An exceptional coffeehouse is greater than the sum of its parts. Vibe is a potion, not altogether equal parts talented barista, downtempo music, comfy chairs, provocative art, tasty treats, healthy lunches, clean bathroom, and yes, well-brewed coffee.
The exceptional coffeehouse can be a calm respite in a bustling city, a lively gathering in a dusty village, a swarm of friends in a connected community.
El Corazón in Loreto Bay is in fact an exceptional coffeehouse. Dutifully staffed by Paola, Ryan, Lupita and Cristina, El Corazón is remarkable for what it is not: it is not just for Mexican locals with dirt-cheap prices, styrofoam cups and lowered expectations. It is not just for turistas with inflated prices, fauxthentic food and refusal to embrace the local culture. It is not open on Mexican time, which is sometimes open or not with a shrug. It is not of questionable hygiene, where the meat or the eggs or the mayonesa might be de rigueur left out on the counter.
Patrons are greeted by name, gratitude, professional familiarity. Coffee is fresh and strong – the slow-drip cold-filtered iced coffee is sublime. Baked goods are fresh, delicious. Sandwiches are unexpected – Vietnamese bahn mi, Thai ginger chicken, grilled cheese and more.
South American-inflected electronica and groove plays in the morning, ’80’s music picks up the pace in the afternoon, shifting from an A+ to a B. Art reflects the heart – equal parts Dali, Day of the Dead and Frida Kahlo. Games, books, internet, air-conditioning.
El Corazón is an oasis, a civilized tether to the West Coast culture, the European ritmo de la vida. It is closed for the summer, maybe June 1st, maybe a couple weeks later, as Loreto Bay hibernates during the hot months of the middle-year. It awakens in September-ish, as the community rouses, the flights from Northern destinations are full.