More photos by Jenny. Lunch at De Kat in de Wijngaert. Tosti with salami, chorizo, and cheese; uitsmijter with two eggs, mushrooms and ham (and cheese); tuna melt (with cheese). All properly cheesy, in the best way.
Note to self: next time you don't feel like cooking, this is a smarter option than most. Terang Boelan's bami rames was interestingly spiced (we had beef rendang, chicken curry, and sayur lodeh), and their lemper was the best I've ever had. And there was a line out the door, making me think that the 22 items I didn't taste might also be good. Thinking about doing it again tonight.
Our long-time friend Jenny-jen is in town for the weekend and so we're eating, drinking, and smoking like tourists. Yesterday was kind of a ramp-up day, you know, just easing into it. We went to Langedijk (because Brouwerij 't IJ was having a private party) for beer and frites; then we sat for a spell at the Magere Brug in the sun. Then home for salmon + chile salad and Jen-made fresh berry mascarpone tart with a speculoos crust. Nice.
I think in order for ranting to really be done properly, one needs to be both appropriately inspired (the easy part), and then have the time to carefully hone one's pointy pointy thoughts into some kind of venomous perfection.
Today, I, sadly, only have the former, and what is it over, you may ask, if your English has been destroyed by living in Europe like mine has: it is over music stores.
Yes. I'll be sad if/when the last physical bookstore closes and we then buy all of our reading material online. And I'll seriously lament the shuttering of the last record shop or adventurous film/DVD seller (FUCK: since writing this, I learn that it has in fact already happened).
But music stores, the places where you go to interrupt bored, jaded employees from whatever it is they're doing besides knowing anything about their products or whether their mysterious products are even in their store at any given moment....these stores I will happily watch slide into the bog/sea of pre-Internet yesteryear or whatever.
How bad could they be? you might ask if you've never been to one. Forget for a moment the ever-present teenage guitarists stumbling their way through Stairway or Sabbath (still? still these same songs?). It's not just that you have to ask for someone's help once you're there (unlike a bookstore or record store). It's that 99.38% of the time, that person upon whom you depend in order to continue shopping is profoundly uninterested in helping you do anything except feel like an intruder. Actual conversation from this morning on my way out the door of Dijkman.:
2nd Employee I've Talked To So Far: can i help you with anything? Me: yeah, I was looking for the Alesis Micron, but your colleague said you didn't have one. 2EITTSF: Oh, sure we do, it's in a box. Me: Wow, great. I'm trying to compare it against that microKORG over there that I just listened to, I need to buy one of the two very soon. 2EITTSF: Ah, OK.
(silence and head nodding for a bit)
Me: So, is there any chance I can listen to the Micron? 2EITTSF: Yeah, well...it's still in the box. Me: Yeah. Yeah. It's just that....I kind of need to play it before I buy it. 2EITTSF: Mmm. Me: I mean, I could just buy it online...for less money, without leaving my house, while having an experience that is in every way less defeating than this one...I could do that, if only I didn't need to actually hear this piece of equipment before giving you 400 euros for it. Because it's a musical instrument. And that's the one reason your store still exists, because this is where I can come hear it. 2EITTSF: Mmm.
OK, that's a bit of an embellishment. What actually happened is that 2EITTSF said "Mmm, yes, hold on a minute please", and then went and answered a phone call and started looking for something for whoever was on the phone and forgot all about me.
Before the above conversation, I'd asked if I could see something else and:
Employee 1 said, "Ah, yes, sorry, we're sold out of that."
I say, "Ah, your web site said you have it in stock."
"Ah, yes, we don't."
Me, looking around for 3 seconds and spotting one on the shelf: "IT'S RIGHT FUCKING THERE, YOU LAZY FUCKING DOUCHE."
Actually what I said was,
"Ehhh.....isn't that one right there?"
He says: "Oh! Yes, you're right."
Me: "Could I possibly fucking look at it you lazy fucking douche? AAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE killkillkillkilllkillkillkilllkilllkillkill..."
Above: Jacopo and cake, photographer unknown, possibly me.
Sleep rhythms have entered interesting pattern, there's typically 90 minutes of being awake between 4 and 7, but then sleep returns and the net result is kind of like actually having slept. In the absence of utterly undisturbed rest, this will do just fine.
Still there's the question of what to do with this 90 minutes that won't stimulate the brain in the wrong direction. Usually it ends with musings over cooking, one of the still-relaxing things I sometimes do. And so, here we are, with a brief list of things that are on the Upcoming Meal Radar.
Yeah. Okonomiyaki are still great. Today's were even made with almond flour and red cabbage, and yes they were still unceaselessly rocking and a-rolling and whatnot. I'm thinking it's one of them infallible-type recipes.
More fallible was our homemade okonomiyaki sauce, but still good enough, recipe to follow. And for dessert may I recommend the banana-cardamom milkshake with a twist of lime.
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp Heinz ketchup
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp syrup from the preserved ginger jar
7 tbsp dashi
corn starch slurry for thickening
Mara: "My tracking cookies know exactly what I want. They're the only ones that really love me."
Me: (edits blog entry)
OK, one last Swedish thing I have to mention has to do with the breakfasts there. I don't have time to write that right now (and actually I'm not sure how much I need to add to what Robyn just wrote about it...maybe I would just add that it doesn't seem to be nearly as strict as she suggests...), but I can mention the best sandwich I had in a week full of great sandwiches:
It's a slice of anise-and cinnamon-spiced plommonbröd (sourdough rye bread with plums or prunes), with Västerbotten cheese and a perfect nectarine on top. This bread was AWESOME, but they were sold out when I tried to get a loaf to bring home. I think this bakery's recipe was kind of a cross between trad plommonbröd and limpa bread ('nother recipe here). So good.