Posts Tagged ‘coffee shop’

It’s hard to find good help, and this new Starbucks is still working on it. Every time I stop by, it seems like yet another young face is getting trained, or a lone, bepimpled young person is intently checking the barista recipe book each time he laboriously fills orders one by one. The shop, like many Montreal coffee places, is long and narrow, and despite its close proximity to the metro and convention center, will probably see the most business when it can put tables on the sidewalk for visibility. The interior is a cold stark white and lacks the coziness of the Starbucks on Notre Dame Ouest just two blocks away.

Every new shop has that special sparkle of newness, and my green tea frappuccinos have all been good, so there’s little to complain about so far. Just not much to laud, either.

metro: Place d’Armes

100 Saint-Antoine Ouest and Place d’Armes


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I stopped by this small, independent student coffee shop in Reed College, Portland for a chamomile lavender tea. There was a decent selection of loose leaf teas to choose from, and what looked to be a legitimate coffee/espresso/cappuccino operation as well. I was advised that the sizes all cost the same for tea, and went with a medium. While there was no honey, they did have sugar in the raw, which is surpassed only by that powdered honey stuff you can get at Law Coffee. There were the requisite funky velvet lounge chairs and Victorian glass lanterns on the ceiling. My visit occurred during Reed’s spring break, so the cafe was in immaculate, deserted condition.

Reed College (SW corner of student union), 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., Portland, OR 97202 USA

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This is a popular high end West Coast coffee shop chain which apparently precludes Starbucks. This particular store is conveniently situated in downtown Portland, on the corner of SW Broadway and SW Washington St.. Baked goods include expectedly bland and doughy scones, coffee cake, and muffins, but it being the Northwest, there are several decent vegan options as well. Coffee is good (so says my husband) and perfectly heated, rich-yet-not-too-rich hot cocoa is actually good as well. The convincing green tea freddo, a delicately sweet ice and milky drink run through a blender, is also enjoyable. “Taste” each loose leaf tea option by inhaling each spice-sized container by the door.

508 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205 USA (close to Pioneer Place)

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Second Cup claims to be Canada’s largest coffee shop franchise, and is very similar to Starbucks.

This particular cafe is open 24 hours, due to its easy walking distance from McGill. Tables, counter stools, or large leather chairs are available and it’s usually possible to get a seat…unless it’s exam time. Typical coffee drinks, small selection of baked goods, and a couple of juices available. Large windows, clean interior – lacks the heavy coffee smell often found at cafes. Outdoor seating when weather permits.

metro: Place-des-Arts

3498 Ave. du Parc at Rue Milton

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There’s a Van Houtte, a sort of upscale coffee shop chain, on just about every corner in Montreal, though the quality tends to vary a little bit. If sitting down, you get clunky coffee mugs and the decor is slightly more cafe/hotel cafe than Starbucks’s forced diggs.

At this branch, I was once served hot chocolate loaded with foam and chocolate shavings on top, but in subsequent visits there was only half-hearted foam. Has a small selection of chilled sandwiches. Generic date squares available at cafes throughout the city. This was also has a large tv usually tuned into francophone news. Probably my current top recommendation for coffee shop in the area, since the Starbucks is sometimes francophone-only (with equally variable quality), and Claude Postel is too dark.

165 Rue St. Paul O. at Place Royale

metro: Place d’Armes

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