To Zach and all other iced coffee drinkers: Now I understand why, during college, you'd buy an iced coffee, take one sip, sneer at the terrible taste and throw the whole cup away.
In those days, the only coffee I had was in the milk/ice cream variety. Now that I must work early-early mornings, I've joined the rest of civilization. And now I truly appreciate how difficult it is to find that iced coffee that hits the palate just right.
There's one Dunkin' Donuts open at 4 a.m. close to my apartment. My girl Padma knows me inside out. She knows every order of every person who's been to that DD more than once. Amazing. That iced coffee is drinkable. A little too-coffee tasting, if that makes sense. It's not as sweet as I would like, but it's good enough.
There's another DD that gave me the perfect iced coffee. It was delicious. An unforgettable one night stand of sultry pleasure. She promised she'd come back, but she never did. I have tried again and again in a vain attempt to recapture that special time. I dream about it. The others come close, but they're not as special. There was only One.
I wish I knew how to find the special one. Too much sugar? Not enough? Different cream? I have no clue. What I don't get is how the same franchise makes the same product so differently from place to place, even shift from shift. I once drove 30 minutes to find the western most Dunkin' I know of, only to be disappointed.
Before I move on to the next section, I have to make an admission ... I've kind of converted to Starbucks.
Yes, 18-year-old Steve would be disgusted. DD is for the working man and Starbucks is for the hippies with their scarves and berets and their poetry and their French politics and their coming-of-age screenplays.
One reason I go to Starbucks more is, yes, I like to read there. I have a 600-page biography of Lyndon Johnson to read and I can't really do that in a half Dunkin' Donuts/half Baskin Robins store. Second, they seem to make what I order more often than not. With the Dunk, it's Russian Roulette.
And even at Starbucks, they get it wrong. I ordered an iced coffee yesterday and what I got I still don't know. I do know it was gross. That said, their iced coffee is more consistent. It's peak isn't as good as the One, but I know what I'm getting.
When one orders a hamburger, one knows what's coming. Same for a milkshake or a pizza. I'm not picky with any of the above mentioned food stuffs. Yet with iced coffee, I'm like an old lady who tries to use an expired coupon - I'm ready to fight if I don't get my way.
Don't fret. My search isn't over. I know the One is waiting for me. I shall catch her, and when I do I will never let her go. Sometimes you have it and you don't fully appreciate it. Sometimes it's an instant connection. Sometimes you have to work and work and hope it falls in your lap.
Either way, a lifetime of happiness is in store. I'll do what it takes. There's One out there for all of us, right?