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markemorse

eGfoodblog: markemorse

251 posts in this topic

Just caught up. Wow. Terrific blog. I so want to go to Amsterdam one of these days. I'm digging how your interests in music and food overlap, as those two interests also overlap in my life. In fact, one of the many reasons why I'd like to visit Amsterdam one of these days is the fact that one of my musician friends performs there on a semi-regular basis. Thanks for making the idea of such a visit even more tempting. :smile:

Thanks mizducky, actually there's a final bit to explain about the music situation: I haven't answered the question about "why Amsterdam" yet...stay, um, eh...tuned, so to speak.

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Mark, this is a wonderful blog to come home from vacation to; so very informative! :biggrin:

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The Turkish are possibly the highest-profile group of immigrants (from a positive perspective) in the Netherlands today (IMHO). In terms of sheer numbers, according to the figures here on my desk, the Turkish are currently the second-largest group of immigrants in the Netherlands, just behind the Indonesians. But, again, Indonesian immigration has been happening for so long and so quietly that it's almost completely ignored at this point: you almost never see "Indonesians" in the news. In fact, they're not even officially considered "foreigners" anymore (as far as I understand).

+++

Turkish (and Moroccan, for that matter) immigrants began coming to the Netherlands in the 60s as part of an agreement between their respective governments designed to resolve a labor shortage here in Holland. They were considered "guest workers", and the idea was that, after the labor shortage was over, they would just return home. When the oil crisis in the 70s dramatically cut the demand for guest workers...

You can probably guess that this did not quite work out as planned. Many of the resident immigrants never left, and Turkish immigration continued over the next 30 years as successful immigrants brought their families over to be with them, legally or illegally. As always, it's a complex story.

Culinarily speaking, Turkish cuisine is well behind the Indische kitchen as a powerful influence on Dutch tastes. But it's growing...albeit in a much less broad and integrated manner than Indische flavors. If you ask a Dutch person to name a Turkish food, I will wager, with no data to back me up whatsoever, that 90% of them would say shoarma.

gallery_28661_4926_16701.jpg

There are literally hundreds of shoarma or döner kebab joints in Amsterdam. Hopefully you've all tried shoarma, if you haven't, the Amsterdam version is shaved lamb served in a pita with lettuce (you can almost see the pita in this picture). It's always served with at least two optional sauces: a garlic-yoghurt sauce, and a tomato-chile-onion relish that they call sambal.

Huh?


Edited by markemorse (log)

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I imagine that the use of the term sambal for this sauce is strictly for convenience's sake. The other option would be to call it by its real name, skhug, and then explain to every single customer who walked in the door exactly wtf skhug was (other than an excellent Scrabble word). And I bet what they'd end up saying anyway was, "it's basically sambal", because everyone here knows what sambal is.

+++

The second most popular piece of Turkish eating here in Amsterdam is another sambal and yogurt sauce recipient. In the Netherlands, this oven-blistered bundle of taste-explosive goodness is almost always referred to as a "Turkish pizza":

gallery_28661_4926_7610.jpg

But the more common name for it outside of the Netherlands is lahmacun.

gallery_28661_4926_6623.jpg

This one came from the guys next to the currently-being-renovated post office. 2 euro 50, and I swear you've never spent that amount of money more wisely. The above was our afternoon snack.

+++


Edited by markemorse (log)

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I lied! Rijsttafel pics:

The menu:

gallery_28661_4926_13813.jpg

nasi kuning (yellow saffron rice with coconut milk and fried onions):

Are you sure it's saffron? Isn't it turmeric?

Hi May, that's what I would've thought, but the menu says (you can almost read it up there at the tippy-top) "gele saffraanrijst". I didn't see the rice 'til I got home so I couldn't ask my helpful server at that point. But yes, turmeric would make much more sense...

Cheaper too! :laugh:

As Chufi said, "everyone knows sate and bami." This is a fantastic and unique thing for a European country to be able to say, IMHO.

maybe comparable to curry in England? just thinking out loud...

Kinda...but in my mind, Indian food has quite a high profile globally (you can find Indian food almost anywhere in America, and I've eaten it in several non-UK European countries), whereas Indonesian food is generally tough to find outside of Southeast Asia and the Netherlands. When I lived in Atlanta there was one Indonesian restaurant (in a city of 5 million people). And 50 Indian restaurants (not statistically accurate...therese or someone from Atlanta, help me out here :raz: ).

Probably because there's an Indian diaspora, a Chinese diaspora, but I don't think there's an Indonesian diaspora.


Edited by miladyinsanity (log)

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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This is getting more interesting all the time! I too was wondering, along with Sharon, about couscous, which I believe to be a national dish in France these days.

When my husband sees those shoarma and lahmacun pictures he's going to be agitating to visit Amsterdam post haste.

But wait, since you're talking of time running out, you've never explained wtf you're actually doing there!

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This is getting more interesting all the time!  I too was wondering, along with Sharon, about couscous, which I believe to be a national dish in France these days.

When my husband sees those shoarma and lahmacun pictures he's going to be agitating to visit Amsterdam post haste.

But wait, since you're talking of time running out, you've never explained wtf you're actually doing there!

Couscous is not really tremendously popular here. Certainly nothing like shoarma and lahmacun. Though there is some overlap between the two, I'll go out on a limb and say that Moroccan food is much less popular amongst the general population than Turkish food is: Albert Heijn offers lamb pre-cut and spiced for shoarma; pre-cooked, microwaveable shoarma; shoarmaspice for your spice rack, shoarma sauces, etc. There's not really a comparable Moroccan foodstuff that's infiltrated the largest grocery chains....kefta or merguez are probably the closest contenders.

And I promise not to close this blog without doing a full reveal on the "why/how Amsterdam" story. :wink:


Edited by markemorse (log)

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I, too, am just catching up reading this fabulous blog! :wub: Great food, fascinating background & stories, and I can't remember the last time I've laughed out loud so many times in one sitting. :laugh: (I wish I could write with your easy grace. . .)

Just a note about "old cocoyam" (taro) and "new cocoyam" (malanga or yautia) from the middle of the Pacific. They're closely related and I don't really know the botanical differences. We grow many types of taro here. . . dryland taro, wetland taro. . . Some are better for making poi, some for eating like a potato. There's Chinese taro, and tiny Japanese taro (ko-imo). They have different colors, ranging from purple to yellowish cream, and somewhat different flavors and density.

What they all have in common is that you can't eat them raw, because of the high oxalic acid content, and some people find them irritating to handle so must wear rubber gloves when they peel or grate them. The leaves are cooked and eaten as a spinach-like vegetable.


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Considerably less common than shoarma/döner kebab and lahmacun joints in Amsterdam, but still absolutely plentiful, are full-service Turkish grillrooms that offer a wider range of Turkish dishes. Tonight we got take-out from the ingeniously-named Döner Palace, an inexpensive grillroom on the Rozengracht.

Döner Palace was not my first or second choice for dinner, more like my seventh. But all of my normal Turkish filling stations had this helpful sign in their window:

gallery_28661_4926_11118.jpg

This one adorned the window of Patisserie Mercan (also on the Rozengracht), home of perfect böreks and unbeatable lahmacun. Bum-mer.

+++

But I'd peeked into Döner Palace a couple of times before and thought it always looked at least OK. And it's cheap, so a mistake wouldn't be costly. So I picked up a couple of things. Sigara Boregi, filo-wrapped feta and dill rolls:

gallery_28661_4926_12167.jpg

Imam bayildi (eggplant stuffed with onions, tomato, and pepper):

gallery_28661_4926_12364.jpg

and...a daily special that I didn't catch the name of, which my "mealworms and sawdust" camera setting made look almost exactly like the imam bayildi:

gallery_28661_4926_17660.jpg

which I tried to compensate for by rotating the dish 90 degrees. Problem solved! In reality this was a rather spicy lamb köfte with potatoes and long green peppers. Tasty.

In fact, it was all really tasty, and surprisingly spicy. Plus, they threw in some free sütlaç (rice pudding): all in all, a lucky strike.


Edited by markemorse (log)

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OK, I had give you that background so that the rest of my day's eating would have some context. I got up early, too early, ran to the Turkish guys, got some mint and some pistachio baklava, and then I made a chickpea salad to bring to the birthday picnic:

gallery_28661_4926_21377.jpg

that was scrumptious, and not too bad-looking either if I do say so my own self:

gallery_28661_4926_23095.jpg

Meanwhile, I fortified myself with the baklava:

gallery_28661_4926_696.jpg

Then I very luckily checked my email and found out that the picnic was in fact not in the Westerpark as I'd thought, but in the Vondelpark. Oops! So I took off like the proverbial bat out o' hell and zoomed down there.

gallery_28661_4926_5834.jpg


Edited by markemorse (log)

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And then, it was off to the Amsterdam Pride canal parade, in my sky blue Lincoln Continental:

gallery_28661_4926_8373.jpg

Well, no, I don't know whose this was, but it was certainly a shock to see it. Also shocking was the number of revelers:

gallery_28661_4926_20147.jpg

gallery_28661_4926_2870.jpg

...and the lengths they went to to get a good view:

gallery_28661_4926_16059.jpg

gallery_28661_4926_6755.jpg

and then of course, the floaters themselves...both female:

gallery_28661_4926_11827.jpg

and male:

gallery_28661_4926_15800.jpg

gallery_28661_4926_28605.jpg

gallery_28661_4926_26121.jpg

and more....I've been to a few of these, and this seemed like a good one. It felt very much like a mini-Queen's Day on the length of the Prinsengracht today...tons and tons of happy inebriants, along with the quietly curious. But gorgeous weather had everyone smiling (and drinking).

There were 80 or so floats this year, it's hard to really give you a feel for the scope...these pictures were all taken in the span of 10 minutes and the parade went on for hours. Big fun. I didn't get to sample any street food....but I did see a lot of sausage. :wink:


Edited by markemorse (log)

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Big fun. I didn't get to sample any street food....but I did see a lot of sausage.  :wink:

Gosh. I wonder what you edited.

Mark, can we be at Winding Down time already? :sad:

You're a wonderful writer and this really is a great blog. I know you've promised to say more, so please don't consider this like the music they play during Oscar speeches.

You've given me lots to think about and when not so thoroughly tired, I might pipe up about bara, American vegetarian burgers and the intercultural nexus of urad dahl and Beluga Lentils. But it's time to wash the last of the dishes and take out the garbage, so I'll just say thank you for now.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Imam bayildi (eggplant stuffed with onions, tomato, and pepper):

gallery_28661_4926_12364.jpg

Random food trivia: one of my cookbooks tells me that the name of the dish "imam bayildi" translates as "The Imam Fainted," and that he fainted, according to legend, when he learned how much (expensive) olive oil went into preparing this dish--as you've probably experienced, eggplant can exhibit a spongelike capacity for sucking up a ton of oil. :smile:

Amsterdam's Pride celebration looks like one helluva lotta fun.

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Big fun. I didn't get to sample any street food....but I did see a lot of sausage.  :wink:

Gosh. I wonder what you edited.

Yeah, there were a couple of earlier revisions that didn't make it past the censors.

Thanks for the props. Looking forward to your lentil exposé. :smile:

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Since I pulled a Pulp Fiction with yesterday's chronology, I missed my Low Blood Sugar Emergency bite:

gallery_28661_4926_5428.jpg

A zucchini-feta pancake from an old haunt near the Overtoom called Gaffaf. Or at least it used to be called that, it seems to be having an identity crisis these days: the window logo still says Gaffaf, but there's another name above.

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Imam bayildi (eggplant stuffed with onions, tomato, and pepper):

gallery_28661_4926_12364.jpg

Random food trivia: one of my cookbooks tells me that the name of the dish "imam bayildi" translates as "The Imam Fainted," and that he fainted, according to legend, when he learned how much (expensive) olive oil went into preparing this dish--as you've probably experienced, eggplant can exhibit a spongelike capacity for sucking up a ton of oil. :smile:

Thanks mizducky, that's the story I know as well...I think I first read it in Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, which is one of my favorite cookbooks to cook out of...

In fact, the chickpea salad recipe I used yesterday is vaguely based on something in that book that I can't locate at the moment...here's what I did yesterday (this recipe makes a lot of chickpeas):

+++

moroccan chickpea salad.

1 kg cooked chickpeas

1 or 2 large sweet onions, chopped (I like a lot of onion in this)

5 canned roma tomatoes, smashed

6 or more scallions, chopped fine

1 cup or more fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 cup or more fresh coriander leaves

1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained

2 tbsp quince paste, melted

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 cup or so extra-virgin olive oil

3 tbsp ras el hanout

salt

Combine and stir well. Serves 10-12 healthy portions.

+++

Now, while you can find "shoarmaspice" at Albert Heijn, ras el hanout isn't quite that high-profile yet. But just like there are the ubiquitous tokos and warungs that serve as grocers/takeout counters for the Indische cookers and eaters, there are the Turkish and Moroccan equivalent, almost always called "markets". So, our local one is Bario Market, the one I bought this ras el hanout from is called Osteriz Market I think, etc.

gallery_28661_4926_14937.jpg

gallery_28661_4926_13295.jpg

It has much in common with shoarmaspice: healthy doses of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric; but ras el hanout is typically a more complicated spice blend that can contain some crazily esoteric ingredients as well: ash berries, chufa, Grains of Paradise, orris root, Monk's pepper, cubebs, dried rosebud, and the potentially toxic belladonna (according to Wikipedia). I'm trying to fit a Stevie Nicks reference in here somehow but it's just not happening.


Edited by markemorse (log)

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Before the day gets away, What Are We Doing Here, Part 2.

+++

When we left the US in 2000, our first destination was Siena, Italy. We'd vacationed to Italy a bit in the 90s and, though we'd done some reconnaissance on some other European locations, Italy was the clear favorite. We ended up in Siena to learn Italian for 6 months, and then we'd figure out where to settle down, probably Bologna.

We were in class 5 days a week, 4 hours a day, it reminded me completely of high school again (maybe 'cos everyone else in our class was 18?), actually, but our Italian came along OK. But, a bunch of things happened...we met a wonderful Dutch girl in our Italian class named Birre. When it was everyone's turn to introduce themselves on the first day, she was the only person in a classroom of 20 who said that she loved the city she lived in (Amsterdam). This raised our eyebrows. We became fast friends with Birre (she was the oldest 18-year-old of all time) and decided to visit the object of her affections over the Christmas/New Year's break...and we loved it, too.

Other things were happening simultaneously: it was on this winter holiday that Mara contracted GBS, and that shut her down for the next couple months. We also decided that Italian bureaucracy was going to seriously impede our attempt to get legal. So we went back to the US for the spring/summer to regroup. Mara's parents had bought our house from us, so we moved back in with them...the house was big enough, it was actually a nice little setup, we get along with them very well.

The more we talked about Plan B, the more often Amsterdam came up. I'd been a fan of the Dutch free jazz scene for a few years (largely thanks to writer Kevin Whitehead, whose excellent book New Dutch Swing is available for 52 cents from Amazon). There was a treaty between the US and the Netherlands that made it possible for us to legally immigrate if we opened our own business. Time passed, I went on tour, my grandmother died, we talked some more, and then it was settled. We'd move to Amsterdam and open up an extremely specialized record shop. Which we'd never done, nor did we have any idea how to do this. Cool!


Edited by markemorse (log)

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Opening your first-ever retail specialty shop in a country where you do not speak the language, with your life partner and best friend as your business partner (even though you've never worked together before), and where you know no one at all is (choose one):

A) ambitious!

B) stupid.

C) initially very lonely.

D) financially risky

E) potentially fatal to your love life

F) totally ridiculous.

G) a really expensive and inefficient way to meet many of the most creative and interesting people in town, a small subset of whom you will end up becoming very good friends with for a long time, in the process changing your life and your understanding of the world completely and irrevocably.

Pencils down!

+++

During the Banana in the Tailpipe Years, as we like to call them, you know....sitting inside a beautiful but empty record shop on a gorgeously crisp and sunny summer day...sitting inside an impeccably-researched but empty record shop on a frigidly cold winter day, waiting for the landlord's lackey to come by and pretend to fix the heating...eventually the tide turned. A handful of local recordlabels approached us about being their new international distributor. We knew nothing about how this worked, but we said yes, and after we realized that we could learn how to do this, we realized that we didn't need The Money Pit anymore. So we closed it in 2004, and now we do international distribution and mailorder from home. And we have almost completely recovered from the BITTP years. Yay us!


Edited by markemorse (log)

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Oh my goodness. I just got back from about two weeks of nonstop travel and performing with no time to breathe, much less read, and found your wonderful blog. Thank you so much, this is a pleasure and the pictures are wonderful! I've only been to Amsterdam once and only overnight, now am dying to go again and spend more time.

...and yes, stopping to think it through before you throw your entire life up in the air just to see where it lands is totally counterproductive. :raz:

K


Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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I have to admit this is one of my favorite pics.... that little guy (gal?) just comfortably hanging out in the nude... aren't childhood summers the best? :biggrin:


Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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I, too, am loving this blog and don't want to see it end.

A few questions/comments:

how is Mara doing?

why Siena?

I went on tour

Tell us about that.....performer or tech?

Mark, bergerka, Jamie, etc al:

I LOVE when someone takes the time to flesh out their profile. When intriguing comments are made, the first thing I do is look to see if there is something in the profile that will let me understand and not have to ask. Thank you, thank you.

And pictures are the best !

Kathy

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[...] in my mind, Indian food has quite a high profile globally (you can find Indian food almost anywhere in America, and I've eaten it in several non-UK European countries), whereas Indonesian food is generally tough to find outside of Southeast Asia and the Netherlands. When I lived in Atlanta there was one Indonesian restaurant (in a city of 5 million people). And 50 Indian restaurants (not statistically accurate...therese or someone from Atlanta, help me out here  :raz: ).

The one Indonesian meal I can recall eating here in Philadelphia was at the home of a retired Drexel math professor and his Indonesian lover. East and Southeast Asian cuisines in general are decently represented on the local restaurant roster -- lots of Vietnamese, plenty of Korean, even (at least) one each representing Laos (Cafe de Laos), Burma (Rangoon) and Malaysia (a chain at that -- Penang), but no Indonesian.

However, I was in the big Vietnamese supermarket on Washington Avenue yesterday, and it had several varieties of chili sauces from ABC, one of the big Indonesian brands. I didn't see any of the other Indonesian sauces (including ketjap), nor did I check their spice aisle.

Culinarily speaking, Turkish cuisine is well behind the Indische kitchen as a powerful influence on Dutch tastes. But it's growing...albeit in a much less broad and integrated manner than Indische flavors. If you ask a Dutch person to name a Turkish food, I will wager, with no data to back me up whatsoever, that 90% of them would say shoarma.

gallery_28661_4926_16701.jpg

There are literally hundreds of shoarma or döner kebab joints in Amsterdam. Hopefully you've all tried shoarma, if you haven't, the Amsterdam version is shaved lamb served in a pita with lettuce (you can almost see the pita in this picture). It's always served with at least two optional sauces: a garlic-yoghurt sauce, and a tomato-chile-onion relish that they call sambal.

Huh?

Shwarma can now be found in many US cities with Middle Eastern populations, including this one. Even more common, though, is its Greek identical twin, gyros. (Though a Greek friend of mine tells me that what most US eateries call gyros is not what you get in Greece. I think that may be because many places use big pre-formed cylinders of ground lamb and beef, not the stacks of slices that I understand are used in the lands of shwarma/gyros' origin.)

Haven't encountered it with sambal yet, though. Yogurt and tatziki sauces are the only ones I've yet seen.

Gyros is one of my favorite international street foods.

Has the Mexican version of this dish -- tacos al pastor -- made it to Europe yet?

The second most popular piece of Turkish eating here in Amsterdam is another sambal and yogurt sauce recipient. In the Netherlands, this oven-blistered bundle of taste-explosive goodness is almost always referred to as a "Turkish pizza":

gallery_28661_4926_7610.jpg

But the more common name for it outside of the Netherlands is lahmacun.

gallery_28661_4926_6623.jpg

This one came from the guys next to the currently-being-renovated post office. 2 euro 50, and I swear you've never spent that amount of money more wisely. The above was our afternoon snack.

I've associated this dish with Armenians ever since I first encountered it in Watertown, Mass., home to one of the largest concentrations of Armenian-Americans in the US. (There, they spelled it "lahmejune.")

It's a very convenient, versatile, and tasty snack -- there are many different ways to top it. I can get it frozen at a Middle Eastern grocery near the Italian Market, in a pocket of South Philly where many Lebanese live (there's a Maronite Christian church one block up from the store).

I for one would love to go to sleep and wake up, Rip Van Winkle-style, some 75 years from now and see how the various ethnic cuisines have recombined and fused. You've already shared with us a Dutch dish invented in the days when it ran Indonesia; care to speculate on where Dutch cooking might go in the wake of the other cultures that now add spice to the country?

As for the Gay Pride celebration: What mizducky said. Though I don't think I'd stand in the windowsill the way some of those spectators did.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I, too, am loving this blog and don't want to see it end.

A few questions/comments:

how is Mara doing?

why Siena?

I went on tour

Tell us about that.....performer or tech?

Just back from Kwakoe, sunburned, drunk, burping habanero burps, but I'll see what I can do here....

+++

Thanks a bunch, Kathy, seriously....

1) Mara had a rough night last night, codeine messing with her tummy, but today seems to be a little better. Thanks for asking!

2) Siena was one of the few places (Perugia and Urbino being the others IIRC) where there was a Universita per Stranieri (university for foreigners) where we could take an comprehensive immigrant-targeted Italian course.

3) And this tour was as a performer...kind of a doomed project due to cataclysmic personal conflicts between the two core members of the band, but even as things were coming apart, they/we somehow scored a month-long "residency" at the Knitting Factory in NY, two sets every Friday night in June (great!) for almost no money (boo). An unforgettable experience nonetheless, because we were based in Athens, GA at the time, and so the big question was: how to arrange a tour that would land us in Manhattan every Friday night. Logistics, ahoy!


Edited by markemorse (log)

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When I lived in Atlanta there was one Indonesian restaurant (in a city of 5 million people). And 50 Indian restaurants (not statistically accurate...therese or someone from Atlanta, help me out here  :raz: ).

And that one Indonesian place has gone under (you're thinking of the one on Cheshire Bridge, on the side of the street opposite Hong Kong Harbor?). Several Malaysian places (including our branch of Penang). Way more than 50 Indian restaurants (I ate a lunch of chat yesterday after a hard morning's shopping at Target), and bajillions of Vietnamese and Korean as well as every possible flavor of Latin American. Thai pretty common, as are various permutations of Middle Eastern.

Overall a good reflection of the immigrant mix.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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      Hello Everyone!
       
      Happy to join eGullet in hopes to share my passion for culinary and kitchen with others. I have an Instagram account, but I don't think that is enough as I want to learn more, expand, and share my love for food with individuals who share the same passion.
       
      Here is a brief bio about myself: Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA by my Filipino parents. Having no brothers and sisters, I am very independent and surprisingly social with others but also love spending time on my own and with my boyfriend Louis, who is my kitchen partner in crime (this is how we actually met, working BOH at a local Vietnamese restaurant in LA). Having attended college majoring in accounting as an undergrad and grad, I orignally wanted to become a licensed accountant for finance and real estate, but it was not fulfilling and the content honestly bored me to death! I also desired to leave the corporate business world and join the professional kitchen. So I took the leap, graduated culinary school, quit my desk job, and worked in the professional kitchen. Then my health and finances took over, and I had surgery and I needed more money to survive in a city of ridiculous rent prices. I had to leave the kitchen and go back into accounting. Fast forward to 2017, I am currently unemployed having been laid off two days before Christmas the prior year! Using this as a sign and as an opportunity for self growth and realization, I am once again on the culinary path. Not necessarily to work on the line, but to learn more, cook and bake more at home, and expose myself out there to all things food and kitchen. Not also forgetting to mention I am always surrounded by food: Louis is also still in the professional kitchen, and we WILL have that restaurant one day (dreams DO come true, I just know it!).
       
      Anyhow, I am super excited to be posting here and exchanging ideas! See you out there! 
       
      Margie
    • By ElsieD
      We are at the airport waiting to board our flight.  As we seem to have interested folks from different parts of the world who may not know too much about our province,  I thought I would start this blog by giving you an overview of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).
       
      Before Newfoundland  became part of Canada in 1949, it was a British Colony.  Cupids, a town on Conception Bay, was settled 406 years ago, and is the oldest continuously settled official British community in Canada.  Most of the early permanent settlers came from southwest England and southeast Ireland although  the French also settled here and in the 17th century Newfoundland was more French than English.  French is still spoken in Port au Port Penninsula, on the western side of the island, with English spoken everywhere else.   Just off the coast of south west Newfoundland, St. Pierre et Miquelon are islands that are still a colony of France.  There is a regular ferry service between Fortune, NL and St. Pierre et Miquelon.
       
      Geographically, the capital of St. John's is on the same latitude as Paris, France and Seattle, Washington.  In size, Newfoundland and Labrador is a little smaller than California, slightly bigger than Japan and twice the size of the United Kingdon.  NL covers 405,212 sq. kilometers (156,453 sq. miles) with over 29,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) of coastline.  By itself, the island of Newfoundland covers 111,390 square kilometers (43,008 sq. miles).
       
      The population of NL is 510,000, of whom 181,000 live in St. John's.  While there are some larger towns, vast areas are sparsely populated.
       
      In Newfoundland there are no snakes, skunks, racoons, poisonous insects or arachnids.  There is also no ragweed - allergy sufferers rejoice!  There are over 120,000 moose and it is home to one of the world's biggest caribou herds.   They also have some of the continent's biggest black bears.
       
      Note: This information was taken from the official Newfoundland and Labrador web site.
    • By chefmd
      My son married a lovely young lady from Yakeshi, Inner Mongolia, China.   Mongolian: ᠶᠠᠠᠠᠰᠢ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Ягши хот); Chinese: 牙克石; pinyin: Yákèshí
       
      We had a wedding in the US but her family also wanted to have a traditional wedding in China.  DH and I have never being to China so this was an exciting opportunity for us!  We spent a few days in Beijing doing touristy stuff and then flew to Hailar.  There is only one flight a day on Air China that we took at 6 in the morning.  Yakeshi is about an hour drive from Hailar on a beautiful toll road with no cars on it.  I wish we took pictures of free roaming sheep and cows along the way.  The original free range meat.
       
      The family met us at the airport.  We were greeted with a shot of a traditional Chinese spirit from a traditional leather vessel.  Nothing says welcome like a stiff drink at 9 AM.  We were supposed to have a three shots (may be they were joking) but family took pity on us and limited it to one only.
       

       
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