Birthdays in Taiwan (2014): Part II — Coffee and Kitties


Jane, Dante, and me at Chat Toast Cafe, Taipei.

It’s been several weeks since my birthday, but I never completed the series of birthday posts I had talked about back in May. In fact, I never even completed part 2 of the current year,  let alone my other four Taiwan birthdays. So this is my attempt to at least do the second post of my 2014 birthday, especially since it involves coffee, cats, great food, and fun friends. When you can find a cafe that includes all of those things–well, what better birthday celebration could you ask for?

On my actual birthday, back in May, I went with three friends to a restaurant in Taipei that was rumored to be cat friendly. We all met at the train station in Taoyuan and then took the MRT to the neighborhood of our destination. We walked to the cafe, seeing the cat on the sign out in front. As we reached out destination, it was so cute. But we were greeted by a server who came outside on the porch to ask if we had a reservation. OH CRAP! Who knew? We were told that there was a reservation open, and that if the people didn’t

10341489_10202168002223019_4164275480723390998_nLuckily, we were told that they had a second store, called Toast Chat, in another part of Taipei. Yes, they still had kitties and coffee and all the good stuff, BUT (1) they didn’t take reservations, and (2) they currently had seating available.

We walked around the block to a main street and were able to get a taxi. We all crammed in, and we were on our way. When we got dropped off, it wasn’t exactly clear where the place was. We tried asking a couple of people, but it wasn’t going real smoothly. A look at the map on the business card (and a quick phone call) put us on the right track. We headed down the correct alley, and before long, we recognized the signage. It didn’t hurt to see the Family Mart on the corner (one of the landmarks on the map).

Opening catOK, how awesome is this? If you’re a cat lover, wouldn’t you love to see this precious thing ready to greet you. Four cats make their home at Toast Chat. They wander around the place pretty independently. I was able to pet one of them, but in general, they don’t fraternize with the guests. They can be quite entertaining. One of the cats got on top of a freezer and leaped up into dropped ceiling.  Once up there, s/he wandered across that ceiling panel to the place just above the table where we were sitting. I was sitting closest to the wall, and as I looked up, there was the cat peeking down at us, with an occasional paw reaching out.

food pictureEven though I was with three Taiwanese women, there were no obligatory food photos. So I requested that one of them take a photo of my food. I did this largely because my daughter-in law, Megan, has a food blog, with many other interesting things along the way. She commented on one of my posts that I need food pictures, so I wanted to make sure to include at least one in this post.

The brunch offerings at this shop were largely focused on bagels, french toast, and au gratin selections. The meal in the bottom of the photo is mine. It’s an au gratin dish with mushrooms and potatoes. It may sound weird, but it was great. My meal came with bread, and all their brunch items come with two sides. I chose salad and onion rings, even though most onion rings I’ve had in Taiwan have been a little disappointing. Not these! They were awesome.

Jane had a beef burger on English muffin, while Dante and Rena each had a french toast brunch, Dante’s with german sausage, and Rena’s with smoked chicken. (You can see part of Dante’s plate in the upper left of the photo, on the other side of my iced latte, which was amazing, I might add.) Before our food arrived, we each were served a small glass of watermelon juice. I’ve never had that before, and it was delicious and refreshing. And we all had more food than we could possibly finish comfortably. The place was amazing. I thorough enjoyed mine, but if when we go back, I’m going to get the french toast with german sausage.

The atmosphere was wonderful, and the staff was friendly and courteous. The owner gave us permission to use a photo in the textbook project I’m doing and to create a writing exercise around the shop, even though I couldn’t mention it by name. Now I HAVE to go back so I can show him what we did with the place in our book.  Clever, huh! Anyway,  here is the link to Toast Chat’s Facebook page if you’re interested:

Here are some of the cat pictures from our day at Toast Chat. Along with the great food and coffee, you can see why I’m looking forward to our return visit!

cat mosaic


One final note: If you visited Birthdays in Taiwan (2014): Part 1, there was a video that didn’t work for many of the people who visited. I have since fixed it. So if you want to see what my Wednesday writing students did to surprise me a few days before my birthday, you can check it out here.