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Food Gal Giveaway — Luxe Ferrari-Red Espresso/Beverage Maker

I like to call this the Ferrari of coffee makers because of the sleek, 125-mph metallic color. Can’t you imagine yourself test-driving this baby in your own kitchen?

One of you will get the chance to do just that because Food Gal is giving one lucky person the gift of a new Kaldi single-beverage system by the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. It’s valued at $149. How’s that for a contest to perk you up on a Monday morning?

You can make espresso, brewed coffee, tea and other specialty beverages just by inserting a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf capsule in the machine. The Kaldi has a twin pressure system, so that you get high pressure to create the crema on an espresso, and lower pressure for brewed coffee and tea. The machine, which can accommodate a variety of mug sizes, comes with a sampler pack of 12 capsules containing coffee, tea and espresso.

Contest: Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight March 19. Winner will be announced March 21.

How to win?

Just tell me about an experience, in which coffee never tasted quite so good.

Here’s my own: “Growing up in San Francisco, with its notorious fog, you always took your chances when it came to watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. Would the skies be clear or not? It was always a gamble. When I was in high school, one of my best friends and I decided to brave the elements and the throngs to watch the fireworks go off over the Bay from the Marina Green. We got there hours early to stake out a spot. Smarter souls had come prepared with blankets to wrap themselves in, while we buttoned up our jean jackets and stuck our hands deep in our pockets to ward off the brutal wind-chill. It was all worth it,though, as the skies lit up over us in a dazzling display. Afterward, cold to the bone, we started to walk back to the car, which was blocks and blocks away. We both spied the coffee shop at the same time and ducked in immediately, ordering enormous lattes to go. I took a sip and felt the welcome warmth travel from my lips down my throat to my stomach to even my toes. At that moment, it was the most welcome coffee I had ever had. And it sure made for a convenient  hand warmer, too, as we continued our trek back to the car.”

Winners of the other Contests: In last week’s first contest, I asked you to tell me about a woman in the food world — living or deceased — whom you admire. The winner will receive a copy of “Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef” (Random House) by Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune restaurant in New York.

Congratulations go to:

Kathy at Panini Happy, who wrote: “I can already tell that my daughter will be the woman who will inspire me most in my life. She thinks –- knows -– she can do anything and she wants to try everything. When her first try doesn’t work out she tries again, and again and again. She takes the time to laugh at silly things and isn’t afraid to just ‘let it out’ when things are tough. My little girl is just 3 years old but she teaches me great new lessons every day.”

In last week’s second contest, I asked you to tell me what your favorite flower is and why. Three winners will each receive a pair of multi-day passes to the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, March 23-27, at the San Mateo Event Center. This was an especially tough contest to judge because there were so many memorable answers.

Congrats go to:

1) Karen, who wrote, “My Dad hid Lily of the Valley under a boxwood shrub in our garden when I was growing up. He was a Yugoslavian immigrant, in a union railroad job with a degree in Horticulture, raising a family and an amazing and special garden in Spokane. I can still remember laying next to the shrub fascinated by delicate bell shaped flowers with the wonderful fragrance. They seemed like something from a story book. It felt like I got into their world. I spent time with them everyday, never picking them. I’m 45 now, and this memory holds for over 40 years. I have since learned that this flower is important in Yugoslavia. All the more reason for it to be special.”

2) Emily C., who wrote: “The beautiful California Poppy. As a child hiking with my father, the brilliant orange color of the poppy stood out to me. These bright flowers bring back memories of taking a leisurely post dinner stroll on the trail near my home, or embarking on hour long hikes in the hills of northern California — something I miss everyday since I left for college in Chicago, IL. The radiant gold poppy set on its distinct green leaves brings me back home.”

3) Michelle D., who wrote: “A rainbow mix of NASTURTIUMS. It was the first flower seed that I sowed as a child. It’s the ultimate self esteem plant because it never fails to grow despite poor soil and forgetfulness. Nasturtiums were also the first flowers I used in food preparation (if you could call it that) First they graced elaborately shaped mud pies and eventually, some years later, found their way into real edible summer salads and horti-centric garden party cocktails.”

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