Monday, March 30, 2009

Designing Kitchen

For many years now, I've been a big fan of traditional style coffee bars. Very linear designs that incorporate everything (including the kitchen sink) into them and now that it looks as though we might embark on another journey, I've been seriously thinking about them again.

Until just the other morning.

In a perfect world, you'd have cheap rent (sub $8/sq ft), lots of space (2,000+ sq ft) and the kind of volume you'd find on Main Street in Disney World's Magic Kingdom. But in the real world, you have real rent ($20+/sq ft), small spaces (600sq ft) and varying volumes. Add the downturn of the local economy and Hell has been delivered in a Hand Basket.

While sensible minds reduce their spending and shore up their defenses, the smart minds have been going to the US Congress and asking for "bailout money." And luckily for them, they've spent the last 25 years generously making campaign contributions and supporting both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Sad to say that I'm not in the "smart minds" group. Nor am I in the "sensible minds" group. Which means that I'm stuck in the ether somewhere in-between on the road to grand riches or financial ruin. Good thing I passed on that Ferrari last year...

As I was sitting around the house the other morning drinking a quite delicious french pressed Ethiopia Bonko "Black Sun" from Cafe D'Bolla and an "I am in Paris" almond croissant from Patisserie Poupon, it hit me: why am I so focused on linear coffee bars? Why? Is the linear design really that conducive to hospitality? Is that how we welcome people into our homes and our lives - by separating them with a 33" deep bar?

What I (and I think many people) enjoy is sitting around the kitchen with friends and family. Talking story, cooking, eating, drinking and even working. Kitchens are warm spaces filled with conviviality and sharing. Bars are places were creepy, cheesy guys hit on drunk women.

My home kitchen is quite spacious. It's bright and airy and tends to be the social center whenever people are gathered. The kitchen is the ideal place to welcome friends and hang out. The dining room is too formal. The living room is too detached. In the kitchen, everyone just spills out all over the place. By the stove, buy the fridge, in the breakfast nook - it's organic, it's relaxed. More importantly: it's comfortable.

Within just a fleeting moment, the question became not how to cram a linear espresso bar into the space, but rather: "how do we design and build a kitchen into a coffee environment while still meeting all of the foodservice standards and regulations imposed by the city?" Part of the reason for such a linear design is to separate the customer (public) from the work area but we want to welcome them into the work area - just as you would in your home kitchen. We want to eliminate the walls and barriers to make it open and friendly.

Oooh, it's one thing to merely design and build a great kitchen. But how does one achieve that same level of comfort and family while adhering to the regulations of the government? That's the tough proposition, and over the next few weeks, I'm going to be exploring just that conundrum.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thinking In A Vacuum

Getting close to the action.

Now that I've returned from my trip to the Pacific Northwest for the United States Barista Championship, it's back to work. Back to doing the things we do best and part of that is getting ready to push new levels of coffee service.

For the past couple of years, while the trend of American Third Wave Coffee Shops has been to embrace automated technology (a la Clover) or low tech versions of brewing methods we've been moving away from (pour over), I've been seriously pondering the implementation of the vacuum pot brewers or "syphon" as many call them.

Wildly popular in Japan, vacuum brewing is relatively unknown in America - even though the technology itself is about 100 years old. Truth be told, it's a cumbersome, messy and somewhat lengthy method of brewing coffee. Compared to Clover's push-button simplicity and the pour over ease of use, vac pots are downright lunacy in a commercial setting - I've never said I was smart.

What I like about vac pot is the drama. The theatrics. The visual stimulation of brewing coffee. It's interactive. It's entertaing. It's educational. Instead of being a button pusher or just some knob pouring water into a paper filter, the barista is working alchemy and creating magic for the customer. There's a bit of mysticism in the whole glass contraption and boiling water thing. Best of all, the flavor in the cup can be quite stellar indeed.

But there's a downside.

Achieving that miraculous cup is elusive at best. Evidently minor variations in dose, grind and stirring technique can bring a brilliant cup of coffee crashing down around you - leaving you with a customer wondering what kind of hocus-pocus you're trying to pull on them with this dreck you call coffee.

When the time came to build a new coffee experience, I knew that we had to take our concept at The Spro and push it even further. Replicating The Spro would just be boring and wouldn't push us to grow. We needed to build something new and different and while some of my friends pushed the pour over pretty hard, I knew vac pot was the way to go.

Don't get me wrong, pour overs can make some very nice coffee. But, quite frankly, it's just boring. How much of a tool does it take for some schelp to stand in front of a cone filter and pour hot water over coffee? Yes, it's to order. But is it theatrical? Is there any drama? Does it really take that much skill? Is it even exciting? Well, it was for me back in 2005 when I saw them doing it at Royal Coffee in Berkeley. But today, in 2009, as a "new" brew method? Not so much.

Listening to the pour over pundits and you'd think pour over is the Second Coming of Christ Almighty (well, now that Clover has become their Judas). For my money, I might as well go out and buy a Fetco Extractor brewer because it delivers the same thing and faster.

A variety of tests at The Spro.

Over the past few months (and especially the last couple of days), I've been testing different vac pot brew methods and I've heard the gamut of approaches. From the seriously technical who insist that the coffee must be stirred X amount of times, to the Japanese who don't really care about the number of times stirred - just that a stirring and mixing occurs. I've tasted very light, tea-like coffees and extremely heavy, over-extracted coffees. I've read lots of online resources about technique and listened to quite a few baristas waxing poetic about their methods.

Quite frankly, it's bewildering.

Instead, I've taken the old-fashioned approach. Coming up with a baseline of standards and then running test variations from there. A little more coffee, a little less coffee. A little finer grind, a little coarser grind. Stir here, stir there. Crisscross here, make an "X" there. Some were good, some were bad - some were really bad. In the end, I decided to call up a friend.

For a long time, I knew that vac pots were the way to go. I wanted the new place to offer only vac pots. Gone would be The Spro's method of French Press coffee service. I envisioned a multi-unit vac pot station with many pots brewing simultaneously to service the morning rush. It would be immense. People would line up hungry for a cup of beautifully handcrafted coffee. Angels would trumpet our arrival and women would throw themselves at my feet and tear at my shirt.

But that location and a few others fell through and we've been in a holding pattern ever since (and I have a case of new shirts waiting to be torn).

John Piquet prepares to attack.

Fast forward to the waning hours of 2008 at the end of December when I flew out to Salt Lake City to check out what John and Yiching Piquet were doing at Cafe D'Bolla. It was there that I formed a new vision for what vac pot service could be. For Cafe D'Bolla, vac pot coffee meant you sat at the syphon bar and your coffee was made to order just for you. You sat there and conversed with John about the coffee. A dialogue ensued with one of the most hardcore operators in America.

At the D'Bolla bar, your coffee was exquisitely prepared and served in estate Noritake china cups of a very specific shape, size and porcelain density. It was specific because John had spent untold years researching and testing the proper vessel to carry your coffee and deliver maximum flavor. This was thinking about coffee beyond how I thought about coffee. This guy was operating on a wholly different level.

And when I say that John is the most hardcore operator in America, I mean it. Lots of people in this "Third Wave" of coffee position themselves as being "hardcore" - only to find out that their cafes look like hell, offer commercial syrups and 20z cup sizes just like every other Tom, Dick and Harry in the coffee business.

Piquet isn't like that. He's so focused on quality in the cup that he runs the place by himself: to control quality. Sure, you can have one of the finest brewed cups in America at Cafe D'Bolla but if you're expecting to add milk and sugar, think again. This guy has gone toe-to-toe with customers over that kind of breach. Never mind that the guy with the latte can pull some sugar and cream from the condiment bar, the vac pot customer is expected to be there for the full sensory experience of the coffee.

There are times when I know my business partners (or proposed business partners) must think I'm absolutely insane. Vac pot service has got to be one of them. Why make it more difficult? Why not just go out and get a drip brewer? Or stay with what you know and have proven (french press)?

Well, why not? Are we not striving to be the best at our craft? Are we not striving to offer the highest quality? Then why would I spend $11K on a push-button automatic machine and not a similar amount on a push-button Franke super-automatic espresso machine?

We make it harder because we strive for excellence.

I'll admit though, there is something alluring about the simplicity of pour over. Just bang, bang, bang and you've got four filters filled with a slurry of coffee and water, and a few minutes later, you've got four cups of coffee walking out the door. It's nice. It's fresh. But God, is it mind-numbingly boring to do and to watch. At least when you watch a Fetco Extractor brewer there are blinking lights to entertain you.

Jay Egami rocks the bar at SCAA Minneapolis.

Rewind a bit to early December 2008 when I took a trip out to San Francisco solely for the purpose of meeting with UCC's Jay Egami and to see the vac pot bar heating system he is currently importing into the United States. It's a very sexy-looking multi-gang halogen light heating bar that can brew three or five vac pots simultaneously. Honestly, there is no vac pot heater that looks better or dazzles people more. It is true Coffee Porn. It's Coffee Sex on Cocaine. I would love to have one, but at $20,000 for the five group, one must consider ones' money market account.

Watching a true syphon barista work one of these bars (like the Japanese Syphon Champion at last years SCAA Trade Show) is simply amazing artistry. The stirring, the motions, the pouring. It's like Coffee Kabuki. It's the kind of interaction I want to bring to the next coffee experience.

At The Spro, I'm starting to get a bit fizzy with all the coffees I'm tasting. Seven tests and counting. Soon the count will escalate to eleven and beyond, but for now, I'm feeling a bit stuck. Minor variations in grind setting and dosage are yielding wildly differing results. One notch here on the Mahlkonig Kenya and that delicate balance we might have been approaching in the last test has been lost. I'm feeling wonky and decide that I need a little help.

When one thinks of Florida one doesn't think "coffee." Gainesville has more to do with Gators than Gethwumbini but not too far off the freeway is the lair of Anthony Rue and Volta Coffee. It's about 10:30 in the morning, I give Anthony a ring and he answers on the fourth ring. Hmmm, he answers his own phone, nice touch.

Of all the people I know in the coffee business, Anthony is the only one who seems to actually "get it" when it comes to bringing together coffee and cuisine. His depth and understanding of cuisine and ingredients never fails to surprise me - and he's the only one to get that As The Veneer Of Democracy Starts To Fade is from Mark Stewart.

While in Portland for the USBC, we had some great discussions about cuisine (and sometimes about coffee). One of the most interesting discussions was the grasp of baristas over how coffee goes with cuisine and, perhaps more importantly, whether or not the judges themselves understand coffee and cuisine (and how it goes together) to accurately assess a signature drink.

One of the popular routes this year with competition baristas was to discard that familiar chocolate and cardamom with coffee routine and go for something "culinary" - which typically meant identifying certain flavor components in the espresso, like blueberries, and then adding actual blueberries to some sort of infusion to boost that aspect of the flavor. Interesting? Well, it's cute. Compelling? Hardly. Challenging? Not at all.

After a few minutes of discussion (in the middle of Volta's service), I'm off and ready to blaze new trails in vac pot refinement. Armed with Volta's brewing standards in hand, I give it a try. Not bad. Actually, it's pretty darn good and the best results I've had all morning. A finer grind and restraint in stirring is yielding some tasty results. Not exactly the body and flavor I'd like to present but we're getting closer.

Brewing coffee at Blue Bottle in San Francisco.

Later, I'm on the email horn with John Piquet asking for his syphon wisdom. Again, the approach is a bit different but I'm starting to narrow down even further what and how we're going to do things: 3 cup vacuum pot, hot water from the water tower, boil, connect both halves, allow the water to rise, add coffee, stir to saturate, brew for 35 seconds, stir at the end of brew to create a vortex and pull from heat.

The testing continues over a couple of weeks and untold servings of coffee. During this period, I've reached a level of comfort where it's time to start getting customer feedback and start serving the actual brew to customers using whatever our pressed coffee of the day happens to be.

I've spent a lot of time in other peoples' coffeeshops over the years just hanging out or checking out what they do and no brew method captures the attention and minds of the average consumer like the halogen heated vacuum pot. "It's alchemy," they say. Or they might ask: "Is that a bong?" That, or an over-glorified crack pipe. But since there's no inlet hole, sucking any sort of burning substance out of it is an exercise in futility.

Whatever they might think it is, the important point is that it grabs their attention and they ask. The Spro is located in a public library where hundreds of non-coffee drinkers pass on a daily basis, but one look at the vac pot in action and they want to stop and ask questions It starts the conversation about coffee and what coffee can be.

Once they see the lights and the boiling water, they're fascinated. They get closer. They're ready to chat. From "is it a bong" we can go as deep as necessary to engage the public about coffee and what we do. For most people, coffee is something commercial and anonymous. It's something housed in a black and silver airpot. The brewing of coffee is typically hidden from view but with vac pot, it's front and center - and ready to mingle.

They ask. They prod. It looks cool. It stimulates an interest in the regular person that only the hardcore coffee geek would find in a Clover. And compare it to pour over where the customer has the great pleasure of watching a wet slurry of coffee and water slowly drip its' way into the cup below? Watching the blinking lights on a Fetco is more fun than that.

The attention garnered by the vac pot encourages engagement and generates questions. Suddenly, we've stumbled upon a way to talk enthusiastically about coffee with a segment of the population that had little interest in our product and our craft and now they can see it in a very visceral way. They can see for themselves that this method requires mastery of craft without us having to verbalize it (and thus cheapen its' meaning).

Even the simple and perhaps condemning "why?" is a question that can be used to bring the customer around. Why go to all this trouble? Why use this device? Now, we can discuss how different brewing methods diminish or heighten certain aspects of a coffee's flavor and how some coffees taste "better" with certain brewing methods. Now, we've just entered into a level of geekdom that most people would never have allowed us to engage - and all because its' the theatrics of the method that introduced us to them.

Sometimes as I sit around pondering the future of The Spro, our approach to craft and where we want the company to go into the future, I wonder if vac pot is just batty. It just looks difficult. It's difficult to master. It's quite expensive and I expect the on-going cost to be quite high as well. Worse: it could be absolute hell during the morning rush. And it's going to require a whole new way of thinking to approach vac pot brewing in a production environment.

A number of operators still use other brewing methods as their primary brew, and use the vac pot to augment their production and/or highlight "special" coffees. I like that approach and, if we took that path, would allow us to maintain our french press cup service while offering vac pot. But to my mind, that seems the easy way out for us. The goal is to find the way towards making vac pot service our primary method of cup brewing. That means it has to be efficient and as quick as we can do it without sacrificing quality while still allowing us to engage the customer in a manner that is meaningful to them.

It's still a long road towards that end but we're moving towards it everyday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fruity Pebbles Cappuccino

Fred Flintstone insisting this isn't just another faddish trend.

When I'm in town, I spend most of my days at home. Not because I'm lounging around drinking Chateau du Siroc but because I no longer have a real office somewhere else to work. Now my office is at home and I work from home. Oh, how I miss my old office for those late evening cigars while crunching numbers...

But I digress.

I'm sitting at home working a couple of weeks ago when my phone rings. It's Alex Talbot calling to check up on me and see how things are in the Land of Pleasant Living.

What are you doing? he asks.
Just doing some paperwork, what's up?
I know you've been working on a soft serve ice cream recipe but...

That's when he drops the bomb on me.

Have you seen what David [Chang] is doing?
No, why?
Look it up.

David Chang is the owner and chef of the Momofuku chain of restaurants in New York City. He's known for doing tasty and innovative foods and his pistachio soft serve ice cream is just amazing.

I pull up Google and punch in David's name and voila! I'm pissed.

I'm not mad at David. Or Alex. I'm mad at myself. For my lack of vision. For my inability to see what's been staring us in the face for the past thirty five years. I'm mad because I'm lame.

For next half an hour or so, I'm ranting about my house, cursing my existence. Why had I not been able to see this before? After eating it innumerable times?

David is making something called "cereal milk ice cream."

Just what is this cereal milk ice cream? It's milk infused with the flavor of your favorite cereal. Essentially, it's the milk left in your bowl after you've finished your cereal. It's simple. It's obvious. And I've been blind from the start.

Fast forward a few weeks, after I've recovered from the crushing blow to my food ego, and I've been playing around with how to incorporate cereal milks with coffee. Breakfast in a cup, right? It's a no-brainer.

Two weeks (or so) ago, I was at the United States Barista Championship in Portland, Oregon where they've installed a "fourth machine" for attendees and the general public to come and have a taste of great coffees roasted by some of the nations' top coffee roasting companies and prepared by the some of the nations' best baristas.

In an odd twist of events, I was asked to come and prepare coffee drinks on the fourth machine during the USBC Finals with 2004 USBC Champion Bronwen Serna. Since she's the champ and I'm not, I was relegated to steaming and pouring milk.

Quite simply, working the fourth machine is brutal. First off, you're working with a machine you're not all that familiar with and in a portable situation so you're not at your home machine and everything is just a bit out of whack. The line is at least 50 people deep and never abating - all day long. It's intense and if you screw up, the cascade effect is terrible. You've got to keep up with the flow and pace at all times unless you want to fall so far deep into the weeds that the only way to describe it is: Royally Screwed.

Most barista teams on the fourth machines offer a similar menu: espresso, macchiato, cappuccino and latte. That's it. Just those four drinks. Want something else? Sorry. Been watching all these cool signature drinks and want to try something different? Ain't gonna happen.

Which is why I was determined to offer our guests an alternative to the traditional drinks. Let them have something fun. Something interesting. Something whimsical. Fruity Pebbles Cappuccino seemed like a good idea.

It is what it sounds like, steamed milk infused with Fruity Pebbles, free poured with latte art and a sprinkling of Fruity Pebbles as a garnish. There's actually a picture of it here.

People seemed to enjoy it so I thought "why not bring it to The Spro?" Yesterday, after a couple days of testing to get the ratios correct, Fruity Pebble Cappuccino made it to the specials menu where it will run through the rest of spring.

Making the milk infusion is relatively simple, just mix milk with Fruity Pebbles in a bowl and wait. The concern is that in a production environment, how do you achieve consistent results if everyone is pouring different ratios of Fruity Pebbles to their milk? I had to develop a standard:

Fruity Pebble Milk
Yield: one half gallon

300g Fruity Pebbles
80z Whole Milk (Trickling Springs Creamery)

- Stir cereal and milk together
- Infuse and refrigerate for 20 minutes
- Strain and serve.
- Use in the same manner as regular milk

Why twenty minutes? I figured that was the average time it would take a young child to eat a normal bowl of cereal. The ratio offered by Post in their nutritional figures gave us milk that was too sweet and too powerful. It needed to be toned down with a greater ratio of milk.

Maybe in the fall we'll give the Cocoa Puff-A-Chino a try...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Can't Sleep

It's nearly 3:30 in the morning and I can't sleep.

Not because I'm an insomniac or high or drunk or pumped up on caffeine (or taurine, for that matter). I can't sleep because I'm just generally pumped up tonight. The creative juices are running full bore and I'm raring to go.

I've been sitting around writing project proposals, staff schedules, flight reservations and reviewing images from Amy Ferraris movie The Perfect Cappuccino from which I'm trying to glean design ideas from the Italian cafes featured in her movie.

My mind is racing and I can't keep up with it. So much is occupying my thoughts but I can't jot them all down.

I'm wondering just what time I'll wind down and get some sleep. I've got a bunch of meetings starting in the morning.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Buying Books at the Library

One of the great advantages of having an espresso bar located inside a library is the incredible amount of resources just a few steps away. Need to research current law or look up words in Croatian? They've got the texts. Maybe the plumbing has been getting wonky and you need to know how to re-plumb the espresso machine? No problem. Getting sued for inappropriate conduct and need to work up a defense? Check that too.

The best part for is the library's sizable collection of food-related books and cookbooks. Need to reference Diana Kennedy? She's in there. Want to peruse Robouchon? He's hanging out in aisle nine. From the simple (Rachael Ray) to the fancy (Jacques Pepin) to the classic (Julia Child) to the mundane (Padma Lakshmi), the library has got it.

Even when I need to reference some of my own cherished tomes, like Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook or Grant Achatz's Alinea, they've got those too.

But, every once in a while, the library goes through its' collection and weeds out the books that aren't circulating enough. And while this can be a boon to the collector, it also means that my reference material is constantly at some level of jeopardy. To combat this, I routinely check out and return my favorite tomes just to keep them circulating and off the chopping block.

Then there's days like today when the library has gone through its' stacks, chopped a number of books, withdrawn them from the collection and put them up for public sale. Hopefully I'm there to swoop in on the deals and just go crazy. Good thing I scheduled myself to close and was able to obtain the following:

In Pursuit of Flavor - Edna Lewis
I Love Crab Cakes! - Tom Douglas
Burgers - Rebecca Bent
Cooking with Faith - Faith Ford
Uncle Bubba's Savannah Seafood - Earl "Bubba" Hiers
Cheese, Glorious Cheese! - Paula Lambert
In a Vermont Kitchen - Lyon & Andreen
A Great American Cook - Jonathan Waxman
The New American Cooking - Joan Nathan
Liquid Mexico - Youman & Estep
Race Day Grub - Angela Skinner
The Palm Restaurant Cookbook - Legere Binns
The Perfect Recipe - Pam Anderson
American Home Cooking - Cheryl & Bill Jamison
Cooking One On One - John Ash
Rosa's New Mexican Table - Robert Santibanez
Emeril's Delmonico - Emeril Lagasse
The New California Cook - Diane Worthington

While perhaps not all of them are classic tomes like The French Laundry Cookbook, there's definitely some solid cookery going on in a number of them. I'm especially looking forward to reading more Edna Lewis and Jonathan Waxman.

Friends often ask me why I have such a large collection of books. How can I possibly cook my way through all of them. Truth be told, I hardly cook the recipes in any of them. I use the books as springboards for ideas and utilize their thoughts to help shape my own. There's lots to learn about flavors from any of these books - even the ones that seem quite pedestrian (like Race Day Grub) offer insight in the flavor palates of the average consumer who, in turn, tend to be our largest clientele base. The quest lies in how to offer top quality and interesting ingredients to these people without completely jumping the shark in terms of their palates.

And all of those books for merely eighteen dollars...

I'll report later as I discover more.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Lobster and the USBC

It's way late at night here in Portland and I'm still awake after partying at the American Barista and Coffee School, dinner with Eton Tsuno and a drink with Duane, Aleco and Kyle from Stumptown, Drew from Ecco Caffe and Sarah from Barista Magazine. Tomorrow is my time to perform at the USBC (that's United States Barista Championship, not United States Bowling Congress) and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to do.

I have decided one thing: it's gonna be lobster all the way.

Lobster. Homarus Americanus. North Atlantic cold lobster, a.k.a. Maine Lobster. I spent Wednesday afternoon in Glenn and Beta's kitchen cooking it all up. Celeriac base and cold-infused lobster cream. It takes 48 hours to make this drink correctly and it's still evolving.

Tuesday afternoon, my first stop from the airport was The Meadow where I spied on the Taha'a Vanilla Salt. I'll take a vial of that, please. Add a bar of Askinosie San Jose Del Tambo White Chocolate and I'm good to go.

This morning, I made a jaunt out the New Seasons Market in Concordia because I heard they had a stash of fresh Oregon Black Truffles. Grabbed a couple of knobs.

All of this will go together in a drink that is basically the craziest, most off-kilter drink I've ever developed. It's wild. It's weird. It's intriguing. It's complex and confusing. It, without a doubt, pushes the limits of what we think goes with coffee: the balance between the lobster and coffee is compelling with the white chocolate subtly smoothening out the blend, but is it "good"? Is it "delicious"?

I don't know if even I can say that it's "delicious".

Oddly compelling, yes - but delicious?

Hmmm, that's a tough one.

The drink is meant to be an amuse bouche to a larger body of work. A larger tasting menu that will someday hit The Spro. It's a drink that announces that this isn't going to be your typical coffee with chocolate, cardamom, sugar and cream kind of experience. It's gonna be different. It's going to push, prod and challenge you and your preconceptions about coffee and how it fits in the world. The judges are gonna taste it and may not know how to react. It's distinctly savory with a cloying sweetness undercurrent. Shocking? Perhaps. Appalling? Maybe...

Whatever the case may be, it's going to be celeriac, lobster and coffee with chopped cold lobster tail meat and garnished with freshly grated Oregon Black Truffles. Come down to the Oregon Convention Center and maybe taste it yourself, or tune into and check out the live feed. I'm scheduled to go on around 4pm Pacific Daylight Time.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Musique de USBC

Once again, the United States Barista Championship is upon us. On Tuesday, I'll fly to Portland to compete in what may be my last barista competition. I've got some fun things in mind for my presentation Friday afternoon and I thought I would share my playlist for Friday. The final mix uses tracks or elements from the music listed below. I'll let you guess what made it into the final mix and maybe I'll even post an mp3 of it later. But for now, chew on this:

Genius of Love - Tom Tom Club
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
Im Nin'Alu - Ofra Haza
Cities In Dust - Siouxsie and the Banshees
Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless) - Crystal Waters
I Know You Got Soul - Eric B. and Rakim
L'Autre Valse D'Amelie - Yann Tiersen
Electric Kingdom - Twilight 22
Break Dance - Electric Boogie - West Street Mob
Still D.R.E. - Dr. Dre
World Destruction - Time Zone
Fuck The Police - N.W.A.
Age Of Consent - New Order
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Life Is Life - Laibach
A Deadly Catch - Paul Hepker
Heroes Theme - Wendy and Lisa
Paid In Full - Eric B. and Rakim
Set Adrift On Memory Bliss - P.M. Dawn