Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pork-bone ramen: Successful

We had pork ramen today! We had some sliced roast pork loin, and we made our own pork-bone broth. We also used bits of fish cake, soft-boiled eggs, some chives, and seaweed & sesame seed for garnish. It was really good. Technically, we used udon noodles, not ramen noodles, so I suppose it was pork-bone udon, but I've never heard of that :P. Yup, that's right. I'm posting about what we had for dinner, but nary a post on our trip to England. I'm such a terrible blogger. Maybe this is because we *still* haven't traded photos with the parents.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Birthday thoughts

I recently had another birthday. This brings to mind that posting on my blog that I recently had a birthday makes it somewhat easier for complete strangers to answer my security questions, particularly when my blog also contains my real name (it probably does). So here you go, complete strangers.

I suppose some folks would therefore carefully avoid mentioning birthdays, but honestly, that isn't the world I want to live in. It's much the same reason that I don't want to carry a gun--I prefer to live in a world where I don't need one. Of course, people do steal identities, and people do get mugged, but I think I prefer to trust by default.

Perhaps I'll get burned for that someday, but when you trust someone, I think it often creates in them a desire to live up to that trust. It makes everyone happier--and a little more honest. I think that's worth the small risk of getting burned occasionally.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Organic chicken is superior

Claiming that organic food is somehow "better" is frequently given the same sort of raised eyebrow that accompanies a claim that "snake oil cures cancer." There is something somehow luddite about refusing to use modern advancements in fertilizer and pest control. Can one actually taste the all-natural?

In the case of organic chicken, the answer is officially yes. I remember some years ago noticing that the chicken bits we were buying were getting, well, bigger. And importantly, this enlargening was also making them taste a great deal like water. Chicken flavored water, to be sure, but somehow less good.

Anyway, we've been interested in trying out organic chicken for a while, and we finally found some at Sunflower market. It's more than twice as expensive by weight, but I think of this kind of like the difference between Kool-Aid and fruit juice--it's an entirely different food. I tried a piece before we added it to the pasta, and it was amazing. Rachel described it as being more "chicken-y," which I think is an apt description.

Dinner was whole wheat linguine with pan-fried chicken breast, parmesan, alfredo sauce, dried tomato bits and broccoli. It was so good that I blogged about it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The outside world

I've been trying to figure out a way to more quickly transfer pictures from my phone to the blog. This post is an experiment; if Koko shows up in it, then it worked.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Navajo Food for Lunch

I had lunch at the Black Sheep Cafe in downtown Provo recently. It's on University Ave., right next door to the old Los Hermanos building. The theme of the cafe (really, more of a restaurant) is "Navajo food." You could call it ethnic food, but arguably it's the only thing around here that isn't. The actual dishes reminded me of eating out in New Mexico -- lots of roasted green chiles, slow roasted meats, soups, and stews.

I ended up getting a pork and green chile stew, and it was very good. I apologize for the poorly lit photo; the broth in that stew is a light green. It came with either fry bread or a Navajo flat bread. Apparently the flat bread is a bit less, um, deep-fried, so I went with that. I assumed I was being healthier this way, but after trying the flat bread, I'm going to say "just barely"--it had a rich, soft, almost buttery flavor, with hints of being charcoal grilled. It's pretty indulgent stuff.

As for whether it was delicious, you might have missed the important phrase earlier: roasted green chiles. Those things are addictive, and you can get them in Provo now, apparently. They also had several variants on the theme of Navajo tacos on the menu, which is what I'm likely to try next time. Because yes, there is definitely going to be a next time. If you're up for lunch and looking for something to remind you of Albuquerque, you should give me a call and we can meet down there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Democrats and hamburgers

Hello, what's left of my followers. All two of you? I don't know, really.

Anyway, there are two items of news, as my headline so cleverly notes. Firstly, I went to a caucus meeting, for the first time in a while. We decided to give the Democratic caucus a try; it's a lot smaller (ha!), and seemed like it could be fun. Actually, it wasn't terribly small, largely because they lumped about 40 or 50 precincts into a single high school auditorium; they weren't expecting especially high attendance.

Although the attendance was, indeed, pretty light compared to what the Republican caucus is likely to get, it was much, much more than they're used to. There was a letter read in church a few weeks ago asking people to please go to a caucus meeting, complete with the usual note that "principles compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ can be found in all major political parties," which was a polite way to get the "Mormons may only be Republican" crowd to keep quiet.

Anyway, after everyone sat around in the precinct meeting for 20 minutes without anything getting done, I took over and made the agenda happen, which ended up with me getting elected precinct chair. So I'm now officially responsible for persuading locals to vote Democrat. Hey, locals! Let's try to be just a tiny bit more like a battleground state! They get more money!

This entry is already getting too long, so I'll sum up the burger bit: We ate at Station 22, to celebrate the conjunction of white day and pi day (this happens every year). I'm friendly with the owner, Richard, who asked that I try his burger and give an opinion. The result: sadly, it was too salty, but putting brie on a burger definitely has some potential. I think the ratatouille sandwich is still the best thing I've had there. Rachel liked the chicken-basil sandwich, and enjoyed the fries, but was not a huge fan of the barbecue-flavored fry sauce. She did like the spicy ketchup. The decor is fun and hipster-ish, but they need to wipe off the tables a bit more reliably (several were grubby). It's a good place with really interesting food ideas, but there are things they could improve.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yet Another Japan Post

It occurs to me that travelogues are primarily interesting to the person giving them. This is one of the things I find so fascinating about travel--you can't really share. Photos and videos are nice, I guess, but there's just nothing to compare with the heady cocktail of excitement, nervousness, tiredness, and just plain being there that one can only get first-hand. On that note, I'm probably going to stop doing Japan trip posts after this one.

I have vastly more photos and videos than I've posted, but despite my considering them very interesting, I imagine that most others do not. So, in keeping with the general theme of travel-posts-as-narcissism, all of today's photos will be pictures of me.

The first one was taken in the gardens in front of the old imperial palace in Kyoto. It's a very nice palace; its main downside is that, being built entirely of wood, it has a habit of burning down all the time. As such, it's fairly new. The palace buildings themselves are very nice--they build the roofs out of a special kind of cedar tree bark, which is great for natural air conditioning. The roofs are fairly hardy as untreated wood goes, but they do need to be replaced every 20-30 years. The inner gardens are beautiful as well.

Speaking of gardens, the silver shrine has, I think, the nicest. The golden shrine gets its reputation from being plated in gold, whereas the silver shrine's silver plating was one of those good intentions that ended up disappearing in the face of a wartime budget (something medieval). Despite never having been plated in silver in its entire history, the name stuck. To make up for the lack of metallic sparkle, the shrine goes all-out on their large gardens. There is both a zen rock garden, which consists of big piles of rocks raked into razor-sharp precise shapes, and then grounds filled with flowers, carefully sculpted trees, rivers, and colorful bushes.

Incidentally, the silver shrine is generally famous as a cultural development center. Among other things, this shrine's culture is largely responsible for the development of the tea ceremony and flower arranging as quasi-religious experiences in Japan.

The final picture shows me outfitted in full tourist regalia--camera pouch, sweatshirt tied around the waist, and water bottle in hand. Most of my wardrobe isn't fashionable enough to compete with your average Japanese person, and I didn't really try. In the background is the Fushimi Inari Taisha, or at least a miniscule part of it--there is a large main shrine, dedicated to the fox-god of rice and prosperity, and that's not it. This photo was taken in front of one of the thousands of small shrines lining the trails. The trails are probably several miles all told, most of which are bridged by large orange shinto gates. At first this is impressive, but after hiking up the steep trail for a while, it blurs into kind of an orange haze. This shrine will punish you for slacking on your exercise program, it seems.

By the way, those little statues off to the side are, in fact, frogs wearing bibs. I'm not sure which god this is, but I asked about the bibs, and they really are bibs for eating. Since Japanese gods are frequently given gifts of food, I guess there is probably some relation between the bibs and the offerings.

Anyway, it's late, and I'm never going to get over the jet-lag if I don't go to bed. So good night all, and thanks for tolerating the travelogue. The videos were a bit too big to post, but if you're curious, try to catch me sometime when I'm near my laptop. I have a walking tour of some underground tunnels, baby dolphins, close encounters with a whale shark, cute children feeding deer, juggling, and panoramic shots of both an 11-floor train station and downtown Osaka. I think they're cool, but who knows -- maybe I'm just biased.