Coffee: The Next Hot Thing Will Be Cold

Cold brewed coffee… it’s gonna be a thing.

I don’t mean iced coffee.  Although Dunkin Donuts I thank you for you delicious giant vats of ice-y coffee goodness.  I’m talking about cold brewed coffee.

I’m sitting in a hotel lobby .. in just a big resort hotel in Orlando and this cold brew..contraption…that’s the only name for it … is set up at 4PM for the next day’s cold brew demand.

You know the cold brew is gonna take off with the hipsters and people are gonna be building their own home cold brew.. contraption.  Or you can order it from Etsy here. 

Cold Brew Coffee

Need more of the chemical mechanics of at home cold brew?  Click here

Frankly I’ve been working next to the Towers of Cold Brew for a few hours now and I’ve started to like them.  AND if you haven’t tried a cold brewed coffee you should – it’s trending cause it’s delish!

 

The Desert in Bloom

Stayed for three nights at JW Marriott Camelback Inn at the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale this past weekend.   Did I hike Camelback Mountain? No but there was a five salsa flight with warm tortilla trips that I tried.

The hotel opened in 1939 and has been part of the Marriott Change since 1969.   We hung out and slept late and had cucumber vodka drinks at the pool.  One morning I lounged by the spa pool watching people far more motivated swim laps which then motivated me to take a yoga class…. or was I enjoying the AC of the yoga class?

The resort is all individual casitas – no big giant hotel.   In the lobby building there’s a hotel restaurant and Starbucks and BLT Steak but mostly it’s little casita building nestled through the desert landscape.  The bellmen come to your door to take you around the property in a golf cart.

It’s not my speed really with the hot and the dry and brown but it is spring .. even in the desert.  Lots of beautiful blooms…. enjoy

PHX

Deadly Mexican Music – Really?

So I’m working this meeting gig in Phoenix and there’s fancy buffet dinner on a beautiful sunset night with a vaguely Mexican theme to the food. So one of my colleagues handles the audio set up for the event to provide light background music to the lovely event

Being Californian and inclusive my DJ friend searched “Northern Arizona Mexican Music” and started playing that.

Minutes later one of the guests came up and asked if he new what he was playing … turns out there is a form of music that celebrates the drug trade south of the border that makes “Gangster rap sound like a boy band”

Yikes we were accidently playing songs that describe beheadings and the deadly Mexican drug trade as light background dinner fare… ooooooppppppppps

Mother’s Day Orchid

It’s a lovely non chain restaurant where the staff is made up of grown ups and they serve real food and it doesn’t feel like some of the food choices are marketing campaigns   I am there for Mother’s Day brunch and the servers who were mothers had been given orchids to wear. Not really a corsage but an orchid to pin near their name badge with it’s stem in a little vial of water to keep it fresh

We complimented one lady on her flower and she said it’s one of her favorite things of the year to receive the flower.   She said that every Mother’s Day she takes it home and puts it in her refrigerator. Then each night when she reads before bed she takes it out of the refrigerator so she can look at it and smell it’s scent and enjoy it.

“It lasts all the way through Father’s Day. It’s a treat. I live alone so I have to find it where I can get it”Wow! There’s someone getting joy from the little things in life!

This also struck me because I bet ordering those flowers is just a check on someone’s To Do List.   The holidays are so over celebrated and the race to get it all done is so pressure filled.   I really want to remind myself– maybe this little detail is really making someone’s day. Maybe this is really making a difference to someone…you never know.

And who knew orchids could last so long.

orchid

I love my Bitmoji

Where has my own version of myself in emoji form saying and doing hilarious things been all my digital life?

You download the Bitmoji app and choose all the physical features you think match your appearance then you get a new keyboard option when you text that is your BitEmoji self saying and doing hilarious and adorable things.

There are quick responses where she holds a sign saying yes or no or maybe.  There’s days of the week where she is laying down gray tones for Mondays and holding a let’s party sign for Friday. My Bitmoji has a lot of ways to blow kisses and say I love you or hello or happy birthday.

Bitmoji

Just when I thought texting couldn’t get any better – I have my own adorable digital representative to communicate for me!

Here’s a great article in Forbes from this year about the creator of BitEmojis …click here

Two best fun facts: the I love you bitmoji is the most popular and the creator has a background in creating cartoons… of course!!!

Finally I am jealous of red heads and people with glasses because I think their bitmojis are the cutest!!

Husband Hunting at the Admiral’s Club

The Admiral’s Club is the American Airlines private lounge not somewhere to shop off the rack for high-ranking Naval leaders – I wish!

It could be a good place to find a potential Mr. Mary Delia – busy guy who can either afford his own frequent airfares or someone employs him and enough to buy him a lot of airfare. Either way solid citizen.

The Admiral’s Club like most airline clubs are private lounges you can wait for your flight. There is complimentary wi-fi and gratis snacks, drinks and cocktails – tips the lounge staff. Most have a sweeping runway view and the folks who man the counter can help you if your flight is cancelled or delayed.   Bigger outlets have showers for international fliers.   The lounges are for super frequent fliers, the really fancy.   They also can be the best when the airport has a ton of cancelled flights.

Most airline lounges are $50 a visit or you can get an annual membership but it’s expensive. Option 1: buy a one time pass on eBay OR any actual member can bring in a guest at any time. If you watch the crowd going in and have a very sweet simple approach pleading need for free wi-fi – you can probably find someone to take you in with them

There was one flaw in my plan. I am committed to the first flight of the day. My home airport is Ohare so I can usually be in the air before 8AM which is just as well because the traffic between my house and Ohare is fairly horrible between 6A-930AM so I like to get going. I recently had a San Antonio flight that departed at 1030AM so I thought I would keep my usual early airport arrival timing and test my theory of husband hunting at the Admiral’s Club.

My theory was excellent there were very few wedding rings and all kinds of guys. I counted two shirts showing the wear was committed to Crossfit (Joke: a Vegan, an Aithiest and a Crossfit go into a bar? How do you know? Cause they tell you right away)     Plenty of silver foxes in the starched open collar shirt and blazer and lots of I-wear-really-expensive-running-shoes-at-the-airport-cause-I-am-looking-at-fifty-and-gotta-stay-in-shape-for-my-go-go-lifestyle.

 

But it’s 730AM. How the heck do you move beyond the ?   It’s like church. There’s a Catholic service on Sunday nights in Chicago in a swanky part of town that’s called the Ass Mass because it’s known a pick up place for singles. How do you get THAT done? “And also with YOU”   Same deal with the early airport – what do you say there? “Wanna get delayed?”   That’s ridiculous – I’m open to suggestions – airport lounge pick up lines go:

A Grocery Store with Three Bars

Chicago’s largest Whole Foods Market has three bars. Yep drink while you buy food.

  1. A cute little round wine bar.  On Sunday afternoon you can get a cheese flight paired with a wine flight for $25 – that would make the grocery buying for the week trip more fun.
  2. A craft beer bar on the mezzanine level overlooking the entire giant store – watch people while they buy food.
  3. A coffee bar – also with craft beers – as you arrive into the store – depending on how your day is going

 

WholeFoodsBars

It has a juice bar but I went right past that…that’s wheatgrass in the background

IMG_6428

 

That is this post in it’s entirety.  I did a bar crawl at the grocery store and went to all three one afternoon last week and it was delicious!

 

 

 

 

I Baked Black Bean Brownies

Insert 420 pot brownie jokes here.

You can get the recipe from someone named Chocolate Covered Katie here 

You put all the ingredients in a food processor – oats, agave syrup, cocoa, a little vegetable oil and a lot of black beans.  It turns into mush then you add chocolate chips and bake.

IMG_6406

It’s more like the mush turns into a dense, good mouth feel (lingo stolen from Top Chef) conduit to hold chocolate chips.   It’s not exactly a brownie but it’s really not bad.   Good uses are if you have had wine with dinner and you senses are slightly dulled or as a treat when you are being really good on the diet.

A friend said she didn’t need a brownie bad enough to turn to black beans for one but I say they are worth the try!

 

 

 

 

Why It’s Hard to Be A Skinny Meeting Planner

Breakfast for the group opens at 630AM and the buffet needs to be reviewed at 6AM and the bacon should really be test tasted.

Breakfast often includes delicious fragrant fresh made waffles (insert croissant, muffins, grits)

Even when you are being healthy and having oatmeal and cottage cheese and scrabbled eggs there’s a reason they are more delicious at a hotel than at home. That reason is butter.

You will be working in your hotel conference room turned office filled with your colleagues and a butler (yes, a butler) will enter that office and say something like “The Ritz-Carlton Worldwide Indian Chef consultant who creates and executes Indian wedding menus around the world is in the hotel today and she made these samosoas” while handing you a piping hot and delicious tray of those samosoas.

Skinny Meeting Planner

The hotel will have a new, beautiful farm to table restaurant and the chef and bar manager will come to your conference room turned office with pimento cheese snacks and a demonstration on shaken vs stirred martinis.   All that needs to be taste tested.  And shaken martinis have a slightly larger volume than stirred martinis since the ice becomes bruised and chipped and essentially melts.   Bond was fussily ordering a watered down cocktail.

 

The mini bar Kit Kat – there’s nothing mini about it.   And frankly if you are headed to bed at 1AM and call time is 5AM you deserve a kettle chip and it’s such a small bottle of Jack Daniels it’s really just to help you sleep.

 

Bloody Mary’s are simply tastier at the airport and free in First Class.

 

When at a event perhaps there was a permit or mapping or signage mistake in the planning that will now be ‘corrected on the curb”   People who set up and man what every you’ve devises as an appropriate curb correction like donuts so it’s best to have them on hand.

 

Who orders brown rice and vegetables from room service? I’ll have the bacon cheeseburger. Please tell the delivery person to refrain from telling me that I ‘look tired”

 

If you are on the run at an event the burrito at Chipotle is just easier to eat! Everyday. And of course I’ll have the chips …someone will eat them.

 

Every time you walk into someone’s office there’s an extra bag of chips from Chipotle.

 

Big staff dinners mean eating more in a group http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083736/

 

Have you had a pig in a blanket or a coconut shrimp from a hot box in a hotel back hallway during cocktail reception?   They are just better that way. Truth.

 

Wine. Starbucks. Wine. Starbucks. Cookies.

Aloha, Luau

Chicago has a Tiki Bar – it’s called Three Dots and a Dash.  It’s in a dark basement bar with fancy Polynesian themed drinks and there’s always a line because it’s super hip. Yep the made a basement bar hip with just a theme – I love  it.

Luau

I was first in line at their second annual Sunday afternoon luau and pig roast.  I’ll swim the oceans to get to some roasted for twenty four hours pork AND a real lei AND fruity rum drinks with elaborate exotic flowers and leaves as garnish?  Yes. please.

I made several ‘that looks like the necklace Greg Brady wore in Hawaii’ jokes!  As my personality turned musical with too many fruity drinks I didn’t know if I should be singing Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair from South Pacific OR Don Ho’s Tiny Bubbles!  I wondered is a luau – Hawaiian or Polynesian?

Turns out at some point in history the people from Polynesian – let’s say Tahiti – guided by stars in small boats came to Hawaii and shared their culture.  Tahiti and Hawaii are a NINE HOUR plane ride away from one another.   I get annoyed by Cubs traffic home from Ohare and in days of yore people were guided by stars in boats to share the fun of roasted pork.

Learn more about Three Dots and a Dash here