Eternally on the hunt for the tastiest of everything, I figured I'd use my two breakfasts in Richmond as opportunities to find exceptional coffee. Ultimately I was foiled -though fortunately I stopped by Lamplighter on the way out of town, thank you Joy from MAFWS for the rec- both days, but the first attempt did yield a pretty great story. It begins... When I checked in to the Hilton Garden Inn, the front desk agent let me know that the hotel shuttle would happily take me anywhere within a two mile radius. I didn't pay much attention to that nugget until the next morning when I wanted to go to Lift Coffee but didn't have time to walk there and back and still get to the conference on time. I inquired about the shuttle and was directed to a perfectly coiffed middle-aged man who seemed exceedingly put out that I wished to hop a ride. I told him my destination, and he sighed and said, "Why would you want to go there? It's blocks away."
"Well, sir, because I've heard Lift has very good coffee but I don't have enough time to walk."
"Well, there is a place just one block down..." (this would obviate the need for the shuttle but OK) "so let me take you there first. It's called Richmond on Broad."
I was fairly taken aback but simply shrugged and said "OK" because we had to go in that direction first in order to make the turn back to Lift. When we got to ROB, however, Mr. Poo pulled over and said with dripping faux geniality, "Let me get the door for you." I knew immediately that while ROB might have perfectly good food, there was no way they were going to have anything beyond drip and superautomatic coffee.
At this point I was so taken aback that I just went with it. Coif drove away faster than you could spit. I did have a nice bowl of oatmeal and sample my first cronut, but I also wished for a real espresso machine and fresh beans. Can you get over that guy?
The next morning, needing to check out anyway, I decided to drive myself to Lift but was again thwarted by a street fair and an unholy mix of barricades and one way streets. ROB was closed for pete's sakes so Starbucks it had to be.
Later that afternoon, I was rewarded by an excellent cappuccino at Lamplighter, the one on Addison near (or in?) Carytown. Just-roasted beans, active grinders, hipster baristas, latte art, the works.