Free Refills & Why I Love America Rotating Header Image

April 19th, 2010:

Happy Patriots’ Day! [Massachusetts and Maine only]

235 years ago, Massachusetts militia members fired on British troops in the towns of Lexington and Concord setting off the Revolutionary War. Today the start of the American Revolution is only officially celebrated in Maine and Massachusetts, which is ironic because I’m pretty sure Massachusetts is part of the European Union—or at least that is what Fox News led me to believe.

Here is a nice Schoolhouse Rock video in case you need a quick refresher on your American Revolution history.

Is the Double Down the most delicious sandwich ever?

Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight ran the nutrition numbers on KFC’s new Double Down and found that it just may be the most unhealthy sandwich ever. It is not so much that the Double Down has a load of calories (it only has 540), but rather that it contains more sodium, fat and cholesterol per calorie than any other burger he looked at.

Of course when I hear about something with a lot of salt and fat I generally start licking my lips. After all, these are the flavors that make food so delicious and there is some evidence we are addicted to them.

So while the Double Down may be the most unhealthy sandwich ever from a ‘nutrition’ stand point. The flip side is that packs in more deliciousness in each bite than any other sandwich on the market today.

American food science at its finest!

Why does French espresso suck?

Coffee, Cup and BeansIt is no secret why French coffee sucks.  It is because instead of brewing it properly they use the instant variety. But if you ask a Frenchmen about this, he will most likely reply that real French don’t drink “weak American-style coffee,” they drink espresso. The Nescafe Instant Coffee in every store, he’ll say, is just there so tourists have something to drink.

This is a lie, Europeans are second only to Asians in consuming instant coffee. But even if it were true, it does not explain why France, the cafe capitol of the world, has such horrible Espresso.

The New York Times steps in to answer the question.

I want to put it in stronger terms, but I’ll leave it to Duane Sorensen of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, who once asked me: “Why does the coffee in Paris suck so bad?”

Why, indeed?

Maybe it’s because Paris cafes do all the little things wrong: old beans, over-roasted beans, second-rate machines. Coffee is ground in batches, not to order. Order a café crème or noisette and out comes a box of U.H.T. milk, a shelf-stable dairy product. Even the venerable Cafés Verlet (256 rue Saint-Honoré, 011-33-01-42-606-739) ignores a basic rule and keeps roasted beans in open barrels.

The composition of most espresso blends doesn’t help things. James Freeman of Blue Bottle Coffee often points out that the French have a taste for robusta, a low-cost, low-quality bean that gives good crema but can taste thin and harsh. Or, to paraphrase a conversation I had with Corby Kummer, drinking robusta is like putting balsa wood in your mouth.

So there you have it. Not only do the French drink loads of low-quality instant coffee, they also cut corners when brewing their espresso. If you want a quality cup of coffee next time you’re traveling in Paris, you best bet it to find the nearest McDonald’s or Starbucks.  Thankfully they’ve just opened up a new McDonald’s in the Louvre.

(Hat tip: Joey)

Related Posts with Thumbnails