Author Archives: Luke

Siphon in San Fran

I had an amazing coffee experience today in Blue Bottle Coffee, San Francisco.

Siphon coffee.

First up, the barista measures out some water to the milligram into a beaker, then puts it on a stand over a heating element.

Boiling the water

He then measures out the right weight in beans, and picks through them with his fingers to make sure they’re all perfect. Then he finely grinds them.

The water boils through a filter into an upper chamber. Once it’s all boiled through, the ground coffee is added.

The barista stands and watches it, stirring occasionally and turning the heat down while it brews. It’s a fast extraction – about 90 seconds.

After a timer says it’s ready, the barista removes the equipment from the heat, and the coffee filters back down into the lower beaker.

Despite the busyness of this popular café, my barista finds me to serve my coffee. He tells me about the flavours, the process, the beans, and asks if I have any questions.

The drink itself was exceptional, almost like French Press, but with the nuance and character you might expect from a good wine.

Served in a beaker

A++. Would recommend.

Pepsi Next

Product Talk by Nuffnang

From time to time we get asked to review a product on our blog. I jumped at the chance to try out Pepsi Next, mostly because I wanted to try my hand at some product photography (if I’m going to be perfectly honest). Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH If I drink any soft drink, it’s going to be sugar free. Pepsi Next is not sugar free like Pepsi Max – so that put me off from the start. But then I read the ingredient list on the back of the can, and realised the whole point of this drink. It’s not a diet cola. It’s a better-for-you cola. Diet Soft Drinkers – how many times have you had this conversation:

You: Sugar is bad, so I drink diet coke (or whatever) Annoying Person: Yeah but sugar isn’t as bad as all the chemicals that are in diet coke

Which, you know, is probably true. Whatever. All soft drink is bad for you. Moving on. Pepsi Next’s best feature (in my opinion) is that it contains no chemical sweeteners like the aspartame and acesulphame potassium that are found in other cola products like Diet Coke (and Pepsi Max). Instead, it is sweetened using the Stevia plant. You know that Natvia sweetener you see in expensive eco-bio-fairtrade-green-hippy coffee shops? Same thing. So while it’s not sugar free, if you really want to drink a soft drink, the small amount of sugar might be worth it to avoid some of those icky chemicals. Actually, come to think of it, Pepsi Next would be a great cola mixer. Scotch and diet coke just don’t go well together. Pepsi Next would do the trick quite nicely. Also: it really does taste like Coke. I can’t tell the difference. To prove it, Pepsi are doing blind taste tests around the country. Find out more on their Facebook page. Pepsi Pepsi made out of Sexy For the sake of completeness, Pepsi Next is available at most places where the Pepsi range is stocked and in a range of sizes to suit all occasions.

December, 2013

I really enjoy taking photos. I’m not particularly good at it, but I do enjoy it.

I just got a roll developed, and I thought I’d share a few that turned out. Here is a small part of our family life, this December.

Perchtoldsdorf

We arrived in Perchtoldsdorf after being in the car for seven and a half hours. What a drive!

I’m a little ashamed of how much we’ve relied on McDonald’s during this road trip, but this post wouldn’t be complete without telling you about what can only be described as a super McDonald’s, which was our half-way lunch break.

It had 3 separate children’s playgrounds. One surrounded by tables for parents watch and eat at the same time. One with basketball hoops, an obstacle course (with a timer so you could race) and exercise bikes hooked up to some sort of game. There was free to use iPads, a fireplace, a balcony, self service machines, the works.

Enough of that. Back to Perchtoldsdorf – a suburb of Vienna, about 30 minutes drive from the centre. We checked in to a quiet B&B. It was the cheapest accommodation we could find, but it was really nice. All our bases were covered – free parking, free in-room wifi, free breakfast, our own shower (though there was a shared toilet), and a large, comfortable bed.

We went for a walk around town looking for somewhere to eat, but everything was expensive or closed, so we went back to the B&B and had dinner in the restaurant downstairs. We were the only people there.

Then came the bedtime routine, work, sleep, breakfast, more work, then we left on the last leg of our road trip – back to Budapest. Our accommodation tonight is on the Buda side, which is good because we’ve only visited there once. Then tomorrow we’re off to Russia!

 

Thanks for following along on our short little euro-road-trip. I’ll hand the microphone back to Talia, now.

Neuschwanstein Castle

As we approached views of distant snow capped alps, we realised that this little whim of ours was going to be worth the extra drive time.

We had seen a picture of Neuschwanstein Castle while visiting Nuremberg. We left to go see it only after stocking up on supplies. Now we were 4 hours south, driving to out last-minute hostel booking in Füssen.

We checked in (shared bathroom, but otherwise great accommodation) and decided to explore a little around Füssen in the drizzle. We were ready for dinner so we resolved to put off the castle till the next morning – hopefully with some sunshine and a fuller camera battery.

We adored the small town, even in the rain. We saw colourful triangular buildings lining cobblestone streets, bright spring flowers adorning lamp posts, and the mountains providing the perfect backdrop. We bought ourselves some umbrellas and then found a spare table in a busy thai restaurant.

We started early the next day – despite some nappy related set-backs and an impromptue photo-shoot along the way (we couldn’t pass up the opportunity, what a backdrop!) we still arrived before most tourists. We found a ticket booth and a means of transport up to the castle – something fitting for the occasion: a horse and carriage.

We had about 45 minutes to wait for our tour to start, so we spent the time enjoying a fairy-tale view, taking heaps of photos, and watching Asians with their cameras assail Lior (he was very patient).

The tour began and we learned about King Ludwig II – the ultimate fanboy. He puts modern fanboys/girls to shame. This entire castle is basically an homage to Richard Wagner. It even has a mock cave walkway, built like a set in a play.

The tour was interesting, but the views were spectacular. They were what we came here for, and they didn’t dissapoint.

We left the castle as Lior fell asleep in the ergo. We got him in the car as soon as we could, and began the 6 hour drive (!) to our next and final destination on this small side-trip before we return to Budapest.

P.S. – we got an email from the Russians. We’re good to go! Picking up our Visas on Monday.

Nuremberg

Nuremberg! Or as the road signs call it – Nürmberg. It was tempting to skip this stop when planning our trip, but I’m so glad we didn’t!

We arrived in the afternoon and searched for our airbnb accommodation. Eventually we found it and met our hosts. They were a hippy couple with two hippy kids. Lior was glad to have found playmates (though they were a bit too rough with him) and some new toys.

The kids were very fun – Maalick (4 years), and Luniz (20 months). Both had long hair, Maalick’s starting to dreadlock, and wore funky jewellery. They were very eager to play with us and read them books in German. They were rudey nudey more often than not.

Their parents weren’t quite as friendly, but accommodating enough.

Later that afternoon we went for a walk (ignoring the first signs of rain) toward the city centre. We discovered (yet another) huge church. Most things were closed because it was a holiday, but we found our dinner at a sausage stall. The barbecuer cooked up some beef sausages for us on request, because his only ready sausages were pork.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The next day, our plan was to to to Linz, Austria. But before we could do anything we had to dry the clothes that hadn’t finished properly in Leipzig. Also, the wifi hadn’t been working where we were staying, so we were still without anything booked for that night – so we needed to get that sorted.

We managed to find an amazing laundromat. “How can a laundromat be amazing?” I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you. It was a laundromat-café, decorated retro style. They had amazing chai lattes (5 different types of chai), wifi, comfy seats, toys for Lior to play with, and HUGE driers. By the time we were done there it was 10:30 and Lior was long past ready for a nap.

This put a snag in our plans. We wanted to explore more of Nuremberg, then drive to Linz in the afternoon. I especially wanted to see the castle. Of course, the moment we put Lior in the car he was off to sleep, and we knew that we should really be on our way to Linz while he was sleeping (we try to do the long drives with him asleep).

In the end we decided to spend the day in Nuremberg. We would leave in the evening, skip Linz and drive overnight to our next destination. So we found a car park near the castle, and luckily Lior woke up after just an hour nap.

We set off the explore the castle – which ended up being closed, so we didn’t get to go inside, but we did get to explore outside and around. We saw some great views of the city. The whole area is so medieval! If it wasn’t for the cars and tourists, you might think you’d stepped back in time!

While we were at an information desk in the castle we saw a photo of a different castle. It was nestled in amongst snow capped mountains, surrounded by cloud, very fairy-tale like. We both agreed that we’d like to see it, so I asked where it was. The answer was little bit out of our way (it would add about 4 hours driving to our trip), but if we left soon we could make it before sundown.

So we found fruit and bread (and a big pretzel!) for lunch in a nearby market, booked accommodation, and jumped in the car!

Talia asked me “is this stupid?”.

I said “yes, but let’s do it anyway”.