Archive for the ‘Food and Drink’ Category

Last weekend Alex and I went to visit Stone Barns Center For Food & Agriculture. We’d eaten at Blue Hills at Stone Barns for our anniversary, but since our reservation was so late in the evening we hadn’t had a chance to explore the grounds. Now, I have a bit of a reputation for not liking the great outdoors. This is somewhat true. Years spent freezing my ass off on geology field trips have left me a little wary of non-urban environments. There were no spring breaks in Cancun for me I spent the bulk of my university vacations in a caravan (trailer) in the Lake District or Wales. By day I would be cold and wet trying to identify outcrops and not drop my compass-clinometer because my hands were numb, and by night I would be cold and damp trying to stay warm in the pub and dry my socks under the hand drier in the bathroom. So after that experience you can see why hiking was not going to be a top of my to-do list. It’s probably good thing that Twitter wasn’t around back then as my mum would have been calling out the Air Rescue based on my desperate tweets. Actually having a snarky outlet might have made the experience more bearable: “It’s still raining & mostly granite here.”, “Huge surprise we found more feldspar.” & “Jurassic Park totally miss sold geology.”.

I digress. Stone Barns is an awesome place to visit. Not only is it a proper farm but it has a cafe where they actively encourage you to buy a latte to wander around with. I am totally down with trees and shit if I have access to coffee. We signed up for the ‘Insiders Tour’ which was about 90 minutes long, and took you around the kitchen of Blue Hills, vegetable garden, bee hives, sheep, chickens, pigs and greenhouses. Our tour guide was friendly and knowledgeable, an ex-vegetarian who had come around to eating meat as she saw it was being raised ethically here.  The animals on the farm are magnificent. They lead happy, healthy lives prior to slaughter -as it should be but mostly isn’t which is very sad not only for the animals but for us as we are eating inferior products. This is a great post (not preachy) about why we should source heritage turkeys.

I took a few photos and the Berkshire piglets were particularly glorious. We are planning on going back in December for a farmers’ market and I can’t wait!

I love lattes, flat whites, cappuccinos, french press and drip. Straight-up without any flavoring because nothing beats the taste of coffee with milk. Perfectly happy to make it at home but I also appreciate a decent coffee shop. In fact that morning coffee (with the occasional almond croissant) over the summer was one of the only things that helped me hold my shit together for as long as I did.  I found a lot of comfort in my secular java ritual: the friendly faces at La Colombe, the extra shot in their iced coffee, the calm before the storm and gripping the coffee cup as if it was a lucky talisman.

So it is fair to say that I am a slave to overpriced coffee with steam milk. When I was staying with my mum for my exams this year I got her to drive to the nearest Starbucks so I could buy two flat whites to bring home and fuel me through my revision.  That sounds really bad doesn’t it? Forcing my poor mother to drive me 20 minutes to get coffee but I swear those flat whites were the key to me acing my Pompeii exam (not the hours I spent memorizing gobbet pictures), and hopefully the next house she buys she’ll take distance-to-the-nearest-coffee-shop into consideration.

When I was walking back to the station after my lunch date I passed the Nespresso Cafe/Store on Spring Street. I’ve never really paid much attention to it as it sells those pod style coffee machines but I noticed that its cafe area was jam packed, and as I was ogling those inside (always on the look out for my next celeb sighting) I noticed the menu board and the prices. A latte in this place will set you back $6.50. I am sorry how much? And does that even include tax, and I’ll need to leave a tip AND is the coffee any good? Why would anyone pay $6.50 for a latte when there are half a dozen other cafes where you can get one for almost half of that price. The mind boggles (even for this java junkie) and I am guessing that this means the economic crisis is over.


Posted: 03/21/2006 in Food and Drink

Last week the girlfriend of one of Alex’s colleagues gave us a box of Girl Scout cookies and I don’t think she was prepared for my over excited reaction. You’d think I had never seen over-priced packaged baked goods before. We (Johnny foreigner) don’t have Girl Scout cookies, they are something we only learn about second hand in pop culture. She very kindly ordered some more for us and today we took delivery of Lemon Drops and All Abouts (shortbread with inspiring ideals on them). I intend to share the love and post a box off to the Giver of Life. They might not make it in time for Mother’s Day, but luckily I already got her the Battlestar Galactica mini-series. Who needs flowers, when you can give Cylons!

So many other things that I should be getting on with, but I picked up a jar of clotted cream from Dean & Deluca and it would have been a shame to waste it.

Scones With Jams And Cream

The care parcel from my mum arrived yesterday (yeah!). Packed full of plain bars of chocolate, liquorice allsorts, fruit allsorts, liquorice twists and the latest Doctor Who DVD. So, this weekend I will be transcending into Nirvana via a sugar fueled sci-fi fest!

I feel I should clarify my last post, in case my mother reads it and worries that I have converted. I am using ‘Lent’ in the broadest sense. It all started off with one of those internal monologues, what could I temporarily go without. Don’t smoke, barely drink, but I could try to cut down on sugar and caffeine. So I set myself the challenge of a 40 day cake free existence, but daily chocolate intake is mandatory. Proving rather tough. My inner monologue sounds a lot like this at the moment:

– No cakes, cookies and biscuits. So I guess that means no pumpkin scones or donuts.

– But bread is okay.

– So, if I can eat bread, then bagels are fine.

– Some people might say that a croissant is quite similar to a bagel.

– Therefore a chocolate or almond croissant would be perfectly acceptable.

– 40 days on the pain au chocolat plan should be a breeze.


Posted: 02/15/2005 in Food and Drink

It rained, and it rained, and it rained yesterday afternoon, evening and night. Being the fool that I am I went out after getting home. I had no choice, my hands were tied. Because when I got home, first time, I found a card and v. v. good chocolates perched on the coffee table. When your spouse takes the trouble to bypass the obvious choice of something pink and garish from the local drugstore, or Godiva’s chocolate dipped fruit (who in their right mind would pay that much for a strawberry that isn’t coated in gold leaf) and instead goes to the elegant La Maison du Chocolat – you have to meet him at the train station with an umbrella!

I’m at home today, trying my hardest not to obsessively check my cell for messages (a la Bridget Jones) but tackle my to do list. New week, fresh start and, hopefully, a more positive attitude.