On July 16, we put the finishing touches on our Arts District cafe. Here’s delightful little recap of how the day went down.
It’s been six years since we’ve gotten a solo album from Jenny Lewis. Although she’s collaborated with artists like Brandon Flowers and Vampire Weekend - and released an under-appreciated album titled Are We Having Fun Now? with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice - she’s flown relatively under-the-radar. Thankfully, this month saw the release of The Voyager, a brief and intimate 90’s-influenced album that her fans have been hungering after for nigh on a decade.
“She’s Not Me,” is a poppy, glittering ode to regret and moving on. Lewis’ vocals have grown up from her Rilo Kiley days, yet retain the casual, unaffected tone that first defined her. They’re histrionic at times, but they take pains not to overdose on the heartbreak that plagues so many artists who attempt the level of honesty Lewis nails here.
“Bet you tell her I’m crazy,” she croons. “Remember the night I destroyed it all, when I told you I cheated, and you punched through the drywall, I took you for granted…but she’s not me.”
How could we forget?
We’re thrilled to announce that this Saturday, Aug. 2, we’ll be hosting a food truck from San Francisco’s Bacon Bacon at our Webster Street coffee bar. They’ll be setting up shop at 11 a.m. and serving near our cafe’s southern corner until 3 p.m.
For the past couple of years, we’ve been enjoying Bacon Bacon’s mouthwatering wares - their crisp, yolk-drenched breakfast sandwich; their meat-flecked Porky Fries - at events like Off the Grid and Outside Lands. As such, we were eager to tuck in our napkins and get going with a collaboration. But first, we thought we’d catch up with the company’s founder, Jim Angelus.
Angelus started Bacon Bacon almost exactly three years ago, after stints as a general manager at a handful of San Francisco restaurants, including E&O Trading Company and Kuleto’s. The company’s name, he says, came from a desire for simplicity in city awash with complexly labeled foodie treats.
"You didn’t always know what kind of food a truck was selling," he says of the genre’s often baroque selections. So he made a vow: "I’m going to make it super obvious - something everyone can really identify with." Thus: the name.
It’s worked well for him. Three years on, Bacon Bacon operates two trucks (with plans for a third this fall) and a cozy cafe at 205 Frederick St., near Golden Gate Park.
And in case you were curious, we’re happy to report that their menu pairs quite nicely with coffee.
As many of you know by now, Handsome Coffee Roasters at 582 Mateo in the Arts District will change over into Los Angeles’ base of operations for Blue Bottle Coffee this week. This will effectively be the Handsome brand’s sunset. Moments of great change are usually prime fodder for…
What does summer in the Bay Area mean? To us, it’s all about consistency – the frigid nights, the lukewarm days, the fog that unfurls with doomy consistency. In sum: Pretty much zero in the way of meaningful meteorological change.
OK, maybe a little bit. And on these slightly warmer days, our fancies – and, we’re discovering, our guests’ fancies as well – lightly turn to thoughts of New Orleans Iced Coffee cartons. Thus far, these little buddies have only been available individually in our retail locations, at Whole Foods stores, and at select local grocery purveyors. Ordering a larger amount – for a picnic, say, or late-night group study session – was not possible.
Until now, that is. We’re pleased to announce that you can now place bulk orders of our New Orleans cartons for pickup at our Webster coffee (300 Webster St., Oakland Calif. 94607) bar by following these simple instructions.
1. Reach out to our Special Orders team at (you guessed it) firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Tell them just how many cartons you’d like. They come in cases of 12, and for now we’re accepting orders of 1-4 cases.
3. Mind the ordering timeline! Cases ordered between Friday and Monday at 8:30 a.m. PST will be available for pickup any time on Tuesday. Those ordered between Monday and Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. PST will be available for pickup on Friday.
4. Each case is exactly $48. No tax. Just let your barista you’re here to pick up, and he or she will get squared away with payment.
6. Depending on step 5, repeat.
At last! Here we are with another installment of “Blue Bottle Vs.,” a series in which we compare our lovely coffee company to a bunch of interesting (and often inanimate) things.
This installment? The bottlenose dolphin.
When we brought Handsome Coffee and Tonx under the Blue Bottle banner back in April, the first thing we did was ask questions. Lots of them. How can we make this transition exciting for our new team in Los Angeles? How can our digital team help improve the tools we’re already using on the web? What can we teach each other about sourcing? Quality? Hospitality?
These strategic questions soon begat other, more basic ones. Will we need more bike parking? Does this mean we’re now brewing two Chemexes for our weekly coffee meeting? Is making “new folks’ name” flash cards totally inappropriate?
After a brief period of hand-wringing (no more than 10 minutes, we swear), we got to work. With help and input from Tonx’s production team, we successfully migrated their ordering, roasting and shipping operations to our Oakland roastery. We released the Sumatra Ketiara, a coffee sourced by Blue Bottle and quality tested by all three companies, to Tonx subscribers. And while weaving Tonx-branded selections into Blue Bottle retail locations, we also began selling a few Blue Bottle coffees out of Handsome’s space in Los Angeles. Each collaboration yielded exciting discoveries – and, of course, more questions.
What’s next? Well, very soon, Tonx customers will begin to enjoy more ordering flexibility on their deliveries, along with new Blue Bottle packaging that’s designed to incorporate the best of both companies’ design thinking. Down in Los Angeles, Handsome customers will see their menu options expand to include more single origins, more iced coffee options, and some new pastries. The roastery in L.A.’s Arts District, meanwhile, is in the process of becoming organic certified. And the office is (crucially, mercifully) mere days from being air-conditioned.
Nik Bauman (Tonx), James Freeman (Blue Bottle), Michael Phillips (Handsome)
So yes, the gears are indeed turning. Sometimes quite quickly. By late summer, it will all fall under the Blue Bottle banner.
For now, we’re enjoying the ride. The past couple months have been some combination of invigorating and exhausting – full of long production days, marathon coding sessions, giant order fulfillments, and epic conference calls. Mostly, though, they’ve been punctuated with delightful rewards. We’ve learned our new members’ strengths and passions, and taken turns supporting each other. We’ve gotten beers and gone to baseball games and attended dance parties. We’ve taken quite a shine to each other.
As things move forward, we remain ever grateful for your support. You’ll be hearing from us again with a more detailed sketch of new features and timelines. For now, we’re thrilled to keep serving you coffee.
In the first minute of “Your Love is Killing Me,” fans of Sharon Van Etten will find some of the straightforward, comfortable strength she began teasing out on 2012’s “Tramp.” Yet something’s different here: Van Etten takes her time until it becomes clear that her words — “Break my legs so I won’t walk to you…You tell me that you like it, Your love is killing me,”— is not some run-of-the-mill heartbreak; it’s an emotional catastrophe.
Erratic percussion further agitates things, but the real focus here is Van Etten’s paint-scraping vocals. They quiver and burst, furious and unforgiving. “From a distance I am on to you,” she cries, “but I’ll stab my eyes out so I can’t see.”
You’ll need a whiskey or a glass of wine after a song like this. “Your Love is Killing Me” at once devastating and beautiful, will plunge you into an emotional space you may need a hand climbing out of.