Top 10 Foodie Gifts

Ah yes, Christmastime is here. Christmas music is playing at every department store in the nation, fathers and husbands are crankily rushing around to strings of lights, Christmas trees, and other gadgets that are used for one month out of the year, and yes- – we are all searching for gifts to please those special people in our lives. There are so many things to choose from. But what about for those of us who love food the most? What are you going to get them? A fruit of the month club? Another cookbook that will sit on the shelve to collect dust? NO! How about something that is different/unique but also enjoyable? Well, we’re here to help. Here are our 2014 suggestions:

First Nibs: Chocolate Subscription

10. Raaka Chocolate Subscription

Raaka now offers a subscription service that offers two limited edition bars and one of their “classics” sent directly to your doorstep. The limited edition bars are only available through subscription. We were in Bryant Park and got a chance to sample their Pinot Noir Salt and Pink Peppercorn bar which was very tasty. A neat idea for any chocolate lovers out there who also appreciate a twist on some original flavors.

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9. The Original Bacon Kit

If you don’t like bacon, you most likely hate America as well. This kit would be fun for ANYONE to try out themselves and pride themselves on serving their own bacon on Sunday morning.

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8. Handpresso Auto

You already know how I feel about this product. If you have an espresso lover in your life, I guarantee they will enjoy this. Fresh espresso in your car – what else is there to say? I mean, other than the fact that it also ensures your car will always be smelling like Starbucks!

7. Spiegelau Craft Beer Tasting Kit

Spiegelau is known for their high quality glass and practical designs, enhancing the flavors of the beverage poured into the glass. We’ve already tried the IPA, Stein, and Stout glass, but this kit gives the beer lover a glass to drink each beer they have in their fridge. I’ve been doing some in depth testing of the kit that Spiegelau sent us and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the way each glass enhances the aroma, flavor, and sometimes carbonation of the beer. If you know someone who loves beer, invest in two of these kits as a gift – they need to have enough glasses to share with you!

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The Espresso Machine for Your Car: Handpresso Auto

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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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Coffee Gone Wild! Top Ten Ways to Use Coffee

Need I remind you of the importance of this day? It’s National Coffee Day! Hopefully by now you earned that first of several free coffees today and are ready for more.

We perused the ES vault and found our favorite recipes that include coffee. There are cocktails for any time of day, sweet treats, and even some savory ideas. Only one recipe does not actually include coffee, but it was hard to leave out a coffee cake. Lastly, props to our trusty ES friend Baker’s Royale for contributing to the list! Here they are (in no specific order):

Caramel Clover

10. Caramel Clover

Jameson, Bailey’s, caramel, espresso. BOOM. Make it hot in the cold months and iced in the warm months.

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9. Irish Cake Bombs

Little truffle-like cakes that pack a punch. The cake bombs offer a sweet balance between the bitter flavors of Guinness and coffee with the sweetness of a chocolate cake. Yum.

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8. Serious Irish Coffee

No worries, you can make this cocktail in a glass that isn’t as fancy as this. BUT, what doesn’t sound good about rich, roasted espresso with sweet and warming whiskey?

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7. Coffee Macaroons

Macaroons always seemed boring to me. What’s so special? But, now that these include coffee, I may be a bit more open minded about these tiny .baked goods.

Pinnacle® Coffee King

6. Coffee King

Not REAL coffee, but the booze that takes like coffee mixed with cake flavored vodka. I’d give it a try.

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5. Cocoa Crumble Ricotta Cake

Yeah, yeah, yeah – it doesn’t necessarily have coffee IN it, but it does have the WORD coffee in it. So get over it. I mean, look at it – you can see the creamy, moist layers of the cake. I’m sold.

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4. Coffee Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Enough said.

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3. BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Coffee adds an incredibly complex layer of flavor to meats. Add it to sweet BBQ sauce and now the sauce and the pork become rich and extra savory.

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2. BEER: Stone Xocoveca Mocha Stout

My favorite Stone collaboration so far. Coffee, chocolate, cinnamon and pepper creates a surprisingly delicious drink! Oh yeah, and it’s in the form of beer.

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1. Affogato

My favorite dessert. Ice cream topped with espresso makes me salivate just a bit. While this recipe is for the holiday season, you can also make it with some simple vanilla ice cream and espresso.

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ES Guide to National Coffee Day

Listen up! National Coffee Day is coming up on Monday 9/29 – do YOU know where you’re getting your free cup of Joe? You need to create a plan of action for the day. Unless you live in the boonies, there’s enough coffee chains to fund your day of free coffee goodness. Many of the chains don’t require a coupon or anything – those are the key stops. Check out the list below and start your plan now. Links provide the deets for each deal. Caffeinate early and often. IF we missed any – let us know!

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Dunkin Donuts:  Free Medium Dark Roast (then .99 Medium Dark Roasts from 9/30-10/5) (you may have to download the app)

 
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Krispy KremeFREE 12 oz. Cup of Coffee

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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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Endless Booze: Adult Chocolate Milk

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I know grown men that will still order a chocolate milk out at a restaurant or diner. So why not? Unless you don’t like chocolate (and hate America), you should be thrilled to hear of adult chocolate milk. My sister’s boyfriend brought it to us as we celebrated the Fourth of July and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I can’t really tell you what it’s made of…since the label doesn’t say much at all. The only thing I can tell you is that it was chocolatey with a slight hint of booze and it goes with many mixers and other alcohols. The overall consensus was that a shot of it tastes like an alcoholic Tootsie Roll.

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Cocktail O'Clock: Serious Irish Coffee

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Well, if this whole winter this is just going to refuse to stop, we might as well embrace it, and keep on pouring those hot cocktails.

This recipe kicks Irish coffee up a notch, using illy espresso lightly sweetened with raw sugar, gently stirred into warm whiskey, finished with lightly whipped cream and a dash of cocoa powder.

Serious Irish Coffee

illy espresso
Irish whisky
Granulated sugar
Heavy cream
Coffee beans
Cocoa beans
Cocoa powder

1. In a small steaming pitcher, add 1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey.

2. Add 2 tsp granulated sugar.

3. Heat the whiskey and sugar for a few seconds using the A wide variety of online casino games offer online progressive jackpots including Roulette, Draw Poker and Slots . steam wand on the espresso machine. Pour into serving glass.

4. Prepare 2 oz espresso and add to serving glass. Gently stir.

5. In a small bowl or mixing cup add 2 oz heavy cream. Lightly whip so that it is still a liquid.

6. Starting at the edge of the glass slowly pour/float 2oz heavy cream on top of the coffee.

7. Garnish with two coffee beans and a dusting of cocoa powder.

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