Bill DeMarco Rates the Top 50 Starbucks in LA: This Week: #1

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The Fairmont coasts to a stop. I set the brake. After all these months (years–ed.) my journey has come to an end. I put seven quarters in the meter and walk solemnly up the steps to the courtyard of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, there to meet with the #1 Starbucks in Los Angeles.

mission.jpgYes. It’s a kiosk. Mea culpa. Can we get past this? Coffee isn’t about site. It isn’t about locale. Coffee is about spirit. And another thing: I don’t rate the Starbucks’s, I rank them. If I gotta explain it you then maybe you’re reading the wrong blog. Maybe I’m writing the wrong blog. Maybe all blogs are wrong. Wrong blog along, say that ten times fast. And as to the nattering question of why: I don’t choose them. They choose me. ‘Nuff said. Wrong blog along.

Positioned in the center of as cool and peaceful a cement-paved municipal plaza as you’ll find, this little shack recalls the pueblos that dotted the untamed thickets of what was to become downtown. The poblaneros might have felt not out of place here ordering a frothy macchiato after a hard day of grinding masa and bundling fajinas (“faggots”–ed.) I smile fondly to myself thinking such thoughts as I order a soy Americano and hand the cashier my credit card.

perfectsmart“I’m sorry I don’t think this is a credit card,” comes the unexpected response. Huh? She hands me back my PerfectSmart card.

“Oh yeah, well it is, trust me, but uh, heh heh, I’ll just use another card,” I tactfully reply giving her another credit card. A little premature with that one, DeMarco.

“I think this is a Tarot card,” she says this time.

What? Okay jeez, relax. Sorry to hold up the line there, Annette. Guess it’s time for the old wallet shakedown huh? I give her a $2 bill and walk out sheepishly with my drink. Right. So. Here we are, lunchtime, amongst lawyers carting boxes of court documents, amidst the burbling fountains of jurisprudence, betwixt the poplars of administration. Yeah. This is it. #1. Lunchtime. Starbucks. Lawyers. Victory.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury I must confess it is with sadness, melancholy, a little frustration, and some indifference that I come to this point. I don’t know what I should have been expecting. Maybe it’s not my job to expect, just taste-test. It was manic ambition that fueled me on this journey; perhaps it’s fitting that that ambition should remain. . .unfulfilled? Unfulfueled??? Half-satisfied with this rationalization and ever-conscious of LA’s bulging landfills, I slip the Tarot card inside the plastic to-go cup and seal it with a ‘shwok.’ (‘Flook? Snikt?’[‘shloop’–ed.]) Fare-thee-well, municipal courtyard. I don’t plan to come back round here soon. I take aim at a trashcan and shoot a long three-pointer. It bounces off the metal lip and splashes into the fountain.
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“’NATCH!!!” I scream to the heavens.

My last gig, and I have to fish a cup out of the fountain, how freakin’ appropriate. I sigh exaggeratedly and ponder my options: wet hand or civil disobedience? Christ, where’d the cup go?

Then the ground rumbles. . .

TO BE CONTINUED

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