Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Survey is Dead. Long Live Survey.

The ethnic food survey has been over for some time, and only now do I get around to putting up a new one.

I was surprised to see Tex-Mex strongly win, with 28% of the vote. I guess it's not surprising. Most of the "Mexican" places in RI suck, and there are only two El Tapatio's, so the northern, Eastern, and Southern parts of the state are out of luck.

Caribbean comes in second, with 24%. Rock on, I say. The only place I can think of is Tricia's Tropigrille. We definitely, DEFINITELY need more.

Eastern Mediterranean got 20%, which was a surprise to me. I didn't know so many people liked falafel, kebabs, and pitas. Not really my cup of tea, but more food is always better.

Southeast Asian landed 12%, which would be cool. The availability of real Thai, Cambodian, and similar foods is pretty lean. Everything we have is kinda' sorta' Chinese. Hell, we only really started getting Japanese food disseminated throughout the state within the last 15 years.

Indian and Western Mediterranean both got 8%, which is disappointing. I would love more Spanish and North African foods. I'm also hosed because we have no more Indian food in my area. India, Rasoi, and Kebob & Curry are all up in Providence.

Pacific Island and South African both got no love.

So for the new survey, I'm thinking about myself. I recently made a trip of over an hour into Massachusetts to specifically go to a restaurant. I'm planning on making a multi-hour trip for New York to visit Daniel, Per Se, and something random. And I may be making a trip to Chicago for a variety of eateries, but specifically Alinea.

How far have you traveled for a meal?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Almost There, Kids!

Getting the right milk texture to pour latte art out of my Jura Capresso Z5 is a nightmare. The milk "steam" option on the milk nozzle really just produces hot milk, and the milk "foam" option produces ungodly amounts of foam. It's great for adding milk to coffee, or for producing cappuccinos, but for a perfectly poured latte, it's a bit difficult.

I have to switch back and forth from steam to foam to keep the foam matrix well-integrated with the greater body of milk fluid. Some extra swirling afterwords helps, but it can't fix a bad steam.

Still, I'm happy with the progress I'm making. I had to develop new pouring patterns to compensate for the milk, but it looks good.

This is the first one I did that looked good enough to call actual latte art. This was after a lot of wasted coffee and milk, one day.

This one is puffy, with large bubbles, but the definition of the art is much better. This one was a few days after the first.

And finally, my most recent one. Great foam. Great definition. I microwaved water in the cup beforehand, so the drink was blazing hot. Possibly the best drink I've ever made.

Obviously, I've still got a ways to go before I reach this guy...

(Added 4/21/09)

Woot. It's not as good as my onion above, but it's still good, and I'm getting better.

If anyone is interested, to get the milk just right, I use cold whole milk, and dispense steamed milk for 20 seconds. Then I set the nozzle halfway between max-foam and steam and dispense for 15 seconds. Then I dispense steamed milk to fill the 12oz pitcher 95% full. Make sure to give the pitcher some good whacks on the counter to pop the big bubbles and swirl for a good 10-15 seconds. In retrospect, I would have bought a 20oz pitcher. It makes it a lot easier.