A ghost story

9am: I’m heading in to work. He is parked outside of the café, sitting in his car, waiting for us to open in an hour.

10am: Shortly before we opened, he came to the door of the Barnes & Noble and waited for the manager to unlock the door. Straight away, he headed for the café.

He ordered two hard boiled eggs, some egg salad sandwiches, some chicken salad sandwiches, a bottle of ginger ale, a bottle of mango juice, a green tea latte, and two peanut butter pies.

“That’ll be $40,” I said.

“Very cool,” he smiled.

He sat at the large table by himself, sampling the food he had bought, and threw out what he didn’t finish.

10:30am: He walked by and said something to me, but he mumbled and I couldn’t hear him. He looked happy, at least. I smiled and nodded.

12pm: He came in again and ordered another large green tea latte, watching me make it very closely.

He does this everyday.

He is the most interesting man in the world.

A recipe

My days as a barista are numbered, so I’ve decided to cement my legacy with my own custom Starbucks drink. I call it oatmilk alla stracciatella.

A milky iced drink with a thin layer of espresso and chocolate drizzle on top

The story behind it is, we ran out of vanilla syrup, and I had also messed up a caramel macchiato (my favorite drink) that I was making for (sidenote: for the record, I messed up nobody else’s drink that day – just my own! ) so I had to improvise. For those with access to a similar barista station to mine, here is the recipe:

A barista work station, featuring various flavored sauces and syrups, and an espresso machine

This is where I make drinks.

Add however much white mocha sauce it takes to put a smile on your face. Add 1 pump of vanilla syrup. Pour in oatmilk to the top line and stir, stir, stir. Add ice if you’re serving it cold; steam the milk if you’re serving it hot. Layer a shot of espresso on top. Then, drizzle chocolate sauce on top.

Et voilà, a sweet dessert-y drink. The oatmilk saves it from tasting too sickly sweet, at least to me.

The name comes from the signature Italian gelato flavor, stracciatella. I tasted it when I visited Cinque Terre, a beautiful coastal area in (sidenote: Lately, I’ve been looking back on the day I spent exploring the towns in Cinque Terre Checking in at Cristian’s website and seeing his photos from Riomaggiore and Manarola (all the way down on the page) reminded me of it. I had a vivid dream this morning that I was revisiting that place with Mr. Spock, and wearing a tight, silky bright pink dress. )

I’m going to try and make this recipe at home and share a non-Starbucksy version of the recipe. I don’t have an espresso maker, so it’ll just be yummy, creamy oatmilk. It may be simple, it may not be too original, it may not be to anyone else’s liking, but at least I can say it’s mine.

Receipt doodles of the day.

A doodle of a girl with braided hair and a doodle of a freckled girl with bangs