The other night we went out to find something off the beaten path. While going through the ethnic grocery store's checkout I asked the nice young Asian girl working the cash register about the Vietnamese restaurant several stores down the strip. Her response led me to believe it probably wasn't any good, I then asked if there was anything within a five minute drive that would be worth checking out, again without saying it directly she left me to assume that it was probably a bust. Just at that moment an older lady who was nearby said "We just came from the restaurant you were asking about, it was excellent... Excellent!"

An hour later, with a belly full of Pho and such, all that ran through my head was "it was terrible... Terrible!" Some of the worst we've had in a long time. Six weeks in Vietnam and you come to learn what's good and what's not. Always trust the young girl who works in the neighborhood.

On a happier note, if you are looking for a really good espresso pulled on a 3 group semi-automatic La Marzocco FB80 or a lovely coffee off a Clover, look no further than "Phil and Sebastian" at the Calgary Farmer's Market. I dropped in there last week, for the first time, to check out the coffee. They have a small production stall that is well stocked with all the tools necessary to make great coffee. They are carrying Hines and Novo coffees and from what I saw and what I tasted (a Hines espresso and a cup of Clover-ed Novo Ethiopian Abeba) these guys are doing a great job. I have roasted the other coffee's they had on offer (Panama Carmen Estate and Sumatra Lake Tawar) and like them both but had never tried the Abeba. Anyone who knows me understands I'm really fussy about what I drink, yes I'm obsessive. I drink coffee I roast and brew myself, I know what I like and I don't like paying for bad coffee. This new addition to the Calgary market is somewhere I could see myself going to on occasion.

On the home coffee front... this morning I pulled a 1.25oz shot of a 50/50 split espresso blend - Java Kali Bendo and Sumatra Lintong Blue Batak, with my usual attempt at lame latte art into the four ounce ceramic I bought while we were in Vietnam. Yummy! This week I will start giving some thought to what I'm going to roast for coffee for my solo attempt at the 24 Hours of Adrenalin mountain bike race in Canmore - that is only 9.5 days away - yikes! I'm sure coffee will be my friend several times during the race. ;-)



Peter said...

Wow. Best of luck with the solo attempt! I should be out on the trails again this weekend, it's amazing how much better the trails are out there than what I have been riding inside the city. Finally my bike feels like it's doing what it's supposed to be doing. (However... I think I might be acquiring a road bike, though details aren't 100% yet...)

Glad you liked Phil & Sebastian. In 2 weeks they should have the Ethiopia Aricha, one of the airlifted lots. Should be amazing. I'm saving up for some.

Peter said...

Oh! I forgot... what are your recommendations for Vietnamese in Calgary? I recently fell head over heels in love with banh mi and I want to know what else is out there.

Shaun Taylor said...

Road bike, eh? Nice! As soon as the madness ends in nine days we should hook up for a ride on the dirt out in K-country - well as soon as my ass stops throbbing from 24hrs of racing. ;-)

Well if it's banh mi you are after my strongest recommendation goes out to "Thi Thi", three locations in town and coincidentally the third location is only a couple of minutes from our house.

Hope they are going to put the Aricha on Clover, if not then I can always be convinced to substitute in a Hines espresso - yum!