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Saturday, November 19, 2016

CAVIAR, FOIE GRAS, TRUFFLES, JAPANESE WAGYU BEEF AND PEARL'S GOLD TREE

Yesterday was an eventful day.  I had my best 15 Craigside lanai meal ever and noted that Pearl's Gold Tree plaque at the Ala Wai Golf Course was moved, something I had requested because the tree at the original site never survived.  

The plaque now is located between the fairways of two par 3s, the 8th and 11th holes.  There are two Gold Trees here.

I just walk on at Ala Wai and normally tee off fifteen minutes after I add my name to the wait list.  Two interesting people today.  A Ms. Kim who could have been anywhere between 15 and 85 years of age, for she had her face covered with some kind of mask to avoid the sun, to which she added a burka-like shawl. and wore reflective sunglasses.  By the 14th hole I was exhausted, but Ms. Kim, between holes, began a series of calisthenics.  By the 18th tee off area she must have completed at least fifty push-ups and sit-ups, plus a bunch of other exercises.  She said she was from Incheon (which has the second best airport in the world--and Donald Trump has a good point about our airports, for the highest ranked U.S. airport is Denver's, at #28, a very mediocre facility), but lived for a while in Japan.  She now resides in Honolulu and said she moved here to go golfing.  I don't think she was joking.

The third golfer was a Dr. Chun from Queen's Hospital.  We had some long discussions about healthcare and came to a mutual conclusion that the future of the USA will be something similar to much of the world:  there will be a universal plan for everyone, but the service will be second-rate, and you will need to wait forever to see a doctor.  Those who can afford it will pay a lot more for better service.  

He mentioned one thing that makes sense:  hospitals multiply services by a factor from three to ten of what medical programs allow.  When Pearl was in intensive care at Kuakini Hospital, a nurse passed on to me a bill for Month #1 exactly on day 30, with a charge of around $300,000.  This did not include doctors' fees.  I wondered what if she had to stay there for a year what that would cost me?  Pearl did pass away a few days later and that was seven years ago.  I have yet to see a bill.  People who do not have a medical plan can get financially ruined, for even a medical lawyer will only get you maybe a 20% reduction, which you will pass on to your lawyer.

While golfing I was anticipating my 15 Craigside pick-up dinner of clams linguini and salad.  However, the more I thought, I more I remembered my posting on Wednesday of Shanghai Soup Dumplings, where I mentioned caviar, foie gras, truffles (you can order from Italy:  white truffles costs from $120-$2900/ounce and black truffles from $38-$67/ounce--I just used white truffle oil and truffle zest seasoning) and Japanese wagyu beef.  

Every so often you need to splurge on yourself, so I stopped by J-Shop for wagyu beef from Shizuoka, Marukai for shiitake mushrooms, ahi (yellow-fin tuna) sashimi and a bottle of Junmai Daijingo sake, and Beretania Foodland for a piece of frozen foie gras, beef shank for the marrow and a tiny glass container of caviar.


The rice is from Niigata, reported to be #1 in Japan.  It turned out that earlier this week I had a 40%-off coupon from CVS Longs, so I walked around the store looking for the most expensive item.  After a while I focused on a rice cooker/steamer, for my simple version must be 25 years old and banged up, but it still works.  Not sure if this is more extravagance or stupidity, and probably both, for how often will I need to keep my rice warm?  The answer is never.  We do get three meals a day at 15 Craigside, too.  Anyway, here is my new Tiger cooker-steamer to the right, which I used for the first time last night.


The French bread was crispy and supersaturated with butter.  Instead of squeezing lemon on the caviar combo I used calamansi (calamondin), for I have a small tree on my lanai.  The wine was a Stanford collection Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon in a Riedel Connoisseur Bordeaux glass.


That's Venus in the photo.  What a meal.  What a view.  

The following is a symbolic representation of the finish:


I have a humidor of expensive cigars, but I've stopped smoking.  I did have an ounce of Louis XIII cognac.

I'll close with two crystal stories:
  • One Valentine's Eve I was driving home and realized I had not bought any gift for Pearl.  As I was just about up to Vintage Wine Cellar I stopped by and got a Riedel connoisseur bordeaux glass, for with red wind, it looks like a heart.  When she found out one glass cost $95 she was not pleased.  However, the following week I happened to be in Denver, and went to Applejack to buy a bottle of wine.  I saw for sale two of these glasses for $95.  She was triply unhappy.  However, she later got to appreciate the value of these crystals.
  • For another Valentine's I purchased a red crystal ring for Pearl at Baccarat.  It did not fit that well and she wasn't all that excited about it so I returned to the store and asked if I could exchange the ring for something of equal value.  A cognac glass cost exactly the same as the ring:  $250.  So see the photo above of that glass which held an ounce of Louis XIII cognac?  That glass twenty years ago cost $250.  Wonder what a new one goes for today.
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