The BK lounge (and Starbucks drive-thrus)

If you’ve never heard of Dane Cook then I urge you, right now (or perhaps after you’ve read this post), to open your web browser and type “Dane Cook BK Lounge into your browser.” Once you’ve listened to the audio clip the search throws up you may return here to profusely thank me for the recommendation (listen to his other clips too, he’s a funny guy) so I will say in advance that you’re most welcome. De nada. No really, it was nothing.

So anyway, on the topic of drive-thrus (I refer you back to the above so you will understand the reference), I was today amazed to find a Starbucks drive thru at a motorway service station. Not just amazed but somewhat thrilled, given that not half an hour previously I had remarked they really should be drive-thru coffee shops besides motorways for weary travellers who just needed a quick pick me up without the fuss of a proper stop off (clearly I have the mind of a forward thinking marketeer).

Despite having obviously made a fanfare of this ground breaking new development (as evidenced by the array of green and white balloons around the entrance) Starbucks had failed to do one very important thing: Signpost the drive=thru for the humble, tired and caffeine deficient motorist to easily find. By the time we found it we had circled the normal Starbucks cafe twice, driven around the car park for five minutes and taken a wrong turn at the petrol station which nearly saw us crash into an eighteen wheeled truck. Then when we did finally locate the drive thru entrance the muppet in front of us took exception to his beverage and spent a further five minutes admonishing the teenage boy serving at the hatch, whose excitement at landing the job was clearly waning by the second.

In short, it probably would have taken half the time to park up and go into the Starbucks in the service station. But when the boy handed over our iced coffees with a beaming smile and we pulled effortlessly back onto the motorway all was forgiven. “What a great idea,” I said. “If only I’d thought of that.”

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Day One, Stateside

My first full day in New Jersey began in Jen’s favourite hangout, the Beechwood Cafe, for bagels and coffee. Once fortified we walked to the Hudson riverfront to look at the amazing view of the Manhattan skyline before jumping on the Path train under the water to Manhattan.

After disembarking at 33rd street by Macy’s we walked through Times Square and almost 30 blocks (!) to Central Park, picking up cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery and blonde roast coffee from Starbucks along the way (naturally).

By the time we reached Central Park the sun was shining and the clouds were fluffy white puffs in the sky. We sat and sunbathed on a rock for quite some time before walking off our cupcakes around the boating lake. Then, greedy as ever (!), we bought a bag of sugar coated almonds for the walk back to 33rd street (what? It was a long way!) and got the Path train back across the water.

We had a rest and a snack (are you sensing a theme here?!) before catching the train back over to Manhattan, this time heading to West Village in the meat packing district to meet Jen’s friend, Erin, at Jane Hotel for drinks in the ballroom (where we had the most incredible rose wine) and dinner (a cheese starter followed by a tower of cous cous with vegetables and warm chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream rolled in crushed pistachios to finish-heavenly but utterly, utterly gluttonous, and a stretch even by my capacious standards of eating). Afterwards we rolled ourselves back to Jersey City and into bed. A perfect first day 🙂

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Me and Jen by the boating lake in Central Park.