Archive for March, 2022

Pho at Coco Tang

March 29, 2022

Previous week, a cappuccino at Coco Tang. A week on I thought try the food. Compared with my previous visit, a grave disappointment.

Lunchtime, packed. I wandered off to Kigali, had a coffee, returned mid-afternoon, now empty.

Pho, Vietnamese soup, not to be confused with Pho a corporate chain serving fake Vietnamese street food coupled with poor service and high staff turnover.

A long wait from taking my order. A very large bowl of soup, slivers of beef, noodles, with a side dish of red hot chilli peppers and bean sprouts and a couple of leaves.

Only when my soup bowl was taken away, did the waitress tell me what I thought was a side dish, was meant to be added to the soup. Why would I add a cold side dish to hot soup, why was I not told this at the time it was delivered to my table?

The slices of red hot chile pepper on the side plate, were not deseeded, hence very hot, but I was not warned. Contrast with Paste, nearby Thai restaurant, where they do warn.

Pho ok, but at the end of the day a bowl of soup, albeit a large bowl of soup. £10-50 for a bowl of soup.

I followed with a cappuccino. A disappointment compared with what I had the previous week.

I looked at the cocktails, £10 for an espresso martini, using poor quality coffee liquor.

To add insult to injury, 10% service charge sneaked onto my bill. Discretionary. No, it is not discretionary if added to my bill without my consent. And for what, a bowl of soup and a coffee brought to my table.?

To put in context, a three course lunch at Paste, less than a tenner. Or excellent lunch at Ugly Bread Bakery for a fraction of the price.

A very disappointing visit.

Cold misty afternoon Nottingham

March 29, 2022

Foggy before dawn. Later, Lincoln Cathedral shrouded in mist.

Nottingham, cold and damp, not a pleasant day.

Walking through Broadmarsh Tunnel, Deliveroo serf actually wheeling an electric cycle, but did get on and ride once through the tunnel, even though a pedestrianised street.

I thought I would eat at Coco Tang. It was packed, I wandered off to Kigali, retumed mid-afternoon, now empty.

I ordered Pho, a Vietnamese soup of slivers of beef and noodles, accompanied by a side dish of red hot chili peppers and bean sprouts and a couple of green leaves. Only when my empty soup bowl was taken away, did the waitress tell me that what I thought was a side dish was to be added to my bowl of soup. £10-50 for a bowl of soup, albeit a very large bowl of soup.

I ordered a cappuccino, ok but nothing to shout about or go out of my way for. And yet previous week excellent.

To add insult to injury, 10% service charge sneaked onto my bill.

Walking to the station, cloud breaking up and the sun coming out.

Ukraine coffee in times of war

March 28, 2022

One month on from Putin’s attack on Ukraine, slowly slowly in Kyiv, life is returning to normal, if can count as normal the outskirts of the city shelled, people who fled are returning to the city, markets are open, coffee shops are open, roasteriers are functioning.

Dating from the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution and the start of Russian aggression, the Ukrainian coffee scene has been on a steady rise. Up to the coronavirus pandemic Ukraine was leading the charts in new coffee places openings, as evidenced by the Project Cafe 2020 Europe a report by the Allegra Group.

Ukraine was represented at the World Barista Championships with Slava Babych taking the Cezve-Ibrik title in 2018; and, more importantly, the local roasteries were growing in Kyiv and all over the country. 

Yellow Place one of the flagship Kyiv coffee shops still operational.

Also operational, Mad Heads, a roastery I met at the Limassol Coffee Festival, excellent coffee.

Sprudge featured Mad Heads [see Coffee Is Fueling The Resistance In Ukraine]

mad heads vradii 7 ukraine copy

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy could use a cup of joe. He’s been the unifying force his country needed the moment Russia launched a full-scale, multiple fronts invasion of Europe’s largest country. Zelenskyy’s case is the very definition of rising to the occasion, as illustrated by the 90+ percent approval rating he enjoys in Ukraine and the global media coverage. What drives his team in these unprecedented times? Ukrainian specialty coffee by the local Kyiv roastery Mad Heads Coffee Roasters.

There’s only so much you can do to help when your country is being invaded by a foreign adversary, says Mad Heads co-founder Artem Vradii. For the coffee community, it means delivering fresh brew to the armed forces, emergency services, and hospitals. Oh, and you can also provide coffee to keep the president of your country (and the current leader of free world) energized.

Vradii says that the Ukrainian’s Office of the President (think the White House of Ukraine) asked Mad Heads to provide coffee for Zelenskyy’s team. “There’s lots of people working through the sleepless nights there. That was clear enough after we sent them most of our coffee and 1,500-1,800 drip coffee bags,” he says. The next time they reached out Mad Heads also sent all the milk and branded metal cups they had at the roastery.

mad heads vradii 1 ukraine copy

There’s no way of knowing if Zelenskyy specifically is the one to enjoy specialty coffee but Vradii certainly hopes so. “I just imagine him drinking Mad Heads coffee from our cup when I go to sleep. I never asked but that’s what makes me feel better,” he says. He had a chance to communicate with the president’s staff though: “I just asked if [Zelenskyy] feels the support he’s been getting from all over the country. And they said that he definitely does, in fact that’s what keeps him going in these trying times.”

What motivates Vradii’s team is trying to help the country in any way they can. “Admittedly for the first days of war we just froze. You just don’t know what to do when your country’s suddenly at war. But then we started to find some ways to help. These days I can go to sleep only if I feel I’ve done something helpful,” says Vradii, responsible for the coffee that helped Ukrainian Slava Babych win the 2018 World Cezve-Ibrik Championship in Dubai.

The logistics system Mad Heads has in place makes it possible to provide coffee to numerous Ukrainian army checkpoints, hospitals, and volunteer centers. And they continue to deliver coffee to the cafes still open in Kyiv that are providing free coffee to the citizens that decided to stay in the city. “We have 30 or so points of delivery in Kyiv now. It’s harder to reach out to our clients all over the country but we try to anyway,” Vradii adds.

It’s not only the president’s team that prefers Mad Heads coffee. Vradii smiles when he tells the story of one of the Territorial Defenses units that defend Kyiv now. “They said, ‘Guys we have lots of coffee here but it’s all Lavazza. That’s fine, we’re not complaining. But if you have some of your good stuff please send it to us.’” Of course Mad Heads did. There’s no way Russian occupying forces have specialty coffee delivered to them in trenches, adds Vradii cheerfully.

I had a chat with Mad Heads last week (use Telegram for security), yes, they confirmed, we are still operational and yes, we can deliver coffee outside Ukraine, the Postal service is operational.

Please place an order. Chat with your local indie specialty coffee shop. Suggest Mad Heads as a guest coffee. And if anyone using disgusting Nespresso (owned by Nestle, trading in Russia), order Mad Heads coffee capsules (I can recommend their Colombian coffee).

Nestlé chocolate

March 27, 2022

With added bitterness of Putin’s war crimes.

No surprise Nestlé refusal to pull out of Russia, Nestlé ranks as one of the world’s most evil corporations.

Nestlé not the only Western corporation refusing to pull out of Russia.

  • M&S
  • Burger King
  • Subway
  • Total

Find Nespresso shops in your locality. Leave 1* review on Google maps that Nestlé trading in Russia, complicit Putin’s war crimes.

In Russia, find Nespresso outlets on Google maps, leave a 1* review of Putin’s war crimes.

Note: Please do not review Putin’s war crimes on indie business in Russia, it will endanger them. The Truth in Russia a criminal offence, fifteen years in prison.

For Total, a French oil company with major stake in a Russian oil company, write a 1* review on TrustPilot.

If have a friend using vile undrinkable Nespresso, treat them to coffee from Mad Heads, excellent coffee.

Chocolate, treat yourself to bean-to-bar craft chocolate.

Honey glazed pork chop with Hesselback potatoes and Sweet and sour peppers

March 27, 2022

Cut end off a couple of black garlic cloves, squeeze onto a baking tray. Add a little olive oil, a spoonful of honey. Using back of the soon mix into a paste.

Rub both sides of pork chop in thecosste. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange Hessellbsck potatoes around the chop. Season the motors with akt and pepper, deuzzke a little olive oil.

Alice into strips two red peppers, slice one red onion. Into a pan of hot olive oil. After a few minutes, sprinkle with a little sugar, add a spoonful of honey.

Add a soksh of red wine, red wine vinegar. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Add avsplodh of olive oil.

Mowing hoeing digging

March 26, 2022

The Third day of trying mower darted first attempt.

I was only going to dig a vegetable bed but as the most gas stayed I decided to mow the lawns

— to be continued–#

Lincoln afternoon

March 25, 2022

Travelling junk food circus

March 25, 2022

— to be continued—

Spring flowers on an old wall

March 25, 2022

— to be continued—

Ukraine one month on

March 24, 2022

Today marks one month on from Putin’s illegal attack on Ukraine.

23 February 2022, people of Ukraine were going about their daily lives, a walk in the park, a visit to the coffee shop to drink coffee with friends.

24 February 2022, thre air radi silens wailed and death rained down from the skies.

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