Location: Caffe Luna Rosa in Delray Beach, FL
The sun beats brightly through the few thin clouds, but the gentle ocean breeze tempers the heat perfectly. It's the most beautiful day of the trip. The waiter sets a stack of Pacific Island Pancakes with house-made pineapple syrup in front of me, or Paradise Pancakes as I like to call them. One word Delicious. Oh and not to mention the fresh squeezed orange juice and their house blend coffee that is roasted and ground daily. Fresh ground coffee is such a robust aroma, even if you don't enjoy the taste of coffee, there is just something about that smell when the beans start dancing on the burrs.
On Tuesday, I sat here for nearly three hours as I enjoyed my breakfast and people watched. Here I am again today, leisurely nibbling on my food. The hours pass away like minutes. The morning is so mellow and relaxing that I don't even notice that my once hot food has grown cold. I do notice, however, that my Peruvian waiter has kept my steaming coffee cup filled to the brim. Though I sit alone, the place certainly is not a lonely one.
Finally she arrives. I haven't seen her in years. Her long dark hair pulled back with her over-sized tortoise shell sunglasses hiding her blue eyes and a smile that I could never forget. I greet her with a hug and a smile, she replies the same. We sit and catch up on lost time.
"So what are you doing here? Since when did you become a cafe-hopping Carmen Sandiego? she asked with a hint of sarcasm.
"Sometimes, at home, instead of just making coffee I would play a little game. Once or twice a week I would go to a coffee shop or restaurant that I had never been to before. I'd take my laptop and pull up pictures of some exotic destination, leave it on the screen, then when the waitress would come I would say, Give me your finest local brew!
"You are a weird guy. What kind of game is that?"
"I know it sounds silly. But it was a simple and fun little way for me to explore my city and pretend like I was venturing across the globe seeing new sites, smelling new smells...
"So is that why you're here?"
"Sort of. One morning I was having a cup of coffee and the waitress at Panera sort of played along with me pretended like she was from South Africa. For some reason that really excited me. That afternoon at work, I started plotting my first real adventure. I was enjoying the simple things in my hometown. I wanted to do the same in other people's hometowns. And that, my friend, is why I'm here.
Wow! That is a pretty interesting game - sounds like fun!
Then come on a trip with me sometime. You could use a tan on those white legs of yours anyway.
Amidst our laughter, our attention turns to the table next to us as the dapper Peruvian waiter hands the couple their menus. The lady, then asks him Sir, what do you recommend?
I interject, "Pardon me, but I would recommend the Pacific Island Pancakes and an endless cup of their fresh ground house blend coffee I must say, it's like magic under the pink moon."