Saturday, February 21, 2009

Passing of the Espresso Machine

My Jura-Capresso E9 espresso machine started acting up a while back. It told me that it required cleaning and I would dutifully clean it, only to be told that it still wanted to be cleaned. After running out of cleaning tablets, I started to call their customer support. After a few calls, the outcome was the the brew unit was clogged and the machine needed to be sent into them for repairs. However, I had purchased it as Williams-Sonoma, so had a lifetime warranty from them.

While doing some research on the topic online, my wife learned that Williams-Sonoma had changed their return policy and no longer sold nor accepted exchanges on the Jura machines. Luckily for us, I had purchased my machine just before their change in policy. With few difficulties, we were able to return the machine and purchase a new one.

I had returned my first machine to Williams-Sonoma too, because it had been recalled. Like before, everytime I exchange it, I spend a little more and upgrade.

I am now the proud owner of a Gaggia Titanium super-automatic espresso machine. It was delivered last night and I found it on my doorstep when I was heading out to the store. I returned home with fresh (from tthe store) beans and started to setup my machine. The machine was packed inside three boxes, but in short order, I had a shiny new espresso machine on my counter. At 6:45pm I made the first shot and dumped it in a cup so I could walk to an event at the kids' school.

This machine is cool. On top of having a stainless case, which Heather really likes, the top of the machine is actually a cup warmer, which I think is really neat.

This morning, before taking the kids to swim practice, I was got one shot out it. I'm back in business, fueled by espresso.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Yesterday, Valentine's Day 2009, I woke up at 5:10 am. Nope, I wasn't doing anything special for my valentine; we were getting ready to go to a swim meet.

My wife and I had decided that because of the swim meet, we would have a low-key Valentine's Day. We planned on just taking it easy after the swim meet and cooking dinner together. Heather really likes lamb (which I really don't) and I found a lamb recipe that seemed okay - shallot crusted rack of lamb sounds not too bad, and I'd cook lamb for my sweetheart. For sides, we had mushroom risotto, asparagus and braised leeks. We also decided to make red velvet cupcakes, which really look cool.

The dinner came together nicely, with just about everything coming to the table at the same time. We got a little later start than intended, as we watched a movie after we got home, so we ate a little later, too. But the dinner was enjoyable, I found the lamb to be acceptable, though Heather's lamb preference is the shank, I've now learned (or at least am cognizant of).

After dinner, Heather said that it was a classic Beau dinner. Balsamic reduction (on the crust), red meat and asparagus. She might be on to something here. But it was nice, a low key dinner with my family whom I love very much. It was a good way to spend Valentine's Day.