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February 2007 Archives

February 1, 2007

Four pumps or five?

During the past decade, my attitude toward individuals ordering flavored coffee has mellowed. I no longer roll my eyes at the site of syrup bottles lined up behind the espresso bar. I've grown to accept that my order (double espresso) represents a minority preference among those waiting in line. And, when I'm ordering on behalf of others, I've ceased grimmacing at the special requests or fru-fru names. I simply order and move on to observe the barista in action.

Today was an exception. My silent disdain for the candy-ization of coffee got a little volume.

What got me started was a question that I'm sure the woman asking it considered appropriate. How many pumps did I want in that vanilla latte? Seriously? How many pumps?

I delivered my friend's drink. She complained. It was a little too sweet. Really? Maybe I shouldn't have included instructions that with each press on the pump the barista should do the hokey pokey and turn herself about...

February 9, 2007

There is no X in Espresso

"I'll have a double espresso, con panna."

I get the look of confusion. So, I revise. I dummy it down for her and repeat my order, "I'll have two shots of espresso topped with whip cream."

She twirls her green apron ties the way I once twirled my hair (when it was long and I was young). "Just eXpresso?"

I inhale s-l-o-w-l-y. I have not yet had my coffee. I am here because I am in a strange city that does not have a Peet's Coffee & Tea. Focus, Lisa. Focus on the most important issue first: your coffee. "Two shots, espresso, (emphasis on the letters 's') and a dollop of whip cream." I know she's about to ask, A dollop? What's a dollop? I quickly add, "The barista will understand." Of this I am sure.

"Your name?"

Today is not a Julio day. I say my name, but pronounce the "s" in Lisa with a zesty "z" sound. I hand her my money. She hands me back a few coins. I do not immediately drop them into the wide mouth jar. I haven't decided yet if a tip is deserved. I pause, and, then, just before the coins fall from my not-so-relaxed palm, I inform her, "There is no X in espresso."

Like I said, I haven't had my coffee yet. Fortunately, I do not have to wait long before I hear the barista call out, "LiSa? Double eSpreSSo with whip." Emphasis on the letters 's'.

February 16, 2007

What a rip-off!

I know better. I know better than to order an espresso in most restaurants. I certainly know better than to order an espresso when I haven't checked out the coffee station. There are little tell-tale signs that indicate the quality of drinks served. Signs like the cleanliness of the steam wand on the espresso machine. I am certain that in THIS establishment the steam wand is caked with dried, burned milk.

This particular drink was really, really bad. Really bad. The liquid was the color of faded cardboard. I complain to my friends. They laugh. They know better than to let me order an espresso in a restaurant. One of my friends launches into a story that finally explains to me precisely 'why' I should not order espresso in most restaurants.

"When I was a waitress I never understood why people would order espresso. I'd go to the back and fill that little cup and handle 'thingy' with the ground coffee and hit the button and out would come this little bitty dribble of a drink. I'd look at the tiny cup, less than half full, and think, You're paying two bucks for that pissy amount?! What a rip-off! So, I'd hit the button again and, at least, the cup would be almost filled up."

Yes, indeed, what a rip-off!

February 27, 2007

Red Bank, NJ Coffee Culture

Have you ever heard of Red Bank, NJ? It is a cute town located near the Jersey Shore (about 15 minutes from the ocean). A few years back it was voted the "hippest" town in NJ. I know, I know.. some of you are saying - wow, that can't be hard. Jersey girls are used to Jersey jokes, and I really don't mind since I lived in NYC for 8 years - I am immune.

Red Bank has 2 main java hang-outs. Of course, Starbucks is well-positioned. But across the street is the local guy, "No Joe's Cafe," which has an excellent offering of food as well as a full coffee bar. I do frequent both. Kind of depends what mood I'm in. If I'm feeling more rebellious (or hungry), it's off to No Joe's. Havenít spotted any famous people at either Ė well at least not yet. (Keep your eyes peeled if you visit - locals Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi do hang out in town occasionally).

Spring is on the way, so why not make a day trip down to Red Bank if you live in the Tri State area? There is great shopping, restaurants, and coffee Ė all right along the Navesink River! If antiques are your thing Ė Iíve been told itís a hot spot. You can also fit in a cultural gig at either the Count Basie Theater or the Two River Theater. Consider yourself invited.

About February 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Tall, Grande, Venti in February 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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