Saturday, April 27, 2019

It's Double "I" Saturday

We're celebrating Irish Coffee in the Historic capital of the Incas, Cusco, Peru
I'm pretty sure that the expectation for our A to Z location for Irish coffee -- hot coffee with whiskey and cream -- would be Ireland. But my last experience with a delicious serving or Irish coffee was when I visited Cusco, Peru, the capital of the Inca Empire in the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries. I traveled to Peru with a wonderful group and spent most of my time with them. But we had an unscheduled afternoon in beautiful Cusco and I found myself a few blocks from a restaurant that I'd been reading about, Chicha. This may be the only time in my life I've ordered coffee with whiskey in the middle of the afternoon, but I savored my long, lazy afternoon, beginning with this wonderful coffee treat.
I don't remember what I ordered for a main course, but I finished my very indulgent lunch with this chocolate trio -- ice cream, sauce and soufflé. Delicious and memorable.
The Main Plaza in Cusco

In the past I've gotten farther than I in my A to Z Blogging Challenge, usually fizzling out around S or T. I'm actually finishing my A to Z entries with tonight's post. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for my first post-surgery trip out of New York City and I'm going semi off the grid. I'm leaving my iPad home -- the source of my away from home blog posts -- and will be attempting to look at my phone a lot less during the time I'm away. It's a quick trip, made even quicker by a flight cancellation by JetBlue. I'd hoped to be at my destination this afternoon, but the vagaries of air travel interfered. Off to Vermont tomorrow for a few days of fun, friendship and springtime in New England.
Much appreciation to everyone who followed our coffee journey and thanks for comments and good wishes. As ever, thanks for visiting and hope you're having a great weekend.   

Sunday, April 21, 2019

I is for Iced Coffee (on Easter Afternoon)

Enjoying iced coffee on a perfect Easter Sunday afternoon
The weather was perfect today for people and hat watching at Rockefeller Center. I enjoyed my favorite coffee drink, iced and light, while Pep LeMonkee and I enjoyed watching what will most likely be one of the last days of ice skating for this season.
This year's Easter décor at Rockefeller Center featured tree branches and hundreds of lilies. It was lovely, but I missed the bunnies of years gone by.
There were pretty hats and more eccentric hats and it was fascinating to watch. The Easter Parade, which isn't actually a parade, but an endless stream of people walking around the Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral area on Fifth Avenue. 

All-pink ensemble meets iconic New York hot dog cart.
 This is my favorite moment of the day.
Yellow taxi and family in matching taxi yellow meet Lady in Red on Sixth Avenue. 
I've been happy welcome bloggers who are participating in the A to Z Challenge. I'm falling behind, but will keep going until the end of April. I may not be fulfilling the letter of the Challenge, but I'm keeping with the spirit. I hope everyone is enjoying our adventures around the world. I'm also linking to my friends in Pink Saturday. For the last several weeks I haven't been able to link up and I'm not able to analyze the problem issue. I'm giving it another try this evening. 
It was a glorious Easter day in New York, but that was not the case everywhere. I want to offer my sympathy to those injured and the families of those killed in Sri Lanka. My heart is with all of you.
Dear friends, I hope you had a bright and beautiful Easter and a wonderful Passover celebration. As ever thanks for visiting.  
Please note: I'm attempting to cut down on my use of plastic straws, but was unable to find a paper straw and walk through the crowds with an open cup. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Once Again, We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Content

The façade of Notre-Dame de Paris, Our Lady of Paris 
July, 1990
I had the pictures ready to do the post for "I" this afternoon when I saw an alert on my phone about a fire at Notre-Dame. I turned on the television and have barely turned it off the rest of the day. I did spend an hour or so going through pictures of travels past. Despite having been to Paris nine times, not one of those times was in the cellphone era. I did take pictures, but usually no more than two or three rolls of film with my instamatic camera. I've got a good number of grainy, out of focus pictures and only three or four of Notre-Dame, one of my all-time favorite places anywhere. This is the best of the lot.
Like so many of my favorite things I took this beautiful church somewhat for granted. In my mind it was both monumental and eternal and it would always be there if I traveled to Paris again. But I learned the lesson once again of how life can be ephemeral, and some days all we have left are memories. Thankfully, a great deal of the structure of Notre-Dame remains and it will be rebuilt. I'm hoping that one day I can take my favorite walk in Paris. I will begin with a visit to the beautiful heart of the city, Notre-Dame de Paris, rebuilt once more. I'll slowly walk to my favorite island in the River Seine, the Ile Saint-Louis. I'll spend an hour or two exploring the streets and taking photographs of the seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings. I'll finish my perfect Paris afternoon at my favorite ice cream store anywhere, Berthillon, eating ice cream and watching the Seine flow by.  
 All hearts are with you, Notre-Dame de Paris. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

H Is for Houndstooth

The choice for the letter "H" in the Blogging from A to Z takes us to Austin, Texas
I had the good pleasure to attend a BlogHer conference in Austin several years ago and one of my delights was visiting a few of the locally renowned coffee locations. I knew that Austin had a well-earned reputation for great food and beverages. I made coffee my focus and every morning I tried a new place. I had no disappointments. However, Houndstooth -- yes, named for the fabric -- was my favorite. I found great coffee, well brewed and a calm, spacious environment in which to enjoy it. If you're in Austin, this is a definite stop on the trail of outstanding coffee. 

I'd love to be back at this counter for a great cup of coffee
Tomorrow we have a treat in store. We're leaving Austin for a trip to South America. Extraordinary sights and a memorable coffee experience. I hope you'll join us. I also hope you'll join the fun at Pink Saturday, where some of my favorite bloggers get together each week.
After a lovely almost summer weekend in New York, it's time to begin a new week. I've got a dentist appointment and a trip to the post office planned. What does your Monday look like?
As ever, thanks for visiting and let's have a cup of coffee!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Content

Breaking News from the Buttercupland Department of Technology
In a triumph of customer service, Microsoft scrubbed clean my email account and restored my access. Thursday was a day of tears of joy and smiles when I opened the email from my contact at Microsoft, Chris, with the miraculous news. For the last forty-eight hours I have spent my computer time deleting and reading and there is still a boatload of email to go through. 
Lessons learned:
Print out anything that you absolutely don't want to lose. I know that we are supposedly in a paperless society, but actually we aren't.  
Have a second email account.
Update your information for your accounts. If you find yourself in this situation, in order to restore access your company will need to verify that you are the owner of the account. Make sure your cell phone number is up to date and the second email address is also current.
But there's always time for coffee and today's Blogging from A to Z Journey takes us to Gregorys, a chain of coffee shops in New York City, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. I discovered it during my first coffee A to Z, and in the last few years additional sites have been added in New York City. My favorite Gregory's is on the Upper East Side and I'm always happy to find myself close by.

I'm pleased to report that the coffee remains top-notch and the pastry collection even more enticing than I remembered. I chose a simple, but very tasty biscotti, which was just right for dunking in my iced coffee. However, there's a maple doughnut that has captured my imagination. I know one day it will call me like the Sirens of old and I will make a return trip to Gregory's.

Again, thanks to Microsoft, the week ends happily in Buttercupland. What made you happy this week?

As ever, thanks for visiting. Please join us tomorrow for a visit to Austin, TX and until then, enjoy your coffee and your weekend!  

Sunday, April 7, 2019

F Is for Flat White

Sydney, Australia on a cloudy summer morning, January 2018
When I joined my tour in Sydney last winter I mentioned to our incomparable tour guide, Matt, that I was a fan of coffee. He assured me he would guide me in every stop on our trip, and added that I needed to start drinking "flat whites." I had no idea what he was recommending. I soon found out and across and up and down Australia I drank flat whites. 

  A flat white in Bondi Beach
A flat white consists of espresso and microfoam, steamed milk with small, fine bubbles. Its close relative is the latte, but it has less milk and more coffee. It also has characteristics of the cappuccino, but with less foam. I assumed that the flat white was of Australian origin, but there is a debate between Australia and New Zealand as to which country can claim the flat white. As I am not a coffee historian as yet, I leave this issue to those more familiar with the historical setting. As a coffee drinker I came to enjoy it very much and will always be appreciative to Matt for this recommendation. I had hoped to keep drinking flat whites when I came home from Australia, but with a very few exceptions, I was disappointed and have returned to my more familiar cappuccino when I want a treat. 
 Bondi Beach Graffiti Wall

Bondi Beach is an iconic stop for visitors to Sydney. Only five miles from the Central Business District it is the place envisioned with the words "Australian surfing." I was especially taken with the Graffiti Wall which separates the beach from the town. My tour group spent an idyllic hour here, walking along the empty morning beach and then enjoying our coffee time. As a side note, there wasn't a stop when we didn't enjoy our coffee time in Australia. There was terrific coffee everywhere we went. Thank you, Australia!
I'm happy we're getting around the world with our A to Z Blogging adventure this year. I'm also happy to be joining my Pink Saturday friends this week, too. What are you happy about this week? 
We're returning to New York tomorrow for "G" and one of my favorite local places. I hope you will join us. As ever, thanks for visiting and let's have a cup of coffee!

Friday, April 5, 2019

E Is for England

View of Oxford, England on a perfect summer's day
It's time to leave the cozy comfort of my living room and to leave New York City. Last summer I had the good fortune to have a wonderful visit with my blog buddy, Sybil, and then spend a few days exploring Oxford, England. This is our first international stop on our Blogging from A to Z tour of Coffee Around the World.
 I took the picture above from the top of the Church of St. Michael at the North Gate. The Church dates from Saxon times and construction was started at approximately the year 1000. The name is derived from its location, just inside the North Gate of the medieval Oxford. 

St. Clement's cake and a perfect cappuccinno 
This photograph brings back a favorite memory, orange glazed pound cake and a delicious coffee at the Ashmolean Museum. The Ashmolean is Oxford University's art and archaeology museum. The holdings are fascinating  and I enjoyed several hours of wandering through it. I finished my visit -- and rested my feet -- with this treat, named for a children's rhyme, "Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clement's," which features churches of London. 
Christ Church College, Oxford University
Our visit to Oxford would be incomplete without a stop at one of the 38 colleges that comprise Oxford University. It is one of the oldest of Oxford's colleges and it also serves as the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Oxford. If the setting looks familiar, but you've never been to Oxford you may have seen portions of it in the Harry Potter movies. I spent one of my afternoons in Oxford having a wonderful tour from a New York friend who was in a summer study program at Christ Church. Her summer resident pass gave me the ability to have an insider tour of this beautiful place. 
Today was cold and rainy. It was winter coat and glove weather in New York, despite the date on the calendar. I've so enjoyed taking our coffee adventure back to the sunny warmth of Oxford in July. So glad my Buttercupland friends could hop back in time with me.
As ever, thanks for visiting and let's have a cup of coffee.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

C and D are for Coffee and Doughnut(s)

This is not the most attractive photograph I've ever posted, and that's an understatement. Any social media influencer of any stature would have photoshopped, cropped and put a nice filter on this photograph of the perfect duo, coffee and a doughnut. But I'm keeping it very real for my C and D post in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

I planned a trip to my favorite doughnut store, where I would elaborately arrange an extraordinary doughnut and perfect cup of cappuccino. I realized I was contemplating a 400 calorie doughnut, definitely yummy and definitely more calories and sugar than I needed on an average Thursday afternoon, especially after my Weight Watchers meeting.

Instead I opted for a home made iced coffee -- the cup was left from my coffee bought from the cart across the street from Weight Watchers -- and a simple, but very tasty, glazed doughnut from Dunkin Doughnuts, which is a block from home. The cost was $1.39 for the doughnut and the pleasure of a doughnut and coffee while relaxing at home, Priceless.

I cut down significantly on my consumption of sweets four years ago, but I still enjoy a sweet treat every now and then. For my Weight Watcher friends who may be reading, I budgeted my daily points carefully and not only did I enjoy my doughnut, but I had points to spare at the end of the day.  

My coffee excursions are a challenge. Coffee seems to be surrounded by an amazing assortment of goodies everywhere I go. I pass an array of scones, bagels, pastries and doughnuts whenever I am in line to pay for my coffee. My goal is to photograph the treats and keep walking. I'll let you know how that goes. I'm optimistic that I will succeed and be able to wear my summer clothes when the Challenge is finished at the end of April.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite goodie to go with a cup of coffee?

 Sadly, I don't have an update on the email debacle. I'm becoming reconciled to what may be my lost account and moving on. It's a good lesson to print out items you need to keep.

As ever, thanks for visiting and let's have a cup of coffee. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

B Is for Birch and Bully Coffee

B Is for Birch Coffee
In the interest of journalistic integrity I have yet to try Birch Coffee. I've walked past the branch near my local Home Goods, but every time I walk by it's crowded. I found the location on the Upper East Side on Monday and decided I would do my first coffee taste test for this series there. Alas, there were only two seats available at the tiniest counter possible. I took a few pictures, and moved on to another favorite coffee place that I will feature next week. Everything about Birch looked great. The coffee is locally roasted in Long Island City Queens and it's imported from Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala. I will be back!
When I do return to Birch, I'm definitely going to request Bully Blend. How could I not? The profits from this coffee goes to assisting pitbulls. I'm more of a French bulldog fan myself, but between the name and the cause, I've got to try it. 
I'm somewhat embarrassed that it's only the third day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge and I am already behind. That may set a record for Challenge participants. I'm going to combine C and D for tomorrow's post. I usually flag in my posts around "R," but I'm not giving up at C.   
Thanks, all, for the encouragement about my email issues. I am beginning to lose my rosy optimism. If anyone is trying to reach me leave a comment, use direct messaging on Facebook or Instagram and of course, the old-fashioned telephone will have to suffice for now.  
As ever, thanks for visiting and let's have a cup of coffee. Until tomorrow!

Monday, April 1, 2019

A is for Around the World

Somewhere around the world it's coffee time
Buttercupland is once again delighted to join the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Last year we rode the New York City subway system and in 2017 we enjoyed coffee throughout New York City. This year we're returning to one of my favorite subjects, coffee, but we're going around the world with our coffee adventures. 
We'll spend at least a few days in Australia, where I had fabulous coffee experiences, and we'll return to some of our favorites in New York. We'll make at least one stop in Asia and another one or two -- at least -- in Europe. I've started doing research already and it's fun to return to one of my favorite blog subjects and combine it with my love of travel.
A big salute to the organizers of the April Challenge, which is celebrating it's the tenth anniversary. Though blogging and social media have gone through a lot of change in the last ten years I'm delighted that the Challenge is still going strong. Long may it live!
As a postscript to Saturday's post, I still don't have access to my email account. It's frustrating, annoying and time consuming, but I'm keeping a measure of optimism that I will be able to soon access the email that's accumulating there.
I hope you'll be back tomorrow when we explore another aspect of Coffee Around the World.  
As ever, thanks for visiting and let's share a cup of coffee.