Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Great Day with Gatsby

Written By: Pascale Kanaan

Tucked away in the Mercado del Lago plaza off of Via de Ventura, lives a lovely little gem called Altitude Coffee Lab, my newest discovery/obsession. Not only do they serve the most heavenly coffee, roasted and brewed in-house, but this hospitality haven has, well, just the most magical of vibes. Maybe it’s their perfect little dog-friendly patio that overlooks the lake…where when the breeze hits just right, you catch a whiff of the fresh-grown rosemary and basil that is used to spruce up their seasonal small plates. Or maybe it’s the warm welcome that you get from their humble yet talented staff every time you visit. Or perhaps, it’s their homemade menu, made entirely up of local fresh ingredients. I don’t know what it is about this place, but I never want to leave! 

Neither did Gatsby. It was my five-month-old yorkie pup’s first day out, and I have to say.. this was the most well-behaved he has been since I got him. At 10am on this gorgeous first day of Fall, we claimed a cozy couch on the patio and made it ours for the next five hours (literally). I watched my fair share of dogs come and go with their owners and noticed that, humans and canines alike, everyone seemed to be in a blissful stupor. It was kind of like spending the day in heaven.

Only 19 days old, and you can tell Altitude has already garnered the respect of it’s locals (that was my third visit already). It is obvious that entrepreneur, Paul Musikanth, former professional golfer, Craig Matthew, and Executive Chef, Collin Craig clearly know the perfect recipe for repeat business. Altitude is not your average soon-forgotten coffee house. Like it‘s name suggests, it is truly on another level. Guests are served an “elevated experience“ every time they visit. A true coffee "laboratory", the expert staff of brewers and roasters experiment with rare coffee beans in search of the perfect cup-of-joe formulas. And as if their stellar coffee isn’t reason enough to become a loyal customer, their plan to expand their menu and acquire a liquor license is yet another reason to frequent this fab spot. Chef Collin was telling me what he loves best about this place is his ability to be creative in the kitchen. He has free reign to prepare whatever inspires him in the moment.

Auntie Chantie (that's what Gatsby calls her) started her morning off with a lovely loose leaf tea and a spinach, roasted red pepper and feta quiche before she had to leave for work. I went for an iced soy latte and a delicious tomato, egg and cheddar breakfast sandwich. Several hours later, there Gatsby and I still were– he was sprawled out on the couch, hair blowing in the wind, enjoying a little doggie nap, while I enjoyed a little treat of my own when Chef brought me out a scrumptious M&M brownie. As if breakfast and dessert wasn’t enough, I stayed for lunch too! Sandy met up with me and we indulged in the Fancy Nancy aka “The queen of all ham & cheese” (proscuitto, roasted red peppers, smoked fontina and olive oil poached shallots with a side of homemade pickles) and a delicous Caprese Salad with Basil Aioli.

It was definitely a day to remember. Fabulous F&B, top-notch hospitality, a beautiful breeze… and quality time with my Gatsby. What more can a girl ask for?! Thank you Altitude for helping me kick off my favorite season the right way :) 

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