Friday, July 30, 2010
It's like an abusive relationship. I'm addicted to the ritual of making it, intoxicated by the smell that permeates my home, the deep, rich flavor and how the caffeine highs can make me feel almost invincible. But then, the euphoria gives way to the heart palpitations, the extreme blood sugar dips and the fits of anger - but yet I stay - I love him anyway and convince myself we're good together. The angst, I tell you.
Recently, I switched to decaffeinated for the sake of my health and only treat myself once or twice a week. I treasure our times together and make sure I purchase only the best coffee I can find. Just a year ago, it was hard to find good decaf, but that's not the case anymore.
Coffee, like other foodstuffs these days, is going through a renaissance. All across the country, specialty purveyors are roasting limited-edition coffee beans using artisanal methods and sustainable practices. These are the beans you should seek out, whether going out for coffee or bringing the beans home. Because of the attention to detail, the taste is incomparable.
Here are some of the best artisanal coffee roasters in the country who will ship you beans online tout suite:
Metropolis Coffee Company (They make my absolute favorite - Decaf Redline.)
Blue Bottle Coffee
The real question is: Are you willing to give up your relationship with Mr. Coffee? The seemingly indefatigable, saggy-assed octogenarian who piddles out his weak-brewed love day after day? You really want to settle for that?
I didn't think so.
Stovetop Espresso Maker, $39.95 by Bialetti
To learn more about what you need to make a great Latte or Cafe Au Lait at home (inexpensively!), click to read the rest of the article on The Possessionista.
Also, be sure to read my post on Maria Callas & Coffee. It's a goodie.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It would have been so much easier for me to stay in bed with the New York Times and a steaming bowl of latte this past Sunday morning, but I forced myself to go. I needed a challenge. It was for a spot on the 2010 season of The Next Food Network Star. I filled out the eleven page application with questions such as, If you were a vegetable, what would you be? A roasted poblano pepper. Why? Because I'm earthy, spicy and add depth to everything.
I pulled together a couple photos and got my resume professionally printed for the occasion. I also slipped them copies of my Huff Post columns so they could get a feel for my philosophy and culinary style.
This was the protocol: I waited almost two hours in a room of about 100 people. They called numbers in the order you signed in and you got 3 to 4 minutes of time with an interviewer while they taped you on camera. Everyone was asked the same questions (short answers provided): What do you do? right now - craft service & write. Are you self-taught or professionally schooled? self-taught. Why are you here? to get my message to a wider audience. What's one of your signature dishes? warm new potato salad with capers, parsley, garlic & mint. What's your unique culinary point of view? eat real food!
Truth is, I don't have a working TV anymore since the digital turnover; I haven't had cable in about 8 years and I've never seen the show. I went primarily to stretch myself. I'm carrying a torch here - I care very much about making a difference in the way people eat and live and it was great practice to be in front of a camera talking about that. And I'm proud to report I did a stellar job. I walked away feeling a great rush of energy, incredibly self-confident and well-spoken. It was well worth it.
If I'm perceiving the crowd correctly I'd say they were mostly an interesting mix of restaurant kitchen veterans and home cooks. There was a pair of young women who's names were called the same time as mine and we spent about five minutes together in the anteroom before going into interview. They were two friends who'd driven in together from Milwaukee. They had this schticky banter going non-stop in loud, caustic clips. Their very presence made me agitated. All I could think was, "Man, if I had to live in a house with these two broads, I'd blow my brains out." And that's precisely what makes for good tension on a reality show. Perhaps it was meant to be that I didn't get a call back.
Now on to my next challenge.