Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today, as in most days, I woke up thinking about coffee.  Actually, I think I went to sleep thinking about coffee.  Of course my mind is always on K and Sweetie, but coffee is one of my little daily rituals that I look forward to no matter what's going on.

It all started when I was a summertime exchange student in Costa Rica in 10th Grade...I'm pretty sure I had never even tried coffee before then, and if I had I know my father always bought Folgers............not coffee in my to arrive in Costa Rica and be served cafe con leche on a daily basis was totally eye-opening.  I remember buying huge bags to send back as gifts and really never having that same experience with any cafe au lait bought in an American coffee shop.

And so an addiction began...continued while I was at West Point (okay, the coffee in the mess hall was NOT good, but I still look back on it with fondness!!!) and the addiction turned into true passion during a family trip to Provence, France.  Previously I had only ever had coffee in the morning but I fell in love with the French practice of multiple espressos daily, especially because I got to share the experience with K.  Since I was not an espresso drinker before France, I had never tasted anything like it.  My passion went even farther during my second deployment to Iraq.  I brought my own electric French Press (I found this Chef's Choice one at for $89.99--I highly recommend it as it held up for 15 months in the desert!) and had Gevalia delivered monthly (  I may have been living sparsely but I believe in creature comforts!!!

Now that I'm back home, the options for coffee are endless...I still love Starbucks (even though there are a bunch of haters...they're NOT anti-military!) and Dunkin' Donuts, of course (which was my choice this morning) but for home K and I have decided to go with the Tassimo machine.  (  Try it's better than the other pod coffee machines because they actually have milk pods to make delicious cappucinos, lattes, and super creamy hot chocolates, along with all sorts of types of regular coffee, espressos, and teas.  Don't pay more than $130...that's the price we paid at Lowe's and Costco even has it for that price with a bunch of free pods.  They haven't started selling the pods separately yet so let's hope that comes next!
Okay, okay, but who doesn't like to support local, small businesses and who doesn't love a cozy coffee house down the street that doesn't feel so commercial....and what type of "observer" would I be if I didn't give you a suggestion of where to go for some great coffee!?!?!  My choice in the area would be JoJo's Coffee on Pratt St. in downtown Hartford.  (  Bottom line, don't go if you're in a hurry, but the coffee's great and they're extremely friendly.  (Tell Bill, Cathy and Dalia I say hi!)  They roast their own beans on site AND they're equally passionate about tea if that's your thing...I was quite grateful for that while I was pregnant as I was shying away from caffeine and they have lots of great decaffeinated tea.  There's also a location in New Haven on Chapel Street.
Alright, that's enough on coffee for now...until tomorrow, have a great three meals (and a couple great cups of joe!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Celebratory Dinner

After a celebratory dinner at one of my favorites, Bricco in West Hartford, CT (for more info, go to, I decided it was finally time to start my blog.  What were we celebrating? Our Sweetie's 2 month birthday...I'm sure you'll hear plenty about her as time goes on.  Especially because it's quickly becoming my opinion that having a baby changes a foodie's lifestyle in more dramatic ways than other parents!  Hilariously I'm pretty sure Sweetie's already a foodie herself, but more on that later.

My experience at Bricco is always a positive one.  I've heard how picky they are about who they hire on as waitstaff, let alone their cooking staff, and it really shows.  We decided to head over there at about 6pm and I worried there might not be a seat outside since it was such an incredible evening.  K said if there were no tables he'd officially call off the recession since it was a Tuesday night.  (I'm sure Mr. Bernanke sits around waiting for his calls...)  Fortunately we got there just in time, got a great table, and waited to see if Sweetie would disturb the other diners and force us to leave (#1 consideration for a foodie who's used to enjoying meals out!)  She was a doll, fortunately, and we had a great meal. 

I started with the featured appetizer, Stuffed Artichoke Hearts...I'm not sure I breathed once I started to eat it.  It was delicious and perfect...lots of fresh vegetables and a delicious tomato-based sauce with capers--an ode to freshness.  K had a local market green salad which, if you can believe, I didn't even get a taste of.  Living in Connecticut I can't let opportunities like that pass me by!  After all it's almost September.  For our main course I had the Veal Milanese with Fingerling Potatoes and Arugula Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes.  K had the Diver Sea Scallops with a summer risotto.  Needless to say, everything was cooked perfectly...both the veal and the sea scallops melted in your mouth, which surprised me because the veal was incredibly thin and with the breading had the possibility of being pretty dry.  The risotto was unlike any I've had before...the addition of fresh tomatoes and corn was so refreshing.

So there you have it...nothing controversial to report here--this time.  It was a great meal at a great restaurant...other than that I found myself without a knife at one point...........ahhhhh...more on my silverware pet peeves later.  Until my next post...have a great three meals!