Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Hello, readers.

Currently, I am in a coffee shop in Nashville with my sister. She is "working." Sometimes when she is "working," she is talking to the coffee shop girl about Egypt and/or bagels.

It's different being in the U.S.A, specifically Nashville. There are trees and grasses and places like Whole Foods where entire sections of entire aisles are marked with gluten-free stickers and you can even buy gluten-free bread and, yes, bagels. In Seoul, there are very few trees or grasses and no Whole Foods. There is very little vegan cheese, either. Alas.

Also, in Nashville, there are places like Matteo's which make delicious pizzas, both with and without gluten. They even have gluten-free desserts.

I'm afraid I'm getting a bit spoiled. Alas, alas.

Will have to buy a toaster oven in Seoul. And make things like this and this and spoil myself by means of effort.

In other food-related news, the other night the family of me went out to eat at a tapas restaurant called ChaChah. It's owned and executed by Arnold Myint, who you might have seen in Top Chef D.C. His parents run a restaurant/grocery, the International Market and Restaurant, across the street from ChaChah.

Here are pictures.

The restaurant.

Pork belly smoked in house with apple butter. Earl Grey cured salmon. Chorizo. Mahon. Herbed chevre ball.

Papas Bravas (fried potatoes) with a nice bit of aioli, a dressing of garlic and olive oil and, in this case, something that makes it that color.

Mushrooms with garlic. 

Fried calimari in the foreground. Some lamb skewers with cilantro-yogurt sauce in the background. Also, sister.

Smoked red pepper bisque with coconut milk and yum.


Sister makes brother look weird.

Brother makes sister look blurry.

Bar and ghost.

Spicy, somewhat Spanish, chocolate sauce and, what you don't see, is the house-made marshmallow and graham cracker.

Pumpkin Crema Catalonia, a pumpkin creme brulee with maple-whipped chevre and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) sprinkled on top.

It was all quite delicious and I thought I took more pictures but apparently I was eating and forgot.

Happy Nashville, readers.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back From The Future

Hello, readers.

At around 3 or 4 in the afternoon yesterday, I was on a ferry somewhere in the waters between Japan and Korea. I checked my cellphone to see what time it was. It said it was 9:42 a.m. on February the 25th.

I was confused and wondered what year it was. It turns out the year was 2042. Here is a picture.

This morning it seems to be the first day of February in 2011. Tomorrow being Groundhog Day, and the day after that being New Year's--if you believe in that sort of thing.

I am typing this in bed. It is cold outside and the tea is warm.

The last ten days I was in Japan. Six days in Tokyo and four days split among Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka.

Today, I will tell you about Tokyo.

It is place I have wanted to visit for a long time.

From the age of 14 to 22 or so, I spent a lot of time watching a lot of anime. Not as much as some, more than others. Sci-Fi channel, back when it was called such, used to show an anime movie or two around midnight on the weekends. Most of these I don't remember. Some of them had scary trees. Almost all of them featured a Tokyo of monsters, blood, robots, and girls who never had on what seemed a practical arrangement, or amount, of clothing.

As time went on I discovered things like Cowboy Bebop and Akira and Evangelion. I discovered Miyazaki and Ghibli.

I also watched Kill Bill and Lost in Translation.

Tokyo was the place that made these things--or, at least, made them possible.

So, when I say that Tokyo is more than I had imagined--please keep in my mind that I put a lot of time and effort into imagining it. I dreamed of flying trains and funky hair, of precisely sculpted trees and living sex dolls. I wanted to believe that friendly demons walked the streets and quiet, lovely temples with fox spirits really did give one a welcome respite from the hustle and robots of the modern day life.

And, well, here are some pictures of the real thing. You can decide which parts I imagined.