BEST COFFEEHOUSE - 2004
Of the hundreds of coffee shops in the metro area, there are at least a dozen high-quality establishments we could choose as the best. After all, like Laundromats and hardware stores, where you go for your daily fix is largely determined by where you live. That said, we're very comfortable citing Anodyne, which doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, but does cover the waterfront in terms of providing a reliably satisfying coffee-shop experience. The espresso drinks have all the requisite flavors and brewing options; you want a double-decaf cappuccino mocha with almond? You got it. The straight javas are decently priced ($1.61 for a 16-ounce cup), with dark, medium, decaf, and fair trade roasts all available. The confines neatly split the difference between cramped and cavernous, with a long table that can seat 10 to 12 people for a meeting, a handful of smaller tables, and a couple of nooks with couches and overstuffed chairs for a living-room ambiance. Then there is the raft of extras: Breakfast is available all day and ranges from waffles and omelets to muffins and doughnuts. A lunch and dinner menu includes sandwiches (ham and Swiss, egg salad, tuna salad, you name it), macaroni and cheese, and veggie burgers. There's a wide assortment of teas, soft drinks, and juices, and Sebastian Joe's ice cream for dessert. The music is solid--Tom Waits, last time we were there--and there's no smoking unless the weather's nice and you're at one of the sidewalk tables outside.