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Saturday, June 08, 2002


maybe not everyone here is a fan of max orsini, but i just tried some of his wood-roasted organic espresso gold.

due to a shipping bobble, the coffee came to me 5 days old.

i have tried in in silvia both as a latte and as a straight espresso. i dialed it in on the mazzer mini at one notch to the left of the arrow on the decal. i tried it at both 2 notches and 1 notch left. 2 notches was ok on the standard siliva double basket; 1 notch seemed better to me personally on the ridged la marzocco double basket in a 1 spouted portafilter. 2 notches for the l.m. basket seemed a little fine.

mr. right, as you may recall, is a diet coke person who will deign to drink a vanilla latte of vivace on a weekend morning. he also accepts a caffe d'arte firenze. otherwise, he ignores coffee. i made a plain latte for him with the orsini, with sugar, no vanilla. he immediately pronounced it the best coffee ever. he loved its chocolate-ly notes, which came through the milk. (my lattes are italian-proportion, not american proportion.)

he was actually licking the foam from the cup, a first. i made myself a latte, and it was scrumptious.

i then made a straight espresso in the l.m. basket with the 1 spout portafilter. i have only gotten tiger stripes with 1-day-old fed-exe'd vivace, personally, which probably sez more about me than any coffee.

but i got the 1.5 oz in 28 seconds with guinness effect and tiger stripes from the orsini. the crema is a little more brown than red on the reddish-brown scale. the caffe d'arte firenze is more red, while in my experience, the vivace is between these two colorwise.

the texture of the drink was more motor oil than honey. while of course the crema doesn't rival the overflowing amounts of malabar gold, i got a good half-inch (estimated since i poured into my miss rancilio cup -- i moved the crema "aside" a little with my spoon. . .).

this coffee is 6-bean blend, roasted northern-italian style (orsini learned to roast in udine, which is about 40 minutes from trieste,
between trieste and venice, i think) and has a pinch of robusta. to my eye, it is roasted lighter than the caffe d'arte firenze, definitely, and lighter than vivace dolce.

call me hopeless, but in general, i don't always appreciate that touch of robusta in a straight espresso. i always add a demitasse spoon of sugar to my espresso, but i tasted this straight. it does have a pronounced chocolate flavor, but i just personally don't care for that robusta note. so i added the sugar, which helped balance things out for me.

i may need more experience working with this coffee as a straight espresso. the brownishness of the crema may indicate i didn't temp surf quite right for it??

but from just a couple of experiments this morning, i have to say that caffe orsini's a superb coffee. my husband may now refuse to drink anything else. i bought a second pound and gave it to my neighbor, alan r. i haven't talked to him yet this today, but hope to hear his opinion soon.

as for max, i did get a chance to speak to him personally, and frankly, whatever others' experience has been, i just find him endlessly charming. quite a character. i love original people with strong personalities, and max is right up my alley. that he quotes poetry in a beautiful italian accent works for me too!

i also dropped by the chocolate bar today where i downed a cup of illy co-owner allison made me, but i think i'll talk about that tomorrow, after i return from a special yoga workshop i'm taking in the morning. . .all for tomorrow.

questions? comments? click the link below to check out my new test forum. if it's happening after 90 days, i think i'll keep it. do your part -- chat away. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 8:21 PM | top | link to this |


Friday, June 07, 2002


ok, the votes are in!

quite a few of you thought it would be fun to see what a bread, coffee, chocolate, yoga chat forum/bulletin board would be like. so here it is: bread coffee chocolate yoga forum.

this is hosted by ezboard. you will have to register to post; the reason for that is of course to prevent spammers, hackers, and other unwanted thugs. so please endure the ezboard registration process with patience, and do uncheck the box at the end so you don't get unwanted mailings from them. i hope you know, dear readers, that i would send a mass mailing only in extreme cases of nuclear attack, or something. i will never spam you with gunk, i promise.

this is only a test board. i may not keep it up if you don't participate. therefore, i'll integrate its colors and design with the rest of bread, coffee, chocolate, yoga only if enough of you join, post, and chat -- if it gets going as a community. i'll give it 3 months, ok? if it languishes, then i'll remove it. . .

i will moderate this board, which means i hope that all of you will be civil. ah, i know you will! but i must state here that i reserve the right to remove untoward posts at any time and even to ban users who blatantly and repeatedly offend against society. but debate, discussion, friendly dissension -- all that is encouraged. (walter, that means you.) friendliness, neighborliness, and respectful helpfulness will be rewarded!

flaming, spamming, other crucial offenses against the spirit of the community and general netiquette will bring my action. usually, everyone gets a second chance. but blatant repeat offenders and trolls will be banned without regret and in a trice. in short, i want the bread, coffee, chocolate, yoga community to be a place where everyone feels safe and welcome. . .so be among the first to try it out, start a topic, register. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 8:05 PM | top | link to this |


Thursday, June 06, 2002


again, back to the cute little stores of brooklyn. . .

this time for fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and other delights. that's right, i'm talking about latticini barese, 138 union st., near red hook, across from fernando's. ok, so if you're a purist, maybe it's not really moz but rather fiori di latte.

still, it's amazing -- too delicate for pizza, it's perfect for pasta or insalata caprese -- but the fresh ricotta. . .heartstopping. don't cook with it, eat it as is for breakfast instead of yogurt. fresh bread, fruit salad or berries, and this ricotta.

heavenly!

posted by fortune elkins | 7:39 PM | top | link to this |


Wednesday, June 05, 2002


if i had a nice forum, a pretty little place to chat, with various topics about you-all-know-what, would you hang out there, dear readers?

this has been suggested to me several time now, that more than an new page design with a monster list of links, perhaps people would prefer a forum to discuss and ponder bread and espresso how-tos, yoga asanas and teachers, as well as chocolate brands.

please email me or use the comment link below to tell me what you think. would such a forum be useful to you? it would probably mean an address change; that is, i'd have to get my own domain. if this page moved -- naturally i'd put up a page here to redirect you over there -- would you follow?

and finally, there must be an easier way to get your daily chocolate fix. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 5:45 PM | top | link to this |


Tuesday, June 04, 2002


at last -- i got the set of 4 miss rancilio green logo espresso demitasse cups, as seen on the rancilio website. . .

came to me from whole latte love. 4 is good because with just my husband & myself, 6 is really too many.

tried 'em out on the weekend. these are 2 oz. cups, although they look larger due to their shape. i put 'em through the dishwasher and they survived nicely, being fairly heavy diner-type china. i was worried at first the elegant script miss ranicilio would wash away, but actually it seems pretty sturdily printed.

the script matches that of the old silvia decal (the new white decal is just unbearably ugly); the rancilio logo is also the same as on the silvia. i'd say it's more of a shamrock green than an italian flag green, personally.

the handles are well-finished and nicely put on, a good shape to hold, too. if you look at the cup & saucer from the top, they have a good proportion to each other. the side view isn't too bad either, but isn't as pleasing perhaps as the illy cups.

the cups heat pretty quickly with hot water from the wand. i filled one to the top with water, put it on top the machine, and by the time i was ready to make the espresso it was quite hot.

the lip edge curves out a bit so it doesn't dribble much when you sip, and the top lip isn't too thick, although it is a little thicker than an illy cup. the espresso stayed nice and hot all the time i was drinking it, and the crema clung to the side of the cup in an appealing manner. if i do say so myself!

also, the cups have those little notches on the bottom so they don't grab onto the saucer. my only criticism is that the indentation in the saucer is a little too large for the bottom of the cup, so the cup does slide a bit.

i like 'em.

posted by fortune elkins | 5:37 PM | top | link to this |


Monday, June 03, 2002


in my commitment to the cute and useful little stores of brooklyn let me point one out to you all. . .

l'epicerie de la quartier in fort greene. it's a charming little french-style market run by the friendly jean-baptiste caillet, who owns the popular bistro a table. mr. right biked there and thought it very nice. fort greene is an up-and-coming fast area not far from bam. so if you're in the nabe, check it out. the store sells many of the fine things we here at bread, coffee, chocolate, yoga are all about.

posted by fortune elkins | 5:03 PM | top | link to this |


Sunday, June 02, 2002


ok, managed to let most of the brownies sit overnight in plastic wrap, as malgieri recommends. . .

and they do get fudgier. in fact, almost all fudge. maybe too much like fudge. and the intense molasse-y flavor of the india tree muscavado sugar begins to predominate. this is not what i want at all.

let me think about what i really want in a brownie. right now here in new york, brownies are very chic. in fact, according to the new york times, the trend this summer is for people to have their wedding cakes made out of tiers of brownie, frosted in chocolate, and decorated with chocolate flowers. . .the fat witch brownie is the height of fashion. don't send flowers -- send brownies.

but i'm not so fond of them, personally. nor of the also-famed eli's brownies. . .i guess when i fully think of it, the brownie that most satisfied me was the one from the clove cafe. . .the little restaurant upstate that's also the home of mohonk roasters. of course, they're from the c.i.a., so i expect fantastic things from them. . .perhaps i need to make the malgieri brownie in a different pan, so it's thicker, use regular brown sugar, 8 or 10 oz. of valrhona, and also add some cocoa.

hmm. . .maybe what i'm looking for is more a cross of a flourless chocolate cake and a brownie. . .maybe i want layers. . .a layer of caramel? perhaps of something like ganache but firmer??? brownie layer, caramel layer, brownie layer, ganche-y layer, brownie layer. . .coconut???

here's where i most feel the total lack of technical baking training. . .it's hard for me to look at a recipe and always understand the proportions i need, the right pan, the little adjustments, to get a recipe tweaked in the direction i want it to go.

posted by fortune elkins | 4:33 PM | top | link to this |

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