the cross streets) and would recommend that you do the same.
I felt a little better as I walked on Bellevue past a two-story industrial building where workers wearing white lab coats smoked outside. 'Interesting,' I thought to myself. My crabbiness started to fade as I walked past the Royal Laundry building and saw the really cool blue (or was it green?) and white tiled entrance. It made me think of India. Passing by another building, I noticed that there were thousands of Little Mermaid and Cinderella figurines on the desks.
When my bag and I finally made it to the front of the building, I realized that it was the Disney Store World headquarters!
Jones Coffee Roasters is terrific. I felt as though I had entered a fiesta being thrown in a converted industrial space. Star-shaped lights, a red globe and balls of orange flowers dangle from the high ceilings. There's a wonderful coffee aroma. They really do roast coffee here; I saw one of the machines at work.
The first thing I did was to go to the restroom to rid myself of the dust of the road. The restroom was sparkling clean and had a wonderful spicy clove smell. Plus it had design details that I loved (soap that was speckled and looked expensive, brown paper towels). 'Okay,' I said to myself, 'this may be a match made in heaven.'
The next order of business was to get the coffee that I desperately needed. But first I had to peruse the bakery case. Everything looked good and as though it was made on the premises. I don't know whether it was or not, but I do know that it wasn't that industrially-produced-mass-market muffin crap that some cafes pawn off on their customers.
"What's that?" I asked, pointing at a round thing.
"It's a quiche."
"I think it's bacon and tomato and red pepper."
"I'll take it," I said.
The man next to me said, "I was in after the bacon."
"I knew we were soul mates," I said. And then he told me about the fantastic tamales that are available only on Fridays. He told me that it's a real neighborhood place.
Did I mention that it's pleasantly cool there? A haven from the hellish temperatures outside? And it's like someone's sitting room -- if they were world travelers, mixed marble-topped tables with those mosaic tables from Mexico and hung on the wall a three-panel still life of a coffee cup, an empty sugar packet, a water bottle and a receipt.
The quiche (pictured above) was scrumptious. Yes, once again I had a bite or two first. I also had a delicious cup of organic Ethiopian coffee.
The music was classical, then went to jazz later. The seating area is small, but luckily the patrons are charming. I watched a guy walk in and look around a little despairingly for a place to sit. Another guy, already comfortably ensconced at a table, made an "After you, my dear Alphonse" gesture of welcome as he offered to share the table. Later the same guy said hello and smiled at me as he walked back with a new coffee drink. Am I dreaming? Is this LA?
The short answer is that I'm not sure. I happen to look up later and see this welcoming guy (he's bald and wearing headphones) dancing in his seat. Then a Jones staff person comes over, they chat, she puts on the headphones, and then she's bopping to whatever it is, also. It's kind of unusual to see people in LA letting themselves go so much (see LA-Chicago posts for more thoughts on this subject.)
Naturally, I have to get to the bottom of this. I ask the guy what he's listening to, and he sets me up with the headset and wanders off. The next thing I know, I'm bopping myself. My fingers are flying on the keyboard -- it's like having a shot of wheat grass juice, without the horrible aftertaste. The music was Gui Boratto - click here to hear it.
What's a little incredible is that he is away for many minutes. So there I am, using really great cordless headphones, listening to someone else's great music, sipping my coffee and working away. I decide to embrace the experience and continue to dance in my seat.
When he returns, we talk about music and then food. It turns out that he's Chef Nathan Lyon (shows on TLC and Discovery ). We talk about tips, eating in season and the beauty of the slow-cooker. I can't wait for his new cookbook to come out. Sounds like it's going to be perfect for the busy person who wants to eat well and doesn't want to have to go to 5000 different stores in order to do so. Click here to go to his site.
60 minutes wi-fi free with purchase. Parking is on the street.
I highly recommend this place and will be driving out here to work. And eat.