Anger Burger

What I Wouldn’t Give for a Guacamole House Right Now

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm

No.  No.  No.

House hunting is one of my least favorite things ever.  I kind of like moving into a new place, of getting everything settled and learning the way the light moves through the windows at dawn, or how the eaves shake in the wind.  I don’t necessarily want to become familiar with the way the carpet squishes in the toilet dungeon – oh I’m sorry, I mean third bedroom with en suite.

 

We’ll keep looking.  MEANWHILE!  My mom had a birthday.   An important one, but I guess they all are.

There’s no real explanation, but she wasn’t really feeling her birthday this year.  The winter storm we just experienced was costly for her, having had to hire a professional to come clear her driveway so my stepdad could attempt to get to work and help my grandpa get a massive tree cut up and hauled from his driveway.  I really wish we could have surprised her with an Alaskan cruise or a room full of pug puppies, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way.  So what’s a family to do?  Eat at La Tarasca, for starters.  And then Harbor City dim sum for seconders.

 

And for dessert we tried Olympia’s new Jewish deli, Kitzel’s, which is a source of great drama for generally Jew-free Olympia.  Not the Jewish part, the skimpy-but-expensive-portions part.

My salted herring plate was $9 and actually too much food for me to eat.  Well, specifically too much salt.  Which is unusual.  I need salt like most people need water.  But the herring is magnificently, astonishingly salty, which is why there’s a heap of underseasoned potato salad and two pickled tomatoes on the plate.

My mom and The Viking shared a pastrami sandwich, which at another $10 wasn’t exactly a deal, but was enough food for them to share as a modest lunch.

I do have to call total and utter bullshit on them for charging $1.50 for a bagel (okay, I’ll let it slide) but $3.50 for a bagel with cream cheese.  TWO DOLLARS FOR CREAM CHEESE.  And!  Just when I sort of calmed down about that, I noticed that a bagel with butter was $2.75!  A dollar fucking twenty five for a pat of butter!  Oh ho, oh man.  That.  That is… ballsy.  And insulting.  The show-down at Yelp gives a good idea of the dramz, but the one thing that really irked me has been taken down: Kitzel’s gave themselves a five star review and then sassed back to every bad reviewer about how their prices and servings were the same¹ as elsewhere in town.

I like the sass, but I’d like it backed up with some substance. And by substance, I mean that I’d like to not spend four dollars on a bagel and a schmear.

¹ They are actually more expensive, but who cares, facts are for meshuggeners.

Let’s All Cook Something Japanese and Send Our Wishes on the Steam

Posted by on Jan 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I was writing a post about my mom’s birthday over the last few days when she told me that Chef, the unnamed woman who cooks on my favorite cooking show of all time, was in a very serious accident.  Needless to say, it derailed my writing thoughts entirely.

At the end of the above video is the following message:

First, I would like to say thank you to all of our viewers for supporting our show.  Today I am afraid I have some very sad news. On January 15th, Chef sustained serious injuries while riding her bicycle in the suburbs of Tokyo. She was rushed to the ICU by helicopter. I certainly understand your worries and concerns. She is now in stable condition, but online pokie games unfortunately I am unable to give any further information at this time. I would like to apologize in advance for not being able to respond to your messages during this tragic turn of events.

Cooking with Dog is my primary source of Japanese cooking education, as well as being a bi-monthly treat I look forward to with great enthusiasm; to say I am upset about Chef’s accident is an understatement.  I love her.  She is my secret Japanese mom. The careful and economical movements of her hands, the tidy and proficient way she navigates her micro-kitchen, her soft speech, all of it is a great joy to me.  I wish her the speediest of recoveries, and I invite you to do the same.

 

4 Posted in Obsessed, True Story

Trying to Find the Way Back

Posted by on Jan 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Alright friends, Stella lost her groove.  And by Stella I mean Sunday.  And by groove I mean that nothing I’ve cooked or baked at my dad’s house has been quite right.  It is always frustrating to try and cook in a strange kitchen, but it’s more frustrating to fail at cooking in a kitchen that isn’t exactly strange – this is my dad’s kitchen!  I cooked here regularly on visits.  And not just that, it is even the photography: it’s impossible.  I have a golden hour in the morning where early light comes through the only kitchen window, and if I miss that hour, everything looks wan and sick.   Turning the overhead light on makes it a thousand times worse.

It’s not a kitchen made for taking haughty bitch photos, that’s for sure.  Which makes me feel like a shitty writer.  Which makes me just eat another bowl of generic discount cereal for dinner.  I NEVER CLAIMED TO KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING.  Stop looking at me.

At Thanksgiving?  I made a pumpkin mousse pie that never set up.  For dinner on New Years Eve table and still didn’t quite taste right.  The next day I made cornbread from a fresh box of corn meal and a fresh can of baking powder, and yet something terrible still happened; the bread was thin and heavy and acted like it contained no leavener at all.  And yet it did, I’m certain of it.  What happened?  I have no clue.

When I came across this post for “custard filled cornbread” at Sweet Amandine, I was overwhelmed with fury.  Stupid cornbread.  Look at her and her weird, good-looking cornbread.  Jerk. I vowed to make it in an effort to avenge myself.  And then there was a storm and I couldn’t get any heavy cream and it had to wait a week.

SO NOW.

It is delightful.  It is cornbread with a layer of cream “custard” on top, and serving it with a large pool of maple syrup underneath turns it into a curious and rich pile of breakfast carbs.  I loved it.  Mike the Viking couldn’t deal with the almost curdy texture of the warm custard, but I think the leftovers will have a texture more like cream cheese.  He’s open to trying it again.  In the meantime he is still muttering about wanting jalapeno cornbread.

I’m not saying the curse has been broken.  But it definitely took a break for a morning.

2 Posted in Make It So

Man Am I Glad I Bought Some Wellies

Posted by on Jan 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I think maybe I didn’t emphasize the excitement yesterday when I wrote about the storm.

Mike the Viking went out and took some photos while he robbed the peasants of their larder goods.

No big deal.  Just a couple of power lines and houses and stuff.  Nothing that seven days of freezing rain can’t finish off.

My thoughts exactly.

3 Posted in Drama!, True Story

Dear Diary

Posted by on Jan 21, 2012 at 12:33 am

I’m tired.  I’d say it’s a Crohn’s thing, but I’m at the point where I can’t honestly place the blame on having an autoimmune disease that prohibits my body from absorbing useful nutrients.  It might be more honest to say: I’m winter tired.

Don’t get me wrong, here.  I love winter.  I missed winter.  It had been a handful of years since winter and I had a chance to be intimate, and we’ve been making up for lost time, let me tell you.  But I had imagined something a little more romantic, something log-cabin-hot-cocoa-bear-skin-ruggy, instead of coming into work and finding that someone thought it’d be a good idea to have a vent drilled through the sterilization room during work hours.  For example.

My mom accused me of being unhappy, and I can tell you and her with all sincerity that she is wrong.  I missed the Puget Sound more than I was willing to let on, and each day I slog to work through sideways rain I breathe a sigh of somewhat damp relief.  Weeks are flying by faster than I care to acknowledge, and the internal timeline I’d had for getting back on my financial feet is now a hilarious blip in my review mirror, but you know.  It’s winter.  We hibernate by watching too much TV and eating nachos and telling ourselves that the reason we can’t find a second job is because it’s winter.

And then!

My co-workers and I crawled into work like a cannibal soccer team each morning to see if the power was on (mostly!).  Ice-encased branches ripped from trees with the heart-stopping sound of china breaking.

It’s always heartbreaking to see the damage of an ice storm, and I worry every single minute about my mom out in the forest by herself with just a little generator and spotty cell phone connection, but it’s just so fucking gorgeous, I can’t stand it.

Every blobular twist, each straining and drooping branch; nature simply cannot more clearly put her arm around your shoulder and steer you back toward the electric heater and say “Just one more cup of tea.  You’ll have time to go down to the basement and start the laundry later.”

 

Skunk Fishing

Posted by on Jan 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I was hoping this would be about frying trout, but it ain’t.

It’s about setting the alarm for 5:40 in the morning.

And wearing three pairs of socks at once, one of which is made from possum-fur.  And refusing delicious, hot, wonderful, magical warm coffee because you’re on a goddamn boat in the middle of a lake and you don’t want to be the person who instigates a poop-stop.

Unsurprisingly, much time was spent arguing the relative safety of island-living to ensure safety from the zombpocalypse.

Everyone once and a while we changed bait.  Different colors.  Spinners.  Glow in the dark.  Shrimp scented. Little pieces of earthworms.  Big pieces.  Then we started bargaining with the fish: we’ll take perch instead of trout.  Then we started threatening them: we were going to release¹ but now we’re going to keep you.  Eventually we told the fish we really just wanted hamburgers anyway, so we left.

¹ A lie.

8 Posted in Totally Unrelated