We are taking a break from our previously scheduled 24 Hrs in Philly, Part II to bring you today’s Drinked and Dined with a special event notice…
Drinked and Dined: Render Coffee (Boston)
We may not have the glitz of New York or San Francisco, the intimacy of Portland, the industriousness of Seattle, or the scope of Austin, but Boston is coming in to its coffee-own. An explosion of independent, specialty shops have led some to declare this the “Golden Age of Coffee" in Boston. I would agree with that assertion if it didn’t also suggest that this is a fad (I don’t believe it is). Starbucks has stopped breeding in our fair city and in its place have come a number of spirited shops, each with its own feel. One of the biggest challenges facing Boston’s coffee connoisseurs todayis whether to stick to your favorite neighborhood haunt or try that awesome sounding place that opened three T stops away (that’s our slang for the subway for those in other parts). Whether its Boston, Cambridge, or Somerville we tend to be loyal to our own hoods (and for good reason- a “short" five minute wait for the bus had me feeling like I’d been frozen in hell just yesterday with wind chills at 2 degrees), but it seems ironic that in a city where much of the population comes from somewhere else (I’m looking at you students) and seems pretty well traveled, Kendall Square or the South End becomes an impossible trek.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day (adventure! new beginnings!) I present a place that’s all about love: Render Coffee in Boston’s South End. It’s become my Sunday morning haunt- I get giddy just thinking about sitting in their awesome atrium with a cup of Counter Culture’s Baroida in my hands, quietly nibbling on rosemary frittata breakfast sandwhich on seven grain bread. The grain lends a satisfying substance, the bacon salt and crunch factor, and the rosemary a quiet comfort alongside the perfect texture of the eggs. Said breakfast sandwich has become a customer favorite, as is the “BTL" (like what you think, but with spinach and spicy aioli).
There’s no drip coffee, only pour overs and masterfully crafted espresso. Owner Chris says, “Everything we make is the best" and I’ve not discovered any reason to disagree. Render is an earnest place, right down to the details. Ally, who presides over all things food, sources local and organic where ever possible and says her inspiration for most of the menu is her mom’s great home cooking as well as days spent at a college that didn’t offer a meal program. This is the kind of food she wants to eat- seasonal and familiar (there is talk of potentially adding a egg salad sandwich) without the normal cafe shortcuts, like microwaving those breakfast sandwich eggs (Ally makes them to order). Similarly, Chris and Marcus (one of the baristas) take the time needed to produce the best cup of coffee they can yet were incredibly efficient when the morning rush of South Enders came through. As I over heard non-baristas floating the idea of taking some sick time from their corporate jobs just to attend one of Render’s weekly Friday morning coffee cuppings, I knew those of us willing to venture outside of our comfort zone had been rewarded with something special. On the unlikeliest kind of day, a freezing New England morning, Render softened our edges and left us smitten.
Render is located at 563 Columbus Ave. This week they play host to Boston’s monthly Thursday Night Throwdown ( a “barista jam and latte art throwdown").