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Intelligentsia at Target — In Related News, Pigs Fly

11 Mar



It may not be the biggest surprise ever at Target, but it’s close. You can now buy Intelligentsia coffee at Target. It’s in the aisle next to the Folger’s and Yuban and Starbucks.

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McDonald’s Breakfast Bowls — Surprisingly Not Bad

9 Mar

Flush from victory from rolling out all-day breakfast, McDonald’s is testing out a new breakfast idea to pull in millennials and change their image.  Breakfast bowls come in egg white & turkey sausage and scrambled egg & chorizo, and cost $4.39 and are currently available in many Southern California MCDs.  I think they’re definitely worth trying.  And, yes, there is kale in it.
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Starbucks Reserve Coffees and the Clover Brewing Machine

29 Dec

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Starbucks is quietly upping its coffee game, introducing a Reserve line of single-origin coffees and changing how it’s made and served. Starbucks has for years tried out concept restaurants to see how far they could push the high end of the brand. In the late 1990s in San Francisco’s Mission District, Starbucks secretly launched a plush cafe called Circadia, to see what all that hipster fuss was all about. It didn’t really go anywhere. Recently, they paid an obscene amount of money for a middling pastry brand and rolled out a full service restaurant with alcohol under the La Boulange name. And now they have rolled out a Reserve cafe, trying to throw money at the Blue Bottle/Stumptown problem.

In addition to criticism that it is America’s largest milkshake purveyor, these third wave coffee roasters stand as a rebuke to Starbucks and what America used to think of as premium coffee. Now, total Coffeedouches turn their noses up at the thought of paying $5 for a mediocre latte at Starbucks, and instead are giving that $5 for a hand-dripped/siphon brewed/etc. cup at small (and not so small) third wave roasters that emphasize lighter roasts and the actual flavor of coffee.

Into this problem Starbucks has quietly expanded its Reserve line of coffees and started rolling out its Clover brewer. Just a few months ago, there were only a handful of Starbucks in the LA area that had this machine, but now they are all over. Not quite everywhere, but enough that it’s not hard to find if you look.

The Clover brewer made some waves a few years back for 1) costing north of $10,000, 2) offering Internet-connected precision and repeatability, and then 3) being bought out by Starbucks. The story went that Howard Schultz was so impressed when he tried coffee made on the Clover that he pulled a Victor Kiam and bought the company.

So could Skynet playing for Team Green save Starbucks?

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Chick-Fil-A in Culver City

26 Dec

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Just a quick note to say that Chick-Fil-A is now open in Culver City/Playa Vista. This stretch of Jefferson is in transition, as Playa Vista undergoes a huge expansion and CFA rises from the ashes of a forgotten Denny’s (in the most ghost town shopping center on the Westside). CFA opened with the usual hoopla of crazy people camping outside and is now settling down to becoming a fixture for Culver City and Playa Vista.
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Seen at Jamba Juice — the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer

1 Oct

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I asked the Jamba guy if they really use it and he confirmed it.

I guess over 5,000 reviews can’t be wrong.

McDonald’s Coffee – Free Coffee with a Side of Awesome

16 Apr

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McDonald’s is offering free coffee for breakfast this month to compete with Taco Bell’s newest monstrosity (yes, I plan to try it). I was in a McDonald’s recently and thought I’d share with you, loyal FD reader, their in-store promotion of the new emphasis on coffee. Yes, I believe those are empty foil wrappers for ground coffee.

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This is how I imagine the conversation went:

Manager: Underling, corporate is telling us we need to push our coffee. Let’s jazz this place up, really make people think coffee. Start with this big fake bag of coffee corporate sent us.
Employee1: Well, how much of a budget do we have?
M: Just take it out if your paycheck.
E: Um, OK.

** By the way, I actually like the coffee OK. It’s not amazing, but is lighter than Starbucks and has some nice sweet notes.

Starbucks Pastry Erratum – La Boulange Is Looking Good

6 Aug

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I think I’m ready to admit I was wrong.. I happened to be back at Starbucks this weekend and tried three more La Boulange pastries. Not incredible, but they are actually pretty good.
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