MUSHROOM coffee, oh yeah!

Just when I thought we couldn’t get any healthier. My daughter introduces me to Mushroom Coffee. Yes, you heard that right – M U S H R O O M – coffee. I immediately thought of magic mushrooms, isn’t that a drug that is illegal. I got on Google.

The Four Sigmatic site says none of the mushrooms they use are illegal. Mushroom coffee will not make you hallucinate. Phew! It’s a combination of normal coffee and mushroom powder. You’d have to go to the site to learn more specifics.

How did it taste? Light, earthy (not like mushrooms) coffee taste. Not strong, mild. Definitely did not feel like I had a caffeine buzz of any sort. Light on the stomach, not acidic.

Would I drink it again. YES, but it’s expensive for every day drinking. Still need to learn more about it. Good to try something new. I cannot drink normal coffee anymore, too acidic, gives me stomach pains. So, trying to find that NEW favorite drink… lemon water seems BORING.

If you have tried it, share your thoughts.

Chicago: Goodbye Crate & Barrel… Welcome biggest Starbucks in the world

Crate and Barrel 2Change is good, I know, but Crate & Barrel, the flag ship store, 3 stories high with all glass windows has been on Michigan Ave for 28 years. I still remember the excitement when the store first opened. All the “oohs and aahs.” Just a few years ago, we learned that Macy’s was buying Marshall Field & Co., now Crate & Barrel is gone. Please, allow me a few sniffles.

This picture will go down in the retail history books. I wanted to get the last photo of Crate & Barrel with their signage. Chuckling though, because somehow, the way I took this picture it looks like the second “leaning tower of Pisa!”

As most of you know, the papers say retail is dying, not 100%, but enough to have different store closings. This is sad, but we have to go with the times. When I look at this photo, I can absolutely see a Starbucks there. It’s a beautiful store with it’s open windows, elegant escalators and the location on Michigan Ave can’t be beat. This is prime real estate. The biggest Starbucks in the world. WOW – in Chicago!

I didn’t realize this, but Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks, said that 30 years ago Chicago was where they opened their “first” Starbucks outside of Seattle. This is sentimental, of course. So, 30 years later, Schultz is going “really big” with Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which will be a four story, 43,000 sq ft interactive coffee shop. They will roast, brew and package coffee there.

Is Amazon next? Chicago is still on Amazon’s top 20 list for a second headquarters. So, maybe, just maybe, we will have TWO heavy hitters from Seattle moving into Chicago!

Stay tuned, book your flights is all I can say! Tourists will be coming!

WayCap Ez – Raising money on Kickstarter for refillable steel coffee capsule for Nespresso® machines

Italians have done it again! Through the help of their FIRST Kickstarter campaign in April 2016, they had 3,827 backers pledge €234,407 to support the creation of their refillable steel coffee capsule, so you don’t have to use the pods. Great idea!

WayCap Ez is on their second round of funding through Kickstarter. Based on customer feedback they have been fine tuning the capsule by adding different tops that accommodate various grounds of coffee. Go to their Second Kickstarter page to see a video of how the capsule works. You can still back their second round of fundraising until May 2, 2017.

On their Facebook page, I was reading mixed product reviews from customers. Remember, WayCap Ez is still in their infancy, so I say, “Give them a chance!” Through our feedback they will keep fine tuning the capsule for better use. Inventions are never perfect the first go around. Got to give these Italians credit for coming up with a clever idea, which produces no waste, except for the coffee grounds. Oh, and the steel capsule is being made in Italy.

I’m Italian — I wish them luck!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find out how to order my capsule.  Buon appetito!



The traditional espresso machine…

imageLike a good Italian, I owned a Bialetti Moka Express that I bought in Italy. I say, “owned,” because like a good mother I gave my little espresso machine to my daughter when she went off to College.

Shopping for my new Bialetti felt like car shopping. You know what you want, but every store you go to doesn’t have the exact size, color, price, etc. It’s exhausting, but you are determined NOT to go home without the car, or in my case, the espresso machine.

My efforts were fruitless – no one had the Bialetti brand! I was frustrated and we know what happens when we get frustrated and tired.  YES, we make “wrong choices!” That is what happened to me.

I stumbled on an espresso machine called, “Forever.”  As I picked it up, every thing inside me was saying, “NO, you can’t do this!”  Keep shopping and find Bialetti, stick with Italian tradition, but laziness took over. I was done, no more shopping.


My “Forever” brand coffee maker.

In my defense, I “did” examine this Forever brand. On the outside, it appeared to “look” like the Baletti Moka Express. I unscrewed it, so I could see how it felt. I admit, it felt inferior like a “generic brand,” but I convinced myself that generic could be good and this machine was cheaper!  Why buy a Mercedes when you can just as easily get around town in a Honda, right?  It seemed so logical.

The reviews on Amazon say the “Forever” brand is fantastic! I am here to say that it has never worked 100% AND worse look at the discoloration of the coffee machine. Every time I made coffee I cringed and wondered if I was getting aluminum poisoning. Amazon says this is made in China. The Bialetti is still made in Italy.

SO….I went out and bought the Bialetti!  Why did I wait so long?  I don’t know!

I am so happy. I looked up to Heaven as the cashier was ringing me up and said, “Ok, Nonina, do you see?? I’m buying the Bialetti and I will have some biscotti in memory of you to celebrate our Italian tradition! I REALLY miss you!”

P.S. Just so you know, you NEVER use soap to clean your espresso machine. My goodness, my grandmother really yelped when I tried to clean her Moka Express with soap… she didn’t speak English, but it was clear to me from her huge eyes, quick hand movements and loud Italian voice that I was about to “ruin” the espresso machine. Phew, she stopped me in the nick of time.

P.S.S By the way, it is with sadness that I tell you that Mr. Bialetti died in February, 2016. Here is the article from the New York Times, February 20, 2016.  At the end of the article it says that his children cremated him and put his ashes in a large model of the Moka Express. It sounds like the genie in the bottle, right. Even better, if you were to rub the espresso machine, you’d be able to discuss your three wishes with Mr. Bialetti over an espresso. Brilliant plan!