Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sipping a little chai in the city

I’m a Starbucks girl and have been one for years. I rejoice when they bring back the peppermint chocolate squares at Christmas, and it’s not officially fall until the pumpkin latte shows up on the menu.

I’m such a frequent customer that I know the drink board by heart. I also know which Starbucks I can find a low-fat turkey & egg breakfast sandwich in the middle afternoon… and which ones will be sold out.

But lately I’ve been cheating on my Starbucks barista. Yes, it’s true. I’ve been seduced by a new coffee bistro and its name is Temple.

My love affair with Temple began innocently enough. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, but whenever I would drive by the bistro on S street, I would see all these people milling around. What was this magical place that was always busy? Why were the people leaving so happy and relaxed? Was it restaurant? Was it a great bunch place or a secret wine bar for members only?

For weeks, Temple was like a stranger across a crowded room. It would catch my eye, but there wasn’t time to stop.

Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to check it out and it was love at first sip.

I’m not going to lie to you – I’m a high maintenance caffeine drinker. I’m one of those annoying people who like everything extra hot, low fat and with special stuff added, etc. In fact, I’m so high maintenance I can’t even make my drinks the way I like them at home, which is why I have to pay experts to do them in coffee shops. Yes, I’m pathetic.

Temple gets this. And they embrace it. They take the time to make every drink by hand and each time you go it tastes slightly different. Not that this is a bad thing. The drinks are always good. They taste “real.” For them, it’s all about flavor and every beverage you order will have an abundance of it – whether it’s a coffee, espresso or a latte.

Even their ice tea is packed full of flavor.

And don’t forget their specialty drinks. Their Mexican hot chocolate is to die for and their chai….ah…man…I loooove their chai. You can actually taste the spices.

Of course, if you think Starbucks is expensive, you are going to have a heart attack at Temple as they are even higher. But it’s worth it – even if I can only afford to go occasionally.

Besides, now that I found this place, I find myself going to Starbucks less often and saving my taste buds for my weekly Temple treat -- so I’m kind of saving money in a weird way.

Temple isn’t just a bistro; it’s also a place where coffee lovers can gather to learn about the art serving up the perfect cup of java. They actually have classes.

The topics vary throughout the year, but on May 8 at 10 a.m. you can check out their espresso tasting class. For $15 you'll taste 5 different espressos (you'll be buzzing after) and get a half pound of any coffee of your choice. Very cool.

All their classes are at their S Street location and they only accept 20 people per class so you may want to register in advance.

There are two locations in Sacramento.
1014 10th St Sacramento CA 95814

2829 S St.Sacramento CA 95816

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bucket List: Can I really be an iron woman in The Great Race?

I admit it. I am freaking out just a little bit.

I not only signed up for my first triathlon yesterday, but I signed up as an iron woman. Yes, that’s right. I’m doing The Great Race in Sacramento (was the Eppie's Great Race) and have just over 90 days to whip my body into shape.

For those of you who haven’t heard of The Great Race, it’s a triathlon that is running/biking/kayaking and this year it’s taking place on July 17 along the American River.

Here’s the thing. I’m not really worried about the running portion of the race. It’s only 6 miles which I already do in my weekly workout – so that part is a piece of cake. It’s the rest of it that will be a little challenging.

You see, I haven’t owned a bike since I was 10 and really haven’t miss it all that much. I also have never kayaked. Ever.

So now you understand why I’m starting to wonder if this was the best idea.

Some people have asked why I don’t team up with someone, but that would defeat the purpose.

We all have our bucket list of stuff we want to do and doing a triathlon as an iron woman just happens to be on mine. I’ve already run 5k and 10k races. Those are off the list. It’s time to push myself to do something more.

I also haven’t been able to cross "do a triathlon" off my list in the past because I only kind of swim. I can float. I can back crawl. I can do a couple of laps across the pool at 24 hour fitness. But there is no way I could make it a mile without having to touch the ground, never mind a bunch of miles. This means – no triathlons.

The Great Race is made for poor swimmers like me because the water portion is in a kayak. Yay!


Okay, so I have a lot of training to do over the next three months, but I’m not worried. Like I said, I have the running portion done – so check.

I’ll buy a road bike in the next couple of weeks and start working on that portion – check that one off too.

Kayaking? Well, they have to have lessons somewhere and I guess I can rent one the day of the race – not quite a "check", but I’ll worry about it in May.
The part of the race that has me petrified is how to get all these things (body, bike, kayak) to the race and in the correct areas before the race and then trying to figure out which one is mine after the hundreds of other racers have put theirs in the same area. What if I can’t find my kayak when I get that part of The Great Race? How do I get my bike back afterward? Do I have to walk all the way back? What if I get lost?

I now know why Lance Armstrong has a team of helpers. It would be so much easier just to run to the area and have someone hand my bike/kayak, pass me a water bottle and off I go.

I wonder if Lance would be willing to share?