As if studying weren't difficult enough, there is an adorable little girl, wearing a bright pink dress and rubber boots, holding hot chocolate, and sitting with a french bulldog on a bench outside the window. Can you get any more distracting than that? I think not. This serves me right for studying in a neighborhood, where small children and puppies are likely to be out and about. Ah well. Since I'm not getting research done anyhow, here are notes on the current location (not just on its distractions, I promise).
By an unplanned sequence of events, I have ended up sitting on the outskirts of Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood today. This is the result of answering a craigslist ad, which meant going to Lake City. (Clarification: to purchase a camping tent.) When I set out for Lake City, I thought I'd try out a coffee shop in Lake City. But then I got there, and remembered that it's Lake City. And as I am, in this experiment, avoiding both Starbucks and Chickalatte, I've been forced to try a different district. Maple Leaf happened to be between Lake City and my next destination, so here I sit, drinking Stumptown at the Blue Saucer.
Anyone who knows me well - in fact, anyone who has met me once can probably tell you how I feel about Stumptown Coffee. (I love it.) But I will give you this: Stumptown in Seattle and Stumptown in its native Portland, OR are different beasts. I don't know why this is, but a conversation with another Stumptown fan just the other day confirmed that I'm not out of my mind (or at least, that if I am, I'm not by myself): Stumptown in Portland is fantastic. Stumptown in Seattle is usually pretty good. There is something less well-rounded about the Seattle roast.
12 oz. Mocha, made with Tuccelli's chocolate. Tuccelli's chocolate, I think, might be a great idea, but this first experience with it says it doesn't hold its own against espresso. As far as mocha's go, this one is pretty, with a homemade marshmallow floating on top of it, but lacking any sort of flavor complexity or compatibility.
This could be the coffee's fault. It could be the chocolate's fault. It could, I suppose, be the marshmallow's fault. Or it could be the barista's... who provided me with a great deal of amusement by holding forth to her boyfriend while she was making drinks about how frustrated she gets watching the baristas at [insert name of coffee chain here] make their drinks, and how she wants to yell at them for doing it wrong. Meanwhile, I was watching her and thinking exactly the same thing. It's not like I have a Master's degree in coffee making, but I do feel it's at least polite not to let your customer's espresso get cold while you go find, measure, and steam the milk for it. Just a thought.
Here are the pros: This place is small, and quiet, and cute, and very well kept inside. Lots of non-zoned parking options (it's Maple Leaf, after all). Easy to find. Great art, murals, lots of windows, and the sandwich menu looks tasty. Substituting Soy/Rice is no extra charge to a beverage. Plus, in the hour or so I've been here, I've appreciated the music selection. Oh, and it has homemade marshmallows. Which taste... about like marshmallows, but they're homemade. So that's fun and different, right?
The little girl and her inexplicably winning french bulldog have now wandered off elsewhere, and I have guilt for using Blue Saucer's free wifi to write anything less than a rave review about Blue Saucer. It seems wrong. So. Back to the research I go.