I have to apologize. I was going to write a big, long post about men who wear Crocs (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It was going to be awesomely hilarious and I was going to incorporate my recent visits to the Something Simple Cafe in Hebron, CT into it. But guess what – I got busy today and I suppose it’s not going to happen. But guess what again – I’m still going to write about my dealings with the cafe in this post. Why? Because they’re good people over at that cafe and I feel as though I need to thank them.
Do you know what I feel’s missing, or should I more accurately say, disappearing from the American landscape? I’ll tell you. It’s good hardworking people who have a dream. Now, I’m not going to go into a spiel about how I feel about this or how I feel about that, but what I will say is that I’ve been noticing a bit of a general malaise when it comes to getting out there and really giving it your all to make it happen. I’ve actually recently discovered my brother working his butt off, but for the rest of the world, I don’t know, I just feel like things are stuck in neutral. I’m probably unknowingly projecting here because that’s where I may personally be, but still, I’m almost certain the rest of the world should hold some of the responsibility.
A while back, I was driving through the lovely town of Hebron, CT and noticed a little tussle on my right. I looked over and witnessed a few people doing some work on one of the older buildings in, what I would describe as, the older part of the area. In this corner of the world, there are a few historic structures that have charm – real charm. I’m not sure of the history, but I bet some good honest commerce took place in them. Today, what stands is the same buildings (well preserved) with mostly offices. Real estate offices, a library, a VFW and stuff like that. Well, as it turns out, a new cafe is now occupying one of the buildings as well.
I’ll admit right now, I can be a cynic at times. I don’t know, it’s probably partly my fault, but it’s probably the fault of those who I encounter daily as well. As they say, no one becomes who they are by themselves. Anyway, being the cynic I am, I’ll also admit that I wasn’t planning on visiting any new cafes in the town of Hebron. The particular day I passed by and noticed people working on the old building was probably the same day I had to go food shopping, or something else I had no interest in doing. I wasn’t planning on giving the new cafe further thought.
Let’s fast forward to last week. A week in mid-February 2013.
Laura and I had to vacate the house we’re living in because a realtor had a scheduled showing (story for another time). We were instructed to remove ourselves from the premises for at least an hour. We had done this before, so we were used to the drill. Nothing new – pile the cats into the car and hit the road. In the past, which was all of twice, we went to a pizza place and also picked up some groceries. It’s amazing when you notice how long things actually take when you are watching the clock.
On this particular date, we decided to head into town to check out the new cafe. It wasn’t my idea. It was hers. I resisted, but her voice got a bit tense when she explained, “What else do we have to do? I’m not going back to that pizza place!”
“Okay fine. We’ll go to the cafe. Whatever (being the cynic I am – again)”
It was cold that day. I had my pea coat on and I was wearing a weird white neck warmer as a hat. I also kept my sunglasses on as I walked into the store. One look at me and the lady behind the counter could easily confuse me for a yuppie named Maverick. Honestly, I didn’t care. All I cared about was ordering two cups of coffee and getting out of there. I want you to remember, nice little cafes in the lovely town of Hebron weren’t exactly tops on my list for things to enjoy. I had a running car in frigid weather housing a fine looking woman with her two cats. Coffee and perhaps a cigarette would be nice. I wish I smoked.
I walked through the doors in a typical Connecticut Winter rush. Those who were sitting at the tables didn’t look up. They were more absorbed with whatever they were talking about to notice another guy in a navy blue pea coat. The hat with no top? Maybe. The pea coat – they sell them at the local food market. No shortage of pea coats round these parts.
I made it to the counter and saw a few people milling about. There was what I deduced as the daughter of someone who worked there. There was also a woman who was leaning over behind the counter, who, when she stood up gave me the biggest smile I had seen in any number of weeks.
“Well then! Yes! I’ll take two large coffees to…uh, two large coffees…uh, do you sell coffee here?” Ah, who am I kidding? I stood there, stopped mid sentence and smiled back. I’m not sure what it was that made me forget about all that I was determined to do. I’m not sure if it was the smile, the warmth of the place or simply the fact that, ah, yes, or if it was the fact that someone has decided to shed the malaise I described earlier to get out there and make it happen.
If you’ve read my writing before, you’ll probably agree with me when I tell you that it takes a lot for me to work up the motivation to give a good review. I don’t do it often and I don’t do it because not many establishments I have visited deserve it. True, the River Tavern in Chester has been known to be on the receiving end of my positive reports, but not many others.
Let’s add the Something Simple Cafe to the good list, shall we?
It’s a shame I hadn’t gotten her name in the two visits we made to her establishment, because I sure would’ve liked to mention it here. No worries because you’ll see her running around when you make your own visit. And if she’s reading this post right now, I’m the tall guy who asked for the introduction of white bread loaves. I’m also the guy who asked if I could take a few pictures of the front of your building. I told you I planned on writing a review. Here it is.
The place is nice. They did a great job. It actually forced me to recall my earlier days of visiting Woodstock, NY or a few trips to Pomfret, CT. We can perhaps add Chester, CT and Essex, CT as well. Good times during slow days.
It’s one of those stores that still has a wooden floor. Kind of like an old general store. You can see white paint on the window frames – and when you look out those windows, you can remember the history next door.
It doesn’t exist anymore. Or like I wrote above, it’s disappearing. I’m only grateful that someone close by had the gumption to get up and bring it back for the rest of us. We’ll sit here and form our opinions on the world we live in and she’ll work to make one of the more historic buildings in town look nice so we can stop by for a good eat and drink. It’s people like her who make it better for us.
The second time we stopped by though, we didn’t stay to eat. We took the food back with us because our hour was running short. The cats were getting restless and we decided that we should return them to their proper space on a warm couch near a toasty pellet stove. Cats will be cats. But what we did do was to take the food with us. We both ordered the same thing – “The Veggie Head” (fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, fontina cheese panini).
When ordering, I asked if she could add some sort of mayo or something like that. She replied with two suggestions – a pesto mayo or a spicy pepper sauce. We went with the pepper sauce and weren’t disappointed. It’s good stuff.
I’m going to end this. I’ve already written way too much and you’re probably telling yourself that this is one of the oddest reviews you’ve ever read. Well said, but what I do want to do is to ask you to stop by this cafe in Hebron. Give it a shot and talk to the people inside. They’re really friendly and during your visit, make sure you tell the lady behind the counter that the tall dude with the weird hat sent you.