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OK, officially winding down now. The final day of Kwakoe today was...fun, but it was a bit too hot and definitely too crowded: after 6pm it was really difficult to get something to eat without a half-hour wait in line. I absolutely should've done my research eating before today. Pictures to follow soon, I hope.

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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:

That's Zeno. He was one of probably 40 naked young'uns at the park that day.

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?).

Yep that's it...was it called Sea Siam or something?

And yeah, I figured I was underguesstimating the Indian proportion, but...better safe, etc.

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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.

Hi SuziSushi, thanks for the nice words. :smile:

And for the great cocoyam info! My source-in-the-hole never got back to me so I don't have a definitive answer from the pom people, but...malanga is looking like the term to use in the US if you're looking for pomtajer. At least until we get some conflicting information. :wink:

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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:

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 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!

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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!

I am so with you! True, my business is not in a foreign country, but it might as well be for as much as I see my friends. I'm glad to hear that you can recover from BITTP years--I hope to someday. Been loving the blog, natch.

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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:

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 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!

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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!

I am so with you! True, my business is not in a foreign country, but it might as well be for as much as I see my friends. I'm glad to hear that you can recover from BITTP years--I hope to someday. Been loving the blog, natch.

I felt your pain as soon as I saw your blog, and wanted to say something empathetic, but didn't know if you'd actually experienced BITTP-ism or not... :raz: PM me if you need a shoulder.... :smile:

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OK, Kwakoe pics, then off to bed. In case I don't get to post again here for some reason or another, thanks to everyone for all of their extremely supportive comments, and for following along in general...it's been a bunch of fun.

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Same old Kwakoe, but twice as hot and 4 times as crowded as last Saturday (could that really have only been last Saturday? Jee-zus.)

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Cough, cough. Where's the pork?

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Ah, here it is...I tried to make one circuit of the grounds just to see what my options were:

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But about halfway through my rounds, I became wobbly from hunger, and the giant cloud of pork smoke sensed my weakness and benevolently steered me towards this place....there was no line, but the grillmaster seriously looked like he knew what he was doing.

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And he did. These are spare ribs in a sweet chili sauce (small portion), more Chinese than I expected, but very well-executed:

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These look exactly like the baras frying a couple pics above, but no, they're johnnycakes, cornmeal dough deep-fried and filled with cheese:

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Would've been nice, except that I had pork on my mind.

Never did get to try Patrick's ribs...lines were too long by the time I was hungry again.

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This would've been the smart thirst quencher, top hacked off and a straw stuck in there:

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But instead we went with these.....and after several (a perfect beer for this food, by the way, and served ice ice cold):

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it was time to try mondogo:

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which is tripe stew with an obscene amount of fresh habanero relish:

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The mondogo was very very good, and I'm not even a huge tripe fan or anything. Great soft and light texture, mildly porky flavor, and that relish: ka-BLAM. Actually, pretty addictive eating.

After some music:

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and a few more Djogos, this started to seem like a good idea:

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and so here we have another pork sausage on the left in its own allspice-scented broth, and the best blood sausage I've tasted to date on the right, with a sizeable dollop of habanero-mustard sauce. These were both really good, better than the sausage I had from another vendor last week...clean, interesting flavors, both very different from each other:

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and then we just sat in a tent and burped flammably for awhile....

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Good night!

Edited by markemorse (log)
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I just read this, catching up, all in one go...what an enjoyable account of your week! As a fellow fan of spicy food and a condiment addict, I adore your pictures of random jars...especially the various available sambals. :wub:

Also, where's that beefcake recipe? :raz:

Best wishes for Mara's recovery, success with your business and continued good eating!

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...your love of your adopted home shines thru in your writing Mark, a breath of fresh air.... having 'new homed' ourselves in 5 different non- English speaking countries over the years expat whining has always been a puzzling feature of many relocaters, for me nothing quite like being immersed in a strange (well, to us) new culture,.... and Mara is as content as you.....you are indeed a lucky couple :smile:

ps. nearly forgot the most important thing... also loved the food :biggrin:

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mark, I so enjoyed this week with you.

I've lived in, or very near, Amsterdam my whole life and my love for the city is deeply rooted within me. It's not often that I get to see my own city through the eyes of someone who discovered it like new territory, a world to be explored. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me see things and realize things that had drifted too far from my own safe comfort zone.

To sum it up, this has been an education, an inspiration, and lots of fun.

This is my favorite quote:

Seattle is where I had my first absolutely mindblowing restaurant meals (the first: Tom Douglas' Dahlia Lounge, roasted chicken with polenta and mushrooms, I wanted to box it up and FedEx it to Mara).

.. in a blog that was as much about discovering great food as it was about sharing it. Thank you :smile:

best wishes to Mara!

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I'm sitting here reeely looking forward to a bowl of unadorned, unphotographed, undiscussed oatmeal. :laugh:

But: some Kwakoe loose ends are nagging at me to tie them up. First, a warning. Although yesterday was a good party, it was so crowded by dinnertime that it was very difficult to get your hands on something for your tooth to enjoy:

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In contrast, the Saturday the week before, I could've eaten anything I wanted to with almost no wait. So, the lesson? Don't wait until the last day of Kwakoe to get your rib on.

Then, some questions. My friend Clare excelled in ordering things that the vendors could not provide an English or Dutch name for. Can anybody tell me what these are?

This was like a sour yam, served grilled and finger-blisteringly hot (note the rib-stained fingernails...classy!):

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And this was somewhere between an unripe pear and jicama or chayote:

gallery_47138_4965_12270.jpg

I'm not sure that either of these was actually enjoyable to eat, but the novelty made for good discussion.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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mark, I so enjoyed this week with you.

I've lived in, or very near, Amsterdam my whole life and my love for the city is deeply rooted within me. It's not often that I get to see my own city through the eyes of someone who discovered it like new territory, a world to be explored. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me see things and realize things that had drifted too far from my own safe comfort zone.

To sum it up, this has been an education, an inspiration, and lots of fun.

This is my favorite quote:

Seattle is where I had my first absolutely mindblowing restaurant meals (the first: Tom Douglas' Dahlia Lounge, roasted chicken with polenta and mushrooms, I wanted to box it up and FedEx it to Mara).

.. in a blog that was as much about discovering great food as it was about sharing it. Thank you :smile:

best wishes to Mara!

Klary...very glad you liked it....

Of course, you do know that it was your inspiration that 1) brought me to eGullet in the first place and 2) lit a fire under my foodblogging pen (and my mixed metaphor generator, apparently) and motivated me to "not suck". So thank you, too... :smile:

mem

Edited by markemorse (log)
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And this was somewhere between an unripe pear and jicama or chayote:

gallery_47138_4965_12270.jpg

I'm not that either were actually enjoyable to eat, but the novelty made for good discussion.

Rose Apple. The good ones are very sweet, crunchy and juicy on their own, but I like them better dusted with sour plum powder.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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And this was somewhere between an unripe pear and jicama or chayote:

gallery_47138_4965_12270.jpg

I'm not that either were actually enjoyable to eat, but the novelty made for good discussion.

Rose Apple. The good ones are very sweet, crunchy and juicy on their own, but I like them better dusted with sour plum powder.

Ah, May...thanks again. This one was really only juicy and sweet near its fat bottom, the rest was...very jicama-like.

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

My least favorite thing about Amsterdam: no Mexican food. Well, one real Mexican restaurant run by Mexicans. There are plenty of places that say they serve "Mexican food", but it's basically food by people who have seen pictures of Mexican food but never tasted it.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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My least favorite thing about Amsterdam: no Mexican food. Well, one real Mexican restaurant run by Mexicans. There are plenty of places that say they serve "Mexican food", but it's basically food by people who have seen pictures of Mexican food but never tasted it.

Sounds like the Mexican food I make. In a complete vaccuum (and I'm not talking about sous-vide). I should have eaten some before I left the U.S. ...

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Hey Mark!

I'm new to eGullet but the blogs are one of the things that drew me in. Thank you so much for the time it took for you to share your corner of the world--and some very unfamiliar food to me!

Marsha

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I don't post much these days, but I couldn't let your blog close without saying how much I enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks for a fascinating week!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Mara.

Dear Food: I hate myself for loving you.

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Haven't been here for ages so I only just came across your excellent blog, markemorse!

Kaya is very easy to make but requires patience, fresh ingredients and constant attention (a bit like making Megan's Gateaux aux Crepes. Easy in technique but the minute you get distracted, you get burnt crepes oops).

This is my mother's recipe for kaya:

Kaya Nyonya

Ingredients:

10 small eggs

500 g granulated sugar

Pati santan from 1.5 coconut

4 pandan leaves

Mix the eggs and sugar in a pot and stir over boiling water using a medium low heat until sugar melts. Sieve the mixture into a round stainless steel or enamel pot, add in the santan and pandan leaves.and stir over boiling water (double boil), of and on, until the mixture turns quite thick. Discard the pandan leaves. Cover the pot and steam over very low heat for about 3 hours.

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Thank you for a fun, entertaining and inspiring week, Mark. The food looked fantastic and it was a treat to see your town. I'm getting my jar of sambal olek some other sambal company soon. :wub:

Best wishes for you and Mara.

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Thank you for a fun, entertaining and inspiring week, Mark. The food looked fantastic and it was a treat to see your town.  I'm getting my jar of sambal olek some other sambal company soon. :wub:

Best wishes for you and Mara.

Thanks very much to you all for the well-wishing (and to yunnermeier for the kaya recipe!), she's doing better today, everything seems to be returning to normal (knock on wood)...and hsm, Mara really likes your avatar! :wub:

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