Another Food Experience.

It’s almost midnight and I can still taste my lunch. Not to say that it’s a bad thing. The original plan was for our posse to visit Langer’s Delicatessen. Our posse being myself, Nick Griffin & wife Sharlene, Mr. Devin Pedde, and my visiting friend Ashely Raue. Ashley is an amazing hair stylist, as well as a barista for Phoung at Lava Java. Anyway, if you haven’t heard of Langer’s you should check it out. Especially if you live in the Los Angeles area.

The only problem with our plan is that today was Yom Kippur. So, the place was closed. Leaving our bellies empty and our taste buds continuing to crave the sweet taste of rye bread, hot pastrami covered in cheese, and smothered in russian dressing. Disappointment covered our faces. Until… Nick thought of another famous LA hot spot that needed to be checked out.

This idea turned reality lead us to Pink’s. Now, I was born in Chicago and I work for a very Chicago based company. So, in my mind, I know hot dogs. I mean, my trip back in February taught me what a real hot dog was. Or so I thought…

The menu at Pink’s is unlike any other hot dog stand I have seen. Menu items included the Spider Man 3 (3 dogs, 3 slices of cheese, and 3 slices of bacon), the Lord of The Rings (a 12″ dog, barbecue sauce, and onion rings), and other themes (the Today Show Dog, The Real American Dog, the South of the Border Dog). I chose the Pastrami Burrito Dog. Picture two perfect hot dogs, pastrami, chili, and cheese all wrapped in a flour tortilla. It was heaven.

What made this meal significant was the conversation I had the night before with Kyle Glanville and Deanna Mustard. Last night, over a pint or two, we locked ourselves in the ongoing discussion of if we were on death row, and we were about to die, what would the last meal be? Well, today, I found my answer.

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Next Fest

Well, I’m sure you all have seen the pictures by now… I definitely learned a couple things about latte art from the experience. My machiattos and such have been much better looking since the project. By the way, Devin has finally recovered and is back to drinking coffee again.

Yesterday, Mr. Tonx and I spent some time at Wired Magazine’s Next Fest. It was very interesting. I would say my favorite parts were actually in the hall on the way in. There was this big laser thing that if you broke the link between the lazer and the sensor, a sound would ring… It was setup to be like a giant laser harp. Which, was really cool, until kids started running continually from one end to the other.

There was also this sweet fog machine that showed your reflection when you got close.

The highlight was definitely Google’s new Google Sky. Which, basically gives you several generations of celestial maps and pictures to explore. It’s beautiful and the options made available to you are extremely impressive.

You might have heard some people talking about robots replacing baristas… Which, may be possible… but it won’t be with any of the robots they had at Next Fest. In fact, they were kind of disappointing. It may be able to shake your hand, walk freely, or whatever, but it was kind of a sad awakening. The particular robot Tony and I watched was cool… but cheesy. Like, 80’s movie cheesy…

All in all, Next Fest was interesting, however, I think that I’d prefer to see a show involving what we’ll see in the next 5 years… Better phones, TV’s, cars, etc. compared to 20+ years.

The rest of the day was wrapped up in a trip to Choke. LA’s other worth while coffee bar… and motorbike shop. If you’re in town and you stop by Intelli, you should probably stop by choke. It’s really just down the street.

A Year In The Life

It’s been a year since I began to write The Ghost World. Looking back, I am reminded of why I even started the blog. It never started as a voice into an industry, or even a way for others to hear my [often bullheaded] opinions. No, the initial purpose was to track a life that was moving too fast for me to even keep up.

My perspectives have changed quite a bit since I began all this. I’ve tasted many more coffees and grown so much as a barista. I would like to think that I am now 70% skill and 30% knowledge behind the bar, as compared to, probably, 95% skill and 5% knowledge a year ago. I was in a place where I could make great coffee, but I really couldn’t explain to you how or why I was doing the things I had been doing.

There’s still so much to learn, and the best part is I couldn’t be in a better situation to soak it all in. I’ve bounced between too many jobs since I left home. Way too many jobs. However, where I have landed is a good place to be a barista. Incredible really. Our coffee bar is the perfect place to simply shup up, and to put all the things we online coffee geeks like to rant about to use.

There are also a couple of things that have completely changed my world. Things I have come to depend on. Things that every coffee bar should have. First being the Clover. Wow! I never knew a machine could change someone like myself so much… Yet, it has. It has taught me so much. Nick Griffith said it first, but I have to agree. It’s now difficult for either of us to taste a not-so-great cup of coffee without thinking, “Wow, they need to change their contact time,” or “Hmm, another degree or so hotter would really make this sing!” We, now, actually, think Clover…

The other machine is a Synesso. My initial thoughts were extremely critical. However, in the search for the perfect espresso, this tool is essential. Or at least something like it. The key to the Synesso above any other PID machine is how easy and simple it really is to adjust the temperature. Some blends just taste to compact and too this or that… and with a couple of buttons, that blend can be perfectly balances and wonderful.

The final thing I am growing dependent on, is the Robur.  Well, I should say, I’ve been in love with the Robur for quite sometime now. Yet, it is the 3 phase model that makes me smile uncontrollably. Just imagine burs that turn so slow I can put my finger on them… They are what keeps our coffee tasting delicious all day long. It’s just a beautiful thing.

Well, I have to get running to my 8 AM shift. I promise to have more pictures up on Flickr soon. Thanks to all of you who are reading this. Thanks for checking in here and there just to see what’s happening next in the journey. I’m sure it’ll be awesome to look back on in a year and see how many more things I can wish I could take back… There’s so much to happen between now and then…