V-day's MY DAY

This is for those lucky enough to believe in Valentine's day and celebrate it too!
Also for those who also forgot until today that it’s two days from now.
Here are a few things you can pull out and still impress…
with increasing difficulty, starting with the least time/effort required
BOY ARE YOU LUCKY, I made it reallll easy  (click photos for links to buy)

 

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No. 1
Cake Cafe does room service, in your own room! 
This is absolutely genius, for those like me, who do not want to brave the weekend crowds for brunch, there is just something sane about having brunch at home.  They cater to both veggies & non veggies but this does take the planning of one-day’s foresight and the click of a button.
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No. 2
Get a thoughtful card.
There are a few places in town like Fallon & Byrne and Irish Design shop that sell Irish made cards.  However, if you want to be very creative someone in our family takes pictures of great cards and sends them to us on the day via iMessage!  well lucky me, or lucky YOU, i’ve adopted this practice. (But honestly, support the independent creatives that are making these cool Irish cards!)
 

Photo: Bean and Goose Facebook

No. 3 
This Irish chocolatier is creating quite the movement.  S & I particularly love the milk chocolate bar with sea salt.  But just the other day I tasted the champagne truffle and my oh my, I will gladly receive a whole box of these.
They will be at the Temple Bar Market on the day, Saturday the 14th!
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No. 4
Macarons 
There are two easy stops to pick up these french macarons, Laudurée in Brown Thomas or Cocoa Atelier on Drury street.  Why's this romantic?  I’m not sure if it’s because they are a labour of love, they originate from France (of course Paris is romantic), or the fact that they are pastel and lovely that these little sweets will make you GOLDEN!
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No. 5 
Succulents from |the garden|
Why not get something a bit longer lasting?  These are so easy to tend to and they live forever. These little guys are known for storing water in their leaves, so as long as you don't over water they are the perfect alternative. However, the garden bouquets are also absolutely stunning!
 
While i’m aware that this has been almost an entirely sexist post geared towards guys, getting things for girls, i’m pretty sure that you guys can appreciate almost every one of these things on the list.  

ONE LAST THING:

my wish list is this pineapple macaron box & these cute heart cookies that'll be coming in my breakfast in bed from cake cafe!

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5 great reads if you like Food or Coffee!

foodbooks  

[1] Food & Travel Summer edition

Great visuals and inspiring recipes.  I have been reading it all summer and thumb through it occasionally for more inspiration.  I don't buy a lot of magazines but this has been a game changer for me.  You'll see some of the recipes here.

 

[2] My Berlin Kitchen (Weiss) 

I picked this up at the Food Bloggers Conference in London.  It's a story of how Luisa, blogger the Wednesday Chef, leaves her life in New York to forge a new life in Berlin.  It's a personal chronical interspersed with a collection of recipes.  Touted the "new Julie & Julia".

 

[3] The Virtues of the Table (Baggini) 

Catherine Cleary lead a panel discussion with Catherine Fulvio & Julian Baggini during the Dublin Literary Festival, where I learned of the book. Julian is a philosopher focused on food.  It challenges our understanding of labels on food.  Do ethical labels even mean anything?

In the book he talks about the ‘holy trinity’ of of food right now S/O/L - the idea of seasonal, organic, and local.  The meaning behind the terms and why we all strive to eat this way.  We touched on the idea of food commodities and supply chains, and how they loosely resemble old-times slavery.

Is local definitely better? Is it more sustainable, less impact on the earth? Does it necessarily taste better? Trust me, we can’t grow coffee here in Ireland, not well. But the book is has poignant descriptors of food, almost every other sentence is a quote, it’s a book of quotes.

 

[4] The Coffee Paradox (Daviron & Ponte)

is an in-depth and well-researched analysis of coffee from farm to consumer. If you are looking for a book to engage you in a critical analysis of that brown stuff that 2.25 billion cups are filled with each day (as per 1999).  It will give you an understanding of global value chains that you never wanted, but also will explain the inequalities in the coffee industry and challenge you to question what it is you are consuming.  Also, touches on the ever-elusive quality topic.  I will be sharing a few things I have understood through my reading and expert ‘coffee-drinking’, while working in speciality coffee.

 

[5] Swindled - a book on the history of food adulteration (Wilson) 

It talks about history of food fraud and labelling, including roasting fake beans for coffee and manufacturing fake tea with elder and sloe leaves. The book traces fraud back to the rapid urbanisation of Britain, creating distance between food producers and consumers.  Essentially, what we know as lengthening the supply chain.

"Adulteration thrives when trade operates in large and impersonal chains. In a rural setting, swindling is a risky business. If you are the village milkman, the chain between you and your customers is very short: you know them all by name because they are your neighbours.  If you start watering down your milk, the chances are the word will soon get out and you will be ostracised" 

 

Irish Barista Championships #IBC #loveCOFFEE

IMG_6217-Edit Hello there, friends & readers.  Haven't said much lately, but this week I visited the CATEX food catering expo here in Dublin.  Aside from being one of the largest food and catering exhibitions; showcasing catering equipment, food paraphernalia, suppliers and other food safety geekery; the best part about it was that one the events hosted within the expansive food show was the Irish Barista Championships (#IBC).

My experience in Dublin has been shaped mostly around coffee and food- Just the way I like it.  Within three weeks of my arrival, I was lucky enough to be offered a job at 3FE.   I have been learning and experiencing the specialty coffee industry… and hopefully somehow adding to it.  It has been an invaluable experience getting to know new friends and foraging for adventures.  It's really weird, some days I have to pinch myself to be reminded that this reality is true, and that I have the privilege to work in the 'thick of it' - experience coffee legacies in the making!  I know, I love to be dramatic.  But honestly, I do feel like I have a great opportunity to see the day to day goings-on of one of the (in my humble opinion) leading coffee shops in Europe.

Just a quick blog, and celebration of victories - Congratulations to Colin, Bruno, Vinicius and all the competitors. Enjoy.

 

cafe hunt Vancouver - Innocent Coffee, 1340 W 4th Ave

Every time I have the opportunity to spend some time in Vancouver, I drag S to every caffe in what he must think is hells half acre. During the obligatory trip to Granville island, I have tried to visit Origins Coffee Roasters to see what they're all about.  Alas, they are always closed on weekends, so the best I can do is a photo.  (but if you are looking to TRY their coffee...)

There's a cafe called Innocent Coffee.  It's located in a quaint cottage-styled stand-alone building.  The owners, a brother-sister pair, busied themselves preparing all the drinks and bites.  I snapped a few quick photos on my phone.

I spoke briefly with the owner, she mentioned that she had worked with Origins, which is where her experience and love for coffee originates.

Pastries and bites are prepared by her brother, who was at Wicked cafe previously, building on some definite skills in creating yummy treats.

The interior is minimalist.  The walls are washed white and the upper floor (AKA the Upper Room) is a studio art gallery and they feature different works on a month-to-month basis.   Homey downstairs contrasts the Upper Room, bare walls accented by the conversation pieces; it's more welcoming to thoughts and introspection than socializing, partly due to its openness and simplicity.  There is limited space for comfy chilling on the main level, but it is a great concept! I am loving the artisan feel to this place.

Coffee

They prepare all espresso drinks on the La marrzocco, brewed coffees are done on a pseudo Pourover bar. I had an espresso macchiato and a lavender shortbread.  The shot wasbold, slightly bitter/astringent.  But, if i remember correctly, S had a better one.  (This always happens!)

Service: Love coffee, Love art.  Hustling and bustling between the two owners, they are busy!

Likelihood to return: I would return to chill.

Food/Coffee: Food 4/5  Coffee 3.5/5

Chillness: 4 chill chairs out of 5, there is a space for each of your moods. great place to enjoy your caffeine

 

  Innocent Coffee on Urbanspoon

long ago, there was a barjam

IMG_1954 So, it's been months since I went to this event but I would like to talk about it briefly because it great fun! I don't know if you've been to a barista jam before, but this was the first one that I finally made it out to; been meaning to go for years.

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It was all the greatest things put together! Friends, cool Coffee, and great cause! I love the idea of doing something to bring encouragement for people to support a cause. It's like this; make an event of something you usually would love doing but to make it even better, add LIFE! - talk about value added. (Add Life, as in do it for a cause)- namely, Coffee Kids and The Mustard Seed.

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This barjam was purely a pouring contest. We learned a bit about the latte art 'throw-down' and just kinda hung out and enjoyed some good eats.

Throwing down: is when you pour some awesome art.

This evening, saw a lot of the coffee community out from all the different cafes in the area.  Even had some out of towners, like transcend coffee, Edmonton.

Upcoming: Prairies Regional Barista Championsip, August 7, 2010

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