Posted Wed May 28, 2008, 11:25am Subject: Re: Notable Espresso/Coffee Houses in Phoenix/Tucson areas
Well when I talk about barbeque I mean slow cooked at a low temperature in the presense of wood smoke. If that's what you are referring to as "sticking a hunk of meat covered in spices and sauce into a fire" then I would appreciate an explanation of what you consider to be barbeque. If its throwing brats and german sausages on a grill and cooking out I would consider that grilling, not barbeque. American barbeque is a far closer cousin to traditional Caribbean "dug in the ground" pit barbeque than cooking German sausages on a high heat grill is.
My wife plans to sign me up for the first season of Coffee Gadget Hoarders.
RayT Senior Member Joined: 11 May 2008 Posts: 8 Location: Glendale, AZ Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Thu May 29, 2008, 8:14pm Subject: Re: Notable Espresso/Coffee Houses in Phoenix/Tucson areas
Restaurant 28 (or 29 - I forget).
You gotta know where it's at to find it.
Southeast plaza of 51st and Olive in Phoenix or Glendale. Very small place ran by a gentleman from North Carolina. Q is okay, but not necessarily a specialty. Soul food as you westerners seem to call it, or just good southern cooking as I'm accustomed to calling it, but it's good no matter what you call it.
I'm wanting to buy a vac/pot. Do any of these local joints sell a decent one? I'd like to have it this weekend and skip the shipping (taxes vs. shipping? At least local there's less of a wait).
The news is not so bad this time. Of those mentioned earlier, the 'Crave Espressobar' on Broadway has also closed, but was adopted by Aaron form 'Safehouse', and re-opened. Seeing as it's the same staff (mostly, Miss you Kim!) and Aaron was her roaster anyhoo, things may still be fairly similar there. Since the place is so different from the Safehouse, things may change dramatically. One thing that will certainly stay the same is that the coffee won't suck.
Oh, and Jeff? Painting meat red and putting it in a fire is grilling. Barbecue is a noun, not a verb. You and I are in agreement as to what is, and what is not barbecue. I'm gonna drop in unannounced one day, and I expect pork butt. Or brisket. ; >
alsterling Senior Member Joined: 28 Dec 2005 Posts: 682 Location: Dana Point, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: La Spaziale S1 (Had Expo) Grinder: Macap M4 & Gaggia MDF Vac Pot: Not yet... Drip: Capresso MT-500 & Melitta... Roaster: Hottop Digital
Posted Wed Sep 24, 2008, 6:16pm Subject: Re: Notable Espresso/Coffee Houses in Phoenix/Tucson areas
OK.......so I'm in Tucson right now, relaxing in the late afternoon and doing some business email catch up. Chris, as you know, I called you earlier just to touch base. Right after, my wife and I drove downtown so I could visit one of my accounts. I asked one of the young ladies in purchasing if she knew of a decent coffee house close...........her recommendation was:
Chocolate Iguana, 500 E. 4th Ave., Tucson
So we went over there. My wife ordered a vegetarian sandwich and I ordered a cappuccino. I saw that they were running Illy in large commercial bags, mounted atop their grinders, with a generic espresso HX machine with Illy nameplates. Bottom line, the final drink wasn't bitter. I say that because my wife was the one that wanted some coffee, and in her own words, "I'd just as soon go to a Starbucks, because I at least know what I'm going to get!" I somewhat have to agree. That's why I don't get excited anymore when visiting even the best or most recommended shops. I have said before......I can count on one hand the number of coffee shops I've visited that consistently serve good product. That's just me. By the way, the sandwich was good, and as with many shops, Chocolate Iguana also inventories Dryer's Ice Cream, a variety of good looking bakery sweets, and as advertised in their name, CHOCOLATE and candy confections. Not a bad afternoon sweet-stop.
Psyd Senior Member Joined: 31 Jan 2006 Posts: 1,468 Location: MON AZ Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Astoria Argenta SAE II,... Grinder: Rio and Astoria (Mazzer)...
Posted Thu Sep 25, 2008, 10:52pm Subject: Re: Notable Espresso/Coffee Houses in Phoenix/Tucson areas
...the 'Crave Espressobar' on Broadway has also closed, but was adopted by Aaron form 'Safehouse', and re-opened. Seeing as it's the same staff (mostly, Miss you Kim!) and Aaron was her roaster anyhoo, things may still be fairly similar there. Since the place is so different from the Safehouse, things may change dramatically. One thing that will certainly stay the same is that the coffee won't suck.
Well, alsterling and I got to meet up in a dash to try the new 'Crave' this morning. the roast was familiar, but the service was a bit less-than-astonishing. We got our 'macchiato' in a sixteen ounce paper cup. We had both ordered a traditional cappuccino, ad the initial response was, "Sixteen or twenty ounce?" Not comforting. The next thing was the poodle-like merengue-puff on the top of this, wallowing halfway down the paper chalice. Gone are the nice cups that Kim used to serve in, although there are some coffee mugs still hanging out on the top of the old Magister, and a few espresso cups and saucers still hanging out. The barista seemed less-than-confident, and really didn't seem to understand a traditional cappuccino, and referring to it as 'their macchiato' when we described it didn't inspire confidence either. It wasn't horrible, but it was just tolerable. I noticed that Al didn't finish his, and mine was finished pretty much as a force of habit. Kim's 'Crave' wasn't necessarily the best coffee shop in the city, but it was probably in the top five, if not the top three, and now it's not even holding it's own against it's sister shop, the 'Safehouse'. Could be new staff, could be new management, I'll give 'em a month or two and stop in again. I'm just a guy that lucked into some decent kit and has paid attention on some coffee fora, so if you're making a living and I can kick yer butt, you should be working lots harder and lots faster to pull better shots than mine if you want to take my three bucks offa me at any kind of a regular interval.
Chris, thanks for meeting up with me. As you described, the coffee was no surprise, and I didn't tell you that I watched the young lady steam-boil the milk..........it overflowed at one point and she wiped off the pitcher as the "big bubbles" traveled down the sides. Oh well. My biggest dissappointment was not so much the poorly prepared coffee, but the "attitude" of the workers. They're so poorly trained, that they can't tell the difference in customer reaction based on their lack of coffee talents from their poor customer service skills. I have to say that in my opinion, it's not their fault as much as the owner-manager. But again, here's an opportunity for "in shop" consulting and training for retailers. (...more like "Kitchen Nightmares" with Gordan Ramsey!)
I don't know if you noticed, but their bakery cooler was nearly bare, which to me is a sign that the owner doesn't give a damn, is unorganized, or is out of cash. In either case, it's just bad retailing. But if their goal is to barely break even or slowly go out of business, then they're meeting their goals. A typical defensive line from someone like this is, "Well, the overhead here is really low, so we're lucky." (and I bet the overhead IS really low. But the frickin' sign on the building probably cost 3 times more than the damn expresso machine and grinder put together!) So much for priorities.
One of the very good things about "Chocolate Iguana" in downtown on 4th, is that their small square footage shop is heavily stocked with all sorts of stuff.......primarily candies. I've always said that it's better to have a reduced space stocked to the ceiling with clean, fresh inventory, than to have a large retailing space half empty. Iguana benefits from fresh sandwiches and ice cream too. While I don't agree with their Illy setup provided by the coffee vendor, the finished product was actually less offensive than most other untrained shops. And true to form, their "20'ish" gals behind the counter were predictably "Goth-attitude types." (Boy, now there's a personality you'd like to have around the house, right?!)
All that aside, I really enjoyed meeting you, and hope to be back in Tucson soon. I still have work to do over there. Make sure to tell your friend about our family in Minas Gerais. Our family is also in the state of Goias. We have family in Brasilia, Goiania and Uberlandia. That's why on trips back I'm usually traveling to the South of Minas and the coffee farms. Our close friends here in Laguna Niguel, own a family coffee farm in Sur de Minais. (Fazenda Bela Vista, Concircao do Rio Verde, Near Carmo and Sao Lorenzo) Your friend should know the area. As I said, these are really small towns and everyone seems to know everyone.
I did notice, and remarked on it. Remember that this was a coffee shop that had 'gone under' and was up on the block for almost nothing, as in 'take over payments'. The old owner really had a bit more coffee pride, and the new owner is a roaster, so I was surprised at the quality of the product. I'm guessing that they're still having a few issues with the transition. Like I said elsewhere, I'm willing to give 'em a few weeks to get it together, and then go back for another look. And I've already told my bud, and he says that his fam is from that area as well. The details should narrow it down. I bet there's a cenutries long family feud between the two! ; >
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