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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lavender Lemonade at Foundation Grounds Coffee House

Posted By on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 11:30 AM

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Do the day-to-day realities of being a grown-up ever get you down? Update your anti-virus software! Oil change is due! The washing machine broke! Does the endless succession of problems to solve and commitments to honor ever seem too daunting to even contemplate? Some people are custom-built for this stuff. They talk enthusiastically about the goings-on in the stock market, wear their shirts tucked in, listen to talk radio in the car and show up everywhere they're supposed to be five minutes early.

Drink of the Week can play a grown-up convincingly when called upon to do so, but no matter how old we get, (starts with a three, so, yes, we are firmly in grown-up territory), it never comes easy. In a week that saw us re-financing our mortgage and buying a new car, we had an unprecedented number of opportunities to put our birth date and social security number to paper with a free promotional pen. We navigated the minefields of equity, MSRP, loan reconciliation statements and extended warranties until we thought our eardrums would bleed from all the razor-edged double-speak.

Lunch at Foundation Grounds Coffee House is the spiritual antidote to a morning spent in cubicles and florescent lighting. It's as close to sharing pb&j's with your best friend in a backyard tree house as you're ever gonna get again. The place has a whimsical, off-kilter aesthetic. An entire wall is painted with a Dr. Seuss-like mural of a bright blue tree whose hollow has a mirror in it and whose branches dangle a changing display of framed artwork. Tiny little tables packed into the small space mess with your sense of scale, Alice in Wonderland-style. Hanging over our table is a cactus-looking ball, called an air plant, because it doesn't live in soil, just takes the moisture it needs from the air. Even the bathroom, lavender up-to and including the ceiling, with a huge, silver-edged mirror behind the commode, is pleasantly weird.

Despite the childlike quality, this isn't one of those family-friendly coffee shops with a kids' play area in the back and plastic cups of goldfish crackers for sale. With mad-genius touches like coffee cubes in iced coffee drinks instead of ice cubes, so as not to water them down, and beer in cupcakes (i.e. the chocolate stout cupcake with cream cheese icing), the target audience seems to be adults looking for a dose of playfulness in a weary world.

So if the joys of pink lemonade were ruined for you years ago by the knowledge of red dye's carcinogenic effects, fear not. Foundation Grounds' Lavender Lemonade -- which is bubblegum pink -- is made by bringing water and local honey to a boil, steeping lavender from Maplewood's own Cheryl's Herbs, straining the mixture and then adding organic lemon juice. Subtly sweet with a distinct herbal note from the lavender, this is pink lemonade, grown up. It's only available spring and summer, soon to be replaced by apple cider, because even in this enchanted forest, the seasons must change. You can come here to get away from some of life's hard realities, maybe relive some childhood memories, but you can't escape the passing of time.

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