Chicory is a type of bushy plant that has many culinary uses. The leaves of many types of chicory are used as salad greens, and the roots are dried and ground up for use as a coffee substitute. The root is commonly cultivated in parts of Southern Europe, where it is a readily available and inexpensive coffee substitute, but the most notable example of chicory for many Americans is the signature coffee of Cafe du Monde‘s chicory-spiked coffee so popular in New Orleans.
Just as many plants and herbs besides tea can be brewed like tea to become herbal tisanes, chicory brews similarly to coffee. It has waxed and waned in terms of popularity over the years, but enjoyed periods of great popularity during times of depression or when coffee was scarce. This was particularly true in the South after the Civil War, when it was used to bulk up existing coffee supplies. It became very popular in New Orleans even after regular coffee was widely available again and definitely has its fans – like the famous Cafe Du Monde – to this day. Chicory has a somewhat licorice-y flavor to it, although fans will often praise its smooth, chocolaty notes and the way that it rounds out a very strong cup of coffee (especially when accompanied by a plate of Cafe du Monde’s popular beignets).
If you look carefully, you can find an official day for just about anything. For instance, January 25th was National Irish Coffee Day! Irish Coffee is a hot coffee drink, where freshly brewed coffee is spiked with enough Irish whiskey to give it a kick, then sweetened with sugar and topped with whipped cream. It is a classic and, although I might be a day late to the official party, any excuse for an Irish Coffee is a good one.
Irish coffee is a drink that I like to serve for dessert after a dinner party or even to make for myself on a cold evening when I could use a very cozy, warming drink. I don’t want to offend any purists, but I’ve been known to add a splash of Irish cream to mine, too, just to sweeten things up! I generally go by taste, so as you follow the recipe below, feel free to adjust the amounts to suit your own preferences.
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Every time I’m in the grocery store, or any other store for that matter, I hear people complaining about how many cards they have to carry around in their wallets and about how many rewards programs they have to join. The Starbucks card is a little different because you can charge it up and pay for your coffee with it (not just use it to get a normal price on an overpriced box of cookies at the market), but it is still one more thing that you need to carry around with you. But Starbucks is going mobile with their cards and if you have a smart phone, you can download an app to access your card digitally. The app will tell you your balance and, when you press the button to pay, a barcode will appear that the barista can scan. Your bill will be deducted from your balance and you won’t need to fish around in your purse or wallet for yet another card (because we all know that we keep our cellphones handier than anything else, for the most part).
I still like my Starbucks card (which is from 2001!) a lot, but I’ve used this type of system for airplane boarding passes and have to admit that it’s pretty convenient, so I just might end up downloading the app myself. It is currently available for iPhone and Blackberry, with an Anroid app coming soon.
Starbucks is constantly testing new products and marketing ideas for their stores, running them in just a few test markets around the country at any given time to gauge consumer reactions. They’re rolling out one of these new ideas nationwide in the next few months: the Trente size. This new drink size is a whopping 31-ounces! To put this in perspective, the Vente size currently runs 20 ounces for hot drinks and 24 ounces for cold drinks. Moving up to 31-ounces is quite a big step! Other coffee shops that offer such large sizes tend to promote them for iced tea and similar drinks, rather than hot beverages, because it’s pretty difficult to drink a hot drink of that size and actually have it remain hot.
The new drink size will be rolled out Tuesday in 14 states: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona.California residents will be able to buy them beginning Feb. 1 and the nationwide rollout should be complete by May 3.