Vibes & Vices: La Casa Gris Café

There are the documented highlights such as parties, concerts, and the occasional sport fight, but most of what I do on a daily basis is pretty unremarkable stuff. Product descriptions, mission statements, newsletters…I’m very good at making things seem more interesting than they actually are.

Less than thrilling as it may be, it’s what helps to keep the lights on at this time…as a result I find myself making frequent use of bars, restaurants, and cafés for work. Seeking new surroundings to help me power through some eye-glazing tasks, I took the advice of my esteemed colleague Rachel and parked myself at La Casa Gris for some breakfast and connection.

The Vibes: La Casa Gris is a cozy little café located about a block behind the city sports complex on Calle Cuba. Its open-air setup invites the curious to enjoy a bit of people-watching as everyday life in Colonia Lázaro Cárdenas surges through the streets.

Familiar coffee house decor dominates the space–colorfully chalked boards and tantalizing display cases–along with the arresting scent of fresh-baked goods.I settled into a seat on the comfortable tufted bench (the one nearest an outlet, of course) and scanned the room for the WiFi password.

Cafés seemingly around the world place this vital piece of data in an area where the unscrupulous and poor will have to at least make eye contact with an employee before camouflaging five hours of free Internet access with a small coffee, and this one was no different. My practiced eye detected it near the cookies, and within a few minutes, I was getting my fix of that sweet Internet without which I might literally die.

The Vices: As mentioned, the suggestion for my first visit to the cafe came from a fellow digital nomad, who is off plying one of her many trades on some other part of the continent right now but left me with valuable information before she departed. She spoke of sandwiches, splendid sandwiches, bedecked with meats and cheeses and served alongside salad to make you feel better about eating a six inch square sandwich for breakfast.

Ironically for a number of reasons, I’m not a habitual coffee drinker, although I do think it’s sort of strange that those who do drink it daily get a pass for their obvious addiction while people like me get all kinds of stigmas and scandal for their routine lifestyle supplements.

In any event, as I often do I waited with my drink for someone else’s order to make an appearance before placing one of my own…best way to identify clear winners and losers. Rachel’s prophesy came to fruition…an employee of another local business peered into her takeout container with gleeful anticipation, and in that time I glimpsed one of the sandwiches from the legend. The time had come to enter the Black Forest.

About half a torrent later my order arrived, and this one looked even better because I got to eat it. Smoked ham crowned with a slab of melted Gouda cheese and served on hearty focaccia bread. I guess there was a tomato in there too. Teamed up with some greens finished with vinaigrette and sesame seeds, it made for an enjoyable start to yet another day that wasn’t quite as productive as I’d envisioned. Hey, I did finish my download.

The Verdict: Helping me once again avoid resorting to that one big international chain–you know the one–La Casa Gris fills a void in the fabric of my freelance lifestyle. Serving up a tasty menu of coffee house standards in an inviting atmosphere, it’s a more than worthy satellite office. Maybe I’ll catch you there.

Info: Cuba 437, Lázaro Cárdenas

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AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.