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Cafe Ventana – Sanctuary

August 2, 2010

At 9:45 pm on Sunday evening, was I stretched out lazily on my couch whipping through episode-after-episode of Entourage (trying to catch up)?  No, I was walking down 12 flights of stairs because my building’s fire alarm had gone off.  I waited about ten minutes to see if the screeching would stop, but it persisted and I had the disapproving voices of my family elders telling me to, ‘GET OUT OF THE BUILDING IF THE FIRE ALARM IS GOING OFF, GOOMBAH.’  So, grudgingly I did.

I had nooooo intention though of standing outside in the muggy evening for thirty minutes and then to walk up a dozen flights of stairs pre-bed time.  I went straight to my car, book and wallet in hand, to search for sanctuary where I could kill an hour.  First thought, Coffee Cartel.  Not because I particularly like Coffee Cartel – in fact, I strongly dislike that place.  But it was close and I knew it’d be open (24 hour coffee joint).  Yet, CWE was hopping last night – no parking and tons of people packed into ‘the cartel.’  No thank you.

Drove around in a circle for a bit until it occurred to me that Cafe Ventana was open until 11pm.  Yippee!  Still relatively close and a much better option to Coffee Cartel in every single respect.  As it was late on a Sunday and I had had a gluttonous weekend, I was not in the market for one of their coffee creations or one of their mongo, powder sugar covered beignets filled with molten chocolate (my usual poison of choice there).  I had a refreshing iced green tea – real green tea, not that sickeningly sweet stuff at Bread Co. – and enjoyed reading my book to the excellent mix of offbeat classic rock and the hum of fellow Ventana goers.  When I returned to my apartment after a pleasant hour+ spent in a well broken in leather chair, the various fire trucks were gone and I enjoyed a quiet elevator ride back to my apartment (gosh that makes me sound lazy).

Yet, Ventana is much more than sanctuary for fire alarm exiles.  Although it gets a bit loud on trivia nights and near Wash U and SLU exams, Ventana is usually very chill.  They have an array of beers and other alcoholic beverages (ex. absinthe) and their lunch and dinner offerings are pretty decent.  Have had the caesar salad, apple and brie panini, potato soup, and cuban wrap – not earth shaking, but tasty nonetheless.  Have thus far successfully fought the good fight in resisting their decadent looking pastry case.  Ultimately, the beignets really are Ventana’s claim to fame and all I can say is, don’t wear black.  🙂

PS  Someone back me up on this, but I feel like the building smells like the City Museum sometimes – in a totally non-off putting way.  Just a….curious way.

Cafe Ventana on Urbanspoon

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