Monday, April 14, 2008

I Totally Sound Like Andy Rooney

And believe it or not, I do a pretty good impression of him. But at the risk of being confused with a grumpy, nasally, old man, here it goes.

Buying coffee seems to me to be something of a gamble. I am sitting here now with a cup of "Seattle's Best" wondering how many people from Seattle must really resent that name. Because it is terrible! And while I'm at it, let me just say that Starbucks, at least some varieties because I never can remember what kind to get, is equally terrible. It's that burnt taste. What is the deal with the burnt taste? I mean, I am no coffee connoisseur so maybe I don't know what coffee is supposed to taste like. Except that there is plenty of coffee that does not taste burnt to me. I generally stick to fancy coffee drinks when ordering out somewhere, a very expensive habit, but I got something like $60 in Starbucks gift cards for Christmas so I'm good. I am pretty sure the espresso is spared the burning process, and even if it's not it has the milk and the chocolate to mask it. However, I am drinking a cup of "Seattle's Best" and even the envelope of hot chocolate I mixed with it does not make it taste good.

And why did we buy Seattle's Best? Because that's what Borders serves, even though I don't even like the mochas from Borders. It was on special. And George was doing the shopping. He did call to check, evidently there was no Kaldi's at the grocery store. Kaldi's is the local coffee company that is, to me, the best thing about St. Louis. They now sell their coffee at Shnucks, except, evidently, not at the Overland Shnucks which is, as I have said before, a complete waste of space. I never shop there, but George is usually the one who "runs out for a couple of things" at the last minute and I don't blame him for going closer. Except that it's also a waste of time because they never have anything we need, or if they do it's spoiled, and the wait in one of two open lanes is longer than the drive to the Ladue Shnucks. Can you tell I really hate the Overland Shnucks? But back to coffee. That Kaldi's is the best thing about St. Louis is a slight exaggeration, but what I want to know is why they don't carry it at all the Shnuckses, why there aren't more locations, why there aren't drive through locations (because a Starbucks without a drive through is also kind of a waste of space for a mom with three kids in tow), and how Starbucks even survives in St. Louis with Kaldi's here. Heaven knows no delis survive with St. Louis Bread Company here! Incidentally, St. Louis Bread (Panera Bread) also has pretty good coffee, but again, no drive through. And see there's another thing about Seattle's Best and Starbucks, how ingenious was it to team up with a bookstore? I know it's been that way for a while, but I love that there is coffee at the bookstore. The only place more convenient to have coffee places, and they do have this in the Birmingham and Brentwood (Tennessee, sorry, not Missouri) locations, is Target. Starbucks in a Target. I love it. Oooh, they should put Kaldi at the Brentwood Target! Mmmmm.

But maybe you're wondering why I am drinking coffee because maybe you remember one of the many times I gave it up. I always come back to it. It's like a friend welcoming me into my day. It really is kind of an emotional dependency situation. Because every time I give up coffee, it's like I have nothing to look forward to. Seriously. I know; it's pathetic. But having bad coffee right now is worse than no coffee, because it's such a let down! But not having Kaldi's at the Overland Shnucks is a sort of wake up call; there will not be Kaldi's wherever we move in the next couple of months (My current prayer is something along the lines of "anywhere but here!" Post about that forthcoming).

So what does one drink? My dad swears by Dunkin Donuts. I have to say this is slightly annoying to me as the reason he swears by it is because Consumer Reports says it's good. And I just can't get behind the people who rate cars, major appliances, and electronics also supposedly knowing everything there is to know about food, cosmetics, and medicine. I mean, there some things that can be scientifically tested, you know, beaten, battered, overused, etc. We want to know how our car seats, refrigerators, and cell phones will hold up over time; we want to refer to something before making a big purchase. And I appreciate Consumer Reports in those situations. But to me food is a matter of taste. Unless I know the person and I have similar tastes, I don't care what they like (with all due respect). I mean, there are people out there who like licorice! And some people think tuna fish sandwiches are a tasty lunch. And tuna fish sandwiches are never tasty. So see, I don't know how much I trust the random Consumer Reports dudes in that situation. And that is slightly hypocritical because I tend to swear by Cook's Illustrated. But they, at least, are food people. I have written this portion of this post in another post before, so I'll stop now. But anyway, now that I have said I think food is a matter of taste and you can't trust any old person, I do kinda want to know what kind of coffee y'all like. And also, does anyone know what I am talking about with the burnt taste? I just Googled it, and yeah, people know.

12 comments:

Wrights said...

Yes, Starbucks DOES taste burnt! I only like the specialty coffees there with all the sugar and other stuff and only a tiny bit of coffee or espresso in it, but then you have to spend $5 on a tiny coffee! And I LOVE and NEED my coffee! And you know where else needs a drive through? The post office. Someone should invent that!

Jessie said...

We actually prefer Seattle's Best...but as an interesting aside, did you know that the same company owns Seattle's Best and Starbucks?

Lori Shaffer said...

Don't like BreadCo coffee...love Starbucks bold...Kaldi's is O-K. I think my tastebuds are becoming less sensitive and it takes more to activate them as I age. I now think that wines I used to like taste wimpy...spices I used to love just aren't enough...

"Anywhere but here" eh? I'll try not to be offended by that.

katie said...

Anywhere but here? :( That's sad! I will miss you!

Katherine Fain said...

okay, i read this one after your most recent one -- but i am most definitely agreeing with you! i do think starbucks coffee tastes burnt or bitter or something, and generally enjoy caribou's much better. and i do not understand why there is a starbucks on EVERY CORNER (literally - on all 4 corners of several major intersections in charlotte), yet all the drive thrus are on the other side of town. i DO LOVE that they at least have a starbucks in every target in charlotte if i can't get to a caribou. it gives me excuses to go to target. and i still haven't tried duncan donuts because i'm terribly afraid that while everyone says it's wonderful, i will spend money on something i will not like. i'd rather buy coffee i know i like.
for a cheaper brand at home, i get maxwell house french roast and add creamer! i need a great first cup of coffee in the morning to get my brain cells working before getting the kids.

abby said...

lori, why would you be offended?

jennifer h said...

Ok, Abby. I will try to not hold your distaste for Seattle's Best against you. Mark's first church was in the greater Seattle area, and we had a Seattle's best in every grocery store (plus more coffee places than people anywhere else in the country would believe). I came to really enjoy SB coffee, and I was thrilled when they became Borders' coffee place. But, since I can't afford fancy coffee very often, I have to say I like McD's coffee. I always get a medium with 4 shots of 1/2/ & 1/2. For around a buck, it is pretty good.

Lori Shaffer said...

'Cause I'm a native St. Louisan and you hate it here! I don't know...when you love your hometown and you find someone who can't stand it and can't wait to get away, it takes some effort not to be slightly put-off!

The first blog I ever read of yours was about these weirdos in St. Louis who always serve coleslaw to you. Which I still think is funny since I have never once served or been served coleslaw in St. Louis!

Anyway, I had hoped you'd grow to have some small attachment to this place.

Abby said...

Lori, thank you SO much for responding. This is something I am really interested in and am so glad to have someone engage in this conversation with me.

This is sort of how I see it because I had a similar experience with Auburn, a place that I loved and never wanted to leave- got married there, had my first job after college there, etc. I had four close friends that hated it and left. It was a little weird having people wanting to flee a place I loved, but I knew they had different circumstances than me- either they didn't like sororities or RUF or had difficult roommates or were homesick, they just didn't love what I loved. (which also raised another sensitive question, why didn't they love RUF or sororities or whatever? but I think maybe I just knew those things weren't for everyone). And when they went somewhere else, I was glad they found somewhere they felt more at home. It just never occurred to me to be offended by their struggle/sadness. Not to be even more offensive, but what has been most difficult for me in St. Louis is that people are offended by my homesickness. Instead of trying to be understanding or get where I'm coming from, they take offense. Which is why I asked you, because I just don't get that.

I know that one possible difference is that I talk about it in a "public forum." I think I kind of view my blog as a pretty personal forum, but one which anyone is welcome to be part of. I had to add that clause when I realized so many people were reading that I didn't know were reading. The post you are referring to was written before I knew anyone read my blog, except friends from Birmingham and Nashville. I wouldn't have written it if I had known people from here were reading. And that has been something I have struggled with since, how to write honestly and openly, knowing that some people might get upset. I have tried to minimize saying anything bad about St. Louis since then. But it really was meant to be funny. And yes, "there is truth in every jest," I have moved three times in four years in St. Louis and have a whole "rest of the story" that most people don't know about that have made it difficult for me here. I also said then, and still say that it isn't so so much St. Louis in particular, just that it's that I'm not home. I have given up a lot of that; I do feel a lot more willing to go anywhere. But as for "anywhere but here," mostly I am just ready to get a new start. I would like to be somewhere more familiar, because the big city, fast pace, thirty minutes to get everywhere thing has really overwhelmed me. But rest assured it has nothing to do with you, so please don't take it personally!

Feel free to respond, you are far from the only person "put off" and I never want to make anyone mad. So tell me what I'm not getting. I am not always good at seeing my flaws. I know, I know, big shocker! :)

Abby said...

for anyone following this back and forth between lori and i, the post in question is
http://prettyfunnyforagirl.blogspot.com/2006/02/mound-and-fury.html

Abby said...

that link didn't work. the post is from february 12, 2006. you can find it in the archives. feel free to chime in, all st. louisians (or other) with something to say.

Katherine said...

hey all! i think it is hard when your husband is in school and you bear the burden of the family so much. it's lonely, it's hard, no matter where you are. i would think it would be worse if it wasn't "home" (whether hometown, Auburn, wherever). my husband was in school for 2 years, and i think sometimes when you know you're somewhere for a "short" period of time and it's hard, it's easy to dream of easier or better days, and inevitably the town you live in during the hard times is usually not your favorite place. another note, is your countdown is for school to end, not leaving st. louis. sometimes one affects the other.

i may be off the mark here, abby, but i do think you don't mean to offend.

Blog Archive