Yes, sometimes I must trek to another 'hood to discover a different cup of Joe and a way to soothe the soul. When liquid Valium is not available, head over to Atelier La Colombe in the West Loop, www.lacolombe.net.
Or, La Colombe Torrefaction. I know, such a big name for a tiny cafe. However, it is worth a visit. I applaud the founders, Todd Carmichael and Jean Philippe Iberti, who refer to their creation as "culinary coffee." They are serious about their coffee...but, not in a snooty way.
Here's the thing, it does feel like an artist's studio -- a gathering spot for creative folks and entrepreneurial types. It's a clean, open space, inviting even the most jittery java junkies to calm down and take a deep breath.
The Roasters and Baristas are in the groove. La Colombe is dedicated to fair and ethical trade with coffee growers around the world. So, sip with a good conscience and make Sean Penn happy, because these coffee connoisseurs are buying beans from Haiti.
It also feels good to have someone care that much about brewing a delicious Gibraltar -- exquisite shots of espresso and steamed milk, topped with a foamy flourish. Located down the street from the shuttered Red Light and Marche restaurants, it gives the West Loop a much-needed touch of class and renewal.
Now, let's hope nobody opens a Hooters across the street!
955 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607