2006.06.11

Musubi, again

As Jim commented more than a couple months ago (but still on the front page! I am so lame!), there’s a new Hawaiian restaurant in Wallingford, and it makes a beautiful spam musubi — my new favorite in Seattle! Hawaiian Breeze makes them perfectly-formed and plump, with a great balance between spam and rice, crispy, high-quality nori, and just a touch of sauce. Yummy! Their BBQ shortribs feature a very flavorful, savory-sweet glaze, and loco moco is just wonderful, if you’re a fan — dense, beefy patty and tasty gravy (though honestly, I do prefer my eggs more on the runny side). So quiet, though — I fret about their long-term prospects. So please! Go and eat, you’ll be happy. (oh, Miranda, you would so fall in love, I just know it!)


Ashamed to admit it, but Just sat through all of The Perfect Man. Yuck! Can’t anyone make a good romantic comedy anymore??

(and why am I doing this to myself instead of going to SIFF?)


2006.06.17

The haberdasher’s wife

Vox (the new project from the folks behind TypePad, Moveable Type and LiveJournal) looks really neat, to the point that I think I would move over there on a trial basis if I ever got the ability to post. Not that I’ve done a very good job here! But I’m a sucker for new toys.


Finished Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World — read the last page over a plate of homemade loco moco, yum — and as the unnamed stranger who bought me the book noted, it is a hell of a novel. Thank you!


Off to China for three weeks very, very soon. I hear the weather is awful this time of year! Fretting over packing.


2006.06.19

re: redux

Yay! I’ve been upgraded, thanks to Jim!

Funny thing is, my mind was full of ideas for my first post last night, when I had no idea whether I’d ever be upgraded to a standard account. Now, though, my mind’s a complete blank. Recalling a night full of bizarre dreams whose details have left me behind, I suppose, like the anonymous narrator in Hard-Boiled Wonderland, I’ve allowed all of it to dissipate into thin air.

Still! I’ll find something to write about here. if nothing else, I’m really in love with the user interface for writing posts. we’ll see how it goes.


vox

Where’s yukino? For now, she’ll be posting at:

vox.

Sightless

Driving around Seattle can be a scary proposition when you’ve got only one working windshield wiper, and it’s not the one on the driver’s side. on the other hand, I’ve learned a lot about the miracle product called Rain-X, which has made my rainy-day commutes significantly more survivable. Oh! To live and work in a city with mass transit again.

I’ve got one week left before leaving for China for a few weeks. Does anyone who’s been following SIFF have any recommendations for a last-minute bonbon?


Alas, Fork

Apparently, Fork Restaurant in Capitol Hill will be closing this Friday, due to Scott Simpson’s health problems. Which makes me a sad panda, because Fork is one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to in Seattle, and still largely unknown barely five months after opening. Enjoyed a wonderful prix fixe dinner there on Valentine’s Day amidst the Shkurkin murals of Russian fairytales*, and having heard from friends of some of the “new American” à la carte fare, such as lobster corn dogs and risotto poppers, I’ve really been looking forward to going back. Unfortunately, it looks like this week or bust; alas, & sic transit gloria.

* fork is in the old Bacchus space but kept its beautiful, historic decor.


2006.06.20

Fan death

As long as I can remember, my mom’s been telling me that falling asleep in the same room as a running fan could make a person very ill, if not kill her. As backup she would always bring up the case of my oldest maternal uncle, who supposedly fell into a deadly fever after exposure to a running fan through the night. Or perhaps he was nearly swept out to sea. Whatever! The point is that I’ve had this phobia of electric fans following me my whole life, and my friends think I’m crazy for it. Fortunately, I don’t tell anyone that I still suffer panic attacks if I wake up in a room with a running fan. Or perhaps it’s cute instead of insane?

Why do I love Wikipedia? Because they have a whole article on “fan death,” confirming that I’m crazy. But not! And also, apparently, that most of this crazy is limited to Koreans. Well! If being able to enjoy kalbi and bibimbap are the perquisites of a life lived in fear of indoor comfort, so be it. Small price to pay!

Just so you know, this comes the closest to describing my irrational fear:

If the fan is put directly in front of the face of the sleeping person, it will suck all the air away, preventing one from breathing.
Sound ridiculous when it’s written out like that, doesn’t it? Although my favorite quote from the article is:

In summer, mainstream Korean news sources regularly report on cases of fan death, even if more likely causes (e.g. heart attack, gunshot, alcohol poisoning) are evident.
Gunshot??

2006.06.21

The oldest thing I own

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I love reading about everyone’s old things. What a great question of the day!

In my dreams, my home is full of ancient relics, a museum wonderland tour of human history. I’m an antiquarian at heart (or perhaps simply yearning to live out a childhood fantasy out of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler), but sadly, my (current) oldest possessions in reality are firmly modern — my father’s old Leica IIIf, from the mid-fifties, or ancient volumes of Gide and Omar Khayyam, picked up at secondhand shops but certainly no older than 1940.

But oh! To have an antique saltcellar, a cake of ambergris, a bottle of Pernod Fils. An astrolabe! Someday, someday…


I’ve got $10,000 and an hour

I have no idea, but I’d probably fix my windshield wipers.

2006.06.22

How many?

Haven’t cooked nearly enough lately, so i think I’ll opt out of today’s qotd. Though i do make a mean maple-ginger glazed salmon, or so I’ve been told.

How many outfits? I’m very nervous about my upcoming trip. Three weeks! I can’t remember the last time I took such an extended voyage. I’ve no idea how to pack for such a thing — pack for heat, they say, but don’t forget to pack for cold too! Will I be able to launder there? J tells me that in China it’s often easier and cheaper to just buy new clothes when the old stuff gets dirty than it is to wash. I find this kind of advice very intimidating.

Am living a paradox as far as preparedness goes. The Rough Guide to China and Fodor’s Hong Kong are already being devoured in earnest; I love travel guides and maps, love the smell and feel of discovery by paper and the opportunity to meet a place in the flesh already feeling like an old friend. I remember my Rough Guide to Egypt (heart Rough Guides above all others), already dog-eared and read cover-to-cover twice before I’d even set foot in that ancient kingdom, maps covered in tentative, often revised, footpaths of pencil. Checkpoints every half hour. But this time I’m at a bit of a loss: though Hong Kong is free for exploring, China will be fully chaperoned — no room for wandering off the trail. Haven’t even had a chance to (or perhaps have chosen not to) learn the itinerary to see which locales will be hit, though one can only assume the biggies: Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai… in such a huge country, i thought it best to let others run the logistical hurdles. but now am feeling pangs of regret at not being able to plan the ins and outs of the trip myself.

Calm down and let it flow, she says, my better judgment. It’s out of your control, and if you forget something, well, that’s another adventure for the memoirs. but all I can do is think: How many outfits?

2006.06.24

Sortie

…and we’re off! Wish me fun!

2006.06.26

Kowloon

Scar

This painting hangs in the hotel room in Kowloon. I find it relentlessly unsettling.

Food here is really, really good. It kind of makes you forget that it’s such a sauna outside, that the simple act of walking bleeds out any nourishment received while eating. Thus the routine becomes one of walking between restaurants & sampling the goods. But I’ve a feeling that this is how one best experiences Hong Kong.

Today was footing it between Tsim Sha Sui and Mongkok, eating dim sum and fruit desserts (I’m in love with the mangoes here — so good!). I’ll admit to browsing the clothing racks too. Kowloon is very much urban — at least along Nathan Road, there was no evidence of vegetation and a solid sea of high rises blocked any view of the gau lung (nine dragons) which give the peninsula its name. Amazing how very much New York City’s chinatown really replicates the feeling of this place! It’s uncannily similar. Am looking forward to visiting Hong Kong Island or the New Territories (tomorrow’s goals are Sai Kung and Lantau Island’s Big Buddha), where supposedly nature is still much in evidence.

And just so you know it’s still me writing —  McDonald’s report. Have not had the opportunity to sample any of the local dishes, but in addition to containing intriguing-looking dishes like Korean BBQ flatbread and a breakfast ham-and-egg burger, the menu contains something called a Chicken Fan-tastic sandwich. which, if you know any Cantonese at all, has probably already brought an image to your mind. Simply put, it’s a chicken sandwich with glutinous rice patties instead of buns. Longtime readers will recognize this as a Neon Epiphany no-brainer, and we’ll certainly bring you a report on this important taste sensation as soon as humanly possible.


Name the Korean film star

2006/06/26 Who is this?Oh, and before I forget: they were shooting a movie or something on Nathan Road, near Mongkok. I’ve seen my share of Korean film, but I’ve no idea who this is. Celebrity encounters are no fun without names! Help me out?


2006.06.27

Fan-tastic

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You were waiting for it, right? McDonald’s trip report!

The lovely item pictured above is the Chicken Fan-tastic. The first thing you’ll notice is the packaging, which resembles a large fry cup, sealed on both ends. the sandwich is removed by pulling on a tear strip about a third of the way down, which leaves you with a convenient carry-and-eat case. As you might be able to tell by looking at the photos, McDonald’s has succeeded in making the “official” menu pictures of these sandwiches frightneningly unappealing. Too much texture, I think.

The formed-rice “buns” are savory and surprisingly unmessy, Imagine grilled patties of mushroom risotto and you’ll have the general idea. The Chicken Fan-tastic contains a battered breast filet with a strongly seasoned crust, as well as mayonnaise and lettuce. At times the flavors of rice and batter come in conflict, but overall — moderately tasty. The beef version contains slices of beef and grilled onions in “teriyaki” sauce, though I use scare quotes because I couldn’t taste much flavor from inside the sandwich at all. Here the strong flavor of the rice patties are deifnitely a minus.

(Incidentally, two sandwiches is a bit much. The rice makes these much heavier than your average bun-equipped fast food sandwich. Am recommending finding a group of like-minded adventurers if you want to try both…)

Anyway! Fans of onigiri and omusubi probably need no further convincing. But i think the real winner here was the small Nestea honey pear iced tea with which i washed down my bites of sandwich. I detest normal lemon Nestea, but this flavor was super-yummy. If only we had it stateside!

As an aside, McDonald’s in Hong Kong also has a “grilled chicken burger” on the menu, which turns out to be a sandwich containing Cantonese soy sauce chicken breast, complete with skin. It looked really good, but I wasn’t equipped to give it a try. I may even have exhausted my tolerance for fast food this trip, so unless there’s special demand, we’ll end here.

Tomorrow: off to the mainland. Expect internet access to sporadic at best, so please don’t worry if I disappear for a bit. Drop me a line so I won’t be lonely when I log in, okay?

(more photos after the break)
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