Having spent over a month in Spain, finding good, authentic Spanish food in Malaysia is hard to find. Maybe because Spanish food in mostly not really halal but probably also Spain isn’t that famous in Malaysia. I found a decent Spanish place once in Mont Kiara but it closed down a few years later.
Eventually, El Meson popped up on my Radar. I don’t know when they opened up in Bangsar since I don’t frequently that area but I’m a fan from day one. I didn’t try a lot of food since there was only two of us but I went more my favorite Iberico and Serrano hams. A paella completed our simple lunch. All I can say is that it’s as good as you can get if you’re itching for a taste of Spain. Olé!
I’ll be back for more, including their all-day breakfast! Dos cerbeza, por favor!
61-63 Jalan Telawi 3
59100 Bangsar Baru,
Instant Starbucks coffee?
The main draw of Starbucks has been the “Third place”. A place to hang-out, to meet friends, business associates, to ponder the meaning of life and the universe, that sort of thing. To turn that experience into a instant cup of coffee you make at home just doesn’t seem like it would work. Introducing Starbucks Via!
To me, it doesn’t.
Let’s get back to basics. The coffee at Starbucks is average. Worse on some days and better on some. The beans aren’t the freshest and the barista’s skill plays the other part. Some days, I actually insist the barista remake my latte or cappuccino. Instant Via tastes quite poor actually. I actually find it’s made from over-roasted beans and it tastes overly bitter, flat and lifeless. You pay RM12 per cup because it’s the whole experience. The ambiance, the place, etc. I can’t see myself paying RM2.50 for this tiny satchet that doesn’t really taste much better than Nescafe Gold! Two strikes.
If you’ve taken the red pill in the world of coffee then you would know the truth out there. Stale beans make lousy coffee. It’s unfair to compare Via to my week-old roasted Five Senses of which the difference is like night and day. I compared to Nescafe Gold and Alta Rica as well as house brands such as First Choice and Jusco selects.
The results? Not good. They all taste rather similar. I would have expected the Via to stand out a bit. After all, there’s a taste promise that goes with the Via. In Italian, Via can have many meanings, but for me, Starbucks Via means way, and it’s way out the door. Doesn’t make my coffee grade one bit.
As a coffee lover, specifically an espresso and latte lover, a home setup is quite important. The unfortunate thing is that the prices of machines here are prohibitively expensive. Getting fresh beans is also a difficulty but I’ll blog about that in another entry in the future. When I started evaluating machines, I aimed high as usual. After some search and investigation, one has to come to terms with reality. I drink plenty of Starbucks (or used to) and obviously wanted coffee that is fresher and tastier than the relatively mild and stale coffee they serve. Now, before you crucify me, you need to really try some freshly roasted and ground beans and you will have taken the blue pill and you will see how deep the rabbit hole goes! I’m also usually the only one drinking coffee in my house. If only I owned a little cafe by the beach. Kitchen counter top space is limited and no matter how large a kitchen you have, it’s never enough.
With all the reality checks, it doesn’t make sense for me to get a machine costlier than US$300. There’s also the other thing where paying double the price may not result in anything much better. There were machines producing superb espressos but at US$1,000, it doesn’t make much sense for me, producing about 3-4 cups of espresso and latte a day at max. I settled for the Gaggia Evolution that produces fine results. Like any good photographer knows, it’s not always the machine.
So, for good espressos, the other important ingredient is obviously the coffee. Yes, water’s important and I used filtered water that has chlorine and other impurities removed but coffee is one big ingredient. Freshly roasted beans are best and they need to sit for a week generally so the next addition to my setup was a grinder. An Isomac Professionalle to be exact. I got it from KF Chan, our local coffee connoisseur. Again, it’s a burr grinder which means no blades to heat up your beans as they grind and it grinds fine enough to pull lovely shots of espresso. It’s other feature is that it’s really compact and pretty stylish so it can sit on your kitchen table top next to your espresso machine. Of course I also have a stainless steel tamper along with a knock tube and mat which I bought from Highlander in Singapore.. I’m pretty happy with my current setup and will blog more about the beans and the grinds soon enough.
After multiple rounds of Chinese New Year dishes and over-loading on carbs, we decided on a burger night with home-made burgers, salad and coleslaw. Nothing beats having good food and family over to spend some time with each other. They are what I’m always thankful for. As the festivities come to a close, another amazing year with the most amazing person in the world. When I wake up and see her by my side, that’s what makes heart sing and what I’ll always be so blessed — no matter what comes my way!
My nephew can’t wait to light up some fireworks so our home was a pretty good place to do it. We are blessed with a pretty sizable front lawn so… “fire in the hole!” Before the fireworks photos get posted, here comes our delicious dinner first. If you’d like the burger recipe, head over here.