The lovely compatriot and I took a spin several blocks south to the Coffee Den. We’ve code-named it the Bat Cave, both for its out-of-the-way location, and for its regenerative properties to our spirits and powers of concentration.

The Coffee Den came under new management in April. The fresh-faced naïve owners fancy that they will transform The Coffee Den into a combination café and wine bar. Not unlike Batman, it would live a double life as public figure by day, sexy beast by night. Unlike Batman, the schizophrenic nature of this endeavor threatens to tear it apart. To date however, the café side is winning.

Maine Root Sarsaparilla and Root BeerWe picked up a few sodas to go with our coffee as per our custom; in this case, since there were no ginger ales available, we selected a root beer and a sarsaparilla*. Both are produced by the excellent Maine Root company founded by two brothers who fuel our appetites with organic ingredients from their native Maine and their trucks with straight vegetable oil. LovesGingerAle puts them to the test!

The sarsaparilla had the full expression of flavor that exists as but a mere simulacra in a Dr. Pepper. It’s strong and spicy and almost licorice-like, similar to a Good ‘N’ Plenty if Good ‘N’ Plenties were tasty and not vile (I do not endorse this baseless condemnation of Good ‘N’ Plenty, a most excellent candy snack. —Lovely Compatriot).

I experienced three distinct phases on each loving sip: the crisp first fruity tang, the bubbly sweet middle, and the gentle afterburn. Our only criticism: it lacks real raw bite, which is something that Dr. P does oh so very well.

Overall: 8 out of 10

As for the root beer, here were my lovely compatriot’s notes:

Root beer is solid
No weird corn syrup taste
Flavors are well balanced
Not terribly sharp
Or spicy
It is nicely dry ☺

Overall: 8 out of 10

High score especially related to the root beer’s palette-cleansing dryness.

* re: sarsaparilla, peculiar spelling of

cf the following. Relevant portion starts at 8:45: