Considering that Adam took over 130 pictures of London restaurants we ate at, it was only natural that we start chronicling our thoughts and opinions about the food we eat. We've totally become accidental foodies. It all started out when Sheila started calling Adam "the human trash compactor"; since he eats almost anything. But somewhere along the way we started having discussions about food and seeking out culinary adventures when on travel. We bring a unique perspective to this arena as we're both vegetarians (no meat, poultry, or fish). I suspect we will both have varying opinions on the food, and hope to not only have a record for posterity, but provide some fun, useful if not amateur insight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

costa - our favorite coffee from the “let land”

Costa coffee is a UK-based coffee house with countless shops across the UK and Europe. They have even sprouted up in North Africa, Southeast Asia, and Far East. However, they try to maintain a small chain, organic beans, local product aura.
When we moved to the “let land” a.k.a. England, Costa quickly became our Peet’s replacement not having looked back since. In fact on my last day in the London office, the Costa manager of the Canary Wharf outpost gifted me an espresso cup and saucer set!
On our recent trip to India, we had a three-hour layover in Dubai. Yes there is water in this desert oasis for those inquiring minds. Having done our research, Sheila and I made b-line direct to the Costa coffee house in Terminal 3.
We ordered an iced vanilla latte and almond croissant. I find that their chosen coffee beans tend to have muted flavors, probably meant to not overpower the vanilla or caramel or chocolate); good for someone like me who doesn’t enjoy strong bold coffee (feel like I have to gargle with Listerine right afterwards). The added milk has a balanced liquid to froth ratio and the vanilla (from Monin) is certainly sweet by not like Starbucks, which sometimes is un-drinkable. My first sip of Costa brought back fond memories. The vanilla syrup mixed in well with the hot milk and frothy topper took the edge off our previous 15-hour plane ride. The last time I had a cup was Oct ’09 on the way back from Roma (via London Heathrow). Felt right at home again!

Costa, similar to all other chair coffee houses, also has a vast array of prepared sandwiches and pastries. The almond croissant we ordered had flakes of shaved almonds and confectionary sugar on top, and then a rich almond past in between the pastry. First bite was way too sweet, especially when paired with the vanilla latte. The dough was flaky and buttery; a hallmark in French pastries, the guy behind the counter even warmed it up for us. However, both Sheila and I agreed that we should have gotten a plain croissant instead. Costa’s pastry display is never going to compete with the fine patisseries of Paris, but it ends up being a decent accompaniment for their splendid coffee.
Don’t let Costa go un-noticed when traveling through England. Their marketing isn’t as flash as Starbucks, but the coffee sure makes up for it! Yummy!