The Espresso Machine for Your Car: Handpresso Auto


Mornings suck. What’s worse than waking up early in the morning last minute and realizing that you either didn’t set the coffee maker or don’t have time to make any? Stopping for some java on the way to work may run you the risk of arriving late, while going without it runs the risk of being a cranky curmudgeon. Well, what if I told you that instead, you could brew a nice jolt of caffeine right in your car? That’s right, Handpresso crafted an industrial-esque espresso machine that plugs into your 12-volt carjack and fits in your cup holder (with the power cord wrapped around the machine with a compartment even for the plug). Handpresso claims in 3 minutes, you can brew a fresh cup of espresso right in the comfort of your car. They sent us a machine to test and it’s my caffeinated pleasure to bring you the results.

The Handpresso Auto is designed in a way that looks like it was part of a jet engine and belongs in the newest sport version of your next Ferrari. It looks luxurious while also durable and easy to handle. I did not realize there were so many European languages until I got the manual for the machine, but luckily the device operates off of a few easy steps and you can follow along a numbered diagram. After plugging in the machine, you pour water into the reservoir until the last clear dot is darkened. Then, you place an E.S.E. Espresso pod on top of the spring-loaded platform and screw on the top of the machine. Next, simply press the power button and let it loudly work its pressurized magic. Once the machine beeps, you are free to invert the machine over your cup and press the coffee button. Once poured to your liking, press the “stop” button and enjoy.

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Neelys Divorced Food Network

Plate It or Hate It: Fall 2014

Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating…

Hate it: Overpriced Food & Drink Festivals

We LOVE that Oktoberfest is sweeping the nation, bacon festivals are occurring on the east coast, and people are excited to experience food. However, some of these prices are ridiculous. For instance, the Philly fest is asking $25 for general admission and THREE samples. C’mon now!

Plate it: Whiskey Wedge

The makers of corkcicle bring us a new and improved way to drink our whiskey without diluting the drink. Review to come!

Hate it: Christmas-Themed Food in OCTOBER

Peppermint Mocha Liquid (seasonal)

Somehow gingerbread flavored creamer ended up in my fridge. We’ve seen candy canes and chocolate oranges in the grocery stores. Apparently the supermarkets and the food corps want to push Christmas on us already. Well… we are not ready. Put the holiday foods/drinks/scents away! At least let us get through Halloween!

Plate it: BOOK IT! Alumni Program

Join the Alumni Program

Remember those buttons we would get in school with the purpose of filling it with stickers to earn your personal pan pizza? As we realize the Book It! program is 30 years old, we all realize that we’re not as young as we think we are. Now you can re-enroll online as an alumni and get a free pizza!. Nostalgia awaits you.

Plate It? The Olive Garden Foodie Strikes Again

Grand Forks Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty is seen in an undated portrait. Hagerty, a North Dakota newspaper columnist, focuses on local food and...

Merilyn Hagerty strikes again as she reviews Applebee’s and their ground breaking Oriental Chicken Salad. While “lunching” with a friend, she helps us determine whether or not to go with the half or full size salad, and “regular customers know how to order two full sized entrees and one appetizer to share.” While insulting at one level, it’s pretty damn hilarious on another. We give the woman credit for getting by on these pieces. The publication – not so sure.

Hate It: The Neelys are Getting Divorced?!

Neelys Divorced Food Network

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?!?! Love is officially dead. Bye forever, everyone. (Image credit: internet ruiner of dreams,

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Pumpkin Spice M&Ms Flavor Taste Test

Just Give In: A Pumpkin Spice M&Ms Review

Pumpkin Spice M&Ms Flavor Taste Test

So, the internet has collectively decided that liking pumpkin and pumpkin spiced flavored things makes you a basic white girl. There have been many online thought (well, “thought”) pieces written about this, including one fairly accurate Buzzfeed list. If you’re really interested in the history of being basic, the truth is that everyone has taken a phrase coined a few years ago and twisted it into something completely different meaning ordinary/boring. New York Mag has a pretty good piece on it, and over on The Awl they have an interesting 2013 read about the fetishization of pumpkin and pumpkin flavor. If you’re interested into delving into this weirdly specific trend/topic.

Anyway, whatever. If liking pumpkin shit and football and boots makes me basic, then basic it is. Pumpkin is delicious, football is an amazing justification for day drinking, and boots keep your feet warm and dry.

All that being said, what up with all the pumpkin-flavored stuff in stores these days! It’s getting borderline ridiculous. Apparently these limited-edition Pumpkin Spice M&Ms debuted last year, but I never experienced them in-person until this year, the year of our lord 2014. SUPPOSEDLY there are also Pumpkin Spice Oreos out there now, but I have yet to see them in stores them despite a semi-intense search at Target last week. But let’s rewind a sec to the M&Ms.

I was in said Target purchasing my new Crock Pot (one more step in my quest to be the most basic white girl in the fall, I guess) when a garish display of seasonal M&Ms caught my eye. Nestled among the Halloween-themed regular flavors were Pumpkin Spice and White Chocolate Candy Corn varieties. Clearly the powers above were sending me a message, and that message was: you must sacrifice your pre-vacation crash diet and sense of pride. You must taste test these cheap, bandwagon-y limited edition candies.

I decided to save the candy corn flavor for a later unfortunate date, but purchased the pumpkin spice kind and tore into them in the car ride home (obv, why would I delay this flavor experience longer than necessary?) To the disappointment of my friend and myself, they were barely pumpkin-tasting at all. If anything, I would describe these M&Ms as “Mexican chocolate,” that is, regular milk chocolate infused with a tiny bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and generic “spice.”

When I got home, I introduced them to Rob in a BLIND TASTE TEST and he thought I was just feeding him regular milk chocolate M&Ms. Another failure.

But… something strange started to happen. The longer the weekend went on, the more we snacked on these little nuggets of dubious seasonality. And the more we snacked on them, the more we liked them. Soon we were saying things like “You know, maybe I CAN taste the pumpkin spice” and “Well, I actually really like these, they taste like fall” until we were full-on making conversation with each other about how we might be borderline addicted to Pumpkin Spice M&Ms.

What does this all mean? I suppose if the summary of my review is “They don’t taste that great at first, but just keep eating them and eventually you’ll think you can taste the difference, start to like them, and eat way more than you meant to in one sitting” that might not be high praise. But, this is kind of how I feel about pumpkin spice and fall in general. You resist at first, you think you’re better than it, but you’re not. Just give in.

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Organic India Moringa Tea

It's a Moringa Miracle!

Organic India Moringa Tea

Pomegranate, acai, chia… the list of trendy superfoods goes on and on. I”m a fan of anything that tastes good and is exceptionally good for you, but sometimes it can get a little old.

But I”d like to think I”m on the cutting edge of the next superfood/miracle ingredient, and I would like to introduce it to you before the big brands get ahold of it and you”re sick of hearing about it. I”m talking about Moringa.

I first discovered the existence of Moringa at my favorite juice/smoothie place, Juiceland, in the beginning of the year. (Um, also, Juiceland just opened a Brooklyn outpost, so all my NY readers/friends, go check them out! SO good.)

Anyway, a quick google search shows they debuted Morniga on their menu last fall. This is the sign that caught my eye. 17 times the calcium of milk, 15 times the potassium of bananas, 9 times the calcium of yogurt, 25 times the iron of spinach… what the F is this stuff?!

Well, according to the only news source most Americans (including myself) know how to use, Morniga is actually a tree native to Africa and Asia. Most of best online casino it is edible for humans, including its leaves. That”s where we”re getting all these nutrients from for the Moringa supplements.

Obviously I wanted to reap the benefits of Moringa and see if I immediately felt like a superhuman, so once I read about it, I got some in my smoothie. And have continued to throughout the year. I don”t know if I”m infinitely more healthy, but hey. Can”t hurt, right?

Not into smoothies or straight-up supplements? You can find Morniga in tea form now. Organic India recently sent me some Moringa tea to test out. I really like them! The tea is very calming. Maybe it”s kind of a mental thing, like I know I”m drinking something really good for me, so I feel peaceful and virtuous. I”m not sure, but I know that I like it.

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Coffer Carbonated Coffee Austin

Carbonated Cold Brew Coffee is Here, and it’s Delicious

Coffer Carbonated Coffee Austin

Calling all caffeine addicts. Everyone knows that iced coffee and cold-brewed coffee are clutch in these hot summer months, and now there’s a new cold brew in town (literally, it was created in my town of Austin). I’m talking about Coffer, the first ever cold brew that is also naturally carbonated. I scored an invite to their preview party at Houndstooth here in downtown Austin and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect – this was either going to be really good, or really bizarre. Since I love both (a) coffee and (b) bubbly/carbonated beverages, I had high hopes.

Worst case scenario, it could taste like weird coffee-flavored soda, but to my relief it was a best-case scenario… it reminded me of a super-delicious stout. A bit bubbly, a bit sweet, and obviously very coffee-tasting, without being overpowering or bitter at all. I can definitely see myself sipping this as an afternoon pick-me-up. And in case anyone was wondering, yes it may look like a beer, being housed in a brown glass bottle and all, but Coffer is non-alcoholic.

Although, as the Coffer folks were happy to demonstrate, it tastes GREAT with bourbon. They had a set-up with Makers Mark to prove their point. I obviously took full advantage of that opportunity. Yum. If you want to try Coffer for yourself, check out up-to-date info on where to purchase here. Right now they’re only available in Texas, but they’re hoping to be available nationwide ASAP.

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Odd Duck Pork Banh Mi Buns

Food Porn of the Day: The Porkiest Belly

Odd Duck Pork Banh Mi Buns

Pork belly is definitely a thing these days. So much of a thing that I’m almost… dare I say… over it. (Gasp!) Every menu in Austin, and probably in the country, is full of the stuff. It takes a veeeery special pork belly to catch my eye these days. All that being said, the pork belly at Odd Duck in Austin does it. “It” being “catches my eye and makes me care about pig again.”

The above is Odd Duck’s pork belly banh mi buns, which I devoured at lunch a week-ish ago. The meat is perfectly prepared and intensely flavorful. Chewy, yet somehow also melts in your mouth. By the way, next time you’re in Austin? Go to Odd Duck. You won’t regret it.

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Daily Greens Cold-Pressed Juice

The Juice is Loose… Cold-Pressed Juice, That is

Daily Greens Cold-Pressed Juice

We’ve all seen the hype around juicing, juice cleanses, juice fasts, etc. I feel like there’s an abundance of high-end cold-pressed juices at Whole Foods and whatnot… $7+ for a juice? Is it worth it? What makes some juices better than others? Is this really better for me than just eating some fruits and vegetables? What IS cold-pressed? So many questions, so few answers.

Serendipitously, Austin-based Daily Greens reached out to me at the beginning of the summer and offered me a sample box of their juices and I couldn’t say no. It was time to see what all the fuss was about. It was time to taste the rainbow.

So, what makes a cold-pressed juice superior to its classic counterparts? I’ll take it straight from the mouth of the Daily Greens website:

High Pressure Processing (“HPP”), otherwise known as pascalization, uses high pressure instead of heat to inhibit microflora growth in fresh food and therefore naturally extend its shelf life. Unlike pasteurization, pascalization is an external process; the raw product itself is never touched. Our pressurizing method uses evenly distributed pressure of cool water to destroy any harmful bacteria, such as Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, lactic acid bacteria, yeast and mold, thereby making it safe for public consumption.

Because of the chilled temperature at which the juice is treated, alongside the minimal impact that pressure has on the structure of the components responsible for nutrition and flavor, the juice remains raw and the nutrients and taste remain the same.

My takeaway from all this: more nutrients! Closer to the structure of the original produce! Tons of greens and fruit! I can get behind that.

I think some people are weirded out by the idea of juicing vegetables. While I love most vegetables, there are certain things I can’t get behind. For example… I really, really, do not like celery. Does juiced celery taste any better? I mean, not by itself, no. But when combined with other, pleasurable flavors, it becomes a lot more palatable. As far as kale, spinach, and most other greens… those have a pretty mild flavor.

Case in point about the taste of these cold-pressed wonders: my very favorite flavor of Daily Greens was their “Renew,” made with mint, spinach, cucumber, watermelon, dandelion (!), pineapple, celery, and lime. Yes, celery was in this one but it was still delicious and very refreshing! Of course if you put watermelon and pineapple in anything, I’m probably going to be a fan. (Other recommended flavors from yours truly? The “Elevate” and “Rejuvenate.”) Anyway, all of these green juices really did make me feel energized, fresh, and light – versus a glass of your average fruit juice, which is tasty but sugary and not at all filling. (I will always have a soft spot in my heart for POG but I know it’s really not great for me… sigh.)

Let’s get one thing straight, though: I won’t ever be one of those people who regularly goes on juice fasts. I think health juices are a great way to supplement your diet and get some extra nutrients in, and a couple times I had a Daily Greens for lunch when I was having a hectic day at work. But I think they’re best enjoyed as part of a rounded, healthy nutritional routine. And Daily Greens seems to agree – they do offer a juice cleanse program but it’s only for 3-4 days AND, most importantly, they also encourage eating as many raw fruits & vegetables during the detox so you still feel full. So I think I could manage that! They also make sure to say “We do not believe in “crash” juice cleanses in which only juice is consumed for days on end, as these types of diets can result in many negative side effects” – good for you, Daily Greens friends.

After my big taste test, I do think there IS a big benefit to cold-pressed juice. More nutrients, tons of flavor, super fresh… it might cost a bit more but I think the perks are worth it. I’m definitely going to try to add more green juices into my diet. Even some celery! When it’s mixed with watermelon, at least.

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