Big Question Marks

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Caffeinated Free-for-all

Last night, we had a silly idea. Prompted by the hype about the free coffee war which started brewing this month — McDonald's vs. Timmy's vs. Country Style*, etc. — we thought, why not spend our Saturday hopping about town, drinking a smorgasbord of coffees for free? We certainly love our coffee, and we love free things even more! What better way to enjoy the Saturday sunshine, really?

First stop was Second Cup. A few weeks ago, a flyer appeared in our mailbox that read "Get a Second Cup on us, 11 times." After reading a bit further, it appeared we'd received a buy-one-get-one-free coffee card for Second Cup (with the first coffee being free!). Without knowing anything of McDonald's free coffee scheme or the beginning of Tim Horton's Roll Up the Rim contest at the time, we'd put the flyer aside for later.

So, a little after breakfast (and the usual cup or two of our Maxwell House brew at home), we strolled into the Second Cup at the corner of King & Strachan Streets, in the heart of condoville. Since we only had one free cup to take, Adrian went for it and Dayle went for a chai latte (yum! which month do those go free?). Points to Second Cup for its comfy chairs, peaceful dining-room-style decor (earth tones and money trees), and good atmosphere for thinking and chatting. Drawbacks: Adrian found it a little hard to speak quietly enough as to not disrupt the peace, and Dayle burnt her tongue on the scorching-hot drinks. The jazz soundtrack wasn't really our thing either, but the general experience gets our thumbs up. Lastly, the paradiso blend coffee was good, but a wee bit strong. The only worry is that we set the bar too high for the coffee sampling to come...
Cost: $4.10 (for the chai latte)

Next on the list was McDonald's, who are offering free coffee all day, every day, from March 1-14. Now that's a lot of free coffee! We wandered the longest way possible up to Dundas and Bathurst, to try and process some of the caffeine and soak up some more sunshine.

As soon as we entered the restaurant, we found that the free coffee offer was no secret. The lineup to the counter nearly reached the door, and the coffee was flowing. After some scrambling to find a seat, we realized how spoiled we had been in the cushy Second Cup chairs-- here, it was all of that hard institutional seating that makes a trip to McD's a short one, helped along by the lite-rock soundtrack of Corey Hart and company (but luckily it was loud enough in there that Adrian had no qualms about singing along loudly). Tastewise, the McDonald's arabica coffee was decent, though perhaps we weren't at the top of our tasting game having burnt off our tastebuds in Second Cup--we had a giggle at the "Caution: HOT!" warnings on the cups of warm coffee. It's still uncertain if we'd go purposely to McDonald's for coffee if it wasn't free-- though we'll award points for the stellar people-watching at Dundas & Spadina (plus the added theatrical value of having three crazy people inside the restaurant). Unfortunately though, our visit didn't come totally free-- we couldn't help but be tempted by the fries. Ronald wins again!
Cost: $5.69 (free coffee, but no free fries!)

Next stop: good old Canuck staple Timmy's. Dayle had won a free coffee after getting a Roll Up The Rim winner this past week-- what luck! Although there was a Tim Horton's across the street from McDonald's, we thought we'd shed some coffee jitters with a lightning-speed walk through Chinatown to the next closest Timmy's (slow down, Adrian!).

However, even after a good long wander through Dragon City shopping mall, a lengthy grocery shop, and more meandering, we arrived at Tim Horton's and stopped in front. Lesson of the day: there is indeed a such thing as too much free coffee, our stomachs had taken their limit (and Adrian had begun to see through space and time). Our Roll Up The Rim winnings would just have to wait... but maybe we'll try our free coffee tour again next week!

Today's free coffee count: 3
Total $ spent ordering other things while getting sick of coffee: $9.79

*Country Style's giving coffee away on Wednesdays.


Pops said...

Does coffee taste better while wearing a Mexican wrestler mask?

Adrian said...

Everything is better wearing a Mexican wrestling mask!
Coming up with a Mexican wrestler name is the hard part.

Paulita said...

Wait a minute, did you walk around town in that mask? (I have to admit, it drew my attention far quicker than the free coffee!)

Name suggestions:


Entertain yourself!

Laura said...

What a fantastic way to spend a day!
Crazy people in McDonalds are always the bet crazies. I once saw a man set firecrackers off in his teeth at a Mcds in Hamilton. He had tons of messy dreadlocks on his head, which were filled with bits of soggy lettuce and bits of bun and blood.
I will NEVER forget his bloody, smiling face. I am not sure if he was laughing at his own hijinks or the look of horror which I am sure was painted on my face, but he was certainly laughing while blood dripped from his mouth. said...

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