Thursday, January 26, 2012

Madhatter Tea Party at LAMIL

I attended a Mad Hatter Tea Party at LAMILL on Tuesday morning. Local area coffee shop owners were invited from around the city, coffee enthusiasts and LAMILL patrons as well. It was delightful. The macaroons were scrumptious as well as gorgeous to photograph. They make me want to be a food photographer. The light was simply marvelous, don't you think?

There were miles of warm, fresh out-of-the-fryer beignets for the taking. I've spoken of my LAMILL beignet love before but I learned that they use McCallan scotch *jaw drops to floor* in their butterscotch sauce. Be. Still. My. Heart! Lemon curd and chocolate are other options. I'll stick with scotch thank you very much. 

The Sun wrote a great article about Baltimore's up and coming coffee scene that morning. All of the people mentioned in the article were at this event. Kris Fulton, our host from LAMILL, ran the demo and a latte art contest.

Becka started off teaching how the V60 worked and it's benefits. The V60 is the white porcelain single serving drip cone photographed. I gave one to E. for Christmas and he proceeded to then buy the glass container below and the uber fancy water pot for perfect pouring. I may have rolled my eyes just a tiny bit regarding his obsession but do think it is cool that my Charlie loved coffee before coffee was cool.

It is always a pleasure to see our friend and lovely Allie Caran. The Sun article boasted of her new shop that is opening in March called Artifact. We couldn't be more tickled that it is less than a mile away from our home. She's holding my addiction, LAMILL jasmine pearls in this photo. They sell it loose and boxed in tea bags. I've gone through a minimum of five boxes since Thanksgiving. The floral notes are to die for and just make me feel like I'm on vacation during my afternoon tea break. I've even polished my silver and pulled out my good china to drink this decadent tea. (Charlie deserves an eye roll facing my way.) You can see the V60's lining the community table behind Allie. My darling Charlie would have been in coffee bliss. They are having free coffee clinics a few Saturday's at LAMILL beginning at 10:00 am so we can go back my darling, with pleasure.

There was a syphon brew method demonstration as well. This is the coolest little contraption. You can see the blue flame of the Bunsen burner heating up the last bit of water that rises through the top of the syphon. It's a dramatic finish when the coffee filters back down into the bulb. 

In my earlier post I neglected to photograph a key element of the Four Seasons' LAMILL espresso machine. It was custom made for the hotel at Espresso Parts in Washington State. Rumor has it this little baby was upwards of $40K.

Jay Caragay, owner of Spro Hampden, was also in tow with Lindsay, now at LAMILL. We met Becka and Lindsay when they were working at Spro when it first opened nearly four years ago. There was a wonderful sense of kinship at this party and many spoke of this video I neglected to add a few days ago.

Hilarious, but they forgot the part where they talk about latte art competitions.

Lindsay, Jay, Allie and Becka....awwwww!

March Madness it wasn't but there was a little Barista Bowl that morning. Kris invited the visiting barista's to a latte art challenge. There were only 15 hands and 16 were needed. Who do you think volunteered?

Me! Ha! and I pulled the number two spot so had to go FIRST! WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Adrienne from Charmington's and I went head to head in the battle of the barista's. Kris pulled the shots and actually even steamed my milk. Allie gave me a ten second refresher course and encouraged me that shaking makes it better. 

I may have been shaking a bit taking this fuzzy photo.

We had our choice of cups which were warm on the resting station of the machine. I LOVE that my camera caught the drips of espresso eking out of the fancy dancy machine.

Adrienne had cup A.

I was the proud owner of cup B. The vote was (11) for A and...wait for it...(10) for me. I lost by one point! I was so excited. The variations were good and I was told I had great contrast. My heart was upside down and not symmetrical. I am totally okay with that. As @WitWisdomTavern put it  nice try! No risk, no glory!! .

It was such a blast doing something totally out of my comfort zone. It was great to be part of it.

One of Eric's buds, Diane, from Spro was also there. I introduced myself to her as, "Eric's wife". No one knows me at coffee shops unless I remind them that I'm Eric's wife.

The competition rolled out in four rounds. It was crazy fun to watch the different designs come out from behind the bar. They were created blindly so we didn't know until afterwards who the artist was. I loved Becka's funky pine and heart.

I can't remember who belonged to this one but think it was Allie. Correct me if I'm wrong please guys.

Didn't take good notes, but Becka won this one since she went on to the next round.

I wish I wrote down who owned what cup. Both were so gorge.

Allie got third, Becka (beating her boss Kris-you go girl) got second and Linsdaybarista's were hurt during this competition.

The prizes were hip as hell too; vinyl records, an E.T. board game, and Grease on VHS!  LAMILL even gave all the participants gift bags with coffee, caramels and other special treats. 

Thank you LAMILL for hosting such a lovely gathering and inviting little ole me. Allie, thanks for the fun ten second latte class. I'm looking forward to our behind the scenes tour of Artifact. To all of our coffee buds, thanks for treating me like I'm part of your fold, even if it was for mere seconds. I'm buying whole milk to practice at home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dreaming and Pinning

Herend Bunny

I'm obsessed with Pinterest. Have you found it yet? Momma? I know many of my blogger buddies are already on this bandwagon, but if you have not found it yet, please let me know if you would like an invitation. Leave your email address in the comment section below. You can "pin" photos and videos on your own personalized boards. It's a social networking site and I think it is funny that some of my guy office pals are on it posting about comic books and "manamals". My boards range from my 40th Birthday dreams to photos of latte art. I've been pinning a bunch of my own photos and just hope I'm doing it correctly. It's best to be creative and find new pins but I am constantly stealing gorgeous photos from the likes of TrishyRose, EAS and TartanScot. I wish there was a way to share something on other peoples boards. 

I sent AliVon What'sAWeekend this foxy little fox for her obsession. 

Pinned Image

I love Herend Bunnies. My aunts and grandparents all collect them. I have a raspberry seated bunny that we received for our wedding. Momma gave me a Herend egg and a cousin gave me a little bunny box for my high school graduation. Of course a nest of Herend bunnies would be delightful. Until then I will just pin the heck of of the them on my "Lapin Love" board. I like having a place to put all of "my" visually beautiful things together even if they aren't real. Some are real but most are just wishes and dreams.

I've been dreaming about my birthday getaway with my Charlie. We are heading to Charlottesville and can not wait to tell the tales of our adventure.

My darling Katiecakes sent me a little note with these beautiful vintage Lilly scarves. I pinned it so it would me remind me of her always.

What are you pinning? Please send me your name so I can follow you as well. My name is under Nelle Somerville, but you can also find me as Baltiville. Enjoy and be careful. It is addictive.

Monday, January 23, 2012

S@#T So and So...Says

I believe this was one of the first "stuff" girls say videos to come out. I only think this because of Brian Williams' and Rock Center story last Monday. These Canadians are so clever and last week was a buzz of video forwards. Here are a few of my favorite from this past week.

I had a hand carved ice cube at Woodberry Kitchen with a prohibition style Martinez that made me giggle. They actually do make their own bitters and I've even seen Elder Flower foam before.

Fashion Girls 


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Madcap Coffee in Grand Rapids, Michigan


Christmas brought us to Michigan via road trip. We drove eleven and a half hours from Baltimore. We woke up the day after our drive and decided to head north another 45 miles to Grand Rapids. The coffee pilgrimage continued. E. was excited to check out Madcap Coffee. Seemed a bit crazy but there was no traffic and it was a gorgeous, cold winter day.

I grew up in Michigan and my oldest friends are spread out across the Great Lakes state. We called my buddy Andy on the way up north and tried to meet up with him in GR. He works in the building next to Madcap but was watching the kids so his hot wife could get extra Christmas shopping done. It was such a tease to be so close to them but we were on a coffee mission and had to get back to The Zoo in time for Baby Nephew's baptism. Loved talking to you Andy and had such a nice time in your town. The museum is killer and we got an extra present for my grandmother in the gift shop. As always, YOU ROCK!

E. didn't know that I had already put in the request with my Momma and brother to pick up a few bags of beans for his stocking from Madcap. He of course also bought a few bags. The thing with way fancy coffee is you can't really stock up on the stuff. You want the beans to be freshly roasted, within a few weeks. So we later picked up a bean storage can from Waterstreet Coffee Joint in Kalamazoo. 

The coffee altar at Madcap is raised just slightly, begging for the customer to come and worship the brews. My Episcopalian mind imagined the bean "bags" as kneelers and E. going up for communion in his "church" of sorts. This large open space had nave-like qualities with exposed brick and great acoustics. The choir of espresso machines and milk steamers worked in harmony on our visit. 

The beans are roasted in the "lower crypt". This church metaphor works...even though it may be a bit much.

The term Madcap comes from the play on Mad Cappuccino. 

Third Coast espresso was the gift of choice from my family to Eric. I love the detail on the packaging that had a fabric label.

The place was not that busy when we arrived so E. had lots of time to discuss his options.

I love pretty things. I'm still wooed by latte art and I'm finally beginning to actually taste the difference between my lattes too. This latte was the perfect temperature, using locally grass-fed milk, that showed off the coffee vs. scorching my tongue. 

E. ordered the coffee flight.

There were two single roasted cups and one blend.

It was one of the highlights of our Christmas trip. Just sneaking away for the morning. My family was like, "You drove where? For what? Coffee? I don't get it." It's okay guys. You don't have to get it.

Charlie, you are the heart in my latte. Thank you for our adventures.