Sometimes people ask me how often I update my blog. I figure at least once a week, but ideally twice. Unless I just don't eat much. Which is what this past week has been like. Today I ate some fruit and Terra Chips for lunch even though I wasn't very hungry (or rather, I didn't eat any more than that because I wasn't very hungry) and my stomach unsurprisingly gurgled and blurged and [insert other stomach-like onomatopoeia] during my afternoon "Food in the Arts" class.
But I still wasn't that hungry. I blame it on a mixture of physical sickness (a bug I seemed to catch as soon as I stepped off the plane in Newark) and mental unrest. I know I have a network of friends I can turn to if I need a chat, but...some things are better kept to myself. The last time I went through a weird shitty relationship issue I unintentially made my friends feel helpless by telling them my problems but giving them no real way to help me and made my antagonist look like an asshole. Which wasn't my intention. Anyway, I assume that whatever problem I have now will eventually sort itself out or float away.
Or I'll go insane. It hasn't happened yet, but there's a first time for everything. Maybe it's time I go insane—I can check it off my "List of Things to Do Before I Die". I went to bed at 9:30 PM on Monday night due to lack of will to do anything else (probably taking about 4 hours to fall asleep), which is absolutely ridiculous for someone who's used to going to bed after midnight. INSANITY, HERE I COME!!!
So during those times when I don't email you back for a long time or update for a while or sound jolly, it's because I'm stewing in a vat of my own brain poo. The more I stew, the more intense it gets. Like...real stew! Mm, unlock those beefy flavors (assuming your stew has beef in it). Unless you cook it to a mush. Like my brain. Um.
I'm kind of okay at this very moment in time. I'll probably just eat fruit tonight since I have no appetite, but if you find it entertaining I can regale you with what I ate during the last week.
No, I didn't eat all the food in Mitsuwa. God knows I'd want to. I went to Mitsuwa last Friday with Lee Anne as our last food outing before she had to go back to Arizona. My mum picked me up from Mitsuwa to go home where I would later sleep on a real mattress, as opposed to the air-filled one on the ground a foot behind me. Not that my air mattress is a buoyant product of heathens, but I was really excited to not have to sleep on it for two nights. (Actually, I've had a number of really weird dreams since moving to my new apartment. I suppose it's a combination of the air mattress, lack of hungry and mental unrest. So many factors, ooh!)
Lee Anne excitedly tore into her pack of Yakult, a Japanese-made, white, opaque, yogurt-esque drink that comes in semi-clear foil-topped bottles fit for really tiny humans, or humans with tiny thirsts/hands/stomachs. Judging from my time in Taiwan involving many perusals of Family Mart and the rest of the c-store world (they're everywhere, man, everywhere, kind of the opposite of Paris), I'm just going to say that you can find Yakult all over Asia. Or at least Taiwan. I drank it in Taiwan to see what the fuss was about. It tastes good—sweet, slightly tart, kind of yogurty—but it never escalated to a thing worthy of my obsession. It makes you thirstier, for one thing, which kind of goes against why I drink liquids in the first place. But lots of people love this stuff to death. So.
Since I wasn't craving anything in particular, I followed Lee Anne's order of beef curry udon with a bowl of chicken curry udon. My mum thought our bowls looked small, as though it wouldn't be enough for a meal, but udon is heavy stuff. Thick, soft, mildly chewy ropes of wheat suspended in a viscous curry sauce with chunks of meat and a surprisingly huge amount of chopped onions. It's tasty, if that's your thing.
My mum went for the pork (or chicken) katsu platter thing that comes with miso soup, a little fruit cocktail salad thing, tofu chunk, and a lot of rice, the delicious plump, short-grain sticky stuff. I would usually go for that platter, but I wasn't hungry enough.
Lee Anne and I shared a small cup of green tea soft serve ice cream from the Ito En counter. Even though I don't really like green tea flavored desserts, after hearing so many good things about it I wanted to try the soft serve. And it was...pleasing. Not too bitter, but had that real green tea flavor. As opposed to the fake one. I don't know.
Next time I'll try the Super Custard Vanilla just because it has such a ridiculous name and costs 50 cents more. What makes it super? What makes it half a dollar more worth my while? Aren't you dying to know? Or is that just me? Probably just me. Crap.
That night my mum and I saw Children of Men. You know, as a pick-me-up. Awesome. I mean, I liked the movie. It almost makes me want to have babies, but...not. I hope I'm dead by the time the world goes to shit.
Oh, how I love suburbia. Not that you'd never find the image of a loving family in a city, but I just thought this image was funny. Totally unintentional as well. Wegmans doesn't allow photography, for the most part (I know because they once told me to stop taking photos of their awesome cakes...hohum), so I took this random shot from the second floor eating area. I wonder what was going on with those people. We'll never know.
Once again, I wasn't very hungry and I had no idea what to eat. I wasn't in much mood for meat so I opted for this "ended up being a lot larger in my hands than how it looked behind the counter" grilled vegetable sandwich on ciabatta bread. I felt like I was carrying around a limp cat in my paper bag, not a sandwich. Despite it's enormity, I managed to ingest most of it. There were a few slices of cheese in there that I would've rather done without, along with perhaps half of the filling so that I could actually wrap my mouth around the whole thing, but...it was good.
My mum tends to stick to her favorites: spring rolls and sushi. No problem with that, and probably better for her since I actually don't love spring rolls or sushi (I merely "like" them), especially when they're primarily filled with shrimp or crab, two ingredients I don't especially love. The sushi rice tasted a bit block-like (instead of being made of individual rice grains, know what I mean?), but the fresh crab meat was a nice change from surimu. Even though I don't love crab, I can appreciate it when it's of the fresh, minimally processed kind. It tastes like the sea. Mmm.
[If anyone wants an explanation on why I type "mum", I don't really have one. It's a habit I picked up in middle school, only in writing. Otherwise I say "mom". And sometimes type "mom." But I like "mum". It looks nice. People have asked me about it before.]
We bought a small child-length (whatever that is) sourdough baguette for $3 (non-soured ones are $2) along with a few boxes of Wegmans' chocolates and other things that don't contribute much to good health. While the baguette still didn't reach the awesomness of the Parisian variety, it was still jaw-achingly good with a thick, crispy crust and soft, chewy, slightly tangy innards. Wegmans makes many awesome kinds of artisan bread (unfortunately they don't describe them much on their website); I wish other supermarkets could do the same thing.
On Sunday afternoon after returning to my air mattress throne I went to a dumpling making party that Julie so kindly invited me to. Unbeknownst to me, the dumpling making party is a common Taiwanese student activity. It's definitely one of the awesomest ideas I could think of. Conviviality while making something extremely easy, tasty, and inexpensive? Easy if you have a handful of people (and bowls and knives) at least. Otherwise it would take you too long to make over 200 dumplings (which fed 10 people, and then some).
We filled the dumpling skins with a ground pork-based mixture of pork and cabbage or pork and chives, seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and...salt. Yup, you need more salt! Or don't need, but could use some more salt. Hey, whatever makes it tasty is fine with me.
After closing your dumpling skins in whatever manner you prefer (mine are the crimpy looking ones in the front corner) to prevent meat leakage, place your dumplings on a lined tray (unless you want them to stick to your tray).
Plop as many dumplings as you feel like in a huge vat of boiling water. You can also pan fry them, but boiling is easier. When they're all floaty like a mass of dead, bulbous, slightly transluscent meat-stuffed bodies, they're done! I think.
Prepare a few dishes of dipping sauce, plop the cooked dumplings on lots of plates
and dig in because you are ravenously hungry. I ate 18 dumplings. Eight more than ten. I don't think my stomach is even large enough to fit 18 dumplings, no matter how delicious, which these were. I regretted it after they 18 little dumps settled/piled in the pit of my belly. But then I ate even more food.
Almond jello cubes and fruti cocktail in sweet water-soup stuff is a common Chinese dessert, although I have no idea why. I never developed any kind of attachment to it despite eating it since I was little. Maybe I never found it sweet enough. However, after all the savoury dumpling action I did want something sweet. Into my mouth the jello and brightly colored fruit bits went.
And then...there was more food that I had forgotten about. Soup of medicinal Taiwanese herbs. With duck. Oh my god. I have no idea how to describe the taste of the soup to you ("Taiwanese medicinal herb-y"), but the duck was as tender as duck confit. And wetter.
Someone brought even more food. MORE FOOD. For god's sake, I thought we were just eating dumplings!
Someone had to buy pie. Two kinds of pie. Pecan and almond with some-kind-of-berry-jam. If there are two kinds of pie, that means I eat two kinds of pie. And I did. Small pieces, mind you, but pie and almond tofu and god knows how much ground pork and chives and dumpling skins in one stomach equates to unhappy digestion. Thankfully I was only a short waddle from my apartment as to not agitate my stomach contents too much.
I don't regret the night at all, of course. A semi-explodee stomach is an alright price to pay for handing out with lots of friendly, cool people and eating homemade food.
After my first day of class on Tuesday, I went to Grandaisy Bakery (formerly Sullivan Street Bakery) for one of my favorite foods: pizza bianca.
The bakery name may have changed, but the goods are the same. A sweet touch of olive oil mixed with the light aroma of rosemary encased in a wide strip of chewy, tunneled, lightly salted flatbread surrounded by a thin golden crust for $1 never fails to make me happy. Unless it's a day old, in which case it tastes like crap. So eat it right away.
I also impulsively bought a fruit tart ($4.50) despite not especially loving them since it reminded me of something Parisian and god knows I still miss Paris a shizzload. Although it looked delicate from behind the counter, it was surprisingly dense and filling. Which was great because it tasted like buttery awesomeness surrounding a mountain of sweet, tender apple chunks (and something else, but I wasn't sure what the orange-r fruit was). It could count as a meal. An unbalanced meal.
A certain Canadian someone sent me a huge-ass, insanely excessive package of Canadian snacks and junk food. SCORE. I look forward to chocolate bar death, in English and Francais!
Last night after being appropriately freaked out by Pan's Labyrinth, Nathan and I ate dinner at Kati Roll, where one may dine surrounded by warm orange walls and old Bollywood posters. I know you want to.
You can order one roll or two rolls for a slightly reduced price. I got the beef, he got the lamb, and then like all good food loving people shared one of each. Since I'm too lazy to describe the rolls myself, I'll just quote Midtown Lunch:
It’s Indian food. It’s a burrito. Indian Burrito. Done. Sure, there’s no rice, no beans, and instead of a tortilla, it’s a piece of fresh paratha (Indian flat bread). But it is rolled up, and it is eaten with your hands. Indian Burrito. Indian Soft Taco is also accepted.
I specifically told the guy behind the counter that I liked spiciness, resulting in a slightly tear-inducing beef roll. Hey, I got what I wanted. But I was really glad that I only had to eat one; the lamb roll was much milder and also more enjoyable for consisting of ground meat instead of chewier meat cubes like the beef roll.
I don't know if it's just me, but I'm pretty sensitive to raw onions, as in I don't seem to digest them well. As much as I like the taste, I'd rather not deal with the subsequent feeling that all my innards are marked with sulphuric oniony essence. Which is what happened last night. Oops. Oh well, it's tasty, inexpensive, easy to eat, and it won't kill you. I suspect the service is faster at night (there weren't many people) than during lunch hours.
I'm tired. Sleepy time.