From completing my list, I have learned that the COTA buses aren’t as confusing as I remembered, but it is still a much better experience taking a long walk through the neighborhoods surrounding campus. Geographically, I learned that roads that are called “Street” run North/South and those called “Avenue” run East/West. Is that universal? I’m not sure. But at least I now know that 4th Street and 4th Avenue are not the same place.
I think my favorite experience from this project was the morning when it started snowing. It wasn’t much snow, and it didn’t last more than half an hour, but it was still a nice reminder that more snow is on the horizon. I really miss heavy snow. Because of this project, I definitely want to explore more coffee shops around town, and I want to find more tea houses. A lot (all?) of the shops I visited were super hipster-y and I didn’t really like that, so I’m eager to find some that are more normal.
If someone else was endeavoring to complete the same project as me, I would recommend to have a lot of spending money. Fancy coffee drinks are so expensive and I wasn’t really anticipating that. I got used to having everything covered by swipes and dining dollars, so having to use my debit card for this put a small dent in my savings. Is spending $9 for a drink and a muffin normal nowadays? It shouldn’t be.
First stop on my journey was ZenCha Tea House. This was a very weird place. Half the store was brightly lit, the other was very dim. I suppose it was for different ambiences, but I thought it was strange. You can order tea to go or you can have a full sit-down experience, which is what I did. There’s also a food menu, but I never got the food I ordered, so I’m not sure if it’s the best place to go if you’re hungry. I drank a tea called Russian Caravan, and my waiter got into the history of it and how the smokey flavor in it was caused by accident. That was pretty interesting. It was a really great, flavorful tea, and as evidenced by my jittery antics after drinking a pot of it, loaded with caffeine. I may return to it, but I would definitely just get a cup of tea to go next time.
Another day, I went to One Line Coffee House. When I walked in, the stereo was playing a song that had been stuck in my head all week, so that was sort of surreal. It was a very Hip™ shop. This place was PACKED with college kids, and literally all of them were working on the same biology project. I guess I missed the memo, because I just brought a book. I purchased a vanilla latte here, and this was the first fancy drink I’ve purchased with latte art! The atmosphere of the shop was very laid back, and I even noticed the baristas knew some of the patrons. Any place with regular visitors is obviously a nice place to spend time. I would definitely come back to One Line, as long as it was a little less crowded than the day I went. It would be a really great place to study and do homework.
This was the day it snowed! I originally walked to the Fox in the Snow Cafe this morning, but it was Sunday and brunch time, and it was overwhelmingly crowded. So, I walked a bit further to Mission Coffee Co. This was definitely the most normal coffee shop I went to, as it wasn’t so in-your-face about being Trendy. It had gay pride flags on the walls, baristas with amazing tattoos, and all the pastries were nonchalantly vegan. From all of this, it was obvious that the store was trying to be a Cool place, but it worked. The barista who took my order also brought my drink to me, instead of calling my name, so that was a pleasant surprise. The mocha I ordered tasted so delicious and chocolately, plus it had more latte art! I’m very easy to please when it comes to drinks, I think. As long as it’s pretty, I’ll like it. I also got a blueberry muffin, and it was hands down the BEST muffin I’ve ever had. No joke. With a lot of vegan treats, you can almost taste the excessive amounts of olive oil. But with this muffin, all I could taste was fluffy dough, fresh blueberries, and sweetness. I may have just been very hungry after all the walking, but I still want to have these muffins all the time now. I would definitely go back to this shop (and I have already). Despite the drinks being very expensive, they are super yummy and I enjoy treating myself to decadent drinks every so often.
My final destination was the Fox in the Snow Cafe. This was definitely the MOST Hip™ place I’ve ever been. I cheated a bit with this stop, because instead of going with another ENR Scholar, I went with my dad. But he is an environmentalist at heart, so he should definitely count, right? So this shop is in a really ugly building, and from the outside, it looks like it may or may not be abandoned. Once you go inside, it’s very obviously a hipster coffee joint. I was greeted by at least three vintage bicycles and a plethora of Edgy haircuts. The baristas dress in black from head to toe, wearing newsboy caps or beanies, and two of them were wearing fake glasses. One barista had real glasses, but he had those fake vintage-looking frames. The ceilings were exposed, there were succulents and plants everywhere, and mysterious bottles of water on every table. There weren’t flowers in them, they weren’t for drinking, so I’m not sure what purpose they served. They served a pretty average Chai Latte. Honestly, it tasted exactly like the chai lattes I make at home, except it costed much more. My dad got a mocha, complete with fancy latte art, and he reported that it tasted really good. I’m not planning on returning here, because the vibe was so phony. Plus, too expensive for the quality of drinks.