I like good things. Good friends, good coffee, good vacations, good children, good teachers, good food, good spices ( I could go on and on here) and as we all know, good food and good spices go hand in hand. I didn't always know that - the first person to introduce me to 'good spices' was my fried Lori. We were in cooking group together back at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Lori is a FABULOUS cook - I wanted to be able to cook like her so I took note! Lori was sort of my cooking (and organizing) mentor while living in Kansas and even though I haven't seen Lori in years I think of her often. I thought of her last night as I cleaned and reorganized my pantry, I think of her when I make certain dishes, like Pecan Crusted Chicken with Lemon-Ginger Sauce (she taught me the way of the sauce!), and I think of her every time I use a Penzey spice. I remember the first time she showed me her spice drawer and had me smell different spices. It really is remarkable what even dried fresh spices (seems like an oxymoron) can do for a dish. When a recipe calls for basil or rosemary I always try to us fresh-fresh, not dried-fresh, but when I don't have fresh-fresh on hand Penzeys is always there for me.
Anyway - you might be asking what is so special about Penzeys spices? Penzeys carries over 250 different spices and they have farms all over the world and they package their spices and send them to their stores right after they are dried. They don't sit around losing flavor waiting to be shipped here and there. (Seriously, I don't work for them!) The other thing I love about Penzeys is that they have different size jars if you don't use something very often you can buy a mini-jar - use lots of something else, buy a full size jar - AND once your jar is empty, don't toss it - just buy a refill! (I try to do my part to help save the environment.) OK, and just one more thing I love about Penzys is that they ship to APO addresses!
For those of you that know me, you know I am a coffee snob of sorts. For some this is kind of hard to believe since I didn't even start drinking coffee until I was 30. I even remember my first cup of coffee. The scene was Las Vegas, I was sitting at a black jack table with my BFF Staci and I was TIRED!! Staci suggested that I have a cup of coffee to which I replied "YUCK!" Then she said she could fix it to where I would like it. We ordered two cups of coffee and LOTS of sugar packets from our waitress. When we received our coffee Staci doctored it up for me: 4 oz coffee + 5 sugar packets. I'm not joking. That is how I started drinking coffee. Seriously. Back in the day when I would order from Starbucks I would order a Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte, with 10 pumps of vanilla. True Story! (For those of you that don't know, the normal for that drink is 4 pumps.) So, over the years my love for coffee has grown and my taste buds have matured. I now love a French Press - straight; no milk, no sugar, no nothing. I love plain no sugar added cappuccinos and lattes & I love the process of making them all. I prefer not to drink 'drip' coffee, you lose so much in a drip - the crema is nonexistent in drip coffee and the flavor is to bitter for this girl.
About a year ago our Coffee Machine, AKA, The Beast started acting up so we had to take her in for repairs. That is when we found Texas Coffee Techs. This little out of the way place where they repair coffee machines and SO MUCH MORE! They roast beans daily, they sell coffee by the 1/2 pound or pound, and they are a little coffee shop. Their staff is extremely friendly and will give history lesson if coffee if you would like. Mallory is my favorite employee, she is very knowledgeable and she makes a MEAN French Press!
Texas Coffee Techs is a little hard to find if you don't know what you are looking for. Here are good directions on how to get there. Once you think you are there look for this little sign sitting out front.
The next time you find yourself in Austin needing a cup of Joe, head over and see the friendly folks at Texas Coffee Techs, you won't be disappointed!