Monday, September 21, 2009

Urban Standard Coffee Shop (Primavera Beans)

Have you ever driven a 3 cylinder car? You know the ford escort that your parents keep in the driveway for you to drive when you come home for the holidays. The car that starts go shake at about 75 and just won't peel out even though you drive it like a 911 Porsche carera. Well I've gotta say that urban standard is very similar to four barrel coffee. The beans were roasted only 4 days ago by Primavera Roasters which is only a few miles down the road. They brew the coffee via French press, which is why I think there is the four barrelish resemblance. The coffee had flavor but I feel it might have been left in the press a bit to long, hence the muddiness. Overall the shop was super cool and the strawberry cupcake with frosting was inhaled faster than snoop dogg hot boxing a blunt.

Stone Cellar Chardonnay – Year Unknown


You know how watching a romantic comedy on a plane somehow makes it seem way better than it really is? Well it’s not that good. But it’s all about availability right? My point is that this wine is nothing to write home about, unless you still write letters home and well, that’s a different story. It’s an off-shoot of Beringer, which like a lot of California wineries encompass a very large gamut as far as quality goes. They produce a lot of wine and have some really great middle of the road wines, and they also supply the US Airways not-so-friendly staff with their hooch. Definitely not the best white I’ve had on a plane, but since I didn’t have a choice this 60 point becomes a 90 point cruising at 35,000 feet. Now only if they’d start that movie.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blue Bottle Koratie Natural

Were you ever lucky enough to get the last of something? It's always sweeter. Kinda like when I got the last piece of Pecan Pie at thanksgiving or the last tickle-me-elmo in the United States (not sure why I wanted it, but I got the last one.) Even getting someone's last piece of gum is good, after the awarkward "are you sure you don't mind" banter goes on for a bit. Well I can add to that glorious list, with the Koratie Natural! I got the last bag of the last batch that Blue Bottle's ever going to roast. I didn't get the scoop on why they're discontinuing the brew, but I'm glad I got to taste it before it was gone. This brew is very manly. It's like a man with a beard and a nice flannel, that's actually a teddy-bear on the inside. It puts up a good front with it's strong deep smell, but it's really tasty and easy to drink when you open it up. I do have to say as far as flavors go, it's not my favorite but this is definately a great coffee. It's not to crazy with flavor so I see how it could be a good house brew for a hip little breakfast joint.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2007 Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay

With the first rain of the season in Peurto Vallarta comes tons of moths. Also what comes with the first rain ( If your staying at Villa Los Arcos ) is a Hand-Rolled Mexican Cigar paired with the Diablo Chilean Chardonnay. This wine paired very nicely with the Cigar, not to buttery and the fruit stood up to the cigar and complimented it nicely. Puffin on a fatty cigar helps the street cred of this wine... A great "drinking" Chardonnay, not the best, but I wasn't disappointed. Have it on a hot day and enjoy your life. Not sure how many pesos Alfonso dropped to pick up this bottle, but in the States it looks like you can pick up a bottle for under $10.

mute moth. a very short film. video

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2002 Kendall Jackson Zinfandel

Its a tough choice when trying to tell the cooks what kind of wine to get if you haven't been to the store to know the selection. So for this dinner I said get me some Zinfandel from another country. Alfonso brought back the 2002 Kendal Jackson Zinfandel, from California. If your in Mexico I guess the US is technically another country.... I have to say it paired perfectly with the Chicken Mole (molee, molee, molee......mole), which is a sauce made of chocolate and peppers. Chewy made the perfect meal and this Zinfandel proved to be the perfect wine and the whole group was really pleased with how well it went, I started a slow clap and then everyone applauded (Insert loud obnoxious laughing).

I've discovered it's hard to drink wine in Mexico. Well, red wine at least. It's not like the Bay Area where the temperature is moderate and pretty much caters to any type of drinking. There's a reason people drink gallons of Tecate and pitchers of Margaritas. Because it's hot!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Aero Mexicana

One sip wonder.
It's either amazing and it's love at first sip or it's a small espresso from that quirky cafe on your European cafe, or it sucks. And it's a wonder why they serve such horrible coffee on Aero Mexico. They serve dos equis, tequila shots and even a meal, so why does the brew taste like an el gato en los pantalones? I guess it makes some sense, airlines are cutting back and they only send the good stuff to the states. I couldn't get any info on the type of coffee but it could be appropriately named as meurtes de perro . Hopefully I'll find some dankness on our Mexican extravaganza vacation for two.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

2006 Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel

Have you ever heard the term Jammy? I know it's dumb and sounds like a name you'd call your Maw Maw, but I gotta say this Sonoma County is a Jammy friend of mine. It's a really solid Zin that paired well with a spicy Lentil soup. A mostly simple wine with some nice spiciness on the back end. Retailing for $14.99 at BevMo, it's a little steep for an everyday type wine (which is how I'd classify this wine) My suggestion would be to definitely pick this up if it's a 5 cent sale, If not, I'd say pick up something a little cheaper for the everyday.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Capricorn Dark Guatemala

Have you ever been down to the Ghirardelli store down by the wharf? You know the one where you go to eat a huge bowl of ice cream and you leave with sticky hands and diarrhea. I know what your thinking. "Yeah!! why do I always leave with sticky hands and diarrhea?" Well this coffee will bring you back to that magical place without the diarrhea, hopefully. It reminds me of the dark chocolate free sample that you get from the Ghirardelli woman standing with a full bag of already opened chocolates. Like it's really that hard to open the chocolates yourself. They don't want you to wait another second before you devour the little dark chocolate. To put the icing on the cake a friend bought me the bag of beans making them the same price as a free chocolate but with way more benefits. I love dark brews and I absolutely loved this Capricorn roast.

Van Ruiten Ancient Vine Carignane 2005


Riddle: It's got white make-up on, but dressed in all black. It's light, but somehow very dark. Answer: The girl that checked us out at whole foods and this wine. Kinda scary I know, but don't be scared. The VR Carignane will treat you right, just make sure to have a few friends around to finish the bottle because the second day this wine looses the brightness and just becomes a very dark wine without the interestingness. This '05 produced in Lodi, CA made for a great pairing with a white pizza and also was great on it's own. I don't often drink Carignane's but I would strongly consider throwing this one in the rotation. Overall a really great wine. I think it's winning some awards as well. Go check it out.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ritual IHTIERI KETI ARA SUMATRA


It's late on a Monday night and you realize that all the beans have run out and a grumpy morning is in your future, well my friend there is still hope yet. Whole Foods sells this variation of Ritual coffee that will put a pep in your step. This is one of those coffee's that make me miss sitting at a truck stop late at night talking with my friends about nothing important, but everything that is good in life. IKAS is a really beefy brew which is right up my alley. I've been dripping the brew and getting some really good results, unlike with the Chapadao from earlier. I think my little wooden spoon to stir the drip is the magic wand. If you don't have a little wooden spoon you should rush to the little wooden spoon store and pick one up. But seriously I would definitely get the coffee again. Way to go Ritual for keeping the fresh beans on the shelf. I picked these up on the 20th, so 5 days after being roasted is really good for the grocery store. Keep drinking the strong stuff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2004 VAN RUITEN VINEYARDS CAB-SHIRAZ

I pulled this bottle out of the new and improved "wine cabinet" in our new apartment to find a pretty horrid looking stuffy label. I'm bad about choosing things based on the packaging... Anyways, at first sip the wine was simple and flavorful. I would consider it to be on the lighter side of full bodied wines, a good "drinking" wine. I say this because when paired with meats, it didn't really hold up at all. The label said that it would pair well with most meats, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Does not pair well with Steak. The bottle did not specify but I could guarantee this was like a 60% Shiraz 40% Cab because of it's splashiness factor. Even though it didn't go with the steak (not the wines fault) I really enjoyed the wine and am looking forward to finishing the bottle. I'd like to try this again with a soup or some light pasta, probably a better combo. Retails for around $15.99.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blue Bottle Misty Valley


Have you ever had a blueberry cobbler? Not just any cobbler, but one that your Maw-Maw made especially for you and then your Paw-Paw put some Breyers' Vanilla on top and then you sat around and talked about the good ole' days and those fish that they never really caught? Me neither. But when I tried the Misty Valley it came real close to what that would feel like. When I asked the young lady at the Mint Plaza Blue Bottle what would be a good coffee to drip she stumbled through several options asking about my likes and dislikes, and then she got a twinkle in her eye. "Misty Valley, Misty Valley, you have to try the Misty Valley it's one of our new blends" I took that excitement as a really good sign, I know that look when I'm telling someone about a coffee I really like, and she definitely had it. Blueberries is the first thing that comes to mind when you take a whiff of these beans. It's really amazing how the fragrance of the beans draw you in to "just one more cup." I found myself sniffing the mug like I would a deep purple Cabernet, Not quite the same..... As the week went on I took note of how the beans were changing with the "older" they got. And I have to say you can really tell a difference. I first had these Beans two days after they were roasted and they were amazing, I mean really amazing. Then I had a few beans left and I made a drip at work about a week later and the flavor had dimished extremely. I still can't believe most coffee shops are serving beans that were roasted weeks, and some even months ago. Those shops are missing the point. Misty Valley gets it and you should get some if it. Buy this blend

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2006 Shiloh Road Cabernet Sauvignon

House Party. House Boat. House of Pain. House Arrest. House of Mouse. House the TV show. Notice a theme here? How about House. How about House Wine. How about my new House Wine is the Shiloh Road Cab. This stuff is money. Literally, BevMo raised the price from 8.99 to 15.99 during the 5 cent sale. This wine is really balanced and pairs well with just about anything as well as being a great wine completely by itself. I would recommend this to anyone looking to get a wine for someone who normally doesn't drink wine, or as "we're going to someone's house and should bring some wine" type of deal. I'm getting thirsty.... How about you come over and bring some Shiloh Road. We'll have fun and you can help move furniture.

Ritual CHAPADAO DE FERRO Brasil

I tried everything to make this coffee taste as good as possible. I watched the Ritual sponsored "How To French Press" tutorial on YouTube. I re-referenced my Blue Bottle method of French Pressing. Nothing Worked. I seriously tried everything, not wanting to believe this was just an average coffee. This blend was definitely not horrible but it wasn't anything special either. I kept finding myself making it stronger and stronger looking to pull some flavor out, but it just wasn't happening. This blend was recommended to me by the barista specifically for french pressing, but maybe I should have tried dripping this blend.... Ritual I haven't given up on you. I'll be back, everyone deserves a second chance.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

BYOBB (Bring Your Own Bargain Bottle) Wine Tasting

So BeansandGrapes hosted the first Official Wine tasting last Saturday. We had a blast. ( wait, I can't remember if we did or not.) Joke, we had a good time and thanks to everyone for coming! Since Amanda and I got a new place last week (woop woop) we'll for sure up the scale of these parties in the future, with thousands of thirsty tasters adding to the results.So here's how it was set up:
Each person brings a white or red wine. Since we had all couples this was pretty easy to delegate, making sure we had the same amount of each. One of the wines had to be no more than $15.99, and the other wine had to be $8.99 or under. Since these are pretty common price ranges there were several options. Making sure we didn't have any duplicates I had the party goers text or call and let me know what they got, to ensure no duplications. We refrigerated the whites to get them to the right tempature and placed the wines in brown bags with numbers on them. We tasted each and scored on a scale from 1-100. This proved to not be a good idea on my part, since everyone had a different interpretation of the scale. Next time it will be 50-100 like the scoring judges use. Here's a good reference. wine scale.We also had people try to guess the grape. And since we didn't go from lightest to darkest it made it interesting to say the least. I think next time we'll reign in the variations and hone in on one type of wine. We did have one party animal think a Cab was a white. HAHA!! This still makes me laugh.

So here's how the wines scored within our group.1. Wildhurst Chardonnay 2006 - $15.992. Round Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 California - $8.99
3. Cellar No. 8 Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 California - $8.99
4. Chateau d'Aigueville Cot-s-du-Rhone 2006 France - $6.99
5. Contrada Sauvignon Blanc 2008 California - $11.99
6. Castle Rock Chardonnay 2007 California - $17.99

One of my favorites was the Chateau d'Aigueville Cot-s-du-Rhone - this wine was my favorite. It scored pretty low since it was at least one persons least favorite. I normally like beefier wines, but this wine was really drinkable and jammy. (I know that Angela disagrees, but that's the fun of it) I gave this wine a 95 on my scale, this wine being my favorite. Comparing my scale to the wine scale above I would have given this wine a 90.

Overall, we had a great time and I learned a few things to help make the next tasting more accurate. I recommend doing a tasting, it's a great way to slow down and enjoy talking with friends.

We also got crazy and tried the dump bucket. It wasn't horrible. I'd score it a 60.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Amercia's Best Coffee - House Chicory blend (Kate's Kitchen)

Sorry I know this picture is horrible, just think of it as documentary style.

You never know what your going to get when you go to a place like this, coffee wise. The food is great and always has a dear place in my heart since it's Southern Style Comfort Food. Unfortunately good southern food usually doesn't mean good coffee, unless your at Maw Maw's house. After hopping on the early morning 22 down to Kate's I needed some brew to wake me up. Apartment hunting is not fun to do without a pick-me-up. The America's Best Coffee was just what I needed. I'd have to say it was a great cup. They were brewing the Special House Chicory blend. It was refreshing to taste the chicory, It made me feel old, it made me feel weathered, and most of all it made for a great conversation cup of coffee. After several cups the Oatmeal Pancakes with Bananas and Pecans arrived to seal the deal. It's always easy to have another cup with Pancakes. I was really surprised at how good this coffee was. Go to Kate's and have some coffee. Weekday mornings they have a breakfast special with coffee for $5.50

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2007 Gruet Chardonnay

When I think of New Mexico, I think of many things; Hot Air Balloons, New Mexicans, and A&W/Long John silvers Combo Restaurants, the very last thing I think of is Wine. Suited with a pixelated label and a lowly table wine description, GRUET Chardonnay cut through the stereotype with a pretty solid wine that had a good blend of Butteryness and Crispness. This wine didn't have much of a bouquet, but tasted like it had one. It paired well with some Orecchiette and Butternut Squash pasta. It was on the 5 cent sale at BevMo. Unfortunately BevMo has been jacking up there prices for the 5 cent sale. Not Cool. Not Cool. I wouldn't buy this wine again, keep trying new wines!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Peet's on Fillmore

Peet,
I'm sorry, I know it's been awkward... But I'm glad we can be on speaking terms again. For a while it was rough, well with you brewing burnt a$$ coffee and all. But the Columbia roast did me right this morning, and actually was yumm. Mellow but stout and no bad aftertaste. If only I could of found out when the beans were roasted.... Your cashier had other things on her mind, like the economy and what shoes to wear to that hoochie club tonight. See you soon. Maybe.

Your pal,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blue Bottle Bella Donovan

So before work I headed down to the nearest coffee shop that served Blue Bottle. It happened to be Boxed Foods. It's a pretty good sandwich and salad lunch place in the financial district. Right at the counter I see mini dough nuts that look very tasty (ended up not being tasty). I order a drip and so does my friend Tim. I inquire about the beans and the guy is actually knowledgeable about the beans and seems to know what he's doing. I've had some bad experiences in the past with restaurants reproducing the Dankness of the Blue Bottle. Boxed Foods being one of them, and Farmer Brown being the other. (Farmer Brown mad me sad, on my birthday, that's just not right. ) But everyone deserves a second chance. So I carefully observe his methods. When drip opened (the Blue Bottle Kiosk at my church) I went to train with the peeps that were going to be running it, so I know a thing or two about how to prepare the good stuff. He's showing some care and he's filling me in about the roasting date, which is always a good sign. At first sip I was very surprised at how good it was. The coffee was full of nutty, bold goodness, that was not burnt at all and had a mellow after taste. A very drinkable blend that drips very well. A Success!! And I made a coffee friend, double success. Boxed Foods also has a buy 4 get your 5th free punch card, which will definitely be getting some use.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

2006 Ravenswood Zinfandel Amador County

"Unique New York. Unique New York. " ~ Ron Burgundy

This is a Zinfandel like I've never tried before. Not your normal Zin for sure.
I always get cracked up at people who write descriptions for wine. It could be a fun job, you just cram as many adjectives as you can into a sentence and make it either positive or negative, and you've got a wine description. "Herbacious-Honey Sweat with a Jammy on the nose finish" You get the point. This wine was described as being like a cherry cola. I have no problem with cherry cola, in fact I'd drink some over most things, but as a wine description? It had me puzzled. The crazy thing is that when I had the first pour, that's exactly what it tasted like. Maybe it was because I heard that it tasted like cherry cola, maybe because it actually tasted like cherry cola. Nonetheless It was good, and fun to drink. Another perk about this wine is that it's not that pricey coming in at about $15. I'd say drink this wine if your looking to mix it up.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Blue Bottle Bittersweet


I've always been skeptical about Bittersweet. Maybe it's because most of the time I go in I get a few turned up noses and a weird crowd. This time was different, I was going to pick up some beans for the week. (The Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate at this place is pretty dank though, not gonna lie.) So I walk in and the guy behind the counter is super nice and he actually knows his coffee. The only thing they had out on the counter was Giant Steps. (if you read my earlier post, not my favorite bean) So I ask if there are any other roasts, and he pulls out a bag of the bittersweet blend. I'm skeptical from the start but I explain that I'm gonna French Press and he says this would be perfect. He was right. There are several complicated and hard ways to please my wife, but an easy way is to make this Bittersweet blend every morning before work. I'm a fan as well. This is a surprisingly beefy blend. It's a blend of Guatemalan and Chiapas. I had this just about everyday this week and I would consider switching to this blend. It's very good, indeed. The beans were Roasted on March 1st. A half pound at Bittersweet will cost you $8.95.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

High Point Coffee


I attended a really fun wedding last weekend and was on the hunt for the good coffee and wine in town, I didn't so much find any good wine.... But I did however find some good local brew in High Point Coffee. The beans were roasted longer ago than I'd have liked, but hey what can you do. They were roasted on the 18th of February, but at least they let you know. Most chains will almost never have the roasting date in view. HMMM.... I wonder why? This brew was solid, I could taste the roast and it wasn't too fruity or watered down. I asked for a mug because I liked the logo and thought it would be a good souvenir. The workers told me they were out, but then whispered over to me "How badly do you want one?" Now I wasn't just dying for one, but I thought it was really funny the way the guy treated the situation. "I've got some in the back, if you can wait a minute" I couldn't wait a minute but did find that encounter entertaining. Overall, I would say this was a solid cup of coffee, and if I was in Oxford, MS again (not sure why I would be back there..) I would go there and buy one of there mugs that they were out of when I was there.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blue Bottle Giant Steps

First thought, Paul Bunyan. This brew is BIG. Giant Steps is definitely named appropriately. This coffee will wake you up, BIG. A great choice for those who like to put Milk and Sugar in their coffee, seeing as how it is seriously strong. I take mine black and it's a little too strong for me and a bit bitter. If I went back tomorrow and the Mint Plaza location was serving this again, I wouldn't get it, I would go for a savory latte. No Giants for me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2006 Tin Roof Chardonnay



"Nothing but Money, is sweeter than Honey" ~Ben Franklin

And Nothing is Honey like this tin roof chardonnay. At first sniff I knew I was going to really dig this wine. My sniffer did not let me down, this wine has a great effervescence paired with a smooth drinkabilty all wrapped up with a long honeysuckle finish. It made me think of playing out in my Grandmother's yard. I drank this wine over two nights with my wife and a friend, and it stayed great the second time we opened the wine. This wine is a great value, coming in at a whopping $9 from BevMo. I'll be buying plenty more of this wine. I can't think of a better weeknight wine than this tin roof for $9. BUY THIS WINE!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2006 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley


I got a call last Friday night from my wife saying she was at the Press Club, a new Wine Tasting spot in Downtown SF. I have to say my excitement level was high, having heard great things about the mysterious cave-like venue. My palate was fresh and ready for some tasty wines. I was in luck. I picked their top-of-the-line Chardonnay, coming in at $8 a taste it was a little pricey. The flavor was spectacular, not to oakey but not to clean either it was a perfect mix, not to mention one the best finishes I've had on a Chardonnay. The finish on this wine was long and tasty. Seriously though the Almond Butter finish really did last at least two minutes. I loved this wine and I loved the Press Club. I'll see you all there soon! Retails for around $70.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Blue Bottle Mexican Nayarita



Unexpected long line at Mint Plaza Locale on a Friday morning at 8:45...


This was one of the best cups of coffee I've had in a really long time. The coffee had a tons of flavor, no bitterness, and overall the coffee was a complex cup of joe. The beans were locally roasted in Oakland on the 16th of this month. For my first time trying the Nayarita, I gotta say that I'll be requesting this the next time I stop by my local Blue Bottle. Now, I'm a purist when it comes to coffee so even though I had to run to work, I didn't want to put on the plastic lid, because to me it really does taste like plastic. So with my burning hand (forgot to get a sleeve) and tasty coffee, I sloshed through the tourists and street peeps' to my job. By this time I still had a masterpiece in a cup, but it was cold.... So what did I do? I made some Iced coffee adding some Ice (Duh) and a little milk and sugar. Walah! A new creation to help me get through the morning. Do try the Mexican Nayarita, even if the name sounds like a virus you'd get on a fishing trip to the Gulf, It'll be worth it I promise.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2008 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

REVISITED. After I told everyone to go buy this wine immediately, I did it myself. I could only find a 2008, and to my disappointment it wasn't the same. The flavors weren't developed and it gave me an extremely bad headache after only two small glasses. I have to admit at first I had the wine too cold, since it wasn't refrigerated in Safeway, I popped it in the freezer and forgot about it for a while. Even after letting it warm down to optimal temperature, the flavors just weren't there. The Gummy Bears were non-existent and the party was over.

2007 Beyerskloof Pinotage

Inky and earthy, this wine was very intriguing, begging for me to drink more. A friend from South Africa brought this South African beauty to work. A blend between the Pinot Noir and Hermitage grapes, this wine was overall very interesting and drinkable to the MAX. If you can find this wine locally, pick up a bottle and enjoy with friends.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Four Barrel Coffee

















I forgot my flannel shirt today when I went into this mission spot. I guess they reward you with a job if you have yours on.... The flannel was fitting though, The coffee was dark and tasty and I pictured loggers stopping in to fill there Stanley Coffee Thermos. It was like an Unfiltered Hefeweizen. I think I might have gotten the end of the press, because it reminded me of the last cup of a French Press. The Flanneled guys here do in fact French Press the freshly grounded coffee, but then they put the coffee in a canister and dispense from there. The space is really nice and if go before 9 you pretty much have your pick of seats.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2005 Ravenswood Syrah Sonoma County

I think this will be the first negative posting about a wine. Having recently taken the Simi tour I finally put an end to the Shiraz-Syrah debate. It's genetically the same grape. I was interested to try one since it was fresh on my mind. This bottle was a dud. I would not recommend buying this wine. There are hundreds of other wines in this price range that would be far superior. My reasoning is that this wine was pretty plain and weak. Not much flavor paired with a watery feel made for an ehhhh.... response. I'll post a good Syrah in the days to come. For now drink some Kim Crawford or a Ravenswood Zin. Retails for $14.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2007 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc


This wine is simple but really fun to drink. It has plenty of gummy bear flavors that keep you guessing the fruit that it tastes like. Nor that I really pay attention to wine ratings, but this wine got 91 pts (out of 100).Retailing for around $14 (at BevMo), I'd say DRINK THIS WINE! In fact I'm going to go get some for myself today.

cora's coffee shop



















This is a cool little shop on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, Ca. When I first walked in the silvery Illy cans drew disappointment. Now I don't know what it is about Illy that turns me off, somewhere along the line I've gotten the perception that they suck. Maybe it's because a lot of small time cafes tout that they proudly serve Illy, and there coffee is always burnt and horrible. So this was my expectation while walking in to cora's. At first sip, It's in a category I'll call a Cracker Barrel coffee. Light and easy to throw back a few cups (which definitely has it's occasion). But as I got my food, the coffee really paired nicely with toast and butter, bringing out some good flavors. The good news is it was a brew that didn't get bitter when it gets cooler. For me that's what sets a good coffee apart from a coffee that's pretending to be good. What does the coffee taste like when it's not blazing hot, or a little less than warm for that matter. So I have to give the Illy coffee by cora's coffee shop props, it proved to be a good cup when it was all said and done. As far as food goes, this place is top-notch. Burrata caprese omelette is money.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Simi Winery Part One (non-chardonnay whites)



This is one of my favorite places to visit. Hands Down. The people are always friendly and the tours are great. If you go in the summer time they have an amazing back patio with a wood burning pizza oven that will pair perfectly with a yummy chardonnay. I'll list them in the order of tasting. All of the wines below are Simi wines.

1. 2007 Viogner - Alexander Valley
I'm not big on sweet wines but this one was light enough to sip in the summer or even with dessert. Very refreshing and Light. (Only available at winery) $30

2. 2007 Pinot Gris - Russian River
There must be pieces of Heaven in the Russian river soil, you can hardly go wrong with a white from Russian River. This white was also Light and Refreshing with a honey after taste. This wine would be perfect with some goat cheese and honey on a lightly toasted baguette. MMMMM!!!! (Only available at winery) $20

3. 2007 Sauvignon Blanc - Sonoma County
This wine was in steel instead of oak so it has a more refreshing, less buttery, oakey taste. This wine had some flowery flavors that were a little to fru-fru for me. ( You can get this wine at BevMo, It's in the $15 range.... if you want to taste and smell flowers)

4. 2006 Sauvignon Blanc - Alexander Valley
I never thought that a wine described as "licking the barrell" would be appealing, but this wine was really nice. It was kept in steel for the first half of it's life and then was put in oak. The description said it had gummy bear notes. I would agree. BUY THIS WINE. (Only available at winery) $23

in part two I'll get to the Chardonnays, my favorite.
video

Good Wine in '09

So it's been too long since I've been able to post about wine. Don't worry I haven't quit drinking it, I've just been too busy to write about it. So let's pick up where I left off in the next posting, Simi Winery tour and tasting.

Urth Cafe














Today I had the OLD GRANDPA roast and it was the perfect roast for a late cup of coffee. It's the kind of roast that you want to savor and sit a while and think about life. I'm usually not one to enjoy a sweetish (not Swedish) cup of coffee but the OLD GRANDPA roast had the perfect combo of strength and flavors one could ask for. I couldn't get the exact date the beans were roasted, but the lady that took my money assured me that there were roasted freshly within a week. I bought her story.

Friday, January 30, 2009

La Boulange French Roast


So I knew from the get-go that this coffee wouldn't be the best. But I'm a sucker for the Granola at this place. It's really good granola with good yogurt and fresh fruit. I'm a fan. The thing about this coffee is that you can't tell when it was roasted or any important details about the history of the beans. It's apparently organic and French, but ehhh... Who cares if it's French, if it doesn't taste good, it's not good. My father-in-law has a saying "It's good enough to eat" there is something to be said about something being good enough to eat. I never thought this phrase carried much weight, but it really does. The same principal applies to coffee. "If it's good enough to drink" then there is something to be said about that coffee.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Country for Old Beans













Today marks the 15th day of my Alma Viva beans I mentioned yesterday. There done, I'm going to put them to rest today. Each day the beans loose oxygen, therefore losing there flavor. The great thing about getting freshly roasted (within 2-3 days of roasting) is that the flavors are really amazing. I take my coffee black so I can taste the flavors, so when the flavor is bad it makes it really hard to get down. I encourage you to go find the freshest coffee in your area and grab a cup. If you live in the Bay Area, you've got several options. I plan on doing reviews of all the big players: Blue Bottle, Ritual, Four Barrel, and Philz. Just to name a few.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blue Bottle Alma Viva













Yum. This is my go-to morning coffee. I prefer dripping this coffee as they do at drip, and the blue bottle cafes here in San Francisco. But at home I always French Press which allows you to get the coffee warmer, since it's not dripping through a filter. Blue Bottle has a good method on their website for reproducing the coffee the most like in their cafes. That junk is strong, but I love it. This Alma Viva batch was roasted on January, 14th in Oakland. That's a little late to be consuming for their standards, they recommend drinking the coffee within 7 days. Personally, the 7 days is a good rule if you can do it. I try to keep it within a max two weeks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Carmel Road 2005 Pinot Noir


I gotta say, this wine was a little weird at first, but after 30 min. of decanting (sitting in your glass) this wine smoothed out nicely. The further into the meal we got the better it got. It paired really well with the Olive oil we were dipping our bread into. It did the thing where it makes your tongue tingle. Very Nice. This was a gift from Slow Food Nation. My wife's Architecture Firm volunteered and help design the space at the Civic Center this past year. Overall good Wine. I don't Usually like Pinot's but this one is an exception. Retails for $16.00 from winery.

RAVENSWOOD 2005 Barricia Zinfandel Sonoma Valley


The name may be long and difficult to say, but this wine is easy to drink. We had this wine last week after a long day at work. And I have to say it's one of my recent favorites. It's very dark and Inky but extremely smooth to drink. The only drawback is that this stuff will knock you out. I fell asleep while watching 24. Know you now it's strong if that happens. This Wine Retails at $35.oo a bottle and I would say it's worth every penny. The Ravenswood tasting notes said to lay it down and forget about it for 5 to 10. wooops, I didn't make it that long.

Shalom!



hi, I am from alabama where the good coffee comes from Cracker Barrel and the good wine is in a Jug. I moved to San Francisco and found a new love. Coffee and Wine. In this blog I'll talk about both. Enjoy.