In this day and age of fair trade, pay what you think it’s worth high concept coffee shops is Starbucks still a thing? I see a few blogs where the writers say they love coffee more than most other things in life but the question I have is this. Is Starbucks still a thing? Would people rather go to a small local chain or to the big boy? Has Starbucks extended their reach as far as DisneyWorld but lost their swerve? Become the Chili/TGIF’s of the coffee world or are they still as relevant as ever?
We swang by–and that was no small feat in this day of a remodel in progress Downtown Disney that has been called the seventh pit of hell for traffic –the new mothership Starbucks a while back. It was actually our second try to get access to Downtown Disney in a few weeks. The parking right now is terrible during the updates and with the summer crowds it is better for my sanity to just stay away. But since the mothership of Lego is also located there we do make the attempt now and then. It is a really beautiful and huge store. Full of reclaimed wood, warm coffee colors and technology all while being green and swishy with coffee ground compost grown lemon grass on the roof. The queue is super long and there are tons of seats and a kind of cupping bar where you can try single origin pour-overs. There is some neat tech that draws the people in the shop in line drawing and I believe is live action in a California counterpart. Bi-coastal up in here.
I’ve enjoyed having access to Starbucks at the Magic Kingdom and at Epcot. For me its a piece of my happy place-a hot cup or tall cold drink in the midst of the sometimes chaotic Disney experience. I wonder somewhat if that is the city of my birth or maybe because I hit my early adult years in their heyday. I do love me a bitter cup of Starbucks. That said, I wouldn’t make this shop a destination but I can see why people might. What do you think? Is Starbucks still a thing? Why?
People who cook like this on a Monday night should probably blog about it. Let’s scroll back 72 hours. Friday night I got home to a box on the porch from Amazon. It held riches of books-one being Sorella. Sorella is billed by Amazon as 100 bold gutsy comfort-based Northern Italian dishes inspired by the restaurant of the same name in NYC. I think I am a total tool because I bought it because (I think) it was an Amazon recommendation. For real? Who does that? But the minute I flipped through I knew i had done the right thing. The dishes are for real cheffy fare and for me–super inspirational. Fast forward 48 hours to Sunday. I made brine while I cooked dinner last night. I let it cool to room temperature and submerged four 1″ thick pork chops in a bowl under the brine and weighted down the top with a plate to keep them under. I shoved the whole thing in the fridge and forgot about it until I got home tonight and remembered while I was pushing the mower through the yard. After finishing up mowing I enlisted Z’s help to get dinner on the table. We started the olive smashed potatoes which were scented with orange zest and a tiny bit of lemon juice and I quickly boiled (hang with me here) a pint of cherry tomatoes. I plunged them into ice water and I PEELED them. Cherry tomatoes. Z pulled out our smoking gun and put some applewood smoke on them. Then I made them into a delicious little vinaigrette. What? Who puts these flavors together. Then I dried and put the chops on the grill pan after rubbing them in olive oil and a touch of sea salt. We finished the chops in the oven. The chops were briny and porky-kind of baconlike almost. Because of the brine they were moist and the grill pan gave them the most fantastic char. The potatoes? Inspired. Orange and olive? Amazing. I could taste the smoke on the tomatoes. Best. Monday. Night. Dinner. Ever. I am so looking forward to some deep dives into this book.
Apple Cider Brine
By August 25, 2014
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Prep: 10 mins
- Cook: 20 mins
- Ready In: 24 hrs 30 mins
People who cook like this on a Monday night should probably blog about it. Let's scroll back 72 hours. Friday night I got home to …
- Mix all ingredients in a pot on the stove and bring up to a simmer stirring to help dissolve solids. Cool to room temperature before submerging meat.
We got married on February 29–Leap day. We got married after a long distance relationship that I described yesterday at lunch as ‘not dating.’ We didn’t really ever date in that traditional sense. We knew each other for years – maybe 10 or 15 actually and had done loads of things together but mostly always in some sized group of friends. In fact, we maybe only went on a handful of what would strictly qualify as dates. I don’t know if it is a result but our whole life is kind of now a date. We do most things together–because it’s fun. I let him pay (‘The man pays’ he says) but in reality I just don’t want to carry my purse and why not? It’s fun to say thank you for things–makes life feel like a treat. Makes all of life just a little sweeter. It’s our ‘tradition.’ The more I thought about that idea of traditions the more I think that they are the things that make life a little bit sweeter. If a tradition is simply a hateful chore you should probably think about changing that tradition. It’s like letting go of a sour and negative friend. It might hurt for a little bit but in the long run life is too short.
Traditions. I vaguely remember thinking we wouldn’t ever have any when we first got married – no reason for that, just that I wasn’t clear-headed enough to see that we hadn’t had time to make them. Time has passed and we now have some traditions that suit us. This week we got to observe one. We went to dinner at Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen for dinner in honor of Bertha. For each named Atlantic storm we head to Tibby’s to celebrate the hurricane (or tropical storm as it may be.) So ‘God willin and da creek don’t rise‘ we head out to celebrate the wild weather with a hurricane cocktail for me and some luscious grits stuffed with andouille sausage, po’ boys and decadent beignets with powdered sugar on top. It isn’t our only kind of unique tradition–we have a few others. One being not cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, which is another story for another day. So, what are your special / time honored /happy place traditions? I’d love to hear!