Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez (en_ki) wrote,
Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez

gastronomy and verbosity

1. I got some fancy coffee from Barismo in Arlington recently. It costs more than twice as much as Dunkin' Donuts, so it's not getting into my regular rotation unless it's at least, say, 1.5x as good. (The cost of coffee includes a fair amount of time as well as money, so the taste per dollar doesn't need to improve at 1:1.)

Ground at #1 and prepared at their recommended temperature, 91 C, in an Aeropress, it tastes like crap: bitterness predominates, with just a hint of that soggy dishwater coffee-ground taste.

(This is what I used to think coffee tasted like. I would get it from Starbucks because their coffee, while bitter and burnt, wasn't dishwatery at all; or Peet's because it was like Starbucks but sweeter and mellower; or Dunkie's iced because moreso.

I tried my hand at espresso and discovered that, with a cheap machine and fanatical cleaning and tamping, I could get rid of the dishwateriness and make it just bitter with a subtle hint of sweetness and berry-ness—and then later tried French press and discovered that I could sometimes get rid of most of the bitterness and make the sweetness and berry-ness predominate and taste other subtle flavors underneath—and then later tried Aeropress with precise temperature control and got it consistently.)

Barismo does drip coffee and espresso on site and were disdainful when I mentioned the Aeropress, so maybe 91C is the right temperature for drip, not for press. When I prepared it at 175 F as recommended by the Aeropress people, it was quite tasty; the sweetness and berry-ness came out and I was willing to call it 15% better than Dunkie's.

Since 15% is not 50%, I'm not currently planning to switch, but I'll give them through the end of the bag and continue to experiment with temperature and technique before I make the final call.

2. I'm currently trying to keep carbohydrates to a reasonable level, avoiding high-glycemic foods, and maximizing protein. Example breakfast which I love: veggie burgers + eggs over easy + cock sauce or salsa verde.

This has led me to experiment with different kinds of veggie burgers. Early on in this experiment, I discovered that my favorite veggie burger (Trader Joe's Veggie Masala Burger, which is in no way burger-like, just a round patty of mild curried potatoes and veggies) has a carb:protein ratio of 6. Ratios for so-called "veggie burgers" and common foods for comparison:

- Trader Joe's Veggie Masala Burger: 6.0
- Trader Joe's standard veggie burger: 5.6
- white flour: 5.5
- beans, peas, lentils: 2.3-3
- Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers (from TJ's, tasty): 2.6
- nuts: 1-2
- Boca and Morningstar veggie burgers: 0.9-1.1
- whole egg: 0.07
- actual meat: 0

(For the record, Morningstar black-bean burgers are the best so far in the egg thing I mentioned.) The diet I'm on considers beans an acceptable staple food, so the burgers below them on the list don't bother me---but Trader Joe's, seriously: veggie burgers that are worse than white flour? (Fox Broadcasting Company hates it when people show other people clips of the Simpsons, so I can't link to a Youtube video of Homer eating flour out of a bag in despair at the worthlessness of his life; you'll have to imagine it.)

3. Last week, for the first time, I watched a video of myself giving a talk. It was extremely valuable in that I learned:

- My delivery is basically pretty good: I stand up straight, look at people, and speak more or less intelligibly.
- Slow down a bit.
- Oh god, I am, like, the worst um-er in the world. Um, why did nobody ever, ah, tell me this? Uh, what the, uh, fuck?

so that's something to work on. We have a videographer at work who always gives indications that he would rather be busier, so I'm going to ask him to keep recording my talks so I can monitor progress. Eventually, with luck, I will overcome my shame and post the videos on our internal web site so they're actually, ah, useful to somebody.

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