NEW menu item

We took your suggestions to bring a vegetarian lunch sandwich (without cheese or mayo) to the menu. We are now serving a vegetable + white bean hummus sandwich-- err, wrap during lunchtime hours. Wraps seemed to have reached their peak in the late nineties, but are still seen everywhere from national chains to homespun diners. They have been the starch-friendly star of the low-carb lifestyle, with restaurants using "flatbreads" instead of bread; and much like pizza in this country, are used as a carpet on which poor approximations of various cuisines are laid in an attempt to make a clever all-in-one food item out of what millions around the world simply use as an alternative to a utensil or a plate. (Think tortilla, chapati, injera, pita.) Poor Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In her desperation to be the first to try Wonka's complete meal-in-a-stick-of-gum, she blew up into a giant blue ball when the blueberry pie course went awry. And who remembers the now-defunct WrapWorks in Dupont Circle?

Our version has passed rigorous testing and includes just crunchy raw spinach and shredded carrots with a housemade bean spread. The creamy-yet-light white bean spread is made in the style of a Middle Eastern or European appetizer, with olive oil, spices, herbs, and lemon juice for zest. It's a refreshing addition to the menu and is great for someone who is a vegan or doesn't eat dairy products. Let us know what you think.


shaking it up a bit

We are now brewing Guatemalan Huehuetenango for our medium-roast coffee. Guatemalan coffee tends to be light and brightly acidic, and the Huehuetenango is known for its fruity, spicy undertones. I think of chocolate when I drink our Guatemalan, but then again I think about chocolate about 73% of the time anyway...In any event, try it out, especially with our newest pie selection, the chocolate-oatmeal wonderfulness. The sweetness of the pie is definitely balanced out with a big mug of straight coffee, and the cinnamon-chocolate-red fruit flavors of the coffee just jump right out. Miam!

As for fans of the Ehiopian Yirgacheffe, don't fret! We're still using it for our cold-brewed iced coffee.


We've made it past our terrible twos!

Yes! We made it to year number three and now have renegotiated our contract with Politics and Prose for another five! Thank you to all of you who have been here since the beginning and have watched us pull our hair out and cry so many times, but also have been here to help us reach landmarks and celebrations.
Last few days, I have been reminiscing with Adam and Ryan about those first few days and, honestly, we can't figure out how we pulled it off. Operating on so little sleep, no experience, and teaching ourselves as we went along. We are so lucky that we are in this space and that so many people were there to help the business stumble and then walk upright into what it is now. It is just like watching a being grow and mature, at some point just taking off on its own; the whole process has unfolded organically, for Modern Times is made of people!
We have such a wonderful staff behind the counter and behind the scenes. I am terribly grateful for their commitment and constant efforts to keep the same consistent level of quality and professionalism. With them, the coffeehouse is in good hands and I wish they were all around for good.
Well, again, thanks to all of you who have seen us grow into a three-year-old business. I promise: Modern Times will continue it's constant path of change and improvement, retaining that strong core of quality and a genuine love for coffeehouse culture. I am so glad we are here, within the walls of Politics and Prose; Barbara and Carla have been great mentors along this path. We inherited a great clientele and an awareness of the value of constant involvement and of the importance of the individuals behind the business.
Hope to see you all around for the next five years! I have a feeling I will be seeing the same faces I have seen, sometimes daily, for the past three.


happy snow day

Snow days are the best days to relax in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and bake a dessert. It makes the house smell nice and you have something to show for yourself, since we all know how productive we are when we tell the boss we're "working from home today". I found this recipe several years  ago and it's become a staple for shabby-chic dinner parties and potlucks. It's a good way to use leftover coffee, there's not many ingredients, and it can be made ahead of time. The trickiest part is the bain-marie (water bath). You can serve it plain, with the suggested whipped cream, or with a powdered sugar decoration. (Put a doily or homemade paper snowflake on top and sprinkle away-- you'll get oohs and aahs from your guests when you bring it out.) You could also stick some frozen sweetened strawberries or raspberries in the blender and make a colorful sauce to drizzle on the plate before serving. 

Gourmet, February 1997