Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks’

Over the last couple of months I’ve made the Starbucks at Second and Seneca in downtown Seattle my most usual afterwork spot. It’s mainly the location. A bus that takes me all the way home stops literally outside! And the other West Seattle buses leave from First and Third Avenues – both just a very short block in either direction.

The view is interesting, with lots of buses and pedestrians. And the liquor store across the street has a lot of traffic at this time as it closes at 6pm. I think a lot of ferry commuters grab a couple of miniatures on the way down to the terminal. I was in there a few weeks ago – and almost everyone was buying miniatures:)

Finally, the staff are great. There are usually two guys in there who have a bit of a comedy routine going – and they also converse about everything under the sun. Great fun to listen to!

But now this place is being remodeled, with a part of it being torn up each day. And now it’s touched my favorite spot by the door:(

I’ve been through this twice this year. The Starbucks at Fourth and Seneca was my spot for a while. It was remodeled last summer – and that did away with my favorite seat. Then the Starbucks at Alki underwent a dramatic facelift – and my favorite seats were eliminated.

I know a shake-up is good for us all every now and then – but Starbucks seems determined to re-seat its Seattle patrons – or at least me!

As for independent coffee shops – I’ve been driven out of them by kiddie play areas:)

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Habits and rituals

To say I’m a creature of habit is a massive understatement! I form habits very readily, which is good if it’s something like exercising or sticking with a budget – not so good with certain other things:)

I have just enjoyed a week’s vacation from work – a week during which I did nothing spectacular. I didn’t even leave Seattle. I spent more money than usual, but was very happy with what I bought. I saw my doctor and my dentist, and the news was good from both.

Usually, I am a bit sorrowful as a vacation comes to an end, because the week always seems to have gone by all too quickly. But something is different this time. I’m actually looking forward to returning to work on Monday, even though a mess probably awaits me on my desk:)

I think I’m missing my after-work ritual, and the way I feel when I walk out at 4:30pm, either to come straight back to West Seattle, or catch a Link train to downtown. I enjoy it almost as much on Monday as I do on Friday.

My commuting rituals almost always involve lattes, usually at a Starbucks, but not necessarily. For several years, my workdays began at the Starbucks at Alki, from where I would take the 56 bus downtown. It’s been 4 years since I left that job, but I still occasionally get haunted by that ritual, although that has subsided recently since the place was remodeled. I would usually visit the restroom before getting on the bus. Whenever I go into that restroom I feel as though I have stepped back in time and am on my way to work at that old job. Funny! I’m outside that Starbucks right now and have just noticed what’s painted on the door: Take Comfort In Rituals!

It was about a year ago that I bought a netbook and started going out for coffee after work to use WiFi. That habit really took hold when I started coming home via downtown after the closure of the Spokane Street ramp and the subsequent disruption of my bus commute home. (Yesterday, one poor driver told us he had been delayed a total of 40 minutes by two trains!)

This week, I realized that coffee shops are rather irritating on weekday mornings, while the hours between 4:30 and 6:30 are pleasant and relaxing – and it’s all the more enjoyable after a busy day at work. My evening walks are also more special if I have been at work, and certain podcasts (such as the Saki series I found recently) just seem to lend themselves to being heard on a bus.

It’s been lovely to realize how much these little rituals and habits make me happy – especially as they revolve around working:)

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The Starbucks lady was shrouded in red’n’white banners this morning. I wondered if she might be having a bad-hair day, but closer examination after I got off my bus revealed a temporary replacement of the familiar Starbucks logo with what is the now the new logo of Seattle’s Best Coffee, which has been owned by Starbucks since 2003.

I get my morning coffee at the Starbucks in the lobby of the Starbucks Center. I might as well explain why I go to Starbucks so frequently. It is mainly that I like a no-foam latte, and Starbucks seems to be the only place that is willing to serve a latte filled to the brim with liquid milk. That’s my story.

Anyway, I found the Starbucks logo over the main door also re-attired. A small media area was set up out front, and more than the usual number of “suits” were floating around. Out of curiosity, I checked Starbucks.com to see what was going on. Big day for Seattle’s Best Coffee evidently. That was probably very effective publicity. The Starbucks lady presides over a busy part of Seattle and can be seen from all the major routes coming in from the south. I bet I wasn’t the only person who had to investigate. The red logo was still up for the evening commute. I gotta say – it’s ugly!

I have strong reactions to corporate logos, and I think it’s worthy of mention in a blog about urban living, because you see them everywhere. Color is the main issue for me.

Colors I dislike: red, orange, yellow, including combinations with black and white. Examples: 7-Eleven, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Staples, Best Buy, Target.

Less annoying colors: greens, grays and earth tones (what I think of as a M*A*S*H color scheme) including combinations with black and white. Examples: Starbucks, Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble. There are very few logos I do like.

Am I perhaps a snob when it comes to color?

Blue is OK in combo with the second list but no good in the first list. My most hated combos have to be red-white, blue-white, and red-white-blue. Unfortunately, these seem to be the most popular. Is it that these colors are cheaper to reproduce? Or is it that when erected as illuminated signs, they literally scream at you?

I suppose a M*A*S*H color scheme blends into the background too much.

Looks awesome on stationery though:)

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2% Latte?

I must have missed out on the big announcement two years ago – or perhaps there was none. At Starbucks, if you have no milk preference, the default is 2%. I only found out yesterday.

I go to Starbucks for lattes for one main reason. I like “extra hot no foam” lattes and Starbucks seems to be the only place that honors the “no foam” preference. Not only that, any foam that has to be spooned out is replaced with liquid milk so that you get a cup filled to the brim.

I had not really noticed. After all 2% is hardly like non-fat, which I have spat out in disgust when I was expecting real milk. I thought the flavor was odd, but attributed that to the fact that for a year or so, while money was tight, I was making DIY lattes at home with instant espresso and had forgotten what the brewed article tastes like.

As I write this, I am enjoying a tall extra hot, no foam, whole milk latte. That has added two more words to an already verbose order! My 16oz travel mug even has “Grande Extra Hot No Foam Latte” written in Sharpie on the outside. I’ll have to get out the Sharpie when I get home and make the appropriate insertion.

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