Right now, my best friend (aka my foodie friend) is studying abroad in Seville, Spain. (To say the least, I miss her.)

Melinda Kauffman is actually the lead founder of Spoon University at W&L, and has a healthy serving of passion for food. Especially sweets. 

To be short, I haven't always had the best relationship with food. But Melinda has helped me learn to love it. 

Why? Because most of my favorite memories are when she and I drove out of Lexington, hometown of our small university, to Staunton, Roanoke or Charlottesville to explore fun, foodie cafes and restaurants. 

Not only did we relieve ourselves of claustrophobia, but we also managed to make several lists of new, favorite cafes and restaurants. 


Rachel Hicks

Melinda wore her get-out-of-town overalls and we hopped in her car. Off to Staunton we went (it only took 30 minutes). 

She'd done her research and we parked by the finest coffee shop in town, The By and By. 

It was around February, so the shop had a list of Valentine's Day-themed drinks. Mel ordered the Cupid's Arrow. She's adventurous like that. 

We people watched — one man came carrying a bouquet of flowers. He bought two drinks and left. Our hearts melted. 

There is an image rooted in my mind of Mel sipping her Cupid's Arrow, a little bit of foam left on her upper lip. She grinned goofily and we began one of our many laughing fits. Ah, how lovely. 


Rachel Hicks

There's this place called Sweet Donkey Coffee House in Roanoke. It's homey, as in actually in a house, and locals say it sells the best-tasting coffee in the area. 

I recall sitting with Melinda by a window, sipping a cappuccino and whatever fun, orange-flavored coffee drink she ordered. 

It was hot in the summertime, but the place was well air conditioned. She told me about her excitement about going abroad to Spain. I told her about my travels to Russia. 

It was a moment on the brink of separation. I tried to bore all the love I had for my friend into her through my eyes. This is how much I love you

At the end of our trip, we parted, but I still had the bittersweet taste of coffee in my mouth. 


Rachel Hicks

Mel and I went to a old book store in Charlottesville and bought books for each other to read. 

We went shopping at our favorite store, Anthropologie, and then ventured over to Sweethause cupcakes.

One thing you should know about Mel: she loooooooves cupcakes. 

We bought a colorful assortment of six and went halfsies on all of them.

I felt sick afterward. Mel was fine. #foodiefriend

We read our books together and it started sprinkling outside, reminding us of the sprinkles we just ate all warm in our tummies.