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September 21, 2002
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Adventures in Asian Food

10:55 pm: We had quite a set of adventures today and Jet did great during them.

The morning was bagels and John and I taking turns sleeping in and trying to catch up from the week. John slept until 9:30 and then I went until noon. I got the bagels baked while John was sleeping. They turned out a bit more ball-like than I liked as John had shaped a number of them after Jet had turned into a pumpkin and I pretty much had to nurse him to sleep.

I am having interesting troubles with the new toothguard. I'm grinding hard enough to make my front teeth ache and my bite feels all weird. I swapped back to my old guard for my nap and woke up with my neck, jaw, and a bunch of muscles in my face all aching terribly. I recognized the muscle aches as they were things that had been hurting and I hadn't really directly associated them with the old guard. Now I know. I also know that my teeth haven't moved nearly as much as I thought they had as they fit just fine in the old guard, which is a hard thing that doesn't move.

So I know that the new guard works well. I have to get it adjusted a bit more sometime, I think, so it doesn't hurt. But some of it may just be the force I grind with when I'm asleep.

When we were both awake and caught up, Jet was cranky from being up since 6:30. So I nursed him, we let him sleep a bit while we loaded up the car with a cooler, ice for the cooler, and all of Jet's stuff. When we were all done, we took him out to the car in his seat and strapped the seat into the car. We then drove into Denver, down Alameda to Federal and then found the Pho 79 on Federal, in town.

Jet got to sleep for a whole hour. He woke up as we walked into the restaurant. John took him while I took the seat back to the car, and then we got seated. It was nearly 2, and the place was still packed, and there was the inflected sounds of Vietnamese everywhere. Wow. We sat down and a waiter popped up to get our orders.

I ordered a Vietnamese espresso with sweetened, condensed milk on ice and a medium bowl of Pho with rare steak and tripe. John got a medium bowl as well. They were a bit slower with getting Jet a booster chair and his ow bowl and utensils, but they finally managed it. The waiter was good about not setting the scalding hot bowl of noodles right in front of Jet while Jet was in my lap. Jet, however, was a bit more careless, and started poking at my bowl with my chopsticks and spoon until he got his seat and his own set of utensils.

I then loaded Jet's bowl with noodles, soup, and samples of everything else. He got a bit of meat, basil, bean sprouts, onion, and a touch of tripe. I'd learned from the other night, because when I gave Jet food from my small bowl, I hadn't quite had enough for myself. This time, though, I had plenty to eat and Jet dove right into his noodles with gusto. I think that some of it was that after the other time, he knew what he was getting into. While he did play with the noodles and soup for a little while, he got to eating with determination quite a bit sooner.

The tripe was wonderful. It was delicate and cut so that it was lacy. It was cooked so that it was crisp and flavorful. Yum.

The soup was hotter. The noodles were firmer. The huge plate of fresh vegetables were cleaner, fresher, and more crisp than at the Pho 79 that was closer to us. It was all a matter of degree, but as a whole it was very obvious that this was a much better place and experience than the other place.

My coffee, in and of itself, was an experience. I let all the hot water drip through the grounds onto the condensed milk. I stirred the thick sweetness into the coffee and the poured it over the ice in the glass. I took a sip of smooth, strongly coffee creamy sweetness. It was quite the kick. A great way to wake up. I loved it, as it was so concentrated.

Wow. I could get addicted to this. I was also very glad that I was having it at lunch time instead of at night. I don't think I could have had it for dinner and still be able to go to sleep at night.

I also learned that the word 'pho' means ones own bowl. Hee. It makes much more sense, now. The menu simply has small, medium, and large bowls with about twenty combinations of meats along with half a dozen extras that one can add for additional cost. The small bowl is just less than four dollars, the medium is less than five, and the large is six. So our lunch cost even less than a dinner at Souper Salad!! And the quality was so much better. Quite the low-fat, high in fresh vegetables, and inexpensive bargain!

It was a great lunch. Jet ate noodles until he was tired of them. He even learned to suck his noodles instead of only shoving them directly into his mouth. He ended up taking the very last of his noodles out of his bowl and putting them into mine before getting a spoon and sipping as much of the soup as he could get with a spoon before picking up his bowl and drinking the last of it from the bottom of the bowl! That surprised me, but he was perfectly blase about it and gave me this huge smile and an "Aaahhh" of contentment when he set the bowl back down.

Wow.

He was tremendously happy as we walked back to the car, and he did great with John while we wandered through the Pacific Ocean grocery store and got stuff for the BBQ next week. I also got stuff for steamed roll and some really beautiful Asian eggplant that I'll probably have for lunch on Monday.

We also stopped in the rice cooker aisle and got a replacement for the rice cooker Kathy got us 15 years ago. Our cooker got a little fried a decade ago when someone borrowed it for a church potluck and put the wrong pot into it (they were doing a Hawaiian thing and had five rice cookers and just mixed up the pots). It overheated and melted some things and the contacts for the power switch on it have been gradually getting worse and worse. The other night it snapped and crackled at me, and we decided it was time for it to go. We'll save the engraved lid, but it was getting dangerous, and we use it so often, that we had to get a replacement.

We now have a replacement with a clear lid, a non-stick pan, and a nice steamer attachment that should work out better for sticky rice bundles, White Castle hamburgers, bao, and tamales. Yeah. Quite the gamut of things that like steam. We hit the bakery next door and then headed to a computer recycling place that sells old computers. Jet wandered that pretty happy, though he started throwing CD's around. We put a quick end to that and then headed home.

I baked oatmeal cookies off the Quaker Oats box for church tomorrow, as the church has invited a Muslim speaker for the weekend and we're expecting many more people than usual tomorrow. So John's new membership group was asked to bring extra cookies. I have also been pining for oatmeal cookies and wanted to prove the recipe, somehow. The cookies turned out crisp on the edges, chewy in the center, and very tasty. I'll have to do them again, sometime, maybe with more nuts than raisins.

We were so full from lunch that John just made nachos and guacamole for dinner. Jet tried to take a nap while nursing, but woke up when I tried to tuck him into his seat. Not a bad thing, as after his bath, tonight, he fell right to sleep. I can hope he'll do just fine tonight as, for the first time in a while, his nose was completely clear before he went to bed. His cold seems to have lingered as long as mine.

Jet also had a surprising bath. Instead of playing with his toys he was very intent about helping to wash himself. He took soap and rubbed it onto his skin, mostly the same square four inches, but he had the right idea. Jet smiled every time he got more suds from the sop bottle, even picking out suds with his fingertips. I was impressed. I was totally surprised when we finished rinsing Jet off and he climbed out of the tub into my lap! Wet Momma! But he enjoyed his bath and it relaxed him enough that he fell asleep easily.

Speaking of which... I should probably go to sleep. We're thinking of hitting a Belgium bakery before church tomorrow morning. We discovered it while wandering the strip mall with the Italian restaurant. It's open from 6 to 6 every day, so it's possible we'll be able to find breakfast there tomorrow.

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