Sunday, January 19

Coffee, Cookies, Cocktails, Repeat.

Hello from Winterland, USA! The combination of fiscal irresponsibility and the perennial urge to leave town means I'm gone, baby gone, and not coming back to New York 'til the end of the month.

My AmEx points are now cleared out, my airline miles are officially long gone and travel jam HoustAtlantaVegas has been stuck in my head for two days, but it's worth it. I mean, if you have a new laptop, the ability to pack a carry-on suitcase (a serious feat/accomplishment for this guy) and friends with air mattresses, why the hell not? My sense of adventure halts with any activity involving balance and danger, especially since an air bus that feeds you thimbles of Diet Coke is a thousand times better than trying to survive with a backpack and an English translation book in southern Asia.

I came by Aspen for the weekend, not because I plan on ever attempting to ski again, but because, simply put, they've got a perfect bar, the perfect cookies and the perfect coffee shop. For someone who's freshly back in the Freelance Game (surprise!), the perfect mixture of daytime serenity, afternoon fat snacks and a nighttime of $18 cocktails is too good to pass up, despite the fact that writing blog posts doesn't cover quail-egg liquor concoctions that take ten minutes for Justice Snow's world-master bar manager to whip up. Or health insurance. Or anything, really! Hahahaha OK great, now I'm panicking again.

The salted chocolate chip cookies, of course, come courtesy of my boyfriend's mom, which I'm steadfastly trying to avoid and not eat my feelings full of despite them existing in bulk in the freezer. And...the coffee shop. Oh, Victoria's Espresso. My Costanza neuroses have reached an all time high these past few days with an endless lack of structure, and while I've found *the perfect table* and *the perfect drink* at said glorious coffee lodge, I've managed to freak the fuck out about both them. Refusing to buy into the frozen yogurt lies of Seinfelds past, I've become convinced that the mystical, unbelievable iced skim vanilla latte I had on Friday had no coffee in it. Convinced! It was so endlessly creamy and game-changingly delicious that I ordered two of 'em the next couple days, only to have them not compare at all. I've added various amounts of their housemade vanilla syrup, extra espresso and even full fatty milk, but still can't replicate that creamy deliciousness of that first one. Which, of course, is driving me Nancy Drew-levels of mystery-solving crazy.

And then there's the table. The table. It's in the corner, so there's no draft of cold Colorado air, you've got a side-eye view of the mountain, the sunlight just misses your screen in the morning hours and it's next to the cafe's only wall, meaning you're hidden from skiiers loudly chowing down breakfasts that look delicious but I refuse to pay for. (Refer to "quail-egg rant", above.) I've magically swooped in the past few days to nab it in time, but today, the day I've done nothing but look forward to kicking back in its perfection, was a silent showdown. It took 80 minutes of death-staring to the two bros occupying my table to get it, of which I did so intently that I think I subconsciously convinced one of them he had wronged me in a past life and I was put on this mountain to destroy him and all of his family. (He was, of course, nothing less than horrified when I rushed over to take it before either of his arms were inside a winter jacket.) I held my pee for hours, was dehydrated as hell and had no time to shave my armpits before my highly intimidating barre class, all because I refused to move from that perfect square. Crazy, sure, but the only point of solace in this entire dramatic escapade was that if a foursome sat in the gang's favorite table at Tom's, I knew George would insist there be hell to pay.

Is this how normal people vacation? I'm not sure. But I do know that extra-vanilla-are-you-sure-this-is-right? latte was a dream, that table is fantastic, and I may be rushed to the hospital for a bladder infection any time soon.

Oh, yeah. And that this snackmonster can't be stopped.

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