Friday, February 29, 2008
There is so much that can go wrong with a long black. Most often they turn out too long. One time at Bar Corvina (who I would usually trust with this sort of thing), after ordering a weak long black, they bought out a MUG, citing, "It should be weak enough with that much water." Often a perfectly good espresso shot is blasted to smithereens with boiling water, which winds up tasting like burnt crap and is scaldingly undrinkable for about two hours. I like my method: get a jug of hot water out of the steam wand, then add some cold water until it's about the temperature you would have the milk if you're making a latte. Or better yet, steam-heat some water. Either way, you should follow the same rules of not getting it too hot. The coffee won't like that. I don't have long blacks outside the house very often, so I'm not sure how widespread this method is.
An aside note: "smithereen" is not accepted by the spell checker, whereas "smithereens" is. "Smithereensy" most definitely is not either.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
"Yeah, they're the same."
He must have been in a hurry. So far that poster at Australia Zoo is the only source that condones more than 30ml for a short black. I'll have to do a survey.
"I was in that."
He was in the Hungry Hungry Hippos ad!
Well, I can't see him in that one. That ad just gets better and better with repeated viewings. Did you notice it rhymes the word "hippo" with "hippos"? Genius. Nice use of the word "whosever" too. It's far less clumsy than "whoever's". Ollie also added that he never saw the ad he was in, and isn't sure if it ever made it to TV. They also didn't give him a free HHH board game. But he got $400 for it. That money can buy many, many Hippos, and they needn't go hungry. Never mind that being a lot of money now, that was a hell of money back then. Especially when you're a kid.
"Umm...how much for a whole BOX of Redskins?"
"Mmm. Ok. And if I get a WHOLE BOX of White Knights too how much money do I have left?"
"Thirty plus thirty is sixty. Four hundred minus sixty, that leaves $320. Are you sure your parents said you could spend it all here?"
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Rad. That's Ollie's jasmine tea on the left. It looked and smelled pretty amazing, but it would have been a crime not to have a coffee. I'd have to have quit coffee to not have one when I go to the Wall. I also think the slowing of traffic (which I am basing entirely on my observation during the twenty minutes I was there today) has resulted in the coffee being better. Ahh.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
It's like a really strong, really small latte. Lea thought "Return of the Mac" was a good name. I nearly called it "piccolo latte", which is what they call this type of thing in Sydney, but then I realised I'm not in Sydney. So a Mark Morrison tribute it is.
Woah! How many out-of-focus slow-motion walking shots can there be in one video? How many people sampled that Genius of Love break? Everyone, it seems. Mariah Carey's Fantasy is unfortunately the most famous one. That reminds me, here's the original:
Watched the Seinfeld episode where the mechanic steals George's Twix, claims he was eating something other than a Twix, and George then makes a candy lineup to see if the guy can pick out what he ate. I really want a Twix now. That product placement in Seinfeld was huge. I remember when Snapple came out in Australia for a while, and I don't think they could have done it without those two mentions of it in Seinfeld. But the moral of the story is, I need a Twix.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Just saw There Will Be Blood. Daniel Day Lewis is a badass. Awesome music by Jonny Greenwood too.
Excellent. All descaled and back in action. You should've seen how many scales came out. It was off the scale.
Watching Seinfeld series nine. The Strike. I remember all the festivus stuff, but not the rest of the episode. Well, I guess I probably haven't seen it for ten years.
Off to the movies.
This laptop, however, is awesome! The tiny keyboard is sort of hard to get used to, I keep pressing up instead of shift, which winds up in me accidentally sneezing a lower-case character into the line above.
Here's a photo:It even has a webcam. I didn't really dig the Xandros operating system it comes with, so I installed Ubuntu 7.10 on there. Several hours of "Why isn't this working?" later, and it's all working. Mind you, the boot time on Xandros was mental. About 15 seconds from pressing the on button to being able to do things. Buntu doesn't do that. One of the downsides of this machine is it only has a 4 gig hard drive. That only leaves you with a bit less than 2 gig for actual data after you install an OS. A lot of people would say, "That sucks, why doesn't it have more room? Where am I going to put my 200 gig of music?" Well, that's why this thing is so light and cheap and rad. If you need to carry more than 1.5 gig of stuff with you everywhere, buy a bigger laptop.
Or get the biggest SD card you can get your hands on, and keep things on that. JB Hi Fi calls me yet again...
Sunday, February 24, 2008
- the coffee, more often than not, is disappointing
- they don't have a bottomless supply of croissants
As for point 1, I think the coffee is only disappointing in comparison to how amazing the food is. Fig, apricot and walnut french toast with cinnamon ricotta and maple syrup! Woah! It's like having dessert and breakfast at the same time!
But yeah. The coffee. Big-bubbled foam. Hmm.
"This episode is all about the rhythm that holds music together - be it the beats in today's urban music or percussion in orchestras."
Hmm. Yes, I guess it's vaguely about drumming in general.
And then the Classic Albums series came on. It was the one about Fleetwood Mac's Rumors.
Never seen that one before. Actually, haven't really heard the album. I want to check it out now though. Has anyone else noticed that the outro bassline from The Chain is nearly the same as the one in Hip Hop by Dead Prez? Here's Fleetwood Mac (the bassline comes in about at about 3:50):
And Dead Prez:
Wow. Blue King Brown have a song with that line too. I'll have to dig deeper on this one...
Oh, the coffee was good too. But I just realised I don't really know where 30ml is in these cups.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I loved the book. I thought the end of the movie was a little convoluted, it seemed to end about three times. Well, the book goes into far more detail there. It's nice though, it gives Sheriff Bell more of a focus in the story. It was impossible to read it without Tommy Lee Jones's voice in my head though.
The coffee sure helped though. As soon as I was sure I could keep liquids down, they brought one over. At least I could keep my eyes open and drive my car after we landed.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I digress. Latte, home.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Furthermore, they only have Stella or Pure Blonde on tap. $7.50 for a pot. Ouch. Likewise, I wouldn't come here if I didn't have a gig.
I should re-iterate:
It was very good.
It's on Little Lonsdale, between Queen and Elizabeth. Just in case you can't be bothered driving for an hour down the Nepean Highway.
Gotta drop off the Tarago. I didn't drop it off yesterday because I figured walking home in the rain would be more annoying than dropping the car off in the morning. I'll never know what's more annoying. The latter sure involved a hell of a lot more coffee though.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The bangers and mash were sound, too.
Ahhh. It's awesome to be back on the mainland. What's more, they hadn't run out of egg sandwiches yet. It's hard to explain, but Cross's egg sandwiches are amazing. Egg, lettuce, a few sultanas, toasted. That's it. But it's incredible.
But this blog is not about eggs. It's about coffee.
Wow, my camera phone really sucks.
Nice choice of spoon. They've got a huge bucket of them. I only really went for a flat white because I like the look of their brown cups.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
However, bonus points for being situated next to that park that the cafe was situated next to.
Monday, February 18, 2008
It was a bigger plunger this time, but it was only me drinking it, I only half filled it with water, and I used the whole bag of coffee. Same result, really.
There are many schools of thought on the to-stir-or-not-to-stir issue when using a plunger, but I've never really explored how this effects the resulting cup of coffee. I stirred it twice:
- Once, so all the grounds actually got wet.
- A second time, so the plunger would actually go down.
Leaving out that second stir can result in a nasty case of Plunger Knuckle. My mum thought she had that for years, until she realised it was the same knuckle you cannot avoiding hitting on the doorframe when you open the door to her office.
Tuesday February the 19th is International Plunger Knuckle Awareness Day. Give generously, that they may plunge.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
"Okay. Now, you know that's just the shot, right?"
"Right, just wanted to make sure. A lot of people don't know."
"Why do they order an espresso if they don't know what it is?"
"I'm not sure."
"Is it because it's only $3.00?"
You gotta fight those airport prices any way you can. It was damn good. I really should have slept on that flight, but instead I watched five-and-a-half episodes of the Simpsons.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
"I want it so strong that I'm crying and shaking."
Mine was good. I wasn't far off shaking. Extra points for wind difficulty.
"Just do a long black and add a bit of milk."
Luckily, Luke heard this in time.
"No, that's not it. That's not a double."
I'm starting to think the staff training is the weakest link at these chain places. Anyhow, my strongy came out in a slightly silly-looking glass, but other than that it was pretty good. The glass looked like it could be a bit bigger than 8 ounces, but that could be an optical illusion because of its tallness.
Friday, February 15, 2008
No, he's not in that ad, but I figured it was so awesome I had to post it anyway. Anyhow, I saw a photo of Steve Irwin with a can of Solo, and for the rest of the day all I could think was, "I NEED A CAN OF SOLO." I couldn't find one at Australia Zoo though. It turns out they're sponsored by Coca Cola, who are not the makers of Solo.
They did, however, have coffee. I was well impressed with the little coffee-description chart. It described coffee the way Steve used to talk about reptiles:
"Short black is an Australian term. Italians serve about 30ml of strong coffee with a thick golden 'crema' on the surface. A short black is usually a little longer than the Italian espresso."
Concise. Informative. Educational. So a short black is longer than an espresso, eh? Maybe that's what I've been doing wrong: ordering a short black. Let's cross that off the list.
Unfortunately, the poster was where the good stuff ended. Too long, no crema, and served in a giant cup. Sorry Steve, this one gets a bomb.
"That'll be $4.20."
"Really? Why is it $4.20?"
The menu said it was $3.60.
"Oh, the sizes are different for take away."
She assumed a large by default. That's not a good sign. They don't seem to serve larges when you eat in, so why would they bother not only offering a large takeaway, but assuming I wanted one. That's not a good sign.
The coffee was good though.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The espresso was damn good though. A bit cold by the time it got to me, but still tasted okay. I'm not sure how that is possible.
But not many airports have free wireless internet. That is impressive.
Curiously, it's listed as a "short espresso" on the menu. Possibly a decision made in an Aromas marketing meeting.
"Okay so then in the next column we have long black for $3.90, latte for $3.90, espresso for only $3.20, macchiato steps it up to $3.30..."
"Woah woah woah slow down, espresso?"
"Yes, an espresso. That's $3.20."
"What the hell is an espresso?"
"The shot of coffee."
"You mean a short black?"
"Yes, but it's an espresso."
"That's what it's called."
"But aren't they all espressos?"
"Hmm. It seems confusing to have 'long black' and 'espresso' on the same menu. What if somebody wants a short black?"
"Then they order an espresso."
"But how do they know that it will be short?"
"By definition, it will be."
"I don't think we should alienate too many customers by not having a short black on the menu."
"But espresso is on the menu. That's a short black."
"Should we just write 'short black'?"
"That's too low-brow."
"Ok ok ok guys it's time for lunch, how about we write 'short espresso'? It specifies the length while still utilising metro/euro nomenclature."
"Yeah let's have some lunch."
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
"That'll be five bucks."
"Why is it five bucks?"
"Two shots, mate. Boom boom."
"Yeah, but I didn't order two coffees. It's not twice the labour."
"Okay, make it four bucks."
Maybe this guy was just making it up as he went along. Even if you pull two espresso shots into one cup one after the other, you shouldn't end up with that much liquid. I wonder what would have happened if I ordered a double shot long black. It would be either the same thing, or twice as long, possibly spread across two cups.
The end product was at least drinkable, so I won't be awarding this one a BOMB rating. But it was pretty poor form.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Italian dudes wired off their arses on caffeine, leaning out the doorway to leer at that bird who Tony Soprano imagined living next door to him every time he took prozac. That photo is pretty old school, 1996 according to the internet. These days, Lavazza are more into this kind of thing:
There ain't no horny Italian dudes leaning out no doors for that.
But what I'm getting at is the cup. Take a closer look. See how much it tapers at the bottom? This afternoon as I attempted to stir sugar into my espresso (it was a bit bitter) at the Balcony I realised that the Lavazza cup and the Australian standard teaspoon do not work well together. The spoon tapers at the end, sure. It reaches to the bottom of the cup, yes. But just try stirring the damn thing. You just can't make it go in a circular motion, there's no room. I used the handle instead.
Nice place, they have a few machines for sale, and I think they roast their own beans. Ok, better go get some breakfast.
Monday, February 11, 2008
You might think, “You're insane, weren't there a dozen places at the airport to get a real espresso coffee?” Well, no, it's Perth airport and therefore there are TWO places. I ordered a flat white at Firefly last time I was here, and wound up leaving it on the bench, citing, “I'm not drinking that.” Not subtle, but I think they got the idea. So I was a little squeamish about trying that place again. But there you have it: if you're flying QANTAS out of Perth, it's worth waiting until you get on board. I had two cups, and I think that means it has to be two entries. I can't vouch for Virgin Blue's coffee, though.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Jumps and I walked in, assuming an “expresso” would actually mean an “espresso”.
“I'll have an expresso.”
“I'll have an expresso too. And a Whopper with Cheese.”
She served us two cappucinos.
“Er, we ordered two expressos.”
On closer inspection, the nomenclature “short black” is used on the menu. So the girl heard “expresso”, thought “Expresso to go!” and then served us the default coffee, which at this Hungry Jack's happens to be a cappuccino with way too much chocolate stuff on top.
Aside from that, it was pretty good. This, combined with the research Will and I did at Sydney airport a few months back into who makes better coffee out of McDonald's and Krispy Kreme, clearly puts HJ's on the top of the last-resort open-only-in-an-emergency pile.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
a) high price, and
b) unreliable quality
But unfortunately staying up this end of Perth means a long, long walk to find any other coffee. Places seem to open and close at odd times around here. For example, the pizza place across the road is open from 8:30AM to 6PM Monday to Friday. It is closed on Saturday and Sunday. This raises some questions:
a) who eats pizza at 8:30AM?
b) wouldn't there be a big crowd on the weekend?
c) wouldn't there be a late-night crowd?
Odd. Anyhow, for these and other reasons (lack of time) I had an espresso in the lobby. It wasn't bad. Paying for it was a complicated procedure (as is often the case in hotel bars) and the glass was a bit weird, but it was okay.
“Can I have an earl grey tea?”
The guy looked at me like it was the single weirdest request he'd ever had on a flight.
“Aw, nahh mate, we haven't got anything like that.”
Thursday, February 7, 2008
With Nick's parma in one nostril and Luis's fisherman's basket in the other, I knew it was time for another coffee.
The Sphinx (a huge pub in Geelong, topped by a huge fiberglass replica of the Sphinx) has a nose. Disappointing. We considered lopping it off.
With the extra three-and-a-bit hours (I was running late for the 10AM meeting) I got my Wiimotes to talk to Ableton via bluetooth and MIDI. I'm slowly getting closer to my dream of playing a jazz gig and turning up with a Guitar Hero controller and a laptop.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
We're off to see Cloverfield.
Batch had bunches of what looked like parsley from a distance, but broccolini up close, in bottles along the bar at the window. I'm still not sure what they were.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
1. Eternal Flame is on the radio. Yeah, haven't heard that for a while.
2. Maybe I should buy that on iTunes.
3. I was thinking about getting an iPod Touch.
4. Maybe I should go home via JB Hi-Fi and get an iPod Touch today...
Interestingly, if you write the word "ipod" or "Ipod", it auto-corrects the capitalisation to "iPod". What an extravagant branding exercise.
My "reminders" function in my phone came in handy today, when I was driving past my chiro, and my phone beeped and said, "Chiro appt."
Anyhow, it still took a while today. I ordered a "small", part of my defiance against the "large" movement, and I'm pretty sure he just three-quarter-filled a "regular" cup. Still quite good though.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Also, San Churro have opened a shop on Acland St! Woo! If I hadn't totally OD'd on their hot chocolate when their Brunswick St store opened, I'd probably go there! But that chocolate fountain sure does look enticing.
Leroy's are the business. There is a very specific ordering procedure, where you have to supply the following information:
a) what coffee would you like
b) what size
c) how many sugars.
If you abide by that, it all works. The coffee is rad too.
Got five stars on Miss Murder on medium on Guitar Hero III. Sick. Five stars on Barracuda too.
Ok I've been putting off writing this Inpress thing for long enough. Better go.
Considering buying an iPod Touch.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
That first one didn't quite wake me up. The second one must have worked; I got onstage during changeover with a Sharpie and started writing weird shit on everybody else's set lists.
“Thirty-six bucks is too much just for something for me to slosh back.”
Overheard in the bar of the hotel next to ours – our hotel has no coffee machine. Or bar or restaurant or box of cereal, for that matter. I'll never understand why so many hotel rooms bother having a six-cup plunger in the cupboard, but only sachets of instant coffee.
“We've got a Rosemount for $25...?”
The customer seemed unenthused. I wanted to tell her to go to a bottle shop.
Miss Murder by AFI comes on the TV. I realise I like the song much more in Guitar Hero III, when I don't have to look at the singer's haircut.
My last coffee experience in that bit of New South Wales between Canberra and Sydney was around October 2006. I left Wagga Wagga for Sydney around 5:00 AM, with the intention of driving straight to the airport. I pulled over at the dog on the tuckerbox in Gundagai, presented with either a McCafe or some other place that was possible called Dog on the Tuckerbox Cafe. Adhering to my “never buy coffee from McDonalds” rule, I ordered a take away flat white from the DTC. I should have known it wasn't going to work out when she pulled down the welding mask and picked up the milk jug. The end result was thermonuclear steamed milk, which still wasn't drinking temperature when I got to Yass, nearly an hour's drive north. But if you've read the sidebar on this blog you know that already. My short black from some bakery in Mittagong this morning was much better. I didn't get much sleep last night, but I really hate falling asleep in a twelve-seater Hiace. Even the passenger seat up the front doesn't tilt back.