Tuesday, December 22, 2009

bluebottle coffe co.

There is nothing like a bluebottle latte. Erica told me about this place last winter when I was asking her about places I should visit while in San Francisco. How sad is it that I lived in Berkeley for four years and barely discovered San Francisco in that time? The city has so much it is kind of a sensory overload. While I think I did the standard tourist stuff: Full House house, Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Trolley Car etc; I barely glazed the surface when it comes to doing local stuff, like discovering the best hole in the wall restaurants.

Now, bluebottle is no hole in the wall, but I didn't hear about it until I left so it doesn't qualify as a San Francisco main attraction, yet. This place does espresso right. I've only had the latte, having only been twice I haven't yet discovered the other drink options, but both times I have had a latte of superb caliber. The milk steamed just right, not burned and not cold but at a temperature I can actually drink with satisfaction, the foam is just a glaze on the surface, and the espresso ground and pressed when you order it. I truly enjoy appropriate proportions, so when I order a latte and get an inch or more of foam, I am not happy. Likewise, if the espresso is drowned out by milk, I am not happy. There should be just enough milk to help the espresso go down, and at Bluebottle a latte is made to near perfection.

While I confess I am no expert in latte, or coffee, or coffeshops, I have worked in the coffee business before and have visited enough coffee shops to know that few get it right. Usually we settle for mediocrity with caffeinated beverages because we drink them for one of two reasons: 1) we need the caffeine to function properly and so taste is not highly valued, or 2) we drink coffee and espresso drinks because it is cool. Don't pretend like neither of those reasons apply to you now, or applied to you in your early relationship with coffee. We settle for mediocrity, we don't value the true art that is involved in making the perfect drink. That's why we spend so much money at chains like Starbucks and The Coffee Bean, and that's why many people are shocked when they go to a place that makes drinks right because said chains do not make drinks right. People are accustomed to the "Starbucks-way" and are shocked when they order a drink somewhere else and find that it is nothing what they expected.

I digress. I go to Starbucks like the rest of America for it's convenience and because my city lacks any real coffee shops, but the whole time I'm longing for Bluebottle and waiting for the day I can go again.

I also will accept Peet's.
Dear Peet's, please come to Rancho Cucamonga.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I love winter break and how it enables me to be a couch potato with friends.
Jo and I recently started watching season one of Dexter. We both had heard great things about the show, and during Thanksgiving decided that we would spend winter break exploring it.
So far, the series has lived up to the praise we heard. It is a fascinating series about a serial killer who kills serial killers. Dexter is a very unattached, unemotional man that has a desire to kill, a feeling brought on by early childhood exposure to brutal death. He is adopted by Harry Morgan when he is discovered at 3 years old at a crime scene. As Dexter grows, Harry is the first, and only person, to discover he desire for blood and death. Not wanting Dexter to get in trouble or to kill innocent people, Harry, who is cop, teaches Dexter how to maintain control and how to cover his tracks. Harry tries to channel this desire into something positive by teaching Dexter to kill serial killers, or only people who repeatedly harmed others.
When the series begins Dexter is an adult who works as a blood analyst for Miami Metro Police Department. He acts as narrator, bringing the viewer into his mind so he/she can hear him think. The first season revolves largely around a serial killer "the ice truck killer" who has been leaving bodies and body parts of hookers drained entirely of blood in different hotels around Miami. However, soon enough Dexter develops a relationship with this killer when the killer starts leaving messages to Dexter at scenes.
Dexter is intrigued by the killer, not knowing who he is, but feeling in some way connected to him. The ice truck killer has a style that Dexter in some way admires, although Dexter himself does not condone killing innocent people, he is fascinated by the control and planning that this person has.

So Jo and I both really enjoy the series. Dexter is a character I can easily relate to. I do not find myself desiring to kill, the show is more than just serial killers, but Dexter's detachment from individuals and his ability to put on a mask to "be normal" for the people around him is definitely something I see in myself. My inability to show emotions has often left me feeling awkward in situations and made me feel like I was abnormal. Dexter feels the same about himself, and even believes that he is incapable of loving. Throughout the show you see something more to him. You see a man who is struggling to understand himself and constantly underestimating his own ability or worth.

That being said, I'm kind of at a lose in determining if this show is a show I should watch/support. The story revolves around a serial killer and through the stories you actually empathize with him. You kind of want to justify his actions of killing even though he is a bit of a hypocrite himself. Killing people who kill, that just makes you exactly what they are. Is there such a thing as a noble killer? If you kill people who destroy others, is your kill somehow justified? The show doesn't support serial killers, what I've been realizing through the show is that it highlights the pattern of justifying one form of killing (namely, murder) as more acceptable than another. Or, more generally, weighing one sin as heavier than another when in reality we all sin and it doesn't matter how we sin. God doesn't forgive some sins, he frogives them all.

I totally didn't mean to take a religious sidetrack, but I just find this show so very interesting and it's really forcing me to think deeply about certain things.

I did some wikipedia research about the whole series thus far, I'm interested to see how my feelings toward the show change as new storylines are introduced. The show is artfully done well, the music composition is great, the cinematography, everything about the production of the show is wonderful to watch and hear. But, what is the main message of the story? So much to think about...

cheeseboard collective

the pizza is delicious and unique. with only on type of pizza served a day, choosing what you want is never difficult. i've never come accross a type i didn't like, though i will say my favorites include the corn topped and pear topped types. besides how great tasting the pizza is, there are so many reasons as to why i love cheeseboard pizza.
to begin, i have a general dislike for pizza heavy in tomato sauce. i'm not entirely sure why i have this distaste for it, but certain tomato sauces just make me want to vomit. this distaste is not exclusive to pizza, i also generally don't like lasagna. UNLESS, tomato sauce has a specific consistency that is thin and light, i will not like it. on a side, this genral rule helps explain why i'm one, and only a few others exist who share this with me, who doesn't care much for Zachery's. some people say you either love cheeseboard, or you love Zachery's, i know people who love both but i save my heart for cheeseboard alone.

so, the lack of tomato sauce is one reason. next, i would like to mention that i love that the pizza is always vegetarian and the vegetables (and fruits) are locally grown and purchased so avaible toppings are limited based on the time of year. although i'm not vegetarian, i appreciate that the pizza relies on the cheeses to really develop the flavor because i'd prefer a plate of fine cheese to a plate of meat. and, i love food that is colorfully decorated in fruits, vegetables, and nuts. the splash of color in said foods makes me smile.

lastly, like a good little Berkeley shop, Cheeseboard is environmentally conscious and the employee owned collective exemplifies so many characteristics of what Berkeley is known for. Cheeseboard feels like Berkeley, there is no other way to explain it. it embodies the liberal, hippie spirit of doing things differently and doing things with a purpose other than greed. the employees are owners, so they are committed to the business and dedicated to creating pizza that customers will love. and the live music adds to the charm. i remember coming back to Berkeley after a trip, and the first thing i took notice of when exiting BART was the live musicians outside the station. i listened to them play and realized how much i love this city and the many unique things about it.

so last friday mike, susan, princess steph, and i hit up cheesebo. it was mike's first time! he actually tends to dislike all things outside the norm. he is really picky about his food to an extreme that i have always found incomprehensible. i think it is rooted in a deeper fear of change or the unknown, but that's not important now. what is important is that he sucked it up and tried cheeseboard and assured me he will be trying it again soon. success!!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I am wathcing the fall finale of Glee for the third time. I love this show so much.

And what an episode last nights finale was! I'm satisfied to say that every loose end I was afraid would be forgotten until the spring season started, was tied up. I am already going to have a bad time the next four months without my weekly Glee doasage, if that show had left one loose end open I would have screamed and let out a fearful wrath to all around. What up with Fox putting the show on hold anyways? I mean, logically I know it makes sense because American Idol is Fox's biggest program and the network needs to drop everything for that money maker, but I am still very dissatisfied. And I found out today new episodes of Eureka aren't coming until Summer 2010! GAH! 2010 is looking like a dim year. What a lame new decade.

Back to Glee. Now that the main loose ends were tied for the Fall Season, there are just all those new ends that were opened up last night to keep us in anticipation for the Spring season, namely Will and Emma. Will they finally be together or will the goodhearted Will go back to the crazy Terri? I like that Terri is seeing a counselor and stuff and that she is trying to "take responsibility" for her mistakes, I even understand where she was coming from (even Emma was nice enough to show pity to Terri in Mattess) but I still don't want to see her and Will back together. And what is going to happen with Quinn, will she remain alone or will she win Finn back? I'm beyond believing anything could actually happen between Puck and Quinn. Please, that man whore is still too young to be happy to settle for one girl even if she is his baby's momma. And what up with the always evil Sue? What will her crazy revenge train (Sue Sylvester Express) bring to McKinley High School? HORROR!Now that she has been stripped of her Cheerio coaching status, its about to get CRAZY! I'm pretty confident that we will see a crazier Sue than any of us have dreamed in our worst nightmares.

Anyways, back to last night's episode, my favorite number was "My Life Would Suck Without You" which included a little bit of ever number they've done so far. Plus, it is a nice backdrop to Will realizing that he can't let Emma leave. I also loved seeing Figgins finally stand up to Sue, it gave me a sweet satisfaction I've never felt before.

Way to take Sectionals! I'm interested to see how the game changes next season (or Season 1 Volume 2). Sectionals are over "but, now we have Regionals..."

Santa, for Christmas I want this and this and this