I love to cook.  More than that, I love to eat.  So its very easy to make the jump of combining the two loves into one big fat delicious LOVE.  Here you will find some great recipes for dishes like Steamed Mussels, Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic, Pumpkin Soup, Roasted Fennel with Anchovies and Sambucca, Blueberry Pancakes.  You get the picture, good stuff!  You can post a recipe too and together we can be chefs of the city (or the country if that is where you live).  Also, I'll be telling you about some of my favorite restaurants around town.  So enjoy!   

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Black and Brass Coffee!!

    Coffee.  Is it the engine that runs the world?  If not the engine, then the gas? That perfumed blend of rocket fuel, heat, comfort and love that jump starts our day, clarifies our thoughts, imparts focus from fog and gives us that small reassurance that all is well with the world and we are going to go out and win this day. Again. And later in that day when the world bites back or lulls us into complacency and dull exhaustion, do we not turn to coffee to give us that special pick-me-up like a close friend to help us carry on the noble fight?  When we meet with friends, wife, husband or lover in the morning or afternoon, isn't coffee the common denominator that defines the moment? That smoothes the edges? That bridges the gap between people? I would have to answer  a resounding YES to all these questions.  It has been the engine that has driven creativity, industry and even love.  So to me, coffee is very important.  I drink it every day.  I love coffee and I consider myself a good judge of it and even somewhat of a connoisseur.

   Now don't get me wrong.  I have and I will drink coffee from just about any source.  I've drank it from machines, from stained Mr Coffee pots in assorted break rooms and auto repair waiting areas, in little packets in hotel rooms, from Denny's, Norm's, Starbucks and Peets.  I've tasted everything from Folgers to Jamaican Blue Mountain.  So I know my way around a cuppa Joe.  My favorite by far is fresh roasted small batch coffee from boutique roasterys that haven't been afflicted with the scourge of corportization and franchisation and homogenization that in my opinion leaves the coffee but takes the soul. Its Raison d'etre if you will.    

   Which brings me to the Black & Brass Coffee Roasting Company, a roastery in Honesdale PA (you know, the town Winter Wonderland was written about!), owned and operated by Travis Rivera.  Travis made his bones in the coffee business working for a company in New York and was apprenticed by them into the roasting side of the business.  While there he mastered the art and science of coffee roasting and developed meticulous algorithms and formulas which produced exceptional blends and roasts which excelled in flavor and just as important, consistency.  Travis traveled to Columbia where he met the farmers and saw first hand the berries, how on one tree you can have flowers, green berries and ripe reds ones, all at the same time. While there he made connections and relationships and gained knowledge from the dirt, from the Terroir.   He left that company and like a good brew, let the knowledge and passion steep for a few years until he made the decision to open his own roastery.  But actually, it goes back even deeper, because his grandfather came from Puerto Rico where his family had a coffee plantation for generations. Who knows how far back it goes because shortly after Columbus, men sailed from the island of Corsica to the Caribbean and got into the coffee business.  His grandfather's grandfather being one of them.  Men with a dream and a vision. Men and women who drank cafe con leche made from hand picked beans from the hills behind them, dried in the sun on concrete slabs with slices of French bread and butter as a daily ritual.  So coffee is in his blood, and he might say all things come full circle. And I might say, 'all things return to their source'.  Travis also happens to be my son, but this article is not biased to a fault.  Because its about coffee.  Either its good...or its not.  Either its great or its just another bag of beans in a world of beans in bags.  Because the brew is honest.  It doesn't lie. And this coffee is good.  No, its great.  

    Coffee is not just a tasty hot drink that picks you up, it also has nuances and notes and 'nose', much like wine and craft beer.  As an example, when drinking from a paper cup waiting for your brakes to be done, you might pick up...gasoline!  All kidding aside, there are tasting notes in coffee and Black and Brass is no exception and has this in spades.  For instance, the Darling Dark, a blend, has definite grassy notes, some grain and a certain mellowness with a long toasty finish.  The Vienna Sumatra has a nutty aroma and taste and a deep fortified finish. If it were wine it could be a fine Pinot or even a Madeira . The French Roast presents with tobacco and leather (would go great with a fine cigar) and a slight bitterness, which is the high note.  But it finishes smooth and satisfying.  This is what great coffee is.  This is what beautiful artisanal coffee tastes and smells like and this is what a product made with love and care, knowledge and passion is all about.  Its all about the bean.  And what you do with it. The brew is honest.  It doesn't lie. 

   All Black and Brass coffee starts with green Fair Trade coffee beans from around the world which are roasted to exacting specifications and shipped.  I've had coffee from many fine establishments.  And I've written about them.  Verve Coffee out of Los Angeles is one example- a fine coffee and one I highly recommend. I would like to add Black and Brass Coffee Roasting Company to my (albeit short), list!  Try it, I as an aficionado of the java, promise you'll love it too!  Black and Brass Coffee



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