Monday/ at the roastery ☕️

Here’s the scene at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Pike street.
We didn’t get to see the roasted coffee beans spill from the roasting barrel into the giant cooling pan, but the place was packed with tourists and locals (a guy wearing a shirt with an Amazon Web Services logo on, for example).

Coffees from Sumatra, Malawi and Viet Nam were being brewed, and we picked Malawi. (My friends that are visiting Seattle, are from South Africa).

Tuesday/ ramen 🍜

Here is a ramen dinner that we had.  The broth & noodles are garnished with shredded salad and spices.  The other toppings are pork, nori (seaweed) and menma (fermented bamboo shoot).

*A Japanese noodle dish made by serving Chinese-style wheat noodles in a broth with several toppings. I believe it is fair to say it is Japanese comfort food.

Saturday/ eat mostly plants 🥦

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
– Advice that journalist and activist Michael Pollin offers in his 2008 book ‘In Defense Of Food’.

I tried the black bean vegetarian burger at Capitol Hill Elysian Brewing tonight.
It was tasty and light—and I will definitely order it again.
The beer is a Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale, 5.6% ABV.
The green salad I had with it had slices of watermelon radish in: great to look at, and great to eat.

Friday/ have a beer 🍺

Happy Friday.
It’s Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer here in the US.
It’s also the end of Seattle Beer Week, and The Seattle Times reports that Seattle is a city full of beer snobs.

Some 56% of Seattle beer drinkers do not drink any of the major top ten brands (top ten among Seattle beer drinkers) regularly. So they steer clear of Coors Light, Bud Light, Corona Extra and all that jazz.
Bring on the likes of Georgetown’s Bodhizafa American IPA and Space Dust IPA by Elysian Brewing Company. Life is too short for big-box diluted beer.

Saturday/ at the Kaufhaus 🧸

You talk like Marlene Dietrich
And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire
Your clothes are all made by Balmain
And there’s diamonds and pearls in your hair, yes, there are ..
– From ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely’ by Peter Sarstedt (1969)

It was crowded on the streets and in the stores today.
As Easter weekend goes, Friday was a Sunday (and German stores close on Sundays), today is Saturday, with tomorrow Sunday— and Monday another Sunday.
The highlight of my day was to rub shoulders with Berlin’s upper crust at KaDeWe.
KaDeWe is Kaufhaus Des Westens, ‘Department Store of the West’, second in size only to Harrods in London.

The eateries on the top floor include an oyster bar— and I’m sure I would have found caviar if I looked for it.

Businessman Adolf Jandorf opened this store in 1907. The KaDeWe abbreviation was used from the start. With over 60,000 square meters (650,000 sq ft) of retail space and more than 380,000 articles available, KaDeWe is the second-largest department store in Europe, after Harrods in London. It attracts 40,000 to 50,000 visitors every day. [Information from Wikipedia]
The escalators in the middle of the store.
Balmain is French fashion designer Pierre Balmain: founder of leading post-war fashion house Balmain. (He died in Paris in 1982). Marie-Claire in Peter Sarstedt’s famous 1969 song wore clothes that were ‘all made by Balmain’.
These shirts and jackets go for oh, $900 or $1,000 apiece. Kind of safe to say that I will never wear these, but who’s to say? Maybe I will— after I had won the Powerball or Mega Millions lottery.
These beautiful long-eared rabbits are very plush and very, very soft to the touch. Maybe I should have gotten one.

Sunday/ ‘no need to despair’ 🍺

My favorite African beer Windhoek Light⁠— a 2% alcohol beer from Namibia Breweries⁠— is not available in stores. Its production has been temporarily discontinued.

Says the Namibia Breweries website: ‘Consumers looking for a substitute need not despair, as NBL will continue to offer its other low- and non-alcoholic beverage products‘.

Windhoek Draft beer (4% alc. by volume) from Namibia Breweries is the closest substitute to Windhoek Light.
The brewery was founded in 1920 when Carl List and Hermann Ohlthaver acquired four small breweries with financial difficulties. The breweries were merged under the name South West Breweries Limited (SWB).

Thursday/ ready to braai 🔥🥩

Summer is winding down⁠— officially over, of course⁠— here in South Africa, but the grocery stores still have their ‘Ready to Braai’ displays up. Any time of year is good for a braai*.

transitive verb
South African for grilling— especially meat, boerewors (sausage), and also  veggies and tomato-and-cheese sandwiches.
The South African equivalent of an American barbecue.

Sunday/ I want my eggs 🥚

Eggs are eggs. And people want eggs.
– Amy Smith, agriculture business expert

I had to go back to the Safeway (grocery store) around the corner for eggs today. They were completely out of their good eggs three days ago. Avian flu is partly to blame for the limited egg supply, but it also seems everyone now wants eggs from free-range chickens.
Observers say prices will still have to go up substantially before they will make a dent in the demand for eggs.

Americans consumed an average 286 eggs per capita in 2020, which means many people eat an egg every day.

Yay .. the eggs have landed, in my kitchen. Eggs are now $4.25 a dozen on average in the USA, double what they were a year ago. These bad boys cost me $6.59, but they are organic and from pasture-raised hens.

Saturday/ not marmelade!

Here’s what happens when you leave your reading glasses in the car, and you grab a pair of ‘marmelade’ jam tins (at the British Pantry store on Thursday).
It turns out it was apricot jam.
No matter: it’s good stuff— one of the most popular jams in South Africa.

Thursday/ the red dragon 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

I picked up my notebook computer today in Redmond— and stopped by the British Pantry store to replenish the South African marmalade and chutney in my own pantry.

The Welsh flag outside the British Pantry store, with the Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch), passant (standing with one foot raised). The current flag was officially adopted in 1959, and is based on an old royal badge used by British kings and queens since Tudor times. The Red Dragon itself has been associated with Wales for centuries, though, steeped in folklore and myth.

Sunday/ Dick’s Drive-in is back 🍔

Dick’s Drive-in burger joint on Broadway is open after its remodel .. has been open for a few weeks already, actually.

We had a very mild 20 °C (68 °F) here in the city today.
Whoah at the first-ever red-alert temps of 40 °C (104 °F) forecast for London for Monday.


Tuesday/ more of the stalk

My new trick in the kitchen helps me keep a little more of the asparagus stalks that I like to steam in the pressure cooker.

I use a knife to cut off just an inch or so of the dry bottom of the stalk. (It’s a little hit-and-miss to break off the bottom by hand.)
Then I peel off one or two inches at the bottom with a vegetable peeler.

Now I can eat the whole stalk, without chewing on any tough fibrous skin.

Thursday/ Thai food and beers 🍻

Here come the beers!
As for the food, we barely glance at the menu anymore.
Someone just order our usual four dishes for the table with some rice, and we’re good to go.

Inside the Thai restaurant Jamjuree, on 15th Avenue.

Tuesday/ first attempt: acorn squash

The acorn squash that I had pressure-cooked tonight, came out O.K.⁠— but not great.
Even though I cooked it for a minute longer than my recipe called for (6 instead of 5 mins), it still came out a little tough.
Some recipes say to add butter and cinnamon (or nutmeg) onto the squash as it goes into the cooker, but I elected not to do that.


Saturday/ the baby formula crisis

I know absolutely nothing about babies, but I know a little bit more after reading a report in the NYT about the baby formula shortage in the US.
Babies basically need breast milk or formula until they can start to eat solid food (at 6 months).
Do not dilute formula.
Do not try to make your own formula.
If you are out of options, give your baby pasteurized whole cow’s milk for a brief period of time.
Get advice from a pediatrician if your baby needs a special formula that has become unavailable.

I checked out the shelf at Amazon Fresh at 23rd and Jackson on Friday. So at least for this brand they still have stock. I like the gentle colors of the packaging :).
One can will last 6-7 days for a newborn, and maybe as little as 2-3 days for a 6-month old baby.

Friday/ pasta: the stovetop is best

My first attempt at cooking pasta in the Instant Pot® pressure cooker was not a success. (It was off-the-shelf Barilla Protein+ spaghetti).

The Instant Pot instructions that I used, called for a high-pressure cooking time of 2 mins plus 5 mins until releasing the pressure, stir well, and leave in the pot for another 5-10 mins.

Even with doing all of that, the pasta came out cooked unevenly. Aargh. I also felt it  had a different texture compared to what I’m used to, by boiling it on the stovetop.

My 8″ pot holds only 4 quarts. The problem with cooking boxed spaghetti in the Instant Pot— and a smaller pot like this one— is that the dry pasta does not fit in the pot! (Breaking it into smaller lengths is a not an option).
Yeah-yeah, just use a bigger pot, I know. What I do instead is to boil water in my electric kettle, and pour it over the dry pasta in the pot to soften it, so that I can bend it to fit into the bottom of the pot. Then I put the gas on HIGH for 10- 11 mins. As one does with pasta, keep an eye on it, and stir it a little now and then, but it’s still easy-peasy compared to the Instant Pot.

Thursday/ cooking with pressure is a pleasure

I have had my Instant Pot pressure cooker for a week now, and I’m still learning to use it —but I like it a lot.

So far I have cooked regular oats, steel-cut oats, rice, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and sweet potato in it. Asparagus is ready in an instant with an official cooking time of 0 minutes. You put them in, and they’re done. Howzat! 😂
Let me explain. The laws of physics still apply. Even if you put the water and asparagus in the cooker and tell it to cook for 0 minutes, it will still take 5-10 mins to get to the operating temperature and pressure inside. During that time it already cooks the food inside. Something as delicate as asparagus is then cooked already. Voila.

I put this sweet potato in for 20 minutes and it came out perfectly cooked. (I let the pressure go down by itself for another 10 mins or so). I used to bake these root vegetables in the oven: a 45-minute endeavor with tin foil, and then the sugar sometimes oozes out of the venting holes I made into the skin with a fork, and bake into black, as well.
Water, the versatile substance of life, comes in three phases, depending on its temperature⁠— and the pressure it is under. Liquid water under a higher pressure cooks (turns into steam) at a higher temperature. A pressure cooker operates at roughly 2 atmospheres of pressure —12 to 15 pounds per square inch (psi) above atmospheric pressure (which is roughly 15 psi). At 12 psi above sea level pressure, pressure water boils at 117 °C (243 °F). Yes, that sounds like a modest temperature elevation compared to an oven, but the steam sealed in the cooker has an enormous capacity for carrying and transmitting heat to the food to cook it. 
Just as an interesting aside: the triple point of water occurs at 0.01 °C in a near-vacuum. That point at the upper right called the critical point is where water vapor (steam) is warm enough so that no amount of pressure brought to bear on it, will liquefy it.

Wednesday/ of buds and brews

The breakfast Buds I had looked for far and wide, suddenly showed up on the shelf in the QFC on Broadway, and I grabbed four boxes.
Push had come to shove, and I was no longer playing nice by taking only one or two boxes!

And ⁠— I returned my ‘black stainless’ coffee maker, and got a slightly different model, after all.

Interesting how the wide-angle lens of the iPhone 13 Pro makes ‘vanishing edges’ of the sides of the boxes of All-Bran Buds.
My new Cuisinart coffeemaker has a bigger digital display, and a slightly bigger carafe as well. Yay! Now I can leave the instant coffee behind, and go back to filtered coffee again: the stuff that is a royal treat, fit for a king.

Thursday/ about the ‘black stainless’

My coffeemaker was kaput, and the new one I had ordered, landed on the porch today.

I wasn’t paying attention and ordered a ‘black stainless’ model instead of the ‘brushed chrome’ one that I had before. It’s all Amazon’s fault! .. with their ‘Order in 23 minutes to get it on Thursday’ message as I was about to order it. (Lesson: don’t order items late at night when you are bleary-eyed and tired). I think it will be OK, though. I’ll even get to like it.