I think I spent the entire week rachelmanija was here talking about food. There were brief forays into other topics, such as books, sex, manga, cracktastic elements in all of the above, and assorted anecdotes which (imho) prove that Murphy is the maker of the universe. Or that he is at least personally interested in some people's lives. But mostly, food. As mentioned previously, there was an extended conversation that centered solely on tropical fruit, another one on Indian and Thai desserts, another on fancy restaurants, much extolling of street food and hole-in-the-wall places, and the joys of local food.
I really didn't mean to talk constantly about food! And I swear, it wasn't all that noticeable until the final few days, when we kept trying to talk about other things, but ended up getting sidetracked by food yet again.
I have decided that I need to take a food tour of the world. Rachel will take me around India, yhlee and yuneicorn will take me around Korea, K. will take me around the South, telophase can take me around Texas (barbeque!), consonantia will enlist her cousins to bring me to Brazil, and of course, then I will drag everyone off to Taiwan and feed them until they explode.
Now all I need are more people (well, that, and money and time)! Come on... you know you want to come. And it doesn't even need to be places outside of the US (ex. coffeeandink, I make large blinky eyes at you and implore you to take me to the marvelous dessert place you were talking about)! Although I also want to go have non-Ethiopian African, assorted Continental, Russian, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, etc. etc. etc. And now, I must stop before I get totally sidetracked from the weekend report by food. How ironic ;).
After the day of Ethiopian and Chinese food (here), me and Rachel and Angela went to Japantown San Jose for Gombei (the SJ one is better than the Menlo Park one, imho, because it's next to the San Jose Tofu Company and as such gets fresh tofu!). Unfortunately, got there a bit too late and missed it =(. So we ended up sort of wandering about and getting Korean -- the little dishes of pickled things that I really love, dol sot bi bim bap (I keep trying to pronounce it properly, but I don't think it's working, anyway, the stone pot rice dish thing), bul-go-gi (bbq beef) and pa jun (sort of a pancakey thing with seafood and scallions inside), and it was good.
Dinner was Afghani food! I've only had it once before. It seems to involve a lot of meat on a stick, which I heartily approve on. I think most foods would be improved if they were on a stick.
Well, maybe not melty foods.
Still! Meat! On a stick!
And a spinach dish that was sort of like palak paneer, lamb stew and meat-stuffed dumplings in yogurt sauce. I have decided I like Afghani food. I suspect this isn't really a surprise, given that I tend to like pretty much all food that I meet. And it was interesting because it felt like a cross between Mediterranean/Greek food and Indian. Rachel mentioned that the tea she got reminded her a great deal of the tea in India.
Then, the usual Sunday farmer's market, which was very different! One, Rachel kept wandering off, distracted by other stalls ("Ooooo! *insert food here*" was uttered a lot). Two, fall foods! Persimmons piled on tables, apples everywhere, lots of chestnuts. We were debating getting chestnuts to roast over the fire -- I have lovely memories of the chestnuts sold on the streets in Taiwan, roasting in a giant wok filled with charcoal, Rachel had memories of roasting them over a fire for Christmas. Chestnuts were passed over partially because we had lots of food already, partially because neither me nor Rachel was sure about how to roast chestnuts on the stove and didn't particularly want to risk killing anyone with exploding chestnut in the kitchen.
And there were still sugar snap peas! I think the English peas are out of season, even though they're still there (the last batch I had in early October were very starchy and not at all sweet), alas. There was much sampling of Asian pears and apples and grapes, and I found a stand that sells hummus! Obviously, many, many peas were bought, along with green onion bread, salmon spread, apples (Fuji and Jonagold) and pasties. I asked the apple guy that I go to if they were going to have Honeycrisps; sadly, they just planted the trees this year and aren't expecting anything till next year. Maybe some other stands will.
It took two episodes of VMars for me and Rachel to shell all the peas! And then the rats were on the couch with the bags of empty pea pods, and man were they happy rats! Fitz-rat sort of buried himself in the bag, nose twitching wildly.
Then... the fondue! Cheddar cheese and beer in one pot and swiss cheese with wild mushrooms and white wine in another, one was wonderfully sharp and the other earthy and mellower. Dippables included broccoli, apples, grapes, carrots (all raw), cooked potatoes, roasted garlic, eensy weensy pickles, olives, tiny pickled pearl onions, and lots of bread. I think pretty much everyone was confused by the dippability of the garlic and the pickled items, so I just ate the garlic and the olives and probably had horrible smelling breath while Rachel ate the garlic and the pickles. I ate Angela's garlic too. Roasted garlic is tasty. And! yuneicorn and K. said that apples and grapes in cheddar were good, so despite her misgivings, Rachel tried them and was converted! (they are good. I think they would not have been good with the swiss-mushroom, but the sharpness and the sweetness works really well, though strangely)
There were many vegetable casualties, especially the potatoes, which apparently don't enjoy being speared and dipped into hot cheese and crumbled in the pot in protest.
And then... chocolate! Milk chocolate and hazelnut liquor in one pot and the other was something called "The Decadent One." I think it was a mixture of bittersweet chocolate, espresso, Kahlua, and... probably some other chocolate. It was ridiculously good. Especially with ... well, pretty much everything! My personal ranking of the dippables is (from worst to best): pineapples, oranges, marshmallows, Snickers bars, pound cake and then... everything else (rice krispy balls, apples, grapes, bananas, strawberries, little roll cookie things, cream cheese balls). Bananas in chocolate are good. Apples in chocolate are good.
Actually, pretty much anything dipped in chocolate was good. I feel a little bad about monopolizing the conversation, which ranged from Firefly to... food, food and more food. I think other people at the table ended up staring at me and Rachel and wondering a) how in the world we could still talk about food after eating all that, b) how in the world we could still find so much to say about food and c) how in the world we were still eating random slices of apple and rice krispy balls.
Really, it was quite easy! This is because approximately 25% of my brain is devoted to food, another 25% is devoted to books, and 25% is devoted to sundry things, including yarn and rats. The final 25% is probably perpetually empty, which explains why I keep being surprised by the same things (poor Angela... everytime we do something, I always say the same things. Ex. Every single drive down to Borders will inevitably have me exclaiming, "Oooo! An Afghani restaurant! We should go!" despite having said this eighteen other times, while Angela tiredly nods and smiles).
More reports on books/manga and random funny stories to come!