Here's what they don't tell you on Prairie Home Companion or in any of the Coen Brothers films: Minneapolis sometimes feels like a diluted Portland. Take Portland's famous hipster scene, biking community, and progressive culture, and water it down with some good old fashioned corn-fed Midwestern-ism, and you have Minneapolis: where every hipster has a fixed gear bike, a growler of homebrew in their basement...and a signature hot-dish recipe.
Every once in awhile, I get a vibe that is all Portland -- like I could be in a Portlandia sketch. The Sunday Oatmeal Service at Five Watt Coffee was one of those times. (another? Butter-churning aerobics.)
Five Watt Coffee is my favorite coffee shop for people-watching, eavesdropping, writing, and maybe hating myself a little bit. (One day while I was doing some work there, I looked up and realized that a line of about 10 of us had identical Macbooks. But I was the only one without an ironic mustache, so I felt a little better.)
For someone like me who loves coffee shops and hates coffee (I know, I'm the worst), Five Watt happens to be perfect -- all of the specialty drinks are made with so many extras, you can barely tell you're drinking coffee. Even still, my favorite drink is the London Calling: black tea, fennel bitters infused milk, and vanilla.
Yes, coffee purists might tell you Five Watt is trying too hard with its cocktail inspired drinks. But what puts Five Watt over the edge into Portlandia territory is the oatmeal bar. You can mix and match toppings to create your own oatmeal. Or you can turn to the Oatmeal Curator, so capitalized because that is his title. Swear. It's on his business card.
Every Sunday, the Oatmeal Curator --what else--curates an oatmeal special. When I visited, it involved walnut bitters and bacon and was pretty delicious. If you're not into the special, you can order omakase: "entrust the topping selection to our esteemed oatmeal curator."
You'll be asked a few very important questions: your last oatmeal experience, your best oatmeal experience and the thickness your prefer your oatmeal. Then, it's up to the Curator.
Laugh/sneer/roll your eyes all you want, but my oatmeal was delicious and for five dollars, not the worst brunch deal out there. Plus I'll probably get rich when I pitch this scenario to the producers of Portlandia... so there's that.