Marigold, curry and heaven in a cup

Good day, Dear Readers:

So far, today, I’ve screamed at my computer four times. We’ll see how long it takes to do it again. Some days I dream of throwing all three laptops up against the wall and watching them smash into a million pieces. But with the walls around here, I’m sure just the case will be broken and nothing will happen. Nightmare: the damn things will still work. So I walked my neighbor’s dog and forgot it for a while. He’s a pretty good pug. He listens and doesn’t offer opinions. He does bark if we pet another dog in his presence, though. He did that with an adorable little German shepherd puppy today.

This past weekend, I watched a fantastic film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Although it’s on HBO now, I requested the DVD from the library. In October. I kid you not. I’ll return it tomorrow, since there are a thousand other folks requesting it in Harris County. I’ve watched it twice so that I could enjoy it and see a little more in it than I did the first time. This is a wonderful film that has one–I repeat, ONE–instance of the “F” word (not “food”) towards the end, when Dev Patel screams it at the brother of his girlfriend. There is also some “nudity”–consisting of one guy’s bare feet and one of the female leads is topless. When I say “topless,” I mean you see her bare shoulders. Sonny’s girlfriend gets naked, takes off her shoes, and you see her back, but not anything else. That’s it. You don’t see full frontal anything here.

I would say these are “adult situations,” only because I don’t think anyone under 30 or 40 will appreciate this movie. But that’s just me, some twenty-somethings might actually like it, too.

My trick for catching all the dialogue: turn on the closed-captioning, especially if it’s a British film, since you might not catch everything without it. I happen to know what PG Tips is (regular British tea that will knock your socks off, they also a very delicious Decaf), as well as Chocolate Hobnobs (although I’ve never had those.) Pickled eggs and pickled onions, I just don’t get.

In honor of their first night at the hotel, manager Sonny (Dev Patel’s character) has his kitchen prepare “Roast Goat Curry.” Um, what? These are British seniors, not accustomed to the exotic spices and curries of India. And, well, you’ll see how they deal with it. Judi Densch’s character starts naming off the different dishes that are a bit confusing to nearly all of them.

Don’t look at me. I once had a shrimp curry in a British-style pub in Delray Beach, FL. That was good, but the time before that I made beef curry. . .well, let’s just say curry doesn’t agree with me. But Suzanne Somers has a great chicken curry recipe in one of her books  that I do like.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a very, very good film. Go see it, or get the DVD from RedBox, or on demand, or catch it on HBO. Here’s a couple of “spoilers:” despite a couple of predictable things, it has a happy ending, and you will be glad you watched it. It’s a long film, but worth your time if you want to see a really GOOD movie.

That being said. . . .

I was one busy kitty cat yesterday, and in my busy day I made time to head over to Starbucks to use a coupon I got last week for a free coffee. Actually, not *just* a free coffee, but a Hazelnut Macchiato. See, when you have a registered Starbucks card–really, just a standard gift card that you use in a Starbucks to get coffee and food and refill–you get coupons for stuff occasionally, as well as a free drink of your choice on your birthday. (They started those back in the day when they charged for Internet access; now it’s free.) Last year I had them make me a large (Grande, I think) decaf latte. That’s a $5 cup of coffee, BTW.  They couldn’t give me a second latte, but they did refill the huge cup with decaf drip. Good enough for me. I had free coffee from Starbucks!

Starbucks: Safe Haven With Food.

When I go to Starbucks, it’s not very often, and it’s because I’m out somewhere and I can stop there and get a quick bite or just a coffee. That’s what they do, right? I keep $25 or so on that card just for that purpose. (When I had a boyfriend we’d go in for breakfast; that’s how I started occasionally having their breakfast sandwiches.) You get “stars” every time you stop in and use the card to purchase something, and, well, there are neat things that get emailed to you occasionally. Like a free tall Hazelnut Macchiato.

I have a cappuccino machine at home, (leftover from being married to someone who thought we *should* have one) which I use on occasion when I have cow’s milk around. (Not often, and I don’t know if almond milk would work. Maybe I’ll try it one day.) I know what the foamy milk is like, and having had the occasional latte, I know that too.

This was more than a latte. They even made it decaf for me.

Let me say at this point that the only reason I had a 12 ounce, $3.50 cup of coffee yesterday was because I had a coupon for a free one, the result of having the registered Starbucks card. And that if it were another special occasion (and I had a regular income and could easily afford it) I might also have one. But not very often. It’s what most of us would call a “splurge.”

Oh, yes. . . .

First you taste the light, frothy milk, and then the smoky flavor of hazelnut comes through. Then as you sip farther, the coffee taste comes through, and it melds together in one swirl of heady, tasty components like a multi-flavored syrup. It stayed warm all the way to the bottom with my coffee cup cozy I made (they also sell them at Starbucks for about $5, I make mine from scrap fabrics), and by the time I made my last stop at Vitamin Shoppe, I had the lid off and was licking the mocha colored milk from the inside of the cup while it was upside down so it would drip towards me.

Yup, that’s me, minding my manners. Hey–the kids don’t care, either.

Do note that this “handcrafted coffee drink” is also about 180 calories for the one I had (in addition to being $3.50.) Larger, of course, is more and has more, depending on what they frothed in it and percentages. I mean, they have a formula, but there could be slight differences in each cup (that’s what Starbucks says on their website.) That’s like having a candy bar or even a Larabar, right? So do take that into consideration if you are thinking about trying one.

It’s a splurge, OK? For a special occasion. But that’s just me. You could get fat slurping these down all the time if you’re not careful.

Now, I took a sip at the counter before I left, and the first thing I said was “OMG, that’s so good!” There was a guy standing next to me waiting for his Venti-something-or-other, and he looks at me with a smile and and casually says,

“Is this your first experience with a Hazelnut Macchiato?”

I said yes, it was. Didn’t occur to me til later that this boy actually asked me that question. Looked to be college age, and I figured he was a student at University of Houston Clear Lake (UHCL), since that store is the closest, I think, to the campus. Chatted briefly, then left, since I had other things to do last night.

“Is this your first experience with a Hazelnut Macchiato?”

I still can’t believe someone actually asked me that about a cup of coffee. Gotta admit, there are some pretty nice folks in Starbucks, although I don’t spend that much time in them.

I think it was last year that there was a certain group of people who were boycotting Starbucks on Valentine’s Day because they wouldn’t do something they thought the company should. This went around on Facebook and other social media, so, I made a point of stopping by and getting a panini on the way home for dinner. I told the young barista that I was “boycotting the boycott.” He said I was the third person to tell him that, and it was the busiest day of the year so far!

Also I discovered one day, quite by accident, that if there are more than one baristas wearing those drive-through headsets, they can actually talk to each other ON the headsets without anyone on the outside knowing about it. In fact, I only discovered it because I was watching them while my coffee was being made. No kidding! Watch them while the other barista gets your muffin or heats up that breakfast sandwich for you.

Hey–fun is where you can find it.

Happy Dining!!

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