Bohemian rhapsody

Walden’s Coffeehouse

3940 Mayberry Dr.
Reno, NV 89509

(775) 787-3307

For a while, I lived in the Seattle area, where coffeehouses are as omnipresent as slot machines are here. I have come to be plenty picky about the places where I duck in for a cuppa joe. Since coffee was available on literally every corner, eschewing the mega-chains was the first rule. They simply were too cookie-cutter and “normal” for me. If I ever need help being an average white girl, I know they will be there, but I prefer a place with more personality. A good coffeehouse should be cozy and quirky. It should be interesting enough to observe once you drink your coffee and are alert enough to notice your surroundings.

Walden’s Coffeehouse is convenient for many of the surrounding Caughlin Ranchers heading out in the morning. The staff is a reassuring blend of friendly and hyper-caffeinated, a sure sign that they themselves find the beverages worthy of consumption.

Walden’s is set up like a good coffeehouse should be, with big comfy chairs for reading the paper, as well as tables for munching the morning pastry or even having an impromptu business meeting or study session. The perky pop music bubbling though the air was a bit cotton candy, but by the time I finished my large hazelnut mocha ($3.25), I was feeling the buzz and could live with it. A chalkboard on the wall announced little-known coffee facts, and a tempting selection of desserts and pastries sat behind a panel of drool-proof glass while we waited to order.

My husband, Tony, and I dropped in for a late lunch on a Sunday and found Walden’s busy. Ordering at the counter, we were tempted by the Belgian waffle, but stuck with the lunch plan and ordered sandwiches after we saw one go out to another customer.

Tony started with a white chocolate hot cocoa ($2) and a croissant sandwich piled high with shaved turkey and sliced roast beef and layered with smoky cheddar cheese ($5.95). The condiments must have added another half-inch to the sandwich and lent a crisp freshness to the high-quality meats. On the side, there is a choice of salads: potato, macaroni, four-bean or pasta salad. I will admit that Tony chose my least favorite, but hey, it was his lunch. There is nothing wrong with macaroni salad per se, but I found this one to be particularly unremarkable.

I let my eyes rather than my stomach rule me and got a French dip ($5.95). I could have just had a half-sandwich, and that would have been plenty, because this is one of the biggest French dips I have ever seen. But this is the season of wretched excess, so I ordered the whole one and ate until I felt like I would burst at the seams. It was one of those things where you get so full, but you take one more bite because it tastes so good. It didn’t help that the potato salad that came on the side was tasty, and I had to eat that too. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my job. I know you feel sorry for me. Or not.

Coffeehouses were originally the hangouts of writers and other gadabouts; I feel very creative and bohemian when I am settled inside. Cradling a warm drink in a bowl-shaped mug is good for a person. It may be the one time of day that we slow down.