Thursday, June 16, 2011

One-offs

My Starbucks didn't taste as good to me this week. I'm not a big coffee drinker (decaf only) but putting a Starbucks in my neighborhood eleven years ago was the beginning of a slippery slope for me. I'm over there most days, writing. The staff know me and are proud of their resident writer. I've learned to like coffe, as long as there is plenty fo milk involved.

But the honeymoon may be over.

That's because I went traveling this last week, first to Virginia and then to Boulder, CO. And both of those places have coffee shops that are not chains. I got used to some pretty good coffee.

Same for the restaurants. Here in Silicon Valley, chain restaurants abound with mediocre food. I get very tired of the same old chicken or salmon dishes. But in Virginia, my son took me to a new place each night. The menus were exciting. Not that I was going to eat ostritch or bison, but I do appreciate the opportunity.

Boulder has a wonderful new tradition. Happy Hour for restaurants. Many of them offer a limited menu at half price from 4-6pm. Half price! We had a lovely meal. I even treated myself to a second glass of wine at those prices.

I visited quilt shops in both locales, too. Quilt shops are always locally owned, and so each one reflects the tastes of not only the owners but the customers. I had a wide variety of choice and came home with enough fabric for several new projects.

I think we've lost something with all of our chains. Do you have a favorite coffee shop or restaurant that does things differently? What's your favorite quilt shop?

9 comments:

Linda O. Johnston said...

I am addicted to coffee, Terri, but I don't especially like the strong brew that the major chains usually sell. I much prefer flavored coffee--and, yes, some chains do sell that but often only for limited hours each day. I'm never quite sure why the chains do as well as they do, but maybe it's consistency. If you like one, you'll probably like them all, no matter where you visit them.

Becki said...

I totally agree with you. And Starbucks is not known for good coffee just ask any employee they are selling you a name an image.. it is so you look cool.
my son works at starbucks.
and i am so in favor of the non chain type stores. if i can at all possibly shop
them i do.
and i am glad the internet gets me to all those quilt shops that i could not find in my neighborhood.
Rebecca Ruth

Terri Thayer said...

I think consistency and convenience, and like Becki said, image, is why these chains thrive. It's too bad because we lose something every time we homogenize.

Having said that, I'm sitting at Starbucks. Again!

thanks Linda and Becki for weighing in.

I really wish I had hit the spell check before I published last night. Sorry about the typos.

Camille Minichino said...

I have such mixed feelings about chain vs. indie, especially when the indie coffee shop near me won't carry whole milk! What? A cappuccino with lo-fat or skim? Why bother?
(no comments about why I should, by the way!)

I support indies when they'll give me the quality and service I want. Same goes for bookstores.

Terri Thayer said...

Sometimes indie's quirks are downright annoying, Camille. But I really fear this assembly line approach to our lives. We need variety to live!

I wish more independent bookstores existed here in the South Bay. Very rare.

Camille Minichino said...

I agree, Terri (and others) -- the indie store nearest me went under this year, very sad.

Betty Hechtman said...

I like Starbucks coffee, but then I like my coffee straight and strong.

I love indie yarn stores. There's one I always stop in when I'm in Chicago. Last time I found this wonderful hand spun yarn. You'd never find anything like it at Michael's or Joanns.

Betty Hechtman said...

I like Starbucks coffee, but then I like my coffee straight and strong.

I love indie yarn stores. There's one I always stop in when I'm in Chicago. Last time I found this wonderful hand spun yarn. You'd never find anything like it at Michael's or Joanns.

Terri Thayer said...

Betty, I went to this little yarn shop in a tiny town in Virginia. They had hand dyed yarn from local sheep. Try and find that at Joann's!