Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mission Accomplished - the real thing

The quest? A perfect latte. I had asked the doorman at the hotel about independent coffee shops, but he only knew of the local Starbucks and Peet's. He did direct me to a local chain, Boudin Bakery, nestled into the Macy's building. It had a local feel, and a good coffee and sandwich, but that was largely due to the wonderful bread (which he told me that they baked in the basement...jury still out on that truth.) The latte, while tasty, lacked flair.

I knew that there just had to be local shops still in business. Corporations couldn't have pushed all of them off the streets. I was listening to the local Twitter, and tweet displayed for a blog describing local shops in this neighborhood. I opened the blog and read about two places that interested me: The Blue Bottle Cafe and Samovar Tea Lounge. He did a great job describing the location of The Blue Bottle, because it was off of the main streets and tucked away behind a major building. Energized, I took to the streets to discover this treasure. Jessie Street is broken by major buildings, so I had to stay on Mission to get to 5th Street. I found Jessie St and walked through the plaza, searching for the Blue Bottle. As I came to the end of the plaza and looked around, I saw it. A subtle Blue Bottle sign on the corner of a building.

This was the place and I anxiously walked towards the entrance.

Once inside, I could see that it was "authentic" and looked for signs of "chain". There were none. No cloned products. Just coffee stuff. And a barista. I put in my order and looked around.

This was an industry strength machine, and I had no idea what was going on. A lot of glass tubs and drips and burners.
I saw a "home version" of the device sitting on one of the shelves, so I am going to use this to figure out this coffee making technique. The typed sign on the box says that this is a "siphon kit" with siphon top and bottom, bamboo paddle, filters, charming siphon primer, half a pound of single origin coffee, and a bunsen burner, all for just $140. Such a deal.

The mission was an extreme success. The double latte was beautiful and tasted incredible. Success! See Shannon Clark's blog about the area at

Additional Note: The Blue Bottle Coffee Company has an interesting story and a smallness that makes it big in my book.

Organic Coffee Company

I think that this is a chain or at least a franchise. At first I thought that it was a local shop, but when I got to the counter I saw packaged products. Coffee is served extremely hot and strong. I need to sit for a while and chill.

After a while, the coffee also chilled a little so that I was able to drink i t. Thumbs down. I don't really like it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Last RoadRunner Hockey game

Nice crowd at the game tonight. This is the last game for the RoadRunners and they are either shutting down or moving out of town. We had a group of Player/Coach of the Month players to honor. That all went well. There was a nice crowd for the game for the send off.

Metro to downtown

On an adventure to Hard Rock Cafe and last RoadRunner game.

This is the new Phoenix Metro light rail. I had to take a photo early because I was too anxious to get on board to get a blurry photo of the train. Parking was easy and the nearest free spot was only about two miles from my house. Easy walk to the train stop. Ticket purchase from a machine (you need debit or credit...I brought quarters!) was $1.25 one trip, or $2.50 all day. A bargain when compared to $10 parking charge in downtown. Got on a train with standing room only (good to see!!). No one checks the system. One experienced rider told me that they will come through randomly to check for tickets. Got off the train a block from the Hark Rock Cafe. I felt so METRO!!

The return trip was just as easy. There is a very close stop between the baseball stadium and the US Airways Arena. Easy on...easy off. I'm sold on this!

Oh, and I had the Hard Rock salad mentioned in an earlier post. Yummy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Elton John & Billy Joel live!

This was an incredible concert and we had awesome seats. As usual, the person in my line of site decided to stand up on occasion, as the lone stander in the crowd, but after four years of concert devotion, I have come to expect this.

Each artist is worth a full concert, but the two of them together more than doubles the experience. They started and ended the show together, and then each one played a full set in between. Absolutely delightful!

Started the night with dinner at Staudeneirers. (I'll check on the spelling later, if ever.)