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Sunday, July 30, 2017

SIMPLE FOOD

One can best enjoy fancy foods only occasionally.  When I'm on my global adventures, I actually get tired of dining in yet another Michelin 3-Star or Pellegrino Best 50 restaurant, perhaps also influenced by the exorbitant cost.

I eat 25 times/month at 15 Craigside, but also take out a few times/week to enhance in my kitchen.  Today, my blog will feature what I ate over the weekend.  These were mostly simple comfort foods at relatively minimal cost.

First, on Friday, I walked 18 holes at the Ala Wai Golf Course.  On the front nine I accompanied two good looking females who played at around my level.  They were both married and I would guess in their 40's.  The Japanese lady was on vacation from Seattle, while the Korean person lives here, and originally came from Seoul, and they were golf buddies from the same church.
Then, on the 10 hole, a third female joined us, not sure where she was from, but she was gorgeous.  Nope, that is not a photo of her to the right, just someone I met a few years ago.  This latest was nattily dressed in green and purple.  She could have been a golf pro from Korea, China or Japan, for she drove further than me.  My initial reaction was that she ran a Korean bar in town.  Interesting that the three of us originals had already bonded over nine holes, and I sensed a stand-offish attitude from the two ladies...or maybe they were trying to protect me from the interloper.  In any case, she seemed to have a Greta Garbo attitude (I want to be alone), so we did not talk to her much.

The whole point to those above paragraphs is that there are huge opportunities to meet interesting people at the Ala Wai Golf Course.  In the parking lot I noticed that the invader drove off in a spiffy black BMW, while the person from Seoul placed her bags in a really expensive and large Mercedes.  Anyway, decent start to my weekend.

But about my simple cuisine, on the way home I picked up some poke from Foodland, rated #1 in the recent Hawaii's Best 2017 poll.  The Hawaiian food was supplied by 15 Craigside.  I enhanced the poke by adding the lomi salmon, some kazunoko (herring roe), onions and Hawaiian chili sauce.  After taking a bath, it was already dark, so I feasted in my living room on laulau with rice, chicken long rice, poi and that special poke, with some beer and a tropical drink, while watching the Major League Baseball channel.


Lunch on Saturday had me catching the #4 bus into downtown Honolulu, where I went to the Chinatown Cultural Plaza for Shanghai Soup Dumplings at Fook Lam.  

I first dropped by Chinatown Liquor to buy my usual $1 beer, a Steel Reserve at 8.1% ethanol.  They have a wide assortment for this price.  I also brought with me a small bottle of Courvoisier Cognac.  The restaurant was packed.  Service in this typical Chinese restaurant was relatively efficient, but almost surly.  But that's the tradition, I guess.

You first place the dumpling in that black ginger sauce, and lay this tidbit on a spoon which is covered with a small leaf of choy sum.  Punch a small hole at the top and add a small amount of cognac.  Cover this all with that red chili sauce, and bite off half.  Why half?  First because the piece is rather large, second so that you can pour an additional dollop of cognac to finish off the Xiao Long Bao, the Chinese term for this dish.  You need to do this yourself to appreciate the terrific-ness of this experience.

I also like the custard tart, but three are just too many for me.  But I got over my initial resistance and the pastry came uncomfortably hot, so I carefully ate one.   Heavenly.  Then, I noticed I still had a lot of cognac and those sauces.

So for tart #2 I added some cognac and chili sauce.   Excellent.  The third was the full monty of cognac, chili and ginger.  Fabulous.  I might just have invented a variation that might be called a pre-dessert.

To continue, when I sometimes go to a movie or two on Sundays, I sometimes bring some sticks of celery to have with the buttered pop corn.  Something to do with assuaging my conscience with a healthful complement.   So I walked to Safeway and Long's, and got them, but had a sudden urge for a Bloody Mary, so I bought a bottle of that mix.  Then I noticed two Sherry wines that deserved to be purchased.  I added bottles of horse radish and blue cheese stuffed olives for the drink.  I was planning to walk uphill back to 15 Craigside, but the weight of my shopping must have exceeded 15 pounds.  So I smartly decided to catch a free bus ride home.

Just as I was about to across the street from the bus stop, the #4 bus zoomed past.  I hated to wait half an hour, if not more on a Saturday, so I began trudging home.  For the first time in a long while I spotted a Giant African Land Snail.  It came to Hawaii as pets, flourished in nature, but seemed to recently have disappeared.

Originally, I thought the snail flesh was poisonous.  However, three years ago 67 of these snails from Nigeria were confiscated at the Los Angeles International airport, for they are a serious pest.  Turns out they were headed to be made into escargots.

Returning to my Saturday walk, I just passed the final bus stop when The Bus whizzed past me.  So I actually made it back carrying a load.

In the spirit of international cuisine, on my lanai Saturday night I featured Portuguese Bean Soup, quite good at 15 Craigside--into which I added an egg, plus scotch and rice--salad, which I topped with yesterday's Hawaiian poke special, with a Bloody Mary, supposedly invented in France, and Japanese beer.


So next to breakfast this morning.  I have two kinds of bf, simple and elaborate.  Sunday is simplicity, for I avoid proteins and salt:


The venue is by my computer while I'm composing this blog.  Note the plants, arugula and green onions:


On mornings when I plan to walk 18 holes, I have the more traditional local breakfast, something like Portuguese sausage, two fried eggs, rice and tsukemono (Japanese pickles), with usually green tea, but here also with cold beer and hot sake.  This is why I drink Mickey's, for I might have a quarter of the bottle and twist back on the cover for the future:


Tonight, I join my Sunday night table in the dining room for yet another party and an hour and a half of stimulating discussion.

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After dawdling around in circles, Typhoon Noru suddenly is showing signs of significantly strengthening, now up to 110 MPH, with a projection to Category 4 status.  Worse, the current path sends him towards Japan:



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