Restaurant Review: Back to the Cove

Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER
Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER

It’s safe to say that our local coffee shop in downtown Riverside has been ransacked and taken over by a group of pirates who happen to love coffee just as much as your average college student during finals. After searching the store for gold and only coming up with coffee beans, the pirates have been revealed to an entirely new world of espresso and pastries thanks to the bartenders at the cafe, who introduced them to the glories of coffee brewing.

An unspoken compromise was made between the leaders of the two groups, and soon enough, Back to the Cove was created. Located on a giant floating deck only reachable by pirate ship shuttle, this exclusive new cafe keeps the coffee cravings to a minimum for students, fellow pirates and “landlubbers” in the area looking for some cheap caffeine and entertainment.

After arriving via the shuttle (which reeked of rum), I stepped foot onto the surprisingly balanced deck and made my way into the dark entrance of Back to the Cove. “Ahoy!” a deep booming voice from the behind the bar startled me and caused me to jump slightly at the unexpected bass that came from a skinny hipster-pirate wearing Ray-Bans, a gold hoop earring and a striped shirt with a bandana. I waved back politely and continued through the cafe, admiring the parrots and cockatiels that circled the high ceiling energetically.

I sniffed the air with curiosity and approached the counter clearly made of driftwood with tacky skulls spraypainted on. “Arrrrgghhhh…” the hipster pirate mumbled as he glared at me from his spot at the bar. I can only assume that this sparse crowd of hipster-pirate-wannabes were the only customers to dare set foot in this establishment, and I can definitely see why: The only menu options available were coffee and rum, fish sticks and a sketchy “soup of the day,” none of which had a written price. Already suspicious, I opted for one order of each item on the menu and crossed my fingers for no hefty bill or food poisoning.

“Yer booty please,” grumbled the bartender. Shocked and offended all at once, I turned to face the man. “Excuuuuse me?” I responded. “Yer. Booty.” he pressed. “I can’t let ye walk outta this place without payin’!” I glanced over at the sign by the treasure chest: “Booty Only” it read. After a brief moment of confusion, I hesitantly handed over my necklace and carried the food back to a sturdy-looking driftwood table.

One bite into the soggy fish stick and a whiff of the soup later, I could already tell that the rest of the meal was not going to go well unless I finished my coffee-rum first. The fish stick’s breading was loose, and the entire piece was limp and flavorless, while the soup of the day (which still remains a mystery) tasted sour and strangely sweet in the wrong ways. Still disappointed even after having lowered my expectations upon my entrance, I gave the coffee-rum another try and took a hearty sip. The rum tasted strong and smooth altogether to my surprise and the coffee provided an extra kick of flavor, even though the rum overpowered the coffee.

“It’s ingredients straight from Davy Jones’ locker,” explained a nonchalant waiter decked out in a pegleg and carrying at least three parrots on one arm. “Also known as none of your business,” he stated as he walked away. I couldn’t take more than a tiny sip of the soup afterward; the sour taste led me to believe something had expired, and it would take much more than the rum content to help me forget that salty disgusting taste from my tongue.

As I stepped back onto the deck outside, I took a breath of fresh air and vowed not to come back. Despite the somewhat convenient location of the cafe, I personally don’t feel like it’s worth it. I want my necklace back.

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