Sunday, November 20, 2011

My happy place

I know I've mentioned Strands Cafe before but this semester it has taken on new meaning. Last fall my H & R Block Tax Course met on Saturday mornings so I never got to enjoy Strands. Last spring I was so busy working two jobs that I didn't have time or energy to spend at Strands on Saturday mornings. This summer I was too broke to afford the luxury that is Strands, and earlier this fall I was trying to stay away from fat on the advice of my doctor. But with 74 student research papers staring me in the face before the end of the semester and a cholecystectomy scheduled for December, I have decided I need a happy place.  That happy place is Strands.

Strands has a European ambience - the first thing that caught my eye were the large framed photographs of castles from Germany and Austria hanging on the rough brick walls. The owner is a former pilot and his favorite destinations were in central Europe. The high tin ceiling, wood floors, and cafe furniture give one the feeling that "I'm not in Baton Rouge anymore."  The menu consists of coffees, teas, baked goods, hand crafted chocolates and recently they've added lunch selections
Coffee service, croissant with butter and raspberry jam

They regularly have scones (sweet and savory) and the best cinnamon rolls I've every had (big enough to share in popover form), along with plain, chocolate, and almond croissants. They also have sipping chocolate, a double-shot of rich chocolate spiced with cinnamon and hot chili  (cue Chocolat):

 They also have Wi-Fi which means I can sit at the corner table next to the big grandfather clock and work. Or, if I'm feeling indulgent I can sit and draw. And it's a real meeting place where I have sat for hours on end with former students or friends or colleagues just catching up and escaping from the rigors of academic life. So far I've submitted my article for the colloquium in Croatia, and I've almost successfully negotiated an entire semester as professional-in-residence in Greek and Roman art history.  I've built up some valuable knowledge about the Near East and Egypt, and about the advantages and disadvantages of assigning undergraduate research papers. All of this will be helpful next semester when I teach an introductory survey course (275 students!), Later Greek Art and a graduate research seminar on Rome through the Ages. And on my four-day weekends, you'll probably find me de-stressing at Strands!

No comments: