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Saturday, October 28, 2017

My Portland Coffee Tour - Part 8

Okay, so this month has been incredibly busy and lacking in the coffee exploration in Portland, so I bring you one, then I want to talk to you about an amazing coffee shop we found in San Diego and that crazy Zombie Frappuccino from Starbucks. 

I hope to get back into my coffee crawl next month, when things have settled a bit and I am not working quite so much, but if I have to take a break, I will, in order to bring you more quality posts even if they are further apart.


I've been told by a few people that Barista is a shop I needed to get to. They have a few different locations, including the one at Pine Street Market, but I saw it on the way to brunch with my mom, so we stopped in on our way back to the car for me to grab something real quick. The inside was small with only bar seating, but it's warm and inviting with wood and a giant window overlooking the street. 

I'm not usually one for a mocha, as they're usually too gritty, but I saw something called the Valrhona Mocha, and asked about it. Turns out, it's a type of dark chocolate that's 61% cocoa that is infused into the espresso and it was amazing. It was $5 for an 8oz, but it was like drinking a luxury dark chocolate bar with espresso inside it. It had a rich flavor that I could definitely get used to in my coffee. 

There aren't a lot of food options. You're basically either going to get a pastry or a baked item. I opted for a blueberry cornflour cookie ($2), because it was incredibly different sounding. It was much like a sugar cookie, but with whole blueberries in it that I really enjoyed. I'd definitely be into trying to make something similar at home, maybe with added chocolate chips, for the holidays. I could see how cranberries would also work with the sweetness. Overall, I wouldn't go back to Barista for food, because it's lacking, but I would absolutely go back for the coffee.

Cafe Bassam

Only a block away from our timeshare building in San Diego was this coffee shop, that looked totally normal and modern on the outside with floor to ceiling windows and a fenced in outdoor eating area. I didn't even care what they had when I looked them up and Google described the shop as a funky coffee house with antique furniture and rifles on the wall. I mean, what? You gotta go just to experience that weirdness, right?

So, we rolled in one morning for breakfast and ordered an iced Vietnamese coffee (yum!) and a white chocolate mocha. On top of that, I ordered a bagel, which is clearly the best presentation for a bagel I've ever gotten anywhere. So pretty. Eric ordered eggs and toast, which was a similar presentation, with toast, marmalade, steamed(!) eggs and a pile of fruit. He inhaled it. 

While we waited for our food and drinks to appear, I took a moment to look around and snap a hundred pictures, because what even is this place? My theory was that it was a antique store that was foreclosed on that just happened to have enough space for a coffee, so they just kept it all to be wacky, so I asked.

The owner (Bassam) is from Palestine and an art and antique collector. He created this coffee shop be a place people could gather and have the feel of a European cafe. They are open early and open late, so you can enjoy coffee (or wine or beer or a cigar) any time of the day. The vibe is eclectic, the employees are friendly, and everything we had was fantastic. If I lived in San Diego, this is the place I would drag people who claimed they'd never heard of it.

The Zombie Frappuccino from Starbucks

Starbucks has been creating new drinks more and more frequently and have been serving up these limited edition beverages lately. It started with crazy popular (and, apparently, violently sweet) unicorn frap. I wasn't willing to try that one, or fight people to get to the counter, but the zombie frap looked very much doable, even though there were mixed reviews. I admit, I kind of wanted it just for the whipped cream "brains". 

It has not been nearly as popular as the unicorn and with good reason. It is supposed to taste like caramel apples, but I didn't get any distinct taste from it at all. It was refreshing, yes, but there was no caramel or apple in my cup. But I've spent $5 on worse things, so I wasn't that disappointed, even though I was expecting Laffy Taffy flavor explosion. If you want to try it out for yourself, it's only available until Oct 31.

Do you have a favorite coffee house or an opinion on the Zombie Frap? 

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