R.I.P. Coffee Common

Today’s formal announcement of the dissolving of Coffee Common made me want to resurrect this blog to post a few thoughts on the impact CC has had on me.

As nerdy / fanboy as this sounds, it was one of my dreams to be able to participate in an event like Coffee Common, and I was fortunate enough to have been selected as a barista for CC x TED 2012 in Long Beach. Through CC I was able to meet incredible baristas / coffee people from around the globe who all have and continue to inspire me. I was able to enjoy coffees from Roasters I may not have ever experienced, and had the pleasure of introducing others to these same coffees.

But the biggest thing Coffee Common taught me was the importance of Discovery & Wonder, and this came in the form of story telling. At CC, we were encouraged to make telling the stories of our coffees a priority. In our industry, we are privileged to work with coffees that are completely traceable, and with this traceability surfaces the honest, real-life stories of the human-beings behind each coffee. These stories are amazing and the incredible interactions I had reinvigorated how important they are in engaging not only customers, but us as coffee people.

Finally there was the sense of community. People were pretty floored when we told them that we were actually from different cafes and roasteries from around the world and would ‘normally’ be considered competitors but were all united in our passion and love for providing an amazing coffee experience. We have an incredible global community in coffee that is actually very tight knit. I strive to take this into my own community and develop the coffee scene closer.

Coffee Common was and will be one of the absolute highlights of my coffee career, and I thank the Coffee Common committee, fellow baristas, sponsors and roasters who sacrificed so much to make it happen. The friends I made, the experiences and interactions I had inspired me in so many ways.  And I guess you can see the impact a concept like Coffee Common has had. While Coffee Common has formally finished, you see so many CC like events and ideas spreading around the world, which I think shows a goal accomplished by CC.

Thanks Coffee Common for everything!

Jer

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Poll and Christmas

1) Our very first poll seems to have been a failure. We know that our blog is loved by many but reader participation has been atrocious. In an attempt to spice things up we put a “What is your favourite tag” poll which ALSO miserably failed.
What is your favourite tag? inconclusive

2) We had a Phil & Seb staff Christmas party yesterday and many people with awesome talents. Jeremy and I have no special talents so we decided to some palettetraining crap and pass it off as a “talent”. It is being uploaded right now. Enjoy

Back on the horse

This blog has been dormant for far too long. Lack of posting has lead to the death of many blogs and I won’t let it happen to this one.

Exciting stuff will come in the next little while.

– I’m doing some cuppings and I thought it’d be fruitful to post on here and generate some discussion

– CNBC is this weekend and I for one am super stoked to see my boys in action

– new phone will lead to higher quality photos and possibly videos if I can learn how to do that

I Rearry Rike Charcut

It’s so good and so cool that I get all excited and my chinese accent comes out!

Recently I had the opportunity to have dinner at Charcut Roast House, located on 899 Centre Street SW (in the shadow of the Calgary Tower).  Being the final weekend of Dineout Calgary, we opted to partake in the dinner menu, in addition to sampling a couple of things off the menu.

Charcut has been described as having “urban rustic” cuisine.  While I generally dislike restaurants being described with these generic amalgamating words (like “pan-asian cuisine”), it really describes Charcut’s style quite well.  The restaurant is sleek, stylish and very contemporary, with lots of dark grey with rich wood tables.  However, your eye is drawn to the almost-glowing red panels that highlight the open kitchen where you can see the chefs spitting whole chickens to be roasted in an open rotisserie, slicing house cured charcuterie, or bottling house-made preserves and condiments.  They even have a mason jar chandelier, and what “urban rustic” restaurant would be complete without a mirroring  portrait of two pigs? (or was it bovine?)  As mentioned, they make practically everything in house, and source very local, high-quality ingredients from surrounding like-minded farms and producers.  Do you like house cured pork, lamb, sausage and other charcuterie?  Do you like crispy chicken skin with your salad?  Do you like poutine?  Do you like duck fat poutine?  If you answered yes to all of those questions, then this is the restaurant for you.

We started off with the Albacore Crudo or Shaved Country-Style Lamb Ham.  Luckily, I was able to try both.  The Tuna was supple and soft, beautifully dressed with citrusy olive oil, accompanied with crunchy sliced fennel, and finished with truffle salt – a perfectly executed and a very palate engaging dish.  The lamb had great texture with nice thinness that gave away for each bite. It was also finished with cave-aged gruyere.  The portions on these dishes were quite substantial, with the lamb served on a decent sized wooden board, and the Tuna contaning ~6 pieces.

Next we ordered two extra dishes off the menu.  The first was a gloriously rich duck fat poutine with thick-cut, meaty fries slathered in duck fat gravy with beautiful, stringy curds.  Needless to say, I moved several steps (slow, fat, plodding ones) closer to obesity after this dish, but it was so good.  The best part was the end, where the curds began to stick together as I mopped up some remaining gravy.

Next we tried the roasted bone-marrow au gratin.  While many of you may find it horrendously disgusting to eat bone marrow, I really hope you muster up and try it sometime.  Again, there is no way this is good for you in any shape or form, but the bone marrow (roasted to order, I believe) was so incredibly creamy, buttery, and almost nutty (with that distinct bone marrow taste – it’s hard to describe).  The server called it “meat butter” which isn’t a term I’d use to get first timers to try it but I totally agree and it’s perfectly accurate.  This was served with some crisp brioche crostini, with parsley salad and salt to finish.

The main course was a perfectly crusted smoked, rotisserie Spring Creek prime rib, served with roasted lemon, an entire half bulb of roasted garlic, brassica mustard and arugula.  I had no reservations in slathering on the roasted garlic, and as  result I feared for the lives of anyone who had the misfortune of talking to me the next day.

To finish off I had a delicious BC cherry cheesecake served in a miniature mason jar.  Not only were the ladies swooning over how cute this jar was, but the velvety texture of the cheesecake (no crumbly consistency here) with the deep sweetness of the cherry was the perfect way to end this feast.

Charcut is going to thrive in Calgary not only because we have an insatiable appetite for meat, but because people are starting to look beyond chain restaurants or their usual spots for something a little more unique, honest, decadent and absolutely delicious.  Charcut Roast house was rearry, rearry, dericious.

I really, really like bruschetta.

It’s true.  I love making and eating it. I love having it ontop of thinly-sliced, crusty and chewy crostini.  I love it with some fruity olive oil, fresh black pepper and finished with a bit of sea salt.  I love how the juices soak into the bread, the aromatics from the lemon, and how the tomatoes are light and satisfyingly sweet.

Simple, healthy and just plain delicious.

So how do you pronounce “bruschetta”?  Is it more like “brushetta”, or “brushketta” ?  I’m quite certain the traditional italian way is the latter…but I’ve also been known to mispronounce many a word.