Steve J. Moore

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Way to the Heart Through the Clover?

In Food on August 4, 2008 at 12:08 pm

So I finally subscribed to Wired in an effort to compete with all the junk mail that counts for clutter rather than suitable coffee table fare. I mostly read their stuff online which is identical to the printed version, but I figure that I can contribute just a few dollars to the dying world of print media. I figure they will at least eventually find a home in the basket by my couch that’s currently filled with English journals I never made it around to reading and my wife’s copies of Dance Teacher (which I’ve long since read).

On to the point Steve, COFFEE. Wired did an article on the perhaps-as-doomed-as-printed-media Seattle giant Starbucks’s latest comeback effort. Posted under “The Coffee Fix,” the article is curiously titled “Can the $11, 000 Clover Machine Save Starbucks?” Given the current economic situation, most American’s are cutting back on $6 latte drinks and switching to straight cocaine caffeine. Starbucks is now on a soul-search leading back to its roots in the art of brewing coffee as opposed to selling overpriced knick-knacy crap and heart-devouring breakfast sandwiches.

Can Iron Man a mere machine save the jolly green giant from a further tumble from grace? A part of me does hope so. Then again, part of my love for coffee rises out of my love for the environment in which I can enjoy a good brew. Often that means small local places here in Springfield “The New Portland,” MO like The Coffee Ethic. The Mudhouse is another of my favorites, but I am neglecting them here for one thing they currently (and will forever) lack:

The Clover Machine.

Now, as much of a gadget fan I am, I’m no glutton. I don’t support spending money on things I don’t need simply because they are “the best,” but here before you you have the single greatest gift to coffee of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I’ll rip this description right from Wired themselves

Clover, From the Grounds Up

Clover looks like just another countertop coffee machine. But peek under the hood and you’ll find an innovative brewing system. Here’s how it works: 1. A barista selects dose, water temperature, and steep time. 2. A piston pulls down the filter platform while freshly ground coffee is poured into the chamber. 3. Hot water flows into the chamber. 4. The barista briskly stirs the grounds with a whisk, and the water and beans steep for several seconds. 5.The piston rises, creating a vacuum that separates the brew from the grounds, then lowers, forcing the joe out of a nozzle below. 6. The piston rises to the surface again, pushing up a disc of grounds, which are squeegeed away.

What’s that you say? Too lazy to read it all? Ok, I’ll link to the Wired article directly here. Ok, seriously? Too lazy to hit that link? My page is just that riveting? Fancy graphic below:

All-in-all, I have to say that a cup of Clover made coffee is better than any I’ve ever had. The Coffee Ethic is one of only a handful to get a Clover before Starbucks snapped the company up in what some might say an anti-competitive fashion. I can’t decide how I feel about all this yet, part of me is singing the evil corporation waltz in my head, but another more optimistic part of me says that Starbucks is doing a good thing by putting these changes into place. They do want to continue making money after all, and brewing better coffee is a good place to start.


Wine of the Aux Arks

In Food on August 4, 2008 at 1:12 am

Being a relatively new inhabitant of the Ozarks, a region we might generally place from the Springfield, MO area to southward of Eureka Springs, AR, I have only begun to uncover all of its hidden treasure. Eva and I recently spent our first anniversary in Eureka Springs on a long weekend we spent horseback-riding, relaxing, and finally wine-tasting. Keel’s Creek Winery is located on Highway 23 on the way back up to Springfield. Much of the town is populated by touristy attention-grabbing signs about the Arkansas Hoe Down (boasting real dancing hicks) and Promised Land Drive-In Zoo (boasting real animals from the bible), but just as Van Buren Rd. becomes a highway, the attraction shifts as well.

The front lawn is adorned with blue and green glass set before an unassuming and quaint building; in contrast to its rather loud neighbors. If you’re going to find wine in Arkansas, this is one of only six places you can do so. Before prohibition, Arkansas was rife with wineries producing thousands of gallons of the savory stuff each year. Now, more than half of the counties in Johnny Cash’s home state, are as dry as Folsom Prison walls.

Nevertheless, Keel’s Creek offers up a wonderful alternative to any supermarket variety wine. Most of their over ten varietals are around $10 a bottle. A tasting runs a whopping five bucks and includes the whole gamete of semi-sweet to dry as the county next-door (and you get to keep the glass!).

What I found really blew my mind. Previously, I may have thought, “Arkansas wine…I’m sure it’s about as delicious and complex as my uncle’s basement brew from his Mr.Beer kit…” Wrong.

Their Award-winning chambourcin was full-bodied with rich tannins, dark complexion, and a delightfully sweet finnish. Maybe the next season of Jame’s and Oz’s Big Wine Adventure should plot its course for the Midwest! Overall, I found the common thread in each wine to be the flavor of the grape over some desired and overtly abstract marketability. Their Muscadine was not bloated with high-fructose garbage meant for a higher class alternative to Boone’s Farm, but rather just the natural sugars of the fruit itself. Beautiful and simple.

If you’re a wine lover of any type, a budding amateur or a real snob, looking for an out-of-the-ordinary trip on a dime, then pack your bags for Eureka Springs and head to the Creek.