Where’s the Coffee?

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by Carol Kicinski on May 14, 2009

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The combination of four hour’s sleep in the last 48 hours, jet-lag and three glasses of wine at dinner had me desperately in need of coffee.

No problem. I am in Seattle – home of Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee Shops on every corner, or so I was told.

As I had awakened way before the 6:30 a.m. opening of the restaurant in my hotel, I took to the drizzly streets in search of a cappuccino donned in a raincoat I haven’t worn in over 10 years. After my usually trustworthy Blackberry’s GPS failed repeatedly to find me a nearby Starbucks and I was wondering for over an hour, I finally asked a woman on the street where the closest Starbucks was. Her puzzled look made me nervous. Seriously! This is Seattle.

The kind woman informed me that she didn’t know where a Starbucks was but pointed me in the direction of Uptown Espresso, which was blissfully close. Finally, I was able to obtain my much needed jolt of caffeine.

I am in Seattle to attend the first International Food Blogger Conference but this is also the home of my sister and her family, so I arrived a few days early.

If I have any claim to fame at all it is that I am the sister of award wining novelist Katherine O’Neal (author of historical romance novel that takes place in exotic locales around the world) and sister-in-law of noted film critic and author William Arnold (former critic for the Seattle P.I. and author of Shadowland and China Gate) both of whom are reluctant and reclusive local celebrities. They have lived in Seattle for years and years and yesterday gave me a tour of the city like no other.

We circled the entire city, seeing the usual Seattle sites – the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, The Arboretum, The University of Washington, the Waterfront but along the way they pointed out little spots that are not on any normal tour. Such as the apartment where Kurt Cobain bought his heroin and the headstone marking the grave retail legend John Nordstrom (Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried there too, but for me Nordstrom’s grave was somewhat of a holy grail experience).

There is nothing more fascinating than touring a beautiful city with someone who loves that city and is truly knowledgeable. I got a behind-the-scenes look at this Emerald City that was peppered with lots of comments such as, “That is where so-and-so lives, he was Paul Newman’s best friend…” and, “This recording studio is the birthplace of the alternative music movement that brought us Nirvana and Pearl Jam” and, “Would you like to see Francis Farmer‘s West Seattle home?” As my sister is also a Celiac, tons of gluten-free restaurants and bakeries were pointed out to me along the way.

As we drove up and down hills, around waterfronts and over bridges I also got a history lesson of this fascinating city that has seen its share of boom and bust. From lumber to gold to technology, Seattle has ridden the highs and lows of the major economic cycles in the past century and a half. It is a city that seems to be able to adapt and yet maintain its original charm.

It seems I’ve seen just about everything here in Seattle except a Starbucks.

Where’s the Coffee? – Simply Gluten Free

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula May 14, 2009 at 11:34 am

I love Seattle :) Sounds like you’re having a great time.

The original Starbucks is in Pike Place Market. I swear that the coffee there tastes better than any other Starbucks. If you visit the market, its right across from all the flower vendors.


anudivya May 14, 2009 at 11:48 am

You should go to Pike Place, and they have the first ever Starbucks. It is always pretty crowded, but you might get lucky. There are other pastry shops closeby too, and they are pretty neat.
If you are here this week, then you can get some sun! So have fun!


Eagranie May 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm

I’ll be in town this weekend for IFBC – looking forward to meeting you and the other bloggers!


Helene May 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I could not get tickets for this event. Can’t believe you did not find a Starbucks.


Steph May 14, 2009 at 7:49 pm

That’s funny. My sister, who lives in Seattle, says that a lot of the smaller joints are running the Starbucks’ out of business.


Jeanine May 15, 2009 at 5:26 am

That sounds like the type of tour I’d love to take. Hope you have a fantastic time at the IFBC! And maybe eventually find a Starbucks?!? :)


GFE--gluten free easily May 15, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Sounds like a great time, Carol! Starbucks is fading everywhere I guess, but I think you need to find one and try that new gf orange cake they have. ;-)

I didn’t know your sister’s name, but I recognized those book covers. Maybe she’s appeared in my Book-of-the-Month flyer. Glad she and her husband gave you an inside tour–always the very best! I love how you share the little details with us, like the Kurt Cobain trivia. I might need that when I am watching Jeopardy and playing along from home some time. LOL

Have a great time at the conference!



Kristen May 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm

It was so fun to meet you and everyone else.

I bet it was hard for you to find something to eat at the conference, let alone going out for pizza. I did not know that you were gluten intolerant. I ate so many things this weekend that I should not have and I am going to pay this week.

I do not have a problem with gluten, but am sensitive to wheat, dairy, eggs, radishes… I ate all of them this weekend, yikes.

Again it was a pleasure to meet you and I had a fabulous time at the conference!


toni May 18, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Haven’t been in Seattle in years and years, but I do love it! Hope you found your Starbucks!


shauna May 19, 2009 at 11:27 am

So sorry that I couldn’t be at the conference, to connect with everyone. And to meet you! Little Bean had surgery, so we were planted in the hospital. All went well, and we’re home now. hurrah!

but come back soon, and we can eat together.


WendyGK May 20, 2009 at 4:34 am

Just back from my own trip to Seattle. I didn’t want to come home. Just found your blog and I’m enjoying all the food and travel posts. I see a lot of my blogging friends are regulars here. :)


Diane-The Whole Gang May 21, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I can’t believe you couldn’t find a Starbucks. That’s crazy talk. Your tour sounded wonderful. I hope you built up muscles as I heard the goodie bag was amazing. What was your favorite sessions and what did you take away from the conference as something really important for a food blogger? There a bunch of us gf bloggers registering for Blogher Food Conf in San Fran in Sept. Are you going and would you like to gather with us?


Buy Starbucks Coffee July 23, 2009 at 10:26 am

Starbucks is one of such coffee brands that are highly admired by a large number of coffee drinkers throughout the world for a number of reasons


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