My dream has always been to own a coffee house that is also a used book store. You know, when this journalism thing is over, which, if the economy continues as it does, may be soon. Too soon. Anyway, I've always enjoyed coffeehouse culture -- solitude without being alone and a chance to leave behind my messy pad to read a book in the order and relative cleanliness of the corner shop. So a few months back, perhaps, I made a symbolic first step toward that during a visit to Ikea. That's where I picked up this little gadget known as the Produkt. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10076320
It's a $1.99, battery-powered milk frother and for the first time today I pulled it out of its package and tried it out. The frother milk steamer with almond syrup was terrific. And et me just say, the almost cafe au lait was picture perfect as it grew from a half cup of warmed milk to a full cup of milk topped with gorgeous fluffy froth. And tasted every bit as good as The Mermaid, as we call Starbucks in our house. Or any coffeehouse, really. And I think, after a single use, I probably made my money back, though I wish it wasn't battery powered. And Food Network star Alton Brown would probably slap my hand for having a unitasker in the kitchen. But at a foot long and lean, it's easy to store and simple to clean. If I master frothing, I figure I'm one step closer to becoming my own barista.