My introduction to coffee houses was in the summer of 1985, in a little establishment on France’s southern coast.
This was before the proliferation of Starbucks and independent shops in Texas. And, until then, my experience with coffee was limited to Folgers and Coffee-mate.
I was a little homesick and it showed. I remember an unabashed, young barista who tried to cure my obvious melancholy by waltzing with a broom. Without asking, he served me a café au lait, sweetened with two sugar cubes. I’ve been chasing the taste of that coffee, served hot and golden brown, ever since. But these days, good coffee is easy to find. What I’ve really been trying to do all these years was to import the curative and communal comfort of that French coffee shop. I’ve had success. Not a week goes by that I don’t walk into Mod Coffeehouse in the island’s downtown, where I’m sure to see a familiar face, meet a friend and be greeted by a barista who’ll make me smile.
We dedicate this issue to the people, places and foods that keep us warm.
In keeping with our “Some Like it Hot” theme, we’ve included listings of coffee shops and features on tea and rounded up some of the best places to find a steaming bowl of gumbo or chili. Of course, such lists can never be complete. If we’ve snubbed one of your favorites, tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And may your days be filled with warmth and dancing baristas.
Big thanks to the Mod Squad
Coast Monthly would like to extend warm gratitude to the baristas and bakers at Mod Coffeehouse, 2126 Postoffice St. in downtown Galveston. The shop has been a popular gathering spot for years and was perfect for our cover shoot. We’d like to thank owner Holly Hopkins and Mod patrons for allowing us use of the shop. Also deserving of special thanks is Rachel Delanoix, a booking and events coordinator for Mod who made the photo shoot go so smoothly. She’s also a “bakerista” — a baker and barista in one.
Helping to create the beautiful latte art on the cover and inside pages were baristas Hanna Gonzales, who has been with Mod for four-and-a-half years and Cory Clark, who has been with Mod for four years.
While all Mod baristas make beautiful latte art, Gonzales and Clark have participated in extensive training and professional development in the craft of coffee. You can read more about them in this issue.
A big thanks to Natalie Villarreal, a bakerista who provided scrumptious and stylish nautical-themed cookies for our shoot. And we can’t forget barista Michael Coffey, who held down the bar while others pitched in to make the cover shoot a success.