We Gather

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On any given Thursday, you may have the pleasure of meeting Cathy, Susan, Julie, Helen, Diane (pictured above, left to right) or any of the approximately 12 members of the Hillside Wesleyan Church small group at Table 6. They regularly meet at Raven Café  and like to begin with sharing a joke to brighten their day followed by reflection and fellowship. “We’re a support network for each other,” Susan said describing how important the group is to them before reading the daily meditation. The group has been meeting at the cafe for over twelve years.

“It’s amazing how often the theme is similar to something I’ve read elsewhere earlier in the week. It makes me feel  like it’s a message specifically directed at me when that happens,” Helen commented afterwards.

Carol Mason, server at Raven Café, enjoys serving this dedicated group of well wishers each week who graciously share their smiles, along with their sincere pleasure in meeting others. “They’ll add your name to their book of prayerful intentions if you’d like. I’m not a believer in any organized religion, but they offer to keep me in their thoughts and prayers if they know I’m experiencing a difficult day or facing a major decision, or even if I’m just excited about something, and I’m a cool with that. They’re cool,” Carol said with a nod and a smile.

I was welcomed at their table. I felt the sincere appreciation they had for their shared time with each other. Before I left, they asked a bit about me. I shared news of my pending home sale, eventual plans for relocation to South Carolina, and bittersweet feelings about eventually leaving Raven Café where such wonderfully diverse groups of people gather. They provided affirmation and asked to add me to their prayer book. I accepted. I don’t think a little extra prayer will hurt me, and if it can fly me safely to the two cute little faces I call, “My Silly Gooses” waiting for me in South Carolina faster, all the better.  ( And yes, I know the plural of goose is not gooses, but that’s just the way that I am.)  1526653719977.jpg

If you have a group who would like to reserve a table or the entire upstairs for a gathering perhaps, contact us ahead of time to make arrangements and we’ll put the sign out!

Yours truly,

SK Mabry

Media Specialist, Raven Café

Psyched!

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“Hi guys! I’m a gluten free vegan and was psyched to find so many options…you guys are my fave! Cheers!”  (Written on the back of the Raven Review comment card by one of our patrons. We read them all!) “My server, Courtney, did an awesome job taking care of me!! Overall I found my experience to be exceptional. My favorite feature of the place was the gluten-free menu.” -Karin

So much more than a salad, Raven Café offers a large selection of gluten-free and vegetarian delights that eat as a meal. In fact, we’re confident you can find something in each area of the menu to dine in like-fashion with your group of friends or family without compromising your taste buds. Any specialty, grilled or baked sandwich can be served in a gluten-free wrap or sandwich bread for only an additional 99¢! *

Soups always on! We serve nine, repeat nine, soups each and every day which also include multiple options for those who crave a gluten-free cup, bowl, or meal sized serving, including Baja Chicken Enchilada, Herb Tomato Bisque, Vegetarian Black Bean, and Meaty Beef Chili with Beans.

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Linda Staton, Lefty’s Lunchbox, Port Huron

Don’t forget desert! Our Homemade Gluten-Free Baked Goods, including scones, rolls, muffins and more are baked with a smile. If you visit regularly, don’t hesitate to let Linda know the flavor of scone you crave – she just might whip it up while you wait for a taste test. Linda Staton of Lefty’s Lunchbox, Port Huron bounces in a couple times each week with her flour-free equipment to restock our pastry cooler with mouth-watering gluten-free treats, like the Lemon Blueberry Scones pictured below.

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*Please note, all items are prepared in a kitchen that uses gluten. Trace amounts may be present. Please notify your server for details and available gluten-free modifications.

Yours truly discovered this awesome place because of their  gluten-free menu and I fell in love with everything and everyone else behind the doors. I’m a stranger nevermore.

Be free with me-

SK Mabry

Media Specialist, Raven Cafe

 

Seeking Storytellers

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You may have noticed, but we REALLY like books. We celebrate the great minds who thought them up and wrote them down. Our book-lined walls attract creative spirits including many writers and we’re approached often about hosting book signings.

Because of this, we’re looking to organize an event for 4-6 writers at once – preferably local talent. There is no cost to the authors for this. Interested persons, please send an image of your book cover and a synopsis to Jody Parmann at jody@ravencafeph.com by May 31, 2018.

Collective Book Signing Event (with readings by writers) will be held Wednesday, August 1st from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Authors must have books available for purchase.

Let’s Sit Outside

patiosWhat’s better than hanging out at the Raven, consuming delicious food and libations? Doing it outside, of course!

Both of our patios are officially open for your dining pleasure! Our upstairs outdoor seating area overlooks the Black River & Desmond Marine, and is located on our second-floor balcony. We also have our Sidewalk Cafe erected for the warm season, located in front of the building on Military Street. And, while we are a seat-yourself establishment, please check in with the bartender inside to be seated in the Sidewalk Cafe.

The Sidewalk Cafe is particularly prime real estate while enjoying a latté or cocktail and partaking in the following upcoming Downtown Port Huron events:

Vantage Point Flower Market
Every Tuesday & Saturday
Vantage Point

The Blue Water Fest 2018 
7/11/2018 to 7/14/2018
Downtown Port Huron

MainStreet Memories Car Show
7/28/2018 – 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Downtown Port Huron

Rotary International Day Parade
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Parade Start Time: 6:30pm
Downtown Port Huron

Raven Rocks

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The weather is finally breaking which mean people are painting, hiding and finding rocks. Did you know the Raven encourages folks to hide rocks in their library? True story. We also often find them hidden on the wings out back and the fair garden out front. Come visit!

Read more about the KINDNESS ROCKS project here. 

Creep Week

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69359_1561542091561_4648217_nDo you long for the dark haunts of October like I do? Ugh, it’s still ages away, but the Raven is working on it’s “Creep Week” activities to help the lovers of the macabre get their fix. Here’s the line up so far:

Monday, May 14th – Vinyl Mondays (bring your spooky records to spin)
Tuesday, May 15th – Psychic Medium, Laura Moody Tickets $13 in advance or $17 at the door. Limit 40 people. Upstairs balcony seating. SOLD OUT
Wednesday, May 16th – Chris Troy’s “Haunted Blue Water Area” Documentary
Thursday, May 17th – Live Music by “The Picassos”
Friday, May 18th – Live Music by “My Drowning Youth”
Saturday, May 19th – Live Music by award-winning classical guitarist William Henry Russell

Does He Deserve It? Absolutely!

We’d agreed to meet at 9 a.m. He was late.Todd Bailey

Todd Bailey hurt my feelings. I already knew I wasn’t the first.

“You’re too sensitive,” flashed in my head. Perhaps I’d indicated 9ish I thought, so I reluctantly dismissed the tardiness.

He was in charge of the staff in the kitchen. “He’s a grumpy one,” they said.

“I’m here when you’re ready,” I messaged him without injecting shame.

“I’ll be right there,” he responded, but his reputation preceded his arrival and I feared displeasure. “I don’t know what anyone wants to know about me,” he insisted, after already agreeing to meet.

I heard a rapid ascent of heavy footsteps . The two cups of my favorite brew I’d drank earlier to fuel my ambition felt like sudden death, not “Resurrection” as labeled; it slipped down the shoot and created the sudden urge to escape to the bowels of the Raven.

Someone who declares, “I just don’t like you,” isn’t necessarily anyone’s friend, but could it be a cloak, camouflage, a distracting disguise? When it’s only in print, the tone of the words can be very deceiving. I’d already spotted him in the shadows of my previous photos – never with a smile, but he’d already racked up four years with the Raven family.

Game On.

After the dreaded small talk about working at Raven Café, managing the staff, dealing with difficult situations, maintaining inventories, and avoiding lousy food and warm beer, the conversation became only slightly more fluid. Like the silver steel ball being slapped about in a pinball machine, I used my silver tongue to extend our play, and avoid falling into the dark holes.

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He disclosed sailing from Florida to Milwaukee aboard the tall ship, Denis Sullivan, and working on another tall ship, Highlander, in Port Huron.  I sensed there was a lot more to know about this grumpy one than he’s willing to share on the first drink, or libation as he prefers to call it.

“What else do you enjoy?”  I asked.

Awkward silence.

I hid behind my painted smile. Was he a gamer? I had heard he was, but I suddenly felt like Puck-Man (look it up – it’s not a typo).  I tried to manage the tight corners in the uncomfortable silence and avoid my own ghosts, while trying to devour any bits of information I could grab as I shifted about.

“Have you played the new Fortnight Game?” I finally asked. I’m only a limited retro game enthusiast myself, but I’d heard about the newest game on the radio the same morning.

“No, I don’t play it. I like The Witcher 3,” he responded.

Through pursed lips, I reluctantly admitted to my limited Puck-Man parade of old-school games and the antiquated systems I’d played them on, unable to comment on Witchers 3, but it finally broke the plane.

1523467443734“Retro games are cool,” he pleasantly said with a nod. “A lot of people enjoy the old retro games. In fact, I build gaming systems. About $120 each, if anyone’s interested.”FB_IMG_1523149285765

We don’t have video games in the Library, but before we parted, he willingly agreed to play a word game with a culinary theme, while I retreated to the TARDIS in the library to curiously look up “The Witcher 3”.

You can play the word game too, just write down the following:  An adjective, an insect, a number, another number, an adjective, an animal (plural), a verb, a foreign country, a verb ending in “ing”, an adjective, and another adjective. Then substitute each of your answers in the blank for his.

Here are Todd’s results:

EAT WHAT BUGS YOU!

Have you ever eaten a bittercockroach? It’s a delicacy now at Raven Café! Patrons have been known to eat at least  27,0000  in 2 visits. And in this town, worms aren’t only bait for catching fish in the river. Todd has the talented staff use them to capture tangygoats too –  a delicious dish served weekly to guests! They may wiggle and shout, but don’t let that slow you down! If they aren’t your style, please don’t forget to try the beetle juice brew from China –  cooking them releases their delicious flavor. If you miss any of our fluffy cuisine, don’t worry, because we’ll serve another hot course again soon! -Todd Bailey, Manager

If you want to talk nerd and all things gamer-related, grab a seat at Raven Café’s bar on Wednesday evening or Saturday morning. Ask Todd for one of his favorite libations with your meal. He’s the one with the grumpy face that’s grumbles “meh.” If you get him chatting he’s a pretty okay guy for a young curmudgeon.

All in a day’s fun. Game on.

SK Mabry

Media Specialist, Raven Café

Wednesday Night Movies

Every Wednesday you can find a free movie upstairs at the Raven Cafe. The next 3 months have very distinct themes – can you guess them?

APRIL
4/4 Super Troopers
4/11 The Big Lebowski
4/18 Friday
4/25 Dazed & Confused

MAY
5/2 Cabin in the Woods
5/9 Lost Boys
*5/16 Haunted Blue Water Area
5/23 Zombieland
5/30 Tremors

June
6/6 Breakfast Club
6/13 St. Elmo’s Fire
6/20 Goonies
6/25 Hairspray

Printable movie schedule to hang above your bed. 


* Mark your calendar!  Mid May we’ll be hosting a “Creep Week” with the following lineup:

Monday, May 14th – Vinyl Mondays (bring your spooky records to spin)
Tuesday, May 15th – TBD
Wednesday, May 16th – Chris Troy’s “Haunted Blue Water Area” Documentary
Thursday, May 17th – Live Music by “The Picassos”
Friday, May 18th – Live Music by “My Drowning Youth”
Saturday, May 19th – Live Music by award-winning classical guitarist William Henry Russell

Featured image by Deviant artist noro8.

Secrets of a Connoisseur

1522164850752Admirably labeled a “coffee connoisseur” by the owners of Raven Café, Tasha Kramarenko recently took time during her busy day (after walking her dog, Wilfred, named after the FX comedy starring Elijah Wood & Jason Gann) to sit down with Raven’s media specialist for a rapid-fire Q & A.wilfred-and-tasha

Q: “You are stranded with only Buck’s Tim’s, or Old Man McDonald’s coffee on your island. Do you make the best of it, or swim to the next island?”

A:  Her answer may surprise you, so we’ll disclose it at the end!

Q: “Where should first time coffee drinkers begin?”

A:  “At Raven Café, of course, but with a single black cup of coffee, to get the full-flavor of the bean- nothing added to it. Maybe start with a nice cup of Resurrection Brew, my personal favorite. I don’t think they’d be disappointed.”

Q: “Coffee only, or tea too?”

A:  “A nice cup of Earl Grey in the evening is great!”

Q: “Latte, Mocha, or Cappuccino?”

A:  “Cappuccino.” (Pictured above with her personal coffee art in the foam on the top!)

Q: “Light Roast or Dark Roast – which has more caffeine?”

A:  “That depends on the bean and the roast. Often it is the Light Roast, and that surprises people, but the density of the bean changes; beans that are roasted longer are less dense. If you measure your coffee by scoops, light roasted coffee will have more caffeine, since the beans are denser than a darker roast. However, if you weigh out your scoops darker roasts will have more caffeine, because there is less mass.”

Q: “Are coffees rated or graded in any way, similar to wine?”

A:  “Yes, baristas will have what is called a “cupping”, which is a coffee tasting where the aroma, flavors, and aftertaste are evaluated to better inform the coffee drinker what to expect.”

Q: “Caffeine and little flavor? Or flavor, but no caffeine?”

A:  “That’s a hard one… but I’d go for the flavor first, I guess. Neither one is a problem at Raven Café because they have multiple brews for a variety of tastes every day.”

Q: “Espresso or Expresso?”

A:  “Espresso.” She stressed the s, but she’s not a coffee snob, and humbly took interest in my follow-up question next.

Q: I know this may make some coffee snobs seethe, but I have to point  out that the word expresso is the customary wording in France, Portugal, and Spain. Of course, the art of making the drink was created in Italy, but spelling it with an x was also widely used in Great Britain, especially in references to the popular coffee houses frequented by the famous bohemian set in Soho. Did you know the Oxford English Dictionary even includes it as an acceptable variant?

A: Tasha grins and says, “ I learned something new today!” (So, there’s a feasible reason to say and spell it with an x, if you happen to pronounce it that way yourself!)

cupsQ: Considering her humble response, I asked “Do you think anyone should feel intimidated to enter and order in a specialty coffee shop like Raven Cafe?”

A: “Absolutely not! Most baristas are genuinely interested in sharing their knowledge and eager to guide others through making a great coffee drink selection and enjoying their visit to the Raven. Please don’t be afraid to ask,” she insists.  (The Raven Café beverage menu provides a detailed description, including diagrams of the most popular coffee drinks to assist too!)

Q: “Best food to have with coffee?”

A: A wide grin appears on her face (so I sense real love for this answer). “Bacon!” Tasha exclaims.

Q:“Best alcoholic addition to coffee?”

A:  “Whiskey – any brand you’d like. I suppose some have their favorite Irish whiskeys for the “Irish Coffee,” but I can enjoy any one of them.”

Q: “A flavorful cup of delicious coffee to relax and enjoy alone or just a simple no-frill coffee with friends?”

A: “Coffee with friends of course, or people in general. The best way to find your people is a coffee house. It’s the first place I visit when traveling too”

Q: “If you are alonehow do you enjoy your coffee?”

A:  “Relaxing with the music of Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday is nice,  or watching Max Fleischer’s ‘Gabby’ cartoons.” Tasha’s eyes brighten with mention of cartoons.

Q: “Would you drink instant coffee?”

A: “Ahhhh- No.” But then Tasha pondered her response and added, “well, only out of desperation, I guess.”

Q: “Dream job?”

A:  “A mobile coffee truck on the road to wherever I wanted to go.” (Should she go for it? Let her know!)

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Q: “Other interests besides coffee?”

A:  “My degree from Grand Valley State University is in philosophy; I have a real interest in the dynamics of a business, the community, and society in general; I also enjoy anthropology, and I love to read.” Some of the nearly 5000 books in the upstairs library at Raven Cafe reflect in Tasha’s eyes as she answers.

Q:”How did you come from the west side of Michigan to working at Raven Café?

A:  Tasha gives a soft sigh, like one associated with a pleasant memory. “My grandmother lives near, and she hasn’t any other family so I came here to be with her – she told me I had to check out this cool coffee shop called Raven Cafe’ and when we visited, I told her right away, ‘I want to – I really want to work here’.”

And so, it was generations of coffee love that brought Tasha to enjoy making and consuming coffee drinks herself at Raven Café, and sharing time with coworkers she calls “the best”!

We finished up with discussing  tidbits of coffee trivia including a Turkish wedding tradition that includes a vow to provide the bride with coffee or it could result in divorce. Not a bad premarital agreement for any coffee connoisseur, not just Turkish, she agrees but quickly adds, “as long as it’s good coffee that is!”1522174545611

And finally, back to the original question in regards to drinking coffee with Buck, Tim, or Old Man McDonald – Tasha grinned, and said, “honestly McDonald makes a pretty good cup of coffee I have to admit. So I could manage, but of course the coffee isn’t half as much fun as the one you’ll have with friends at a coffee house!”

Tasha, it was my pleasure!

Story by: SK Mabry, Media Specialist, Raven Cafe

Awarded the Silver!

Raven Café is honored to receive a Michigan Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Silver Award.

“We support an employee’s decision to continue breastfeeding when they return to work,” said Jody Parmann (wife of Sadaat Hossain / co-owner of Raven Café).

Breastfeeding award 1Jody Parmann breastfeeds daughter Eloise Hossain with “Madonna & Child” painting in background.Breastfeeding her 22 month old daughter on the second level of the restaurant with breastfeeding “Madonna & Child”, painted by her, in the background, she also wants patrons to know Raven Cafe encourages a breastfeeding friendly community. “The idea of decency, morality or the sexual nature people associate with breasts today did not exist in the same context back then. Breasts were for giving your child nutrition. As the most sacred of all mothers in recorded history, others should feel comforted by the fact that Mary did breastfeed, as it is a natural act shared between a mother and a child.” To find out more about the artist’s inspiration for the painting, visit https://ravencafeph.com/2015/06/11/new-art-nature-by-jody-parmann/

Raven Café, 932 Military Street, Port Huron, Michigan provides a comfortable atmosphere for breastfeeding, along with a section of inspirational and reference books in their large library, dedicated to helping others build the village to raise a happy and healthy child.

logoThe Michigan Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Awards are a component of the MIBFN “MI Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Project,” a work-site lactation support initiative funded by the Cardiovascular Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity Section at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. For more information on this program and how to apply to be a Michigan Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace visit: http://mibreastfeeding.org/workplace-awards.

Breastfeeding Coalitions work within the local community to educate, promote, and normalize breastfeeding. The mission of the Michigan Breastfeeding Network (MIBFN) is to lead the statewide collaborative actions for advocacy, education, and coalition building in order to create a supportive breastfeeding culture. To learn more about the coalition and the benefits of breastfeeding, visit http://www.mibreastfeeding.org