Avast and ahoy!
As I’m sure you have noticed if you have stopped by Bookmarks lately, the new cafe Footnote has opened next door! I hope you have all gotten a chance to sample the snack and beverage options at Footnote, but if you have lacked the time, or if you have sampled only one or two of the items on the extensive menu and feel you have not gotten a representative taste of the full range of delicacies, fear not! For I, Karl the Kraken, have taken it upon myself to stop by Footnote every several hours for the past week, each time ordering a different menu item and recording my impressions of it for your benefit.
I am quite aware that kraken gastronomy is somewhat different from that of humans. Yet I should venture to say that my culinary taste is nearly as impeccable as my literary, and I hope that my descriptions of the foods at Footnote, though washed with a certain saltwater sensibility, will be fresh enough to wet your appetite and entice you to pay a visit and taste these treats for yourself.
Now, the first time I entered Footnote and ordered my favorite beverage, I was distressed to find that they did not carry it. However, Daisy helpfully explained that kelp kombucha is not nearly so popular on land as it is in the Kraken Cove, so I supposed the omission was pardonable.
I settled for ordering an earl grey tea, which was served with a miniature hourglass timer. This also caused me not-inconsiderable distress me until Daisy explained the intentions behind it. — You see, if one has spent any significant interval at sea with companions of a piratical description, one is liable to interpret having an hourglass placed on the table before one as a threat to one’s life, akin to receiving a black spot on a piece of paper or a badly drawn caricature of oneself caught in a brig and forced to cook barnacle bourguignon for a band of bantering buccaneers (both of which have been served to me in other cafes on multiple occasions). But Daisy was quick to assure me that no such message had been intended, and that the tiny device set before me was in fact a useful novelty meant to spare one the distress of overly strong tea.
It is a testament to the deliciousness of Footnote’s offerings that I quickly forgot the distress of these first few misunderstandings. A mere sip of tea and bite of muffin were enough to win me over. Of course, it is well known that among baked goods, muffins have the most soothing effect on the constitution. (After all, it is quite impossible to eat muffins in an agitated manner!) But one must not think that any old muffin could have produced the same pleasure that I experienced on that occasion, for I say truly, dear reader, that this tea and this muffin were far superior to any tea and any muffin I had tasted up to that point, whether on land or in the sea.
So delighted was I with this small snack that I returned immediately to sample more of the cafe’s items. After a few seconds’ deliberation, I decided upon a cappuccino and a cookie. I must confess that even after the revelation of the my first course, I could not imagine every item on the Footnote menu could be of such high culinary quality. Picture my surprise, then, when my first bite of cookie transported me, like the very highest of literary achievements, into another world of yet-unrealized and previously unarticulated perfections of the very essence of cookieness! It was a revelatory experience akin almost to my first time looking into Conchshell’s translation of Homer.
Need I repeat such extravagant praises for every item on the menu? Oh, but reader, how easily I could! I could spend an age extolling the comitragic balance of sweetness and spice in the chai latte, exploring the savory subplots of the sandwiches, pausing to ponder the philosophical quandaries so poignantly expressed in the macchiato, and reveling in the Hemingwayesque brevity and punch of the straight espresso. But I fear my words would fail me.
I believe many humans have acknowledged the failures of their language in describing taste. Even in my native Krakonic, though we have special words for the tang of spaghetti submarinese and the sensation of chewing algae alla carbonara, I should find myself hard-pressed to describe the infinite delights of Footnote’s pastry case.
Lest I should make your patience stale and dry by drawing out my review too long, I shall leave you only with this final word: swim, slither, sprint, or swoop as quickly as you can to Footnote, and you might stand some chance of having a snack before Daisy and I polish off the entire stock!
Karl the Kraken