Portugal

“Empurre ou puxe” — which one of those words means push and which one pull? I have noticed a lot of confusion around these two words, especially since “puxe” is pronounced “push-eh”. As you might have guessed “empurre” means push and “puxe” means pull. So, if you stand in front of a door that you are trying to push open and a Portuguese person behind you helpfully says “puxe”, don’t push even harder because they are actually telling you to pull.

The Portuguese have a couple of extra snack meals, which will suit some people I know. :-) There’s one in the late morning, called “lanche da manhã” and one in mid afternoon, “lanche da tarde”. Each meal is usually accompanied by coffee. People drink a lot of coffee here and it is almost always espresso. In Lisbon a café, or espresso, is also called “bica”. Some people think that bica could be an acronym for “Beba Isto Com Açucar” – drink this with sugar – but I don’t believe it. I also learned that in Porto the same coffee is called “cimbalino”. Interestingly bica is feminine while cimbalino is masculine.


“Bico” (masculine) means spout. An espresso machine has little spouts out of which the coffee flows. That could be the origin of “Bica”? That which comes out of the coffee spout…

Moka + Saudade

I am sitting at my table, next to a fan because we have a heatwave, and am having my morning coffee. I followed Matt’s suggestion (in the comment section of this post) and boiled the water before adding it to the Moka pot. I think the purpose of this may be to make the extraction happen more quickly. What it made me realize is why the original design has those edges. I believe they make the pot more grippy. What I found was that I could not tighten my round pot enough while holding it with a towel and when pressure started to build up vapor escaped where the top and the bottom are screwed together. It is interesting that the designers of newer and stainless Moka pots didn’t figure this out! The coffee was good though and maybe I’ll try again with a silicon hot pad that affords more grip. For now I will switch back to adding room temp water.

Today the second single from “Bare Wood 2” was released on all streaming services and digital outlets. I use UnitedMasters for the digital distribution of my music. For each album or single UM autogenerate what they call a Master Link, which is supposed to make it easy for people to click on the logo of service they subscribe to and listen to the music right away. I guess it is considered too labor and time intensive to use the search function of any streaming service to find the piece. Okay. This is the master link for the new single “Saudade”. You will notice that there is a pop up that declares “I wanna get to know my fans better. Shoot me your info and I’ll add you to my contacts.”

Pause. Well, that’s not something I would ever say, is it. And I can’t figure out whether I can kill the pop-up altogether. It’s the reason I have never used the master link before. I did figure out that I can change the wording of the pop-up – but what should it say? (It’s probably also why I am not good at social media or promotion… most of the tools make me cringe…)

Let me know what you think of the master link. Useful? Bogus? Honestly, I don’t even know where that info goes, should you add your name and email to the pop-up. UnitedMasters database? Go ahead, I dare you! Also cookies… don’t you hate THOSE pop-ups? We don’t use them on this website. However, we will have to use them to make a subscription platform work better… so you don’t have to sign in every time you visit the page.

Moka Pot

IMG 6741
One of the first items I aquired for the flat in Lx was a Moka pot. While I love the original Moka pot design, I don’t like heating water in aluminum and besides, an aluminum pot wouldn’t work with this induction stove. Instead I found this stainless steel version at El Corte Ingles.
The original Moka pot was invented by the Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. Some call it a stovetop espresso maker although the pressure never comes close to that of an espresso machine – it creates 1-2 bar of pressure as opposed to 9 bar of a machine. (Wikipedia Link)
I wondered why it’s called a Moka pot and discovered its connection to a city in Yemen.
Wikipedia has the knowledge:

Mocha was the major marketplace for coffee (Coffea arabica) from the 15th century until the early 18th century. Even after other sources of coffee were found, Mocha beans (also called Sanani or Mocha Sanani beans, meaning from Sana’a) continued to be prized for their distinctive flavor—and remain so even today. The coffee itself did not grow in Mocha, but was transported from places inland to the port in Mocha, where it was shipped abroad. Mocha’s coffee legacy is reflected in the name of the mocha latte and the Moka pot coffee maker. In Germany, traditional Turkish coffee is known as Mokka.

Monday Morning

After driving to Santa Fe from Denver on Saturday I stayed in a Ramada on Yale close to the airport in Albuquerque. When I made arrangements for this trip all hotels for this weekend were surprisingly expensive, especially in Santa Fe. Later, Jon figured out that this was due to the Balloon Festival, which happens on the first weekend in October. I had picked one of the cheaper hotels by the airport and planned on driving back to Santa Fe on Sunday for some business I had to attend to. Monday I would fly home from Albuquerque.

On Monday morning I woke up around 0515 and read People of the Book until a few minutes past 0600. Then I walked 0.9 miles to the Starbucks on Gibson. It was still dark, about 45′ before sunrise. Encountered three people, one of whom was talking to themselves. Arrived at Starbucks only to discover that the doors were all locked. There was a sign on the door saying that for security reasons the cafe was closed until sunrise. The Starbucks app, however, claimed that the place would open at 0500. I stood by the front entrance observing dozens of cars order coffee in the drive-through. Considered walking through the drive-through lane and ordering coffee. Then one of the five or six employees opened the door and asked whether I was there to pick up a mobile order. I said no, I wasn’t, but I could make a mobile order, if that’s what it took. I told him I had walked for twenty minutes to get there. He seemed incredulous (((what? people walk? in the dark??))) but let me into the store and locked the door behind me. Perhaps really not the safest neighborhood?!

I ordered a large coffee and a pair of kale egg bites. After I received the food I walked back to the hotel. The person talking to themselves had turned to arguing, but not quite screaming, with a post, as I hurried by. I gave another person coming towards me a wide berth by walking through a parking lot. I was relieved when I reached my hotel.

Reading on my laptop and sipping the coffee – the egg bites had already been consumed – I noticed this object on the wall, near the ceiling. It looks like a smoke detector that was wrapped in cling wrap to prevent smoke from getting into it? Room #345 of the Ramada hotel. If you worry about smoke inhalation you best avoid that room.
Smoke Detector
I think it is good to stay in questionable hotels from time to time, if only to properly appreciate the nice ones… :-)


PS: the books is really good! It describes the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war.

Less flash and more substance than The Da Vinci Code . . . The stories of the Sarajevo Haggadah, both factual and fictional, are stirring testaments to the people of many faiths who risked all to save this priceless work.

– USA Today

Dog + Coffee

While I was waiting for a cortado (same amount of coffee as a cappuccino but a little less milk) a husky took off from the cafe and ran diagonally across the intersection. It was totally oblivious to the fact that it was dragging a table, to which the leash was attached, with it. After all, huskies have a history of dragging sleds for long distances. A human ran after the dog and brought both back to the cafe. Nice try, dog.

I prefer a cortado over a cappuccino because the taste leans a little more toward the coffee. Many call the cortado a gibraltar. Why you ask? This is the story I heard: while training baristas Blue Bottle would have them make coffee with smaller amounts of milk/foam than one would use for a regular cappuccino because why waste milk for training. Makes sense. Blue Bottle was asked what this drink was called and since they used the Gibraltar range of glassware by an old American company called Libbey they replied it’s a Gibraltar.

A cortado is the same drink as a gibraltar, but there seems to be a regional preference for using one or the other name on a cafe’s menu. Most baristas understand either term, however, if you want to try it.