I spent last summer in Omaha, Nebraska. Mostly, the experience was frustrating and terrible. But there were a few good things. One of which was that I found, and fell in love with, the Banana Chocolate Vivanno.
For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure, the Banana Chocolate Vivanno is a healthy alternative to a milk shake. It is amazing. Seriously, the greatest cold beverage I’ve ever had – that isn’t a martini, of course. And it’s the only reason to go to Starbucks.
In Nebraska, a field trip to the Starbucks across the parking lot from our campaign office was a daily ritual. In the morning, AM and I would head over to Starbucks for our morning coffee. We would always get coffee. Grandes, both. We would often get a snack. Sometimes healthy, sometimes not. And on some mornings, I threw in a Vivanno. Banana Chocolate only, with non-fat milk and half the amount of chocolate. It was the perfect second breakfast. So delicious. So cold. Sweet, but not too sweet. Just perfect.
I almost allowed my bad attitude keep me from even trying the Vivanno. When Starbucks was first rolling out this delicious drink and offering free samples, I declined. 1) I don’t do fancy coffee. 2) I can’t wrap my mind around spending $5 for a coffee or some other coffee-like drink. A cup of coffee at Starbucks is outrageously expensive. So any specialty drink was just too much. And 3) why would I waste a bazillion calories on a drink? Because, at the time, I highly doubted the possibility that this Vivanno could actually be healthy.
But on one of our afternoon jaunts to Starbucks, a colleague of ours ordered an Orange Mango Banana Vivanno. I was intrigued. So I had some. It was disgusting. Seriously, it tasted like bad citrus-y gum. Totally gross. A few days later, tho, the Starbucks was giving out free samples of the Chocolate Banana Vivanno. I was not interested. But AM (I think, because who the hell else would I be at the Starbucks with?) tasted it, said it was delicious, and told me to try some. I think I heard music. It was delicious. Yes, it may be because I was in an incredibly low place at the time. But I loved that Vivanno. I was happy every time I had it. It served as a respite from the normal terribleness that was Nebraska.
When I got back from Nebraska in November, it was cold and the Vivannos seemed to go away. I mean, I tried to order it a few times at one of the 40 Dupont Circle Starbucks – because I have no rules about no cold stuff, like ice cream, in the winter – but they were always conveniently out of bananas. How is that possible? How do you run out of bananas every day? Shouldn’t you buy more bananas? Or send someone to the local supermarket to replenish?
Anyway, I haven’t had a Vivanno since November. But yesterday, GT forced us to go to a Starbucks. He offered to pay, so I complained a little less. I saw that the Vivanno was prominently displayed on the menu. So I went for it. Banana Chocolate Vivanno with skim milk and half the amount of chocolate. I was excited. It was like visiting an old friend.
Then it arrived.
Wow – this was NOT the Vivanno I remembered. It just didn’t taste the same. It was icy and sorta chalky and just not the delicious drink I remembered. It was like the Vivanno changed and became something different, something I barely recognized and certainly did not care for. It didn’t provide a respite. It didn’t serve as a wonderful, sweet snack. It sparked a memory of something good, but failed to live up to expectations. It left me wondering if the Vivanno was ever any good. If I ever really loved it. Or whether the Nebraska Vivanno was something I needed to look forward to, something to cling to, but it wasn’t really what I thought it was.
I have no answers. All I know is that the Vivanno is not what it used to be. It’s not what it used to be to me. And it may be the end of a relationship.
Or maybe I just need to hit a different Starbucks. Yeah, maybe I’ll try that.