A crate of raw olives placed just inside the entrance of an Italian green grocer in Chicago at Thanksgiving inspired me to try my hand at brining them at home. I knew I wasn't signing up for an instant-gratification session; in fact, I had no idea what I was signing up for, as I'd never brined olives at home, ever.
I've pickled and fermented and aged and infused. But I've never played with raw olives, though I'd been dreaming about it for a decade (my dreams are all manageably food-oriented) since staying at a house in Northern California that was shaded by a stand of olive trees. I picked one and bit into it and grimaced. It was bitter with oleuropein, a glucoside found in, what else, olives. Without curing, raw olives are impossible to eat (unless you're a raw foodist, then you find ways of making even the worst things vaguely palatable). I hadn't come across raw olives again until this year. And without a recipe, without any ideas, I decided to buy a few pounds and try my hand at curing them at home.
The internet, of course, was a great resource for recipes. I found a basic recipe involving a water cure followed by a salt brine. Oleuropein is only somewhat water soluble, so it takes ten days or so to draw out much of the bitterness after each olive is cracked open (I used a pan as my hammer). Each morning and night I drained off the olives and added fresh water. At the end of the tenth day, I combined garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, chilies, and fresh thyme with a salt brine and poured it over the olives. I left out the vinegar and partially replaced it with lemon juice (I should have replaced it entirely. Live and learn!). I covered the top with a little oil (olive oil is a good one to use, but I used sunflower for its neutral flavor) and let it sit out in my very cold kitchen in a pottery crock for two weeks. I checked for mold and skimmed off anything that didn't look right. I then moved the olives in the crock in to the refrigerator for another 2 weeks.
At the end of the four weeks I had a fragrant, tasty, sufficiently salty and delicious olive. They were slightly bruised where I had hit them with the pan, green everywhere else. And I'll certainly try my hand at brining olives again, whenever it is I find raw olives thousands of miles away from the nearest olive grove.
I can't remember the first time I attended Megan and Trina's Cookie Bake in Evanston, IL. Was it during grad school, where Megan and I met? Or was it when I moved back to Chicago, three years later, in 2004? I don't know if it even matters; Cookie Bake is as certain as Thanksgiving or Independence Day or Halloween. It is happening, and I will be there.
Cookie Bake is simple: Megan and Trina stock their kitchen full of every imaginable ingredient that could possibly be used in a cookie recipe. Guests arrive, some with recipes, others with ideas, some with just a desire to bake, and for more than 15 hours, cookies are measured, mixed, batched, baked, cooled and shared. Every guest leaves with tins packed full of cookies and memories of an experience few have known since junior high home economics class.
Cookie Bake is one of those traditions that becomes part of your DNA; you lose the ability to recall when Cookie Bake was not an integral part of your being. Cookie Bake is more than just a cookie swap. Cookie Bake is an all-day celebration of family, community, and cookies that starts when the first guests rolls in at 11 am and doesn't end until well after midnight when the last revelers wish the hosts a good night and leave with their bounty.
The Numbers, 2008, my estimate:
This year I arrived early with a plan. A plan and a mandate to leave early; at 8 pm that evening, my friend Ivan was celebrating his 40th birthday in Bloomington, Indiana, a 4 hour drive from Evanston and a time zone away. I didn't have much time to get things done, as I would have to leave by 4 pm to make it to Bloomington before 10 pm.
I was determined to make at least three recipes - caramels and two other things I'd have to figure out once I arrived. I brought Alice Medrich's vanilla bean caramel recipe with me to the party after failing to make it the way I liked it a month earlier. At 10 am I started the caramels. By 11:30 other guests were arriving and the kitchen was beginning to fill up.
Megan and Trina's 11 year old son Zane was one of the first to mix up a batch of cookies, the ever popular Stained Glass Cookies, made from crushed Jolly Ranchers, from a Martha Stewart kids cookbook.
Over the years, Megan has perfected the cookie bake. She has set up four stations around her roomy kitchen. Each is outfitted with a stand mixer, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and butter. Other ingredients are at a central station, where they are piled on shelves.
There's a lot of shouting and chaos. The good kind. "Where's the anise extract?" asks one guest. "Do you have crushed black pepper and espresso powder?" queries another. Years of cookie bakes have trained Megan in the art of obscure ingredient supply. Every year another ingredient pops up that she hasn't planned on needing, and without failure she has it for the next cookie bake.
I decide to make Russian Tea Cakes/Mexican Wedding Cookies/Pecan Sandies, but decide to turn them into thumbprint cookies filled with ganache and topped with leftover caramel. After I finish those, Megan asks me to revisit the Mallomars cookies I made a few years earlier. Usually she's against repeating recipes, but this is her request.
I love making graham crackers and marshmallows, and this year I underbake the graham crackers so they're soft and yielding, the way I remember Mallomars. I forget to use corn syrup in the marshmallows, which turns out to be a good thing when a woman I meet later that night eats one, telling me they're the first she's eaten in 20 years since becoming allergic to corn syrup.
I temper chocolate and dip the cookies. The crunchy chocolate shell makes the difference with these, though I don't do an especially neat job of it. I cool down the cookies in the breezeway that Megan has set up to accommodate racks of cooking cookies.
As soon as the cookies are done they are placed on a buffet table lined with empty platters. By 3:30 pm the platter are starting to fill up. By the end of the night, they will have undergone several rounds of filling, emptying, and filling again.
I took several boxes of cookies with me when I left at 4, intending to leave them in Bloomington with the late night party crowd. I managed to squirrel away a few Mallowmars, some caramels, and thumbprint cookies, as well as peanut butter truffles, fudge, maple pecan cookies, and a few other surprises.
The next day, Trina reported that at least 45 different recipes had been made, approximately 96 people stopped by, and the last folks to leave didn't stumble home until after 1 am. And, surprisingly, there were leftovers.
HOW TO MAKE PECAN SANDIES STUFFED WITH GANACHE
Using ANY pecan sandie recipe (or Mexican wedding cookie OR Russian Teacake recipe), roll out dough as per usual. Using thumb or finger, make a well at the top of each cookie. The cookie will not hold a distinct shape, so make sure it is deep and wide. Bake per usual, watching carefully during the last few minutes of baking - the wells can brown fast.
Cool completely. Meanwhile, make up a batch of ganache, flavoring with your favorite whiskey (if desired...I always do). While it is still warm, and AFTER the cookie has cooled, pipe ganache into well and fill completely. If you do not have a piping bag, use a zipper bag with a hole cut out of one of the corners.
When that has cooled, warm up a little caramel (the recipe is at the bottom of the page), or, if you have some caramels, melt them slowly and thin down with a bit of butter, just a bit. Drizzle over tops of cookies.
Cool and serve.
At 4:30 pm on a Thursday, just over two weeks since opening day, things were quiet at Sofra Bakery & Cafe in Cambridge, MA. The lunch rush had long passed and the staff in the kitchen, including pastry chef and co-owner Maura Kilpatrick, were busy baking, putting together mise-en-place and cleaning up, and filling the occasional order.
Sofra, owned by Kilpatrick and Chef Ana Sortun, the team behind the beloved Eastern Mediterranean-influenced Oleana, is one part commissary, one part bakery and cafe, one part retail store featuring produce from Sortun's Siena Farms. Sofra offers a large selection of mezze, including a hummus bar with a multitude of dips and spreads; sandwiches (Turkish gozleme) and flatbreads grilled on the Lebanese saj griddle that occupies a central position in the kitchen (the two domes, above, are saj griddles); and creative baked goods that reflect the marriage of Mediterranean flavors - mostly from Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece with some Egypt thrown in for good measure - with traditional American melting pot pastry.
According to the Oleana website, "[the word] Sofra comes from an ancient Arabic word meaning dining table, picnic,
or kilim; it is also a synonym for generosity and hospitality." The definition, on the menu, is a bit more specific: "a picnic on a rug; a low communal table; a small square kilim rug to eat on; a large coffee table; a special table preparation." To that end, the space and seating are comfortable, with Kilim rugs tossed over wooden benches. The tables, though lovely, are a bit low for the seating, a little awkward for a long, leisurely breakfast or lunch.
They were still figuring out how to ring up the retail products when I approached the register with Oleana's signature spice blends and some crackers.
There were a number of other packaged and farm treats at Sofra that looked great but didn't come home with me after this initial visit.
Grano - remember wheatberries?
I was, of course, completely entranced by the pastries.
I took some of the baklava home - it was buttery, rich, chocolatey and incredibly decadent.
Musician's tart, made with almonds, orange peels, pistachios and honey
I went back a few days later for breakfast. I ordered the Turkish breakfast - a soft boiled egg, figs, 'spoon fruits' - i.e. strawberry jam, warm breaded & fried feta, greek yogurt, tomatoes, cucumber, and olives. It was gorgeous.
The egg was particularly lovely - it was rolled in shredded fillo dough (or a similar thin dough) and crisped to a crunchy contrast with the soft egg and softer yolk.
Though I didn't sample any of the mezze, the cold ones were conveniently stationed by the register, near the pastry. They looked great.
Before I head back to Chicago, I'll need to stop in for lunch. Tomorrow's breakfast is flatbread with zataar and brioche with spices.
Sofra Bakery & Cafe
1 Belmont St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Poking about a local liquor emporium, hands full of beer and a bottle of Pinot Gris for my mom, I found a display of gin, vodka and rum from a distiller I had never heard of before: Berkshire Mountain Distillers of Sheffield, MA. I am a lover of gin, and lately I've been digging the distillates coming out of North Shore Distillery just north of Chicago, which has fancy bottles and even fancier "artisan" blends in limited editions. I've also become a fan, in theory only, of St. George Spirits of Alameda, CA, as I have yet to sample their wares. I dream.
The draw of a 'local' Massachusetts potable suckered me in, and I picked up a bottle of the gin for $28. Debuting in early May in Western Mass, Berkshire Mountain Distillers' wares are finally making it into limited distribution across New England, and only New England.
The website (and the back label) describe the gin as one in the style of London Dry Gin:
I like the Greylock Gin a lot - in a side-by-side with Tanqueray (its all we had in the house), the gin was smooth, bright, clear, slightly herbaceous with subtle anise and strong juniper flavors. The finish was pleasant and clean tasting. Though I'm a Hendrick's fan (I love the cucumber flavor...mmm), the Greylock Gin mixes beautifully and cleanly in cocktails. I've been obsessively making one cocktail over the last few nights. Though I didn't realize it at the time (I was using whatever I found in the fridge) it is a variation on the Foghorn. Given the inclusion of orange bitters, I suppose this drink could be called the Orange Foghorn or the Greylock Foghorn.
3 dashes Fee Bros Orange Bitters to line the glass
1 squeeze lime juice (about 1 t)
1 measure Greylock Gin
1-2 measures of Journey Ginger Brew or Ginger Beer
Lime wedges to garnish
Ice as desired
Admittedly, the recipe does mask the Greylock Gin quite a bit, but damn, it's a yummy cocktail. And you already know how to make a gin & tonic, so if it is Greylock Gin you want to taste, make one of those.
In the middle of a residential area in an unremarkable strip mall on Chicago's near northwest side, Chicagoans Bill and Yvonne Kim, along with Bill's brother Mike, have just opened up urbanbelly, a casual 40-seat BYOB storefront restaurant focusing on the flavors of East and Southeast Asia as filtered through Bill's experiences cooking at fine restaurants throughout the US.
To call urbanbelly "Pan-Asian" and to stop there is to miss something very important: urbanbelly isn't a typical Pan-Asian restaurant. There's no attempt on the chef's part to replicate authentically the dishes of a large and diverse region of the world. Rather he takes ideas, methods, and preparations from Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines and combines them with his own unique culinary sensibility from years spent in, among other places, the kitchens at Charlie Trotter's and Susanna Foo, as well as at his own place in Doylestown, PA. It is a deeply personal style of cooking and cuisine.
The restaurant has four tables, each with seating for ten. This view, above, is exactly what you would see were you walking in the door on a late afternoon in the summer, as the windows face west. Before you sit, you order your lunch/snack/dinner at the counter at the back of the restaurant, take a number and then find a seat.
When the restaurant is busy, as it has been and inevitably will become more so as soon as the restaurant is discovered (it has only been open a week), Yvonne Kim breaks into crowd control and management, something I don't think she really had to deal with for the 6 years she worked front of the house at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Daniel in New York.
Chef Bill has a view of the restaurant from his window by the counter, where he expedites all the orders.
His wife Yvonne is running around the front of the house, greeting everyone and making sure guests have water and silverware and chopsticks and know how to order. She's got a lot of energy. She has to. She's working at least 12 hours a day 6 days a week.
What I'm going to tell you next is absurd and almost embarrassing: I've been to urbanbelly 5 times since they opened 5 days ago. Why? I've been craving the food Chef Bill makes all my life. I was raised on dim sum Sundays and Japanese cuisine and added Vietnamese, Thai and Korean cuisines to my diet when I was in college. Chef Bill's cuisine hits almost every comfort zone in my brain and belly and I feel deeply satisfied after a meal there. The menu is limited - right now there are (luckily) only 15 items on the menu and I've tried every single one. I've loved 13 of the 15 dishes I've tasted - that's an 86.7% hit rate, great by any measure. And I'll admit - the two dishes that I won't order again weren't failures, I just generally don't enjoy (to my palate) overly sweet sauces. I find they dominate the rest of the dish too much.
Between my last visit on Thursday with a gang of hungry eaters and my visit tonight (!!!) with Evan Debacle and the great camera, we managed to get a few photos of some of my favorite things to eat there.
And now...the menu in photos:
#11 Udon: Shrimp, Vietnamese Coriander and Sweet Chili Lime Broth $13
Did you ever see Tampopo? This is precisely the dish you want by your side when you take in a bit of Juzo Itami. Sure the broth isn't a ramen broth, but the pho spices are subtle, vibrant, and addictive.
#13 Somen: Mussels, Chinese Black Beans and Young Coconut Broth $11
I love shellfish. I love coconut. And I love this dish.
#18 Wrinkle Beans $4
They're beans, fried until wrinkly but not crunchy. Not too spicy. But flavored just right.The beans change depending on what is available.
#19 Chinese Eggplant with Thai Basil $5
This has been far and away one of the most universally loved dishes at urbanbelly. The eggplant is cooked perfectly - it is tender yet soft and melts in the mouth. The flavor is bright and acidic and slightly sweet and savory. The crunchy fried shallots add a nice counterpoint and the fresh herb brings out the fragrance of the dish.
#16 Seasonal kimchi $4
It changes from day to day. Today it was made from nappa cabbage, I think.
#2 Lamb and Brandy Dumplings $8
Photo by Evan
Steamed lamb dumplings with brandy and edamame. The filling was more subtle than other dumplings on the menu. They're good, but not quite as show stopping as the other dumplings.
#4 Duck and Pho Dumplings $8
Rich, crisp wontons filled with Duck spiced with star anise, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and a host of other things I can't even begin to guess are a crunchy, meaty treat that I've sampled 4 of the 5 times I've visited. Not one for fried dumplings, I find these delicious. But I love duck.
#9 Phat Rice $9
This is rice with the works. Short Rib, pork belly, pineapple, scallion, pea shoots and Thai basil have never tasted so good together. The first few times I tried it, it was either too salty or too limey. Today is was perfect. One of the best versions of fried rice I've tasted.
#5 Pork & Cilantro Dumplings $7
Do you know why these dumplings are so good? Because they come with a garnish of wrinkle beans, that's why. I have yet to taste these, but my pork-loving friends tell me that the cilantro is the perfect counterpoint to the pork.
I think the most common misconception of urbanbelly given its location and style of service and type of cuisine, will be that it is trying to be authentically Asian, whatever that means. I think to some that means 'cheap'. To others that means 'just like my momma made'. It isn't the case on either count. The food is gorgeous, made from great ingredients and carries a price that reflects that quality and effort. Perhaps Chef Bill and Yvonne need to call out their effort a little more to manage expectations a little better. Then again, if they don't, there's more for me and my friends.
urbanbelly / Urban Belly
3053 N California Ave
About 8 months ago I finally posted a small entry on one of my favorite Chicago bakeries - Pasticceria Natalina. At the time I didn't have any great pictures of their pastry and felt that the report didn't really do justice to the work their shop is producing.
I went back the other day and Nick and Natalie had some great pastries and cookies in the shop to photograph. Of course, I can't remember the names of any of them, but I think the pictures pretty much speak for themselves.
And in case you are wondering, they do taste as good as they look. Probably better.
Not all the cakes are available all the time. You'll just have to take your chances when you go in.
5406 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640
Cupcakes are so ubiquitous these days, it is hard to get excited about them. They're everywhere, in red velvet and chocolate and vanilla and praline and pecan fudge and butter brickle and hot tamale and Coca-Cola and root beer and hot mulled cider and coffee and mocha and latte and on and on and on...if it is sweet, it is a cupcake. But not so at Chaos Theory Cakes, the all-grown-up-and-ready-for-my-closeup brainchild of Michelle Garcia, the baker and pastry chef behind the all-organic Bleeding Heart Bakery, where if it is savory, it most definitely must be dessert.
There's more than a bit of trendiness about a concept - the savory dessert- so oft discussed in restaurant reviews, pastry chef-glorifying periodicals (about a 5 star chef, I recall reading, about 8 years ago, 'pastry chef x uses more salt than sugar in his desserts') and general discussion. But don't dismiss Chaos Theory as another follower. They're definitely doing something different - wholistically, the package is unlike any other shop I've visited in the US. It is an all-organic, fantastical, riotous carnival of colors and flavors and textures and ideas that lead to only one place: the mind of Michelle Garcia. Sure, other chefs in the US and around the world are exploring the same territory, but not with the singular vision and passion of Chaos Theory Cakes.
The entry level dessert for the less adventurous is the cupcake. The day I went I tried the curry, chocolate, and cardamom cupcake, which I adored. One of my favorite flavors of Vosges chocolate is the Naga bar, made with chocolate, coconut and curry. This cupcake was the angel-soft version, and I really enjoyed the uber-fudgy icing.
Though I didn't try it (I'm not an eater of the bacon, at least not yet), the bacon and chocolate cupcake looks equally good. Yes, that's a bacon garnish. I'm told it is even more tasty. Ah.
What I loved about my visit to Chaos Theory is the immediate and unrelenting attack on my senses the moment I pushed open the door on a hot August afternoon. Music. Color. Aroma. Flavor. After politely asking if I could take photos for the blog (how could I help myself) I started snapping everything in sight. It was just so fun.
A couple of the murals:
Cake and mural:
The marshmallows (and 2-for-1 cupcake experiments):
Tons of candy-colored, festive cakes:
And the darned nicest shopgal I've ever met, doing some cleaning before the rush hits. She was incredibly nice, incredibly helpful, and all around obliging:
The pastries are wild. The shop essentially has five categories of baked sweets: cream puffs, cakes, cupcakes, tarts, and mousse cakes. The mousse cakes seem to have the most unique flavors, like this one:
What is it exactly? Take a gander:
There's also the Avocado Cake:
There's the mango cake with jalapeno:
I didn't try any of these savory cakes, they're a little large for a solo eater and I'm currently on a financial austerity plan. Watching my wallet, as they say. But they were fascinating to me and I've heard tell that they are quite tasty. Alas, no pictures, as they were safely tucked into a refrigerated case that reflected copious light and created unsightly glare. Trust me, they were fanciful and fun. I was pretty much able to only get a decent picture of one - the Oaxaca Cake:
I wasn't able to get a picture of the tarts, but I did bring home one of the Chocolate S'mores tarts, which is made with a rich chocolately ganache, really good meringue, and a crisp graham cracker tart shell. E and I both enjoyed it and I found myself sneaking bites when he wasn't looking.
The prices here are high, reflecting two (major) things: the cost of organic commodities right now (they're high) and the amount of labor going into each dessert (not insignificant). Some will balk at paying $6 for a small tart and $3.75 for a cupcake, but as on occasional treat it is well worth the money. Good, real ingredients aren't cheap. To frame it differently, if you were in a good restaurant, you'd gladly pay $6 for a large tart, and you'd be getting off easy with a $3.75 cupcake.
Chaos Theory Cakes
2931 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60686
I thought the fine art of hand-shaved ice had disappeared along with the rag men and the doctors making house calls, but on a bright, warm Saturday morning this summer I learned that the shaved ice man never really went away. He simply moved to Pittsburgh.
Notice the block of ice mounted on the stainless still catch-pan just to the left of the flavor bottles? That's the stuff of shaved ice.
The tool for shaving ice - the appropriately named 'ice shave' has been around since at least 1898 - I did a little web research and found a reference to a magazine advertising the tool from that time. This particular ice shave is included in the collection of the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut:
The shave is run along the ice.
The shaved ice is captured in the chamber between the blade and the handle. The chamber is opened and the ice is piled into a cup:
The ice is then doused with a delicious slightly too-sweet flavor. I have an aversion to artificial fruit flavors, so I went with root beer (turns out to have been a very good choice):
It cost me all of a dollar. You can find the shaved ice man in the strip district of Pittsburgh on market days. The cheapest taste of nostalgia you'll find this side of candy corn.
...that sells warm Belgian waffles.
...ahh wafels & dinges
During the last week of July, we stopped at the Lunch Wagon, a compact take-out stand perched on a hill overlooking Belfast harbor, for fried clams and lobster rolls. The fried clams here are delicious. They're hot, fresh, crisp and chewy whole belly clams served with tasty tartar sauce.
The lobster roll, made with chunks of fresh, sweet lobster tossed with either butter or mayo, is served on a warm toasted roll. Mmm.
When ambling up Rt 1 in mid-coast Maine, make a stop at 17 Maine Street in Belfast, ME and check out the Lunch Wagon.
It hasn't been a food-focused trip, but we did get to enjoy a little bit of Hawaiian plate lunch:
Five Spice Roast Duck, Hoisin Sauce, two scoops of rice, no macaroni salad (a plate lunch staple that I don't really care for):
Kalua Roast Pork with cabbage, macaroni salad, scoop of rice, side of poi, coconut gelatin:
And fancy food - a little bit of ahi tuna:
Lilikoi, the delicious and ever-present yellow passionfruit that sells for about $.25 each
I'm not quite sure how this tiny blog got on anyone's radar (it isn't vegan,vegetarian, primal, raw, or anything niche; I barely write about recipes, I don't document my exploits, in fact, I hardly talk about myself at all) but lately I've been getting press releases of varying quality and quantity. I love the announcements I get from publishers about new cookbooks, food-based memoirs, or food-oriented work or fiction. By contrast, the announcement of a new blog or platform isn't really appropriate for Cake and Commerce, which is mostly my first person take on artisan products and food that I like or make.
The other day a press release arrived that I actually found compelling enough to talk about here. They weren't asking me to buy something or to write a paid article about a product or place or thing. Rather they were asking me to get the word out, via my blog, about a bakesale/fundraiser/grassroots event to support the fight against hunger in the US.
I like events that on the outside seem trite and silly, but ultimately benefit a cause I hold dear, mainly because it doesn't really feel like work. Last year I organized a charity auction - basically a win-a-date-thing -which benefited the Greater Chicago Food Depository. In one week of online auctions, our group contributed over $2000 to their fight against hunger.
So when I found out about the Great American Bake Sale, I found the pull of baking sweets for charity too great to resist. I don't care about the celebrities involved (you'll need to go to the website to find out who they are), but the cause and the means of raising money, through bakesales, won my sugar-coated heart over. I love a bakesale. I love baking. I love raising money for anti-hunger causes. And registering to have a bakesale couldn't be easier.
For those of you who may be put off by the involvement of C&H, The Food Network, Family Circle, and food celebrities, take note: you can organize a bakesale and donate proceeds without commercial sponsorship or intervention, and your money will go directly to Share Our Strength, one of the largest anti-hunger non-profits out there who have turned fundraising into an experiential art.
You only have 6 more weeks to register - the deadline is June 30th. So get baking!
More pictures from Cafe Ataco, high in the hills northwest of San Salvador. Their claim to fame? Starbucks buys green beans from them.
Many layers of paint coat this piece.
A wood-fired drying kiln
I'm not sure what this one does.
Made in New York and Illinois
This batch roaster does 250 lbs at a time:
A "Granulizer" for grinding coffee. Bad picture, but interesting piece of equipment:
Liz, aka Confused Bee, aka Chinese Broccoli, aka Kitty Empire, is the most coffee-obsessed person I know. A freelance writer, Liz spends a great deal of time in cafes, and has turned that time into opportunity to get to know baristas, coffee, and the ways and means of coffee.
Here's a photo I nabbed from her photo stream on flickr:
Liz is as obsessed with documenting coffee as she is with coffee itself. She photographs every visit, party, beverage, and trip to the coffee shop with her Canon. I'm actually envious!
To see more of Liz's photos of coffee, coffee roasters, coffee shops, baristas, latte art, coffee competitions, etc, go here: Confused Bee's Latte Art Sets. In my links you'll see a link to her blog, Chinese Broccoli. She's as good a writer as she is a photographer (perhaps better?).
You can't really tell from the photo, but these stollen are HUGE. I bought a slice - pretty tasty if you like stollen. KaDeWe, Europe's largest department store, has an unbelievable food hall with a seemingly endless variety of foods. There's wursts from every part of Germany, eat-in restaurants, and rack upon rack of sugary sweets.
Here's another view of the bakery case:
There was the usual world spices and prepared foods. Most remarkable were the uber 60's prepared foods (didn't I see this in 100 thing to do with leftovers?)- I'm still not sure what they are: