Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Wildflower Cafe

Brandon doesn't abound with choice when it comes to cafes but the Wildflower Cafe in downtown Brandon manages to be cute, tasty, and comfortable. They have a few vegan options and a few gluten free options which means that everyone can find something to eat. The staff is friendly and courteous. Sometimes the service is weird as the certain staff members aren't aware of what other staff members did but this is easily forgiven because the staff always have a smile on their face. 
(From UrbanSpoon)

They seem to do a brisk service all day but are especially busy on during the weekday lunch rush and Saturday morning brunch. I usually get a coffee and a sandwich during their down time and have never felt rushed out as I sit and enjoy my morning coffee with a book. I wish their weekday hours were longer as they close at 4pm and are not open on Sunday at all. 

While it doesn't seem like it when you walk in there is actually a lot of tables - as there is a second floor mezzaine and an outdoor patio so there are plenty of cute places to sit. They are pretty active on social media which is convenient for discovering the daily specials.

Overall this is the best cafe I've been to in Brandon and the service and food stands up to that served in larger communities. 

Wildflower Café on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review: Teecchino

I have removed caffeine from my diet in an effort to get my General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) under control without the use of medications. However, I really enjoy iced coffee drinks so I picked up some Teeccino which markets itself as a 'herbal coffee alternative'. My local store only has the Hazelnut and Vanilla Nut Flavors. I found the ingredient list intriguing which is why I first picked this product up. The ingredients on the Hazelnut product are 'organic roasted carob, organic barley, organic chicory, dates, almonds, hazelnut flavour, organic figs'. There seems to be a lot of intriguing flavours available on the website. 

The product presents surprisingly like 'real' coffee. I use a French press and have only had this product over ice as I drank 99% of my coffee that way. This product has eased my transition into a coffee-free lifestyle and has been a tasty substitute for 'real' coffee. I will be purchasing more flavours in the future! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review: The Country Grind and Kombucha

I've been in love with The Country Grind since the first issue and even funded their kickstarter. I love the concept behind this quarterly paper and the content is usually superb. (In fact I'll soon be writing a complete review for my other-other blog Farm Dreams.)  

However, Issue #3 has a full page article on kombucha entitled "Kombucha A What, Why and How-To" that includes some information that is contrary to my personal kombucha brewing experience. (Browse the kombucha tag for more of my experiences) 

For example, the author states that one should "be sure not to use brown sugar or honey." However, it is my understanding that a jun is a kombucha that is fed entirely and solely on honey and green tea. All of my reading on kombucha states that you can use any type of sweetener including brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup ect. 

Additionally, the author states that one should "never leave your mother out in the air. You want it to always be hydrated as it will die if it's dried out." Later on in the article she writes "Never allow your mother to sit dry; it can be in the air for short periods of time but leave it too long and the mother will die and you will have to get a new one." However, my experience with drying and then resuscitating a SCOBY opposes this viewpoint.

The actual brewing steps are presented in a clean, concise and easy to follow manner so I'm positive that a newbie brewer would have no problems brewing a basic batch of kombucha by following the directions presented. 

I really don't like the advice about mold as the author states "I have never experienced mold on my mother but it is known to happen. Just dunk the mother in some vinegar and rinse with water. Some molds can be dangerous, so using your judgement, decide if you should go get a new one or not." I always tell others to throw away a SCOBY if it presents with mold as I feel this is the safest and most responsible choice of action, especially given that SCOBY's are usually cheap/free.

Overall this is a good basic primer for a newbie kombucha brewer but I would suggest taking her points regarding drying and mold with a grain of salt.