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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Into double digits - here are numbers 12 - 18!

The list still looks LONG! I thought I'd count, in the hopes of celebrating some progress. Got to 18, and realized there's a long way to go.

A walk through the last couple weeks' visits:

New Westminster boasts a great hospital - Royal Columbian on E. Columbia Street. Just down the block, and ideal for a coffee on your way past, is this new location. Part of a residential block, it anchors the commercial area. Street parking (watch the meters!) is good, and I got to see the "A-team" staff in action, as the lineup was long, but moved fast.

Lucky "13" goes to a Burnaby Starbucks, located near the Gilmore Skytrain station on the new line. I've had to park in a number of creative locations to get here, but inside is worth it. Always busy, but usually efficient too. I'd suggest a coffee of the day if it's a crazy lineup.

I enjoy the quiet of Whiterock, and you'll find this one off 152nd just south of King George Highway. Accessible from both streets, it neighbours a Quiznos, and so offers both great coffee and convenient lunch!

Traveling to the Airport? This location near Bridgeport has a great drive-through. Inside is less than stellar, but the convenience of coffee-to-go outweighs any concerns.

Even the hospitals are getting in on it. The new (and quite beautiful) Abbotsford hospital sports this warm and inviting shop. I've never found hospitals great places to relax, so mine was "to go!"

I must travel 152nd Street in Surrey a lot, as I've now counted 5 locations. I'll have to make a day-trip and visit them all in one fell swoop!

Near the Safeway just south of Fraser Hwy, I've found their long-pour Americano's are best here.

Number 18. Back to Vancouver, and a new location on the East side of Cambie near 39th, just past the recently tunneled (and cut/cover!) Canada Line due to open this fall, bringing travellers from Richmond and the Airport north to downtown. Limited street parking (it's Cambie after all), but welcoming service, no "new staff" missed drinks, and friendly. Enjoyed my favourite Gold Coast roast - another reason to love this new location!

Still snowing.... need hot coffee!

It may seem like a long time ago, but the snow knows no bounds! Even the best coffee shops are affected. Fortunately, neither rain, nor snow, nor .... will prevent me from finding a Starbucks!

Abbotsford brings a couple of great locations, and this one off South Fraser Way (just West of the mall) had just the thing to warm me up after time spent in the snow. After a double espresso, I was back on the road, slip sliding back to the office.

This second Abbotsford location (and yes, it was on a separate trip!) is on the East side, perfect for grabbing a java before getting on the highway. You'll need to be travelling South on Highway 11 (Sumas Way), as entrance and exit are a challenge, along with a dearth of parking. Once inside, this established location is friendly and warm, and a great place to rest before hitting the road. [I've overlaid two photos - the left side shows the sign on Sumas Way, the right the entrance from the tiny parking lot.]

Back to snow. It snowed again, and again, and the crazy weather drove me (literally) back to the coffee shop. This convenient Surrey (Whalley) location has LOTS of parking, and easily accessible off King George Hwy near 103rd.

Part of a strip-mall centre with London Drugs, it's been there a while, and so has more space and tables than many of the newer locations. Works well for meeting a foreman, business acquaintance, or friend.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How many cups of coffee was that?

There's no denying that the love of coffee runs deep. Some say my blood runs black with java. After the number of places I've visited lately, that may be true.

This great location is at the corner of Powell & Campbell - just where Powell splits into a one way, with Cordova coming the other way into a "V" at the intersection. A shiny silver haven on the edge of industrial and troubled neighbourhoods. Thanks to our paint foreman, John, for helping me find this jewel. Great tea, good coffee, and even a few seats open. Watch the traffic on the streets bordering - no one slows down!

A bit of travelling took me to Toronto, along the way to sunny Jamaica for a holiday. Looked, but couldn't find any Starbucks there (although the "Blue Mountain" coffee is a great option!) The T.O. airport offered this quiet place of sustenance. Frankly it was a surprise to see a 'Bucks in the land of Tim's. Had to fight the Tim Hortons inertia, and buy a tall dark in support.

I'll close with one of my favorite locations in North Vancouver, along the Esplanade. It's just West of Lonsdale, and seems to bring the quiet and tranquility of North Van inside to join the coffee. This place always has seats (don't miss the area at the back), and the service is pleasant. The servers here were the first to inform me of the changes in the regular coffee servings, with Pike Place roast now being the standard daily offering. I'll review it in the next post. Parking's a premium at this location, so look for street parking along Esplanade. The lot behind is pay parking, and well serviced by the ticketing agents. Pay heed or pay up!