Tuesday, November 18, 2014

GOOD MORNING



So, as I do almost every day,  I went for coffee this morning. But instead of going to the independent, locally owned coffee shop in Old Town, I decided to walk three minutes the other direction to visit Starbucks. Yes, we live in a great location.
It's been a while. During the France years, we went once to their shop in Paris, but mainly to use their bathroom, I did not even order any drinks for myself.

Most likely I am late to the party, but it can't just be me noticing the gentrification of that chain? I do recall a decade ago in Las Vegas, my standard order being a double short latte (still is, I don't enjoy to much milk in my coffee) and a slice of coffee cake. 
Back then it seems that from region to region, or even from city to city all baked goods were done locally and the coffee cake was displayed on a big sheet that the staff would cut into mostly even sized pieces, but not always. So sometimes you'd end up with a bigger than usual slice in the middle of the sheet, with no crust, which was my absolute jackpot. The top was crumbly with a hint of cinnamon, while the cake itself tasted like vanilla. Fresh and flavorful.

Ehm. That cake display today looked sadder than the pastry section at  Lidl and nothing like the  Boulangerie Starbucks pretends to be.  Each and every item in that case looked uniform in size, somewhat wilted and though I did not taste any, my guess is that their baked goods taste not as good anymore as they did ten years ago. The coffee cake is now a mini loaf, a shadow of it's former greatness.
Granted, the convenience will continue to make Starbucks that third place to be, just as their CEO predicted a long time ago. It's now as generic a place to hang out at as your cubicle at work or your Home Goods furnished living room. 

And what's with that name misspelling on their cups?  My name is Peter and since when have you ever spelled that with two ee? OK, if your name is Raquel and the Starbucks is in Pocatello, Idaho, maybe. I think it's just a marketing shtick as the pictures of grossly misspelled names continue to show up on Reddit and Instagram. Free advertising for sure.

On the positive, I read that Starbucks is a great company to work for, it's one clean place wherever you visit them,  even in Shaoxing China you know what to expect and in the sum of all things, convenience is OK. 
Beige is the new black.  Hello Stepford people.

And now I am going to look for a new Espresso machine



7 AM LINE UP AT STARBUCKS USA

CONVENIENCE FOR SURE, TASTE NOT SO MUCH

NOT EVEN IN THE HUNGER GAMES MOVIE


ALWAYS CLEAN


AT TWO/DAY + TIP , MY ESPRESSO MACHINE PAYS FOR  ITSELF IN 4 MONTH

AND THIS PASTRY DISPLAY LOOKS A LOT TASTIER
GLUTEN FREE BUTTER TARTS, COURTESY GF PATISSERIE


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

THIRTY DAYS LATER



Time flies when you enjoy life. It's been a month since moving back to the US and I am still not quite sure where to begin on this blog, reconnect and stuff.

Food is an obvious constant on here,  so I start with it. I am over my Mexican food craving, after having had all the Chipotle and Tacos I can eat.
 I enjoyed a tremendously tasty Burger and fries at IN-N-OUT within a few days of getting here and just last week on a drive back from Nevada I found a small road side BBQ place that had the most tender BBQ ribs. 
You know, all the typical food you miss when spending some years in France. There are more places and dishes on my hit list, so stay tuned  for them.
Obviously I am ready for some comparisons of other experiences between here and the old country by now, funny mostly, some not so much.

Most mornings  in order to find some sort of a rhythm here, I walk to the local coffee shop for my Espresso fix and would you believe it, that place is already humming with patrons no matter how early I try to get there. 
While I show up to the coffee klatsch in my shorts and T-Shirt wanting nothing but a shot of caffeine, most folks of a certain age are all ready for a seemingly exciting day,  perfectly styled and dressed to the nines as if they are on a cruise to nowhere at seven in the morning.....  Many have their dogs with them, sitting on chairs like well behaved kids waiting for a piece of that Muffin (they are actually really good Muffins). 
 I switched over to the more mass market  Starbucks after a while hoping for a change of scenery but nope, this is Country Club Groundhog day.  

Not sure if you care, but there was an election in the US last week, Cruz & Co are gloating after wrangling control in the Senate and putting the Prez under pressure for the next two years. 
I went to Las Vegas for an evening of watching the results come in and quite frankly, the vitriolic comments on TV here  made me miss Laurel & Hardy in Paris. 
While I am no fan of French politicians, the worst there is Hollande trying to outscore Sarkozy in celebrity stoopsing.  Not so bad compared to what was on TV here last week. This country is very evenly divided between love and hate. No grey zone. 

We went to Los Angeles a couple of times, a quick drive down the I-10, well not so quick really,  if you go during the rush hours of 7 am and 10 pm.  That traffic here is still the same if not worse. I better get used to it, since most of the business action is on the coast, not in the valley here.
Isabella enjoyed a touristy trip to Hollywood, the hills above and for a late afternoon finish we went to Venice Beach. It's a different crowd of people here thanin rural France, that's for sure. My plan was to out wait traffic back east after that excursion, but who was I kidding. Still need to work on my patience level.  

What else. How about that weather? I am still floating around the pool some afternoons, not the hottest, but it's comparable to summer temps in Austria or France.....

So stay tuned for more updates soon.



THE ROADRUNNER THINKS QUICKLY AND ON HIS FEET

IN SEVEN YEARS LIVING THERE, WE NEVER STOPPED AT THIS SIGN

WHERE ARNOLD GOT HIS START, VENICE BEACH

HOLLYWOOD

LOS ANGELES IN ALL IT'S SMOGGY GLORY

DOUBLE DOUBLE & FRIES ANIMAL STYLE

BBQ BEEF RIBS

AN OPEN FACE PANINI

I ENJOYED A LOT OF MEXICAN FOOD

AND FOUND SOME FRENCH CHEESE

ISABELLA'S HALLOWEEN COSTUME

CELEBRITY 1

CELEBRITY 1 1/2

NOT A HALLOWEEN PICTURE

WE PLAYED TOURISTS


BEING ABLE TO USE THE POOL MID NOVEMBER.........

MAKES ME HAPPY


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ISABELLA'S VIEW OF THINGS



Still nothing exciting to tell you or blog about. But I finally had a chance to look at Isabella's picture files, she saved up over 800 pictures since leaving Jarnac. Parts Canada, parts road trip and parts here in California. 
Isabella has a completely different way of looking at subjects and to be honest, they are so much cooler than my pictures. And Isabella has the better camera too.
Here are some samples of what I saw on her iPad.

Enjoy.