Artisan coffee in Watford? Viento Coffee Company

I almost named this blog “Diary of a Suburban Housewife”, except a)that name was taken and b)I’m not a housewife (well not for now, H). Just kidding. I moved to Watford when H and I got married and H has made it clear, despite my ongoing protests, that if he is to wake up daily at 5am to catch the markets opening that we will be here, in close proximity to a station that can zap it into Euston, until I get my way forever more.

Seriously, however, I have been, as I think many have, seriously excited at the amount of movement in Watford right now, especially at how certain areas are completely renovating themselves.You can imagine my surprise when on my way to the station one day, I came across this pretty little mosaic…

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So when I saw it again the next day, I just had to step inside.

Viento migrated to Watford from, erm, Farringdon and has been making a mark with commuters ever since. It’s conveniently nestled a few minutes walk from the Junction (or, as its known in these parts, Watford J) and very popular with commuters.

I like coffee, but I’m not a coffee-snob. Caffeine is caffeine, whether it comes from a Nescafe  bottle or an IV-drip. But I can describe myself as an iced latte expert, having ordered some that have tasted like dishwater and on the other end of the scale, those that set you up for the day. Viento’s iced latte is everything you want in one – creamy, bold coffee, strong caffeine jolt.

Fully settled in, we chose a brownie and lemon cake. The brownie was seriously the gooey-est, chocolatey mess I’ve ever come across, and I mean that in a good way. The mark of a good brownie is its squidge factor, which this one seriously scored on.

The best thing about Viento is the atmosphere and what they’ve managed to do with the place.  For those of you that know St Albans Road, its undergoing some serious work and I for one am loving that every month a new eaterie crops up, but this one has really made the space its own.

If I had one qualm with Viento it is that they could do so much more with the menu to bring the brunch crowd in. I for one would love a place a few minutes away that does a mean avocado on toast and eggs multi-ways. I get that coffee is and always will be their forte, but there is a serious gap in the market for brunch in Watford (I’m going to make it my mission to explore the best options on the blog) and Viento is good enough to fill it. Give AMT a miss and pop in for a coffee on your next commute and you’ll see what I mean.

Viento Coffee Company

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The Italian roadtrip part deux: Florence & Pisa

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Lake Maggiore was breathtaking but I always knew Florence would be the main event. We had planned it as an early anniversary getaway – a few days eating all the gelato, fresh pasta and burrata in the land is my romantic ideal.

The morning after a beautiful ceremony, we raced to Florence in our tiny rented Fiat (when in Rome). After dumping our bags in the Hotel David and taking them up on their offer to have some wine and antipasti in their courtyard, we walked into the melee of Italians getting ready to settle in to watch the Germany v Italy match.

Florence is no doubt crowded, but that doesn’t take away from its beauty. The Cathedral and Ponte Vecchio are musts and in my eyes the Gucci Museo is too, but that’s probably debatable dependent on who you ask. Gucci is having a serious moment right now, and I couldn’t resist seeing some vintage logo action and some Tom Ford nostalgia. It’s a fashion itch you need to scratch if you are in the founding city itself. Husband didn’t agree, but i think he appreciated the beauty of the museum at least; it is right in the heart of Florence and just a few minutes walk from the Duomo.

Pisa is such an easy trip from Florence, especially if you have hired a car. It had been on my bucket list, but let’s call it the “B” category one – the one that it wouldn’t matter *that* much if you hadn’t got to it. I’m so glad we took a few hours out to do it, however – it’s nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Whatever happens, don’t make a schedule or plan your days too much – just walk around and absorb. You’re in Italy!

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The Italian roadtrip: Lake Maggiore to Florence and Pisa

After both starting new jobs, his in the city and mine in the most suburban place I’ve ever worked, a break in Lake Maggiore was more than welcome. We were there for the wedding of some close friends and we have to thank them for introducing us to Lake Como’s peaceful little sister. It’s a sleepy town where the locals shout at each other across the streets and you can walk from one end to the other in less than 30 minutes – after the craziness of London, that’s my kind of town.

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