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Bastille Day @ Witches Brew: Revolutionary good food, desserts & friendly staff...

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

Le Menu

Background to this tale...

As part of my preparation, Eileen and I watched the musical version of "Les Mis" to experience the Victor Hugo story with more of our emotions. Many years ago, Eileen, John and I were introduced to this powerful drama by a family at church - a family that could and did sing all the songs from memory.

Bastille Day – (quick read will give us the basics)

[Intro] Bastille Day is a holiday celebrating the storming of the Bastille—a military fortress and prison—on July 14, 1789, in a violent uprising that helped usher in the French Revolution. Besides holding gunpowder and other supplies valuable to revolutionaries, the Bastille also symbolized the callous tyranny of the French monarchy, especially King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette. [end of citation]

A follow up to this post – Bastille Day-2 – will cover more of its dark side…

The French Revolution has been compared to our American Revolution and Bastille Day (14 Juillet) is often compared to our Independence Day (July 4).

According to Britannica its timeline ran from 1789 to 1799...

It is now post time…Start the Revolution...

This post highlights revolution from a food and musical perspective. It is not meant to overshadow the seriousness of other forms of revolution as instruments of change…

“Better free your mind instead…”

Miss Quotes

Marie Antoinette is frequently MISquoted as the “sauce” of this dismissive remark toward the poor:

“Let them eat cake…”

Today, I would say,

“Naw, make it crème brûlée…”

"Life is short...Eat dessert FIRST!"

Visitors to the Witches Brew Coffee House are immediately greeted by the dessert displays.

Here's a recent example...this is only a sample of the complete showcase.

Whenever I notice a curious customer trying to decide which ONE…If it seems appropriate, I’ll invite them to move outside the dualism of “EITHER/OR” to the more expansive “BOTH/AND.”

See, Nanny, my Irish grandmother always said,

“Life’s short…Eat dessert first.”

Below, A.J. our server is doing a simulation of how this decadent treat goes from yellow (upper photo) to golden brown (below). He's also my Grateful Dead Subject Matter Expert...I always learn something new from our conversations.

I had asked to go into the kitchen and observe the actual culinary tool used: a BLOW TORCH…But local fire regulations didn’t permit this. Besides, Big Brother - our wonderful Westerners - the crew at the West Hempstead Fire Department were watching from their post in the fire house right across the street from the Brew.

Author, Author...enjoying much-appreciated rest and some afternoon delight...

NOTE: Last year, in this coffee house was the first time ever I experienced its taste...

Witches Brew's like "Cheers"'s a place where "Everybody knows your name"

Like "Cheers" without the beers...

Whenever I set foot inside their front door for my daily cup...I am enthusiastically greeted. WOW! This always makes me smile. Even more, based on the tee shirts they're sporting, they also share their favorite bands and performers. Oh! And on most days, I can also remember THEIR names...

"Do I come here often?" :)

For some...this is a spiritual experience...--Folgers 3:16

Napoleon: Had his coming to him...BUT, I had to go get mine...

Earlier this week, I went to Sapienza’s Bakery in Elmont to get specific desserts for a celebratory Baby Shower hosted by our Baha’I friends. While there, I treated myself to a Napoleon.

Note: I always remember how to spell “dessert” – with 2 s’s because we want seconds…OR, thirdssssss 😊

While there, a Mom came in with her 4 young children. The only boy in her clan points to one of the display cases (see below) and says,

Mom, look - fruits and vegetables!"

Wanna bet he goes into sales? 😁

No offense meant…but, considering this neighborhood’s root population, they might have used an alternate warning like :

"All others will be iced”

And, since this post highlights the Witches Brew, I’ll throw in a version of this cartoon I used previously in a Halloween post about them. Hmm...In gangster language, they'd get ribbeted (rubbed) out...

Peace, Love and Pastries

In Sapienza’s Bakery in Elmont, I noticed that cannoli’s and Napoleon’s exist side-by-side (see below) without any “fussing and fighting my friends”

Why can’t our countries live like this???

Based on the colors in their flags…they are 2/3’s similar…So, WHY can't they...WE get along?

Comprendez??? Capiche??? Since one group talks as much with their hands as their mouths, we need a visual:

I met my Napoleon in NYC in 1961

I had one almost every day in high school at Power Memorial Academy…Went there at the same time as basketball legend Lou Alcindor…You might know him as LA Lakers #33 Kareem Abdul Jabbar…

When I mentioned my bakery experience to our son John, he joined in the fun by offering this solution to this political rivalry:

“Smash the Napoleon and cannoli together and call it the Sardinian Special!”

Not familiar with history (despite repeating it in summer school :)))), I looked it up and found that this French defeat was also the first military service of Napoleon Bonaparte. Wikipedia

His last military engagement - Waterloo - was also a defeat... Hmmm???

Lessons from the Blackboard...on Hempstead Turnpike

One of the mindful messages that greet visitors and passers-by…

It’s part of a collection on the front windowpanes at Witches Brew:

Sing Us Songs of Revolution

Entrance “Him”

How fitting that a folk protester Dylan was playing as I entered the Brew on Bastille Day.

--For women like Joan Baez, we'd change the heading to “Entrance Her”…

Do you hear the students Columbia University in the Spring of 1968?

Needing cash for our first surfin' safari to California, me and a few friends went lookin' for a job...but got no offers...Ooops, not that story...

Our search brought us to the Wackenhut Security outfit. The guy who interviewed us was a former cop and, sizing up our long hair and beards, asked us how attached we were to them. "What are you paying?" we asked. We complied and were given our first assignment: Protect the buildings at NYC's Columbia University FROM their students.

As we showed up for the night shift, the protestors spotted us and we had to run into a nearby building for safety. Through our barricaded door we tried to explain to them that we were for them...But they were too angry to listen...Here's how we earned our tickets to paradise...

Want more local protesting opportunities?

Check out my friend Keith Crocker's upcoming live and virtual offerings. Two of the subjects on which he frequently presents are music and horror (see link below). If you'd like to get on his mailing list, just send him an email at:

  • This way you'll stay informed about the following and lots of other presentations.

[from his recent email] As far as Adult Education goes, I'll be doing a three different classes for Hutton House.

  • On Monday, August 14 we will be doing the Birth of Psychedelic Rock (in person),

  • Monday August 21 Crosby, Stills Nash and Young (virtual) and

  • August 28 History of Spaghetti Westerns (virtual). Sign up right here: .

Also, I'll be returning to Nassau Community College for some daytime adult education.

  • On Monday August 7 I'll be doing The Three B's, Bob, Beatles and the Byrds in person at 1pm. Sign up here: I'll be on vacation in July, hence scant offerings that month.

Recipes for Unity: Let us break bread...not heads... together...

In my late teens me and friends used to host large parties – usually in rented halls like the VFW, Masonic Temples. Knights of Columbus... To advertise our services we had mother of pearl business cards made up with this slogan:

“Apres moi…le deluge”

After Show: Post Party

--despite some missing links, worth reading and listening to the songs. Of special interest here, is their inclusion of this song from "Les Mis":

It's finds like the above that continue to encourage me to write...

[from YouTube video] Revolution 9 is a sound collage that appeared on the Beatles' 1968 eponymous release (popularly known as the "White Album"). The composition, credited to Lennon–McCartney, was created primarily by John Lennon with assistance from George Harrison and Yoko Ono. Lennon said he was trying to paint a picture of a revolution using sound. The composition was influenced by the avant-garde style of Ono as well as the musique concrète works of composers such as Edgard Varèse and Karlheinz Stockhausen. The recording began as an extended ending to the album version of Lennon's song "Revolution". He, Harrison and Ono then combined the unused coda with numerous overdubbed vocals, speech, sound effects, and short tape loops of speech and musical performances, some of which were reversed. These were further manipulated with echo, distortion, stereo panning, and fading. At over eight minutes, it is the longest track that the Beatles officially released during their existence as a band.

Mercy triumphs over Judgement

Watching the mercy-less Javert obsessively track Jean-Valjean through the streets, alleys and sewers of Paris, reminded me of another tale with "West"..."West Side Story" - where a similarmercy-less law enforcement saga unfolds on the streets of New York City...

As he reads the conditions of his release to Valjean, Javert doesn't even face his former prisoner, choosing instead to focus solely on the law...

About to administer his form of justice...Krupke's nightstick is raised over the head of the perp...

Reading/Listening material for your second cup...

Let's do some the truth be told...Here's an animated version:

It takes a revolution (revolution) to make a solution


Too much confusion (aaa-aaah), so much frustration, eh

I don't wanna live in the park (live in the park)

Can't trust no shadows of the dark (shadows of the dark), yeah

So, my friend, I wish that you could see

Like a bird in the tree, the prisoners must be free, yeah (free)

Never make a politician (aaa-aaah) grant you a favour


They will always want (aaa-aaah) to control you forever, eh

(Forever, forever)

So if a fire make it burn (make it burn, make it burn)

And if a blood make you run (make you run, run, run)

Rasta up on top (aaa-aaah), can't you see (doo-doo-doo-doo)

So you can't predict the flock, eh-eh (doo-doo-doo-doo)

Source (with my added emphases)


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