A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘ristretto roasters’

Coffee Talk with Herman Miller

In Drink on July 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog has a fun new feature called Morning Coffee in which we learn how the duo behind Unhappy Hipsters, Design Milk, Apartment Therapy and more take their morning coffee. Today’s post features……..The Foodinista! Or more accurately Ristretto Roasters‘ unbeatable beans…


In Drink on January 29, 2010 at 10:11 am

This morning I wanted to share a few snapshots from writer Nancy Rommelmann (below) and roaster Din Johnson’s (bottom, right) recent expedition to Panana in search of the best coffee beans for their excellent café, Ristretto Roasters in Portland, Oregon. More pics on Nancy’s blog, nancyrommelmann.com.

Nancy writes: Panama was wild! Mountain roads that, when you turn a corner, the road has eroded away so that you are a foot from plunging hundreds of feet into a river; I would have trusted no human but my husband to be driving. Tropical storms with winds I have never heard the likes of; amazing coffee farms being farmed by the local Indians, including 12-year-olds with their babies strapped to their chests. A rental house with a huge deck in Bocas del Toro, where, in the midst of a storm, the howler monkeys started their undeniably primate screaming in the jungle just behind the house, and playing on one of the world’s prettiest-ever beaches, Playa Bluff, where my husband smashed us open a coconut. Only thing Panama NOT good for is eating; we came back skinnier! That’s okay.

Coffee Talk

In Drink on August 10, 2009 at 8:53 am


Last week a couple of you emailed with your favorite coffee roasts and where to drink them. I’d love to hear from more of you—where is your favorite cup of Joe? And do you like a dark roast or medium? Me, I’m a medium-roast kind of girl.

Although I live in Los Angeles, my very favorite beans in the whole wide world are from Ristretto Roasters in Portland, Oregon. And recently Jane and Michael Stern of Road Food named Ristretto Roasters the best cup of coffee in the Pacific Northwest. Interestingly, owner Din Johnson gives all his beans a medium roast with the belief that each bean has its optimal roasting point, and beyond that you’re taking away the flavor. Din is married to my friend Nancy Rommelmann, and when I was talking with her about the finer points of a medium roast she put it this way: “The analogy of a steak is a good one: too little fire, you don’t get all the flavor; too much, it’s burnt and dry.” Frankly, I don’t know beans about roasting, but Din clearly does. Stick your nose inside this bag of earthy, heady Sumatra Sidikalang Tabu Jamu beans and inhale:


Can you smell that fruity, almost floral aroma? Trust me, the flavor is just as rich. If you are in Portland, a visit to Ristretto is a must! Pick up a couple bags for the trip home. I’m making my way through these two goodie bags of Sumatra and El Salvadoran beans.


By the way, if you’re wondering where esteemed Mayor Villaraigosa likes the beans, the answer is a sidewalk table on a Friday afternoon with a lady friend at Peet’s on Larchmont. I must say the mayor looked very rested after his recent Icelandic vacay. Tiny G was not impressed and if he were able to say more than banana and guapo (the extent of his repertoire beyond mama and dada), he would have demanded to know why the mayor hasn’t pressed AEG to reimburse the city for Michael Jackson’s funeral costs.

Breakfast Sandwich of Champions

In Food on August 3, 2009 at 10:19 pm


What you see is one of the most fantastic uses of leftovers in recent memory. On Saturday night we grilled Heritage bone-in ribeyes, corn on the cob and red onions, and we roasted pasilla chiles to toss with the onions. We had leftovers of all the veggies, so Sunday morning we walked to Larchmont Farmers Market, grabbed a week’s worth of fruit and veggies (can’t wait for beans, summer squash, and peaches this week), some farm fresh eggs and then swung by Sam’s Bagels for some chewy rye bagels. Back at home I scrambled some of the eggs, the leftover veggies from the previous night and a little bit of cheddar cheese in an iron skillet.


The pasillas we had were unusually spicy, while the grilled corn was sweet and caramelized—ditto on the leftover grilled onions. So satisfying. Even better, the strong cup of El Salvadoran coffee brewed from beans I picked up at Ristretto Roasters in Portland last weekend. More on my loot from Ristretto tomorrow…

Picture Perfect Portland

In Drink, Food, Out of Town on July 26, 2009 at 10:08 pm


I’ve been in the Willamette Valley since Thursday for work—and no WiFi—so apologies for the unexpected silence. (Above, some unripe Pinot Noir from a red clay “jory” soil vineyard in the Dundee Hills.) But I’m back after spending a totally great afternoon today in Portland with my friend and colleague Nancy Rommelmann. First stop was at Ristretto Roasters, where I picked up some Sumatra Sidikalang Tamu Jamu beans after sampling a cup over a debate on ethics in journalism with Nancy.


After, we moved next door for a shrimp po’ boy at EaT: An Oyster Bar, which totally hit the spot, but for some reason I didn’t take a photo. Perhaps I was too embroiled in a conversation about husbands we love (ie, our own). Then I bid the lovely Nancy adieu, and headed to the Pearl District for some gelato at Mio Gelato. I sampled the seasonal red plum but was feeling less virtuous so ordered a “bambino” of dolce di latte.


What a day—beautiful blue skies, sunshine—a perfect afternoon for spending a few relaxing hours in Portland.

Best Cup of Coffee in the Northwest?

In Drink on June 2, 2009 at 1:48 pm
Coffee beans from Ristretto Roasters in Portland, Oregon.

Coffee beans from Ristretto Roasters in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Jackie Danicki.


Easy. That would be Ristretto Roasters in Portland, Oregon. The beguiling Nancy Rommelmann and heartthrob husband, Din Johnson, brew the Northwest’s best cuppa—so deemed by Roadfood authors Jane and Michael Stern in their latest book, 500 Things To Eat Before It’s Too Late: and the Very Best Places To Eat Them (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June, 2009). As my friend Hillary points out, that’s kinda like being the best lobster in Maine. So cool, Nancy and Din!!! If you are in Portland, get thee to Ristretto’s new Williams Street café! Otherwise, I highly recommend ordering a pound or two of beans online by clicking HERE. I’m a big fan of their Ethiopian Harar, but am dying to try the Mexican Oaxaca Organic. Check out these killer photos by Ristretto barista Dylan Long:


Friday Follies: Uniform Appeal

In Fashion, Film on April 17, 2009 at 7:50 am

Friday Follies [n., pl.] postings on Fridays about fashion and food in film from guest bloggers with impeccable taste.


It’s 1979, and I am in private school in New York City. So is Tracy, the character Mariel Hemingway plays in the movie Manhattan. Hemingway is a year older than me, taller, richer, and she’s starring in a Woody Allen movie. I, a want-to-be actress, am green with envy. She and Allen have dinner at Elaine’s! They ride through Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage! Tracy’s clothes are crisp and perfect; she’s going to study at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts; she lives in a doorman building on Gramercy Park, for god’s sake! I see the movie twice, to wallow in the iconography and privilege.

Fast forward to last month, when knocked up with a cold, I use Netflix on-demand. Oh, there’s Manhattan! I start the film… there they are in Elaine’s… and on the carriage ride… and in bed in Allen’s apartment, where he’s kvetching about the rent, when it strikes me (as it never did before) that the seventeen-year-old, doe-skinned Tracy is having sex with Woody Allen. No offence but… gross. I also notice that her clothes, which once seemed the epitome of WASP tailoring, in fact are: they’re dreadful. Standing in the lobby of her building in the film’s final scene, Hemingway wears a bulky blazer that would have fit her grandfather, and a sort of Brooks Brothers sack skirt. Who would commit this crime of fashion against a lanky young girl, but someone with a need to cut off her beauty at the knees when he realizes he cannot possess it? But of course, Allen worships Tracy much more than that, and gives her the last word. “Not everybody gets corrupted,” she tells him, his smile going rubbery with adoration. “You have to have a little faith in people.” Gershwin violins, up! Cue Manhattan skyline!

As every other person who’s seen the movie has always known, I was not wrong about Manhattan’s enchantment, I’d simply transferred it to Hemingway. And really, has there ever been a more glamorous shot than Allen and Diane Keaton sitting, as dawn breaks, beneath the 59th Street Bridge? —Nancy Rommelmann

Nancy Rommelmann has written for numerous publications including the LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Magazine, and Bon Appétit. She is also a contributor to LA Observed, and the author of three books, including New York Times Bestseller The Real Real World, which she co-wrote with Hillary Johnson.


THE FOODINISTA’S NOTE: Nancy’s husband, Din Johnson, is owner of Ristretto Roasters in Portland, Oregon. Their coffee ROCKS! Check out their newest Williams Street location the next time in you’re in Portland—amazing space.

For previous FRIDAY FOLLIES, click HERE.