Starbucks Around the World: Sunnyvale, CA

A late evening iced coffee to curb my food coma.  Actually, this store in Sunnyvale (not to be confused with the Hellmouth) turned out to be amazing.  Since they were closing up and out of iced coffee I couldn’t hide my #sadtrombone face and thought I might just pass.  The barista swooped in, and in true superhero fashion comped me an iced americano instead.  Well done.  Truly legendary.

Side note: The great Terri Hilton, who took this picture, was saddened when she only just learned of my Starbuckian pursuits at 8pm. She insisted that had she known earlier she would have easily added 12 more stores within the span of our day together instead of taking me on a walking tour of Stanford.  Next time, Terri.

Starbucks Around the World: Palo Alto, CA

There’s a small possibility I might not go back to Chicago after all.  While you’ve been having 100+ degree heat and torrential downpours all week, I’ve been hanging out in the South Bay, just about 35 minutes(ish) outside of San Francisco.  Aside from being able to wear a three-quarter length shirt, fashion scarf, and no socks 365 days a year, there are also a plethora of Starbucks around here.  This one is in Palo Alto, and I visited here while checking out the farmers market in town.  My long-time friend Terri fled from Chicago winters a little over two years ago and hasn’t looked back.  After spending a day here, I don’t blame her.

Especially convenient to this particular Starbucks photo is the firework-esque mural behind me… because that’s about as patriotic as I get.  So Happy Independence Day, because our freedom and the state of Capitalism in our country has afforded me the privilege of visiting this, my 29th Starbucks around the World.

Leaving my heart in San Francisco…

Want the truth?

It is dangerously easy to fall in love with this city…

I had the teensiest of legs up coming to San Francisco for the Dance/USA conference in that I was born in the area and had family I could stay with.  Because we’d often come back to visit, I’ve seen the major sites already: The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Ghiradelli Square, Lombard Street, and the list goes on.

So, knowing I had limited time outside of a conference room during my three days here I didn’t want to revisit things I’ve already seen.

I chose, instead, to just walk.

Even though I’ve been here a countless number of times, this is the first time I’ve visited as an adult.  I was surprisingly disoriented, being used to a really strict grid system, but SF is quite small by comparison to Chicago and after I got my bearings I really started to enjoy my walking tours and trips on the BART.

Produce market in The Mission

Without any goals or preconceived destinations, I feel like I got to walk among San Franciscans as if I was one of them, and, I gotta tell you, I could get used to that.  In both neighborhoods I visited (Union Square and The Mission) I found happy accidents such as live music performances, farmers markets, and fantastic murals to gaze at.  Not to mention the fantastic weather and interesting mix of Victorian and Spanish Colonial architecture.

In most cities I feel like I have to squeeze it all in. I have to see as much as possible in a limited amount of time, and take the city by storm.  Rarely do you get the opportunity to sink in and go at a normal pace, and maybe it’s for that reason that you start to miss home or feel like “it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there”.

San Francisco was dangerously different.  I never felt like a tourist (even when I was wearing a big conference name tag).  I fit right in.  I didn’t feel like walking the bridge or hitting the nightlife; I felt like shopping for deli meat and bananas.  It felt like home.

Does San Francisco have this effect on everyone, or is it just me?

Starbucks Around the World: San Francisco, CA

Ok, I have a confession to make.  So without experiencing their legendary service, I can’t automatically assume that any Starbucks store gets my thumbs up of approval.  What I CAN say is that San Francisco is awesome – as are the dance bloggers I’ve been hanging out with here. With all the techno-talk and tweeting I didn’t even have time to actually go inside this Starbucks to buy a beverage (hence the nervous endorsement). But like I always say, Starbucks is like the Catholic Church… you can go to any one in the world and pretty much know what you’re gonna get.  I can’t imagine this store on the corner of Powell and I-don’t-remember near the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts would be anything but exceptional.

Starbucks Around the World: Burlingame, CA

Disclaimer: Since Travelpod does not allow you to export blogs, I shall be bringing old entries to you slowly, but surely, through good, old-fashioned (and painstakingly arduous) Cut-and-paste.

July 28, 2009

In truth, this was not a very good Starbucks.  It took a really, really long time to get my beverage and wasn’t clean.  However, I have to appreciate the truly charming atmosphere of Burlingame Avenue and gaggles of hip California college students studying inside. Plus, I desperately needed to pee.  This photo is a bittersweet moment after having lunch with my Aunt Barbara, who I hadn’t seen in about 15 years, and before traveling to the airport for the return flight to Chicago.  Way to deliver on the ‘Bucks, California.

Starbucks Around the World: Healdsburg, CA

Disclaimer: Since Travelpod does not allow you to export blogs, I shall be bringing old entries to you slowly, but surely, through good, old-fashioned (and painstakingly arduous) Cut-and-paste.

July 27, 2009

After a seriously intense day of 95-plus degree wine tastings through beautiful Sonoma County with my family, I can think of nothing more refreshing than the shaded awning of a Starbucks store and an iced coffee in my personal mug.  Admittedly tipsy and overheated, this is a day that’s slightly blurry, but certainly not forgotten.

Starbucks Around the World: Hercules, CA

Disclaimer: Since Travelpod does not allow you to export blogs, I shall be bringing old entries to you slowly, but surely, through good, old-fashioned (and painstakingly arduous) Cut-and-paste.

July 27, 2009

First hit in the state of my birth.  Thankfully, my Mother and Step-father (travel companions on this quick trip to California for my Grandparents’ 75th birthday(s) party) are hungry on the way to Hidden Valley Lake, because their fortuitous stop at a Burger King afforded me this shot of the Starbucks store next door.  I think it was a refreshing iced coffee, just what the doctor ordered for a long car ride through sunny central California.