Thursday, June 25, 2009

project hampden: Something's Afoot at Spro

The new Compak grinders await their vetting while our old standbys wait in the distance.

Here's a quick sneak peek at some of the new equipment that's slated for project hampden. As some of you already know, in spite of the fact I've been using Mazzer grinders for over five years, I'm a big fan of Compak grinders from Spain. Our 2006 K10 has been grinding it out for over three years with no problems making beautiful coffee. How could I not continue the flow?

Featured here are the new Compak R80 bulk grinder, Compak K10 WBC espresso grinder and the only one in America prototype K10 WBC Doserless Timer Grinder. And if it looks strangely familiar and you think you've seen this grinder before, that's because you have seen it before.

New Sunglasses at Cabela's

On the way home, I decided to swing by Cabela's again. One hour on Tuesday wasn't enough. The store is immense. Shock and Awe.

As I approached the behemoth, I spotted a tractor trailer pulling up alongside the building. Dwarfed, actually. And I wondered: How many trailers does it take to stock this store??? Inside, it reminded me of a casino. A very large casino. Anything and everything outdoors can be found inside. Amazing. The prices were good too.

Even their camping section had a nice array of kitchen equipment, like the stainless steel butcher's saw, or the rebadged Excalibur dehydrator, or the sausage stuffers or monolithic meat grinders for $400. Tre cool. With my paid off Visa card in hand, I marched up to the cash register.

And bought a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that had broken earlier today.

Tending The Bar-Bee-Que

Getting jiggy with pork barbecue at the Fiesta Filipiniana in Towson.

Barbecue in the Philippines has a completely different meaning than BBQ in the United States. Traditional Filipino-style barbecue is typically chicken or pork cubes marinated in a secret sauce, poked onto bamboo skewers and then grilled for caramel perfection. Like American BBQ, the recipes are murderous secrets and the rivalry between camps is heated, fierce and blood-letting.

I guess when it comes to blood-letting, they figure that I'm the ideal person to get caught in the crossfire.

This week, while not spending my brain facilities focusing at the Mid-Atlantic Barista Jam, I'm occupying my mind with thoughts of Philippine Barbecue and standardizing them for a winner-takes-all battle on August 1st.

Somewhere along the way, certain people heard that I am now a certified BBQ judge by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and figured that I must be the right guy to write the standards for a Philippine-Style BBQ Competition. Great. One wrong move and some angered Filipino guy is going to come after me with a bolo knife. Yes, good deal indeed. At least I'm from Baltimore: The City That Bleeds, so I know how to handle things.

Developing standards for the competition is not without its' trials. BBQ is intensely personal and passionate. The recipes are guarded secrets prepared in seclusion and darkness. Recipes will be open for interpretation but the flavors should include a level of sweetness balanced by savoriness with hints of garlic and soy, I think. Categories will be: pork and chicken and they must be mounted on wood skewers.

So, if you're a bbq chef that thinks he/she has the chops to win the title of Filipino BBQ Champion, then get your stuff ready because on August 1st - it's on!

You can contact me directly for entry details and a complete copy of the rules and regulations.