WORDS BY ELIZABETH BARKER & LAURA JANE FAULDS, ILLUSTRATION BY JEN MAY
1st COURSE: FRENCH ONION SOUP
LJ: When my Dad came to visit me in London we ate at Balthazar. On the morning of the day we ate at Balthazar we went to Kentish Town and one of my eyelids was swollen because I am allergic to my housemate Pearl the beagle's dander but I hadn’t figured it out yet so I spent most of the day freaking out about eye diseases. We went to the London Bridge and it was boring so we took a bus that started with the letters RV which I think stood for River which took us to Covent Garden. We were an hour and a half early for our reservation so I went into a store called the Astrology Shop while my dad stood outside the Astrology Shop doubting the necessity of its existence— personally, I sort of hated the Astrology Shop, but then I felt like, If I hate the astrology shop, then who does the Astrology Shop have left???
After the Astrology Shop we went to a pub situated in the upper corner of a Flatiron-shaped building and my dad had a Jameson’s and I drank a cider. My dad had a nice view out the window and looked out of it, watching all the people do their things and live their lives. I had a nice view of my the guy sitting next to my dad.
I spaced out and thought Cider is wine made of apples and I wished that cider would do a better job of marketing itself as apple wine but also, and probably more importantly, wished that I could hang out with my cool Jameson’s-drinking Dad on a more regular basis. I was angry with London for not being the place where my Dad lives.
We left and walked through the part of Covent Garden that is a market. It smelled like the Axe deodorant body spray factory. We arrived at Balthazar a half hour early for our booking but Balthazar were cool with it. The dining room was sprawling and noisy and I felt tiny and useless inside of it, like an ant that is small for its age. I looked around. I will never be a rich person who is from Hong Kong, I thought.
Our waitress was ugly in the purest sense of the word. She would have been well-cast as a no-nonsense peasant lady helping a cow give birth in Ireland circa 1875. Her ugliness made me think that she was going to be a really good server but she wasn’t. She was just about the brusquest person I ever met.
Dad and I shared a half bottle of Chablis and it tasted like Chablis. My dad ordered cauliflower soup and the Dover sole, which he badassly de-boned himself, much to the chagrin of the Balthazar employee whose job it was to de-bone it tableside. My order was a no-brainer: French onion soup and a Nicoise salad. It would take a hell of a lot of extenuating circumstances to have me eat at a French restaurant and not order French onion soup and a Nicoise salad. I bet even on the day I was born my infant self knew in some vague way that I would grow up to be a person who near-exclusively ordered French onion soup and Nicoise salads at French restaurants.
French onion soup is the exception to a rule: normally, I don’t have time for soup. (Another thing I’ve recently realized I don’t have time for: slicing my own pizza. You know, I wasn’t joking around when I grew up and decided not to become a pizza chef.) Ideally, when it comes to food, I just stab things with a fork and then shove them in my mouth. If the food is really good, fine, I’ll use a knife. But ideally I wouldn’t. Spoons are okay sometimes, like for yogurt or cereal. Yogurt and cereal are firm, and they don’t threaten to fall out of the spoon’s belly if you aren’t super confident and focused on the spoon’s journey from the bowl to your mouth. Don’t even get me started on pho— the dribbliest aspects of spoon usage mixed with the most labour-intensive aspects of using a knife, only they don’t even give you a knife! You could use the time it takes you to eat a third of a bowl of Pho to run, like, eight errands. I could maybe get on board with a bowl of minestrone but I’d rather eat all the chunky ingredients without the soup part. And pureed soups are just like, ugh. I grew teeth for a reason.
But French onion soup is something different. When I was a kid I went through a phase of pretty much refusing to eat in restaurants that didn’t serve French onion soup. French onion soup (or, FOS) is soup with some real backbone. It’s got a really ursine energy to it, fat and meaty and brown. One of my favorite things is when dishes that don’t have actual pieces of meat in them still have meat in them, i.e. the beef stock in FOS or greens sautéed in bacon fat. And then it’s got soggy bread in it (I really like soggy food), and a whole sweet tangle of slithery dark onion bits that sink to the bottom of the bowl like buried treasure hidden at the bottom of the ocean. French onion soup has a real “Ariel from The Little Mermaid’s grotto” vibe to it. Oh and then there’s cheese! Heaps and heaps of burnt (I also love burnt food) and bubbling cheese. If there was one soup in the world you could eat with a fork, it would be French onion.
The French onion soup I ate at Balthazar was the best French onion soup I’ve ever had. Guess what it had loads of in it??? No! Seriously! Guess. Just guess. Just come up with a little guess in your head. Try to think of the number one ingredient that could make the most soul-warming and nostalgia-inducing food imaginable even MORE soulful and evocative. Your hint is… Christmas.
Okay! You give up. It was CLOVE. I wanted to curl up and fall asleep inside that clovey bowl of soup like a puppy in a velvet dog bed. It made me wish I was a little kid again, when all you have to worry about is which is your favorite kind of soup and the answer to some really easy math equation and your parents are always there and they keep you so safe and they love you so much and you’re not embarrassed about loving them back, which is cool. They own a house and a couch and a television and a million other things and you can use all their shit for free; in fact they want you to. You can curl up under a blanket and lie on their laps, and you’re watching either Frasier or Entertainment Tonight and it would be snowing out, but you wouldn’t have to leave the house unless you wanted to and even if you did it would be in a car that your mom already pre-warmed up for you so all you have to do is run from the house to the car and you can just sit and chill inside the cozy hot car while she scrapes the ice and snow off the windows with a scraper. If I could take that feeling and turn it into a taste it would be that clovey French onion soup, ideally accompanied by a glass of Beaujolais, because what can I say? I grew up.
LIZ: I ate my French onion soup at Taix, which is a French restaurant in Echo Park. I hardly ever go to Taix anymore but when I first moved to L.A., about 11 years ago, sometimes my friends and I would hang out in the lounge with these dudes who lived in our building. The dudes were all older than we were and musicians; they were in a semi-big-deal rock band in the late-'90s/early '00s, the kind of band that would get played on heavy metal/hard rock radio, if heavy metal/hard rock radio still existed today. I low-level-worshipped them because they'd devoted most of their lives to being in bands and I'd never really known anyone like that, and it all seemed very brave and glamorous. Their couch was a row of seats ripped out of their band's old van, and one time when the glasses were all dirty Stephen drank his wine from a measuring cup, and their cutely degenerate lifestyles seemed glamorous to me too. I used to refer to our building as Grunge Melrose Place, because our lives entwined and sometimes shit got sordid, and also because the building was disgusting and falling apart and we were all kind of slackers who loved complaint rock. I can't remember why Taix was the dudes' spot of choice, but I do remember going to see Matt and Mike's band play in the lounge one Friday night. They did a cocktail-jazz version of "War Pigs," and at the "Satan laughing, spreads his wings" lyric, they all flapped their arms like they were birds/Satan and their arms were wings. Cute move.
But yeah, my soup. I went to Taix on some sort of weekday: I'd been writing work stuff in the coffee/ice cream shop across the street and on the walk home I decided What the hell and headed over to the Taix lounge and sat at the bar. Nearly everyone else in the lounge was a guy in his 50s and 60s, drinking post-work beers and chatting up the bartenders. On the bar were pencils for Keno, and the stereo system was playing Edith Piaf or some other melancholy/whimsical music to remind you that you're in a French restaurant that's very earnest about its Frenchness. I got a $4 glass of riesling and it was perfectly un-sweet. And then my soup arrived and it looked like this:
Here's the part where I'll reveal that I was totally incompetent in my food journalism on my trip to Taix. I can tell you that the broth was vaguely winey, like it was made with the wine I was drinking, and that the cheese was overwhelming in a mostly enjoyable way. Each time I'd go to take a spoonful of soup, I'd start twirling the cheese around my spoon and get hypnotized by the twirling and just keep it going, twirling twirling twirling twirling. And each time I'd stop twirling and bring the spoon to my mouth, the very good-looking bartender would walk by at the exact moment that I was disengaging from the soup and trying to negotiate the strands of melted cheese stretching from the spoon to my mouth. It was little embarrassing but I didn't care. I was in another place. I'm not all that nostalgic for when I used to hang out at Taix with all those guys when I was 25 and 26, but I liked the feeling of sitting there at the black-leather bar and lazily recalling lots of moments I hadn't thought about in years. And then I got caught up in the idea that there are all these spaces you can go to trigger the memories you'd never retrieve on your own. It's kinda like tourism: visiting a place and taking what you need from it in a way that's both cheap and naive. It's unadventurous but cozy and maybe the easiest way to practice emotional manipulation on yourself. I'm into it. I want more.
So anyway. Post-soup, I headed to the bathroom and took selfies for five hours. The Taix ladies room is gorgeous, all pink-and-gold wallpaper and golden lighting and fake pink flowers and stupid pictures of Paris. I like my shirt so much.
2nd COURSE: SPAGHETTI ALLA WHATEVER
LJ: I was going to eat the spaghettini with samphire and pangrattato at the hipstery Italian place two restaurants away from mine after I got off work last Sunday, but then they made us a giant pan of gratinee aubergine for staff meal, the aubs (yup, "aubs") and cherry tomatoes drowning to death in Bechamel sauce, a browning, blackening crust of cheese curling itself around the edges of the pan like knuckles gripping on for dear life and I mean come on. It was served alongside two ceramic bowlfuls of pork belly strips and lamb riblets and brunch service had been the roughest, and it was free. I would NEVER want to be the lifeless kind of classy person who could say nope to that killer of a spread just so they could go spend money on something more innovative and less fattening. On an empty stomach no less!
We ate til the Bechamel congealed and we all felt sick. My manager let me have a glass of Jurassic Pinot Noir in place of the usual revolting boxed Nebbiolo as my staff drink and my bartender, who is from Liverpool and lives on a boat, kept covertly topping up my glass. I drank until my cheeks were red. Liverpool and I told each other stories about what our lives were like up until the moment we first met each other. I felt rough and safe and like the wine's earthy nose; I felt very, very far away from the part of my personality that feels like I am failing if my hair is dirty and I’m not eating the coolest spaghettini in the world and then writing an award-winning novel about my experience of eating it. (My hair, by the way, was dirty.)
Five days later I made a plan with myself to go and eat the coolest spaghettini in the world before work on Friday but that was the night I had to tell my boss that I was about to cut my hours down to part-time so I could go be a junior sommelier at the 48th best restaurant in England, according to the Sunday Times, who you should probably believe. The vibes of that conversation were so preemptively shitty that I could barely even bear to eat spaghettini in the vicinity of their presence.
I decided to go eat spaghetti alla pescatora at an uncool-looking restaurant called Casa Mamma that I found out existed by Googling “Italian food King’s Cross." I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and entertained myself by watching myself say Casa Mamma and sangiovese and mascalese in an idiotic Italian accent. I curled my fingers into a little clam-shape and kissed them and then spread them apart and let all the kissing energy flow out of me and into the Universe.
I stood at the bus stop waiting for the bus to take me to Casa Mamma but then the bus wasn’t coming and I started getting spaghetti-anxiety so I walked away from the bus stop. I said “Hey buddy, you can’t stress out about spaghetti, I don’t have to explain why, you just know that you can’t,” and put Elizabeth Cotten on my headphones. I can’t listen to too much music in London, London is too beautiful for me to be able to handle music on top of it; it’s overstimulating. But Elizabeth Cotten playing guitar is different. It's like a lavender-scented pillow crossed with someone kissing your forehead when you have a headache crossed with a Chardonnay grape. She makes my life a lot easier.
I wandered around my neighbourhood listening to Elizabeth Cotten sing about how when she dies she wants to be buried under the route of a freight train called the Number Nine. She calls the Number Nine a “she”; trains are girls, like ships. I walked to nowhere but passed a pub I always pass, The Cally. It is painted clay-grey and flies a Union Jack and had a sign up in its window advertising how a plate of pasta costs five pounds before 3 PM. The sign looked like a flyer for a pizza place from 1992. It was after 3 but the sign implied that at very least they served pasta there at all.
I went in and ordered a Diet Coke with ice and a straw and thought I was going to order the Greek spaghetti (spaghetti with Greek salad ingredients mixed into it) but then changed my mind to spaghetti Bolognese in the middle of ordering so I could say “Bolo-nyay-suh” in the crappy accent of my earlier mirror self aloud. I sat down and studied for my WSETs and eavesdropped on the performance evaluation taking place at the table next to mine. A girl who worked at a bank’s Australian boss thought she was generally charming BUT was sometimes three-to-five minutes late for work which is fine as long as you communicate that you are running late via text message or email which she did not. He said “go the extra mile” about once per sentence. The girl agreed that she needed to “go the extra mile” on a more regular basis. I kept thinking of the time Kourtney Kardashian told her mother “That’s so embarrassing for your life, and your soul” during a nude photo shoot and tried to project “That’s so embarrassing for your life and your soul” energy onto both of them. I felt the Australian manager’s eyes boring into me. He was watching me eat my spaghetti, watching noodles fall out of my mouth and sauce splash all over my face.
That spaghetti Bolognese was some of the lowest-quality food I’ve ever paid money for in my adult life, but it wasn’t even bad. I never think food is bad. It’s all generally fine, unless it’s literally rotten. I only ever get annoyed at food if it’s expensive and a tiny portion and it’s mediocre. Even if it’s two of those variables at once, I don’t care: it has to be all three. The spaghetti Bolognese was only one. I basically loved it.
There was tons of spaghetti Bolognese on the plate, tons and tons of it. I didn’t finish it. I ate all the bites with that ugly grated cheese melted onto them and then got bored of the experience of eating it. I heard a loud bang next to my head and jumped. I looked up. A rich-looking little jerk kid walking alongside her nanny had smacked on the window, just to be a dick, and was laughing smugly to herself about it. So I smiled at her, attempting to teach her a lesson in the importance of not being an asshole, then worried that it may only have positively reinforced her asshole behaviour.
The barman at the Cally asked me if I liked the pasta and I said yes and then he came back and asked me if I liked the pasta again, I think because he’d forgotten he already asked me. But in the moment I was paranoid that he knew I was a fancy sommelier food person who was conceptually supposed to be eating cooler pasta and was trying to catch me in a lie. But I wasn’t lying; I did like the pasta! It taught me a valuable lesson in the only cure for spaghetti-anxiety being eating a giant plate of spaghetti.
LIZ: So far my favorite thing about Strawberry Fields Whatever Intercontinental Supper Club is I've started a new ritual of getting spaghetti from Pizza Buona every Sunday night from now until whenever. Sunday night's unofficially takeout night on Valentine Street; we eat our respective suppers in front of the big TV and watch John Oliver and Anthony Bourdain and drink some wine and it's comfy and chill. My first spaghetti supper night was three Sundays ago, and I got spaghetti and meatballs:
Pizza Buona is a pizza parlor at the corner of Sunset and Alvarado. There's a jukebox and good beer. When you're waiting for your takeout you have to kind of hover around the doorway to the kitchen, and it's fun to watch all the dudes shuffling around and lifting the lids off pots and putting the lids back on and sliding pizzas in and out of the big silver oven.
The spaghetti is never fantastic. The sauce is so salty and though I love too-salty things, the saltiness precludes it from ever having a real homemade kind of feel for me. I'm really into the movie/TV trope of someone earnestly cooking homemade spaghetti sauce and stirring it with a big wooden spoon and asking another person (daughter, wife, boyfriend, whoever) to taste the sauce to see "if it needs anything." And the taster takes the big wooden spoon and gingerly touches his/her lips to it and then slurps the sauce up, pauses thoughtfully, then murmurs something like "Hmm...good. Maybe more oregano?" It's always a very warm moment. I feel like that moment never happens at Pizza Buona and that's fine, I'm okay with it. I'm sure they've mostly got everything locked down by now.
So last Sunday I got puttanesca and Pizza Buona gave it to me in a beer box, which I was really into. John and Alisa got Thai food and had it delivered and it took 8 million years for their food to get there but then it did and John had ordered some kind of pumpkin dish and everything smelled very pumpkin-y and Thai-food-y and amazing. I didn't take a picture of my puttanesca but I can tell you that Pizza Buona was incredibly generous with the canned olives and jarred capers, and that the saltiness of the olives and capers was very oceany, like the entire ocean was confined within their little spongy selves. The garlic bread was unremarkable and the salad was wilted from being drowned in Italian dressing and sitting in its styrofoam cup for too long. I loved it all.
On Sunday we watched the third episode of The Affair which is my number-one Sunday night program at the moment: it's sexy and beachy and Ruth Wilson and Maura Tierney are such intense babes, and I appreciate that the show's a really weird mix of plodding and over-the-top. Slow trash is definitely my fave genre, I've decided. In the show's first episode there's a big gathering at Pacey from Dawson's Creek's family's house - they're locals and they own a ranch, and Pacey and his brothers are all strapping and bruisery and scampish - and everyone's sitting around this huge table, eating lasagna and drinking beer from the bottle. I don't care that it's maybe a little ham-fisted of the writers, to have the Lockhart boys pair their lasagna with beer instead of wine so that we all understand them to be real salt-of-the-earth-type people. As long as it looks good and feels good and is in line with my own narrative vision, I'm all for it. I like a lazy truth.
3rd COURSE: DOUGHNUTS!
LJ: I ditched a bad vibes trial shift at a restaurant I thought was going to be cooler than the restaurant I work at now but wasn’t and I thought how perfect would it be if on my way to go hang out at the Harrods food hall, which was what I was on my way to go do, I took a picture of the sign in the path to the Charing Cross underground that says Port wines decanted daily for Gentlemen in the proper manner and Port wines is in golden cursive and Gentlemen and proper are in gold italics hanging up across the hall from the creepy magic store it seems like a ghost would run in an episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark but there was a guy passed out in front of it and for a second I thought maybe if I cropped the passed out guy out of the photo it could still be a cool Instagram but then I asked myself who I was even kidding and the answer was obviously nobody. The last thing I wanted was a picture of a passed out guy in my phone’s photo library or whatever it’s called. And there’s no way his drug vibes wouldn’t have been palpable in the Instagram.
I tried to take some pictures of the Harrods food hall that made it look as good as it felt to be inside of it on a black-skied rainy night. I wanted to post one to Instagram and say “Ditched a bad vibes trial shift to come hang out at the Harrods Food Hall because #yolo” underneath it but then I gave up and stood in front of the mousses and terrines display case with my mouth hanging open staring at all the terrines, ornate as gingerbread houses, the dude-ish meat version of a petit-four. I took a picture so I could write myself a poem out of all their different names. Not a very complex poem, just a list of all the different flavors written in a straight line left to right like any other sentence. Duck & Orange, Lobster & Sole, Smoked Salmon & Roquefort, Chicken & Brandy, Pork & Porcini, Venison & Cranberry, Pheasant & Raisin, Duck & Green Peppercorn, Goose. (There it is.) They sound like the names of old-timey law firms or antagonists in a Charles Dickens novel. I walked over to patisserie and tried to find one of the glitter doughnuts I will spend the rest of my life regretting not eating when I visited London and came to Harrods one year ago. They weren’t there, there weren’t any doughnuts anywhere, so I bought a brownie flaked with gold leaf to semi-replicate the fabulousness of eating a doughnut iced in sparkle and tucked it into my bag but then walked a little further and realized that they didn’t have any doughnuts in patisserie because they’ve expanded and now have an entire doughnuts department. No glitter doughnuts, though.
I bought a “Strawberries and Crème” from the megababe doughnut man who reminded me of Iain from the Bingate episode of The Great British Bake-off and realized while he was packing it up that it was actually a cronut. Which I was fine with. It was as good of a day as any to try a cronut for the first time.
Iain asked me if I needed directions to anywhere, which is a cute thing all the Harrods employees are trained to do, and I said I didn’t and thanked him profusely for being hot and giving me a doughnut and then I walked out of Harrods into the rain and night and chucked the brownie because I didn’t want to eat a brownie and a cronut in one night and I knew if I didn’t chuck it I would eat it. I was looking for a place to sit. I thought about my trial shift:
They didn’t play any music at the restaurant, which made me feel like I was dead. All the employees shared the exact same personality type: “bland but extremely rude at the same time,” which is difficult to pull off but boy did they ever nail it. I was paired up with a French girl called “Agathe.” She had dyed-garnet hair and two different shaped eyes and an Om sign tattooed on the back of her neck. She wore a perfume that smelled like walking into the fragrance section of a department store and smelling eighty to a hundred different fragrances mixed together. I crossed Brompton Road and I could still smell the memory of it in my nose-brain and I hoped that the doughnut would erase it.
I popped into an E.A.T to eat my cronut. In case you don’t know what E.A.T is it’s one of those pre-packaged salads and sandwiches deals like a Pret-A-Manger or Au Bon Pain that people who work in offices eat at on forgettable afternoons when they decide that they’re not going to care about what they eat for lunch that day. I bought a beet juice and the guy was like “Just so you know, we’re closing in fifteen minutes” and I was like “Just so you know, I’m going to inhale this fucking cronut in like twenty-five seconds,” and then I sat at a little table and lifted my cronut out of its plastic home and sat it down on a mini picnic blanket I’d fashioned out of two E.A.T napkins. It rained sugar and by the time I was finished my knees were covered in sugar, my skirt was covered in sugar, my peacoat was covered in sugar. I couldn’t discern any major trait of the cronut that made it different from a regular doughnut but I don’t think I’ve eaten a doughnut since December of 2012 so don’t even listen to me. I’m sure it was very different from a regular donut. Doughnut.
The crevices of the croissant-layers were filled with strawberry jam and all I cared about was tasting the strawberry jam. I dragged my finger through the custard crème on top and ate the whole strawberry, including the leaves, because I was in a place of NEEDING to eat the strawberry more than I was in a place of feeling it necessary to remove the leaves from the top of the strawberry before eating the strawberry. It was the strawberry version of the healthy new trend of eating apples from the bottom up so there’s no leftover core. The strawberry equivalent of nose-to-tail cooking.
While I was eating it I knew that later when I wrote about it I wasn’t going to think of much to say about it. It was sweet and it was dough and then was gone. If it were a wine you would call it “indistinct.”
After I finished I sucked crystals of sugar off my fingers and drank a bit of the beet juice and then chucked the beet juice. I felt a demure kind of full: as though the whole doughnut, uneaten, was just chilling in my stomach, perfectly intact. I felt like I was pregnant with a puppy or a gemstone. I left the E.A.T and went to Little Waitrose to do a little grocery shop, and then I walked back to Harrods, through the vegetables and chocolate and hundred billion dollar timepiece departments and down to the wine shop, where I spent thirty pounds on a seven-year-old half-bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape that tasted like you sneezed into a bowl of cinnamon and as the cloud of cinnamon settled you ate a heaping tablespoon of molasses-y cake batter to which some absent-minded pastry chef accidentally added black pepper, because #yolo.
LIZ: I was going to write about the S'morrissey donut I got at Donut Friend when I went there with our pal Melanie from Austria a few weeks ago, but then I decided to make this an all-Echo Park thing for me, so the S'morrissey had to go. (I will say that that donut was wonderful, and the marshmallows were so perfectly almost-burnt, and that the girl at the counter wanted to commiserate with me about Morrissey being sick and I just couldn't. I just can't.) What I'm writing about instead is the beautiful chocolate-and-coconut donut I got at Ms. Donut, which is one of the best places. It's next to a church in a strip mall and it's definitely what Lee Ranaldo's talking about it when he says "Miss Seafood, Miss Cheesecake, a couple of Miss Donuts! The edge of a blade pressed to the throat of your reflected image! Poised!!!!! Yet totally screwed up!!!!!!!!" in the song "Skip Tracer" by Sonic Youth. Along with the donuts and cinnamon rolls and other pastries, they sell cigarettes, cigarette lighters, pain relievers, NyQuil, and packages of ramen. Everything you could ever need, really.
I went to Ms. Donut last Saturday morning, on the way to my buddy Allison's house by the beach. I got a big cup of coffee and a chocolate-and-coconut-covered donut, for a total of two dollars.
My donut was perfection - look how nice and fat it is! The cake part was somehow both dense and fluffy, puffy and crispy. The coconut shreds were crunchy and oily and I realized it makes sense that they call it "coconut meat": you can really sink your teeth into it. The chocolate frosting was very Hostess-Cupcake-frosting-esque and in some places it broke off like an eggshell, or like the candy coating on a Cadbury Mini Egg; in other places it was warm and melty and totally unbreakable. At one point I ripped off a chunk of the cakey part and dunked it into my coffee and I dropped it and it sunk and I fished it out and burned my hand, but it was fine. And the coffee itself was perfectly average, which was great, because perfectly average coffee is my favorite. I think I might literally be allergic to prestige coffee; it always makes the back of my neck feel hot and my stomach feel lurchy and stabby. If I never drink a cup of good coffee again, it'll be too soon.
Saturday was a gorgeous day and Ms. Donut was so sunny inside, and the vibes were sunny too. The radio played "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles and there was a big pumpkin on the counter and the coffee worked really fast and totally got me high. Halfway through my donut an old man came in and he was singing some dreamy and extravagant song to himself as he picked out his donut; we said hi to each other and then his friend came in and joined him and I was glad he had a friend. By the end of my time there I decided that if Ms. Donut was ever in danger of going out of business, I'd just buy it and take it over and work behind the counter. Which I now realize is a bit much. But I still hope I meant it.