Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mendo's Coffeeneuring Challenge 2015 - Day 3

Cloudy with a Shot of Panama Red

Sometimes, coffee can't fix the grumpies. I woke up a 6am, having set my alarm to feed the cats. I was profoundly tired: 200 miles of bike commuting, too little sleep (teenager home from college... oh, the stories). The skies were dark, as was my mood but I was optimistic that CC#3 would help.

### Coffeeneuring Control Stop #3 ###

DATE: 10/17/2015
DRINKS: "Panama Red" - coffee with a shot of espresso
MILEAGE: 20.7 miles
COFFEE SHOP: Panama Red Coffee Co., 2115 1st Street, Livermore, CA

BACKGROUND: They started in 1993 as Panama Bay Coffee Company and now have six locations in the Bay Area. I don't know much more other than they claim to have "rock star baristas!"

COFFEE REVIEW: They offer the usual coffee shop range, but their signature cup is "Panama Red" which is regular coffee with a shot of espresso. Apparently, you can get it as a "red eye" or a "black eye" depending on one shot or two - I went with one. I'd give it a thumbs-up. The coffee itself was pretty good and I could taste the little shot of espresso hiding in there. I forgot to ask about the base coffee (the website says it is a pour-over, but they served me from a pot), but it was medium and well balanced.

Since I sat outside, I didn't get any follow-on conversation with the rock star. I mean barista.

FOOD PAIRING: The iced cranberry scone was light enough to not bother the medium coffee flavor. The hit of sweetness from the icing was just enough to counter the espresso aftertaste.

BIKE AMBIANCE: I'm sure my review is more negative than others would give for two reasons: my foul mood and the dog whose owner said "he doesn't like bikes." Really? So I didn't park my bike by the *other bike* but rather on the 1st street side. This felt rather exposed, so I can't give high marks for bike friendliness. But I could see it from inside while I ordered and there was a table close by, outside. But that put me away from the other people sitting outside, without the social opportunities.

DUCK'S VIEW: Mendo was in a much better mood than me and really liked sitting outside. He also was quite enamored with the barista with her pink hair and nose-ring. She loves it there, thinks their coffee is fantastic and most of the barista's are working on their latte art - she does an awesome heart (I saw the previous customer's). Mendo also loves sitting outside and doesn't mind the lack of conversation - rubber duckies can't talk.

I had forgotten that Mendo can't stay upright when he floats. Hence, there will be no photos of Mendo floating in coffee (unless I get a stunt duck ...I have several to choose from). Regardless, high marks on this place from Mendo.

THE BIKE: Volagi, see Day 1 post.

THE RIDE: The skies were dramatic, but not threatening so I kept catching glimpses of photo-worthy sunrises. That lured me up side streets and hills for better vistas - only to think "not so great." I don't live in Livermore, so there and back was twenty miles with some reasonable hills. Not too many cyclists out, but the soccer field was packed - I'm sure plenty of Starbuck's were there, too.

Note: Inspired by Ms. Coffeeneur herself, I attempted a timer-selfie-action-shot-photo. Clearly, I need more practice - oh, a pun clearly!

Controversy. On the very last turn before getting home, I'm waiting in the left turn lane. The light is red and I know it will never give me a left turn arrow. A nice lady is crossing in front of me from the left. I can see the walk light counting down from 20-something. So I turn after she passes and use the crosswalk to the sidewalk rather than wait. Is that okay? I hear her say "it's a red light" in a calm but condescending way. Why did she feel compelled to say that. Before "the tone" hit me, I said politely, "I know, I'm using the crosswalk." But for the next two blocks home, I got more and more annoyed. Why do people get so bothered by cyclists? True, I don't follow all the rules - but the ones I bend are only because I feel safer with my choice than what the rules dictate. Didn't help my mood.

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