Posts Tagged ‘coffee’
Coffee art at Strand Arcade in Sydney.
Bacon and egg breakfast sandwich at Mr Stuzzichini in Hunters Hill Sydney.
Burrata and beet salad at Pendolino in Sydney.
A country lunch at Grazing in Gundaroo.
Scones at The Old Bakery Tea Rooms in Berrima.
Lunch at Vessel in Downtown Seattle.
Chocolate tasting at Northwest Chocolate Festival.
Posted Thursday 09 August 2012on:
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Starbucks. This is not a sponsored post.
The first coffee I drank was from Starbucks. It was early morning and I was bleary eyed when I entered a Starbucks in Sydney and ordered an iced mocha. Espresso. Chocolate. Milk. Ice. Its cold sweetness was jolting, the caffeine sharpened my senses. Thus I welcomed coffee into my life, a daily embrace with a chocolaty, milky beverage that focuses my mind.
A proud Seattle company, Starbucks pilots new concepts such as Starbucks Evenings here. Stores such as Olive Way and Terry and Republican have pioneered an after 4pm menu of wine, beer and small plates. ‘Drop in after work, with friends, after yoga, by yourself, after a long day or after a great day’ for an apéritif or digestif from your friendly barista!
Located in the Amazon hub at South Lake Union, Terry and Republican is a lively Starbucks. About half a dozen tables are in the sunken courtyard.
A sign advertised Starbucks Evenings with a sketch of a wedge of cheese, a wine glass and a beer bottle.
A radiant sun: coffee, tea, pastries and sandwiches. A crescent moon: red wine, white wine, small plates and desserts.
The interior is spacious and modern with exposed ducts, cement pillars, wood panelling and industrial lights. Floor-to-ceiling windows brightened the muted tones. The Starbucks logo is spray-painted on a wall made from salvaged bicycle tires.
As you wait for your coffee you’re reminded of Starbucks Evenings with more chalkboard art.
We were seated behind the counter and we peeked through the open shelves to the nimble baristas and crowd of patrons.
We perched on stools and were greeted with Starbucks designed Riedel glassware, a glass of ‘refreshing’ Villa Sandi Prosecco DOC Treviso Il Fresco from Italy topped with a petite bowl for spiced pepitas.
Each glass is etched with a whimsical saying such as ‘take a moment or three’ and ‘permission to relax’. We also sampled a ‘crisp’ Erath Pinot Gris from Oregon, ‘fruity’ Rosa Regale Brachetto from Italy and a ‘full-bodied’ Bergevin Lane Syrah She-Devil from Columbia Valley.
A bowl of rosemary and brown sugar cashews were warm and crunchy.
A wedge of triple cream blue brie was paired with walnut cranberry bread and fig preserves.
Deglet Noor dates were stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon. A drizzle of piquant balsamic glaze tempered the decadent morsels.
An oval flatbread of marinated artichoke hearts, red peppers, dry Jack and goat cheese was appetisingly spicy.
A bouquet of vegetable spears was served with a pot of smoky chipotle hummus. I munched on the plain crudités as a palate cleanser between the small plates.
Two tender skewers of panko and Parmesan crusted chicken were dipped in a tangy honey Dijon sauce.
Truffle macaroni and cheese was in a shallow dish to maximise the surface area of the golden herbed Parmesan breadcrumbs.
The pièce de résistance was the chocolate fondue. A cookie tray was filled with luscious dark chocolate. Threesomes of madeleines, marshmallows and strawberries were the perfect shapes for plunging into the viscous pool with our fingers.
Ms D-R and I lingered for a while afterwards, enjoying the ambience and discussing gathering friends for Starbucks Evenings.
Our French friend loves eggs Benedict. The best I’ve had was at The Wolseley and we had breakfast there with her on our last day in London. Her favourite in Seattle is at B&O Espresso, her local café in Capitol Hill. In the neighbourhood for more than three decades, the building is approved for demolition and the closure of B&O Espresso is imminent.
A refrigerated glass cabinet displayed cakes and the espresso machine was gurgling. To the left of the entrance is a nook and to the right are two connecting dining rooms.
We were seated in the corner room which faces the intersection of Olive and Bellevue. The décor is quirky with stained glass panes, eclectic furniture, lime walls and vintage posters.
I spotted the Valencia mocha when I was perusing the beverages menu and it evoked a childhood memory of Jacob’s Club Orange. A latte with orange essence, nutmeg and Ghirardelli cocoa, it was an aromatic twist to a standard mocha.
A creamy mocha milkshake was topped with a sphere of cream and chocolate shavings.
Morsels of spiced kofta and molten pepper jack were folded into a just set three egg omelette. This was served with a generous side of tender potatoes and toast with Deer Mountain jam.
Soft poached eggs. Fluffy English muffins. Fresh Hollandaise sauce. The golden yolk cascaded and the pastel Hollandaise was viscous and tangy. It was a superb eggs Benedict, just how weekend brunch should be.
I hope B&O Espresso can continue to operate.
I like cooked vegetables. I grew up eating leafy greens sautéed in garlic and ginger, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, blanched lettuce steeped in oyster sauce, and stir-fried carrots and peas. Salads were not in my diet as a child.
As an adult I have learnt to appreciate the healthfulness of salads. Roasted beets, chèvre and pistachio. Arugula, pear, pine nuts and balsamic vinegar. Spicy Thai salad with nam jim dressing. These are on regular rotation at home.
I have a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi‘s sumptuous Plenty and having dined at Nopi earlier in the week so I was keen to visit the original Ottolenghi in Notting Hill. Located on Ledbury Road, a manicured hedge and distinctive red font marked the entrance.
Tiers of buttermilk scones, viennoiseries, cakes, cookies, tarts, cheesecakes and brownies were displayed at the front window enticing passers-by. Tuck your elbows in and shuffle sideways as the front room is narrow!
Platters of vibrant salads lined the counter. A daily menu is published in the morning and on this May day there were:
* Roasted aubergine, sorrel and wild garlic yoghurt, roasted cherry tomatoes, parsley and pine nuts
* Mixed green beans, shaved asparagus and peas with spinach, chilli, garlic, tarragon, lemon zest and chervil
* Chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic
* Roasted squash with green olive yoghurt, roasted red onion, mint, capers and sumac
* Cucumber, celery and radish with nigella seeds, coriander and mint
* Butterbean hummus with roasted red pepper, hazelnut, lemon and parsley salsa
* Red rice and quinoa with cranberries, lemon, fried onion, mixed nuts, herbs, radicchio and arugula
* Heritage carrots with cumin seeds, garlic, lemon, coriander, pea shoots, arugula and pomegranate
* Beetroot and poached rhubarb salad with gorgonzola, red onion, and mixed herbs and leaves
There were also a selection of mains:
* Seared beef fillet with watercress, whole grain mustard, horseradish and sour cream
* Beef lasagne
* Seared sesame crusted tuna with coriander, ginger, chilli and sweet chilli, soy, pineapple and spring onion sauce
* Roasted chicken marinated in yoghurt and honey with mixed spices, chilli and coriander
* Grilled salmon with artichoke, pink peppercorn, preserved lemon and parsley salsa
* Smoked bacon quiche with sautéed leeks, parmesan and thyme
* Roasted tomato quiche with caramelised onion, goat cheese and thyme
Bold, herbaceous flavours with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences, my eyes feasted on the mounds of fresh salads.
Packages of bread sticks and Madeleines, and tubs of roasted spicy nuts cluttered the register as impulse purchases.
Shelves along the short set of stairs were laden with trays of produce, bottles of olive oil, jars of house made sauces and loaves of bread.
Downstairs was an all-white dining room with a communal table and Panton chairs, and an espresso nook. A grand mirror the size of the back wall created an optical illusion that widened and brightened the basement.
Pots of jams and cubes of butter were on a rustic wooden board.
I sipped a coffee.
And nibbled on a decadent chocolate and hazelnut brownie.
I did not order any salads because I had a special lunch booked at The Ledbury but my morning tea at Ottolenghi was splendid!
This is a belated final post of my trip home in November. It’s been just over three months since I was in Australia and in that time we’ve had our first full winter in Seattle. There’s been plenty of rain, snow, sleet, wind and hail. But there have also been enough glorious days to sustain us through the darkest and wettest of the Pacific Northwest season. Sydney has suffered a drenched summer with mild temperatures and we experienced the prelude during our two weeks there. Thankfully our last day in Sydney was a lovely souvenir, a sundress and bare limbs day.
We walked to The Star in the afternoon to complete number five.
We have been loyal patrons at Adriano Zumbo since it opened in 2007. His sweet treats have special meaning for us as the talented and passionate pâtissier made our wedding cake (croquembouche) and desserts (macarons in four flavours). The original Balmain patisserie is a narrow room with a glass counter displaying his whimsical creations where the queue was regularly out on the footpath. He has since expanded to several locations and the one at The Star greeted us with a radiant neon pink sign.
The concept store has a patisserie on the left and a dessert train on the right which was closed on Sunday.
Each year Adriano Zumbo celebrates his birthday with Zumboron Day. This year there were sixty flavours of macarons!
A sample of each flavour was lined along the window to tempt us. Left to right: finger bun (Australian iced bread), fried chicken, and gin and tonic.
Left to right: liquorice, Margherita pizza and mandarin.
Left to right: toasted marshmallow, vanilla ecstasy and Vegemite.
The interior of the patisserie was bright and funky. Desserts in cone stands enticed passers-by, a bathtub was topped with high tea tiers and Zumbo, Adriano’s cookbook, and the table has purple shoes!
A 360 degree view of each dessert with a description card.
Ovens warmed savoury quiches, pies and sausage rolls.
Peach boxes encased seasonal macarons.
‘In case of emergency break glass’ for sugar hit!
I heart Zumbo.
The stainless steel kitchen with containers of ingredients.
Trolleys of macarons for Zumboron Day.
Man Goes Peanuts: peanut butter crunch, mango compote, mango burnt honey mousse and pain d’épices. Peanut butter and mango were a curious combination in this layered and textural dessert.
Tarte aux fruits de la passion: passionfruit curd and pâte sucrée. The passionfruit tart and opera gâteau are my favourites at Adriano Zumbo. A glossy two toned disc was studded with passionfruit seeds, a perfect balance of luscious piquancy.
We savoured our last night in Sydney with a bottle of Champagne and macarons.
Our cache of of macarons: butterscotch caramels, chocolate orange, cinnamon doughnut, coffee, pandan and coconut, passionfruit and yoghurt, rice pudding, salted butter popcorn, toasted marshmallow, and vanilla ecstasy.
These colourful jewels were a sentimental farewell to Down Under.
My beloved Sydney, I miss you dearly.
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Allan Aquila. This is not a sponsored post.
sozo (so·zo) – noun
To save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. To save a suffering one from perishing, to make well, heal, restore to health.
Sozo is an artisan winemaker that selects quality grapes from vineyards to craft their own blends. The company partners with not-for-profit organisations to distribute a portion of sales to assist those in need. Each bottle of wine has a medallion affixed to its label to indicate its contribution to Sozo’s commitment to the community. For example, ’5 lives’ is equal to five meals supplied by local food banks.
Winemaker Cheryl Barber-Jones collaborated with Chef Peter Jahnke on the wine pairings for the five course tasting menu.
The first course was pear, caramelised onion and St André tart, and Sozo Humanity Riesling. Amber and flaky, the tart had a delicate sweetness that was accentuated by the mellow Riesling.
A generous fillet of salmon perched on a mound of mushroom risotto, and Sozo Potential Pinot Noir. Averse to fish skin, I gently peeled it from the perfectly cooked flesh. Both the salmon and creamy rice was well seasoned.
The third course was duck confit with lentils, and Sozo Abundant Mourvèdre Syrah Blend. I love duck but unfortunately this was a little dry and lacked the sumptuous texture of confit meat. Traditionally coupled with Pinot Noir, the Mourvèdre Syrah was a delightful match with the game.
Abundant Mourvèdre Syrah Blend, one of four Sozo wines sampled.
The penultimate dish of braised beef with blueberry barbecue glaze, polenta and kale, and Sozo Generosity Syrah Tempranillo Blend was my favourite of the evening. Tender chunks of slow cooked beef were atop luscious polenta and wilted kale.
We concluded with an affogato. A single shot espresso and a scoop of espresso gelato was presented in a coffee cup. The espresso and vanilla ice cream are served separately in a classic affogato. The caffeine and sugar were appreciated after four diverse savoury courses that highlighted the Sozo wines.
Charmed by the smooth Riesling, Mrs W and I both purchased a bottle.
We were gifted a bag of Yemen Mocca Sanani as we exited into the crisp night.
Sozo is on the wine list of more than seventy restaurants in Seattle. Next time you dine out, consider this socially responsible winemaker!
Our French friends scheduled a weekend brunch with French acquaintances and I flippantly mentioned Café Presse. I had a moment of panic as we walked up to Capitol Hill and realised we would be sharing a meal with five French people at a French restaurant that I suggested. I was relieved when I remembered Café Presse has the same owners as Le Pichet.
At the intersection of 12th, Union and Madison, our group huddled in the crowded entrance as we waited for a table. With an exposed brick wall, skylights and a high ceiling, the dining room and bar was buzzing with energy. I scanned the diverse collection of publications on the newsstand and introductions were made.
We followed the maître d’ through to the back and were seated in the corner. The milky sky was surprisingly bright and we appreciated the natural light. A sideboard was laden with coffee and wine accoutrements.
We shuffled along the wooden bench as the tattooed and ringed waiter took our beverage orders. My Caffé Vita mocha was prettily decorated with a rosetta.
My favourite question of the menu was ‘how do you pronounce that’! I considered the pain au chocolat à l’ancienne (bittersweet chocolate melted on baguette) to nibble on while we perused the menu but I refrained. We sampled the assiette de charcuterie, a plate of country ham, sausage, terrine, rillettes and tongue with cornichons and bread.
We each ordered the croque madame or croque monsieur, some with a side of pommes frites. Topped with a glossy sunny side up egg, the sandwich of baked ham, Gruyère and béchamel bubbled and blistered. The viscous yolk and just set egg white tempered the saltiness of the meat and cheese layers. It was hearty French fare!
We whiled away the afternoon, our expat conversations interspersed with French.
The weekend was slick with rain. We revelled in the precipitation after a week of snow, sleet, hail, ice, slush and sub zero Celsius temperatures. Salt and pepper mounds of ice were the melting remnants of ‘snow-mageddon, snow-pocaplyse, Western Washington winter walloping’.
We splashed up to Capitol Hill for brunch. Oddfellows Café was a convenient location for our hobbling friend on crutches.
Two chalkboards welcomed us as we shook off the raindrops. Bright and spacious, the café was buzzing with Seattleites sharing snow experiences.
I finally read the chalkboard, and realised we were blocking the entrance and not waiting to be seated. I queued to order while Mr S searched for a table. The menu was categorised into morning, salads, plates and sandwiches.
Scones, cookies, muffins, cakes and quiches were displayed at the counter to tempt patrons.
Adjacent to the counter was a wall pinned with Oddfellows Café branded merchandise. Below was a sideboard for tea and coffee condiments.
We huddled together at a table by the window and door. Every time it was opened, a gust of wind chilled the cosiness.
A salvaged star spangled banner fluttered proudly at the front alcove.
A cute posy of flowers in my favourite colour.
At a café or for take-away, Australian baristas love latte art. I appreciate the quality of coffees in Seattle but I’ve missed the rosetta adorned cups!
I selected the breakfast panini. Fried eggs, rashers of crispy bacon, slices of tomato and molten Provolone were sandwiched between griddled bread and served with a side of salad greens. The yolk oozed as I cut the panini in half and it was a hearty breakfast.
I neglected to request the Hollandaise sauce separately and the eggs Benedict was drowning in a lemon pool. A thick piece of country ham cushioned the perfectly poached eggs.
Ms C chose a healthy fruit salad with Greek yoghurt, and baguette with butter and jam. The jam was a confounding raspberry syrup but the bread was fresh and crusty.
A postcard of a vintage black and white portrait of regal gentlemen accompanied the bill.
Oddfellows is a deservedly popular neighbourhood café!
I dislike mornings. With enough sleep, I still wake up in a fog. I perfected a silent routine in Sydney with the singular goal of hugging a cup of coffee at my work desk. I breathed in the caffeine aroma and slowly sipped the warm bittersweet liquid. A skim mocha was prerequisite to my human interactions.
I have weened myself off caffeine since moving to Seattle. My two, three cups a week are less functional and more enjoyment. And I indulged in one nearly every day we were in Whistler. Resting indoors with a hot beverage while snow flurries fluttered by the window were idyllic, a romanticised white Christmas for a Southern Hemisphere native.
The Starbucks near our hotel was crowded one afternoon and we crossed into a laneway to the provocatively named Hot Buns Bakery.
A cosy café with optimistic al fresco tables and chairs under an awning, Hot Buns Bakery is open for breakfast and lunch.
Above the entrance was a risqué surfboard adorned with the eponymous ’hot buns’.
Vintage skis and boots dangled from the ceiling.
Framed sepia portraits lined the walls and the dining room was marked with a manual parking meter.
Sweet and savoury crêpes, panini, soups and pastries were on the menu.
A frothy cup of Lavazza was welcomed.
We shared a cinnamon bun, a Hot Buns Bakery specialty. A sticky scroll of dense dough swirled with a gritty cinnamon paste and glazed, it was a delightful sweet treat.
I spotted a banana Nutella crêpe at the next table and it was a decadent snack. Conveniently located in Whistler Village, Hot Buns Bakery was a pleasant retreat after several hours on the slopes.