Saturday, February 8, 2020

You Don't Have To Go Home, but You Can't Stay Here. My Last Trip to TacoBell

Why do fast foods restaurants insist on contaminating my food?

  On my way home today, I stopped in a local Taco Bell in Spring Mills for an easy dinner.
Ordering my favorites to go means going inside, because as everyone knows, they screw you at the drive-through so often that going in just makes more sense.
 I received my food on a tray, and decided in the moment to sit at a table instead.
So, I just opened the first item when the girl that took my order walked into the dining room with a broom and various cleaning supplies and started sweeping the floor.

 Seriously?  If you've ever swept a floor with sunlight streaming through the windows then you know the horrendous clouds of dust that are now floating into the air. And what is 80% of dust? Dead skin cells. Body hairs. Mites. Miscellaneous nasties that I definitely don't want in my mouth.
 She then follows up by spraying some God-knows-what cleaning spray all over the tables and seats of the booths all around us. Naturally, I packed up my food, asked for a bag and left.
 I did order it to go, after all.
 Once outside, I realized that that was her plan all along. She doesn't really want anyone to eat in her clean dining room. If you insist, then she will make the experience as unpleasant as possible, and maybe make you sick as a bonus. Bad customer; Take your food and get the hell out.

 My primary question is this: Why the hell do these people insist on contaminating my food with that stuff? It's bad enough that I have to breathe it, now you want to force me to eat it too?
 The dead skin and body hairs of the last 100 customers are now floating all through the room.
 The place was empty when we walked in; Why wasn't the cleaning done then, and why is it only done when we sit down to eat?  It's not only gross, but rude as hell.

 This disgusting type of Ignorant behavior happens at my favorite Arby's on Queen street as well. We walk into an empty dining room, and two minutes after we sit down to eat someone walks over behind us and starts shaking the dust out of the trash cans and sweeping the floor.

 Maybe I'm a bit thick; These girls have been throwing this hint every single time I sit in one of their dining rooms, and I'm just now catching on.  We will sell you the food, but don't you dare try to enjoy a meal in here, because the moment you think you're safe at a clean table we are going to spray and shower you in the nastiest crap we can find, starting with the skin and bugs that died on the floor.
 Up your nose, in your hair, on your table, and in any exposed food you may be trying to eat.

Who trains these people?  Apparently the only thing they know about hygiene is that they have to wear gloves to handle the food, and wash their hands after the bathroom, not that I have a lot of faith in either of those rules being enforced. And in case that isn't enough to worry about...

 I ordered clean food. I expected clean food. I hoped while waiting that the kid preparing my food didn't have a cold recently, and had washed his hands thoroughly and put on clean gloves. I further hoped that his balls didn't itch while he was wrapping my food, and that he wipes his boogers on his pants and not on my wrapper.

 After all that, I take my clean food to a nearby table and unwrap it only to have someone else immediately begin filling the room with a toxic blend of filth too horrible to imagine.
  Point made. Point gotten.
You don't have to go home, but you can't eat here.

 J.B.S.  2020/01/11

Thursday, December 5, 2019

How to Get A Better Cup of Coffee

You know you want it, though you may not have any new ideas lately aside from trying a new shop.

 Coffee shops aside, this post is focused on getting more flavor from your home brewed java.

For starters, while it may save you some time, never buy ground coffee again. To get the freshest cup of joe, invest $30 in a decent burr grinder. Not all grinders are the same; cheaper grinders simply destroy the beans for an inconsistent mess that will brew an unreliable flavor. Look for a burr style grinder with selectable size grind.

 Coffee beans begin losing flavor as soon as they are ground, so if you must buy preground beans, check the grind date and buy within 3 weeks of the grind.  If like me, you choose to buy whole beans with a roast profile to suit your taste, then you can grind within minutes of brewing.

I generally grind about 10 cups worth of beans to a batch, and keep the excess grind in a quality vacuum bottle for the next few days. For the french press, I grind a medium-course size that keeps a bit more of the natural oils intact (a 5 on a scale of 10 grind size, with 10 being a fine powder) that gives me a rich and flavorful cup from my medium body roast beans.

 For the single cup drip machine, I go to an 8 out of 10 finer grind that works best with drip brewers. I also like to mix a handful of espresso beans in the 12 cup batch for an added flavor kick.

 My current Columbian whole bean choice is from Amazon.  The subscription price is solid proof that you don't need to pay through the nose for a great cup of coffee.  These Arabica beans have a smooth flavor profile, and are roasted immediately before being vacuum sealed for ultimate freshness.  I get a very good consistency from both the drip and press.

 For the espresso machine, I grind a dark roast bean to a medium-fine 7 out of 10 for a rich and bold two-cup brew. As with all single-cup machines, the portion control for ground beans is a tablespoon per cup. Adding a light tamping to every basket helps to pull an extra kick from the brew, regardless of machine style.

 Filtering is a personal choice; For the Ninja single cup drip machine, I use a permanent filter that allows the natural oils to mix with my brew for added flavor, but this also allows some grit and bean dust through that will stain your teeth. This isn't for everyone, but for me the flavor is priority one.
 The same applies to my pour-over single cup dripper; Flavor trumps needing to brush again before leaving the house, and it's still less gritty than a french-pressed cup.

 For the pot brewer, paper filters keep the flavor profile smoother and less acidic, and this keeps the rest of the family happy in the mornings, when their tolerance for acids is lowest.

 The primary change every connoisseur should make is water quality. Bottled spring water is a staple for all of my brews, and the only flavor enhancer that is superior is distilled water. Decades ago most java aficionados owned a stovetop distiller that captured the steam vapors from boiling tap water in order to get the best taste from their home brew, but these are nearly impossible to find now.

 You can buy distilled water by the gallon jug at any major retailer, but this secret has been out for a long time, and it sells out fairly quick compared to spring water.

Copyright 2019
JB Stran