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A Little More Time at Dottie's

Nichole Dupont

My travels for iBerkshires are taking me all over the map, literally. One day it’s an early morning volunteer breakfast, the next it’s a nighttime extravaganza complete with jazz and fireworks. On these trips (which can get pretty lengthy since I live in the farm country of Sheffield) I make it a point to stop at cafes and diners, some familiar, some not. The point is, I love coffee, and I love watching the different crowds at different coffee shops.  It’s almost like watching a cartoon or a French film circa 1940s.

Yesterday’s journey to Cheshire was broken up by a stop at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge on 444 North Street in Pittsfield. I’ve heard about Dottie’s from friends and colleagues and, of course, the infamous cyber social world of Facebook.

Just stepping through the door at Dottie’s was impressive. It was packed and people were chatting away at the wooden tables. A family of three lounged couch side in the “upper level” of the café. How can you not feel comfortable, the architecture is amazing? High tin ceilings, whirring black ceiling fans, lots and lots of natural light, wide wooden floors, plush velvet chairs, glinting machinery all dedicated to the art of making coffee.

I was in heaven.

I set down my gear (i.e. camera, pad, pen, cell phone, purse) and wandered up to the counter. Behind the glass were delicious-looking confections (including carrot cake). I placed my order for a curried chicken sandwich and bottled water. I would’ve gotten a coffee but I was still a little shaky from the way-too-strong French press I made myself that morning. The total came to $8.40. I was a little taken aback but then thought, well, this is going to be one awesome sandwich.

Not so much. When the waitress (barista?) brought me my plate I couldn’t help but notice that the sandwich was very small and made with (it appeared) store-bought bread. I also couldn’t help but notice that the majority of its insides was salad. Not lettuce but actually salad mix, again, the same kind you can get at the grocery store. Adorning the plate was a floppy pickle, presumably from a jar.

The first bite was exactly the same as the last. The curried chicken salad, the very thing I’d been coveting, was a little dry and not seasoned at all. There were a few raisins here and there and some bits of apple. That’s about it. I did have to rip some of the crust off because it was stale and too hard to eat (not because I’m in first grade and hate crust).

But I couldn’t get over the ambiance of the place. People were pouring in (it was around lunch time) and smiling and chatting. I sipped at my water, watching the buzz around me. It was comforting.

Clearly, Dottie’s needs another visit and clearly I need to order my heart’s true love, coffee (maybe a macchiato) and a croissant. It is, after all, a coffee lounge.

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