Lays is a loaded word


Listen, I know the bag on the right is the one getting all the attention, but DILL PICKLE LAYS PEOPLE


Overhead Door (35/365)


Just in under the wire. I don’t love it, but I didn’t actually take any other photos with my “good” camera today.

I had a totally romantic, really delicious meal at Poppy today. I can’t believe I’d never been, and I certainly will again. All I have is this terrible picture, but OMG, the duck. Maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten.


(Yes, I’m probably exaggerating, and no, I don’t think that really makes a difference.)

My cocktail was also delicious. It was called a “Six Twenty-Two” and was basically a rhubarb-flavored Manhattan. Did I mention I’m totally into Manhattans lately? I blame Canon, and Gene.




Yes, this is a Jack in the Box bacon milkshake. Yes, I bought and tasted this. For science. You monster.

It was… it was… surprisingly inoffensive! The bacon flavor (provided by Torani syrup, from what I understand) wasn’t particularly fake-tasting, and in fact the whole thing tasted exactly like a Frost smokey bacon maple bar — if said bar were liquified and sucked through a straw, that is. I threw it away after a few sips, but that was for the sake of my diet, not because I was gripped by disgust.

Speaking of disgust: no, I didn’t have a Jumbaco, although I may have had two thirds of a Jumbaco. If anything, that was the mistake of my day.

In related news, yesterday’s Bizarre Foods America was about Seattle. Seattle! I was thinking, how bizarre can you actually get in Seattle? Oh, look, he’s at Marination. Now he’s at the first Starbucks. Tasty, but not especially biz… Aaaand now he’s eating a raw cow placenta. Okay.


Workstation (27/365)



I totally ate this yesterday:


… which is to say, Marination Station (and Mobile) has a new macaroni & cheese, with panko and sesame and gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes). You can even ask them to add Spam, which — of course! — I did. It was super-tasty, and I even scooped a little bit onto my accompanying Spam slider.

This was before Canon (pictured yesterday), so overall it was lovely for a Thursday night.


Today, I’m slightly crushed. I made Meyer lemon bars tonight but Uwajimaya was plum out of Buddha’s hand citron. So no grand experiment this time.


Totoro cake (21/365)


Two days in Canada, lots of eating (as always), and also crazy Chinese New Year craziness. I am so full up on dim sum, KitKats, Tim Horton’s, and Frost Doughnuts for good measure (on the way back), you guys wouldn’t believe. And oh, look! A Totoro cake. The nice bakery lady told me afterwards that I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the pastry cooler.


I still had to post it, though. Hopefully I don’t get in trouble.

We’ll get back to art in the next entry. Meanwhile, I give you this without further comment:



savory ramen


Seen at Renton Uwajimaya:

“Crunchy ramen noodle, onion, garlic and soy sauce flavors blended into premium 53% dark chocolate.”

Oh look, they’re online.

… my one regret is not having bought one. For science.

Update (2012/03/14): They actually taste better than they have any right to! You can tell there’s a current of umami, savory flavor throughout, but it’s not overtly garlicky (which would be terrible) and has a similar effect to sea salt without the crunch — but the crunch is provided by the noodles. It helps that the chocolate itself is obviously high quality.


Sweets and tea (7/365)


Chinese New Year is less than two weeks away, and things seem to be getting into gear. I went to Uwajimaya Bellevue today, which was a madhouse, but managed to pick up a box of these Hsin Tung Yang brand mung bean cakes — a favorite, hard to find during the rest of the year, but today present in plenty and on sale to boot!

More cookie than cake, and more compressed powder than even cookie, they’re sweet and mellow and earthy. You really need to take them with hot green or oolong tea, because they’re very dry, but oh, when you do! Perfect on an otherwise miserable, damp, this-is-not-the-snow-I-was-promised kind of day.


This may also be relevant to your interests: Tako kyuubin was at Uwajimaya today (and for the rest of this weekend and that of the 28th), making fresh takoyaki and taiyaki in-store. I’d already eaten lunch, so I only went for taiyaki today. Truthfully, I usually prefer it crispier, but since I’m used to bungeoppang, I may be missing a cultural difference? Not sure.

Still, just being able to get some fresh-made was very nostalgic. Ever since the Lynnwood Paldo World closed down, I haven’t been able to find fresh-made bungeoppang anywhere! Pointers would be appreciated.

Next time, octopus.


Skillet Diner


Extremely delicious and only slightly perverse at Skillet Diner: veggie burger with bacon jam. So good.

Here’s one of Alicia, possibly experiencing a Whiskey Wednesday induced aneurysm:



Parade, indeed

Today, I tried the Matsuri dog at Gourmet Dog Japon at Pike Place:


… It was a good idea, but too salty. Will definitely try something else next time.

Then I made lamb korma tonight from Salman Rushdie’s recipe in Parade and it was quite good:


But what am I doing reading Parade??

They’re showing a 25th anniversary Les Misérables concert special on PBS. Oh goddess, I’m living through high school again!



If I weren’t creating a portmanteau, the word would mean:

amo·retto (am’ə retō)

noun pl. amoretti -·ret’ti (-retē)

an infant cupid, as in Italian art of the 16th cent.

Four years ago I wrote about how I missed my original ice cream crush, Häagen-Dazs’ Di Saronno Amaretto. Well, it’s back!

Kind of.


The almond ribbon has been replaced with chunks of almond brittle, but the rest is pretty much, wonderfully, the same. I still miss my sticky toffee pudding ice cream, but this’ll do for now, oh yesses.


The salt and the sweet


When writing about Trophy’s strawberry cheesecake cupcakes just two weeks ago I lamented the long-ago disappearance of their farmers market blueberry pie flavor, which I’d sampled (& loved!) back when their Bellevue store first opened.

Well, they’re back.

I know there’s a backlash going on against all the cupcake stores that have been sprouting up recently, and I’ll be the first to admit that there are plenty of flavors Trophy makes which I haven’t enjoyed (“Samoa” was a recent, surprising disappointment), but these are… Well, let me just say there’s blueberry filling inside and the bottom is made of PIE CRUST.

I’ll just let that tickle your synapses for a bit.

Oh, it’s every bit as delicious as it sounds — but totally dangerous, which is why I’m lucky they’re only available seasonally. Both for my pocketbook & my figure!


Blood orange


Who knew??



Still reeling from the dinner I had tonight at Nobu:

  1. Yellowtail sashimi with Jalapeno
  2. Big eye tuna tataki with ponzu
  3. Japanese snapper with dried miso
  4. Black cod with miso
  5. Beef tenderloin with uni butter and fried leeks over confit peruvian new potatoes

… and what sounds mundane was definitely not! This was no normal sashimi, and the black cod was just… amazing.

Also had two different kinds of sake, one of which was listed as such:

Scarlet Ongakushi “Kosho” 10 Years Old - “Aged to classical music.”



Say what you will about her, but Giada De Laurentiis’s orzo salad recipe is a winner every time.


I am legend

As quickly as it came, it went; Good-bye, GNE, sleep well, and Thank You for the best April 1 on record. Sniff.

Took out Alan Moore’s Promethea: Book 1 from the library, even before I’d read a single page of Preacher. I feel like I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but it only seemed appropriate after a night spent dreaming I was a super-powered reincarnation of Cleopatra, fighting terrorists with the ability to see actions as words on a printed page and affect their fates through copyeditor’s marks. Seriously. And! You should have seen it, loves — my costume was amazing, a thing of bronze and silk and leather, full of reptilian ferocity. The Editrix, I think, as a name. Don’t you?

That’s right, I even get to cosplay in my sleep. If that’s not a superpower, I don’t know what is.



I realize the last entry was crying out for a photo, and I was tempted to steal this one from the P-I article I’d linked, but thought better of it. Sadly, my photography has been as absent as my writing, so I’ve none of my own to share. From Samurai, that is. Here’s a little something from another decent ramen restaurant in Bellevue, Mamasan:


Their tonkotsu is decidedly less rich than Samurai’s, but a little more complex. Ginger, probably sake as well. I’ve also heard, from multiple friends, that the Nagasaki champon is where it’s at, but haven’t tried it myself. A warning: there’s a pretty a sketchy vibe if you go  after dinnertime — they’re open late, and the place is filled with Japanese businessmen and eager-to-please waitresses hanging off their sides as they sing karaoke. Eww! And if you decide to brave it anyways (and especially if you’re a woman dining alone), prepare to get a good dose of stinkeye.

On the other hand, lunchtime has always felt pretty safe.

Twilight intervention


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?)


The Fatty Crab

Back in New York, with a seriously flaky internet connection (but yay for a phone that doubles as a bluetooth modem, despite the constant drops), and — a now-slightly-less-flaky stomach!

Had dinner at the Fatty Crab, a Malaysian-inspired eatery in the West Village. Small and uncrowded on a Tuesday night, both the dining room and the dishes were colorful, quirky, and beautiful. Everything was really tasty, but I found myself seduced by the salty-sweet-sour fireworks of the watermelon pickle & crispy pork salad. The fatty duck was nicely seasoned and sat on a bed of surprisingly spicy white rice (only later did I notice thinly-sliced red peppers mixed in). The chili crab was… big, and v. messy. But also good!

Ahem. I’m not really feeling eloquent tonight, so I will just pepper your imaginations with photos:

[Watermelon pickle and crispy pork salad]
[Fatty duck]
[Chili crab]

(…can’t say I’m an expert, but I strongly suspect these dishes sit firmly on the “new wave” end of the authenticity scale!)

Hsiao-Ching Chou’s “You gotta try this” piece in the P-I is mostly old hat, but good lord, does this sound good. And frites! Is there any reason to ever leave Capitol Hill again?


Musubi Musashi

Oh! Spam musubi, how could I have forgotten you? No list of favorite dishes can go without.

Twenty-Five for $25 is over. We’ve now been to over twenty of the listed restaurants (though not all in this month!), so at this rate by the time December rolls around they’ll all have been hit. This March’s biggest hit has to have been Sazerac, whose complimentary corn pan bread was absolutely to die for — so soft, basically corn meal suspended in sweet butter — along with a wonderful entrée in cider glazed pork ribs (plentiful and oh-so-tender) accompanied by tangy green chile posole (if you know me, you know that’s all I had to hear!). Their gumbo was tasty, too, if unconventional; they used duck and other unexpected ingredients in the recipe. As far as gumbo goes, though, BJ’s will always be my first love.

Those who ordered chicken were less enthused, but. I mean, cider glazed pork ribs! They should’ve known better.

Other restaurants this month: Szmania’s (ordered off the regular menu, as I was in the mood for jägerschnitzel; very happy to have done so, though portion size was gargantuan), Nishino (pretty good, but think I’m becoming jaded by pretentious, haute cuisine sushi — give me fresh and simple any day), and Yarrow Bay Grill (everything sampled — calamari, crab cakes, asparagus soup, lamb stew, divers scallops — was quite tasty).

Have discovered Musashi’s in Wallingford, a busy hole-in-the-wall “Japanese diner” (to quote a friend), under weathered purple awning on 45th. Sushi selection is good, if limited; no frills, large cuts of fish, decently fresh. It’s no Shiki, but is decent, filling and cheap: a well-stocked nigiri plate goes for under ten dollars, while plump single pieces go for a buck and a half. Their bento box is even better, also under ten, but my favorite really has to be their onigiri (grilled salmon inside a rice-and-furikake-ball wrapped with nori) — big, tasty, and which give spam musubi competition in the race for best rice-based handheld snack (you get two for $2.75).


And I said what?

I still have these things on the back burner, you see — our night of oysters and ahi* and gravlax, recent restaurant expeditions for Twenty-Five for $25, a story or two… but I’ve been finding myself immersed in Kameo, of all things**. That and fixing up house, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Whisper of the Heart, and Neko Case’s latest lovely, and… well, you get the idea.

Apparently, I am a

according to this. In case you’ve never noticed, I’m totally, irrationally in love with online personality tests. After all, if the internet didn’t tell me who I am, how would I know? And where would I be without all these labels?

You can take the quiz for yourself, or psych me (I have no idea what that means, but apparently you’ll need this receipt: e859946eaaed). Or, you can avoid the madness altogether. I won’t blame you!

Also, if you’re still here, thanks for sticking around. I mean it.

* haven’t fixed up any photos yet, but this was Miranda’s faux wild ginger tuna bruschetta, which was something close to divine. Thanks!!
** … but I’m done now!




Shiki is Seattle’s only restaurant with a fugu license (and in fact, one of only seventeen in the United States — twelve of which are in New York City), but I’d always thought you needed to give them advance notice and it didn’t really matter since everything else on the menu is so good — not much for those seeking fusiony new age rolls but plenty for the purist, with large and oh-so-fresh slabs of melt-in-your-mouth hamachi and toro and salmon — but today’s list of specials included both fugu kara-age and fugu nigiri, and what’s a little risk of death by poison in the name of culinary adventure?

[Fugu nigiri]

Loved the texture of the flesh, which was somewhere between firm fish and clam, something to linger on and really get to know. I can’t really say how much of the flavor was fugu and how much was from the dressing (which was ponzu-like, tataki-style), but all combined it was really yummy.

That’s yubiki (fugu skin salad) garnishing the plate, which was very much like tiny pieces of squid or octopus — also v. tasty!

Honestly, though, I’m generally squeamish about taking risks and was a little bit timid about the whole thing. So there’s a twinge of disappointment that I liked it so much, since I’ll probably crave it again when I go again. Time to get poison control in my phone’s memory, I guess!

Apparently fugu season will be shorter than usual this year due to typhoons, so if you want to try some at Shiki you’d probably better hurry. But you really can’t go wrong with the safe stuff either.

Also: little fried swamp crabs!


Update: for those curious about prices: fugu nigiri was $16 for two healthy-sized pieces, and the kara-age $35 — but figured, as long as I’m going to risk an exciting death in the name of experimentation, it wouldn’t be a breaded and deep-fried one!
As for death-by-fugu, I’m still breathing, though a night of pleasant, warm tingling and slightly worrisome, but possibly imagined twingeing, I can see how fugu can be addictive (but scary!) stuff.

Confidential to Kallie, remember: a little white truffle oil goes a long way. I used a splash in my melted butter when I grilled the sandwiches. Yum!


Here is how we got here

Turner Classic Movies is ringing in the new year with a Miyazaki retrospectiveSpirited Away and Princess Mononoke this Thursday, followed by Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, Whisper of the Heart. Of course, I love every last one of these films, but I wanted to call out the last two — they’re not as well known, but they’re definitely two of my favorites. Also on the slate for January are Takahata’s Only Yesterday and Pom Poko.

Just got Howl’s Moving Castle on disc in Vancouver, too, so this should be a full month of animated goodness. Mmm!

Speaking of goodness, I’m about to do some kitchen experimentation: grilled cheese sandwiches made with Beecher’s Flagship, maybe a splash of white truffle oil. We’ll see how it goes.

Update: sandwiches — best. thing. ever. so good!! the white truffle oil really does it.

Rain and wind on the New Year. I keep smelling phantom wood fires, cinnamon, caramel, cloves — probably memories of the recent spice rack reorganziation. I could make those smells real with a little bit of holiday baking, but I’d rather be huddled here, warm in PJs, blankets on the floor. Spending enough effort practicing, writing “2007” in my new moleskine.

I know I should be out attacking the year afresh, but the year can stand to start tomorrow.

Happy happy, everyone!

Finally, thanks to sugs for passing along a list that must have been compiled just for me:

Lots of pretty, pretty fun there to dive into.


Wining down the year

More snackblogging, because you know you love it. Seriously.

Found at Candyland in Richmond, which once upon a time had the goodness that is green tea KitKats:


These seem to be one in a series of flavors designed by famous confectioners — at least that’s what little I can guess from the packaging. This one’s by Takagi Yasumasa of Le Patissier Takagi, a man I saw on television once, creating amazing-looking desserts en route to getting schooled by Iron Chef Kobe in “Battle Strawberry.”

Inside the box, fifteen or so individually-wrapped packages, each holding a miniature pink bar. The coating is a white chocolate base imbued with wine, a muscat-like flavor that’s subtler but juicier than my previous favorite, strawberry. We’ve gone through half the box already and I wish I’d bought more than the one. *sigh*

They also had white chocolate KitKats, but no sign of green tea or other flavors, a shame since I’d wanted to stock up.

And since I’m all about the green tea, I picked up these McVitie’s miniature green tea digestive biscuits:


They’re good, but very leafy in taste — would go beautifully with a hot cup of genmaicha or barley tea, I think, but not so much for dry snacking.

Also, I meant to mention that in Chicago we found those Lay’s dill pickle potato chips which I’d previously only seen in Canada. No word on nationwide availability, but that’s hope, keep trying!



Happy new year!

More KitKats


Hungary Sweet

Oh! I forgot to mention the bottle of sweet Hungarian paprika I also got during last week’s trip to Penzeys, which I used in goulash today:


Just beef, onions, potatoes, bay leaves, paprika and salt in this. Oh, and egg dumplings, which were sorry & misshapen, but looks aside everything turned out pretty yummy. Am determined to use the whole cumin next — maybe chili…

In other news, New Mexico red chile (or at least whatever’s used at the Santa Fe Café in Phinney Ridge) seems to taste almost exactly like 고추가루. Who knew?


happy unspecified, part two

Whatever you may celebrate during this holiday season, have a happy that… again!

Chicago’s nothing if not a meat town, and lia insists I meatblog while I’m here. Not sure if I have the constitution for it, but here’s a taste:

[Portillo's Italian Beef Sandwich]

Portillo’s Italian Beef — so bad for you, but so good! Yummm.

Also, walking into a Penzeys Spices store is simply heavenly. I had thought LUSH was the best shop-by-nose experience ever, but this has it beaten many times over (plus you don’t get sick of being alive after fifteen minutes inside). Escaped with only some whole cumin & coriander, tellicherry black peppercorns, double-strength vanilla extract and Italian sausage seasoning. Heaven help me if I have time to go back again before flying back to Seattle!

Whenever I come home, I have an overriding urge to try and photograph my mother’s lovely old canvases which hang around the house, but lighting problems and the near-impossibility of shooting glass frames without getting reflections and glare all over everything have always gotten in my way. This year, with a few acrobatic maneuvers (namely, balancing on a chair while trying to shoot from a tripod on top of a table) and a little Photoshop magic, I managed to snap a few acceptable images of some of my favorites, which I’ve assembled into a flickr photoset:

There are a few more I’d like to tackle before I go, and some beautiful pieces which I think are simply too big to capture without a ladder, so this is hardly a complete collection. But I do hope you enjoy them — I’ve never thought there was anything more beautiful I’d want to have hanging on my walls.



Last week, Mixtura, a new Peruvian/Andean restaurant recently opened in the old Szmania’s-Jäger location in Kirkland. While there are three or four entrées on the menu, its emphasis is very much towards small plates — very tapas, heavy on seafood and potatoes. I especially liked one dish, chilled, with creamed blue potatoes, crab meat and smoked salmon, as well as the “lasagna amazonica,” a dessert made of layered pineapple sheets, mascarpone and passionfruit purée. The bread course was tasty quinoa baguettes with a collection of sauces. Our biggest disappointment was that pachamanca, so mouth-wateringly described in the P-I article above, wasn’t actually on the menu.

We met Emmanuel Piqueras after dinner, shorter than expected but still looking every inch the surfer chef — which was very neat. Mixtura is definitely one to try again.

Speaking of which, there’ve been many food adventures I haven’t really talked about here, because, well, I haven’t really been talking much about anything here. Is anyone actually interested?

…and then there was that last dry sunset before the rains, a last hurrah at Discovery Park for the photojunkies, hikers, stargazers before the clouds came back for good. People with telescopes were starting to search for comfortable spots in the clearing, but we’d already camped out at the bluff’s edge, tripods in position, hiding from the wind behind our coats and scarves. All the while the sky danced in brilliant colors before us, while we snapped pictures in short bursts while our hands went from pocketed warmth to numbness. Somewhere out there, I think I realized why I would miss this weather — while Seattle’s perpetual mist is comfortably familiar to me, there’s rarely beauty to be felt in it anymore, and certainly no reason to be standing outside in darkening twilight, getting soaked.

But maybe it’s time to start looking for the sights in-between. It’s too easy to only appreciate life in moments of punctuation, only natural to see things afresh while riding extremes. I mean, how many sunsets were missed because we weren’t about to lose them? And even now, what sits invisible, hidden by routine?

All it takes is the right viewpoint, and maybe some numb fingers*.

* of course, this might have been a contributing factor to why none of my pictures came out. Small price to pay for an epiphany!


Birthday, or the dragon

Quiet birthday yesterday, spent mostly at work. Before that had an expensive present as was forced to replace one fireball-spouting garage dweller with something new and non-lethal. Today I’ve treated myself to Royall Tyler’s new-ish translation of The Tale of Genji and Robert Graves’ of Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars, and I plan to celebrate with a cup of hot tung ting jade and a comfortable seat, and let the dragon sleep.

Lunch this week’s been flavored with spoils from that day-off lunch trip to Salumi (hot sopressata — so yummy). Also, since I know you get all your potato chip-related news here (and you do, don’t lie), I feel I should let you know that Tim’s Cascade has a new, limited-edition* habañero flavor. The flavor is rich, not as bitter as the well-loved jalapeño, with a heat that sneaks in silently. Shared a bag with friends, and the previous consensus favorite (dill pickle) sat unopened and neglected. Seriously, they were that good!

Oh, and should I post more along the lines of “Trilogy”? I mean, since nanowrimo hasn’t been going so well…

* I’ve no idea what this really means, as the wasabi-flavored variety, reported on in January, seems to remain readily available.


Pork buns

[9 Chatham Square]

Okay, totally ignore this entry unless you want to know the secret location of the world’s yummiest Chinese baked pork buns. They’re so good — sweet, soft, filled with a perfect mix of roast pork and caramelized onions. I’ve been grabbing them greedily on my New York visits for years but until now never bothered to get the actual address down so that I could share with others.

So! It’s Chatham Restaurant at 9 Chatham Square, which is Bowery near its intersection with Mott Street in Chinatown. You can’t miss it, it’s the big red awning near the Subway sub shop. Remember, they’re baked — not steamed — so we’re talking doughy rather than fluffy, but trust me on this. You won’t be sorry.

I admit it, I finished Angels & Demons on the plane ride home. It was a light read and it did confirm one thing: that Dan Brown’s writing style improved considerably between this and its sequel. Still, that’s not saying a whole lot. We’re talking huge swaths that read like bad fan fiction:

The Hassassin smirked. He had been awake all night, but sleep was the last thing on his mind. Sleep was for the weak. He was a warrior like his ancestors before him, and his people never slept once a battle had begun. This battle had most definitely begun, and he had been given the honor of spilling first blood.

The writing’s worse, but the story is somewhat better, at least until it all falls apart in the endgame. I enjoyed the fact that we’re finding our heroes looking for answers at an honest-to-goodness library when the doomsday clock is ticking — though it makes me long for an adventure book starring a librarian rather than a “professor of religious symbology,” whatever that means.

I think I’m Dan Browned out for the rest of my life. Jessamyn told me over the weekend that Deception Point was actually a fun read, but it will have to wait. I need to read things where the words are beautiful, at least for awhile.


Umm, dude.

Forget cheesesteaks! There’s a Chick-fil-A here!


The city of

Yes, secret message lovers, I will be in Philly (for the first time ever!) tomorrow, but sadly, it’s only for forty minutes and will probably be spent running in between gates, so it won’t be the most exciting nor culturally fulfilling visit ever — but hmm, can a hungry traveler grab a cheesesteak to go in the terminal?

I don’t know who’s been spreading rumors, but no, I’m definitely not getting married this weekend*. This probably has to do with people getting me confused with Miranda (which seems to happen a lot, oddly enough), but this happy news belongs to her, and lovely, joyous occassion indeed — mazel tov & much love, you two!

* I am, however, very amused.


Kitchen therapy

[Pasta Experiment, a.k.a. Kitchen Therapy]

As promised:

1 tin of sardines, packed in water, crumbled
2 oz capers
4 cloves minced garlic
chopped parsley
white truffle olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
3 servings of pasta (I used spaghetti)

Quick, and tasty, despite my ham-handed kitchen technique. I think I’d have preferred a wetter sauce, both to suspend the capers (which tended to fall to the bottom of the dish & are essential to the flavor, I think) and to help with the texture, which was a bit dry. So next time, a little more oil (though probably not all truffle), and maybe some grated parmesan or romano. Also, tinned sardines crumble really easily — originally I sauteed the garlic, sardines, parsley and capers at the beginning but I think I’d reserve half the sardines in larger pieces to garnish the pasta once served, to get a more solid fish texture into the dish.

So it wasn’t perfect, but! Everyone posts perfect recipes — I thought I’d post a work in progress. After all, it was yummy, and therapeutic! the best kind of dinner. :)

(also, thanks for all your kind comments, as always — love to you all.)


Making frites

[Making frites]

Dug this one out of the archives, where that expanse of white shirt-back kept getting in the way of any appreciation I could muster. I’m still not sure it works, but there’s just something — in her glance, or the dance reflected in hazy shadow on the spatter shield…

This was taken at Pommes Frites in Manhattan, the best place ever.

I said this in comments, but I watched the rest of the BBC Jane Eyre last night. Still so good, but St. John Rivers? Total freak!

Piling up for an Austen marathon: should I rent the BBC Northanger Abbey? Anyone seen it?

Currently in the pile:

Finally, I just discovered AustenBlog today and have spent far too much time reading it — and through it found the trailer for Focus Features’ new Pride & Prejudice. Matthew McFadyen? Keira Knightley? Sign me up, please!

And, back to Brontë: SB says I must see the 1944 Jane Eyre with Orson Welles, but it doesn’t seem to be available on disc. Sigh…


Central Park West

[Found mirror project 1]

Whirlwind day in Manhattan, browsing the sample sale at Triple Five Soul, shopping at Lush, H&M, and tons of cute little kitsch shops, ooh-ing at Origins’ fab new Modern Friction dermabrasion rub but backing away a little at the price. Also: nibbles at Jaya Malaysian, Woorijip and Le Pain Quotidien with Miranda and Lia (rockstar!), and finally meeting Jarvis and Samson, adorable fuzzballs — all while fighting off jet-lag.

Lots of fun, but tired tired tired.

Okay, breathe, Yuki, get some sleep. You’ve a train to catch in the morning.


The big half-day

[...warm in your embrace]

Real 1/2-birthday today, spent lazily at home, one brief moment of weekend rest in a whirlwind month-plus of nonstop travel for weddings, birthdays, and other assorted miscellany. Even had a chance to take an early afternoon nap, that rarest of pleasures — v. heavenly!

Won’t go into too much detail about today (some things stay secret!), but instead, some recent observations:

Divine bread/cheese combinations: Great Harvest’s rosemary & garlic loaf with Beecher’s flagship; also, honey whole wheat (Great Harvest too) and Tintern (wonderful Welsh cheddar with shallots & chives). Poor lactose intolerant me, with my irresistible love of cheese. Love is pain, as they say.

Have also been playing a lot of Dance Dance Revolution (thank you, Cobalt Flux!) lately and I think I’m slowly getting better. I’ve been passing some seven-footers and passed my first heavy-difficulty song just the other day. Best of all, that after-workout glow is back, and I love it!

Thanks to kakumei, I’ve been able to try out some foreign DDR releases, and we’re totally getting the short end of the stick here in the States. The Japanese version of Extreme is just stuffed to the gills with fun, cute J-pop tracks, while Dancing Stage Fusion — a European release — is more Eurodance-heavy (incidentally, v. surprised & excited to find my television displays PAL video just fine!). DDR Festival seems to be more of a re-import of some of the U.S. tracks back into Japan, but has a few fun anime/J-pop songs as well. Still, nothing beats Dreamcast’s 2nd ReMix in my eyes (with all-time faves: “Boys,” “Dub-I-Dub,” “Butterfly,” “Hero” &c.). I miss it so much.

I’m not going to be wowing the aisles at Gameworks anytime soon, but still! Getting better.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou still makes me cry.

Finally, thank you to v. for the pretty pretty!

Think I’ll finish celebrating with a hot bath and the last of the Lush stash. Love you all!


Fat Kreme a la mode


As threatened.

Jet calls it the “Fat Kreme a la Stone Cold.” I don’t know what to call it. I’m not sure I want to be held responsible for giving this any name at all.

One Fatburger, two Krispy Kreme glazed original doughnuts, and one small cup of Cold Stone strawberry ice cream with white chocolate chips. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that they’ve since opened a Jamba Juice next door.

On the other hand, perhaps that’s best for everyone involved.


The raw ingredients.


Our old friend, the Fat Kreme.


I was imagining a spoonful or two, but apparently Jet has other ideas.


Clearly a fork-and-knife affair. Personally I don’t think he wants to touch it.


Nothing complements the taste of a Fat Kreme a la mode like the smooth taste of the Macallan.


Clearly delirious from the aftereffects, Jet gives the thumbs-up.


Proof of a kind and loving god at last! It’s over.


Food and anti-food

Have lately frequented the British Pantry, where I lunched fabulously today: Stilton cheeseburger with potato salad and Cock’n Bull ginger beer. Not your typical ginger beer, it’s sweet and gingery without much in the way of bite or spice. Oh, I like the sharp stuff too, but this is one marvelous brew. Earlier this week, bangers and mash, and sinfully decadent sticky toffee pudding.

Also at the pantry, I spied a can of “Stahly Vegetarian Haggis.” What?? I almost bought it for its novelty value but at $8 a pop, reason caught the better of me.

Speaking of food abominations, a Cold Stone just opened across from the local Fatburger and Krispy Kreme, completing the trifecta of evil.

Fat Kreme a la mode?

Jill’s my hero, so in her footsteps I present:

Moscow Mule
2 oz vodka
juice from 1/2 lime
4 oz ginger beer
stir vodka and lime juice in a highball glass filled with ice. add ginger beer.


The Fat Kreme photo essay

Flashback: for no reason other than to fan the flames of infamy, the Fat Kreme photo essay, starring Jet:








Bon appétit!


Fat Kreme Combo

Jet came up with the idea of the Fat Kreme Combo back when Fatburger opened its doors in the strip mall down the hill, across from Krispy Kreme. It was a lot more gentle then, and only involved hitting donuts directly after burgers. We should have just done it, because that might have squelched the whole concept before it was allowed to morph into what it did.

e: “Wait, what?
j: “Take the buns off of a Fatburger and replace them with Krispy Kreme glazed originals.”
e: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

That was a year ago. I was convinced it was a joke (seriously, yuck!), but others apparently thought the concept was “great,” and came up with variations on the theme. Freesia invented Krispy Shots, which were surprisingly okay. Jen reported an outing involving Krispy Kremes and In-n-Out burgers. Okay, gross!

Through all this, the Fat Kreme remained blissfully unexplored. Jet, the instigator, kept finding excuses not to do it, still insisting that it would be “awesome” when it did happen. I, of course, knew that it never would.

…until tonight, that is. Behold the creation in all its terrible glory:


You couldn’t have paid me enough to go near the thing, but I have to hand it to him: it wasn’t a joke. He ate the whole thing and, apparently, loved it.

Yes! I want to see ALL the photos!


Royale with cheese

Contrary to popular expectations, there is a Quarter Pounder with cheese sandwich served in McDonald’s restaurants in Egypt. The odd thing is that right next to it on the menu is a completely different sandwich called a McRoyale (to all intents and purposes, equivalent to the not-so-accurately monikered “Big ‘n’ Tasty”). For a second, I almost considered ordering it, but the resemblance was too great.

Now, one could ask (and quite rightly) why an American traveling abroad would choose to sup at that most American of establishments, especially in the middle of a huge cultural and commercial area like Midan Tahrir. First: yes, it’s truly and excessively sad, but I do enjoy springboarding a conversation with ridiculous situations like that. More importantly, I actually find foreign versions of familiar things to be really fascinating and possibly more exotic than the authentic cuisine of a region.

For instance, say you’re in London and you’re confronted with the choice between a dead-to-rights vindaloo (available at who-knows-how-many fine Indian restaurants in any decent-sized U.S. metropolis) and a Lamb McCurry burger from the golden arches.

“A-ha!” you exclaim. “Presented that way, obviously the latter!”

No? Ah, fine.

Though it’s certainly how I chose, I’ll admit that that may not have been the most appetizing example. At any rate, you’re never going to find a McChicken Korma on this side of the Pond, or a kimchi & bulgogi pie in an States-side Pizza Hut. Given the chance, I’ve tried them all — even the Burger King bean burger (a lot tastier than it looked!).

On this night, however, it was not to be. As exotic experiences go, this Cairene McDonald’s was a giant letdown; aside from the aforementioned McRoyale, there was nothing even remotely strange on the menu. Alas, B. was tired and didn’t have the energy to find another restaurant, so there, in the shadow of the pyramids, I dined on a Big Mac and fries.

I blame Quentin Tarantino.


Faux cuisine

MSNBC - Chefs cook up gourmet ‘fakes’

In this age of gourmet everything, a restaurant menu offering Argentine steak, wasabi-encrusted fish, or a cheese plate of camembert isn’t unusual.

It is, however, impossible.

That is because wasabi is almost always horseradish; it is illegal to import beef from Argentina; and U.S. law bars cheese makers from using the raw milk that is an essential ingredient of real French cheese.

A great article about the stuff you’re probably shelling out the big bucks for when you go out to eat.
[thanks Mike]


Men With Brooms

Someday I’ll compile a full report on SIFF 2002, but that day is not today. After missing two weekend films for which I’d already bought tickets (Takashi Miike’s Happiness of the Katakuris and the non-Miike May), I made sure to head out early to catch today’s 4:30 showing of Men With Brooms at the Harvard Exit Theater. It’s a Canadian comedy… about curling.

I watched (out of pure fascination) a lot of the CBC’s coverage of curling during the Salt Lake City Olympics (in fact, I first saw commercials for Men With Brooms during these broadcasts), and, well, I came away completely confused. Now that I’ve seen this film, though, I think I finally have an idea of what’s going on. The movie itself was pretty funny as well; sure, the script was rather painful at parts and hit every sports movie cliche in the book, but there were plenty of real laughs peppered liberally throughout. Best of all, the film takes shots at things an outsider might find ridiculous about curling (and indeed, sports in general), but you never get the feeling that writer/director/star Paul Gross has anything but a deep admiration or affection for the sport. I’d give it 7/10 (probably the highest rating I’d give to any post-Naked Gun film starring Leslie Nielsen). Really entertaining.

After the film, kakumei and I went to Delfino’s at University Village for dinner. Still the best Chicago-style pizza I’ve found in the area. The only, in fact.

Random-but-related factoid of the day: The Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien has a painting in its collection by Breughel the Elder entitled “The Hunters in the Snow,” dated 1565. Suspiciously familiar activity in the background?

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