On 2006.11.24, I had coffee (“soyaccino”) with Toronto Star city columnist Joe Fiorito.

Such coffee (“soyaccino”) was of course held, at my invitation, at the brand-new Lesliebucks. A mere six weeks later, the fruit of Fiorito’s investigation into the politics of Venti® has finally appeared.

I’m the kind of person who signs his name to pretty much everything, so it seemed rather odd never to be named in the piece (some other people were). I was merely his “source.”

I’ve never been an unwittingly anonymous source before. I thought it was amusing at first.

He had in front of him a thing that he said, with a straight face, was a soyaccino[:] a soy cappuccino.

With an ironic face. “Is that what they call it?” Fiorito asked me. “It’s what I call it.”

“I’m a vegetarian,” he explained.


Why did he bother to take his coffee at a Starbucks? […] My source is knowledgeable enough about his coffee to be a purist, but he is also pragmatic.

I told him I usually do not take it there; anyway, such a habit would have been impossible to establish on the Lesliebucks’ second day of business. I explained that my daily espresso is Illy and is enjoyed at an undisclosed location in the Beach. I said I intend to use the Lesliebucks as a backup – like when I need to proof something in the afternoon, or on mornings too caked with new snow and ice to ride to the Beach. (Those mornings, as yet unknown this winter, also coincide with 20- to 30-minute waits for an eastbound streetcar, which isn’t even heated one-third of the time.)

Mercury is bare-bones hip[.]

Rather too.

“We need to support small businesses[.”]

I do. I just don’t support theirs.

“Anyway, the coffee’s better here.”

It is. I just don’t appreciate some alabaster-white guy with Korean tattoos making me feel like shit for going there. Plus their physical plant is a dump and their indie-rock music is grating and overloud.

I finished my espresso and buzzed off to the Tango Palace, a very stylish coffee bar with a beautiful old-fashioned espresso machine.

That produces lousy espresso in an atmosphere of decrepitude and mockery.

Staff at the Lesliebucks, by the way, have not yet insulted me, and they turned the music down on request one day. They have already begun to know me and my default order (“soyaccino”). So does my Illy joint and so, for that matter, did Tango Palace. It’s the sort of thing an establishment that actually welcomes its customers does. Again, here’s to you, Mercury.

(Starbucks Gossip coverage.)

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.01.03 14:39. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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