This Sh*t's Delicious

Exploring the world through cocktails, shit hole restaurants, and UrbanAg

Tag Archives: coffee

Links I liked

The magnificent multitude of beer – An incredibly detailed chart of the many different types of beer and the glasses they belong in.

Coffee grind chart – How fine are you supposed to grind your coffee? This article explains.

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An In-Depth Look at Jelly Modern

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A couple weekends ago was pretty exciting in This Sh*t’s Delicious’ brief but action-packed history. Rita, who is one of the founding partners of JM, wanted us to come over and have a chat with her. She was so pleased with our detailed and thorough review of JM that she wanted to meet us in person and talk about some of the issues that we had brought up in our previous blog post.

Yeah, shit just got real, cckskrs.

Richard and I couldn’t say no to such an offer (to say the least), so we headed on down there bright and early on Saturday morning at 11 am. It was a busy morning as usual for Rita who immediately spotted us and introduced us to her husband, Murray, who is the other business partner.

Rita and Murray are a very interesting couple. Both are former teachers turned lawyers turned entrepreneurs (Murray is still a lawyer by day).  In my previous entry, I had mentioned that they have no formal culinary training, but I realized that it is a moot point considering the impressive resume they boast. For instance, they founded the Opa! chain of Greek fast food before selling it off in 1999 (?) to focus on other endeavours. They also apparently wholly own Original Joe’s and St. Germain and partly own the Calgary institution known as Peter’s Drive-in (WTF!). To say that this power couple knows a little bit about the food industry is an understatement.

We had some interesting discussions surrounding the ordering system. The current system involves ordering to the left of the doughnut counter and paying for it later to the right of the doughnut counter. The orders are synced between the two different sides via iPads, which is pretty novel. We thought this system is pretty efficient as it prevents customers already in line from waiting for the eponymous douchebag to enter his debit card pin five times before finally giving up (you know you have been there). The only suggestion for improvement I had was to perhaps give the patrons numbers. The JM staff would then announce the numbers so the patrons wouldn’t have to hang around the counters waiting for their orders to be filled and called out (though to be fair they already take your name, which adds a personal touch -Richard). This would reduce the chaos and clutter somewhat.

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Another thing that Richard had noticed was the use of wax cardboard boxes to serve doughnuts regardless whether one was staying in or not. Turns out that the boxes were for take-away and that the bamboo serving trays that had been originally ordered had been delayed. Now that they were here, all stay-in doughnut lovers get their orders served on these bamboo trays.

But…we weren’t there to just chit chat. We actually managed to try out the Chef’s Creation for that day which was inspired by Eton Mess (a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue, and cream). Murray was also kind enough to make us both a cup of what he called a high-test – a shot of espresso topped up with drip coffee.

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The doughnut itself was extremely light and melted in your mouth with every bite. The cream, which reminded be of the cream in a Boston Cream, was light, fluffy, and fresh. All in all, the different elements of the doughnut combined perfectly to give you an explosion of taste in your mouth.

I took my time savouring each bite of the doughnut and downing it with the coffee/espresso combination. The latter was bold, but balanced, without too much acidity. Murray takes pride in his coffee creations, and although he wouldn’t outright admit it, we could tell he was a slightly affronted when I reported the espresso as being “unmemorable” in our first review of JM.

Richard’s Recollections

It was pretty cool to sit down and get a glimpse of the minds behind Jelly Modern. Both Rita and Murray seemed pretty easygoing, but you could also tell that they were passionate about the business and were always looking for ways to make it even better.  They’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that they make a quality doughnut, from soliciting the expertise of doughnut experts from the USA to poaching the chef of St. Germain to head their kitchen (who apparently took the opportunity to be more creative and get back to his pastry-chef roots).  They’ve done a lot to make the business progressive on the environmental and societal fronts – from selecting their fruit for filling from environmentally-friendly sources to donating their unsold product at the end of the day to local establishments feeding the needy.  They really put the Modern into Jelly Modern (as well as the Jelly, of course!).

On to the doughnuts – we were able to sample the mini doughnuts (Stampede-style, but even more delicious) as well as the Saturday special (the Eton Mess), which was absolutely divine.  The chef also let us know about the various creations that he has in store for the future – doughnut sandwiches, shortcakes, fan creations, and future chef specials (I hope I didn’t miss Pineapple upside-down cake week!).

Summary

It was an awesome start to an awesome weekend for Richard and myself. JM has been hot since day one and the buzz shows no signs of abating. Apparently, Breakfast Television (BT) has already broadcast an airing from the JM store. They have already been covered by the big media outlets, so it was humbling to to be invited by JM owners personally to their store. It’s good to see that they care about the little guys too and pay attention to the local blogosphere.

-Kiran

Jelly Modern Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Review – Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia

Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia is a new cafe in the NE serving some really good coffee, paninis, and fresh Italian pastries. Interested? Read on.
Photos coming soon mofos…

I’ll get this out of the way first, signage is quite poor. If you were to look up Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia on Google Maps, it would probably direct you to its original location, which now doesn’t exist. It is still on Edmonton Trail, but has been moved north closer to the Kal Tire on 37 Ave NE (actually a block away from my office, no stalkers, k thx). Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia has been in it’s new location for just over a month now and not enough people know it exists. Hipster talk: Its too underground for you to know that its there. Driving along Edmonton Trail, you wouldn’t think that a restaurant is in that building. Most of the clientele are friends of the owner or regulars from the previous location, and I’m pretty sure even surrounding businesses (including my coworkers, a 10 second walk away) yet have had the chance to try it out. More people should try it out.

Franca’s presents itself as a gift store slash cafe. Inside is a very modern looking restaurant with everything literally brand spankin new. It doesn’t get any newer or cleaner than this. As soon as you walk in, you are presented with their gift store section, a bunch of French press’s, mugs, and gift baskets. I don’t think they have ironed out their ordering system yet for food, its all very improvised. The few times I have visited, they were busy and understaffed, so no one was really greeting me and taking me to a table. No one really indicates how to order take out, where to pay, etc. Once they get consistent and more customers, I suggest they get organized a bit, it will help in the long run and make things efficient.

On the menu are mostly panini’s and soup for hot food. For dessert are a wide variety of pastries made fresh in house. (Their online menu is outdated, and they currently have more variety for paninis and dessert) The owner said that all of the meat is imported directly from Italy. And despite my criticisms of the service and its location/signage, the food is really delicious. The Mario’s panini consists of a bunch of Italian cold cuts, provolone cheese and roasted red peppers. The bread is a bit on the oily side, but when served hot comes out crispy. It is savory but not that salty. The tiramisu is fresh and might be one of the best I have tried in the city. Prices aren’t necessarily cheap, paninis go for $8-9 and pastries are in the $3-5 range. Its a slight premium worth paying for some fresh and authentic food. I don’t have a refined palate for coffee, but I do know its better than any franchise or chain.

I worry a bit about how well Franca’s can survive in the location its in. Some good marketing can go a long way. And if they take advantage of the buttload of businesses in the Greenview industrial area and everything along Edmonton trail, they will be able to get a really good client base for morning coffee and lunch hours. The area is pretty old and most of the food establishments there are although good, they are aging. So it is nice to see a new food place in this area that doesn’t have decor from 1988. Not the cheapest lunch you can get on Edmonton Trail, but well worth it for food that had effort and quality put into it. I’ll be coming here often. If not for their paninis, but for their pastries so I can get my dose of sugar to stave off sleeping at the desk every afternoon. (If I work with you, I’m totally kidding, I don’t sleep at work)

Ranking

Kent
Ambiance 5/6
Service 3/6
Plating 5/6
Taste 5.5/6
Authenticity 5/6
Value 4/6
Overall 27.5/36 = 76%

Franca's Perfect Gifts & Cafe Italia on Urbanspoon