24 June 2011

Day 174 (Feeling Adventurous)

Today finds me in the same place I was yesterday: the Tyson in Rogers, AR. I will be able to find out in a couple hours whether or not I can get loaded early (which of course I hope I can). Seeing as I am sitting here at their facility, and having all day, I decided to walk about 1 1/2 miles to get some business taken care of. After I took care of said business, I ventured to get some coffee. The nearest Starbucks was showing to be another 3 miles from where I was, taking me further from Tyson. Normally that's a good thing, but when you're walking... not so much. I perused my "Around Me" app on my iPhone, and found two places not too far from me. Little did I know, my quest for coffee would soon become a mini walking tour, which itself, was very nice. As some of you already have surmised, I am a frequent patron of Starbucks, but when one is too far, and there are independent shops around, I will gladly partake in helping the local business to survive.

On my way to the first coffee shop, I found this walking tour was taking me into the downtown area of Rogers... and very quaint it was!

As I approached the first coffee shop, Hookah Java, I saw a young lady walk in just a few steps ahead of me. Since it was the last little shop, right on the corner,that must be it. I walk in and noticed the young lady glancing back at me a few times, as she walked toward the back. I knew something was odd about this, and while my eyes were adjusting from the bright outside to the darker inside, I deduced why. So I politely said, "you're not open yet, are you?" She confirmed this to be true, and that they would open at 1500. I walked outside and looked at my iPhone: 1430. So I ventured south on 1st St. to the other coffee shop, Iron Horse Coffee Company. This was a very nice place with a relaxing atmosphere. It almost felt like the type of artsy locale where poetry readings on the weekends would not be out of place, nor out of character. I ordered their Machiatto. The barista told me that their Machiattos were different than that of Starbucks. Good! I like that, because now I get a taste of the personality of this independent business. If I want it to taste like Starbucks, I would go to a Starbucks.

My next visit was of a local business I passed by on the way to IHCC, and almost forgot about visiting on the way back, a place called Méridienne Dessert Salon • Café.

This is not the type of place you visit expecting a selection of Betty Crocker "straight from the box" baked goods, everything here is prepared "from scratch" (can you say that when referring to a pastry chef's masterpieces?).Originally I just stopped out front and scanned the menu in the window, until one certain menu item caught my eye:

Inside the Café had the feel of one of the pastry shops you might see in New York City, where if you place an order to go, it's put inside a cardboard box, not a styrofoam container:

I had only planned to get just the Caramel & Chocolate pastry, until the gentleman (who's wife is the owner/pastry chef) told me about the cake of the day. I didn't catch the entire name, but when I heard "Apple" in the title, I was sold. The photo below shows the pastry I first purchased (on the top) and a close-up of the Apple Cake (on the bottom). I took a close-up of the latter because, during my 1 mile walk back to Tyson, some of the frosting rather slid off.

My final stop was rather an "official" visit to Hookah Java, since by now they were open (I also wished to apologize to the young lady, as I may have startled her earlier, by walking in so soon after her, and before they were open for business).

This place appeared to get quite a bit of business from the coffee and tea drinkers in the area, but the Hookah may well be their main source of revenue and/or customer base, though I can't be absolutely sure until I make a visit in their evening or nighttime hours. By the way, yes I did purchase a coffee from them, as well.

So that was my day, my adventure. It was a little warm, slightly breezy, which made the walking a little tiring, then again, how many truck driver do you know would actually, and willingly, walk about 5-6 miles. I myself know of quite a few that gripe if they have to walk across the parking lot of a truck stop.

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