Dan behind the camera; me behind the counter.
Our middle son, Dan, is in film school and is deeply involved in a lighting course right now. One of his assignments was to light a story that he concocted using multiple shots. He asked if MD and I would star in the story. I said we would, but only if he got the use of one of the high-priced cameras at the school and filmed me making a Cafe Americano that I could post on YouTube and attach to this blog. It seems as if I’m constantly referring to Cafe Americano, which is my favorite way to drink coffee, so I thought it would be nice to be able to show how to make it.
Dan agreed to incorporate Cafe Americano into the story that he had written, came to the house tonight, set up all the lights, and we did the entire shoot in about an hour and a half. God only knows how it’s going to come out when edited.
Here are a few stills that MD took as the Cafe Americano part of the entire fiasco was being filmed.
Trying to get the porta filter into the espresso maker.
The process from the back side.
As soon as Dan gets the whole shebang edited, I’ll upload it to YouTube (assuming I can figure out how to do so) and post it here.


  1. Looks to me like the door opening leading to the garage should be raised and fitted with an 8′ model door(+/-) to match the kitchen.
    Ah, that’s the price one pays for having a shlock remodeler.  Maybe at some point I can get him to come back and make it right.


  2. What we won’t do for our kids eh? Looks like your son is taking his project seriously and it’s nice he remembered home is where you can always count on help.
    He took the project very seriously.  I spent at least a couple of hours setting up all the lights and who knows how much time loading them into his car and dragging them here from school then schlepping them back.  Now he’s deep into editing the thing.  I’m curious to see how it’s going to come out since it was all done more or less spontaneously.

  3. I love an Americano! I can’t wait to see it. Excuse me for being so blunt, and not that your posed pub photos are bad, but you look very handsome in the candid shots!
    Hi AT22–
    It took me over an hour to pick from the almost 400 candid still shots to find the few that made me look so.

  4. Heaven forbid, Dr Mike, we wouldn’t want you looking like that picture of John Edwards you had in one of your previous posts. Did you spend much time primping your hair?
    Most of my attention was focused on your glass-fronted fridge. I wish my kitchen were big enough for one of those.
    Speaking of hair, did you see this about how much money Edwards spends on his?
    Hi Esther–
    I spent all of about three seconds primping my hair as should be obvious from the look of it; that’s one of the few things George Bush and I have in common: we don’t spend a lot of time fixing our hair before the camera.
    Here’s a link to a funny YouTube showing the difference between Bush and Edwards in preparing their hair for the camera.
    I loved the following quote from the link you sent about Edward’s haircuts. Apparently when in New Hampshire he gets his tresses sheared for

    $225 in services from the Pink Sapphire in Manchester, New Hampshire, which is described on its Web site as “a unique boutique for the mind, body and face” that caters mostly to women.

    As to the glass fronted fridge…if MD had her way, you could have it. It came with the house when we bought it, and she hates it. She says it looks great, but is totally impractical. I love it because I don’t have to open it to see what’s inside; she hates it because anyone who comes over can do the same. She also doesn’t like it because there is no storage for condiments inside the door.
    It also just dawned on MD that I was posting pics of our actual house on my blog. She wants me to make sure everyone knows that the state of mess was because everything was moved around to accommodate the setup for the shoot and all the lights.

  5. Tell MD no worries about the state of the kitchen, one of my first thoughts was that I hoped she didn’t mind the mess that was being made because of everything being moved around. I know that it would have driven me crazy. As for the glass-front fridge, I can really see her point but on the other hand, something like that might encourage hubby to take a good look before running to me that he can’t find whatever it is he’s looking for and I have to go pull it out from where it’s sitting which, of course, was right in front of him the whole time.
    That’s a funny clip! I’ve seen one of just Edwards (I had it in mind when I made my tongue-in-cheek comment about your hair primping) but that one of Bush and Edwards and the flashing of stuff like “meat” and “tofu” was just priceless. I was rather startled by Bush flipping the finger at the end, though.
    The finger flipping shows that at least Bush has a sense of humor. I don’t know if the same can be said of Edwards.
    Just in case you haven’t seen it, here’s my earlier post with the YouTube of Edwards primping set to a different tune. Hilarious.

  6. I noticed the glass-front fridge, too. I love the idea, but fear having my fridge contents on display, too. And I still don’t think it would help my husband at all with his acute case of “refrigerator blindness”. You know, the syndrome where he “looked and looked” for something, insisted we didn’t have it, even if I can blindly describe exactly where it is. Then I open the door and point it out right in front of the fridge at chest height. But I still need him to open the jar lids now and then, so I don’t make a big deal of this to him directly :-).
    And I thought your kitchen displayed a very good sense of purpose. Enough misc stuff to know that real people live there, real cooks prepare real meals, and that it isn’t a “show-off” kitchen just to impress the neighbors or real estate agents (so many really are huge fancy rooms for the microwave) . Sure I love the look of sweepingly bare countertops as much as anyone, but I hate to cook in a kitchen where I have open umpteen cabinet doors/drawers just to make salad dressing because nothing is handy.
    Looking forward to seeing the Americano video. I’ll confess, I drink Americanos all the time (when I met my husband he made his espresso coffee on the stove with a Mokka, which is now relegated to the camping equipment), but we have an automatic espresso machine that does all the work for us. We call it the Italian PMS Princessa. When she works, she makes excellent espresso and Americanos. When her gears are out of sorts, we are despondent. The repair can take months.
    Hi Anna–
    We use an Athena Barrista machine that we got from Starbucks about three years ago.  It has worked without a hitch since.  Apparently Starbucks no longer makes them (or has them made for them), but before they quit selling them we got three.  We have one for our housein Tahoe, one for Santa Barbara and one that we had in our place in Santa Fe before we sold it.  Now that one is a spare, but we’ve never needed it because the other two have worked so flawlessly.  I think the machines retailed for about $400, but we bought all of them during sales and paid about $200 for each.  Best investment we ever made.
    Starbucks now sells the Barrista (not the Athena Barrista), which works a little differently I think.  Maybe someone out there can provide a review of it.
    I would bet that the Athena Barrista could be bought on eBay from time to time if anyone wants one.

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