Monday, March 30, 2009

definitely not your typical battlefield rations

Here’s some interesting work news, which ties beautifully into the theme of this blog.

My job involves writing. A few days ago my colleague and cube mate was talking about needing to put together some two line descriptions on the inspiration and ingredients for each of the canapés that will be served at the next exhibition opening, which is all about camouflage and deception.

The chef is proposing some interesting hors d’oeuvres: salmon lollipops encrusted with black sesame seeds, cheese martinis (garnish becomes main ingredient), mushroom espressos and tequila mango shooters, among other things. I’m not going to give too much away until the actual big day, which won’t be for a few months yet. But the whole team is very excited.

Obviously, I jumped on the opportunity. What self-respecting foodie/writer wouldn’t?

In addition to creating the descriptions, I’m also writing a chef’s statement and sprucing up the actual names we give the canapés. And so, all in the name of research, I can go visit the chef, ask him questions about each of his selections, his preparation methods, tricks of the trade… the list goes on. The chance to interview a professionally-trained chef has been pretty heady. (I don't get out much...)

I’ve also pulled up all kinds of videos and recipes on trompe l’oeil food. It's always nice to be able to indulge a personal interest on company time...

As work assignments go, this is a pretty good one!

PS I finally (after almost 3 months) figured out how to make my Twitter feed appear on my blog without that annoying sign-in box. My days of feeling technically inclined are numbered, I can tell.

Friday, March 06, 2009

oh, coffee

My bus to work lets me off in front of a Starbucks every morning.

This in itself may not sound like an incredible pronouncement, but let's go back and look at this sentence more carefully.

a) I now have a job, people. Back at work, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. After 18 months of hanging out at home with the kids, I'm back in the hustle and bustle of the rat race...but with a small difference. I've moved out of the private sector and into something that makes people who know me say I'm in the perfect job for who I am.

b) Even though I stare down the doors of the Starbucks down every morning, I don't (always) step in. This is a big deal because I love my lattés. I've always been a coffee-with-my-milk kind of girl. And Starbucks has always been my destination of choice to fill my need.

I owe my change of heart to one person--my own personal barista, my husband. He's the type of man who, every once in a while, will pick up a new hobby and proceed to learn everything about it until he masters it. He did it with kick boxing, he did it with stock investing, and now, he's taken up coffee. In the same way that many people appreciate fine wines, he's joined the ranks of the coffee geeks, and I couldn't be more proud.

He's the one who gets up every morning and carefully grinds the beans for the daily espresso. He's also the one who waits patiently for the pressure to build so that he can steam the milk. Then he personalizes it just for me with little bit of vanilla syrup and a dash of cinnamon. How can I resist?

I've also discovered if I walk just one block further to where I catch my second bus, I walk right past the doors of the locally-owned Bridgehead coffee shop. Although the baked goods selection is not as appealing as Starbucks (ahem, hint, hint), the lattés have less of that push-button taste to them , and the milk is always poured with a lovely little leaf pattern on top (which I don't have a picture of, yet). I always try and support the local company, when I can.