Monday, July 16, 2012

Taking Advantage of 20 Minutes of Sun at Towpath Cafe

I'm trying to be positive about the summer we're having in London this year (and the year before that, and the year before that), but it's really, really hard. Particularly as it's absolutely pouring outside as I write this and I'm wearing black opaque tights out of necessity, rather than as a fashion statement. In July.

Nevertheless, when a spot of sun appears, I'm the first one to seize the day. Yesterday, John and I wandered to one of our favorite haunts for breakfast, Towpath Cafe, which is situated on the canal smack dab between where we used to live in Angel and where we are now in Dalston. So, essentially, it's in Haggerston/Hoxton.

See that selection of jam there? It's divine. Truly. If I could, I would have smuggled the strawberry and peach (?) underneath my holey Gap sweater and taken them home with me. John had the porridge and apricots, which I was told between mouthfuls was equally delicious.

On a sunny day, Towpath is bustling. Paul Simon is blaring and Bob Marley is wailing. Sausages are on the grill and the coffee orders are non-stop. Joggers stop for a slug of water from the numerous pitchers available and then order a coffee. You're lucky if you can grab a seat mid-morning on the weekends. Otherwise, you can grab a blanket and set yourself down on the nearby planter.

On a rainy day? Not so much. I spoke to the American owner, Lori De Mori, as she took my order. Originally from LA (this is her fourth year in London), she's much happier here, though she cited the bad weather as bad for her business - which isn't surprising, since not many people would want to sit in the rain, sipping a latte, with no shelter.

I love the simple, honest food and coffee at this cafe, plus Lori's and her staff's incredibly charming and friendly demeanor. I overheard a lycra-clad jogger order a "skinny latte", only to be answered by an apologetic Lori, "Sorry, we only do full-fat here." "Full-fat is fine, then," the customer conceded. Although I am prone to ordering a soy vanilla latte at chains, I appreciate the no-nonsense approach Towpath takes.

And that's why Lori's customers are so loyal - that and for the scenic view of the canal (when it's not raining, of course).

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