What’s Cookin? with Michael Castaneda

Located at 931 Spring Garden St. is Win Win Coffee Bar (or as the signs read throughout the establishment W/N W/N). It’s exactly what it sounds like; a coffee shop and a bar. It’s a win-win. It’s easy enough to get to from the CCP’s main campus and is certainly worth the trip.

Win Win Coffee Bar is cooperatively owned. Any person can buy shares, at fair rates, into the company and get perks, like discounts. They locally source their products and farm direct, which is also a win for everyone involved.

Unlike traditional coffee shops they open at 5:00 PM during the week and at 10:00 AM on the weekends. This works out perfectly for the student that is looking for a place to relax and study that isn’t the cafeteria or Dunkin Donuts. Now, it’s not to say that these places aren’t fitting when you’re out of options, but coffee isn’t just coffee- and I’m slightly pretentious when it comes to my daily cup. Win Win Coffee Bar makes there cups in a style called pour over. The method requires pouring water over coffee beans contained in a filter. It helps to create a single cup of coffee, keeping it unique. I ordered a Kenya bean coffee without cream or sugar because it was beautifully brewed without it. It also had a hint of cinnamon that became more flavorful as it cooled. That is a feature I have yet to experience.

I also had the okonomiyaki, which was more like a sauerkraut pancake, which might be a deal breaker for some, but this dish is a great balance between subtle flavors and a kick of spices. It’s soft and warm in the middle cooked in a crunchy crust that held the pancake together. The pancake consisted of sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, red onion, mung (a small round green bean) and brown rice flour. Over the top they drizzled a house made JuJu Berry Hoisin, kewpie mayo and plum sauce. It was the size of a dinner plate and it kept me full for the rest of the night, while the coffee kept me up and alert for studying. It’s gluten free, too. But, it consists of eggs, so it’s not vegan.

During the weekends they move the tables in the dining room and bring in local DJ’s and live bands. They host open mic nights. They also have a book club meet every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. The staff was extremely welcoming. The friendliness spreads onto the customers, because everyone there chatted, laughed and joined in conversation together.

A few blocks from the main campus is a true gem to the city. Win Win Coffee Bar is an establishment that really is for the community, and it’s places like this that make Philadelphia so wonderful.

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