June 2021


The Bloomington Office

The Weimar Office, as I’ve told my barista friend, Chicago Anki, is the world’s second best coffee shop (and not in the Dutch meaning).

The best coffee shop in the world is in Bloomington, Indiana. It’s name is “soma,” and it is at the corner of Kirkwood and Grant, just downstairs from the Laughing Planet.

It’s hard to describe soma for the uninitiated—it’s a funky alterna-hangout with excellent coffee in the heart of Bloomington. When I lived downtown, half a block away, it was my second home. I would pop over for coffee in the mornings and all-fruit-smoothies in the evening (my caffeine issues are long standing); and zucchini bread at all hours of day and night. In the back was (and still is) TD’s CDs and LPs.

I could write a lot about TD’s CDs and LPs—a funky and excellent music shop. Even though I am basically musically ignorant, the then owner, Tom Donohue, helped me on several occasions hunt for gifts for family and friends, along with the occasional item tossed in for me. Bloomington suffered a tragic loss when he died of liver cancer issues; fortunately his partners have kept the shop open.

soma (definitely lower-case!) is where I had free ranging conversations with lots of friends—too many to name here. I know that several of my friends, despite having moved long distances away, still make pilgrimages back to soma whenever they are in town (see Jerry as the prime example). soma is where I went to boy-watch (and gosh, now that I am here, I am remembering a young-fem-gay guy that I used to oogle here—I wonder whatever happened to him. When I first noticed him he had to be 15 or 16 and hot as hell, despite being so young—I remember seeing him graduate from high school on local access, so he must be in college or the real world by now), probably developing my taste for multi-colored hair boys/men while sitting in its comfy couches.

When I was teaching, I would occasionally make my students hold group meetings with me at soma—just to force them out of their suburban lifestyle comfort zone. There’s nothing like making a 6’6” tall (198cm) American football player pull up a chair in soma’s backroom—where the ceiling tops out at around 6’—they would have to bend-over everywhere they walked and god help them if they needed to use the toilet which stands on a base with a ceiling at about 5’—even I have to bend over for the toilet!

Now that I am here, I am able to enjoy one of my favorite drinks: Lattes. It’s not that the Weimar Office doesn’t serve lattes; it’s that I have become increasingly lactose intolerant. Café Laden doesn’t have soy-milk. soma does—so I just had a large soy-latte—and it was excellent. It was accompanied by a slice of zucchini bread and free wifi (something I’m actually grateful that the Weimar Office does not have since it would decrease my productivity).

Random Aside: in the brief time since getting to soma this morning, I’ve spotted two excellent hotties. Bloomington is full of yummy men!

Of course, now that I’ve waxed-poetic about soma, I am going to head to Nick’s for lunch. I’ve already been to Laughing Planet (a California burrito shop) twice and I must stop by Nick’s to see one of their bartenders, a friend of mine.

8 comments to The Bloomington Office

  • koko




    ps i’m done with work now

  • You have such interesting places to visit with odd culinary delights.

    With the happenings in my life right now I’d be happy with a McDonald’s anywhere outside of the South.

  • adam, good news for you and probably a lot of people, we, i mean the caféladen will get soy milk soon! yeah! and, also! we already have the grand variaty of smoothies. so, okay now i am just going to learn how to bake the perfect zucchini bread and serve it all to you while playing madonnas album from the musicbox. hehe. i would love to see your face then. lovely…

  • Ed

    I’ve never been to soma’s but it sounds like I might look it up in the near future. I’ve been to Nick’s but it is usually too crowded for my taste. Mostly I stay on the West side of town.

  • @koko: there are a lot of other places to go too…

    @cq: I am sure there are options in YourTown — i mean, it does have a college!

    @Chicago Anki: I look forward to the soy milk! I look forward to the smoothies (are the all-fruit or milk/yogurt based? Woooooot! If only the cute redheaded german from the party stops in the next time I am there.

    @ed: I don’t know the west-side as well. I only know all the chain stores and restaurants, which i try to avoid.

  • I definitely made it to Soma when we visited in early May, and I wasn’t disappointed. 🙂

    But the closing of the Kirkwood Jiffy Treet is tragic. They had something for everyone, and I think even non-dairy sorbet was offered.

  • Well there are 6 or 7 colleges to be more specific. Unfortunately I think the most popular major at any of them is tobacco farming or NASCAR. *ugh* Or maybe with the one run-in I had with a couple of students once, jaywalking.

  • @jerry: I have mixed feelings about jiffy treet. Their ice cream wasn’t that good and the service was suspect.

    @cq: I doubt it’s that bad–you need to give places a chance… and remember that we used to jaywalk back at the olde U.