Sunday, February 28, 2010

ahead of the curve

Still on coffee, the New York Times had an article today about London's coffee scene.  They had the smarts to mention my favorite drink...

'Though it’s recently been co-opted by chain stores, the “flat white” is also a symbol of serious coffee: it’s basically a cappuccino-size latte — flat and white — a style imported from Australia (some say New Zealand) when a wave of baristas emigrated from those countries. (Australians and New Zealanders are to espresso what Russians are to chess: they’re just better at it.)'

Which makes me giggle just a bit after my flat white blog entry.
On a similar note I finally began my coffee guide on

Monday, February 22, 2010


I'm back in Cayo, sitting under a ceiling fan which is struggling to stir the heavy afternoon air. I arrived here yesterday, driving the last hour in the dark through air fragrant with orange blossom.  Today I have been slow and lazy like an iguana.  My group went out to see the famous caves I opted for lunch in town and a visit to the post office. 
I've been back in C.A. for almost two weeks and it has been a bit wild and wooly. I've been serenaded by Mariachis on the back roads of Palenque, dove in two new cenotes (hello rainbow cool-ness) and partied with 28 Finnish doctors.  No rest for the weary.
Probably my favorite discovery is a torta place in D.F. that has been making tortas since 1936! Carnitas y aguacate.  Hot damn.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Can you tell me when we get to Polk?"

O.M.G.  Seriously. This week has flown by.  I made a mad dash to 'the city' today with Lindy.  I may have purchased another bag.  HOLY HELL.  Only Gemma princess of the bag, heir to the t-shirt and scarf throne could justify another bag purchase. It stems from a desire to find the perfect bag combination for the vagabond lifestyle. I am sadly coming to realize this may never happen.
I digress. The point of opening up the blog to write was to share my SF adventures.  I think I shall make a list:
  1. After an art supply binge at Flax, Lindy and I stumbled upon De Lessio which is sort of a form of salad bar heaven.  I'm not sure words can suffice.
  2. Had you ever wondered where all the SF bike messengers hang out? I found out today that they congregate at Post and Market, outside of my friend's office.  I might even go as far as to say that one can find a plethora (and I don't use that word lightly) of them wearing plaid shirts with pearl cowboy-shirt snaps in a size m/l.  I confused one such messenger with a homeless man, and the only way I knew the difference was the presence of his ultra-trendy stickered bike.  I'm not trying to be rude here, this was an honest mistake.
  3. New fashion has hit the Apple store with the release of the iPad -- royal blue t-shirts.  They look like a bunch of cheerleaders.  Not a good color choice Mr. Jobs.
  4. My current non-foodie lifestyle of worshiping 3-in-1 instant coffee and pan dulce led to a total overload when I entered the SF Ferry building.  I was so overwhelmed that I didn't try a coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee which according to some makes some killer individual drip... hmmm that reminds me I keep meaning to make a world coffee guide on .... manana manana, right?
  5. Drinking nebbiollo at 2 in the afternoon is not for the faint of heart.  Vic was so impressed I had to give him a fist pound when he picked me up from the ferry.
Bed. Out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

the flat white

After a LONG lapse of time I'm back in the blogasphere or blogosphere or whatever.  As my last entry was about drinking coffe in Leon it feels appropriate to get started again with another entry on one of my favorite beverages.

I know it is hard to keep up with me, but I did make a quick, unplanned jaunt to New Zealand in the early parts of January. The whole thing didn't quite pan out as planned, but what does?  Anyhow among some of my very exciting revelations while there was a pretty epic experience: THE FLAT WHITE. A couple years ago my friend Zach converted me from lattes to cappuccinos, we had this whole theory the cappuccinos were the tacos of the coffee world, a total digression.  But I have been converted once again, the shit thing is you can't get one here especially not from those under trained high school students down at coffee roasters.

So what the hell is this drink you might ask?  Look I am not totally sure, but what you should know, is that for me, a flat white is the perfect ratio of milk to coffee.  None of that stiff ass foam in a one inch layer on top, just a thin layer of perfectly creamed milk. AWWWWW man.  Plus the thing that may make me love it the most is that you don't have to chose a size.  I still don't know what was wrong with small, medium, and large, but this whole starbucks-ization of drink sizes does my head in.  To this day when dealing with that tall/grande b.s. I just point at the size I want, but with a flat white these shenanigans aren't an issue.

Finally Kiwi dairy in general kicks the s--t out of anything that I've ever encountered in the states, except for
Straus' from West Marin.  They've got it going on.  But seriously, the butter and the milk smell, well, grassy.  The milk just tastes better, it's creamy and lovely.

Seriously I had gotten sick of all the anti-American commentary on the coffee front, I defended ladro, and zoka, and told these uppity kiwis that we have award winning baristas up in Seattle.  But then I realized somthing: most people have gotten to know us through our largest brands.  If all you knew of coffee from the states was Starbucks you might think we only have shit coffee.  And that is such a shame as we do have incredible idependent coffee roasters.  Just as we have an incredible microbrew culture, which might be hard to believe if you've only ever tasted Bud.  So, yes, I am missing my flat whites, but I am also challenging you coffe snob Kiwis to come and give our coffee a chance as well.  You might just be surprised.

P.s.  if you have the pleasure of visiting wellington here are some coffee suggestions:
Midnight Espresso (178 Cuba ST.)
Apart from having lovely coffee they also serve a ridiculous selection of vegan and veggie foodstuffs.  They get their coffe from wellington's own Havana Coffee Works.  

As a good Wellingtonian wouldn't be caught dead in a Starbucks I checked out a couple of the local chains, I enjoyed flat whites from both Mojo and Fuel.