Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Holiday Delight from Paradise Coffee Roasters

Thanks to an excellent contest on Home-Barista.com I am the proud owner of a bag of Espresso Classico and a Paradise demitasse.
The coffee description states it is a "Northern Italian style" espresso, and the label has a picture of Venice. I have only pulled a couple of shots so far, but I will say it is better than 95% of the coffee I had in Venice. Of course, this was freshly roasted and ground per shot, something that those 95% of shops did not do. It really reminds me of the coffee I had at the Caffe del Doge, Rialto that I blogged about in July. I am looking forward to really exploring this coffee as I work through the bag.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I am a fan of dark chocolate. My wife and I like to keep some of the Valrhona bars from Trader Joes, and I have tried a bunch of different brands. Maybe the most high-falootin' stuff I have had has been from Vosges- really excellent.

I have typically been disappointed when the major candy brands come out with a 'dark' version of a classic candy bar, either the chocolate isn't really that good, or it doesn't fit well with the other components of the bar, or something intangible.

The dark version of Nestle's hundred thousand dollar bar (the name I still think of when I see "100 Grand") is a big exception! I think it is a better harmonious balance with the caramel and crispies.

Egad- I have found another way to gain weight over the holidays.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New addition to the list of things I am thankful for:
Due to the fact that my office is an easy walk to Intelligentsia, I am able to walk to pick up my weekly stash of coffee. Occasionally I am fortunate enough to encounter a weird bit of marketing, such as this rubber band guy, who accompanied the (claimed) largest rubber band ball in the world. He was dancing to the music of a local high school marching band, while other performers juggled 3" dia rubber band balls, and passed them out to audience members...such as myself.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Originally uploaded by pavasm.

Most folks who have driven up to Milwaukee from Chicago have noticed the Mars Cheese Castle right off the highway near Kenosha, WI. The building has faux parapets, and a big lit up sign to let you know you need to check it out. Inside they have the usual Wisconsin gifts, sausage shaped like a beer bottle, a chunk of cheese shaped like the state. The place has a feel that just screams "road trip" of a past era to me. The lounge inside the store is definitely old school. The cheese castle isn't where you get the landjaeger, though. For the best landjaeger you need to go next door to the castle. Bobby Nelson's Cheese Shop is the home of the best Landjeager I have ever tasted. This unassuming little building literally in the shadow of the more visible and tacky cheese castle might have remained an undiscovered gem if I hadn’t heard Steve Dahl talk about it. (In the 25 years or so I have been listening to this guy on the radio, I have yet to be disappointed when trying a food this guy has touted. http://www.dahl.com )

Landjaeger, as best as I can figure it out, is a very dry Swiss sausage. It is practically like beef jerky. It is usually displayed by having pairs linked together hung on a peg or line. It has this great chewy, tough texture with a salty, oily flavor. I prefer the black pepper variety. This stuff is great- there are times I get the craving, and I foolishly try to fill the void with Slim Jims, but nothing satisfies like the real thing. (Can you tell I recently watched “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle?)