Monday, January 29, 2007

Escape from the Fan

My favorite new coffee shop to frequent (aside from my standby, World Cup) is Captain Buzzy's Beanery in Church Hill. It's small, cozy, and, while it offers a variety of brunch options, isn't in-your-face with vegan products. I only feel the need to point that out is that my first visit to Captain Buzzy's occurred immediately following a trial run at another coffee shop.

The Harrison Street Coffee Shop, located among other VCU venues and residences, was closed the first two times I tried to go there - once for "vacation" in the summer and once before 11 am on Saturday morning. I guess students don't normally get up for coffee before that hour anyway, it just seemed a little strange for coffee shop to open that close to noon. When I finally succeeded in entering the unassuming shop, I was confronted with various meatless and vegan culinary menu items, including "fakin'" and "soysage." I guess I should give them credit for the creative names, but even the pastries were unappealingly vegan, with not a bagel in sight. Was I asking too much of the Harrison Street Coffee Shop? The tea I got was very tasty, but my boyfriend's coffee was watery. We decided not to purchase any food and moved on to Church Hill, having been to World Cup the day before.

Richmond was named for a view of the James River in Church Hill, making the neighborhood one of the most historic in the city. There's also a distinctly eerie feeling about it, considering the gruesome murder of the Harvey family that occurred last winter, and the "rougher" areas that are only a few blocks away. Church Hill is slowly being revamped from run-down into a popular up-and-coming area; the cute, colorful houses are gradually catching up with a handful of quality dining options.

Captain Buzzy's Beanery, which has been in business for two years, is one of the aforementioned local establishments. It occupies a quaint corner of East Broad Street, and has an inviting, cozy atmosphere with an eclectic blend of furniture and decor. A big glass case next to the register contains bagels and a wide variety of baked goods - muffins, scones, cupcakes and chocolate layer cake. The thought of applesauce scones with cinnamon cream cheese filling lures me back to Captain Buzzy's even though I haven't taken the plunge and tried one yet.

On my first trip to the coffee shop I tried one of three types of quiche - spinach and three cheese - which was tasty and supported by a dense yet flaky crust. Last weekend when I returned, I was craving a breakfast sandwich and tea, and I wasn't disappointed. Captain Buzzy's Beanery is everything it should be - quiet, relaxing, and satisfying to a variety of needs. I'm anxious to go back to try some of the soups, lunch sandwiches, and sweets, although I may steer clear of the vegan options.

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