Qu'est-ce qu'un espresso? What is an espresso?!?!?! Starbucks, the epitome of all things wrong with coffee, is educating the French on espresso?! The world has gone completely mad.
I swore I wouldn't do. I promised, I vowed, I crossed my heart that upon washing up on these fair shores that I Laura, being of somewhat sound mind and not-so-sound body, would under no circumstance frequent Starbucks, McDonalds, or any other American chain. I lasted from May 4, 2004 to January 7, 2006. You do the math. But it was Starbucks and the lure of brilliant marketing (always a sucker for that) that finally broke me. Actually I think it was the shock of seeing it sullying my charming little arrondisment just a few blocks from my home in what was once the glorious, though painfully overpriced, Hediard at the end of rue Mouffetard that did me in.
I turned the corner expecting to see the signature red awning and windows filled with a patchwork of jams, teas, cookies and other delights. But instead I was stopped dead in my tracks by that ubiquitous green awning, a messy scattering of tables and chairs outside (the "no-smoking section" - really!) and a stream of people pouring out with their 87 ounce $4 cup o' joe.
I had just returned from the states so I was still weak. I hadn't had time to built up my tough indifferent french 'peau' nor perfect my metro face - read expressionless dead stare - so I was vulnerable to the beguiling aroma and the all too familiar row upon row of oversized pastries. It lured me in like a seductive snakecharmer. I had to document this moment. Whipping out my camera, I snapped away to the horror and amusement of some of the people in line. I get this reaction a lot in France.
That'll be 1 petite caramel machiatto s'il vous plait and a double serving of crow.
A Frappucino by any other name...