Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday fun activity: Where IS this?

     Starbucks coffee is too strong for me. Industrial strength, I'm not sure what it's intended for. Stripping the paint off old buildings. Or maybe I drink too much coffee to be its target customer. I like a coffee I can drink in volume. One cup of Starbucks and not only don't I want another cup for a day or two, but the entire idea of coffee is thrown into question. I only go there if I'm meeting someone who suggests meeting in a particular Starbucks, and half the time I get a cup of tea. Drinking Starbucks coffee, it's like a wine connoisseur drinking a bottle of Thunderbird; too overpowering and destroys an experience that should be sublime. 
    Then there is the whole drink-it-and-get-out corporate vibe the place radiates. I can't settle in with my coffee and scone and newspapers and just be. It seems rude, with the line and the other people prowling around, looking for a place to sit themselves. Starbucks is like Whole Foods, a stage set of expensive fakery that many people fall for. And I used to fall for, years ago, if I recall. I suppose it's like McDonald's. Cool, during the initial red and white tile new stage. Now it's just commerce.
     Small coffee shops, on the other hand—independents, or modest chains—that's a different matter. They still have personality, soul, gumption. When I was living on Pine Grove and Oakdale, I'd love to walk up Broadway and hang out in Intelligensia or, if I was up in Evanston, sink into one of the old cast-off chairs at Kaffeine.  Maybe that isn't fair: they're commercial too, just on a tinier, small ball scale. Maybe that's why I prefer them: a certain kinship.
     Or this place. Quirky, with a resident ... well, I guess I better not say, lest I give away the game too easily. This one will probably be cracked in a moment by one of its patrons, who as a prize will get a bag of fine Bridgeport coffee—the kind I drink at home, and also the brand served at The Grind, the coffee stand in the Northbrook train station, which is where I discovered it.
     Remember to place your guesses below. Good luck. 

Spoiler alert:

This was a toughie, not solved until an unprecedented 2:13 p.m., and it took the sleuthing of King Dale, the Tiger Woods of the Saturday Fun Activity and now our four-time champion to ID this place as the Jupiter Outpost, 1139 W. Fulton Market. The resident I almost revealed is an "urban turtle" named Phoebe. 

51 comments:

  1. 7 o'clock and nobody's even made a wild guess yet! Your neighbors apparently don't read the blog or they get up late. When somebody does get it, I hope you explain the "turbo st{rength}" sign extending over the right edge of the photo. Does this cafe sell paint thinner too?

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's the brand of cooler case.

      Delete
  2. Maybe good old Bridgeport coffeshop?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ohhh..

      This kind of reminds me of the snackshop at the Boeing factory in Seattle. Is it something of that sort? A small cafe attached to some large complex?

      John

      Delete
  3. Btw, no such thing as a " Starbucks coffee". Blondes and Pioneer are mild-sort of like colored water; Indonesians and some Africans are bold but smooth-except for Sumatra; some S American mediums are too acidic tho not deemed Bold. Etc etc. 20-40 kinds. Generally brewing two. You can ask for a French Press ( or sometimes a "pour over) of any others. Saying you dont like Starbucks is like saying you dont like wine when all youve ever tried is Cabernet Sauvignan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know they have a variety of brands. But the one I order is always Too Strong Sumatra. I would disagree with your assessment--saying you don't like Starbucks coffee is like saying you don't like Manischevitz wine.

      Delete
    2. Sumatra us probably the strongest they have. No WONDER. ( tho I like it). Try Verona.

      Delete
  4. This looks like Starbucks in Broadview on 17th.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cant be Starbucks. Not the corporate uniform or signage.

      Delete
    2. C'mon Terry. Did you READ the piece? You're guessing Starbucks? Really?

      Delete
    3. True, whole foods is a rip off and Trader Joe's too hipsterish or obsessed with plastic bags. Go to MAriano's or Jewel.

      Delete
  5. Nobke Tree? The Wormhole? Asado?

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Perfect Cup? Big Shoulders?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Replies
    1. Nope. You're just guessing coffee houses.

      Delete
  8. I give up. Dieing to taste that Bridgeport coffee but Im too sick to continue piring over Chicago coffee shop photos and descriptions. Making myself a hot cup of ginger tea with licorice and lemon. Good luck to all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And no, I wasnt just "guessing" but looking at pictures of independent coffee houses with some charm. Oh, well.

      Delete
  9. A lot of guessing here. Seems all mellow coffeeshops are alike, and each edgy coffeeshop is irritating in its own way.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's not the Unicorn, and that's the only coffee joint I am a regular at. The case is pretty common food service industry issue, the bare bricks ditto. I think it will take someone who knows the "barista" (another linguistic evil Starbucks perpetrated on America, along with "tall" for small, "grande" for medium, and "vente" for large"). to guess this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The idea of using a coffee shop started with a photo of the skateboards at the Unicorn that I took while waiting for you. But then I thought, "Geez, why not just GIVE the coffee to Bill and skip the middle step." So I chose another, more off-the-beaten-track place. And almost noon! Hint: it's in Chicago.

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. Nope, but I have to go there. I like the name.

      Delete
    2. Brothers K is closed, I believe. Now a pseudo-French tea joint.

      Delete
  12. Whoa. Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed and down a couple vente Starbucks before you wrote this? I hate Starbucks, too. The coffee (at least the versions that I've tried, with all due respect to C'est Moi), the vibe and the ubiquity. But I don't write off other people's appreciation for the place as being equivalent to downing a bottle of Thunderbird. Sheesh! Thunderbird must be doing a lot better in sales than I'd imagined for that to be even close to a fair analogy. I compare drinking Starbucks coffee to drinking craft beer or IPAs if one is a beer drinker. Or, for your wine analogy, drinking really good wine vs. the $5 or $8 stuff. Once you become accustomed to the stronger flavor (and/or better quality) (and, WRT Starbucks, the additional caffeine jolt), it becomes hard to appreciate the lame swill that one was used to before. Starbucks is not to my taste, but better beers and wines are!

    As for the cheap shot at Whole Paycheck, if it were only a "stage set of expensive fakery," I wouldn't go there, either. No doubt it's expensive, but they have a lot of, well, wholesome stuff that I can't get as easily elsewhere. Comparing the quality of the produce, particularly organic, at WF, along with the wider selection of other items, versus the local Jewels (joke) is a non-starter. C'mon, Neil, we don't all have a Sunset Foods in the vicinity! ; )

    No idea what that location is. Unless somebody is a regular at this spot, you may have stumped the Hive at last! Not even sure that Dale's image-searching talents could prevail on this one, but I could be wrong about that...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the risk of quoting Napoleon, "If you're going to take Vienna, take Vienna."

      Delete
    2. I avoid Whole Foods because it's owned by a right-wing whackjob anti-union, anti-health-care jerk.

      Delete
    3. Touché, Neil! In that case, though, you could be plugging Julius Meinl, an Austrian chain whose only New World locations are in Chicago. ; )

      Bill Savage,

      Well, there IS that. A good enough rationale for us to avoid Oberweis ice cream, but there are a lot more choices when it comes to that, and I don't need to be eating ice cream, anyway. I will say that Mariano's has cut into both our Jewels and WF visits, but that's just come along lately. Any problems with Bob, their chief? : )

      Delete
  13. Just noticed the new advertiser. Did Eli's bale after the holidays? And litigators take its spot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eli's always just advertises during November and Decemberr. And grateful I am for their support.

      Delete
  14. I'm working on it... not as many hints this time around, unless you want to research every single coffee shop in Chicago. Dale

    ReplyDelete
  15. The first time I walked into a Starbucks I was overwhelmed and even intimidated, trying to figure out exactly what kind of coffee or exotic brew I wanted, how to order it, and whether to tip the, um, barista. It still leaves me somewhat cold, though I freqeunt a few of them (drive-thru if the line isn't too long) for an occasional latte or capuccino. I've used the place to charge my cell phone when I'm away from home and have time to kill, if there's a table (usually way in back) near an electrical outlet, and relax with a paper or book for a while. Overall, I'd say it's more of a singles-coffee-house-bar type of gathering place where you can get expensive beverages (many of which are loaded with calories).

    ReplyDelete
  16. Replies
    1. Good guess. But no. I have to visit there though, to try their coffee soda.

      Delete
  17. Starbucks coffee is a matter of personal taste/preference. The corporate culture of Starbucks should be commended. They provide benefits to full time employees and treat their people employees and farmers fairly. And Neil, the problem is the OPPOSITE of what you decry — instead of feeling like I'm being rushed out the door, tables and seats are usually jogged by people who linger for hours over a coffee that was consumed hours ago. I wish they WOULD put a time limit on seats!

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Other guess deleted (oddly).

    Lake St.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Since no one got it.... it's Jupiter Outpost
    Dale

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No wonder I missed that, it's out of my orbit.

      *groan

      Delete
    2. Nicely done, Dale. Shouldn't have doubted you! Just wondering -- do you ever participate in Andrew Sullivan's "View From Your Window" contest? http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2015/01/03/the-view-from-your-window-contest-237-2/

      Delete
    3. Thanks Jakash, no I haven't but maybe I will visit and give it a try. By the way, it was the yellow mug that gave it away.
      Dale

      Delete
    4. Dale, you are truly the king. Congratulations. Would you care to elaborate on how the yellow mug led you to what is, indeed, Jupiter Outpost. I'll add a picture. Are you still working on the coffee you won last time? Would you like a different prize? You want me to come to Leo Burnett and talk to them about what's left of the journalism profession?

      Delete
    5. Thanks, again. That yellow mug really stood out for me, as if you were making it the focal point of the pic. After scouring about 20 or so coffee shops in Chicago, I decided to put my focus on the yellow mug and the fact that you described the place as "quirky". I honestly forgot the actual google search I did but once I came across a pic with the yellow mug on yelp, I knew I had it.
      I actually finished up the coffee over the holiday. Would love to try the Bubbly Creek.
      Have you ever been to Bow Truss? A friend turned me on to that place over the summer.

      Dale

      Delete
  20. It's not that Starbucks coffee is too strong. It's that it doesn't taste good! I go to Mickey D's, where the the coffee tastes better, at half the price.
    Give Starbucks one critical thing -- they've created a new Third Place for social-business meetings that, we forget, hardly existed before.
    Happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I was so glad to read this. I used to edit a trade magazine for owners of independent coffeehouses, and I had to immerse myself in the culture. Absolutely fascinating. And those people absolutely *despise* Starbucks, for most of the reasons you mentioned. "Starburnt" and "Charbucks" are two of the politer names they have.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Make the coffee at home and carry it in thermal mug.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting. As soon as I vet your remarks, they'll be posted, assuming they aren't, you know, mean and crazy.