White chocolate mocha, Zeitgeist Coffee
For Christmas this year, one of my presents for Alan was one of Jane and Michael Stern's foodie bibles: 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late. It's basically a guidebook to the whole country and good eats all over it, along the interstates and side roads. Naturally, I looked up what tasty things are to be had in Seattle - and thus came across this week's Cup o' Joe...Zeitgeist Coffee in the historic Seattle neighborhood of Pioneer Square, earmarked by the Sterns as one of the best cups of coffee in the country. Pioneer Square is not somewhere I get down to too often, but with multiple out-of-town visitors this week, I managed to spend quite a bit of time there. We meandered through the rainy cobblestone streets, the creaky wooden floors of Elliott Bay Books, the waterfront cafes, the little novelty shops, the infamous semi-outdoor Pike Place Market with fresh fruit, flying fish, and local artisan goods.
The multitude of free samples (ranging from cocoa-coated Rainier cherries to freshly baked baguettes dipped in blackberry vinaigrette to slices of locally grown Honey Crisp apples) caused my dad referred to the market as "Better than a Saturday at Costco."
Anyway, Zeitgeist was good - but in the same way that most Seattle coffeeshops I go to are good. I may have to change up my Monday tradition at some point, as I'm beginning to learn there's a pretty solid formula most Seattle coffeeshops adhere to, and the more cafes I go to, the less unique any of them seem. Zeitgeist had the exposed brick, the the chalkboard menu, the local artwork on the walls, the fancy espresso drinks in little cups, the good indie background music...
Okay, the showcased artwork was especially awesome - complete books artistically altered in geometric ways and mounted on glass shelves for display.
Where did the formula come from? The answer to that lies, too, in the heart of Pike Place Market. I hadn't been there before, but my dad and I made a touristy stop at the original Starbucks store:
A far cry from modern Starbucks!