Epic Errands

Enough city pedaling for one day.  Time to rest.  I started out thinking I was pedaling only to the fancy strip mall for a strainer.  I wanted to replace my sister-in-law’s strainer which I had pushed apart while massaging tamarind pulp through it.  I wanted to get a Halco, same as I have.  I felt like I used to see them everywhere for about $10, and was sure I’d find one at the independent kitchen supply store to which I was headed.  No dice.  They had only four versions of the same kind I gently pushed apart.  So.

No problem.  I’d pedal to the mall.  Not a fun ride on the super highway surface street, but there is an extra wide outside lane and even marked bicycle lanes for some of it.  I was sure that Williams Sonoma would have a Halco.  Nope.  Just a bunch of versions like the one I pushed apart.  Walked to the second kitchen store at the mall.  Same thing, different brand.  Macy’s–ditto.  JC Penny–ditto.  I didn’t want to come home empty-handed, so I went back to Williams Sonoma to buy the All-Clad branded one.  Same as all the others, surely, but it looks fancy.  Whatever!

The ride to the mall was against the wind and uphill.  The single speed coaster brake set up is geared just a little too tall for that effort.  Coming home, though, downhill and with the wind was a delight.  So happy to coast most of the way.  Hooray for coasting.

Dropped off the strainer at home to make room in my bag before pedaling the other way to the grocery for Matzos.  Both might have fit, but I didn’t want to crush the strainer.  Just before the grocery, I stopped at a local coffee joint about which my friend spoke highly.  I said I had a bad experience there a year ago, but he said it was a new game.  New owner.  New local roaster.  New real baristas.  Exciting!  Not really.  The beans had been roasted to dust.  The barista couldn’t have done a thing with them.  The espresso was thin and tasted of anger and despair.  Like the natural gas fire that burned away the sunshine, fresh air and water which had nourished the beans to some kind of interesting on the tree.  Sad.

My spider senses starting tingling well before I had my first taste, though.  I asked for a double and the barista reached for a mug.  Not your grandma’s fancy service five-ounce coffee cup (second vessel in the picture above).  Not your more modern eight-ounce cup (third vessel in the picture above).  No sir, he picked up a contemporary trophy home-size sixteen-ounce personal hot beverage trough (fourth vessel in the picture above).  I asked whether the double would fit in his demitasse (also bigger than I am used to seeing, like the first vessel in the picture above).   He said no, but that I shouldn’t worry because the double wouldn’t fill the whole “mug.”

I changed my order to a single.  It wasn’t that I was expecting a restricted pull at this place, but I was hoping for something other than the watered-down ladleful I was given.  Again.  Surely not the baristas fault.  Just bad training.  A normal three-ounce double would have filled the demitasse he had about two-thirds of the way.  It was an effort to get through the roughly three point five-ounce “single.”  I try not to be angry, but this has long bugged me.  If you open a coffee place and then can’t produce a mediocre espresso shot, well, you get what you deserve (which, here, is quite possibly a whole bunch of loyal customers who couldn’t care less what espresso tastes like because it is just a bit player in the broadway-produced jumbo fair-trade organic jamocha shake).  Please forgive me for this rant!  

At least the grocery had matzos.  Not Streit’s, but I wasn’t pedaling to another store.  We’ll survive (I think–I don’t remember the last time I had Manis).  And, yes, I have my own nearly complete sharrow.  Most of one anyway.  Courtesy of my City that laid it and then plowed it up, and the many homeowners who couldn’t be bothered to clean their front yards.  My gain!  No, I don’t have a Frida shaped bell mounted near my right grip (but I would love one).



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