I’m already a sucker for a clean, bright, hipster space. Add coffee and waffles and I could move in for weeks. Lucky for my family, the closest waffle-serving Blue Bottle Coffee is some 300 miles north of home so daily commutes to and from Long Beach to there would make it difficult to get my kid to school in the mornings and back home in plenty of time to make supper for the husband.
Over the week of New Year’s, I was at my parents’ home in Stockton, my back out of whack from several nights rest on the sofa bed and my brain fried from waiting, waiting, waiting out slow Wi-Fi. Before heading back down to Long Beach, I thought it might be nice to take a drive west to the Bay Area to visit family, a nice bulk of my cousins and an aunt and uncle living there. And since I’d be there, why not check out a spot that I’d heard about for years from a co-worker of mine, who’d raved of a certain coffee place with delicious waffles ever since returning from a conference in San Francisco. Blue Bottle Coffee. I looked it up.
First lesson learned was that this place was no longer just a Bay Area favorite; that there were now a couple of locations in Southern California. But I also discovered was that not all of their outposts serve waffles. And I wanted a waffle; after finding that the LA stores were waffle-challenged, I figured this was my chance.
I’d expected to have to cross the Bay Bridge to get to a Blue Bottle before visiting with my family in Oakland, paying a toll and shelling out even more to park at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. But be still my heart – there was a location in Oakland, and – gasp! – it served waffles! It was on.
The morning of my outing, I overslept and had difficulty getting the kids awake as we’d resorted to staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 while on vacation, settling down for breakfast each morning by 11:15. I’d planned to get to Blue Bottle by 10:00 – sip coffee, do a bit of writing, let my wonderful waffle digest and still have plenty of time to meet up with my cousins for lunch. By the time we finally got on the freeway, it was 9:30. In my haste, I looked up the website on my phone just before pulling out of the driveway, thumbing through the site until I saw “Oakland” and then mapped the address – 300 Webster Street.
With traffic, we arrived at 11:00, my youngest just as ravenous for the place as I was after all the waffle talk. I was pumped about my coffee, but oh how thrilled was I to finally get a Blue Bottle Coffee waffle.
“Oh, we don’t serve waffles at this location. Those are at the WC Morse location.” Yes. I was at the wrong place. What I hadn’t noticed before was that there were TWO Oakland locations; so while I was correct about an Oakland site having waffles, when I’d looked up the address before leaving, I’d done so for the wrong Oakland restaurant.
But I’m Dianderthal – and when I’m hungry for something, you best believe I’m going to get it. I still ordered my drink at the Webster spot – likely the best latte I’ve ever had in my time here on the planet with its pure, rich flavor that needed no further enhancement in the form of a sweetener – but took it to go along with a Snickerdoodle for my youngest kid, who could only shake her head at my goof. It would be tight with a time for lunch already scheduled, but I HAD to get to this WC Morse location.
And get there I did – eventually, as I had to get from the 300th to the 4200th block in town. Once I made it, I was fortunate enough to find a parking spot, taking the short walk over by myself, the kids probably worried about how I might react should things go badly.
And this is when I found my potential second home – plenty of light and high ceilings and busy, bustling people, none of them perturbed by (or perhaps unaware of) my bulky camera, fixed on the space, the fixings and clicking away. I could go on about how fascinated I am by Blue Bottle, mentioning their training labs, free coffee tastings, the thought that goes into individualizing each of their locations to fit the neighborhoods in which they stand, the fact that they run a coffee machine repair shop – but you’ve likely stopped reading by now anyway (I do have a tendency to go on in these posts, don’t I?).
I’ve gone on long enough so I’ll just say here that the lengthy trip that brought me to my first Blue Bottle waffle (and my second Blue Bottle location) was very much worth it. Hand held, it was crisp and thick, the insides sugary and fluffy. Thank goodness the locations in Southern California are waffle negative or I might lose my home, lose my marriage due to my addiction.
I’d still like to sample some of the drip coffee the next time I’m in downtown LA. Maybe they’ll bring their waffles here soon – I’d be willing to sign a 2-year lease for a window seat near the waffle iron if they ever do.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Oakland’s “Waffle” location (with other breakfast items)
Oakland’s coffee and other treats (no waffles) location
300 Webster Street
and locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York
And lunch with the cousins was excellent – we spent time at Rolling Dunes on Oakland’s Lakeshore Avenue; a cozy “after church” kind of place with homey, succulent dishes – pastas, sandwiches, breakfast items. The kids and I enjoyed our delicious meals, and even more appreciated catching up with the cousins.
3331 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland