Ballad of the neglectful blogger

Friends, readers, coffee lovers, this blogger is ashamed by her own neglect. I mean, it is a bit embarrassing: How it's possible that one may spend a chunk of one's daily time in front of the computer without updating one's long cobwebbed blog is one of the mysteries of online life, and one of many such mysteries I don't know how to solve.

I will, however, offer an olive-branch update.

A couple of weeks ago (although it already feels like light years away, as these things go), my husband, Brett, and I jetted off on a year-late honeymoon to London. Besides the giant clock, the Queen, beef pasties and Jamie Oliver, what else is there to look forward to seeing in London? These two gents, who -- unlike the Queen, bless her heart -- were willing to take we two Americans around to some of the worthwhile cafes of Soho.

Tim Styles has always patiently fielded my ignorant questions about flat whites, which is a drink that continues to elude me both in practice and in theory. To that end, I actually had the nerve to order one in front of him at Flat White, only to basically sum up the experience with, "Oh, so it's kind of just a latte!" To which he generously responded, "Basically?"

Flat white at Flat White

It might have had a bit more air-weight to it than the standard American latte, but the flavor was transported in a similar way. How do you like that for Meister making a huge deal out of nothing? I also had a straight shot at Flat White, whose espresso comes from Square Mile Coffee. It was fruity and bright, and a great relief after much of the drizzle I'd been enduring at local "espresso" bars (where the espresso looks as though it's come out of one of those little aluminum cups).

The second stop we made was the coffee bar at Fernandez & Wells, another Soho outpost and one with two halves: a first largely dedicated to food & wine, and second centered around the coffee. They serve Monmouth Coffee Company coffee here (more on that in a second, hold on), and a trio of stumpies went 'round for Tim, Stephen and myself. (The husband, not much for overcaffeinating himself, patiently tagged along while we waxed absolutely ridiculous about industry stuff.)

"Stubby," which is also how I'd describe myself

F&W has an incredibly appealing aesthetic: very Ninth Street Espresso, with stark white walls, lovely plain wood and a simple, straightforward menu. I really enjoyed my stumpy (pictured above), which is the drink that probably has the most numerous, strange and cutesy permutations of its name -- apparently both in the States and abroad. "Stumpy" might be my favorite, though, as it's often how I think of myself.

Our last stop was the Covent Garden location of Monmouth Coffee Company itself, the birthplace of much of the bean juice we were sampling along the way. I didn't snap any photos in the tiny space (though we did end up sharing a booth with a lovely woman in the most remarkable vintage outfit), but it's a pretty neat-looking place, with high, stiff-backed wooden booths and a tidy whole-bean retail bar in the front. Cups of coffee are brewed to order (Go Team Brew Rail!), and we ended up getting two Colombians and a Yirgacheffe between us as we chattered on.

Have stuffed my proverbial cheeks with enough good coffee to see me through the rest of the week, Brett and I parted ways with our gracious London-coffee-tour hosts and sauntered (well, kind of -- I fairly bounced) over to BFI to see a Preston Sturges movie... but that's neither here nor there, is it?

Thanks again for showing us around, Tim and Stephen, and thanks for the good coffee, Soho! And thanks to all of you whose eyes are skimming this belated entry; I'll try to be better, really I will.