This morning with Second Cup gift card in hand, I headed downtown to one of my old favourite spots to grab a cup of coffee.
I used to like visiting this location as it had comfy leather chairs for reading in while enjoying a snack and warm beverage of choice. Great for university students who just want to get away from campus but not too far that it requires a bus trip or taxi fare to return.
I arrived at the Second Cup (171 Rideau Street, Ottawa) at 10 A.M. to find about five people in line. Upon entering there was a weird little crackle as the first of two glass doors is opened. I looked up to find window film used to cover drafty windows substituting as the ceiling between the two doors to keep the drafts down. Someone apparently thought it was a great idea to install a second set of doors to help prevent cold drafts during the winter from disrupting the customers from enjoying their coffees. However, while doing said installation they forgot to install a ceiling. So this work around was created causing every customer entering or exiting to make the entire restaurant sound like it was wrapped in cellophane.
With five people in line and only one Barista working the line things moved slowly. Figures it was not until I moved forward, placed my order and was waiting for it to be filled that another Barista arrived to ask me what I would like. I signalled to him that I had already ordered and that next person in line would probably like to be served. After a total of not a bad 3 minutes in line I was on my way with my order.
The Order: 1 Medium Caramello Coffee & 1 Apple Cranberry muffin.
I reviewed my seating options with order in hand. Darn it, they seemed to have remodeled and did away with the comfy chairs. Heck, why do coffee shops and fast food stores remodel every 10 years? Those were good chairs!
Instead, I sat down on one of the bar stool style wooden chairs at the counter in the window facing Rideau Street to watch the interesting pedestrian traffic mosy by. I find Rideau Street people watching is a lot different than Elgin Street as there seems to be a lower income clientele going by on Rideau than Elgin. On Elgin Street you watch for interesting fashions, amusing kids holding hands with parents and possibly a dog tied up outside a patio. On Rideau Street you watch to see what the homeless person's game is in the valiant attempt to obtain some spare change.
I first tasted the muffin. As mentioned before, Second Cup is not known for their freshly baked fresh goods. The cranberry was instantly easy to pick out, with the apple less so. The muffin could easily have been just a cranberry muffin without the apple and would have been pretty good for Second Cup. The apple just was not there taste wise and quite frankly seemed like a tag-a-long to the cranberry.
The Caramelo Coffee was interesting but something I've had before. The coffee tastes moderately like Caramel but not too overpowering or strong. It is perfect as a medium blend and compliments Second Cup's medium blend line of coffees that includes Irish Cream and Belgian Chocolate.
Overall, this location is interesting to visit during the day whether it be to grab a cup of java on your way to the nearby Byward Market or to simply transfer to the nearby OC Transpo bus station on Rideau Street. The baked goods are mediocre for a bakery with nothing special, but that is normal for all Second Cup chain locations. The coffee is the same flavoured coffee you would find in the chain as well. Bottom line, if you are looking for a regular Second Cup location without any negative surprises except a little bit of cellophane, this is your spot.