Pachamama Coffee: a cozy cafe in Davis, CA

With warm, simple, snug atmosphere of window-facing wooden counters, friendly staff and delicious responsibly sourced coffee, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative Davis is a great place to relax with a mug of coffee.

Pachamama in the afternoon

If you like the offerings of Stumptown or Terroir, Pachamama‘s pour-over coffees are a real treat of fabulous flavors, with tasting notes nicely described for each of their menu items. And if you’d like to brew some at home, a bag of beans can be easily purchased. The only detractor I’ve found is that if you’re sitting at the counter facing First Street, it can be uncomfortably hot and bright in the afternoons when the sun is shining through the otherwise gorgeous, large front window.

If you’re in Davis, California and love freshly brewed coffee, I hope you get a chance to enjoy this cafe!

“…but candy is the one that says, `hey, this is a treat’…

Candy, book cover… Candy never says, ‘it’s fiber, it’s vitamins, it’s all natural, it’s good for you. Candy is honest and says, `this is a treat, look at it as a treat, enjoy it as a treat.’ “

I just listened to a Weekend Edition interview with Samira Kawash, discussing what many of us have copiously purchased (or eagerly hope to obtain for free) for tomorrow evening. Some of the delightful and surprising comments mentioned are to me evocative of Steve Almond’s Candy Freak, which was a wondrous tour through (and ode to) part of the candy-making world.

The audio of the interview is fantastic; if you have a few minutes, hit the link above and give it a listen!

Love you, Clover: The Enzo is Back!

The Enzo Returns

 

As someone who likes to eat fries with and in sandwiches, I was ecstatic when I found out a couple weeks ago that Clover would be doing another run of their Enzo sandwich. The photograph above just cannot capture even a sliver of the Enzo experience; it is a sheer delight to chew and savor if you like the ingredients (listed below) that go into this uniquely delectable vegetarian meal/snack.

enzo ingredients

If you’re in Okayama City…

inside Korakuen

Drop by Cifa Cafe. This cafe + art gallery + design studio has delicious snacks, interesting artwork and friendly staff. Located close to the Okayama Prefectural Art Museum and just a short walk from the splendid Koraku-en garden (where the picture above was taken) and Okayama Castle, this cafe is a great place to hang out after checking out art exhibitions or strolling through a landscape of meticulously practiced Japanese horticulture.  Continue reading

Whoopie Pie Fridays at Clover

Clover whoopie pieClover still has the best whoopie pies I’ve ever eaten. The cookie part is soft, sweet and chewy while the filling isn’t too thick or two saccharine—it’s just slightly sugary with a creamy texture.

The folks at Clover only make these on Friday evenings, so you can’t just bag one whenever. But for me, it’s worth the wait and anticipation. A nice treat for the end of a long week.

Pollution isn’t just something we put into the world

Breasts_front_cover_web Breast-feeding is an ecological act, connecting our bodies to the world in a complex web of give-and-take. The permeability of breasts allowed us to make great advances. Their estrogen sensitivity allows us

to reach puberty at optimal times. When our ancestors migrated and settled in river and costal areas, omega-3–rich diets turned their breast milk into gold, and our brains grew. We recruited, harvested, and bred specialized bacteria for our milk; we collected molecules from the world and from our bodies to manufacture novel sugar and fats to protect our babies. Our special low-protein milk kept us growing slowly, so we could have the longest childhoods on earth and learn everything we could.

Our brains grew so well that eventually we learned how to change the world’s ecology. We couldn’t possibly have guessed that we were changing our breast milk as well. Our nouveau crème no longer serves us as well as it once did. Ironically and tragically, breast milk once propelled our evolution, now it may be impeding it by conveying toxins and quite possibly contributing to infertility and brain and body impairments. For many decades, the formula companies have tried to mimic breast milk, but it is breast milk that now may be approximating formula. That is decidedly depressing.—Florence Williams, Breasts.

Best fortune cookie message ever.

Well, okay, so far. Yes, I really got this in a fortune cookie.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Having done work in the field of education and being generally interested in tacking problems with people, I’ve certainly found this to often be true.

Sundae

I fall in love with all my might, and utterly exhausted by that, I go out for an ice cream sundae. At the ice cream parlor, I find Sumiko at the counter in the midst of ordering a formidable seven-scoop sundae with assorted nut and fruit toppings. She looks surprisingly slender today, but maybe it’s because summer has just started.

“Going all out?” I ask, my voice raised just above the boisterous din of the kids enjoying ice cream behind us.

“Yeah…I’m totally wiped out,” she says. “More crushed walnuts please,” she says to the clerk.

“Same here,” I reply. “I’m in dire need of a banana spilt. With extra hot fudge.”

“Extra hot fudge isn’t what you need,” she says, shaking her head.

Not following, I raise a doubtful eyebrow.

“And some shredded coconut but only on the pistachio and mango scoops,” she requests, then tells me, “What you’re looking for is caramel syrup. It’ll do wonders. Especially with whipped cream.”

“Really?” I can’t help but be skeptical. I’ve never had that before. No one has ever recommended it to me.

“Trust me, I’m not a novice in these matters. I’ve been where you are plenty of times,” she says. “Raspberry sauce on the vanilla scoop, please.”

“All right then. Thanks for the tip.”

“Any time,” she says to me and then to the clerk, “Can I get an extra maraschino cherry on that?”

“Sorry, miss. We’re running low right now. One per sundae until we get some more,” the clerk says.

“You can have mine,” I tell Sumiko.

“Thanks. I could really use an extra maraschino cherry right now,” she says, and then I notice just how weary she looks.

Currently Eating: The Enzo by Clover

The Enzo, a sandwich by CloverThe moment I chewed on my first mouthful of the Enzo sandwich by Clover, my palate was exhilarated. An unexpected shot of gustatory joy on a very cold evening. The unlikely amalgamation of fried eggplant, cheese, pepper relish? and fries (yes, fries in the sandwich) was for me a real winner. And the next day, I was back for more. With the Enzo, I don’t miss their last awesome sandwich, the cauliflower, at all—well, maybe just a little if I really think about how fantastic that one was with the Sriracha sauce.

I love how Clover continues to delightfully surprise me with their new culinary creations combining fresh, nutritious ingredients. I’ve been eating at Clover locations for several years now and look forward to continuing to do so.

Their whoopie pies, by the way: amazing.

One Year Later: Still Loving FreshPaper

FreshPaper at WholeFoodsEver since finding out about Fenugreen’s FreshPaper from its inventor Kavita Shukla at the 2012 Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, I’ve been using FreshPaper in my refrigerator and on my kitchen counter because it works; veggies look great when I don’t have a chance to cook them as soon as I’d like, and fruits don’t get fuzzy as quickly as they did before. Even though I’ve always tried to keep my food waste due to spoilage as minimal as possible, I appreciate the help FreshPaper lends.

And what really makes this a fantastic product is that it can be useful for people almost anywhere, whether in developed or developing nations. For my friends and I, food spoilage often means disappointment, guilt and inconvenience, but of course, food spoilage means not being able to eat what could have been eaten, which can have terrible consequences.