Friday, September 07, 2001
just when i think my wacky musings bear little relation to others lives, i get email. . .
fans of baker roshi and peet's coffee have written me to show that i'm not alone in my nostalgia! doubtless a waitress from the former restaurant will soon be writing too.
it's definitely cool enough to start baking. i'm tempted to begin with those old favorites, cookies or pizza. the other day mr. right took his bike all the way out to the famed brooklyn pizzeria, di fara's, on avenue j, a place much famed for its fresh artichoke pie.
i'm hoping to get out there myself sometime this weekend and sample one before the artichoke season ends. maybe sunday!
Thursday, September 06, 2001
got some marketing mail today from peet's coffee; they announced that they're adding new coffees to their line. . .
i used to love peet's and spent literally 15 years mail-ordering my coffee from them, especially when i lived in falls church, va. their sulawesi-kalosi in a big french press was my breakfast staple for untold eons. when i was on my honeymoon in san francisco, i made a great effort to have a cup of coffee at every single peet's location. ditto on a trip to la-la land with mr. right. every saturday i began my morning with an espresso made from the major, as long-timers call their major dickason's blend.
but! but! a couple of years ago, i began to notice a decline in quality. just about the time they began their big expansion push. i wrote to them asking them when they were coming east -- only to receive what has to be called a snooty reply from their webmaster that "peet's wasn't vying for every street corner." of course now they're widely spread in california and in boston, too. but not here in new york!
later, i got their marketing email about their IPO. by that time, i was very disappointed in their coffee, and had turned to other sources. and i won't be back, i'm afraid. but i remember when i had my first cup of peet's, while flying a kite in berkeley. . .and then it was served in a very nice old restaurant on canyon road, when i was living in santa fe. it was a beautiful restaurant, called the haven. (not to be confused with the horseman's haven! no way!) run by various owners at different times, but best when run by friends of baker roshi. that's when i used to linger by the fireplace and nurture long doppios as the snow fell silently among the farolitas (sometimes called luminarias). . .and think about the talks i had with zenshin philip whalen, one of the loveliest people on the planet.
then i had to leave santa fe, baker roshi went to colorado, and philip whalen returned to san francisco : things change. but i think of peet's with pastel fondness...
Wednesday, September 05, 2001
i'm glad that some correspondents have entered into the spirit of the blog, by sending me a recipe for biscotti in italian after i posted the italian link. thanks so much!
in other great great news, mr. right - that knight in shining armor - had quite a surprise for me when i returned home from yoga yesterday after my private lesson with jivamukti teacher nancy la nasa. a lesson with nancy is always a joy.
so i was already feeling great when i returned home to discover mr. right had trekked up to high harlem to acquire a mess of charles' fried chicken. when it comes to fried chicken, it is widely regarded as a nip-n-tuck race between charles' and the blue ribbon. it was an expedition worthy of an attempt on everest; yet he returned with the prize.
since charles makes whatever he feels like that day for dessert, mr. right was unable to return with any chocolate delights. however, in the interest of full and fair reporting, he did return with a piece of coconut white cake and sweet potato pie. as we say in brooklyn, fuggedabudit, magnolia bakery and cupcake cafe: charles owns retro desserts!
still in all fairness, we really ought to get a chocolate cupcake from each for a true and objective test, no?
Tuesday, September 04, 2001
spent the holiday weekend eating dessert, specifically variations of warm chocolate cake.
the best has to go to vicki wells, of french culinary institute fame, who makes amazing delights for the mesa grill. as a long time non-fan of bobby flay as a tv personality, i have to confess that he can design a menu. and he certainly knows who to hire as a pastry chef.
the wells cake was light, with a rich, dark slightly bitter taste. the molten center was a bath in a chocolate jacuzzi. wells is famed for her innovative ice-creams, and the cake came with a nice dulche de leche gelato. on the ice cream front, however, i thought the roasted banana sorbet that came with the chocolate napoleon was genius.
the most interesting of wells' recipes on the net is her warm chocolate cake with coconut. it's on my must-make list now, esp. since mr. right has requested it...