Saturday, May 02, 2015

A fika at home, a fika out

It does look a bit like pretzel salt, I guess.
Note: I apologize for the funky typeface lately. I will try to fix.

Friday’s fika: Jasmine tea at home with Martas skurna chokladkakor -- handsome sliced chocolate cookies with a sprinkling of Swedish pearl sugar on top. From a Fika recipe, of course. Such a great cookbook! Not a single recipe has disappointed me yet. These were easy and especially delicious when dipped for a split second into the flowery jasmine tea. Theyre not overly chocolatey, which I like. The kids also approved.

Mark did not. He said, “Do you want the truth? These get a C-. They have no flavor except for the salt on top.

Possibly theres a problem with his taste buds.

Today’s fika: cinnamon toast and a cortado with Mark at a tiny, popular, and really peculiar cafe called Trouble in San Francisco. John Gravois in the Pacific Standard describes Trouble as a “willfully obscure coffee shop with barely any seating in a cold, inconvenient neighborhood” and I can’t do much better than that. Trouble sells whole coconuts, cinnamon toast, espresso drinks, shots of grapefruit juice, and thats about it. Gravois explains the reasons for this kooky and limited menu in a This American Life segment on the shop and its mentally troubled owner. A fascinating story, if you have 15 minutes to spare and want a slice of San Francisco life. 
Baristas here have reportedly yelled at customers who take pictures. No one can call me a coward.
Anyway, Trouble was the germ of the much-mocked San Francisco toast craze but I wholeheartedly approve of this trend. Cinnamon toast is delicious. Better than cupcakes. Easier to eat than pie. Less pretentious than cronuts. Obviously, you can make toast more cheaply at home, but you can also make coffee (and almost everything) more cheaply at home. At Trouble they slice fluffy white bread extra thick, like Texas toast, then generously slather it with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. I dont want to imply theres any special wizardry happening here. Its cinnamon toast; youve eaten it before. But the magic of cinnamon toast  -- any cinnamon toast -- is potent and Im surprised it took so long for people to start selling it. I wish even more places served warm, buttery cinnamon toast.

Fika-wise, Trouble was a mixed bag. Mark and I agreed that Trouble’s cinnamon toast gets an A+ , but that its ambiance -- loud, cramped, chilly, and dominated by brusque, intimidating baristas -- was totally unsuitable for a proper fika.

Definitely worth checking out, though, if youre ever in the neighborhood

27 comments:

  1. I have to tell you that I was at the Strand in New York yesterday and bought a copy of Fika entirely because of you. I also spotted a copy of the new April Bloomfield Book "A Girl and her Greens" and bought it because of Julia Moskin. (I'm so impressionable.) But it's gorgeous, and I oohed and aahed over so many recipes that I had to have it. And on the train home, the woman sitting next to me blatantly looked over my shoulder while I looked at it and finally asked what it was. So, you might want to put it on your list. And in the meantime, I look forward to making some Swedish cookies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi -- I have already looked for Bloomfield's book at the library. Not available! I read Moskin's review and it snagged me. Let me know how it is when you cook from it.

      Delete
  2. Inconvenient is the word. I once took a streetcar through SF during rush hour to get to Outer Sunset, so I could visit the beach. Not a good idea. But it had a strange, fringes feeling that was interesting to experience.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What is a fika? ... Also, you say "almost everything" can be made at home more cheaply? But is it worth the trouble? When is it better to make something at home instead of getting store-bought?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Jennifer is too kind to say this herself, so I'll do it: you need to buy her book, "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" which is readily available through major retailers such as Amazon.

      If you look at previous blog entries, you will find an entire entry dedicated to defining and giving examples of "fika".

      Enjoy your reading!

      Delete
  4. I had to laugh at the comment,,,, buy the book Make the bread Buy the Butter! It will tell you exactally what to make and what to buy, of course! You have convinced me, I got Fika and am working my way page by page, gaining weight, and being very happy with everything. What is it about cookies and coffee that makes life just so much better?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, both the toast and the cortado look utterly delicious so the concept kind of makes sense to me.

    I don't even eat cookies but I might have to get "Fika" just because everything you've made out of it looks/sounds just *right* somehow. Not over the top gooey-ooey, not strange flavor pairings or ascetic "desserts" that make you wonder if it's dessert or some kind of punishment [can you tell what kinds of food trends I dislike? ha], just right.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I heard about Trouble on TAL a couple of weeks ago. I have to say, I'm really happy that the owner has (hopefully) found her way in life. As far as I'm concerned, you can't get better comfort food than cinnamon-sugar toast.

    I've ordered 2 copies of Fika -- one for me and one for a friend who lived in Sweden as a child when her father was on Sabatical. I also got a copy Sju Sorters Kakor from eBay and am already in love with it. Thanks for the excellent recommendations!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I listened to that story on This American Life twice (they replayed it), and I had the impression that Trouble was chilly. The cinnamon toast looks wonderful, but I'm a sucker for warmth and ambiance.

    ReplyDelete
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