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September 19, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Big Score!

Today kinda started with football, but only the pre-game commentary before John dragged me off to Denver. The Chinese wife of a co-worker had emphatically recommended a good place for Dim Sum in the City, so we were going there to check it out and see if it was really as good as she said it was. After being disappointed before, I wasn't too excited about it, but we had to try!

So we drove out there, and it was a few blocks away from the one we visited previously. But this one was crowded. Completely full and had a line that looked like it was a half an hour wait when we got there, and it proved to be the case. Half an hour for a table for two, which might be annoying in some instances, but it was proof that the place was good. There was also time to really look over the cliental and while there were more whites there than I'm used to from Montery Park and such, it was actually about like some of the good dim sum places in Seattle. Mostly Chinese with an even sprinkling of white folks, which was another good indicator. Finally, we saw the cart with a hot griddle and turnip cakes and we knew it was going to be good. Only the place that do a lot of dim sum actually invest in the hot carts. We also got a good look at the menu and they had the Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce. Hoorah!

So we sat down, grabbed our favorites added the broccoli and ate a lot of food. It was all good, too. Fresh and hot and with that many people the good stuff turned over so quickly that when it got to our table it was always really hot and the textures were right on the dot. Very good indeed.

On the way to the restaurant we saw the signs for several grocery stores, including the one that was being built and about to open several months ago. So, after lunch, we went to the grocery store and scored, big time!! There were actually two grocery stores in the same strip mall, and one was clean and new and had Safeway style wide aisle and gobs and gobs of stuff. Again, there was more of a Vietnamese flavor to the place; but they actually stocked everything they could conceivably sell as Asian. I found the elusive bean sauce by staring at the characters on the back. I'd memorized the shape of the characters on the back of the bean sauce bottle and recognized it correctly on the label of the bottles they had there! I was very pleased.

We also saw a selection of jellies, like the lychee jellies that I had been so gleeful of finding, but it turns out that there's a mango jelly that has bits of really ripe mango in them like the lychee jellies have lychee pieces in them. That was really, really good. I should get a bucket of those the next time I'm down there.

The second grocery store was much more crowded, but also stuffed full of esoteric Asian cooking things. Better yet, it has a really, really fresh fish counter with tanks of swimming fish, live crab, huge lobsters, and lots of really fresh, completely clean smelling fish. Wow. That was very, very impressive and the next time I go I *have* to bring an ice chest for the half an hour drive. Also in the mall was a little shop that specialized in pho, so now John and I know where to go if we want some of that.

I realized, just a little while back, that if I put even half the energy I'm putting into American cooking from the Food Network and other sources into Chinese cooking, I'd be an okay Chinese chef. I'm just going to have to learn the basics again, from the ingredients up, I think.

On the drive home, I was very happy, and John was very happy that I was happy. No homesickness or sadness this time! Hoorah!

We spent most of the afternoon just watching football. I spent some of the time, though, making a flourless chocolate cake that I'd seen on East Meets West. It is actually pretty simple, just melt chocolate with some butter and water and sugar, beat an egg with sugar until its beyond fluffy, mix the two together, pour into ramekins and bake in a water bath. Then came the hard part, getting them out of the water bath. John and I, between us, completely destroyed two of them before we finally figured out a method. The third one we split and it came out more like chocolate mousse than anything. Really rich and really good, and, if I just left it in the ramekin and we could get them all out safely, it would probably be perfect for a really formal dinner.

Dinner was leftover BBQ meat sandwiches on leftover sausage rolls with leftover beans and coleslaw and a bag of chips. Simple, football food.

None of the football we saw this weekend was particularly good. Well, other than the bits of the English Premier League we saw for snatches between other games, but that's something completely different.

John packed, after dinner, and I cleaned up the house some. Frankie's coming on Tuesday and we like to be picked up for her. I was surprised to find that I'm moving pretty freely now, after the surgery, and all the scabs are gone, but for the bellybutton, and most of the soreness has faded. My guts are still, occasionally, unhappy with me, but it is intermittent, which is good. It does go away.

But, as John says, we had a Big Score! today by finding all the Asian things I have been longing to eat.

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