Behind the Mug


My love affair with coffee began back in high school at a magical coffee house called Java Java Cafe in Kapahulu, near Waikiki on the Island of Oahu. This was years ago, before Starbucks had frappuccinoized the far reaches of the globe. At Java Java, my friend Todd, who’s half Italian, first introduced me to the caffe latte. This mysterious new drink was brought to him in a sleek glass, pale brown and crowned with a hint of creamy froth. My round-mugged cappuccino looked just plain stubby in comparison. I was captivated.

Yes, that began my caffeinated journey. I’ve since worked at a number of coffee and tea places on the Mainland and back here in Hawaii. And while I like my drip coffee black and am tortured by the shrill protests of the milk wand when a poorly-trained barista’s at the helm, I don’t consider myself any sort of coffee snob or expert. In fact, I’ve been known to frequent places with sub-par coffee as long as they score high on the ambiance scale. If the coffee’s bad but the cozy vibe is there, well, you can always order tea.

Just kidding. I know it’s just as easy to mess up tea.

As for the “wanderlust” part of this blog’s name, I’m equally addicted to exploring other cultures as I am to the cafĂ© experience. I’m an ex-expat who lived in Seoul, Korea and had the chance to wander Asia a bit while I was there. Bunches of photos and memories still need to be sorted through, so this blog will help me process that year and a half of learning, exploring and occasional cultural nuttiness. And, of course, it’s hard to sit still for too long, so I hope to also hop back on a plane again soon and report back to you!

Passport or no passport, my first taste of a new culture is often, quite literally, to taste their food. Whether grabbing a tempting morsel at the Ningxia Night Market in Taipei or trying “black noodles” at a no-frills spot catering to Korean nationals on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, there’s always something new to discover. And we really do have a rich food culture out here in Hawaii, evolving from all the different groups of people that make up who we are. Maybe that’s why eating foods from around the world feels natural to me (although, admittedly, there are far more adventurous eaters out there). So until I can travel, I can always eat.

So that’s a little bit about me and what I plan to write about here. Thanks for stopping by!

-Angela