KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Flash Fiction: 747 words

Ersatz Café’s Post-Climate-Change Impact Menu

by Ashley Shelby

We are pleased to reopen under new management following Superstorm Zuzia and the catastrophic failure of the Bridging Berm protecting the Lower East Side. We appreciated all the support—and helping hands—as we moved to our new location in Manhattan’s Habitable Zone. Who knew an old laundromat under the Riverside Drive Viaduct could transform into a cheery local “coffee” shop? Please read on to learn more about our new sustainable, climate-impacted menu.

Coffee Drinks
Due to the simultaneous total collapses of the African and South American Arabica crops last year, “coffee” does not necessarily refer to coffee as we’ve come to understand it.

Ground Acorn and Carob Mocha
We rely upon the region’s best bushcrafters for the nuts used in our Organic Acorn Espresso. Paired with Hershey’s carbon-neutral carob powder, this decadent drink will cheer even the crankiest former coffee lover.

Postum Speedball
For customers currently going through Caffeine Transition due to the unavailability of coffee beans, our Postum Speedball can ease the discomfort of climate-driven withdrawal. This creamy Postum drink is blended with a half-shot of our limited Robusta bean espresso.*

*A note from your medical provider is required for purchase.

Chicory and Chickpea Coffee-Like Drink
Percolated to perfection, our ground chickpea steamer will spark pre-Impact latté nostalgia. We brighten this steamer with the piquancy of a wild chicory shot and a cloud of cashew-based “whipped cream.”

First-Year Burdock Root House Blend
For our bold new house blend, we roast tender first-year burdock roots for ten hours to draw out their dramatic flavor. Our burdock is raised by rehabilitating carbon felons in the Manhattan Comprehensive Sanction Center’s community garden, and comes to your cup with a dollop of social responsibility.

Second-Run House Blend
Some former coffee fiends believe the second pot made from a basket of burdock-root grounds has a subtler mouthfeel. Plus, it’s half-price.

Ersatz Café is proud to be a part of the Invasive Species Salads Initiative, and offers a daily special based on what our dedicated Foraging Specialist brings in each day. Typical greens include Bastard Cabbage, Sow’s Thistle, and Lamb’s Quarters. Ask for today’s selection. Please note that a Release of Liability form is required for service.

Sweets ’n Savories
As the New York City Department of Climate Conversion continues its audit of Approved Climate-Transitional Foodstuffs for Commercial Sale, we are offering a limited lunch menu. Below are items that have been sanctioned by the city’s Committee on Low-Impact Substitutes of Unavailable Comestibles.

Dandelion Flower Risotto
One upside to exploding levels of carbon dioxide has been the veritable sea of dandelions across the country. Our savory risotto is made from free-range dandelions harvested from New York’s greenest rights-of-way and freeway shoulders. Served with hearth-baked nettle chips.

Saddle of Squirrel in Merlot Sauce
An intriguing transition meat, squirrel offers the discerning palate frank flavor with a presentation that doesn’t test your gag reflex. Long and slow is the way to go with any ground rodent, and that’s how we start. Slow-cooked for two days in a heady broth of locally sourced elderberries and organic bathtub gin, our humanely trapped squirrels are served on a bed of climate-smart sorghum pilaf studded with birch-harvested Chaga mushrooms.

Forager’s Surprise
Comfort food has become harder and harder to find since First Impact, but this wild-crafted casserole will convince you that it’s still 2016. Caramelized chickweed melds with milky cap mushrooms and wild yams to produce a toothsome dish that will remind you of something slightly better.

Wood Sorrel and Wild Honey Sorbet
Harvested from our own rooftop gardens and hives, our sorrel and honey mingle to create an earthy yet succulent flavor bomb. It arrives at your table with a light carbon footprint and a calorie count under 100.

Cave-Matured Zucchini Cheese Plate
Just because the global dairy sector is experiencing unprecedented regulation doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy cheese. Try our selection of heirloom zucchini cheeses. From the wild ramp and garlic faux Manchego to our cranberry-infused non-dairy Gouda, indulge in the visceral joy of consuming cheese without the fear of jail time.

Dietary Concerns
We do our utmost to accommodate allergies and food restrictions. Please be aware of current city, state, and federal laws regarding food consumption and/or associated carbon tax upcharges for certain climate-sensitive foods. We are unable to accommodate Paleo and/or Atkins requests due to the current restrictions governing methane-producing livestock and wouldn’t even if we could. We welcome vegetarians and vegans, including Necessity-Based Late Adopters.


First-Prize Winner, KYSO Flash “One Life, One Earth” Writing Challenge

Ashley Shelby
Issue 7, Spring 2017

is a prize-winning writer whose fiction and essays have appeared in The Seattle Review, The Portland Review, Los Angeles Review, J Journal: New Writings on Social Justice, The Drouth (U.K.), Sonora Review, Post Road, Southeast Review, Third Coast, and other literary outlets. She’s received the Red Hen Press Short Fiction Award, the Enizagam Short Story Award, and the Third Coast Fiction Prize, and she was recently named a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her debut novel South Pole Station will be published by Picador USA in July 2017.

Ashley’s original reporting on the Exxon Valdez litigation was published in The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, and She is also the author of Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City, a work of narrative nonfiction praised by Salon, the Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Library Journal, and other media outlets.

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