Sunday, April 29, 2007

Current Coffee...

Faithful readers will know about my slight obsession with coffee. I get whole beans from Stumptown (Which I like, although a recent date told me that they can't hold a candle to Intelligentsia out of Chicago. She orders pounds of beans and has them shipped out. When you add the cost of shipping, the negative environmental impact, and the reduction in freshness to what appears (at least to me) to be exorbitant prices, I just don't get it. For an example of their prices, on the coffee below, Stumptown's price is $25 per pound, Intelligentsia's price is $32.99 per HALF POUND. Which makes makes it more than 2.6 times the price, and that's before factoring in the shipping, etc. What gives?) .

And, speaking of other cities' coffees, a friend mentioned, out of the blue with no prompting whatsoever, Blue Bottle out of San Francisco last night over drinks at the old Mississippi Avenue Social Club (which I will continue to call it because their new name is so stupid). Blue Bottle is some seriously good coffee...

OK, sorry... Back on topic...

My current coffee is Fazenda Pedra Preta (COE) from Brazil. Not only is this a cup of excellence coffee, it was also awarded a gold special award, and was the #3 coffee in Brazil in 2006...

This from Stumptown...
Guilherme Dias De Castro's family first introduced the Yellow Bourbon variety to the Sul de Minas region over 100 years ago. Fazenda Pedra Preta produces coffee between 1150 to 1250 meters above sea level on 30 Hectares of this 70 Hectare farm. Care is taken to preserve the native forests and water sources. The coffee is pulped natural processed making for an extraordinarily sweet and heavy bodied cup. The beans are carefully tended by employees who live on the farm. The beans are turned each day, and covered at night for about ten days. Once they reach 11.5% humidity, the beans are bagged and kept in brick bins to develop the complete flavor profile. Melon, orange blossom, lemon, vanilla, and cranberry inhabit this subtle yet multidimensional cup.
Images from the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association web site...
They also have a small profile on the farm here...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Moscow Mules at the Victory

As loyal readers will know, I'm on a constant search for good Moscow Mules in town. I've found one that I feel compelled to tell you about...

I was heading to Pok Pok with some friends a few Fridays ago, and they suggested that we head to Victory for drinks during the wait. Vistory is just up at 37th and Division, so it was an easy move to make. We grab three seats at the bar and begin to pour over the menu.

That's when I see it, a house cocktail with Blenheim Spicy ginger ale. This stuff is mythical. I'd been hearing about Blenheim for a while from my good friend NT. We even went so far as to try to order the spicy version from the east coast (they were out of stock, so we had to settle for the regular, which still has a little burn). I paid something like $55 to get 24 bottles out here. But that's another story...

The cocktail on the menu has a drink with bourbon, fresh ginger, and Blenheim's. Well well, that's pretty damn close to a mule. I ask for the modifications necessary. It's all right. I'm not convinced.

My friend NT calls that Saturday and wants to see Grindhouse at Cinemagic. But where to eat? How about Victory. When I mention they have Blenheims, the decision is made. The food is good, a spatzle mac and cheese with crispy shallots and apple sauce, and duck with cheese grits and rapini.

This time, I simply ask for a moscow mule. It is the most perfect mule I've had out anywhere in quite some time. Impeccable balance and flavor. Do yourself a favor, get over to Victory and ask Amalia for a mule with Blenheim's spicy. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fake Can Be Just As Good

Or not, as it turns out...

I went to see Blonde Redhead last night at the Wonder Ballroom. I'd seen them twice before, both times at the Aladdin (which to be honest I don't care for as a music venue, but it's nowhere near as bad as the Crystal... why don't more bands I like play at the Roseland!?!). I'd almost seem them back in Missoula at the Cowboy Bar, but we chose Don Caballero at Jay's Upstairs (where my own little band used to play) instead... Too many tangents, back on topic...

I bought the new album last week. I'd been waiting to download from e-music, but they didn't have it. I had to shell our cash for this one. I'm a big fan of Lemons, and I appreciated Misery in all of it's overproduced glory, but honestly, the new album is crap. I can't play the whole thing through in one sitting. Horrendous. I won't go into details, but I'll say this, don't pay for it. Ick. That being said, they've always mixed old songs and new at their shows, and the chance to see them at what I consider to be a superior venue to their previous shows proved difficult to pass up. I get tickets for myself and my buddy NT. SF also joins.

Before the show, we grab food and drinks at Echo after we see how long the wait is at Russell St. BBQ (see how it all gets back to food sooner or later?) I'll say this, Echo makes a good Moscow Mule, and they serve it in a proper copper cup. Tell Aaron and TK I sent you.

We stroll over to the Wonder. The opening band is mercifully almost done. We grab drinks and head to the balcony. The lights dim, and the band appears. Or sort of appears. The lights are very dim on stage, and you really can't see anybody. Then the music starts. Some sequenced, prerecorded stuff. Yeah, they've done this before to good effect, using it mainly for their quirky sounds, but this time it's different. I think they had whole songs recorded. I think they were just playing along. At one point, everyone stopped playing, sort of a break in the music, but the music kept going. Serious drumming, but the drummer wasn't moving. What the fuck? Fake simply isn't as good.

They play a very short set which might have been a good thing, seeing as how they really only played the new stuff. Yeah, they turned in a less than inspired version of "Melody of Certain Three" from Lemons and a garbled, looped, and sampled version of "Falling Man" from Misery, but by and large, the entire show, encores and all, stuck to the crap from their new "album" 23.

Yeah, I'm a little bitter. I'd been looking forward to their new album and this show En Particulier for quite some time. And boy was it a letdown.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I said to lavendersoda just last night that I was done reading the Cool Hunting blog because it had nothing that interested me any more. And sure enough, look what I find this morning, meat business card holders. I'm not sure what this thing is made of (hopefully not actual meat) but it does look awfully greasy. Check out their other food related products too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Thanks to Guilty Carnivore, you will now learn 5 things about me. Some loyal readers may know a few of these things, but even the most devout fans may learn a thing or two (or maybe not, who knows)...

#1 - j'aime la Nouvelle Vague
Yep, I like me some French new wave cinema. I tend to like all things French (wine, cheese, language, etc) and am an admitted Fracophile. While I've enjoyed Gallic gastronomy for years and years, my love of French cinema is somewhat new. At any moment, you'll find at least one French New Wave flick from Netflix at my house (hell, my queue is full of 'em). Right now, I'm getting ready for a little Melville double feature this weekend (Un Flic and Le Samourai). In the planning stages: a full screening of Eric Rohmer's six Moral Tales over the course of an entire weekend (I'm planning to show My Night at Maude's before The Collector, preserving the director's original plan for the films, not the order of their theatrical release). Enough already? That's what most of my friends say.

#2 - Music snob, guilty
I don't like mainstream music, mostyl because it's typically no good. But my bias goes deeper. I'm one of these people that can love a band for years and years in obscurity, and then, when they make it big, I'll turn my back on them. Like the opposite of a fair weather fan. Foul weather fan? I like to root for the underdog, I guess. I'm not saying I was ever a fan of Modest Mouse, but they'd make a fine example. If I had liked them back in the 90's (which I didn't), I would almost certainly despise them now. I mean, how many times was Float On on (insert popular radio station name here)?!? I am VERY frightful that the day will come when everyone figures out what really good music sounds like and The American Analog Set, Yo La Tengo, and Destroyer will go triple platinum. What will I listen to then?

#3 - Picky Eater
In the realm of food, I know what I like and what I don't like. Some may call this picky, I think of it as discerning. There are 2 things that I really don't like, mushrooms and seafood. People have pointed out that I can't possibly be as into food as I am and not like those two things. It's not like I'd flat out refuse, but given another option, I'll most always take it.

#4 - Food Snob
Contrary to what fact #3 may have led you to believe, I am more or less a complete food snob. I only like the best. Thank god Albina Press isn't too far from my house because I swear I'd drive across town for good coffee if I had to. I once dated a girl who lived near on MLK near the convention center. She had just moved to town. I went to great lengths to tell her about the fareless square and how Stumptown was just across the bridge, on the max line, and was the best coffee in town. She continued to go to Starbucks just down the street. Clearly that relationship didn't work out. My snobbery goes beyond coffee, though. Wine, cheese, cuts of meat, anything consumable, really. Does that make me a bad person?

#5 - My Past Life
Although I work in the wine field, I went to grad school for Forensic Anthropology. Took a lot of classes in skeletal biology, archaeology, forensic sciences and the like. I've worked with the FBI and local law enforcement teams on murder investigations in Montana, Florida, and Georgia. I spent a summer in Guatemala working a human rights forensic team uncovering, excavating, and anazlying mass graves. But now I sell wine. Sometimes I think I should be doing more for the public good.

So, I guess that's that. I'm throwing the challenge out to my pals lavendersoda at The City by mouth, CC at The Devouring Woman and Miss Tasty over at the cafe...