Thursday, November 12, 2009

Off The Menu

So I frequent Stone Creek Coffee in Bay View. To say I frequent it might be an understatement. One of the baristas the other day was telling another customer that I am more like a plant at Stone Creek than a customer. I am a fixture.

Now Stone Creek like many other coffee establishments offer the punch card. I can carry a card around with me and when I buy a coffee they will use their special punch on my card. One coffee one punch. Well sometimes its more than one punch but we won’t go into that.

So after you purchase ten coffee drinks you have earned the free one. I used to get lattes so this would require me to spend about $40 to get a free one. Now I drink straight coffee. So now it only requires approximately $20 to get my free drink. Much better stewardship of resources.

In my opinion when you have earned the mystical free drink you can’t just waste that on a regular coffee. Sometimes I save it for a special occasion. Sometimes I will just use it instead of buying my normal drink. But the important thing is to wait. You have to wait till the right barista is behind the counter (you can’t have some newbie make your free drink) and you have to wait till there isn’t a line. You see when I have the free drink I always order off the menu.

There is a pastor down in Dallas that I heard talk about going to a restaurant and ordering the “Feed me.” The feed me you see is when you let the waiter know of any food allergies you have and then you put the meal into the hands of the chef. You let him create whatever he wants to serve you. I shared this concept one night in a bar with one of the owners and cooks at Comet Cafe and Honeypie restaurant. He was like “Oh ya I would totally do that.” He said “if you come in during the rush on a Friday night you will get a fish fry and just pay more than everybody else. But if you come in at an off time I would cook you up something incredible.”

This is the concept I use with my free drink. These baristas have to sit there all day making the stuff on the menu. Then someone comes along and says create. I don’t want anything on the menu. My only personal stipulation is no chocolate. I don’t like mochas. I have had the cream city liam which was made by Liam and was a blended creamy ice drink with espresso grounds and some combination of chocolate and vanilla syrups. I know I said I don’t like mochas but this was cold it worked. I have also had a vanilla honey latte. I am told of a latte creation that tastes like a cinnamon roll that I haven’t tried yet. The most recent off the menu creation was a cherry hazelnut latte. As my son would say, “so good so licious.”

Its is almost worth it to buy the ten drinks so that its free and there are no constraints on how to figure out how to charge you for this kind of drink. They don’t have to figure out how much each shot or squirt of syrup should cost. They just make a drink they think would be awesome. To remove these constraints is a delightful experience and usually results in a fabulous sensory overload for my tongue and brain to enjoy.

So I dare you. If you earn your elusive freebie or you go to one of your favorite small restaurants order off the menu and see what ensues.

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