Review: Siphon Coffee at All Chocolate Kitchen

My favorite local non-dinner spot is All Chocolate Kitchen in Geneva. It is my Heaven on Earth – a place dedicated to chocolate. Good, dark, beautiful, orgasmic, European chocolate. And don't forget about gelatos. They make everything in house, there is always something new to try (like the three new additions to the Aroma line for fall, of course they had to come home with me).

In 2012, Chef Roby introduced us – mere mortals – to Siphon Coffee. Terry and I have been dying to try it even since, but since it is quite an elaborate presentation have not been able to do it until a couple of weeks ago. Terry had a day off and our first order of business was Siphon Coffee.

By the time we made it over to All Chocolate Kitchen (or ACK for the locals), it was around lunch time so we also ordered a linguette, a hand tossed pizzette that they make in-house. One is enough for two, they serve it on a special long wood cutting board, cut into triangles.

The Magic of Trees

After last winter I decided that I hate all seasons but summer. Of course if I lived in a warm climate I would not have that reaction. But after spending six months shoveling snow into piles higher than my SUV, who would blame me?

The only positive thing about Fall are my maple trees in the back. They pretty much go through the rainbow: from bright green to light green to yellow to light orange, then deep orange then red then burgundy and finally purple before they drop overnight. Last saturday was especially beautiful in early evening: we were out on the deck grilling ribs, the sun was just starting to set and the trees were just magical.  Even the swamp looked pretty. For a little while I loved Fall, but then the cold wind blew and reminded me of upcoming snow and I wished I was back on the beach.

Excerpt from The Family Girl

Chapter 24

It was past midnight when father and daughter finally went to bed. Frank stayed up a little longer watching Cheers reruns on TV, and Catalina took a hot bath for another half an hour or so. As she finally slipped between the cool Egyptian cotton sheets, she checked her Beretta under her pillow and stashed her phone next to it. She fell asleep immediately, her hand still resting on her gun. ‘Sleeping with one eye open’ Frank called it. She called it ‘staying alive’. The house finally went dark closer to two a.m.

The ice-cold tentacles of danger started deep in her stomach and slowly proceeded to slither up toward her spine. They only managed to get to her lower spine, when Catalina’s eyes flew open. Something was off. She stayed down in bed, fully alert, not moving, listening… Nothing. Quiet. But the danger kept creeping up her spine, its tentacles spreading into her organs, chilling them as they moved upward. Her phone, stashed under her pillow, vibrated. The vibration had a certain rhythm, one of several assigned to the house alarm system. This particular one indicated a breach. Someone was here.

Announcing: The Family Girl, a novel

Cover for The Family Girl
Ice-cold assassin Catalina Bennett wants a Fabergé egg. A CIA funded venture-capital investment firm wants to get the mysterious product they’ve been funding. Mother, Catalina’s handler, wants her dead. CIA operative Jim Campbell wants to catch her. And all her father Frank, a retired assassin, wants is for his daughter not to shoot his neighbors.

The Family Girl introduces Catalina Bennett as one of the deadliest and most effective assassins in the world, bred to kill by a quiet and secluded Sicilian Famiglia. Her success is illustrated by an extensive collection of art and Christian Louboutin shoes.

Her latest job seemed like an easy way to procure a fabulous Fabergé egg for her extensive collection, but Catalina ended up opening Pandora’s Box when she learned that the mark was an asset for ICtech, a venture-capital investment firm funded by the CIA. Soon she is on the run, being hunted by the veteran intelligence agent, Jim Campbell.

She takes refuge with her father in the suburbs of Chicago, and discovers that dealing with the neighbors can be just as dangerous as dodging bullets. Using her network of connections, spearheaded by the imposing Eddie Washington – her childhood friend turned arms dealer – Catalina begins putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Her journey takes her from Chicago to New York, Washington D.C., and finally Miami, where she aims to settle all her affairs… or go out with a bang.

Available in paperback and e-pub: Amazon, iBooksGoogle Play, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Blio


"Once it's all done, you're going to crash," said my dad. We were talking about me running full throttle for the past several weeks, and unable to sleep. I just crashed today.

The stars aligned a certain way for me in September, when several major projects came to fruition. One of them was years in the making. I was excited, yet completely freaking out. And I worked non-stop around the clock for several weeks, I have not done that in a really long time. Being a mom and working from home, I try really hard to separate my mom time and my work time. But these past weeks, my two worlds collided, my work taking over. Even though the projects started at different times, they all ended at the same time, just a couple of days apart. And so here I am, sitting at my desk, looking at a pile of next projects, yet unable to pull them over to start working on them. Dad was right, I did crash. I feel spent, drained of all creativity. Empty.