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Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

One of the first side trips we made after arriving in the States in August was to New Orleans, Louisiana (our “home base” was at my parents’ home in Maryland). Neither of us had ever been, and we discovered a colorful, lively city filled with the friendliest people ever! Let’s get started…

Before we had even reached our hotel on the first day, we walked past the famous Central Grocery, which I recognized immediately because pictures of the sign outside have been posted on many a food blog :). Despite the stifling heat, I was feeling hungry, so I told J, “We’re getting lunch from here,” ran in, and purchased half a muffuletta (wonder of wonders, there was absolutely no line when we passed by!). J has learned that when we’re traveling and I say, “Oh, we have to try (insert local specialty)”, he should go along with it, because it’s usually something good :).

The muffuletta, a cold sandwich of cold cuts, cheese and olive salad on round Italian bread, totally hit the spot. Some might find it salty, but J and I didn’t mind that one bit. We had also bought some drinks to enjoy with it. I thought I’d grabbed a Mike’s Cranberry Lemonade, but then I took a closer look at the can:Let me zoom in on the bottom for you:

Oops. But it’s ok– we were on vacation, after all ;). Later on I also got to try one variety of the local Abita beer:

I was surprised by how flavorful it was– somehow I expected something called “golden” to be light (not sure why).  It took me about two days to figure out how to pronounce the name of the beer correctly (if you’re ever there, ask for uh-BEAT-ah). That evening we discovered one of the most enjoyable activities in New Orleans (for us, anyway): buy a drink from a liquor store (in a can– if it’s a bottle, pour it into a cup before going outside) and then wander the streets, admiring the sights and laughing at the crazies on Bourbon Street. I loved being able to spend the evening (which was cooler and more comfortable than the day) exploring the city while also enjoying a few drinks, rather than being stuck in a crowded bar. Public drinking = 2 thumbs up :).

Some other Nola food:

Oh yes, those are none other than the beignets from Cafe du Monde. Here’s an interior shot:

Denser and doughier than a regular doughnut with bigger holes throughout, and topped with so much powdered sugar it was impossible not to make a mess. It made an excellent late-night snack (Cafe du Monde is open all hours of the day! Just another thing to love about this city).

Other local specialties we tried were po’ boys (an alligator sausage one and a fish one), hurricanes (too strong and too sweet!!), coffee with chicory (milder than regular coffee, in a good way), and shrimp etouffe.

This was my last meal before leaving the city, and it was so satisfying, absolutely packed with delicious tender shrimp. I love fresh seafood!

In my next entry I’ll talk about even more delicious Nola food, plus the awesome birthday gift I got from J!

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Raw follow-up

After spending about four days eating mostly raw a few weeks ago, I’ve noticed a few things. For one thing, I’ve kept my coffee intake lower since the experiment ended and I don’t miss it at all. I never drank a ton of coffee, but now my daily cup is about 160 mL (we have a coffee machine at work that lets you choose the quantity) when I used to have 230 mL each day. And some days I haven’t wanted coffee at all, so I get some tea to sip on and I’m totally satisfied, and no caffeine withdrawal headache. Like I said, my coffee consumption wasn’t a problem before and I’m not forcing myself to go without it — it’s more a matter of listening to what my body actually wants. If I physically or emotionally feel like I need a coffee, I have one, no big deal. But if the craving isn’t there, I can easily go without it.

I also commented in my raw recap post that my skin was very clear (my skin, like my caffeine addiction, isn’t very problematic, but I have the occasional breakout). For the next week and a half after the raw experiment I continued to eat mostly plant-based with some eggs and dairy thrown in, but no meat. Then at the end of last week I attended a two-day team-building retreat for my department at work. It took place at a tourism farm in southern Estonia and since I don’t have any formal dietary restrictions, I ate the food that was served there, which was pretty traditional meat-and-potatoes stuff.

And guess what? The very next day, my skin was breaking out. I also had some alcohol there, and in the past I’ve noticed a correlation between alcohol consumption and breakouts, so that may have also played a factor. (J has been kind enough to point out to me that this is not enough data to draw a definite correlation between my diet and my skin :). But still, it gives me something to think about and keep an eye on in the future.)

Oh, and one more thing to conclude the follow-up: a few days after the last post, my sister wrote to me and said that my experiment inspired her to start making changes to reduce the amount of meat in her diet! Awww… I was so flattered and I wish her luck in her own food experiments. 🙂

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I am being positively spoiled with visitors this month. First my dad came, and then a mere week and a half ago I got an email from my friend Siret (of London and cupcakes fame) saying she’d be coming to Tallinn for a few days with her mother and mother’s fiance! What a lovely surprise, especially when I didn’t think I’d see her again before next summer.

Last night Siret and I had a girls’ night, catching up and enjoying dinner and a bottle of Riesling at African Kitchen (which has plenty of yummy choices for vegetarians like Siret). After dinner I accompanied her back to the rental apartment since she had “a whole pile” of stuff to give me. Man, she wasn’t kidding! I had asked her to maybe bring us a few bags of flavored coffee from the States, and this is what she actually brought:

Christmas pretzel M&M’s and Oreos

British Christmas treats from London

Lärabars! (she faithfully reads the blog so she knew I’d failed to obtain any during the summer)

Strawberry preserves with champagne (cannot wait to try this!)

Trader Joe’s tea and pumpkin butter

Bridal magazines and some British candies

…and of course, the requested flavored coffees (hazelnut, maple vanilla, and pumpkin spice!). Now we have to decide which one to open this weekend…

She is so sweet! I’m already happy that I get to see my oldest friend and her mother (whose flat J and I stayed in when we visited London last year), so getting fun food gifts from the USA and England is like the decadent icing on an already wonderful cake. Thank you Siret!!

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This is what it’s like being me

So. I did two incredibly spazzy things tonight, both of them involving food. First of all I was organizing my closet, clearing out the summer clothes (sob) to make room for the sweaters. I found a box of chocolates I had forgotten about, and some of the individually wrapped squares were left. I ate one– the wrapper said “Vigor” and it was dark chocolate and with coffee. It was good. Only after I had eaten it did I check out the description on the box, which read “Vigor: 1 bar = 3 cups of coffee.” Umm. Oops. I generally avoid coffee after 5 pm because caffeine can sometimes keep me awake, so the equivalent of 3 cups at 8 pm could mean this is going to be a long night. Damn.

The second thing occurred when I was grabbing stuff from the fridge to make my lunch for tomorrow. As I grabbed something from the top shelf, I managed to knock over a half-filled container of tomato sauce left over from making pizzas yesterday, which bounced down to the floor, leaving disturbing splatters in its wake. Fantastic. And believe me, this stuff happens to me all the time– sometimes I think I have spatial perception problems because I accidentally knock against things so often. Luckily J had a sense of humor about it and even asked to stage a photo with me holding his giant Finnish army knife.

PA051669Scary, eh?

But anyway, that’s a little taste of the story of my life: oblivious and clumsy since 1983. 😉

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