The only class I ever failed was in Trigonometry. Sure, there were plenty of tests I bombed in my academic career. But the only


Wheelhouse Coffee: Parallelogram... or Triangle?

The only class I ever failed was in Trigonometry. Sure, there were plenty of tests I bombed in my academic career. But the only entire class ever failed (I mean, really, truly, properly and miserably failed) was Trigonometry. To this day, if you ask me about it (not an advisable action), I will tell you it was the teacher's fault. Because it was; he was a phenomenally poor teacher with impressively low motivation to explain materials in an understandable manner and inexplicably high motivation to offer students continual false hopes for passing the class so that they would never drop out.

Math in general is a challenge, in my opinion. But geometry, trigonometry, and all such like are especially mind-bending. You begin with a shape, which then possesses numbers. Then numbers replace the shape, and letters replace the numbers. Equations are done with the letters, which magically transform back into numbers, and then all of a sudden, you have a shape again... Which is what you started with, so why all the extra steps? I mean, seriously. Why couldn't you be satisfied with the first triangle? It was exactly the same. ...This is precisely why I studied choral music.

But all frustration aside, there are moments when I genuinely wish that my knowledge of geometric shapes was more holistically intact than it is. Take today, for example, when visiting Wheelhouse Coffee on Westlake Avenue.

I have no idea how to describe this cafe space. It is possible it's a triangle. Or a parallelogram. Or... a... which one is it that has five sides? Especially if they are extremely unequal in length. And one of them is actually a door? No, really: no idea.

I rapidly get lost in the maze of geometric terminology. What I can navigate, however, is the coffee. In whatever way a cafe may be perplexing, I can usually be sure that it will, at least, serve coffee. Especially when coffee is in the title.

Wheelhouse Coffee, as it turns out, takes its nautically themed name from its affiliation with Lighthouse Coffee Roasters. The cafe is owned by Lighthouse's owner, and uses Lighthouse coffee as their bean of choice. Thus far, I've been by only thrice, and sampled only three shots of their espresso. The first time was undeniably the best Lighthouse-roasted coffee I've ever had. The last time was abysmal, bitter and bringing to mind rustic flavors of root vegetables and... dirt.

Same coffee. Different baristas. It is the challenge any company faces: Consistency. How do you produce consistency? Particularly in coffee, a dynamic and fragile organic substance, where the sort of consistency a company wants is simply to be consistently good (or consistently the best). In coffee, the only real way to produce something that is consistently the same is to produce something that is also consistently bad.

Because of unpredictable quality, I cannot rate Wheelhouse Coffee very high up on my list of approved coffee houses. But - in spite of not knowing the name of the shape of the room - the cafe gets my vote for aesthetics. It is constantly changing art displays, open, airy, unique, and quite beautiful.

Stop by. Try the hot cocoa, try the tea (or risk for an espresso, if you wish), but do drop by and visit the cafe soon. You will find yourself in a very pleasant oasis from the insanity of an otherwise busy neighborhood. Sit a while, ponder, enjoy... and if you happen to know what shape the room is, leave a note on this blog.

Wheelhouse Coffee is located at 2113 Westlake Ave. and is open weekdays 7am - 6pm, Saturdays 8am - 1pm, and closed on Sundays.

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