On Saturday, we trekked down to South Lake Union to check out the food – and the people – at the 6th Annual Seattle Street Food Festival.
My attachment to Café Francais goes back to the very first time I set foot in the United States in 1990. My older brother and I were visiting my younger brother in Palm Desert, California. He had some in his kitchen cabinet.
The stuff has been my favorite additive for hot milk, ever since. (Just one teaspoon).
I completely ran out of it last week, and horrors! it seemed to have disappeared, or was sold out, everywhere. But just tonight, I checked one more time here at the local Safeway (grocery store), and there it was, on the shelf.
Friday night saw almost 3 inches of rainfall in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town. Still, the Cape Town City Council is said to be entertaining the possibility of towing an iceberg from Antarctica to Cape Town, to further help boost the city’s low water inventory. Say what? Can that possibly work? was my first reaction.
Well, here are the numbers*. Some 200 billion tons of ice from Antarctica slide into the sea in a typical year – the equivalent of more freshwater than the world uses in a year. Some icebergs float for 5 years in the ocean, and some make it to Gough Island. Such an iceberg could be towed from there, for the roughly 2,700 km (1,700 mi) distance to Cape Town. The iceberg will be stationed off the coast (Cape Columbine on the west coast is mentioned), and could conceivably deliver 100 megaliter of water every day for a year as it melts. (About 20% of the city of Cape Town’s needs). If such a project is can be pulled off successfully, its cost is projected to be less than half the cost of desalinating an equivalent amount of seawater.
*From an article in the Sat Jun 2 issue of ‘Die Burger’ newspaper.
The price of a hot dog at Costco — $1.50 with a giant cup of soda — has not changed since 1985. So I had to snap a photo of it in the little food court section while I stopped by there today!
Costco is a no-frills warehouse store chain (488 locations in the US) that was founded in Seattle in 1983. Shoppers pay an annual membership fee ($60) to be able to buy anything from food and household items (usually in bulk quantities), to watches to TVs, at low prices. The store has 75 million members nationwide. Ardent fans love the ‘treasures’ they find at stores: electronics, appliances or other less frequent purchases offered at extremely good prices.
My fridge was empty, and I set out to refill it today with eggs, milk, yogurt and beer. The store where I usually get my German beer, and my McCann’s Irish oatmeal, was out of both.
Well darn it, I thought. And: You’re too persnickety with your tastes. The Amazon-owned grocery store called Whole Foods Market came to the rescue, though.
I try not to clutter up my kitchen with too many devices and pots and pans, but finally got a little non-stick single-egg frying pan.
Of the myriad ways to prepare an egg – soft boiled, hard boiled, soft scrambled, hard scrambled, sunny side up, over easy, over medium, over hard, omelet, poached or baked – the ‘over medium’ style is one of my favorites.
My new favorite snack cereal is Post’s Grape-Nuts. I see it has been around a long, long time. It is made from wheat and barley, so no grapes and no nuts! It does have a nutty taste, and was originally thought to contain grape sugar.
We went to a pub called ‘Standard Brewing’ tonight, in Seattle’s Central District. It’s been there a few years, but it was my first visit.
The beers on offer are brewed on site, and I had a Helmut: a Munich ‘Helles’, a medium- bodied lager with a full malt presence and a clean finish.
We ducked into the cool inside of a restaurant called ‘Smiths’ here on 15th Avenue tonight, for our regular Wednesday-night-beer-and-bite.
My favorite beer is a pilsener, and so I had a König Pilsener – brewed in Duisburg, Germany.
I thought the beer’s name might mean ‘the king’s beer’, but no, it’s named after brewmaster Theodor König who started brewing the beer in 1858.
Today the brewery belongs to Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH.
Their tagline is ‘Bitte ein Bit’.
I have coconut oil in my kitchen (that I cook with sometimes), but I see that I should not use it for cooking. It contains 80% saturated fat ! – not good for the heart.
I do cook with olive oil, but I see there is an even better option : polyunsaturated oils such as corn oil, soybean oil or peanut oil. Check out these stills from CBS’s Friday morning show.
King salmon is the most expensive of the salmon for sale here in Seattle (and the best), and Copper River King Salmon is even more pricey. Shipments from this year’s limited catch have arrived on Alaska Air, and salmon fillets were available at Pike Place market this weekend – for $75 per pound. Yikes.
Just for fun, I compiled a list of other expensive foods – much more expensive, in fact. [Source: much of the information gleaned from a list published on The Awesome Daily.]
|Food||Country of Origin||Price, USD, 1 lb|
|Copper River Salmon||Alaska, USA||$75|
|Moose Milk Cheese||Sweden||$500|
|Kopi Luwak Coffee||The Philippines||$100-$600|
|Kobe Beef||Japan||Up to $500|
|La Bonnotte Potatoes||France||Up to $1,500|
|Blue Fin Tuna Sushi||Japan||Up to $1,200|
|Matsutake Mushroom||Japan||Up to $1,000|
|European White Truffle||Italy||Up to $1,000|
|Densuke Black Watermelon||Hokkaido, Japan||Up to $1,200|
|Tieguanyin Tea||China, Japan||Up to $7,000|
I picked up a new guilty pleasure while in Germany & Switzerland recently: putting Nutella* on my bread or toast. The convenience stores in the train stations there sell single-serve Nutella packets, and once I had a few slices of bread with the stuff on, I was hooked.
Nutella is widely available here in the United States, and comes from a factory in Brantford, Ontario, in Canada.
*Nutella is a chocolate and hazelnut spread and has been around since 1964, when it was first produced in Alba, Italy – an area known for the production of hazelnuts. [From Wikipedia].
Melktert, Afrikaans for ‘milk tart, is a South African dessert consisting of a sweet pastry crust containing a creamy filling made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs. Monday marked the fourth ‘National Milk Tart* Day in South Africa.
*I’m not so sure ‘milk tart’ is in wide use and a proper translation. I think even English-speaking South Africans say melktert.
I noticed today at the No 10 bus stop here on 15th Avenue, that Captain Haddock from the Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé, is featured on the local restaurant’s rotating menu (food from Belgium in this case). I will have to go in and sample some of the food .. waffles, for sure – and is haddock (fish) a Belgian dish?
P.S. Fererer won in straight sets over Zverev. Yay! In the final four he will now face fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
I got a whole nutmeg from a friend, and so I cooked up some green cabbage on Tuesday, and grated fresh nutmeg onto it.
Nutmeg is commonly added to sausages, meats, soups, preserves, puddings, and fruit pies.
Three of us had a burger and a beer at a fancy-burger place called Katsu Burger, tonight. The burgers, fries and dipping sauces are described as Japanese American fusion. My chicken teriyaki burger with fries and Japanese mayonnaise* was very good.
*Mayonnaise with (among other ingredients) hondashi powder. Hondashi powder is made from a smoked and dried fish called the bonito.
We had a team dinner at the Roka Akor tonight – an upscale Japanese bar in the Financial District.
There was a fixed menu with items such as chicken teriyaki, tuna sushi roll, golden beets and spicy beef.
For dessert there was cherry blossom panna cotta.
My Facebook group ‘South Africans in Seattle’ held a bake-and-grocery sale in the Mount Baker Community Center on Sunday, and I felt compelled to go check it out. Maybe they have those giant jars of Marmite, or Pronutro (breakfast cereal) or Mrs Ball’s chutney, I thought.
Alas – none of those items were on sale. Several other types of South African food were on offer such as curry (with ground beef) and rice, biltong1, braaivleis2 and sweet desserts such as koeksisters3 and and melktert4. The space inside was very crowded and the lines were very long, though – and I was too impatient to wait in line for food. I did chat to some friendly South Africans :). Not many have been in Seattle as long as I have been.
1jerky, but saltier and never sweet 2barbecued meat 3a sticky syrup-infused version of a doughnut 4Afrikaans for “milk tart”, is a South African dessert consisting of a sweet pastry crust containing a creamy filling made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs.
Here’s a peek inside the hole-in-the-wall Mensho Tokyo (676 Geary St), one of Japan’s most acclaimed ramen (noodle) bars, this being the first one outside Japan. I read online that the place has been mobbed, ever since it had opened in February. About 50 people were patiently waiting outside on Wednesday night to get in, when I walked by. The text on the wall describes katsuo bushi, a stock made from dried bonito flakes. (Bonito is a medium-sized predatory fish in the same family as tuna and mackerel).