Being the ever-gracious hostess that I am, I volunteered to leave the comforts of the Sofitel Chicago and make a doughnut and coffee run on Saturday morning. Of course, I did this the night before, after a few cocktails, and before I knew it was going to rain. No matter. I’d take one for the #WindyCityTweetup team.
Aaron left Detroit for Chicago before the sun was even thinking about rising. He arrived to the Sofitel at 9:00 am on the dot to deliver me to his favorite coffee shop. I’d heard tales of a peanut butter latte, which tickled my taste buds to no end. I live and die by peanut butter (and Nutella, but not necessarily in that order). So while Raul and Lola were each curled up in their respective rooms, Aaron and I were dressed for the day and off to fetch them some breakfast.
The streets were surprisingly empty, and it took only a few minutes to drive to the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. Nestled in between vintage clothing stores and other funky shops was Wormhole Coffee. With umbrella in hand, Aaron and I could smell the beans from across Milwaukee Avenue.
It was quiet in the place filled with eclectic ’80s charm. The Back to the Future DeLorean was displayed high along the back wall. Vintage lunch boxes served as crown molding along the ceiling. Boom boxes, Star Wars coffee mugs, classic ’80s movie posters, board games, and even a bust of Ronald Reagan served as decor. I was transported to my teens, and even looked down to ensure I wasn’t wearing tight-rolled stonewashed jeans.
I studied the chalkboard menu designed to look like a classic Atari game. There was the Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa I’d heard about. Mmmmm…peanut butter. The Vanilla Bean latte sounded yummy, too. I was at a loss. Ordering two for myself was at best, gluttonous, and at worst, dangerous.
After much deliberation, I decided on the Honey Bear latte. I watched as the pony-tailed barista squeezed, sprinkled, shook, ground, brewed, foamed, and carefully poured my drink. This was no Starbucks experience, you know, quick and dirty. Nope, the making of this latte was akin to Rowan Atkinson’s gift wrapping scene in Love Actually. It was a good five-minute process.
I was finally summoned to the counter; my Honey Bear latte was ready. I knew my drink was made with love, there was even a little, foam heart to prove it. I swept my caffeine fix from the counter and immediately raised the paper cup to my nose. Breathing in the delicious aroma of coffee and honey, I took a small sip. My eyes widened and my taste buds did the mamba.
I couldn’t remember having a better cup of coffee. Enthralled with my Honey Bear, I hardly noticed that Aaron had his Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa. He graciously offered me a sip. I hesitated for a second; I didn’t want to part with Honey Bear even for a moment. I gave in to temptation. Koopa Troopa was good. Actually, it was delicious.
Had I not met my Honey Bear first, we might have been forever linked. But just like with any other long-distance love affair, it had to end. I savored our last moments together. I drew Honey Bear to my lips one last time, and with a bit of sorrow, I walked out the door. I denied myself the pleasure of looking back. I was afraid I’d never leave if I did. Besides, Raul, Lola, and the Doughnut Vault were waiting.