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FEED ME: Lander’s Old Town Coffee
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Derek and I had a lovely midweek working escape to Lander planned for last week. Tuesday morning, Derek picked me up in Vanna a little after 7. The idea was to work hard, using Lander’s branch of the Fremont County Library and various coffee shops as offices all day and hike and bike new terrain – Sinks Canyon is pretty awesome – in the evenings. We then planned to spend the night (for free and legally) in Vanna parked at Lander City Park.
By 10:15 a.m., we were at Lander Library. Ready to head inside, I grabbed my computer bag. It felt a little light. I opened the top flap. My computer was not inside. I threw up in my mouth and got weak in the knees.
I. Am. An. Assclown. Extraordinaire.
Everything I needed for work deadlines last week was on my computer’s hard drive. I had to be with my hard drive. Suddenly, two days and nights of eating in Lander shrunk to one meal. If I can only eat at one place in Lander, where would it be?
Old Town Coffee was the first coffee place in the entire state to serve Intelligentsia. That was more than four years ago. It since moved on from Intelligentsia, a “personal preference of the owner” the barista told me, but the 49th Parallel (Vancouver, British Columbia) now used for espresso is a worthy follower. I found my 49th Parallel double espresso ($2.25) to be a smidge less sweet and a tiny bit more tart than Intelligentsia, and I preferred this.
Another addition since I was last there was chocolate donuts topped with a thick caramel glaze ($2.50). The caramel glaze is better than the donut. This is most likely because the donut is baked rather than fried. Baking donuts should be illegal.
I loved Old Town before I knew its owner had the best taste in coffee in the state. At the corner of 4th and Main Street in downtown, the cafe has a pressed tin ceiling, a barn wood counter topped with metal, and fabulously teal back walls. It was doing hipster western, and doing it well, before anywhere in Jackson. Of course the mason jars above the water fountain are for water. Want whole milk in your coffee? That’s it in the wine bottle.
Also, the cafe has a small menu of scones, stuffed croissants, wraps and croissant sammies. The overstuffed wraps and sandwiches are between $5 and $6.75.
Having time to only try one of the wraps, my decision was difficult. At first I thought it would be easy, as the Denver wrap ($6) has egg, ham, cheddar, green pepper, onions, and tater tots. How could I not get the wrap with tots?
But then the Winkerbean ($6.25) caught my eye, boasting chicken, black beans, corn, cheddar, and green apple. Intriguing.
Just as I was about to settle on the Winker, I saw the croissant sammies with Moroccan chicken or albacore tuna (both $6.75).
Although I only deserved to eat a sandwich of assiness, I ordered the Moroccan chicken. To be high maintenance, I asked for it on a pita instead of a croissant. The dude behind the counter might have been wearing a Buff to keep his hair out of his face, but he had no attitude over my special request. A hipster that isn’t holier than thou? I. Love. Lander.
Five minutes later, my taste buds were ready for Morocco. I had been hoping for a taste of ras el hanout, a spice mixture of anywhere from a dozen to a hundred of the best spices a shop, family, or region has to offer and ubiquitous throughout Morocco. I didn’t get that taste though. I didn’t actually get anything that transported me to Morocco. Still, the pita was soft and warm, and there was plenty of chicken in it. Topped with some mixed greens, it would easily be $8 in Jackson.
Old Town Coffee is open daily from 7 to 7.
If you’re passing through Lander, you’re also passing through Dubois, where there is a Daylight Donuts. Daylight Donuts makes the Pine Cone ($2.25), which is definitely not baked, easily weighs a pound, and is the size of my two-week-old niece. The Pine Cone is truly special for its crispy-yet-soft texture. Derek described it as having a zipper crust. Suffering through zipper crust on skis is horrible. Biting into a Pine Cone with a zipper crust is the opposite of horrible.