Some luscious espresso shots via my Instagram. Clockwise: Capp in DC; Cuban shot at home; Capp in Melbourne; Triple shot in Sydney; Double in Yarra Valley; Shot in Melbourne.)
I’ve not been around in two weeks only due to more travel… My hands and my cutting board are missing each other, no doubt, but the extended break was actually really nice. I went to St. Croix again to mingle amongst carefree islanders and mainland foodies attending the Food & Wine Experience… nothing like hanging out with humans whom approach life so differently from myself. Theirs is a much slower paced adventure. More on that in a few weeks. I then hopped over to Atlanta to visit my old grounds and my closest friends. It had been close to 11 months since I left and finally drafted enough courage to go back. It was a bittersweet departure. But they say distance grows the heart fonder.
And boy did I experience that cliché from all aspects. I spent intimate time with the very people that made living in Atlanta so vibrant. I didn’t realize how much I really need them in my life. The visit last week highlighted that. And the trip to St. Croix… let’s just say I disengaged from the things that makeup my daily essence: heels and espresso. Both were absent during 7 days on the island. I went for flip flops and kinda cute sandals since we did so much walking and trekking through mini mountains. I missed my shoes and the process of getting dolled up but nothing like yearning for my espresso, especially that 1st shot at the crack of sunlight.
Can you image not having espresso or anything of the like for an entire week?? I was about to lose all kinds of composure. Unlike Australia who boasts an surprisingly rich coffee culture where you can find refined and beautifully cultivated beans in just about every café boutique, Crujans aren’t so apt to the black goodness. They drink tea.
So when I stopped at Polly’s — a really cute and eclectic coffee house in Fredrickstead — and ordered a double shot with skim milk on the side, I was given a stone cold face. I’m not sure if the barista is all-knowing or just takes orders and does the best he can. He reaction to my order suggests the latter, which surprised me. I took my drink was thrilled it was just right. The taste was rich, syrupy but not bitter. I was totally surprised.
That that was the only dose of goodness I had in 7 days. You know I was hurting. By the time I got to Atlanta, I was all over my girlfriend’s kitchen, making myself at home and brewing up Cuban coffee. It tasted better than anything I could put my lips to. My life was truly whole again. It’s that serious!
And sharing it on Instagram. It’s become part of my experience. I love snapping, tweaking, and teasing my friends with images of luscious sips at any hour of the day; because a real afficionado will enjoy it whenever it’s available. More importantly, it curates my espresso! I can always go back and remember how amazing a cup, demitasse, or shot was.
Equally exciting to enjoying my beloved Cuban shots, I relish in moments when a local spot in DC can satisfy me. Those surprises shots are the best subjects for pictures. It’s no secret I’m very particular about my coffee and how it’s prepared. I don’t like a lot of froth or foam. I like 2% and I only take raw sugar.
In the last few weeks, I’ve been hitting up various hot spots in the city, trying to get a feel for what’s good and what I should avoid altogether.
I’ve not nailed it since my research hasn’t been so consistent, but so far, I’ve not been too disappointed.
A good old reliable Tryst in Adams Morgan did a mediocre cappuccino one midday while lunching with a friend shortly after returning from Australia. Having enjoyed tremendous options in Melbourne and Sydney, this was bordering poor. Their saving grace was the milk. But not for that, the serving would have been no better than something out of iHop.
This past weekend was the kicker. I visited the Hamilton in the crux of the city for some late night sushi… I ordered several shots to keep me energized while hanging with my LA friends. My specific request for steamed milk on the side wasn’t greeted with a blank stare. Instead, the server was meticulous in setting up my experience with appropriate gear and a tasty biscotti. He knew what to do and understood the emphasis in my tone when I deviated from a simple order. It’s really not that complicated.
The coffee was a tad bit thick but had great taste. It had light almond notes. The milk didn’t really tone down the thickness but it was drinkable and good enough to order a second round.
The best I’ve had to date since returning to DC was at this uberly cute Italian restaurant in Georgetown. My friend and I stumbled upon Il Canale by accident, not having a real plan of where to eat. After eating a highly sup bar eggplant appetizer, the cappuccino served in the perfect sized cup, was heavenly divine. I failed to ask our server the brand. No matter, the quality was refined, beautiful and you can tell imported from Italy. They make their coffee noticeably different. It’s not as great as my Cuban option, but it had every qualifying characteristic I look for when falling in love with a shot. If only I could convince these baristas that a regular cappuccino tastes better with one extra shot.
Fortunately, Il Canale is just 15 minutes away and I can enjoy a perfect cup when I’m out and about.
I’ve established my own coffee culture of publicly sharing my trysts when I’m downing a cup or two. Putting my beauties on Instagram adds to the mystique of my all- day practice…. because 3 shots in the morning is never enough. And sometimes, just sometimes, a shot at midnight does the trick. I imagine it offers a virtual jolt to my online friends needing a 2nd wind but not having access to a stovetop maker. Or a good spot worth driving to. I’m here for that! Here’s a recent post on making the perfect froth, with more Instagram shots!
Enjoy these shots from recent trips abroad and here… including one gorgeous Cuban shot on my niece’s birthday a few weeks ago. I’m thinking I need to share those more often!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.