I’m proud to announce the arrival of a new Portland foodblog, one hosted here at foldedspace. Amy Jo presents From a Corner Table, her forum for restaurant reviews, cooking tips, cookbook evaluations, and all around foodie goodness. Amy Jo has a long, rich history with food, and I look forward to reading her blog. Check it out!

We had no power when we got to work this morning. A quick call to PGE revealed that a tree was responsible for the outage, that a crew had been dispatched, and that they expected to restore power (to the 1567 customers affected) by 8:45. Wow. A computerized support system that’s actually useful.

There’s not much that can be done to make boxes when your equipment has no power. We offered to take our crew out to breakfast or coffee, but they declined. They sat in their cars to keep warm. A couple of them made a run to the “Chinese market” for sodas and deep-fried food.

I sat in my office and tried to read tomorrow’s book group selection by candlelight.

I was cold.

“I’m going to Starbucks,” I told Jeff.

“Get me a venti mocha,” he said.

“What size is that?” I’ve never been able to understand Starbuck’s sizing system. I have no idea why they insist on using such strange terms.

“It’s the largest,” Jeff said.

At Starbucks, I asked the waitron if they still had chantico mix. “Yes we do, sir, would you like one?”

It was a tough call. “I would like some,” I said, “but I’d probably better not. I’d probably better learn about your other non-coffee drinks. Let me try your hot chocolate.”

“What size would you like, sir?”

“Large,” I said. I was cold.

VENTI MOCHA! VENTI HOT CHOCOLATE!” shouted the waitron to the young woman standing at the steamer three feet away.

When I saw the size of the venti drinks, I liked to have died. What the hell, people? Do you all really order drinks this large? Incredible. Absolutely incredible. Nobody needs that much coffee or hot chocolate.

On my drive back to the office, I sipped my hot chocolate. Calling this drink “chocolate” is generous. It’s more like “tepid flavorless” or, as I like to think of it, “tepid mud”. Was there any flavoring at all? It was as if a thickening agent had been added to water and heated for a few seconds. The drink tasted vaguely of platic. It was disgusting. Where I used order a six-ounce chantico — a drink of pure, delcious chocolate — for $2.65, I had just spent $2.55 on a venti mud. I rolled down the window and dumped the venti mud into the rain.

I shan’t be buying one of those again. I guess I’ll have to try the vanilla steamer or whatever it’s called. But not a venti. Nobody needs a venti anything.

It’s now 8:50. We still have no power. Jeff, who had been sitting in his truck keeping warm, just came in to give me an update. Jose, who had run to Woodburn for something, drove by the site of the problem. Apparently the power outage was actually caused by an automobile accident. A car struck a power pole. Jose says that the workers at the scene have just placed a new pole in the ground (!?!) but have not begun to string the wires. We’ll probably be in the dark for another hour.

8 Replies to “Venti Mud”

  1. Josh says:

    “Venti” is Italian for “twenty.” That’s a full twenty ounces of mud that you wisely poured back into the roadside ditch whence it came.

    Oddly, I don’t recall anyone in Italy drinking coffee in such quantities. Of course, all the Italian coffee I saw was essentially what we call espresso — about two ounces of black sludge in the bottom of a teacup. Man, that stuff is concentrated. I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker at the time (this has since changed), and a few bitter sips of that Italian sludge sent me bouncing off the walls the rest of the day, despite the horrible cold I had at the time.

    Hey, this is fun! I can practice writing on your blog while continuing to let mine molder away undisturbed since August.

  2. John says:

    So I click over to Amy Jo’s blog, and am greeted by “Tips from a Garlic Fan”. Love at first glimpse. Thanks!


  3. Mom says:

    I believe the power finally came on at about 11:05 a.m. I wondered how you guys were doing. I did run down and use Nick’s phone to call in and report the outage and heard the message about the tree being down. I was able to be on my laptop for about an hour and a half before the battery went dead so wasn’t completely isolated during that time. I didn’t realize you were on yours or I would have e-mailed you and saved myself a trip down to the shop, feeling and looking straggly and unbathed!

  4. tammy says:

    Theres nothing like a Starbucks gingerbread or pumpkin spice white mocha. When the holidays are over they discontinue those flavors till the next time. So then my drink of choice becomes peppermint or toffeenut white mocha.

    I never buy a latte. The steamed milk in there makes me gag. It reminds me of when we used to scald the milk years ago for puddings and such. Someitmes when the milk bucket came in we’d scald the milk as a form of pastuerizing but I cant remember why we felt led to do that. Alls I know is that steamed milk smells like a wet cow and I hate it.

    Long live the white mocha!

  5. buster says:

    tammy, isn’t a mocha just a latte with chocolate added?

    As to a Venti size, which I understand is 20 ounces. If venti is 20 in Italian and Italy is on the metric system, why does Starbucks use ounces? 🙂

    I remember watching the Italians dump about 4 heaping teaspoons of sugar in their espressos. I guess that took care of the bitterness!

  6. Natalie says:

    The first Starbucks drink I ever had was a hot chocolate. I honestly could not imagine why anyone would drink Starbucks, if everything else tasted that terrible. I’ve grown to enjoy the chai latte, though.

  7. tammy says:

    Buster yes you are right. But a latte is only steamed milk and espresso. So basically it’s steamed milk with caffiene. A mocha is steamed milk, espresso AND cocoa and whipped cream thus you get rid of that warm cow taste. There is a HUGE difference. Trust me. I know the cow when I taste it!

  8. Schmela says:

    You might try a hot chocolate or one of the other hot drinks at a Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe. Locations here: http://www.moonstruckchocolate.com/ChocolateCafes.aspx
    I can’t remember the name of the drink I like best, but I think it has a bit of cinnamon. I think their signature drink is the Ocumarian hot chocolate. I tried that, but there was a bit too much peppery spice for me.

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