The last stop on our dog-friendly Franklin Village expedition is the highly esteemed Bourgeois Pig coffee shop.
The plan was to go last Wednesday, but it was 92 degrees outside! I was really looking forward to going that day (I run this blog like a well-oiled, on-schedule machine), but I draw the line at anything higher than 90 degrees. You just have to put your foot down at some point.
Perfectly overcast day
The following day was forecast at a partly cloudy high-80s day. I looked at the forecast for the rest of the week, and it wasn’t going to get any better than that, so we decided to go the following day.
Once again, I must confess that we decided to drive, with the first reason being the heat: Azzy’s paws might be OK on the concrete, but he has two layers of fur, and the poor guy spends a lot of the summer panting.
One of my neighbors recently posted an article on social media about how you can’t just shave a double-coated Husky mix like Azzy when it’s hot (or at all, really). So there really isn’t any summer relief for my baby unless you stick him in an air-conditioned room.
‘Monsoonal moisture’ seizes L.A.
When I woke up that morning, I received an alert for rain. Rain.
So I really wanted to be mindful of these factors. I swallowed my pride and fired up the Toyota.
Out of all the establishments that comprise Franklin Village, The Bourgeois Pig was the closest one to us. We decided to go for coffee and snacks earlier than usual (11ish), and it was a weekday, so parking was a breeze. Since it was raining — well, drizzling — I figured getting an outdoor table would be pretty easy as well, and it was. We had our choice of four empty tables (basically, all of them).
Not only is The Bourgeois Pig the closest destination to us in Franklin Village, but it is also the closest to my heart.
I mean it.
Many centuries ago, I went to the all-girls’ Catholic school located up the street at the intersection of Franklin and Western.
During our senior year, my girlfriends and I would get to go off campus for lunch, and we would often go to The Bourgeois Pig, get a latte, smoke cigarettes (don’t judge) and shoot some pool.
If I’m not mistaken, The Bourgeois Pig is the only place that is still going strong since my high school days, plus The Daily Planet.
Keeping L.A. caffeinated since 1989
An online search revealed that The Bourgeois Pig opened in 1989 — so, yeah, it’s been around for a while and will hopefully will keep people buzzing for many more years to come.
I honestly don’t remember what else graced this stretch of Franklin except for the two establishments I just mentioned. Again, it was a long time ago, and the baristas slinging beans at The Bourgeois Pig now probably hadn’t even been born yet.
So, anyway, there was a light drizzle trickling from an overcast sky, as well as a light breeze and a bunch of empty tables that were sheltered from the moisture. In short, it was perfect.
We settled into a table, and I asked Mike to go inside and order us some lattes, a plain croissant for Sasha, and to take some photos of the interior.
We tied Azzy to one of the small tables (what could possibly go wrong?), and he busied himself by vacuuming every available ground score into his mouth like an aardvark sucking up some ants.
There’s an ATM machine
Then he took a spot next to the Pig’s front door and waited for Mike (we left a lot of slack so he had plenty of room to roam). I didn’t realize that’s where the ATM machine was, and Azzy was actually enjoying a close-up view of Mike withdrawing cash. I’m sure it was fascinating.
After Mike ordered and came back outside, he told me that he got a couple of photos, but then the barista told him not to take any photos, so he had to stop.
I made a mental note to mention that part in order to explain to you why there weren’t any interior photos, but the barista must have been psychic: The next time Mike went in, she told him he could take photos but just not of people.
Well, duh. Mike is well-trained in the nuances of journalism and blogging. And I didn’t crop that cute firefighter’s head out of the picture for nothing in one of my blog posts last month.
Polish your pool game in a Haunted Mansion-like lair
I hardly remembered what it looked like inside, except that they had a pool table, so I went in to check it out. The pool table was still there, and there was a shelf next to it for drinks. I don’t remember for sure if that was there before, but I faintly remember there being a protrusion of sorts that held up my Marlboro Reds. (I don’t smoke anymore, but you know how teenagers are — especially the Catholic school ones).
The place was pretty buzzing inside. I saw many laptops, and it makes perfect sense that many more people would be inside where the outlets were, especially if it’s a bit damp outside. I don’t know about you, but if I’m planning on accomplishing a full day of work, I’m going to sit inside, where I don’t have to worry about killing my battery. And keeping my gear dry is a big plus, too.
‘Dan Gui’ oolong
Mike came out shortly with my artfully decorated latte (he ended up just getting a coffee for himself) and a couple of menus.
I wish I had looked at a menu before ordering my latte, because they had a fantastic selection of teas.
What really caught my eye was the “Dan Gui” tea. I’m putting it in quotes because I don’t know if they were referring to the Chinese herb called Dang Gui (note the “g”), or if they meant something else entirely.
I know, I know, I should have asked, but I didn’t notice the missing “g” until I got home and looked at the photo I took of the tea menu (I’m slipping!).
I have formal training in Chinese herbs, and Dang Gui — popularly referred to as “female ginseng” — is probably one of the better-known Chinese herbs and is a good one for a constitutionally blood-deficient individual like myself.
I am just going to assume they are referring to the Chinese herb. Missing “g” notwithstanding, I was impressed that they used the proper Pinyin. Most Western sources will write “Dong Quai,” “Dankui,” or even “Tang Kwei,” which causes a purist like me to twitch when my eyes are assaulted by such an abomination.
Again, this a powerful, relatively well-known Chinese herb, so there is a lot of information about it on the internet. Personally, I would only read about it from a source that calls it “Dang Gui,” because that’s how any self-respecting connoisseur of Chinese medicine will write it. So kudos to The Bourgeois Pig for not coming off looking like a bunch of ignorant hacks.
Impressive tea selection
Sorry about that detour, but I love Chinese herbs, and I can go on and on and on … .
Besides Dan Gui tea, they offer an extensive array of black teas, green teas, other oolongs, an aged white peony tea, as well as pu-erh for those who really need a pick-me-up.
Other notable temptations were an assortment of pastries, sandwiches, salads, soup and desserts.
My latte, by the way, was delicious. I don’t like it when an espresso-based drink has that burnt taste to it (who does?), and this cup of caffeine was well-balanced and smooth.
Lots of dogs were prancing around
I don’t know if it was the cooler weather, but lots of dogs were out and about on this day. Azzy is particularly good with small dogs, so he made friends with a lot of Yorkies, Chihuahuas and Malteses.
At one point, a giant dog was walking by whose head was even bigger than Azzy’s — no small feat.
They started sniffing each other’s junk, tails wagging, and everything seemed like it was going to end well.
All of a sudden, the other dog was unhappy about something and snapped, so Azzy got up on his hind legs like a buck ready to rumble.
Remember how I naively tied Azzy to our small table?
When Azzy stood up, the table toppled over. Saucers, cups and liquids went flying everywhere.
Nobody was hurt, but my white linen pants turned a lovely shade of brown.
We did our best to get all the little shards off the ground so some poor pup wouldn’t step on them. I’m pretty sure we got them all, and I went over everything with a napkin and some water to be sure.
We lingered long after Azzy inadvertently helped us finish our drinks. I was really enjoying the people-watching and doggie-watching in the cooler weather.
When I could no longer stand the brown stains all over my pants, we reluctantly got up, untied Azzy from a much sturdier pole, and made our way back to the car.
This concludes our tour of Franklin Village. Stay tuned for more dog-friendly dining!