Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mendo's Coffeeneuring Challenge 2015 - Day 5

Sugarie and Their Favorite Bike

Most of my coffeeneuring stops have been places I've never visited before. But Sugarie is a favorite. The owner really seems to like my Soma single-speed bike (belt drive, disk brakes). Once, when I rode my Volagi, I don't think he recognized me. Otherwise, it's a very welcoming, friendly, hometown place. And yummy!

### Coffeeneuring Control Stop #5 ###

DATE: 10/24/15
DRINKS: Cappuccino and Espresso
MILEAGE: 4.7 miles
COFFEE SHOP: Sugarie Bake Shop

BACKGROUND: Russ and Natalie started baking French Macarons (which are different than Macaroons) and selling door-to-door. That led to catering and eventually the shop two miles from my house. It's very French, and it's very much about pasteries, first, but the coffee is quite good, too.

COFFEE REVIEW: The plan was to have something with milk so they could show their latte artistry. The cappuccino was soothing and yummy, big cup. Artistry was just so-so, too frothy to qualify for a better score. I'm not a cappuccino or latte kind of guy, usually, so I don't have much of a frame of reference for a useful review. Yummy enough, that I wanted to stay around and have something more.

Round two was an espresso. I'm not an espresso guy, either - generally too bitter. But this was quite good. Not too bitter, but smoky and edgy yet still enjoyable. The chrome espresso cup was cool, too.

I've been here many times before and usually just have coffee. The Peter James they get from Fremont already ground and it's a single-origin from Costa Rica. Thumbs up for that. Their espresso bean is a secret.

FOOD PAIRING: Two rounds of coffee meant two rounds of pastries! The aroma was wonderful as soon as I walked in, just minutes after they opened. Most of the freshly baked pasteries were still cooling on the racks instead of steaming up the case. The scones came out just after I arrived. Very tempting but I thought the berry flavors might not work well with my coffee choices. So, for the cappuccino, I chose the kouign amann, which is buttery like a croissant but also sugary and crunchier. Both were light and airy, very easy on the palate. Big gulps, big bites and gone too quickly! For the espresso, I chose the mini éclair. About the size of Mendo, it seemed harmless. I thought the chocolate would match the strength of the espresso and I was right, but the abundance of the cream filling was the real kicker - fabulous pairing. I could stay there all day.

BIKE AMBIANCE: The shop is in a strip mall and they've done their best to make an outdoor seating area like you'd find in Paris, but that doesn't leave much room for more than perhaps two bikes. Otherwise, it's fine. The decorations were decidedly Francophile, but not TdF-ophile.

DUCK'S VIEW: It never ceases to amaze me how easily people accept a grown man carrying around a rubber duck and taking too many photos. Mendo was allowed to "swim" in a display jar of green coffee beans. The decor suited him well: much distressed white, chrome and black. You may noticed the orange "Field Notes" memo book in the background. I've started carrying it and using the "bullet journal" method for organizing and journaling - highly recommend both. The orange version is called the "Expedition Edition" and it's waterproof. Both the color and the water resistance go well with Mendo.

THE BIKE: Somasee Day 1 post.

THE RIDE: In keeping with the Coffeeneuring spirit, the ride was all about the coffee. Just a quick spin down Main Street past the farmer's market and straight to Sugarie. No frills, no detours. The weather was cloudy and cool but promised to be a rather nice, 50-60-degree fall day. Perfect for coffee. Straight home by a hillier route. Yes, it's more of a struggle on a single-speed but two rounds of coffee didn't hurt.

INSERT THEME HERE: Perhaps today's theme is brightness. My new Field Notes book, Mendo, my "Traffic Master" jersey, the sunny disposition of the Sugarie owners and the atmosphere of the shop. I titled the post with "Their Favorite Bike" because the owner usually mentions my bike.


  1. Great review. Your writing is fun to read and you make us all want to visit that coffee shop. I'll definitely look it up since French is the way to go when pastry is offered.

    1. Shucks. I was hoping Pleasanton was close to Santa Monica where I often visit. On the upside, I am going to be just outside of Paris next month when I'm in Poland ME. for Thanksgiving. No kidding.