Costco and Real Chinese Food
I slept in! Hoorah! Even with the bumping and thumping at night, with John snoring when the heater went on in the morning, and all the other stuff, I turned around and went back to sleep. I needed it. Badly.
I was getting that salty feeling again, constantly and after sleeping in this morning, I feel much better and that feeling went away. for a while, which was very reassuring. So reassuring that I made a pile of banana pancakes while John cooked some maple syrup sausage and we ate happily. I then just sat down and played Final Fantasy VII for a good long time. John wanted to go to Costco, sometime, and reminded me of that when I finally came to a good stopping place. So I stopped, saved and off we went.
Fezzik's food is running out, which might be a good thing, in that we can just switch him over to something he'll eat steadily. I called my mom, as she cooked for the family's cocker spaniel when he was doing badly. She recommended lean ground beef, cooked, mixed with equal parts rice and then doggy vitamins on top. Costco has bulk, lean ground beef for cheap, so we bought six pounds of that along with ten pounds of rice. We also got a lot of other things as well, including White Castle cheeseburgers, more frozen chicken breasts, a bag of Ling Ling pot stickers, a flat of Kern's nectars, and a bag of Gorton's fish fillets. It's been a while since I've eaten a lot of fish fillets as I can't seem to find them lightly battered and still crisp and there was one sample cart that had really crisp, light shells on the fillets and it turned out to be the Gorton's.
The sample carts at Costco could, likely, feed any adult human being for lunch. John grazed while I shopped. I had a few things, but not many, whereas he got to stop at every one. That was kinda fun to watch. We loaded everything into the truck and then dropped by the SuperTarget next door to see if they had a wallet that John could buy. They turned out to be connected to a super market, which is likely why they called it a SuperTarget, and at the market we found dog vitamin tablets. The produce section also had some really pretty ruby red grapefruit and I'd passed up the opportunity to buy a two pound bottle of ruby red grapefruit sections at Costco. So we got the fresh ones instead. I really, really wanted grapefruit, so when we got home I cut one up and ate half. John, filled up from the samples, only ate the other half of the grapefruit while I went on to have a couple of the cheeseburgers and some chocolate milk as well.
I took care of all the meat, next. We bought a bunch of pork loin chops as I really like them for eating as they're leaner than the bone-in rib chops and the best thing is that if I need just a little ground pork I can pull a single chop out and have the food processor chop it up into the right coarseness of grind for what I'm doing with it. I freeze 'em on a cookie sheet with plastic underneath to keep them from sticking to the sheet and with enough room between them to keep them from sticking to each other. I laid those out, found freezer room for them, and slipped them in. I also took care of the six pounds plus of ground beef by making about four pounds of it into one third pound balls that I settled onto another cookie sheet and put that into the freezer, too. Finally, the last two pounds I crumbled into a pan and browned thoroughly.
The rice cooker was pulled out of the back of a bottom cabinet and I put two cups of the rice we bought into it and I added water to the first joint on my right index finger and started it on its way. I then sat down an played a lot of Final Fantasy VII, mostly getting around the red desert and then back to Cloud and Tifa's home town and the reactor near their home. I got lost a lot, so everyone was leveling up very nicely and we had plenty of money to spend on weapons and equipment. That was pretty cool. I took one break to take the lid off the perfectly cooked rice and then another break to mix all the ground meat and rice together in various containers. I finally really stopped playing when it was getting dark and the Hamiltons showed up.
Mei was coughing a lot, either she's sick or just the altitude has been affecting her really badly and drying her out pretty thoroughly. Andrew had a little cough, and Bob sounded fine. They were here to carpool with John and I to a new Chinese restaurant in the Alameda area, where the dim sum place is, and try it out with some friends of theirs from Longmont. Their friends had already left, so we needed to hurry a bit to get out there quickly. John drove, and Mei tried to get everyone to help her with a company name. It got pretty hilarious for a while. I had to invoke the rule of "No hitting the driver" when Mei started hitting John on the shoulder for some of his suggestions. Mei was laughing so hard, at one point, she couldn't talk, her stomach hurt and she was having problems breathing. That only spurred both Bob and John to new heights. It's always fun brainstorming with John and Bob, and this was no different.
We got there safely enough. The restaurant, King's Seafood Restaurant, was throwing a Viet Nam benefit for some flooding that was going on there, and half the place was completely packed with people listening to Vietnamese music being performed live on a stage with a sound system that had so much feedback it just made me cringe whenever it was being used. Ugh. So there was some really, really bad atmosphere.
The food, on the other hand, was okay. It was real. It wasn't exquisite, but it wasn't bad either and pretty well prepared. There was a big platter of cold meats, chicken, duck, BBQ pork, all topped with crisp squid bits, with the apricot sauce on the side. Then a couple beautifully cooked lobster, deep fried and then doused with a really tasty sauce in the shell. The kids tried for the easier bits, and the adults all went for the harder to peel and get at bits. It was really savory and yummy. There were nice, large shrimp with candied walnuts, but they added the mayonnaise that I don't like that much, but seems traditional for some places. There was a steamed fish, a crispy fried chicken, and baby bok choy tender and still crisp. Pretty much standbys, but then they also ordered a salted fish fried rice which was very tasty. It was pretty good, all in all. Mei was really happy at the lobster. I liked it a lot, too.
Near the end of the meal they brought some really pale Valencia oranges that were nearly honey sweet and firm and juicy. That was really good. We found out that the grocery store across the parking lot was closing at 8 and it was 7:40 already, so Mei and I left Bob and John to pay the bill and the two of us hurried across the parking lot to the grocery store. There we wandered about and bought various things. Mostly impulse shopping as we didn't have much time. I bought a lot more of the sour plum drink packets and after seeing Alton Browns 'What's Up Duck?' I bought a frozen duck for about half the price they're selling for at Safeway. We'll have duck when I have the gumption to do it. I also got some flower rolls (i.e. steamed bread that's been shaped into some very pretty shapes and good for just eating), a few old moon cakes (as the moon festival was in October), and a box of almond cookies mostly because I really wanted good almond cookies.
It turns out that, unlike fortune cookies which are a completely American invention, almond cookies derive from a very Chinese almond biscuit/cake, or at least that's what I read in a Chinese cookbook that claimed to only have authentic dishes they found served in the Mainland. Where it is that almond cookies are native, I don't know, but given the length and breadth of Chinese cooking, I wouldn't doubt it. I don't think I like them for their authenticity, though. I just like how they taste.
Mei was the very last person through the checkout. The man at the store who bagged our groceries actually followed us all the way to our car, all the way across the giant parking lot, to get the grocery cart that we took with us. That was very nice of him.
We took everything home and Mei paced in the house and tried to resolve her naming problem while the rest of us watched Andrew play Ape Escape. I made some tea because I really needed some really good tea after all that food and the restaurant had only the old standbys, which didn't taste all that good. The game was mildly funny in juxtaposition with the business stuff, but Mei finally got to where she wanted to go and, with John, they checked on the .com existence of a number of the names she liked. She was very sad that her favorite ones had been claimed, but ended up with something she could live with, so they packed up, said their good-byes and went home.
I fed Fezzik some of the new mix along with his regular food. I took my marble brick out and smashed one of the vitamin pills and sprinkled that on his food as well. He dove right in and ate at normal dog pace instead of just ignoring the food and I was happily rewarded for my work of this afternoon. I hugged him lots and then settled with John a bit, in front of the TV to be mindless for a bit. Fezzik decided to stay in the house rather than outside as it's getting to be bitterly cold out, and that was pretty good, other than having to get up in the middle of the night to let him out and then check on him again when it sounded like he was trying to get up the stairs.
He's far more patient with his reluctant body than I could be, but by being patient he seems to get where he's going, which is good at 4 in the morning and he isn't sure if he can get us to open the door for him. Then again, he does take his sweet time to go out and do stuff, often enjoying the outside and the cold for a few hours before barking to be let in the house. It is not conducive to sleep because I stay half awake listening for him, and wake up at even the smallest of sounds. But it's worth it when he's doing well.