Manolo's Food Blog Manolo Loves the Food!

February 18, 2014

From the Department of Someone Should Switch to Decaf…

Filed under: Coffee,Playing with food — raincoaster @ 4:14 pm
Coffee Crazy

Coffee Crazy

Well, this is relatively insane.

First of all, dude definitely does not need more caffeine in his life. Secondly, Folgers coffee plus foam does not equal a latte. It equals … well, it is to a latte as the winner of the Seniors division of the Midwestern Exotic Dancing Championships is to Kate Upton. Thirdly, this wouldn’t be a latte even if it were made with espresso; it would be a cappuccino. But he does do one thing right here: he gives it to the caffeine-deprived woman. That is ALWAYS the right choice.

If you absolutely must have this gadget, I beg of you: Use decent coffee. But here you go. The Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1 Cafe Latte is less than $50 at Amazon.

January 12, 2014

Coffee Talk just got real

Filed under: Coffee — raincoaster @ 12:39 am


Coffee Talk, yo. Straight talk.

Coffee Talk, yo. Straight talk.

Word up, my friend. The importance of staying properly hydrated cannot be stressed enough, and by “properly hydrated” I mean that you must bring water to me in the form of strong coffee, good black tea, or (at a stretch) fresh lemonade.

August 29, 2012

The French Press and the Cocktail Shaker

Filed under: Cocktails,Coffee — Manolo the Shoeblogger @ 5:38 am

If, improbably, you were to ask the Manolo, “Manolo, what are your two favorite utensils,” he would reply, “The french press and the cocktail shaker!”

Grosch French Press Coffee MakerPewter Cocktail Shaker

The French press and the cocktail shaker are not merely artifacts of beverage production, but exemplars of civilized life. The proper use of either of them force upon us the sort of ritual of preparation, the tiny tea ceremony, whose orders we must follow exactly if we hope to achieve perfection.

In the morning, it is the heating of the water, the grinding of the fairtrade coffee (from Ringtons), the pouring of the water to the proper level, the stirring of the pot, the placing of the lid, and then the waiting, three minutes of anticipation. Only, at the very last, is the plunging of the press, done so carefully, so deliberately, with such satisfaction.

In the afternoon, the ritual is different but similar. The ice, the gin, the whisper of vermouth, the vigorous shaking, up and down, up and down, and then the celebratory decanting, the careful, deliberate pouring of the elixir into our glass. Ayyy! Keep out the ice!

What can be more civilized than this? Done alone or with friends, the proper employment of the French press and the cocktail shaker are marks of civilization, tokens that we have triumphed over our primitive past.

“But, Manolo,” you may ask, “what of the tea pot?”

It has it’s place, the Manolo cannot deny. The drinking of tea is the civilized act, although, too often, the tea pot is rendered frou-frou fussy, with its baroque patterns and garish colors.

The colorful teapot lacks the solemn, pleasant dignity of the French press and cocktail shaker, which makes the latter two the superior objects, and their employment the superior act.

And so, dear friends, raise your glass and hoist your mug to the French press and the cocktail shakers, two of mankind’s greatest inventions.

December 4, 2011

Sunday Food Porn: The Caffeine Galaxy

Filed under: Coffee,Food Porn — raincoaster @ 12:21 pm
Sunday Coffee Planetary Food Porn

Sunday Coffee Planetary Food Porn

Twinkle, twinkle little cup

Just the thing to wake me up.

Two shots strong and nonfat milk;

Couldn’t live without your ilk.

September 14, 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

Filed under: American Food,Coffee — raincoaster @ 7:55 pm

Autumn. How do I know? The change of the seasons as heralded by the Starbucks menu board.

Batman has a love hate relationship with pumpkin spice lattes

Batman has a love hate relationship with pumpkin spice lattes

But it’s not just Gotham City that’s been visited by early Autumnal bevvies:



Chicago, you bear the burden of being ahead of your time. As for us here in Upper Muskox, even the tomato plants are wearing sweaters now, and a week of frost has done for my basil harvest, withered in its prime like a deflated Kardashian Sister (if one of them ever springs a leak, it’ll be like the Dead Sea in a radius of about 15 feet but where was I).

The pumpkin spice latte is all very well, but you could always, you know, just not order it until later in the season. It’s not like they’ve discontinued ice. And this is as handy a place as any to re-post my Starbucks Without Tears guide for getting the Starbucks Experience absolutely wired. Seven years of working there has to pay off somehow, if only in blog filler. This isn’t exhaustive, obviously, but it has sound tips for negotiating your way through the forest of mochawhippichhinolattes and so on, to the goal of real espresso flavour.

1- order a cappuccino instead of your regular latte and you’ll cut calories by half and get a stronger espresso flavour at the same time.

2- if you want to drink less fatty dairy in your espresso drinks, but hate skim, order 2%. Sure, it’s not on the menu, but any competent barista will simply mix equal parts whole and skim in the cup for a good approximation of 2%. [UPDATE: now 2% is standard, but you can work this trick, splitting 2% with half skim and get 1% too. You can even do this to lower the fat in eggnog lattes]

3- to use less sugar in your espresso drink, sprinkle half your normal amount of loose sugar on the foam crust and don’t stir it in. Drinking through the sugar crust makes the drink taste sweeter for whatever reason. White sugar works better than plantation sugar because the grains are finer

4- DON’T ORDER THE VENTI!!!! Sorry to bust out the all caps, people, but this is crucial. A venti-sized drink is 20 ounces of liquid. I used to feed horses for a living, and horses will drink 20 ounces of liquid at a time. People watching their weight shouldn’t. I once read a calorie chart in a diet book that included the calorie count of a venti mocha; people who need diet books shouldn’t be drinking venti anythings. [this was written before they had the latest size, the Gut Buster I think they call it?]

5- on that note, Starbucks does still offer the small size, a Short, even though it’s not on the menu. It’s cheaper than a tall, too, and because it has the same number of espresso shots in smaller volume, the coffee taste is stronger than in the same drink in a tall size. A short is eight ounces, or about twice what a coffee cup used to hold in the Sixties and Seventies, so it’s not like you’ll waste away; it is still a substantial size.

6- frappuccinos without whipped cream are technically low-fat, and don’t have as many calories as you’d think, because they’re primarily ice. The lowest-calorie frappuccino is also my favorite and also not on the menu: an espresso frappuccino. That is just a regular coffee frappuccino with a shot of espresso added. Because the espresso takes up an ounce that would otherwise be creamy frap mix, the drink has fewer calories than a plain one, and a great espresso flavour.

7- which reminds me, a quick and tasty way to reduce calories is to order the same size drink you normally do, but add an extra shot of espresso. A shot of espresso has three to six calories, while an ounce of milk has several times that.

8- drinks always taste better in “for here” cups, partly because they’re generally kept heated on top of the espresso bar. You can also use your own travel mug (don’t worry if it has the logo of another cafe on the side; nobody minds) and save ten cents at most cafes while helping the environment.

9- the best way to get in and out in a hurry is just as Lifehacker suggests: order a tall coffee and (my contribution) have exact change in your free hand; you may not even need to go near the till, if the baristas are efficient enough about working the lineup.

10- tea, of course, has no calories. Coffee itself only has about five in a strong cup, but people often find tea doesn’t seem to need sweetening the way coffee does, particularly herbal, fruit-based teas like licorice root or dried berry. Teas are, if you think about it, essentially weak vegetable extract, and contain many health-boosting phytochemicals. I’m not talking about those diuretic “dieter’s teas” that keep you in the bathroom all day; those are no good, particularly as nobody can admire your slimness if you’re stuck in the bathroom stall all damn day.

11- green and black teas (oolong to a lesser extent) contain tannic acid, which is a mild, easily tolerated muscle relaxant. If you’re stiff, you get jitters from coffee, or you’ve got cramps of any kind, give these teas a try. Red wine works too, but it’s more expensive and you can’t get that in most Starbucks.

12- caffeine enhances the effectiveness of the painkillers ibuprofen, codeine, ASA, and acetominophen, so if you are taking any of those, consider taking them with coffee or tea. This appears to be variable: most people get the effect, while for some it does nothing whatsoever. Test it and see how it works for you.

13- cafe mochas have measurable amounts of fiber in them, but you’d need to drink almost a hundred a day to meet your dietary requirement; there are cheaper ways to achieve regularity. I just put that in here because what the hell: it’s amusing.

14- that stuff called “nondairy creamer”? It’s an incredibly fattening petroleum byproduct, not a food. Cream is a lower-calorie choice; this stuff is offered for those who have lactose intolerance or other reasons to avoid dairy (and it was invented before we had soy milk). I had a customer at Starbucks who used to order grande mochas made from the stuff, until I asked him why one day and he told me that his doctor had him on a strict diet to reduce his cholesterol, calories and fat. I talked him into drinking black coffee instead of the 1100 calorie monstrosityhe’d been drinking, thinking it was healthy. Seriously, if you keep Coffee Mate around, consider buying powdered skim instead.

15- ask to read the label of the soymilk your cafe uses, if you’re a soymilk drinker. Not all of them are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, although people assume they are, and it can be quite high in fat as well. Soymilk is not nutritionally identical to milk, so read the label and make an educated decision. And apparently Almond Milk has half the calories of skim and more protein at the same time!

16- ask your barista for recommendations. They are generally very knowledgeable and love the chance to use their learning. Tell them what issues you’re dealing with, eg “I am lactose-intolerant and diabetic, but I really miss my vanilla cappuccinos. Is there something else I can order?”

17- here’s a recipe for homemade frappuccinos, if you’re into that sort of thing. You can mix up your own flavours: I like coffee and peanut butter (no, you may not laugh at me).

18- if you want something indulgent but not a total calorie-bomb, try espresso con panna, espresso with whipped cream. It’s definitely got that decadent feeling, but only a dollop of cream, and you feel so pleasurably Eurotrashy, sipping from your tiny little cup.


September 8, 2011


Filed under: Breakfast,Coffee — raincoaster @ 4:59 pm it decaf nonfat ricenog? I asked for decaf nonfat ricenog! it decaf nonfat ricenog? I asked for decaf nonfat ricenog!

Time to rub the crumbs of sleep out of our eyes and frappé la rue; we’re back to regular blogging chez ManoloFoods. What’s that you say? The coffee’s just not doing it for you?

Well, maybe what you need is a little pastry to go with:

In what must have seemed like a scene straight from a movie, hundreds of Orthodox Greek mourners were mistakenly served kourabiedes, a traditional Greek biscuit, at a funeral reception. Shortly after tasting the biscuits, the guests started acting incredibly strangely and the funeral bureau officers called the police.

Authorities and funeral goers were surprised to find out that instead of icing sugar, the biscuits had cocaine toppings sprinkled all over them.

MOURN FASTER! MOURN FASTER! Compared to the staid Anglicanism of my upbringing, this is looking mighty interesting; do you think it’s some kind of marketing outreach?

Just to keep you suitably off-balance, and in case you don’t happen to have any Greek mourning biscuits handy, we present this awesome tribute to David Lynch’s Coffee…

and a mashup of Wilkins Coffee pitches, from the revered, and apparently somewhat demented, Jim Henson.

May 17, 2011

Coffee à la Canuck: part deux

Filed under: Canadian Food,Coffee,Emetic,Playing with food — raincoaster @ 10:23 am

Red Green

Red Green

Remember our intrepid Canadian caffeine addicts from Afghanistan? Well, if you think THEY were ingenious, wait till you see how we home-brew java chez Canuckistan. Here’s Canadian heart-throb Red Green to demonstrate Lawnmower Coffee.

via CoffeeGeek

April 24, 2011

How was your Easter?

Filed under: Books,Canadian Food,candy,Coffee,Dessert,Food Porn,Holidays,Quiz,Reading — raincoaster @ 11:42 pm
Bye Bye Bunny

Bye Bye Bunny

I’ll be honest: I’ve had a grudge against Easter ever since I realized that, when I was growing up (before the invention of fire) we got a basket of chocolates with one big bunny, a couple of Easter Creme Eggs, and a lot of jellybeans, and only a few years later my much younger stepbrothers got Rollerblades, BUT I’M SO OVER THAT REALLY.

Ahem. Anyway, I didn’t do anything special on Easter and I didn’t get any chocolate except the Hazelnut truffle my friend Raul bought me from the charming Portuguese fellow at the market and no, I’m not sulking, I’M SO OVER THAT I TELL YOU WHY DO YOU KEEP LOOKING AT ME THAT WAY?

I did have a delightful and delicious Easter tea on Friday with a good friend and the most adorable 14-month-old baby you’ve ever seen, and a post will be forthcoming on that shortly, once I’ve gotten my hands on the pictures. I’d almost have a baby so I’d have an excuse to buy those adorable little baby shoes!

On Easter Sunday I got up late, put the kettle on, made myself a French Press of Kenya (yes, from Starbucks: their Kenya AAA is one of the most perfectly balanced coffees in the world FACT and the VP of coffee there once told me it had the second highest caffeine level of any of their offerings, right behind Columbia) and then had a big mess of vegetarian chili while re-reading Toby Young’s extremely addictive memoir How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (curse you, Toby Young, how many rainy days have you cost me in lost productivity???) and then, as always, I went to the cafe with the dreadful coffee and had the green tea while I went online. Hey, a blogger’s gotta blog, eh?

What did you do? Do people still have Easter traditions? Holding out for Monday? Favorite candy? Gawker has a What Your Favorite Easter Candy Says About You quiz, and I present the following Cadbury Easter Creme Egg result without comment:

You normally have things under control but are subject to wild and uncontrollable cravings. While your life is typically together, you suffer from a serious flaw like constant tardiness, chronic attitude problems, or the lack of discipline to keep yourself in check when around seasonal chocolate treats. When you dedicate yourself to your vice, you go in whole hog. If you don’t have a drinking problem now, you probably will in a year or so. Also, you hate people who like those tiny little eggs they sell in packs of twelve. They’re like people who get wasted on New Years Eve and St. Paddy’s Day.

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