Many of you are big fans of Starbucks. Fine. I am a big fan of Peet’s Coffee. Fine. But when I travel, where do I get my coffee?
First, I always bring my Peet’s French Roast with me. I try to make a cup or two in my room with the coffee maker (mostly poor quality, by the way), before I head out to breakfast or just more coffee.
Second, I tend to skip Starbucks in favor of a local, or less popular place in the neighborhood. I prefer the Mom and Pop places. But if I cannot find one, I choose a small cafe or breakfast joint. My last option is always a restaurant chain, like an IHOP or Waffle Shop.
Over the years, I have found some great places. Venture to Vegas, off the strip, and away from downtown is Blueberry Hill, though not with the proverbial thrill. We started going there about ten years ago, and just found it to be charming in an old fashioned away, with slot machines. And the food is good, the menu is huge, and the staff very friendly. No tourists here.
In Seattle, my favorite morning stop is Le Panier Bakery near Pike Market. Not only do they have the best almond croissants anywhere in the world, they have excellent coffees as well. They also have a great selection of cookies, bread, sandwiches, and other pastries.
When we lived in the Bay Area, the place to have breakfast was Chef Burger in Pleasant Hill. The old school waitresses still call everyone “honey”, and the coffee is quite mediocre. But the breakfasts are good and hearty, perfect before a morning tee time somewhere in the area. No tourists here!
Scooting over to Scottsdale, my favorite place was The Good Egg, now part of the First Watch group. Still quite good, with above average coffee, and the best huevos rancheros this side of the border. The Scottsdale Blvd location near the Hilton is the best of several. Mostly patronized by locals who know a good breakfast!
Dancing to Denver, often on Amtrak, I found The Delectable Egg downtown. The breakfast is so big, I often took my leftovers to the homeless. Their coffee is great, and the place is filled mostly with locals, I think politicians.
Nudging over to Nawlins, everyone goes to Cafe Du Monde for beignets and chicory coffee. It is difficult to argue against this choice. But I like my coffee and breakfast at Johnny’s Po’ Boys not far away in the French Quarter. Everything here is touristy!
So, aside from the coffee and the great breakfast, what do I get? Mostly, I get a feel for the destination, whether I am in Canada, South America, SE Asia, or Europe. And I generally learn something about the area, or the people. I also grab a local paper.
Who knows, they might have a souvenir, like a fridge magnet. I do not need more coffee beans or coffee cups at this point in my life. Once in a while, I make a life long friend. But many times, it is just a brief affair over a cup of coffee.