Caribou Coffee Airport Break
I recently returned from a 2 week vacation with my husband to Southeast Asia. We spent about a week on our own and a week on a cruise, and I’ve got lots of food stories to share, both from the cruise itself and from the places we went to on our own. So, over the next few weeks, you’ll start to see reviews of the things I ate while I was on vacation.
I must say, one of things that most surprised me, food-wise, about our vacation actually happened before vacation really began. The trip started with a flight from LAX to Hong Kong by way of Seoul. We had a late night, or perhaps you could call it early morning, flight leaving LAX just after midnight. As my husband and I scrambled to finish work on a Friday and head to the airport, we both had been up since 4 in the morning. If you calculate that out, that means that the day we flew out of town to begin our vacation we had been up 20 hours! We were tired and cranky, and while I had every intention about blogging about the food on the plane, it was so not memorable that it’s not even worth describing. By the time we arrived in to Seoul, it was just past 5 am and the International Terminal of the Incheon Airport was all but barren. Apparently no one else flies into an airport at 5 am for a connecting flight to another country 3 hours later?!?! Or maybe it was just the 10 or so gates on the wing of the terminal we were at had no passengers? Ok, it was deserted completely, but it might as well have been.
It turns out that the gate we were catching our connecting flight to Hong Kong was at the very end of one wing of the terminal. As we took moving escalators down the wing towards our gate, we saw a Dunkin’ Donuts, and a local noodle shop, and some souvenir shops – all of which were closed, of course, being so early. However, right when we arrived at the end of the wing, my husband and I were so shocked to find one particularly eatery. Literally, the last thing I ever imagined I’d see in Seoul, of all places. I wrote about my only experience with Caribou Coffee in the blog post “You’re In Caribou Country” back in May of 2012, where I noted that this was a coffee house chain headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and with locations mainly in the Upper Midwest, Midwest and Plain states. So, what the heck was this Minnesota-based coffee chain doing all the way in Seoul, South Korea? It wouldn’t have surprised me to see a Starbucks in Seoul, but Caribou Coffee, no way! I knew I was going to have to have some.
The only problem? They were closed! Why is it that there can be travelers in the airport at this awful hour, but no services that are open?!?! Ok, so I immediately walked up and read the sign, and luckily, Caribou Coffee opened at 6 am. Since my flight wasn’t until 8 am, I’d more than have my chance to give Caribou Coffee a try. And luckily, my gate was right next to the coffee stand, so I wouldn’t have to wander far to get my fill of caffeine for the morning.
Desperate as I was, I was the first person in line when the girl manning the coffee stand showed up to open the store! By then, I had already scoped our their ads and their menu and had an idea of what I wanted to order. What I got was the Iced White Chocolate Mocha Latte. It was cool and creamy with just the right shot of caffeine. I love the vanilla flavor, but then again, I’m a sucker for vanilla with coffee. It adds just the right hint of sweetness.
My husband order the Iced Turtle Mocha Latte. That means his drink had a little chocolate, a little caramel and was sprinkled with some nuts on top to make the “turtle” part of it. The chocolate and the caramel blended with the coffee made a sweet combination. Maybe a little too sweet for a morning drink, but hey, our time clocks were backwards what with flying for 12 hours and crossing the international date line. It was ok to be a little bad. Besides, we were on vacation. I think my husband was happy enough with his drink since he finished his drink well before I finished mine.
It was a nice little treat to see something halfway around the world that we never expected to see. It provided us a nice little pick-me-up for our layover and before our flight to Hong Kong to really begin our vacation! Now I know, if I ever find myself at Seoul’s International Airport again, I’ll see a little interesting piece of home – or rather of Minnesota – in South Korea!