If you have not noticed, and it is difficult not to notice, the temperature is finally settling into its Fall mode which means colder temps cannot be too far away. Of course, this is Minnesconsin, so it could be seventy-five above or twelve degrees below zero tomorrow. If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day and maybe it will be more in your tolerance zone. Heck, you might even be able to experience two or three seasons all in one day around here. Some might see this as a hinderance, while others some see it as a blessing. This time of the year though, when getting out and about, most will agree that there is an increase in consumption of “drinks that warm the body up.” Coffee, Cappuccinos, Hot Cocoa, Tea and just about anything else that brings the warmth back to the extremities (yes, even a little Fireball) becomes the beverage of choice. Here are a couple suggestions of places to check out when you are out and about that offer some great options of “warm ya up” type beverages.
The first stop is Dunn Brothers Coffee at 919 Vermillion Street in the Schoolhouse Square building in Hastings. In addition to the smells of freshly roasted and ground coffee and warm baked goods is the sound of laughter that you are always greeted by when you walk in. That laughter might be coming from other folks who are out and about, sitting by the fireplace or at one of the tables scattered about the place or one of the staff members working incredibly hard to keep the lines moving. During the morning rush, both the line in the shop and the drive-thru are active, and this staff, while one of the friendliest in town, is also one of the most efficient as well. While the old saying is true, “good things are worth the wait,” there has never been a wait that was so intolerable, that it wasn’t worth it. If you are fussy when it comes to your coffee drink offering, it is not a problem at Dunn Brothers. Their crew is there for you, and it is obvious when you hear the person in front of you order a “large, caramelized almond latte, with sugar free caramel and sugar free almond flavorings, almond milk and not so hot” and the reply from the barista is, “no problem.” It may be a bit frustrating to the person looking for a refill of their light roast, the wait really is not that bad because again, this staff is very efficient and friendly. So, if you are out and about, looking for a great cup of java or “fluffy coffee type drink,” the staff at DB’s is ready to serve you, and don’t forget to try one of their fresh made breakfast or lunch items.
Another great stop for a great warm drink when out and about is Froth & Cork at 110 4th Street East in Hastings. While there is no drive-thru, once you are inside the 100% independent, locally owned and operated coffee shop, you will not want to leave for a bit. The atmosphere is quite welcoming and the staff, like Dunn Brothers, is very efficient and friendly. The wait, especially on the weekend might be a bit more than any other coffee shop in town and so worth it. There are plenty of comparisons between the two coffee shops being reviewed in this feature, but one thing that you can only find at any shop around is the small-town, hometown charm and character awaiting you at Froth & Cork. Also, there are beer, wine, and spirits which while not warm drinks… well, you know. They have some great “grub” options as well and a very popular, strongly recommended “toastie” is the “Hammie Sammie” which features ham, provolone, and cheddar cheese with honey mustard on a panini pressed sourdough bun. The sandwich is served with a bag of chips. The drinks are delicious made with high quality ingredients and again, the atmosphere at F& C is something special. The various gathering spaces, including the upstairs area which boasts some great shared office and workspace for those whose careers allow some flexibility on where they complete their daily workload, Froth & Cork is worth checking out when you are out and about FOR SURE.
What if you are just looking for a nice cup of coffee. Check out the Nelson-Lucking Post #47 American Legion in Hastings. Judging by personal consumption only, it never fails that when having a little breakfast at “The Legion,” at a minimum, four cups of coffee compliment the meal. If four plus cups of coffee are drained in an hour by an average to above average coffee drinker, you know it is good. Plus, the view of the bridge and Mississippi River at any time of the year is a bonus that no other location in Hastings currently provides. The website says, “Where America’s heroes and our local community gather to celebrate freedom and honor those who protect it.” The support a cup of coffee, and/or bite to eat at the Nelson-Lucking Post #47 American Legion provides a bonus for many patrons. If you are out and about a bit later in the day, you just might be able to partake in a couple of those other beverages that might warm you up… like a coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream, a Hot Toddy or even that shot of Fireball. No matter what, just make sure to stay warm (and safe/sober) while you are out and about as the temperatures start to fall. If you have any places that you think we should review or know of any upcoming events that would benefit from being featured in our “Out and About” section, please send an email to [email protected] Your input is greatly appreciated and important for this featured part of The Journal. In advance, thank you for your assistance.