Saturday, September 12, 2009

i found love in chicago...

Yes. Love. True, passionate, engaging, mouth watering, deliciously wonderful love.

His name is Julius Meinl.

And his manager's name is Conner.

And tonight... I had the most beautiful coffee experience of my life because of these two gentlemen.

From the moment I walked into this coffee shop I knew I would want to sit and stay awhile. The live jazz musicians dressed in black playing "The Girl from Ipanema", the beautifully handcrafted desserts on their silver platters, and the warm earthy atmosphere hit me in the right spot. I was told upon entering that they are a full service coffee shop and to please take a seat anywhere.

So I chose a cute little corner settee with a table and two other chairs across from the musicians and placed my order with the manager. I decided that since it IS a Viennese coffee shop I should try a Viennese dessert. So I ordered the Vienna cake which is a dense chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache with a layer of apricot in between. I did not expect my coffee to come out on a silver platter. Nor did I expect it to come with the cutest little spoon you've ever seen garnishing a tiny glass of water on it's very own doily. It was adorable... and FANCY. And SO delicious.

My latte came complete with latte art which I appreciated as a fellow barista attempting to master this simple but not easy art. And my cake? Well, they drizzled the plate with chocolate sauce and before plating sprinkled dark cocoa powder on top of the ganache. This was heaven. I wanted to sit here all night. Eat my cake with my tiny fork and drink my monet latte, watch people, and listen to some really great musicians. This is the cafe I had been dreaming about. The cafe *I* wanted to own, and here it was in full swing.

This kind of thing is what I miss about the city. The hustle and bustle and then the calm right smack dab in the middle of the storm. So perfect.

I want more.

Friday, September 11, 2009

things that should not occur during the week you quit smoking...

1. Oil changes that cost $400 due to new required tires.

2. Fighting. Of any kind. Including... friends, boyfriend, mother, dog, neighbors, distributors, bosses, etc.

3. Ex boyfriend sending weird texts.

4. Old stalkers making another appearance.

5. Bill payments... especially the kind that have potential to make your account negative.

6. Bombardment of work. I'm talking rogue orders, reviews that aren't done yet, boss getting mad because my idea of giving notice is not her idea of giving notice (me giving more than two weeks in unacceptable), scheduling issues which is more like scheduling cluster fuck of immeasurable fuckedupedness.... it goes on. I'll say... I wanted to quit this week to the point where one day I didn't put on my apron all day in case I needed to just leave. Yes, it's that bad.

7. Random injury... woke up one morning with a big ankle and a scratch, then discovered random bruises all over my body, and my shin hurts now. I'm beginning to think that Maddie might be beating the shit out of me at night. Not sure why though. I feed her!

8. Medical issues. No further explanation given.

9. Large meals. They require cigarettes.

10. Other people smoking. Yeah, I'm THAT selfish. I want the world to quit smoking the week I do. Because when I go on my break to smoke usually it's children I have to hide from and baby strollers. The week I quit smoking, all I see are smokers. Every fucking where. Old people, young people, like 16 year old young people, people my age. People I know. People I don't know. All of them mocking me. It's relentless.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Coffee and Cheese? (an article submission... oo! fancy!)

We often think of coffee as company for our dessert plate, something bitter to break the sweet. But I recently discovered that coffee can break the back of just about anything rich, including cheese! Imagine your favorite cheese, maybe it's velvety and slightly sweet, or sharp and requires a little bit of dental work. Now, chase it with a bright and slightly acidic blend of coffee or maybe the satisfyingly smooth dark organic roast with that wonderful smoky aroma. Yes, coffee and cheese. I discovered this on a long overdue break one day at my most recent cafe. I needed the jolt of a great cup of coffee, but I also needed to EAT! Lunch slash dinner doesn't usually involve a muffin for me so I chose a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich with a dark roast organic coffee.

The combination of the crusty bread and three melted cheeses was heavenly on my palate after a rough morning and even worse afternoon. And then I drank, expecting to make a foul face, but was pleasantly surprised. My eyes closed, my mouth hugged the combination of flavors and a new habit was born! Coffee and cheese! Brilliant! Sweet and bitter are obvious friends. But who knew salty and bitter could be buds? This relationship is more about texture and underlying flavor. Cheese, like coffee, is anything but simple. It can be sweet and fruity or smoky and nutty. Pairing the two is a match uncommon, but truly under utilized. Next time you stop by your local cafe for a shot of espresso, bring along a snack of some fresh green grapes and some of your favorite cheese. Your taste buds will delight, and you may even find that your cookie habit can be dismissed. And while you're at it, the wine too! Coffee is the new cab.