Grand Central Bakery
~ 2230 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97214 ~ http://grandcentralbakery.com/ ~
We stopped at this Pacific Northwest Bakery chain while waiting to meet some friends. It had some tasty chai and great cross buns for the Easter holiday season. It was originally created by Gwen Bassetti at Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square, locally owned chain dedicated to artisan baking. An assortment of breads, baked goods, sandwiches, soups, teas, coffees, and juices can be found here. Her original sandwich start started in Seattle’s newly refurbished Grand Central Hotel Building where it changed names from Gwen’s roadside farm stand on Lopez Island in the 60’s to the Grand Central Bakery in 1989. Famous for her Como loaves. Rating: 4 stars out of 5
* International ~ (NASDAQ: SBUX) ~ Starbucks.com *
While a mega-international coffeehouse chain, with its own brand of coffee, and clearly with much consumer conspiracy and debatable controversies especially towards small business, I’d have to say, still to this day, Starbucks is my most favorite (and used) coffee shop in the world. That mere statement gets me a face back-slap from many of my activist anti-corporation friends every time I say I’m at a Starbucks, but they have yet proved to me anything wrong with this giant other than being a giant that pushes out small cafes. But do they really? Are they really that bad? Certainly, they are over-priced. A smaller coffee shop will get me a latte for a cheaper price. (though that usually involves less liquid than I’d get from Starbucks) When I think of reliability, a place while traveling where I can lounge out for hours (and not buy anything if I choose), get online for free, and know the place will most likely be open (at least daytime hours) … Starbucks I can rely on worldwide. (I’m even at one in Ireland as I type this)
For the backpacker, world traveler, telecommuter, and techno-Gypsy … Starbucks is a God(dess)-send. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know how many smaller cafes I’ve been to that I’ve felt ripped, rushed, given sloppy service, and/or couldn’t get online reliably. For a traveler, that is a must. For a budget traveler, a Starbucks can be not only a relief, but a place of security. It is a home far from home, and an office away from your office. The company is based from one of my old hometown’s … Seattle, Washington – and wasn’t a giant back in the day. It too, had its days as a small coffee shop. So do we stop frequenting a business because it becomes world famous and humongous (currently largest coffeehouse in the world)? I think not. Deeper, we need to really look at if the company keeps its ideals or has evolved into “Big Bad Business”. In my experience, I’ve never seen anything bad come from Starbucks. Can someone enlighten me otherwise with facts and figures? Until then – I’d say Starbucks is high on my praise list. Obviously world populations agree as they are bustling across the planet with over 17,000 stores internationally in 55+ countries, 11,000 of which are in their home nation of the U.S.A.
Some would claim the big draw to Starbucks is their own brand of unique coffee. I personally can’t comment on that as I don’t do coffee – hate it with a passion … think it smells nasty and tastes like burnt charcoal wood. I’m a tea person myself, so personally I can say Starbucks has amongst the best chai options in the world, and while not always easy to find in some countries, 90% of the time always has it. Perhaps that’s a big draw for me as a tea person and not a coffee person traveling world-wide in finding a good cup-o-different than a cup-o-Joe. Though my coffee connoisseur friends claim Starbucks internationally is amongst the best. They sell drip brewed coffee, espresso-based hot drinks, hot chocolate, teas, smoothies, and other cold drinks, offer sandwiches (hot or cold) and panini, pastries, muffins, doughnuts, salads, snacks, and an area of gift shopping from cds, mugs, tumblers, coffee beans, teas, and branded- gifts. Their coffee is so popular, you can find their ice cream and coffee in many grocery stores around the world. I’m not a coffee drinker so I’m a Starbucks lover for their Chai, most notably their Chai Crème Frappuccino®. Don’t forget about the Starbucks Secret Menu as well.
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We popped into this hole-in-the-wall quick Turkish cuisine spot near the Phoenix for some lunch fare. While the service was average, the food wasn’t anything to write home about. All three of us felt the fare was unsatisfactory. The restaurant and take-away offers pizza, turkish cuisine, and indian fare. They are open late at night, often serving the bar crowds. They have outdoor dining and free wi-fi. Family owned, Ridvan Sadil and his family took over the business early in 2010. Not so hot. Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited 4/24/11 – review by Leaf McGowan.
If you’re looking for a deep in the heart of Canberra breakfast spot that is a little hidden gem, try to Canberra YHA’s “Bytes Cafe” for a economically affordable and delicious meal. They serve other meals besides breakfast, but must declare that would be where they are above normal in quality and taste. Atypical service that you can expect from a YHA restaurant, with a semi selve serve manner, the staff is ultra friendly and the cooking is delicious. This little hotspot was one of my favorite Australian breakfast locales. Hours of operation is different than most “restaurants” as their service is more oriented towards their hostel guests, but it has an entrance from the street and welcomes in the public. I can’t recommend more the berry pancakes. Extraodinary! The joint is also a great cyber cafe with internet terminals, computers, and wifi service at your service! Rating 5 stars out of 5. Visited 04/24/2011. Reviewed 11/14/2011 by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie.com.
Down to Earth Cafe
* 308 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North * Melbourne, Victoria, Australia * 3068 * http://www.facebook.com/pages/Down-to-Earth-Coffee-and-Tea-House/ *
A pleasant little outdoor/indoor cafe in a Melbourne neighbourhood serving snacks, desserts, and light meals with tea and coffee. Pleasant service and nice surroundings, this cafe aims to please. They also whip up a great chai latte. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Review by Leaf McGowan.
Australian Electric Current
Just as with any other region of the world, the electrical current differs from continent to continent. Oceania is no different within the country of Australia. This current runs on 220-240 Watts. As with any other current, the Australian Current is accessed by devices plugging into AC power plugs and sockets. Most of these have an on/off switch on the socket for safety, sustainability, and energy management. The socket is connected to by an electric plug which have a “male” type of connector that connect into a “female” type of connection called the socket. This socket, with two slots and a hole match a three prong plug. These are called the “Australasian switched 3-pin dual power point” or the AS 3112 or standard C112. This is commonly found and utilized in Australian, New Zealand, Fiji, Argentian, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. It has a grounding pin with two flat current-carrying pins forming an upside down “V” shape. While different, they are style after the British current and plug. World travellers will needa plug converter based from their country’s wattage and current system. Be careful with the wattage and amps for your specific device. Especially coming from the United States or Canada where the voltage is much much lower.
* http://www.agiasophiacoffeeshop.com/ * 2902 W Colorado Avenue *
Colorado Springs, CO 80904 * (719) 632-3322 *
A great little coffee shop and reading library right off of Colorado Avenue in historical Old Colorado City of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Old world charm with a great cup of Joe and spiritual benedictine monks chanting in the background. It is truly a place to the heart of what coffee shops began .. a place to discuss business, religion, politics, and philosophy. They take that trait to heart and not only serve great caffeinated beverages, but pastries, desserts, and cafe-style lunch dishes. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Coffee Beans Clean Jeans
* 23 West Northern Avenue * Pueblo, CO 81004-3109 * (719) 545-1034 *
A little coffee shop meets laundromat where you can eat, drink, and enjoy free wifi while awaiting your clothes to wash and dry. With an electronic guage above the door – you can see when your laundry is done without stepping away from your coffee to check. Friendly staff and clean establishment. The coffee and drinks seem to be all pre-made, but the pad is definitely a class above most laundromats. Ratin: 2.5 stars out of 5.
* Breite Straße 80–90, im Einkaufszentrum DuMont-Carré, 50667 Köln, Germany * +49 221 2708680 * www.woyton.de/koeln.html
A cafe that is the German’s equivalent of “Starbucks”. Nice atmosphere and artsy decorated, obviously community hangout establishment. The prices are about half the cost that you would find in a Starbucks. However, the chai tea, was so watered down it just tasted like bad water. Was not impressed. I think I’ll stick to Starbucks since I’m a chai drinker. Rating: 2 stars out of 5.
Tully’s Coffee * 1401 4th Ave * Seattle, WA 98101 * 206-625-0600 * http://www.tullys.com/
Tully’s Coffee, another Seattle favorite like Starbucks, that is slowly growing to be a large world chain – most notorious for its coffee. Tully’s opened its doors in 1992, they boast proudly about their handcrafted blends that are different than the rest. They also claim to be the last independent pedigreed-Seattle coffee company even though they are spreading quickly. They claim community is the big part of their stores. My visit to Tully’s at this location on 12/29/08 went very well, but not much different than a Starbucks experience. The chai and the pumpkin loaf I tried, not much different. However they do have free wifi internet, so my wifi n’ chai experience was much nicer than the pay per hour that Starbucks has. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Wired Monk Coffee Bistro * 2610 4th Avenue West * Vancouver, BC V6K 1P7, Canada * (604) 742-1752 * http://www.kitsmonk.com/
Artsy fine-elderly design coffee bistro with food and drinks, coffees, chai, teas, and pastries. Free wifi. Didn’t find the service that great, employees seemed bored and bitter. Not many plugs available for laptops. Service was still good. Wifi good. Plain and not a place I’d go out of my way to go back to. Rating: 2 stars out of 5.
Cuppa Joe’s Coffee Shop * 3744 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC * (604) 224-3687 * http://www.cuppajoecoffee.com/cajc/stores/kits.html
A great little local (but Vancouver chain) two story coffee house right off of 4th, conveniently located in Kitslano bordering Point Grey bordering Jericho Beach. Just a short jolt of a walk from the Vancouver HI. Free wifi internet just ask for the password at the counter. Great chai, pastries, and coffee. A Starbucks alternative. Carries organic and free trade. Always good music and apparently has great beer on tap (I’m not a beer drinker so can’t comment on that one). Staff and regulars are very friendly. Its an artsy joint with good music. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Pike’s Place Market * http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/ * 1531 Western Ave * Seattle, WA 98101 * Pikes Place / 1st Ave
A fabulous street mall and interior mall complex of shops, gifts, food, produce, restaurants, cafes, bars, and entertainment. Home to many street performers, and just watching the fishermen sell their sole provides humongous entertainment as one visits this historic venue and tourist attraction of downtown Seattle. 9 acres long, and over a hundred years old, its home to unique and interesting stories from immigration, to internment, gentrification, and urban renewal. It is because of this that its often referred to as the “Soul of Seattle”. Between 1906 and 1907, the cost of onions increased tenfold. Outraged citizens, fed up with paying price-gouging middlemen too much for their produce, found a hero in Seattle City Councilman Thomas Revelle. Revelle proposed a public street market that would connect farmers directly with consumers. Customers would “Meet the Producer” directly, a philosophy that is still the foundation of all Pike Place Market businesses. On August 17, 1907, Pike Place Market was born. Since that date this market is internationally recognized as America’s premier farmer’s markets and hosts over 200 year-round commercial businesses, 190 craftspeople, and 120 farmers who rent table space by the day. Over 240 street performers and musicians; and 300 apartment units, most of which house low-income elderly people. “The Market,” as the locals affectionately say, attracts 10 million visitors a year, making it one of Washington’s most frequently visited destinations. Every time i visit downtown I stroll through this wonderful venue. Its top rate. Rating : 5 stars out of 5.
Powell’s Bookstore 1005 W Burnside Portland, OR 97209 USA
One of the world’s largest collections of new and used books in buildings that encompass a city block plus, this store holds over a million books. Nine color coded rooms house over 3,500 different sections, offering something for every interest, including an incredible selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles. Each month, the Basil Hallward Art Gallery (located upstairs in the Pearl Room) hosts a new exhibit, as well as dozens of author events featuring acclaimed writers, artists, and thinkers such as Roddy Doyle, Susan Sontag, Robert Olen Butler, Annie Leibovitz, and former President Jimmy Carter. The City’s Rare Book Room gathers autographed first editions and other collectible volumes for readers in search of a one-of-a-kind treasure. This of course is my all time favorite bookstore. A must to visit anytime in Portland. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Granville Street * Vancouver, British Columbia * http://www.granvillestreet.com/
Ah Granville street, oh how I have missed thee. So many memories from the days that I used to roam around this artsy and entertainment bustling center of downtown Vancouver. I also remember back in the day when the city of Vancouver wanted to relocate all of the nightclubs in the city to just this street which of course never succeeded. During the years that I lived in Vancouver this was one of my shopping and dining tromping grounds. I’d hit up the coffee shops, the restaurants, and even some of the nightlife with shows at the Vogue, Gothic cheers at one of the pubs, and when Luvafair first moved to the Plaza for some britpop and 80’s fun. For the visitor or resident of Vancouver, this is a hotspot of activity for pub crawling, club dancing, unique and alternative culture shopping, arts, shows, concerts, and as well as some of Vancouver’s notorious seediness and pandhandlers. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited almost daily during my last visit 3/26-3/31 as I was staying nearby, and quite often when I was living in Vancouver.
Washington Dulles Airport
just outside Washington, D.C.
Dulles International Airport Washington, DC 20041 * (703) 661-8357 * http://www.metwashairports.com/Dulles/
History and Development: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Dulles_International_Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport (IATA: IAD, ICAO: KIAD, FAA LID: IAD) is one of Washington D.C.’s international airports. It is named after John Foster Dulles the former U.S. Secretary of State under Dwight D. Eisenhower and was built in 1962. It is located 25 miles from downtown D.C. Dulles hosts between 1,800-2,000 flights a day and is the second busiest trans-Atlantic gateway on the Eastern Seaboard. Clean and beautifully styled, it is one of the nation’s nicest and cleanest airports. The airport takes up 11,000 acres and is on the border between Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in Virginia. The airport sits atop the former unincorporated community of Willard which was torn down in 1958 to make room for Dulles. Roads, stores, and schools were demolished for the building of the runways. Dulles is the home to the famous airplane crashes of TWA Flight 514 that crashed into Mount Weather in December 1974; A 1994 crash of a Mexican air carrier TAESA; and the infamous flight from Dulles – American Airlines Flight 77 that was crashed into the Pentagon during the September 11, 2001 attacks. It is also the setting of several movies such as the 1964 film Seven Days in May and Die Hard 2: Die Harder as well as the films Airport 1975, Airport ’77, The Concorde: Airport ’79, The Hunt for Red October, and various X-Files episodes, an episode of The Simpsons, and Need for Speed: Underground 2. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
City O City (Denver, Colorado)
210 E. 13th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80218 * 303.318.9844 http://www.watercoursefoods.com/cityocity.html
One of Denver’s premiere vegetarian restaurants, in the heart of capital hill, next to artsy shops and bars. Down tempo music with eclectic offerings of food, coffee, and drinks … this hot spot will give any visitor a sensational zing for their zang. “City, O’ City – An Ode, A Lament” is their motto, and implies the beginning of a poem to the City. It’s a coffeehouse, it’s a cafe, it’s a restaurant. Wine, Ales, unique hard liquors, teas, espresso, drip coffee beans, gluten-free muffins, spelt flour cookies, vegetarian or vegan pizza, seitan fake-meats, every dish i tried at this fabulous restaurant was extremely delicious. Part of the WaterCourse Foods network. Rating 5 stars out of 5.
The Omni Hotel * 700 San Jacinto at 8th Street * Austin, Texas 78701 * Phone: (512) 476-3700, Fax: (512) 397-4888 * Omni Downtown homepage An elegant riche hotel in the heart of downtown Austin in the famous Omniplex building. Within walking distance from the convention center, 6th street, Red River, and Austin’s famous nighttime activities. The staff was friendly and eager to please. But the hotel is definitely centered around those with money. They force a concessions deposit with the room in case you get late night munchies out of the bar-fridge in the room: tiny jar of cashews for $6.50, $4 for a small bag of potato chips, $2.50 for a snickers bar. Lets not even approach the cost to the liquor or room service. They are certainly out for your money in elegance of course! Extra costs for everything – you get more bang for your buck at the Holiday Inn. No free breakfast even though you’re paying in excess of $120/night. There is a gym, swimming pool, and hot tub on the roof. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina 504B Trinity St. Austin, TX 78701 * (512) 436-2739 tel
A relatively new Tex-Mex Chipotle’s-like fresh, organic, and healthy alternative cafeteria near 6th street in downtown Austin. Selections from tacos, large burritos, Fajitas, and salads are available … with options even for grilled shrimp and getting a ‘wet’ burrito. Mmmm mmmm good. Free wireless for computer geeks too. 4 stars out of 5.
301 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122 * (206) 625-1600
A great coffee shop in the heart of Capital Hill with books and coffee, chai and free wifi, and late night hours. Friendly staff and a great place to meet people. Good service. Highly recommended for any coffee connaisseur. Rating 5 stars out of 5. Visited 12/29/06
1005 East Pike, Seattle, WA. (206) 709-4440. http://www.caffevita.com/. A unique cafe and coffee roasting company in the heart of Seattle’s Capital Hill. Enjoy a cup of coffee or chai while watching the beans get roasted and coffee truly produced. A local Seattle-based coffee company (not new in concept since Seattle is a coffee city) which specializes in small-batch coffee roasting, espresso preparation, and espresso equipment. A great spot and great staff. Free wifi. Visited 12/27/2006. Rating 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
http://www.pioneersquare.org/. The heart of the city, where it all began. Thriving in history and many tales of times passed. This historic section of Seattle will enrich your spirit just from strolling past the historically preserved architecture that looms above you. There is over 20 blocks of Victorian Romanesque architecture, over 30 fine art galleries, and over 200 unique shoppes. In addition to coffee houses and restaurants, its also a section of Seattle’s thriving nightclubs – bringing entertainment to the city from the city’s birth. Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5. Visited 12/27/06.
Cafe @ Netherworld * http://ra.ntw.net/netherworld.com/ * 1278 Pennsylvania St., Denver, CO 80203
Denver’s only full service Cyber Cafes … an incredible hotspot of local activity from dancing, art gallery, poetry readings, a full bar, a full service restaurant, pool hall, the best jukebox in Denver, free wireless, and a venue for many events. Definitely a must-visit and must-hangout place to go in Denver’s downtown. Conveniently located and home to a friendly and great staff, you won’t be disappointed with this great place. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
previous visits I tried out the internet service and the food …. Several WiFi networks to choose from, their home based network is the fastest in the joint – just get the username and password from the barista. The food – absolutely delicious …. previously I had the club with Cajun fries; The Nether burger; the Taco Salad … all spectacular! and delicious …. hit the spot. Iced chai with a shot of Baileys Irish Cream is my now usual drink of choice … makes the afternoon go by so nicely … not everyday you get a bar and a cafe and a restaurant all condensed into one … fabulous! Friendly staff and great service. A must …. (visited 6/16/06, 7/06, 8/06, 9/06, 10/12/06, 7/18/08, 2/14/09, 6/28/09) Recent visit, trying the artichoke dip … delicious! 7/18/08 Visit – the Appetizer sampler/combo – not bad. 6/28/09: Since this lovely establishment serves liquor as well as chai, and great food and free WiFi – it’s become a usual hangout for me to do chai n’ WiFi, meet up with friends, and do tarot readings … also become my favorite place for chai n’ WiFi fixes because I can add Bailey’s Irish Cream to my iced chai! Sweet! and the bartenders are fabulous with whipping that up.