A couple of weeks ago, a fellow Tampa Blogger, Leslie from The Hungry Housewife posted on facebook an upcoming Foodie Feed Up event in Tampa.
NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto was hosting 8 Foodie Feed Ups around the country for bloggers to check out some of their local chefs’ favorite dishes and also try their yummy new coffee line and they were coming to Tampa.
They’ve already hit up Cleveland and New York City; by the time they came to Tampa and next up, they were headed to Chicago, Seattle, Houston, LA and Denver.
Five fellow bloggers along with myself jumped at the chance to experience this affair at Restaurant BT on a quiet Monday night.
This was a great opportunity for me. Tampa unfortunatly is not a mecca for food bloggers. So these type of events are very rare to begin with. I was going to meet other food bloggers (yeah!) and get to sample some food from a local restaurant.
Not a bad thing to do, after a long day at work, if you ask me.
After a short drive and a quick park, I was greated into this quiet, intimate Restaurant.
With a very modern décor, Restaurant BT makes you feel like you are in a hip restaurant in NYC. And I really like that, the cozy feel offers an intimate food experience. It’s also a restaurant that Chef B.T. Nguyen runs by offering local organic ingredients.
We were treated to a sampling of five mini courses all with Vietnamese and French influences. Octopus carpacio, spring rolls, samosas and a butternut soup with lobster were highlighted with different wine pairings and beautiful presentations.
We were also invited to a demonstration in the kitchen to see chef B.T. whip up the restaurant most requested dish – Shaking beef. And boy was there a-lot of shaking going on.
There was seasoning, and prep work
A couple turns of firepower at the stove
And a nice flourish ball of fire
Which gave us a great tasting dish…
The meal ended with a trio of desserts -Toasted coconut ice cream, Banana tapioca and Chocolate mouse.
And while we were eating our sweet treats, Jan, the product demonstrator from Nescafe showed us this awesome little machine that could.
Make coffee that is.
I got to tell you, I’m a huge snob when it comes to coffee. I love my coffee, but I love it coming from a big, coffee fancy machine, one that had enough pressure to make a great cup of espresso (my coffee of choice) and when I fancy more a good crema layer.
What I don’t like from those fancy machines is the price that one of those cups of coffee will go for. For years I have been trying to find a solution to this by having a home coffee maker - with no luck. Unless I pluck down lots of “mula” for one of those fancy, small coffee makers, I needed to stick to my old, Italian stovetop machine.
So, when I walked in and saw Nestcafe set-up I thought, here we go, there is no way this cute, little machine is going to give us a good espresso cup, let along produce any type of good crema layer for any cappuccino.
The demo was done using the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio machine, which is one of their new products – with a 15-bar pressure system (similar to coffeehouse machines) they assure you that your cup of java will have prefect foamy froth, rich crema and luxurious flavor.
Uh, yeah – bring it.
Going around the room, you could see the other bloggers debating on the drink they wanted. I got to be honest even for me, it was hard to choose from the different variety of drinks that Nescafe offered - Mocha, Choccocino, Caramel Latte Macchiato, Cappuccino, Ice Tea, and espresso to name of few, you can find more of their flavors here.
But, at the end, for me it was a no brainer. I just had some very rich food, with luscious dessert; the only way to end this meal was going to be with a cup of rich, dark espresso.
Jen, showed us how simple the machine was to use. You fill up the removable water tank with cold water straight from the tap and switch the machine on. Insert a coffee capsule into the holder, adjust the lever to customized you coffee’s strength and mixture and then click the lever to on and hot coffee appears in two or three seconds. If you are making a drink that involves using both a milk and a coffee capsule you just discard the first capsule and insert the second one and repeat.
While I was waiting, the tantalizing smell of brewing coffee filled out space.
So far so good I thought.
I had not finish my thought that my coffee was right in front of me. Couple of dashes of sugar, a quick little stir and a long sip to taste.
And I’m a believer!
Guys! Oh boy…the taste was incredible. Just like a barista made espresso. I was hooked!
I loved how easy it was to make something so lavish. The machine was tons of fun to watch, and the best part of all, I got to walk away with my very own Dolce Gusto Piccolo. I did not know this prior to attending the event, and it was quite the pleasant surprise. After watching this little machine in action, I was thrilled. I can’t wait until she arrives and I finally get to tell my cafeteria lady to take a hike.
You can find other recaps of the event from my fellow bloggers:
- Lynn from Table Scraps
- Denise from Run DMT
- Tracy from My other City by the Bay
- Kelly from Kelly Noel Photography
- Jodi from Tampabaywinewoman
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Foodie Feed-Up event to learn more about Nescafe Dolce Gusto. While there, we were treated to food and a cooking demo from Restaurant BT and coffee tastings from Dolce Gusto. Additionally, every blogger was surprised with their own Dolce Gusto machine. All opinions about the coffee, event and food are 100% my own.