Best Coffee Ever: Gimme Coffee

I’m not usually that impressed when someone receives a “Best of” award. The ones given out here in Boston include hundreds of categories, such as the illustrious Best Jewelry, Classic, West; and who can forget the inimitable Best Men’s Clothing Store on the Cape. This is Economics 101: given a fixed demand for “Best of” reviews, the more the supply, the lower the value of each award.

The science I’m about to drop here comes in the form of one award in one category for my entire life. It’s the Cameron Marlow lifetime achievement award for best coffee ever consumed. And the award goes to … Gimme Coffee! Located under the bright red awning at 495 Lorimer in Brooklyn, this spartan shop contains an espresso machine, a few tables and little else. But the coffee they make there is unsurpassed in my existence. Each cup is made by a small staff that (not surprising for Williamsburg) takes the art of coffee-making very seriously.

beautiful cup of coffee
Gimme Coffee’s average cup of joe

This cup of coffee has forced countless trips to Williamsburg and rerouted my New York entrance/exit route to always include a segment along the BQE. If you go there, there aren’t many options: large/small, filter/espresso/cappuccino/latte. I recommend a large latte (pictured above). The espresso is brewed in a machine that appears to have been bred with a motorcycle:

mad espresso machine
Gimme Coffee Machine

Manufactured by Kees van der Western of Holland, self-titled espressonist, this machine pours out the darkest, richest espresso I have ever tasted. It’s worth the trip to Brooklyn, no joke.

The (once) underground pepper

a can of chipotles (packed in adobo sauce)A while ago on one of my favorite cooking shows the chef made a dish with chipotle peppers. She extoled their unique flavor as “bacon for vegetarians.” With a description like that, I couldn’t resist trying a bunch of different recipes laden with these mysterious peppers.

Chipotle (pronounced chee-POHT-lay) peppers are simply smoked red jalapenos, a fact I didn’t know until I had eaten them many times. The process of smoking changes the flavor completely, which along with the ‘adobo sauce’ they are typically packed in, makes them a flavorful alternative as a spicy condiment; as suggested, they have an aroma that suggests bacon or jerky. Once I started eating them, I became obsessed, maybe even addicted to the flavor. I have an open can of chipotles in my refridgerator at all times

I just recently discovered that my addiction is not unique. The name has started to pop up everywhere, from the Cheescake Factory to Tabasco; everywhere I turn I’m confronted with this word I don’t ever remember noticing before this year. Some are proclaiming 2003 the Year of the Chipotle, its popularity sealed by acceptance in the popular market. Paul McIlhenny, president of the Tabasco enterprise thinks their new chipotle sauce will supercede habanero, garlic, and green to become their number two sauce.

How can something nearly a thousand years old emerge in one year as a taste of the year? Is it the product of good marketing, or did its diffusion just reach epidemic proportions? As a researcher in this sort of thing, it’s hard to tell. Americans have been diversifying their tastes like crazy over the past decade, and it might have just been a matter of time before people were ready for it. I wonder what other sneaky, radically good ingredients are just around the corner. It’s like an element of the periodic table of tastes that has just been discovered. If you know of any others, sound off..

Iguana, Oaxaca style

For some reason I’ve seen one episode of A Cook’s Tour too many times, but upon eating some undercooked iguana tamales, Tony Bourdain spurts out one of the best food repulsion lines I’ve ever heard:

“Unbelievably horrible. I just want to die.. I mean really bad. I want to dip my head into a bucket of lye, you know, pull my eyes out of their sockets and jump off a cliff.”

Food tasters (especially those not trained in the cuilinary arts) are always much too passive in their reactions. “The essence is not to my liking,” or “I don’t think the separate parts are tied together.” I just want them to cut the crap and say that they hate it.

Another leap in the deep-fried arms race

Somewhere deep in the provincial regional fairs of America, food technicians have come up with a response to the ever-popular Scottish late-night treat, the deep-fried Mars bar. Using only stock USA-made products, this new invention may be the end-all in end-all diets: the DEEP FRIED TWINKIE.

In what may be the biggest setback for the war on fat since supersize fries, Americans are scarfing down thousands of the gooey, calorie-laden snack cakes at county fairs and restaurants across the country.
“We sold 26,000 Twinkies in 18 days. People drove for hours just to taste our Twinkie,” said Rocky Mullen, who sells the deep-fried, cream-filled treats for $3 (U.S.) each at the Payallup Fair, 50 kilometres south of Seattle.

I am the proud owner of a home deep-fry unit, the only person my age I’ve met that can say so. I’ve made deep fried ice cream. I’ve replicated the foreign but delicious deep fried Mars bar. But this.. this is inspirational. Finally, Americans are on top, and I don’t see anyone upsetting that title anytime soon.

The Globe and Mail: Forget Mars bars, Twinkies now the deep-fried treat (link: beastlychild)

Ming Tsai vs. Gravedigger

Last night: Blue Ginger, a sumptuous meal cooked by celebrity chef Ming Tsai in person (host of “East Meets West”)

Today: Monster Jam at the Worscester Centrum with celebrity trucks Gravedigger and Robosaurus (eats trucks for lunch).

180&; of culture swing in less than 24 hours. The verdict to come: which is more enjoyable? Eating a remarkable meal perpared by one of America’s noteworthy chefs, or watching a giant robot eat trucks and breath 10 foot flames from its nostrils? Stay tuned…