Fashion and Foam: Cafe Ventana

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Author Shannon L. Alder wrote, “The best kind of happiness is a habit you’re passionate about.” For our favorite coffee shops, that happiness stems from the habit. We get into a comforting groove. We go time and time again. We recognize the baristas. When we order, the names of our favorite drinks roll off our tongues with ease. We know the best time of day to go to ensure that our special spot is empty, just waiting for us to spread out our notebooks, plug in our chargers, and set down our coffee mugs. Naturally, it is difficult to deviate from these favorite coffee shop habits. The Fashion and Foam column strives to both highlight these habits of Wash U happiness and present new possibilities: such as Cafe Ventana. Since the coffee shop is located on the SLUH campus near IKEA, it is probably not the perfect candidate to become your second home. However, Cafe Ventana is worth the 10-15 minute drive.

The unique spot is impossible to miss on account of the hand painted “Cafe Ventana” sign stretched across the entire brick side wall. A cottage-esque metal gate marks the path into what a Wash U student could only describe as “a hipster Kayaks meets old ski lodge”. The coffee shop has a little of everything. From phenomenal yogurt with homemade granola (model Meg Stolberg bought one and could not pass up grabbing a second one for the road), to beignets fried right behind the counter. They are sprinkled with powdered sugar and have the ability to transport you to the streets of New Orleans. Cafe Ventana offers all of your coffee shop classic drinks, pastries, and sandwiches. However, Cafe Ventana goes beyond classic. They breathe life into a traditional latte with speciality house lattes such as Wisehopper (sage, mint, mocha), Coffee and Cigarettes (clove, vanilla, nutmeg), Rosemary’s Baby (fresh rosemary, honey), and more. The spices are made in-house, and you can even add a shot of liquor if you are looking for a classier way to pregame. They serve wine, beer, and hot apple cider alongside their smoothies, juices, and iced tea. Their menu starts off with a bang featuring “Good Libations” such as a Hurricane, Mimosa, Bloody Mary, and even Absinthe Ritual.

Cafe Ventana extends their unique take on classics from their menu to their decor. Traditional wooden chairs and tables of varying heights are arranged around a glass covered trap door that peeks into their storage room. A grand stone fireplace is the backdrop to a circle of four leather chairs. A large circle booth is wedged in the corner just waiting for the cast of How I Met Your Mother to claim it. Bar seats in the back of the cafe give customers the ability to look out through the old, black industrial style awning windows of the enclosed patio that is perfect for either a morning with your mom or an evening of laughs with your friends in the night air.

While no beignet can ever replace the convenience of Kayaks or Kaldis, Cafe Ventana is a hidden source of happiness waiting to become your new once a month habit.

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