I don’t know if anyone actually reads my Steves Kitchen blog and to be honest I haven’t put a lot of effort into it of late, we tend to treat YouTube as our Post of Choice.
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So here is the thing, Should I write a Blog Diary, does any one care?
OK, let me give it a go. Today we were walking the streets of Bangkok doing what we often do when we’re in a new part of town, which is searching for that holy grail of coffees. I say the Holy grail, of course I mean coffee that doesn’t taste like it was brewed late last night and sat out on the hot plate to develop that sump oil flavour.
Picture the day, it’s 40C degrees, that’s 104F in old money, humidity is somewhere between trickling down your socks and needing to wear a snorkel. Michele and I stagger across a vast concrete carpark, heat beating off the floor and relentless midday sun, we’re making our way to a shopping Mall.
We enter through a curtain of euphoric cool air turning our sweat to ice, heaven. Near the entrance a Cafe which we have been to before that serves a reasonable Cuppa, not great but I’ll score it a 4.5. We had coffee there the evening before, it came in a twee little tea cup and saucer, not my favourite way to drink coffee, however this day I wanted it strong and tall, a drink this time, not a sample. The plan was to ask for a bigger cup, I use the word plan in the looses sense of the word.
On the counter beside the Coffee Machine are three vessel choices? or so I thought, a small shot glass, our Teacups and a decent Mug. I point at the mug and ask if I can have a Latte in it. Nope, it’s for an Americano, if you don’t know, An Americano (here in Thailand at least) is where they run a perfectly good espresso shot for the first few seconds, a rich sweet nectar, and then run it further through stage 2 (Slightly Bitter and Light Brown stove top coffee) then onto Stage 3 (mucky watery coffee, where all you accomplish is extracting the acidic tannin out of the beans) and you effectively turn a sweet espresso into a sour percolator coffee.
I smile and ask, pointing, if I can have the tall cup with two short espresso and hot milk, what we would call a strong Latte or Cappuccino. She looked back at me like I was mad, “no, this’ Americanooo” she added a few oo’s to make sure I understood. But I want that cup with my coffee, I pleaded but she wasn’t having it, “no!” she screwed up here nose “This Americanooooooo”.
Now I have to digress a this point, just so you have my back. The previous day in a similar encounter, different cafe, I persisted and got the Barista to relent and use their big cup, I sat at my table smug with success and he bought me over the tall cup but only half filled with coffee, I hadn’t the strength to complain.
So we gave up and set out, just a little bloody minded, to the carpark and the raging sun. Across from the mall was my arched nemesis a fast food chain, in this instance it was Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now every now and then these places will churn out a 3.0 to 5.0 coffee if you’re lucky and times were hard, as was the radiating concrete beneath our feet. So with some resolve we head to the colonels. I’ll cut a long story short, a hapless teenage kid served us two paper cups of what can be only described as brown stuff with some flotsam on top. Total cost Baht60.00 ($1.70) each, Two sips and I was over it, I needed caffeine but not that much.
We knew there was a swanky restaurant just a block away and set off for a last ditch attempt to get a decent coffee. On arrival we sat down in comfortable armchairs, our rather overly attentive young server removed the place setting from our table with a broad genuine smile, bought glasses of Iced Water, which was very welcoming, Then arrived with two strong Latte on a silver tray, in a large cup, all be it they were large Teacups :). We also ordered strawberry waffles because it was rude not to.
So the question is how much more was the coffee in this plush arm chair, air-conditioned splendour? Well, you’ll recall, KFC had been 60 Baht and here it was? wait for it.. 60 Baht (also a dollar seventy). So you might ask, why didn’t we go there in the first place? because I did..
Happy today, wherever you are. Love from Thailand the land of smiles and the odd knowing scoff.