Vis­it­ing bistro, cat cafe in Cab­bage­town

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

I don’t know what it is about liv­ing in Grant Park and Cab­bage­town, but we res­i­dents seem to need a lot of coffee. There’s Oc­tane, Grant Park Cof­fee­house and Car­roll Street Cafe. An ad­di­tional two opened in the last month – Java Cats Cafe and Petit Chou.

The one get­ting the most press is

Java Cats (415 Me­mo­rial Dr., 470-305-7575, java­catscafe.com).

Lo­cated next to the pop­u­lar Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, across from your fu­ture home in Oak­land Ceme­tery, Java Cats com­bines a cat adop­tion cen­ter with a coffee shop. Cat cafes orig­i­nated in Ja­pan, where the kit­ties ac­tu­ally min­gle with cus­tomers while they eat. Amer­i­can health reg­u­la­tions don’t per­mit that, so the cats oc­cupy a sep­a­rate room. You must or­di­nar­ily re­serve an hour to visit the cat room and you’ll pay $10 per adult for the priv­i­lege of cud­dling, scratch­ing, sneez­ing and sip­ping com­pli­men­tary coffee.

The cost might be pro­hib­i­tive for polyamorous peeps, but it’s for a good cause. The cafe teamed up with PAWS At­lanta, the no-kill shel­ter, to sup­ply the would-be adoptees. It buys its pas­tries from Gath­er­ing In­dus­tries, which pro­vides culi­nary train­ing to home­less peo­ple, so they can get jobs.

I’ve vis­ited Java Cats a cou­ple of times and found the coffee su­pe­rior to most around town. The barista made me a per­fect cor­tada and doppio mac­chi­ato. I gotta say, though, if you plan to eat there, don’t ex­pect much. There are some de­cent pas­tries by the reg­is­ter – cook­ies and a very good ham-and­cheese scone I de­voured dur­ing one visit. Un­for­tu­nately, they had no way of heat­ing the scone, but said that would soon be reme­died. There are also pre-made wraps un­ap­pe­tiz­ingly hid­den in plas­tic con­tain­ers in a re­frig­er­a­tor bin. I have not tried one. I can’t imag­ine eat­ing a cold bur­rito.

The main ap­peal for the present is hang­ing with the kit­ties in a space whose walls are painted with huge cat heads that sug­gest “The Wiz­ard of Oz.” It’s also cool that the beasts aren’t con­fined in cages and most of them seem more po­lite than my own two mon­sters. (It’s prob­a­bly an act.) It’s also fun to hang out with other cat lovers, even if you don’t visit the win­dowed adop­tion room. A house-made bis­cuit split and lay­ered with a poached egg, boursin cheese and a chicken sausage patty at Petit Chou. (Photo by Cliff Bo­s­tock)

Petit Chou (662 Me­mo­rial Dr., 470-270-8996, pe­titchouatl. com).

Just down the street is

The name means “lit­tle cab­bage.” The restau­rant is in Cab­bage­town. Get it?

This is not just a cof­fee­house. It’s a fullser­vice restau­rant open for break­fast and lunch only. I’ve only vis­ited once. I love the am­biance. The cen­ter of the space is a gi­gan­tic square bar. Tables sur­round it. There’s also a pa­tio.

In all hon­esty, my meal was lit­tle bet­ter than medi­ocre. My cor­tada here was wa­tery and ex­cep­tion­ally bit­ter, com­pared to the same drink at Java Cats. The restau­rant was par­tic­i­pat­ing in Cre­ative Loaf­ing and Ge­or­gia Beef Board’s ATL Burger Week. I or­dered theirs – a slider with goat cheese, a dol­lop of salsa and some arugula. The meat was sup­posed to be fla­vored with black truf­fle oil. I only got the vaguest af­ter­taste of that. More­over, the whole thing was un­be­liev­ably dry, in des­per­ate need of mois­ture. I also or­dered a house-made bis­cuit split and lay­ered with a poached egg, boursin cheese and a chicken sausage patty. The bis­cuit it­self was big, fluffy and crumbly. But the same prob­lem arose. The yolk on the egg was over­cooked so, again, there was in­ad­e­quate mois­ture.

I have no doubt it will im­prove. Why not visit both spots? Have a pro­gres­sive din­ner. Call it “Chats et Choux” – “Cats and Cab­bages.”

Cliff Bo­s­tock is a for­mer psy­chother­a­pist now spe­cial­iz­ing in life coach­ing. Con­tact him at 404-518-4415 or cliff­bo­stock@gmail.com.

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