Thursday, November 13, 2008

Election day birthday (from Nov 4)
Why yes that is an "I Voted!" sticker on my shirt (I'm such a dork)
Notice how the cake has orange frosting (leftover from jack-o-lantern cookies) and a tree made of a small portion of the 13.5lb of trick-or-treat booty.

Alec (yellow shirt) was the McCain fan in the family "Because he's more bigger"
The older boys voted against McCain (in their school mock elections) mostly because Palin says "nuculer".

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I was listening to the audio from Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" from yesterday this morning. The "special comment" segment was about Proposition 8 in California. It really touched me for some reason. This jumped out at me:
I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

I decided to look up which states kept these laws on the books for so long. I found a wikipedia entry for the laws:

I was surprised to find that Filipinos ("Malays")were included in some of the laws for "Races" banned from marrying whites. By my count, in the early '60s, when my parents were married, there were still 8 states that would have prohibited that marriage.

Now my parents have 11 grandchildren. I have to hope that some day they will look back, shocked at how wrong the laws were back in 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

After reading Sherry's blog post about glasses, one of my friends posts a 'flashback' album on facebook- with this awesome shot of me at about 6th grade. I'm the little guy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Foxy new look

Foxy new look
Originally uploaded by pavasm.

Nice heft, not too thick where your mouth touches, I like it a lot!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Originally uploaded by pavasm.

I thought this made a great mask- moustache built in!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

So Proud

(image from
My wife's cousin is a Gladiator. She was new for the second season and she did a awesome job. It was a bit surreal to see her each week battling the contenders. She's totally my daughter's hero right now.

She's now heading out for a USO tour with some of her fellow Gladiators to visit troops in Kuwait and Iraq. I'm just really impressed she's taking this opportunity to really show support and appreciation for the folks who are serving over there.

Have a safe trip Jennifer!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Originally uploaded by pavasm.

It is so cool to see mushrooms pop up. I missed an opportunity to take a picture of a fabulous mushroom the other day because when I found it I snatched it up and ran in the house to make a lewd joke to my wife. It was a stinkhorn (specifically phallus impudicus - wow!).

McCain + blue

McCain + blue
Originally uploaded by pavasm.

Used to have a good reputation, but the owners insisted on changing the recipe. Now they are often ignored on the plate, with diners focussing on the moose burger.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Originally uploaded by pavasm.

My 9 yr old captured this excellent behind the net shot of Alec (4.5) scoring his first goal.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mallomar Migration
I had always been led to believe that due to the temperature sensitivity of the (real!) dark chocolate enrobement, mallomars could not be shipped outside of their east coast roosting grounds in the summer months. As the summer began and the store several miles from my house removed the tag from the shelf, I resigned myself to not seeing them again until fall. A week or so ago, though, I was at the store 2 blocks from my house, and saw them! Weird. I have mixed feelings about this. I like them, but I feel like it will make them less "special" since I can get them whenever I want. It's like the fact that I savor Jack-in-the-box tacos when I travel far more than the actual food deserves.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Come into my parlor
Sorry I can't edit my own videos- only the first half is in focus.
This was at the cabin we stayed at in Canada.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hits the spot!
So I go to Intelligentsia, and order 4 shots of espresso in a 20oz cup of ice, and proceed to make a fantastic cheapskate latte….
No! Not really.
I had seen the "Horchata" beverage on the card at the register for a while (Goodrich Gevaart's sigbev). I really like the idea of barista comp signature beverages making it onto the menu, so I want to be supportive of the idea. Trouble is, the beauty of a straight up espresso made by a pro in a quality shop had always trumped my best intentions.
Today was different- it was just so hot out, I had to try this iced drink. (I was indeed a cheapskate in that I cashed in one of my punchcards for the drink, but I did try to tip well). It was really great- refreshing and sweet, without being too cloying or heavy. It is by nature a larger drink than Amber or Matt's, so I have to say I wasn't tasting the coffee as much as I was expecting, but I still highly recommend trying it while it is available.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I recently had my cheek cells tested for the genographic project. My Y chromosome apparently carries marker M175 which puts me in Haplogroup O. I guess I share this marker with most men in China (my dad is from the Philippines). The thing that boggles my mind is that this marker (or any of the markers they find) trace back to one particular guy.

I have no intention of ever getting a tattoo, but I suppose if there was a good visual representation of the marker I would be good with that.

Friday, July 18, 2008

(better late than never blog post)

I tagged along with my wife last month as she had a conference in Vancouver.

When we first got into town it was past my normal coffee drinking time, but I wanted to kill some time and it had been a day since I had espresso, so I wandered down to an Artigano near the hotel. I got a macchiato, which was quite good. The person at the cash register did verify I wanted the small cup drink (not the starbucks "macchiato"). I wonder if he had pegged me for being a Yankee? The last day in town I grabbed an espresso there (closest shop to my hotel) and snapped a pic:

Artigano espresso

The next day was a busy one. I had gotten a tip from Lindsay that Vince Piccolo opens 49th Parallel on weekdays, so I wanted to make that my first stop. The space is really classy looking- I couldn't do it justice with pictures. I loved the ladder on a rail thing to access higher storage. Something about the chandelier and the rolling stones in the background just worked for me. I started with an espresso, then introduced myself to Vince as a visiting coffee enthusiast. He was very welcoming, and forced a fantastic solo macchiato on me!

Coffee paradise

I had tried the epic espresso blend at home before (courtesy of Steve) and enjoyed it, and it was even better at the hands of pros.

I needed to continue on my espresso quest, so I headed out towards the Elysian Room. There was one woman on the whole street heading towards me, and just as she passed it registered- it was Lindsay on the street!That was very cool. At Elysian, I had an espresso.

Espresso from elysian

My favorite thing aboiut Elysian is that when you order espresso the first thing they do is pour a glass of water and hand it over. It is just a simple move, but it is both classy and practical. if you are going to cleanse your palate before the espresso, you need to get the water first. It reminded me of the best coffee place I visited in Venice.
Since this is Alistair's place I had to try some brewed coffee. I ordered a cup of their featured ethiopian coffee brewed on the clover. It had a remarkable floral tea quality, but i didn't drink much, I was starting to get jittery. I had to sit a while, stitch a bit on my footbags to get my bearings.

My next stop was Origins on Granville Island. I am ashamed to admit it took a while for me to find the place, that Granville Island is amzingly crowded and twisty, with cars and people meandering every way. I had been in contact with Drew by email and he was expecting me when I dropped in. He immediately started pulling shots on thier LM GB5 (paddle controls, WBC test machine). They had some of Stephen Morrisey's WBC blend, and I got to taste it. Next we had some of the Origins Espresso blend, both straight up and in a small milk drink (single capp, i believe). I really liked it.

origins espresso

Through my impaiered tasting ability I still found it to be one of the most "balanced" espressos I've tried, by which I mean that there seeemded to be a wide variety of flavores in the cup, all acting in harmony. Drew was amazingly cool, taking the time to pull me some amazing shots, and really just chat about coffee stuff.

Wicked- so of course I leave the Chicago area for a little break, and I have to go seek out some Black Cat. Is that like trying to get Chicago style pizza in Boulder? I don't htink so . The shop has some really cool features- including the big table in the middle, which must force people to be somewhat sociable. For anti-social people watchers like myself, the big mirror at the shelf you sit at allows you to be a bit discrete when you are trying to see what people are up to.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gas Station Coffee

I got gas at the Hinsdale Shell Station yesterday. As I pulled out I saw the familliar "Intelligentsia" sign in the window.

I may need to rethink the term "gas station coffee"

Friday, June 27, 2008

Coffee paradise

Coffee paradise
Originally uploaded by pavasm.

Beautiful and delicious. Solo macchiato by Vince Piccolo.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Movie reference?

Maybe I just have ramen on the brain, but when I watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", the main character is shown with a Jethro-sized bowl of cereal, and he slurps from the bowl just like in the opening scene of Tampopo.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Coke, no HFCS
Originally uploaded by pavasm.

I went to Jewel on my lunch hour (wabash & roosevelt) to look for passover coke. This white cap bottle is marked CRC P-08. The ingredients list sucrose as opposed to HFCS. can't wait to chill it and try it!

Update 4/18/08:
I did a semi-blind taste test with 3 coworkers (i knew which was which), and they all preferred the passover coke. You can see the residue of foam in the passover (sucrose) coke as opposed to the high fructose corn syrup coke.
Coke taste test

Friday, April 11, 2008

What's your happy tune?

Yesterday was really rainy and crappy (clogged gutters driving water into my house was not pleasant), and the forecast of a cold wet weekend had put me in a bit of a down mood. At lunchtime today, the clouds parted and it was sunny and warmish for my walk to Intelligentsia. I picked up a pound of the Finca Matalapa El Salvador and an espresso (HA! it's still sort of a coffee blog). Mood much brightened, I realized as I walked back to my office I was whistling a happy tune. To my embarrasment, my happy tune is the theme from the A-Team! Whenever I find myself humming or whistling absentmindedly that is the song. I never think about the actual show (no on purpose, anyway). Does this happen to anyone else?

I suppose it could be worse, it could have been the theme from Megaforce.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Concert (not coffee)
Cutsie alert! Nobody's forcing you to watch it, but as the dad I am unable to resist posting.

If I were you I would skip forward to about 1:45 in the video where the 6 yr old belts out a solo. I was so nervous for her I couldn't really hold the camera steady.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Food Frenzy
My wife was out of town for work last week. Had the experience of being a single dad for 4 kids (11,9,6,4) for a limited time (I knew she was coming back on Sunday). There was some kid related excitement (training wheels taken off the 6 yr old's bike, 4 yr old thinks he can cross the street by himself), but that is not what this post is about.

Amid the stress, I found myself taking comfort in food projects:

I made dulce de leche after watching the milk episode of Good Eats - fantasic on ice cream!

I scraped the hershey's chocolate off mini Heath bars and re-coated them with dark chocolate (call me unrefined, but I like the Heath or Skor toffee!- I've never been able to match it from scratch) - It was good, but I need to experiment to get the proper thickness of chocolate for balance. I will keep that in mind next time I make truffles, and make up extra coating chocolate.

I smoked half of a corned beef brisket hunk for pastrami, and boiled the other half, purely to be able to make chunky corned beef hash the next morning.
corned beef hash

Since the smoker was running I threw a hunk of un-corned brisket on there for my 9 yr old who loves brisket.

I also threw in a couple hunks of pork shoulder that had been rolled in a cha-siu glaze from a jar. The goal was to make som fatty pork to be able to slice and toss in a bowl of ramen.
I found a good refrigerator case ramen packet at a local market- it used to be called Di-Ho, but has changed it's name to Whole Grain Market or something.
I have been unsucessful in locating shinachiku (pickled bamboo shoots, I believe). The things I thought were picked (labelled 'sour') have so far been unsatisfyingly bland.
mexican coke

As I was leaving something caught my eye- it was bottles of Coke , with Hecho en Mexico on the side. I grabbed some of those as well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mike Philips 2008 Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition Champ!

Mike Philips 2008 Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition Champ!
Originally uploaded by pavasm.

Two years ago I went to watch my first Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition. I met this guy I had seen on Coffeegeek, Mike Philips. He was a home barista, owned an Expobar Brewtus. He drove down from MN to watch the competition. At the time, he asked if I could ever see myself competing. I was like, "No thanks! too much pressure. Why, do you want to?"
"Yeah, maybe."
Last year, he had moved to Chicago, started working for Intelligentsia, and entered the competition. He made it to the finals. I thought that was pretty cool. At that year's party at Intelly I noticed he was bonding pretty well with Justin Teisl of Alterra.

This year, Mike won first place at the GLRBC. Excellent job!
Justin from Alterra got 2nd, and Scott Lucey took 3rd. Lucey's performance was one of the most entertaining I have seen- he was having fun up there and it was totally contagious.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Originally uploaded by pavasm.

I really like this cup for a double (this is the one I use at home), I find the shape more appealing than the tulips. Did I hear that the tulips are going to be phased out (maybe just in the shops?). Could that be correct? Would it be a scandal? Would it set off the biggest letter writing campaign since Beauty and the Beast was cancelled?! Am I one of those geeks irresponsibly posting rumors?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

microwaved mallomar
Originally uploaded by pavasm.

I have to give credit to my son Jay. He wanted to see the marshmallow break through the dark chocolate. I was never a fan of s'mores, but then, that is usually Hershey's chocolate. This chocolate tastes really good (to me) when melted, and the cookie portion gets sort of a soft cakey texture.

I don't belive I will ever need to produce a 'signature beverage', but if I did...

Monday, March 03, 2008

This Blog.

I apologize for the lack of coffee posts on this blog. I changed the heading to say that this is my "(sometimes) coffee blog". I just couldn’t resist the simplicity of ‘smallcoffee’ as a url and blog name.

I recently added a list of my favorite blogs. I know this is part of the standard blog format, but I was always reluctant to do it. It seemed presumptuous, somehow, to put a link to a blog I really admire when I haven't ever had contact with the author.

I got to thinking, though, when I read “Spook Country” by William Gibson- a character is pondering blogs and says the real information on a blog is in the links, both who the blog links to and who links to the blog.

That in turn got me thinking about a character in Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” (which is the book I have on tap in case I get cornered with the question-‘what’s your favorite book?’). The character (Claire Minton, I believe) was a woman that had a job creating book indexes. She felt it was not appropriate for an author to index their own book, and if they did they would expose personal information. I realized that occasionally while reading a blog I get an impression of the author’s birth order. Jay Caragay I think is a youngest child. My guess would be that Danielle of ‘tamp that’ is a middle child.
I hope it’s not uncool to muse publicly about this.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I have been using the expression “bee in my bonnet” a lot lately. It is really a description of how I have been finding and pursuing foods. I blame the internet.
Whenever I get a particular ‘trigger’ I have a brief flurry of intense research (actually just a simple google search), obsessively pursue a new or forgotten food until I have scratched the itch. Then I move on to the next thing. I am constantly a dabbler:

Jay Caragay’s blog triggered a quest for cane sugar cola. I am counting down to Passover when I can try the yellow cap (Kosher) coke. His quest to replicate the Charlie Trotter 65C egg he ate rekindled my interest in precise temperature egg-cooking. I just use a big pot of water,a thermometer and the lowest simmer flame to maintain the water at 65C for 30 minutes. Served over fried corned beef hash- excellent!

Danielle Glasky’s blog and pictures of her trip to Japan triggered me to go back and watch Tampopo again, which caused me to go out and find a good bowl of ramen. There are several Japanese places within walking distance from my office, but most of the menus didn’t feature ramen. A quick web search found, which brought me to the food court in Macy’s. Noodles by Takeshi featured a shoyu ramen with a tasty broth, really good noodles, shinachiku root and a nice piece of fatty pork.
See you soon

Doug Zell’s blog triggered a quest for pastrami. Actually that was a trifecta: Doug blogged about Langers in LA, Tonx posted an incredible picture , and the show “Modern Marvels” had some footage of pastrami production for the Carnegie Deli. I didn’t have to research to find where to get a good pastrami sandwich. Steve Dahl(on the radio mornings on 104.3 WJMK) has been the source of many excellent food recommendations over the 25+ years I have been a listener. He rated the pastrami at Eleven City Diner as the best he’s ever had. That place is just a couple blocks from my office so I went there last Friday and had the best pastrami sandwich I’ve ever had. I have been meaning to try making my own since I saw the Good Eats episode about corned beef. I decided my first attempt will start with a packaged corned beef brisket (Sam’s club). I soaked it in 2 changes of cold water to try and draw out some salt, coated with a pepper, coriander and garlic rub and cooked it in a low oven. When the weather gets a bit better I will try with actual smoking, but I just couldn’t bear to do anything outside last night.
semi-homemade pastrami
I warmed some up for lunch today- it was quite good. Most pastrami you can buy at supermarkets is pretty lean, I enjoy having more fat for the flavor!

So at the moment I am pretty satisfied. If anyone wants to try and trigger another craving, I'm open to suggestions!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

This past Saturday (Groundhog Day, 2/2/08) I had the chance to attend an excellent event. Though I never heard an official name it was referred to as the Coffeegeek event at Intelligentsia. Steve gave a great write-up of what happened in his blog. It was really cool to see the roaster demonstration. I had visited a large commercial roasting works a while ago, and there was a stark contrast seeing the hands-on operation of a specialty roaster.

I also enjoyed the moment when Scott (rasqual) realized he was standing on the obviously grossly mis-calibrated bean scale. :)

Listening to Geoff Watts talk is always so cool. His knowledge and passion are inspiring. I have already made the suggestion to the guys, but I will state it again here: A guest podcast of Geoff and Peter G would be really interesting to listen to.

Intelligentsia Coffeegeekfest 2/2/08
The cupping was a really good experience. The logistics of such a thing are pretty intimidating, trying to get a group of mostly newbies to go through the process, break 90 crusts and work on their taste perceptions had to be really tough.
I was having a hard time pulling scent descriptors out of the air, but once it came to slurping I was happy I had some of the same taste ideas as Geoff mentioned (the outstanding sweetness of the Planada, the cherry in the Zirikana), even if I was too chicken to speak up about them.

It made me realize that I have been rather low-brow in my taste experience- when I taste cherry my mind goes to a pop tart or some such processed item. When someone mentioned “stonefruit” I thought it must be a specific fruit I have not experienced, rather than the category of peaches, etc. It is an intimidating thing to cup with experienced tasters, even though they did everything possible to make everyone feel comfortable. At least I looked like I was working hard at it!

Originally uploaded by Intelligentsia Coffee.

(nice double chin mike)

The ‘jam’ portion was excellent. I am forever grateful to Steve for encouraging me to try out the GB5.

Originally uploaded by Intelligentsia Coffee.

(I'm behind Jim Schulman in this picture, doing a really bad job of pulling a shot.)
Also, when Doug Zell was doing some tidying on the machine he grabbed a portafilter. Like any self-respecting pain-in-the-butt guest, I asked if he would pull me a shot. He graciously complied, and though he felt it was a little tight, it was quite good. How many times do you get the opprtunity to get a shot pulled by DZ?!

The comparative brewing was very interesting, having the same coffee brewed 4 different ways. I think I liked the cup from the technivorm the most, but my chemex (real or improvised) works well for my office coffee needs.

The latte art throwdown was fun to watch. I thought the ‘geeks had a respectible showing, Bryan’s was impressive, and Steve had one of the best pours I saw from someone who does not currently work as a barista. Coffeegeeks are too polite for a down and dirty throwdown- we as a community need to work on our smack-talking!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cane sugar cola

Cane sugar cola
Originally uploaded by pavasm.

Is it just me, or does this can look sort of like Tecate beer?

So i have had a bit of a bee in my bonnet from reading Jay Caragay's blog ( to try coke made with cane sugar, rather than high fructose corn syrup. I have not yet gotten around to checking out the mexican groceries to look for the cane sugar coke bottled in Mexico.
My sister in law gave me a tip that the whole foods house brand (365 value) cola is made with cane sugar. There is a whole foods less than a mile from my office, so i headed out there at lunch to check it out.
I like it a lot! Whenpassover approaches I will need to do a head to head taste test to compare it to kosher for passover coke, but for now I am quite pleased. Another benefit (for me) is that it is caffiene free. I prefer to reserve my caffiene consumption for coffee.