Monday, January 19, 2009

Crap, Thy Name Is Corporate Chai

16 oz. of WRONG

There are certain things I hold to be sacrosanct:
  • Everything is, in fact, better when it sits on a Ritz.
  • The love of a good beagle.
  • The people in the J. Crew catalog are paid assassins.
  • A votive candle really does class up the joint.
  • If I order food or beverage from someone behind a counter wearing a silly hat and coordinating silly apron/smock, it will be GOOD.
Please take note of that last one, because I would like to lodge el complainto.

[ahem]

So I'm getting ready to settle in this afternoon for some writing (side note: I'm currently knee-deep in a rewrite of my novel, which is why I'm behind on my blog commenting - I'm so sorry!) and I figure before I get started I'll trot up to my little coffee satellite store which is conveniently tucked into my local Albertson's grocery store #1097 and get strung out on caffeine as is my routine.

Keepin' It On The Down-Low

Now, I don't want to blurt out the name of this coffee kiosk place because one day, when my name is spelled out in cigarette butts lights, I don't want any pesky Starbucks coffee empire lawyers on my tailfeathers complaining about how I hurt their little mermaid feelings.

So, in order to keep things nice and fuzzy, I'll call this place, say, Strawducks.

And, just to paint you a picture, imagine the people there wearing green (dammit!) yellow aprons and matching yellow hats.

I Am Victimized

So I'm standing in line, preparing to order my usual - a tall (dammit!) small triple latte - when it occurs to me that I might be in the mood for a little something different.

Hmmm...

And then I see the chai latte on the menu. I am intrigued. I've had chai once before - at an Indian friend's house when her parents were visiting from Bombay - and it was delightful. I mean, I really loved it.

Come to think of it, I could totally go for a chai right now! I could so totally go for one, in fact, that I order a grande (dammit!) gordo.

Sure I'd only had a chai once in my life and it was lovingly hand-prepared by a native-born, lifelong chai practitioner and enthusiast. Nevertheless, I just knew this drink would rock. I mean, the young lady behind the counter was wearing a jaunty yellow hat - how could I go wrong?

So now they are going to sloooowly bring the steamed milk to the ideal temperature of - what? It's ready? Oh. Okay, thanks. [Wow - it took a lot longer when my friend's mom made it.]

I walk out with my freshly assembled chai. I'm p
umped. I'm psyched. I'm stoked.

And then I taste it.


Sweet Godmother of Wilma Flintstone what is IN this?!? Immediately my tongue dons a little turtleneck sweater of protection and I start doing my impersonation of a dog who's just been given a spoonful of peanut butter.

I sniff the drink and it yields the aroma of a pinch of bergamot sprinkled into a milky broth in which three [sniff] no, make that four lacrosse players have been simmering their feet for most of the afternoon.

WTH?!? I order a drink from a person behind a counter wearing a funny hat and it SUCKS? What's next - bad gas station hot dogs? Sacre bleu!
The delightful MuseSwings has done me the honor of creating a Mii that looks just like, well, me! And she linked it to my Wii Tennis post, which I greatly appreciate. Thanks so much, MuseSwings!


And thanks to The Rambler (who reports that i
t's a bikini-unfriendly 60 degrees in Hawaii right now - yow!) at My Rambling Thoughts who laid this one me - awesome:

80 comments:

wenderful said...

I'm sorry. Since the only thing I indulge in at Strawducks is the occasional hot chocolate, I can't empathize. But if my hot chocolate tasted anything remotely having to do with sweaty lacrosse players, I would have to wage a complaint too.
Good luck with the rewrite!

Shonda Little said...

And in spite of sucking it probably still had more calories than you would ever want to know about.

Renee said...

You are so awesome. I love you.

I do like my local Chai Latte (maybe we just make things better in Canada) ha ha.

Oops, sorry I forgot you guys have Barack Obama (lucky ducks).

Let the world start anew.

Peace

Renee

WA said...

She must have not hear you right & thought you'd ordered a Suckaccino. Happened to me once at Meattle's Pest Moffee.

KiKi said...

I am friggin CRYING.

First of all, I LOVE chai tea lattes...and just as what happened with you...I made the mistake of ordering it at a place I shall call Starfucks (this is LA, afterall). My reaction was the same as yours. Gag reflex calleth.

Good luck with the rewrite, sister!

Hillbilly Duhn said...

You know where you went wrong dontchya?

You're first experience of such a drink that was "lovingly hand-prepared by a native-born, lifelong chai practitioner and enthusiast"

Strawbucks will try to create true hand prepared beverages, but to those who have never experienced it, will know no better. And may even like it.

You have been ruined by pure delightful home made. It happens.

The Self-Deprechaun said...

Is it weird that the stewing of lacrosse sweaty feet sounds awfully delicious? I think I read that the moist juice from rancid, sweaty arm pits squeezed into one's beverage of choice is an aphrodisiac of the gods. As my source, I cite a wikipedia entry that I am going to put in right now.

Liz said...

I'm in the "won't go to Strawducks" boat. Sorry. From overburnt coffee beans to overpriced everything... never worth the trip.

I've found that those International coffee drinks... they make a decent chai. And for a non-milky version, Celestial Seasonings has some nice offerings.

Strawducks... bwahahahaha!

La Belette Rouge said...

So when I buy Jcrew I am supporting criminal activity? Is that what you are saying? Even if it is true I will not quit buying.

I am a devoted Peet's gal and I look down my nose at corporate coffee. Oui, je suis une snob de cafe.

Yaya said...

Another great post! My face lit up when I saw in my dashboard you had a new post! ;)
Love it! strawducks!

the mama bird diaries said...

I've only done the chai once and i never went back. I heard Strawducks guarantees satisfaction so head on up to that counter and get a proper drink.

only a movie said...

Friends don't let friends drink Strawducks.

Tessa said...

Don't know 'bout long or short or fat latte, but, boy, do you make me spew my espresso!

HumorSmith said...

That's the last straw!!(duck)

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

But did you drink it anyway because you waited in line for it, dang it, and you couldn't just pour four dollars down the gutter? Oh wait, you're in Santa Monica, you're not allowed to pour anything down the gutter.

jori-o said...

"Sweet Godmother of Wilma Flintstone what is IN this?!?"

Ahahahahahaahaahahaaaa!!!!! I wish I had a TENTH of the funny you possess! Awesome!

Jeanne said...

Chai is one of my favorite drinks -- thanks for the heads up!

Swirl Girl said...

Remind me not to eat at Chick Fil-A...

Becca Watson said...

I agree. I have tried their version of Chai tea latte's and have been thoroughly disapointed! We have a locally owned coffe shop here and they make a really good chai tea latte. I prefer going to them over the other place!

Stacie said...

strawducks scares me.

found you via text imps, pretty funny you are!

Ann's Rants said...

Your photoshop skeeelz wow me.

I love chai lattes.

Fine. We differ.

Many mini-guffaws on this one. Like Gordo, Make it GORDO, please?

R Susanna said...

Now I know what not to order when I go to Strawducks, which is not often since I don't feel like paying $2,000.00 for a cup of coffee. Although I ususally order something chocolaty with lots of sugar and tons on whipped cream. Nummy nummy!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

So brilliant! I love the 'little turtleneck of protection', it's so real! And the lacrosse players ...... your writing paints such vivid pictures!

okiesister said...

I hate when that happens....
but it made for a good read.
I know I shouldn't laugh at your pain....I'm just so glad it wasn't me this time.

The Retired One said...

You have also been tagged!
Go to my site:
http://www.myretirementchronicles.blogspot.com
and see!!!
Thanks!
The Retired One

Temple said...

Love it!!! I am generally not a fan of chain coffee stores. Now, chain fried chicken stores are a different story..I'll gladly pay for anything "fil-a" but not so much anything that I have to study the menu board to figure out how to order a drink. I just buy chai tea, brew it and add lots of cream and good stuff to it :)
Hope the rewrite goes well!

Janna said...

Have been dying to try chai! (Ooh, I rhymed.) Thanks for the heads up, I will steer clear of this strange "Straw duck" place that you mentioned.

Reddirt Woman said...

"Sweet Godmother of...."

Oh, crap. Remind me to put on panty liners before reading your blog...

'Scuse me. Got to go tend to 'bidness'.

Heather said...

Mmmmm, chai. I've never suffered through such a harrowing, untasty chai experience, because I have a bit of a thing about places like Strawducks (as I once blogged about here: http://tinyurl.com/92mw7g). I can imagine the utter disappointment you must've felt, though. Bad chai should be a criminal offense!

"Sweet Godmother of Wilma Flintstone" is my new favorite exclamation. I am immediately discontinuing my frequent use of "For the love of Pete!" and replacing it with "Sweet Godmother of Wilma Flintstone!" I mean, I don't even know who Pete is, much less why anything should be done for his love. (Now, "For the love of George [Clooney]!" on the other hand, I get. Totally get that, but Hubby probably wouldn't appreciate hearing me say that on a regular basis, nor our daughter repeating it, as she tends to do - repeat things I say, that is. Can't wait to hear her bust out Wilma................)

I somehow missed that you are writing a novel. That is some of the best news I've heard in a while! Can't wait!

bfs ~ "Mimi" said...

I'm not brave enough to try anything other than sugar-free vanilla latte ~ I know, boring, huh?! But so good!!

Braja said...

Please don't ever, EVER, do that again, dammit. If you want a chai, you ask me.

Funny, I just saw a J. Crew catalog person going into Starbucks...

Blissful Babe said...

Hmm, maybe that is why I can't get into Chai...

YA THINK? Maybe your friend's mother can whip me up a cuppa chai?

I'll have my people call your people and we'll do chai.

Werd.

Joanie said...

That'll teach ya to stray away from your wonderful lattes. Stick with what you know. Chai = ick!

rebelliousthoughtsofawoman.com said...

When it comes to ordering expensive tea and coffee drinks, expectations are not helpful. You need to be prepared to pay $5 for a mystery drink whereupon you either get the prize: a drink you can drink; or you lose: and you get a drink that needs to be dunked.

JBA said...

I think the only way to expect good food from the coordinated smock and hat person behind the counter is if they sing at semi regular intervals. Not that I'm any kind of expert!

Vodka Mom said...

Sweet godmother of Wilma Flinstone?????

I am laughing my ass of here girl. My FAT ASS if you will.


hhahaha and Strawducks? You are too damn much. sigh.

TattooedMinivanMom said...

I ordered a chai tea once from Blarblucks and it tasted like chit!

nikkicrumpet said...

As long as they keep making my strawberries & Creme frappacino the right way...they are forgiven anything...even your sucky chai lol. I love your new Mii very cute!

Heinous said...

Odd, that's been my experience with all chai. You should have made the manage drink it. Just to get your point across.

Grand Pooba said...

OH dear Star...I mean Strawbu er Strawducks. Never had the chai and now I don't think I ever will!

bah la!

Are you seriously alive? You are hillarious!

The Wife O Riley said...

Leave it to the Baristas with the Mad Hatter Hats on. I bet they made you move seats all the time while singing "Clean cup, Clean cup move down, move down. Clean cup, clean cup, move down!"

MommyTime said...

I totally understand the problem of Strawducks. I once ordered a large cafe au lait, and when I tasted it, it was... "Ummm.." I said, "this isn't even a little bit hot." "Oh," said the confused girl behind the counter, who took it back from me and then just stood there, confused. Finally, the other girl behind the counter asked her what was the matter, and Confused Girl explained, to which Other Girl replied, "Did you make this with steamed milk?" "Uh, NO," said Confused Girl.

That's right.

She took 1/2 a cup of coffee, mixed it with an equal portion of milk from the fridge, and handed it over.

As if anyone in their right mind wants a coffee drink that is neither HOT nor ICED but instead the temperature of a just-caught fish.

delish.

They didn't even give me a free one. Which is an exceedingly long way of saying that bviously, Starducks should have given you a freebie too.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

You make me feel vindicated that I try to never go to Starbucks and only patronize coffee houses that are likely to have the owner on any given day behind the counter. However, someone bought me a Starbuck's Chai once and it did, indeed, taste like crap.

Chin up with the novel revisions, looking forward to buying it comes out.

And thanks for stopping by today,my PC day ; -)

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Strawducks, failing at chai? Whodathunkit? It is a shame you were so spoiled with that first one or you'd rave about it like all the other fem-bots I know. ;) (I'm with you on this one.... I think they taste like a sack of potpourri steeped in water used to rinse out a day old bottle. Bleeeeech.

jen said...

oh yeah. that's totally not chai tea. but i have a recipe for the real stuff, if you are interested ...

Cassoulet Cafe said...

I think chai is DISGUSTING. And you are hilarious!

Marie Reed said...

It's good that you gave it a try though:) What if it haaad been heavenly!

Marie Reed said...

I am in the love starbucks boat. They are starting to open them in in Paris! My favorite is a raspberry mocha!!!

Belle said...

Don't worry. When you are Rich and Famous, you can so get them back. Like trashing them in your book.

MuseSwings said...

An entire piece of french toast just shot through my nose while I read this one. Turtle neck...ritz...spelled out in cigarette butts...votive candle...My head hurts now and I have to take a powder and a nappy bye.

jennifersusan said...

I hate when I go to my friendly neighborhood Straducks, order my usual drink, and it tastes like burnt coffee. OR how about the time I actually complained because my large coffee was only filled half way up (including the foam). Is it wrong to pay $5 for a cup of coffee? Only if they fill it up to the $2.50 line.
That'll teach you to stray from your norm!

Jay Amabile said...

i stick to the basics...but only at D&D

Cheeky Greek said...

The love of a beagle? Does your's escape daily like mine always did?

LarryG said...

haha,!
16 oz of wrong was just right,
so do you take that 16 oz of wrong and blend it with 3 oz of Dickel? :)

bernthis said...

Chocolate milk. It's my "coffee" and it's a lot better when you make it at home.

bernthis said...

chocolate milk. I drink it every morning and I can make it better at home.

VaBookworm said...

I love your blog! I just wanted to let you know, you have an award waiting for you at:

http://bookworm-confessions.blogspot.com/

Lee the MWOB Queen said...

Story of my life lady and the sad thing is? I keep going back for more of the same. I never thought I was stupid - until. right. about. now.

Gladys said...

I live about 20 miles from the nearest Bigbucks. I no longer crave or jones for the taste of their Vilma Nonfat, sugar free, decaf half caf vanilla nutter butter latte. I have now acquired an addiction to something called a Maple Nut Latte which can only be purchased at the local Hootin Hollerin Cowgirl Coffee. There is nothing worse than being primed for the taste of something only to have swallowed a concoction that distinctly taste like horse piss. :)

squaredonut said...

I so love this post. Of course, I love all of your posts. I'm not saying that this is better than your others since they are all A-pluses. LIke, A-plus-pluses. You are a pro. Prolific. Profound. And, once in a while, a teeny, tiny, little bit profane.

P.S. this made me laugh kind of hard
P.P.S. of course, I'm in a great mood, new Pres & all

Rhea said...

OMG, their chai is the best thing ever. You have to get it made with NO water and add soy. It's amazing that way.

I heard that if you have it made with water it's too peppery.

Fragrant Liar said...

I'm tellin' ya. McDonalds. Their coffee drinks rock!

KJ

K said...

They ruined Chai - how dare they!!
That stuff is the best drink on the planet normally.

For the record, one my rules is that everything tastes better with either cheese or chocolate on top.

Brenda said...

You are funny!

Strawbucks tastes just like that, straw. No one should go there, they started the empire of overpriced coffee's.

Braja sent me here but I just might have to bookmark you. . .

Rachel Cotterill said...

I have to confess, the fact that it's called 'chai latte' has always put me off because I think of latte as a coffee word - and the idea of chai-flavoured coffee just doesn't do it for me. So, while I feel your pain, I'm glad I made the right decision there :)

My First Kitchen said...

You should've asked me first. I would've warned you. Tai chi is much better than chai tea (latte).

Kulio said...

I've been waiting for the last 12 hours to find a way to slip,
"Sweet Godmother of Wilma Flintstone" into an e-mail conversation with my girlfriends.

The timing has to be just perfect....

thanks for that gem...

Blicky Kitty said...

That Strawducks! OK I am on the wagon now because I'm nearing *cough* 20, I mean 30, I mean... and I have to give up cookies and all drinks except black coffee and water so I don't get gordo BUT I used to be a chai addict. I really don't like Tazo tea (which Strawducks uses as their concentrate). Oregon chai is way yummier and honey-ish. Let me know if I can help with any future yummy issues.

angie said...

Ugh. Poor you.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

I rarely admit this in fear of being pelted with green straws or something, but *whispers* I hate Strawducks.


Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, OK? I might get my citizenship taken away or something.

But now I have one more thing to hate them for. Their shitty, sweatsock chai latte. I will make an extra Strawducks voo doo doll for you, OK?

The Scribbler said...

I came to experience chai in much the same way you did! I have an Indian friend who introduced me to her mother's chai - apparently the matriarch of most Indian households has her own secret family chai mix- and I loved it so much that every Christmas she would give me an annual supply as a gift. She had shown me their family's favourite way to prepare it too and it included adding lemongrass and introducing steamed milk at boiling. When Starbucks (er, Strawbucks - see what you made me do?!) introduced it I decided to give it a try - and YELCH!!!! I wasn't prepared for the fact it could taste absolutely nothing like chai!! Needless to say, I make sure I stay close to my India friend so I can continue to have my chai the way her mother intended.

Sue said...

I'm trying to imagine drinking something that tastes like stinky feet.....Nope, I'm happy I'm not a latte drinker and can say I have never had anything to drink from Strawducks.....

TC said...

I totally didn't get this.

(But I did stop on the way home from work today and had McCafe.)

DiPaola Momma said...

Man the freaking blow guns Mowgli and saddle up the packaderms we're going in to clear the joint of counterfeit Chai... hoo rah!

Who'd a thunk that those purveyors of percolating perfection could slip you a murky mickey like that?!.. darn them.. darn them all to heck. They and their colorful be-aproned masses must be stopped!!

I'd stick with the "gordo" mocha-chaka-late.. ya ya.. mocha-chaka-late hey.. (oooh nooo did I go all Patti Labelle on you? eek)

I think I need to lay off the caf huh?

Marcy said...

Ohhhh no, no, no, no. Can't ever go to SB. Gotta go to Dunkin Donuts LOL

Imogen Lamport said...

Now you understnad what all sorts of tea and coffee and fancy named hot drinks like 'chai' taste like to me! Mind you I tend to think of them as more like dirt and twigs.

Eudea-Mamia said...

Snort - lacrosse players. You slay me!!

Kudos to MuseSwings too! (one day, when you're not knee deep in a rewrite, please let me know how you get those on your computer. Very cool.)

Andy said...

I love the lacrosse player line... and let me say that I get in the mood for bad gas station hot dogs from time to time. They hit the spot. It would be even better if the cashier wore a fun hat.

Joanna said...

So what did you do with it? Did you drink it? Or did you pretend to trip, launching the dreaded drink right back at the gal and said you sprained your ankle and will sue unless they get you something else? Just a guess.

WheresMyAngels said...

YES! STarducks (or whatever it was) has the WORST Chi Latte ever! In fact, I have NEVER had a bad one EXCEPT there. Three bad ones infact, cause I kept thinking surely it was just the person behind the counter. But no, it is Starbucks in general, I mean Starshucks.


Hey I only had to work 1 1/2 hours to pay for those three drinks!