How to Brew a Chemex the Cartel Coffee Way

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

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Zaida Dedolph
Jenny Vaughn adds coffee to the Chemex.

A Chemex is a way of brewing coffee that is one part art, one part science, two parts swank. The hand-blown glass brewer was invented in the early 1940s by a chemist who wanted to create a method for making coffee that was both sleek and effective. At first glance, you might think this was a flower vase.

But the Chemex's thick paper filter and Jessica Rabbit-esque figure are designed to brew a clean, articulate cup of coffee. In recent years, specialty coffee folk have rediscovered this beautiful brewer. Its functional beauty has allowed it to stand the test of time; it serves as a visual representation of transparency and cleanliness of both cafe and coffee.

Bonus story: legend has it that Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, the likely mad scientist slash total baller who invented the device, drove a Cadillac with a little gold Chemex hood ornament.


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Help Wanted: Phoenix New Times Freelance Restaurant Critic

Categories: Chow Bella

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zazzle.com
Phoenix New Times has an immediate opening for a freelance restaurant critic.

We are looking for a journalist who has a sophisticated understanding of food
and the skill to write about it in an engaging way. Ideal candidates will have a solid culinary background, either self-taught or through professional kitchen experience or education.

The person we hire will also contribute to our award-winning food blog, Chow Bella.


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Nom de Plume Ain't Afraid-a No Ghost (Roast)

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

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Zaida Dedolph
Nom de Plume's current single origin offerings.

Don't worry: No actual ghosts are harmed in the process of "ghost roasting." The term refers to Nom de Plume Roasters' low-overhead business model. Rather than making the (cough, cough, crazy expensive) choice to open their own roasting operation, NdP rents roasting time from other local facilities. Most recently, they've been firing up their own selections at Press Coffee's Roastery.

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The Reservations-Only Trend Hits Phoenix, and We're Not Happy About It

Categories: Chow Bella

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Evie Carpenter
Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour has one of Phoenix's most notorious "reservations-only" policies.

A few weeks ago, I figured I'd sneak into Bitter & Twisted, one of Phoenix's newest upscale bars, to eat and drink for a Happy Hour Report Card before the dinner rush hit. At about 4:30 p.m. on a Thursday, I walked in to find a mostly empty restaurant and a rather dismissive-looking waitstaff.

"Do you have a reservation?" I was promptly asked by the hostess.

"No, I'm just here for happy hour."

"I'm sorry, but you have to have a reservation."

After a short discussion, I realized that I wasn't even allowed to sit at the bar. I was turned away from the restaurant that day and I have no plans to return. If they didn't want me eating there without a reservation that day -- with empty tables mocking me -- then I surely don't want to make a reservation to eat there another day.

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Roots: Cooking with Cactus and Connecting to Family

Categories: Chow Bella

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Natalie Miranda
Cooking with nopales connects one young Mexican-American to her roots.
They call me a whitewashed Mexican.

I'm a third­-generation Latina, and more traditional Mexican- Americans call me whitewashed because, according to them, I act more white than I act Mexican.

True, I don't know much Spanish. The Spanish I do know is from my required language courses in college. I never got chased around and hit with chanclas. (Chanclas are sandals in Spanish, and every Mexican­American cringes at the sight of their mom or grandma reaching for their chanclas.) I can't stand banda music. I went to sleepovers with my friends when I was little, although most Mexican moms are overprotective and don't allow their children to sleep over at friends' houses. Unlike more traditional Mexican-­Americans, I don't have a strong need to live on the same block with my family, which is why it was easy for me to pick up and move out of state for college.

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Nopales for the Masses: A Mission to Bring Cactus to Valley Diners

Categories: Chow Bella

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Natalie Miranda
Cactus paddles are healthy and good for the environment -- why haven't they caught on as the next superfood?
Monika Woolsey is on a mission to get Phoenicians to eat more cactus. As the proprietor of Hip Veggies, a business in the process of becoming a nonprofit, she is Arizona's most vocal nopales advocate, making it her goal to introduce people from all walks of life to the cactus food and reintroducing some Latinos and Native Americans to a food linked to their cultural histories.

If you've lived in Metro Phoenix for any amount of time, chances are good that you've seen nopales. They're the flat pads on the prickly pear cactus, a fixture in the desert landscape -- but unlike kale and other superfoods, they rarely are seen on menus or advertised in grocery stores. The fruit of the same cactus, the prickly pear ("tuna" in Spanish) is commonly used in desserts and drinks.

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Flour Power: Phoenix Emerges as a New Capital of Artisan Bread-Making

Categories: Chow Bella

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Evie Carpenter
In a world of gluten-intolerance, is bread toast?
Since man first learned to harness the power of fire, humans have been using it to cook food. It started with an ostentatious show of roasting whole animals over an open flame -- an unabashed demonstration of how humans now possessed power over both nature and the rest of the animal kingdom.

As we developed increasingly complex cultures, we sought more sophisticated ways of using fire to make food.

We began to bake.

Unlike cooking meat over fire or boiling plants in a pot, baking constitutes a transformation of nature into an entirely new form, something good to eat -- bread. Ever since the advent of the art, baking has remained a fundamental skill in cultures around the world.

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How to Order Coffee Without Sounding Like a Tool

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

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Zaida Dedolph
Cortado? Macchiato? Learning the language can be a huge barrier to new coffee drinkers.

I worked in the specialty coffee world for almost a decade before retiring to the blogosphere. If there's one thing I learned during that time, it's that there is a massive language barrier between cafes and coffee drinkers. As with any other industry, coffee comes with its own vocabulary of terms -- many of which have been modified or mangled as the industry itself has changed. Here's a brief introduction for the bewildered.

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5 Things I Will Never Eat or Drink Again

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[puamelia] via Flickr
For every year that my palate matures, two more bad experiences come to my plate. Though most of us would not claim to be picky eaters, we have to admit we've all suffered some form of culinary trauma. Like any sour encounter of my life, my best is not to forgive but to forget. But until I reach the ripe old age where my taste buds and sense of smell start to diminish, these five foods (and drinks) will remain on my black list.


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I Drank Something Called "Dank-Dank" at Songbird Coffee and It Was Even Awesomer Than It Sounds

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind


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Zaida Dedolph
The Dank-Dank; fun to say, fun to drink.

For this week's Grind column, I decided to walk into a coffee shop I had never been to, ask for a recommendation, and review it. This was clearly the best decision I have ever made, because it led me to discover the Dank-Dank (pronounced Daynk-Uh-Daynk). This secret off-menu gem is a Songbird Coffee original that is sure to delight coffee snobs and novices alike.


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