3.11.12

recidivism revisited.













Above: De Kletskop, on the Zeedijk, one of my favorite bars in that neck of the woods.

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I'm totally absorbed by my southern cooking reminiscences at the moment. Today I found myself slowing down as I passed the poelier, like H. I. McDonough and his convenience stores.

And then my slowing down became stopping and buying a leg of duck confit. Because yes I'm still thinking about New Orleans, and somehow the idea of duck confit and sweet potato bitterballen came into me mind (you know, instead of beef and mashed potato bechamel). Spices would be smoked paprika, orange zest, scallion, and...thyme? Cinnamon? Allspice? Chipotle? Whiskey? Cream cheese? Not all of these obviously, suggestions for refinement in the comments please. I imagine that the dipping sauce would be either something sour cream-like or something chutney-like. Maybe an orange crème fraîche like the lemon crème fraîche I had in Sweden last summer (hmm, not as crazy an idea as I thought).

UPDATE: So I tried this, but via grated sweet potato instead of mashed. They're good, but I think part of what I wanted was the texture of fully-cooked sweet potato fried rather than the al dente hash brown kind of approach.

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Virtual tourism continues via Trip Advisor, and I must say, although Trip Advisor is a wonderful resource for many reasons, sometimes it all becomes too much for me and I wish I could had time to hack into their servers and install a global banner that said "While traveling, please keep in mind: you are in a foreign fucking country. People might not speak English. This does not mean that they are "not catering to tourists", this means they are just going about their business. And even if it does mean they are not catering to tourists, it's not "a shame", it's completely OK. Because a lot of tourists suck, many many many.

For example, some tourists, I'm not mentioning any names, will come in to your traditional, basic tapas bar, sit down, order a couple of meat and cheese tapas, and wonder why there's no bread on the table to go with them. So they ask the waitress if they have any bread, she says: si, we have pa amb tomaquet. You say great (whatever that is, ha ha), she brings it and then you complain that it has tomatoes and garlic and oil on it, sorry, can you get one without all the stuff on it. You complain that the waitress "seemed confused and reluctant to honor this request".

And then the bread she returns with: it was kind of stale and tasteless. (pan amb tomaquet is known as a way to use up leftover bread). So you asked for some balsamic vinegar to "make it taste like something" (cause you're in fucking Spain, known for their balsamic vinegar), and the poor waitress was like was like, "ehhh, damn I love tourists, remind me why don't I speak English again?", and trudged back into the kitchen to ask the chef for his bottle, I would love to have heard that conversation, and, wow, "it tasted like it hadn't been used in years. Horrid." Yeah, guess what: it hadn't been used in years. You're in fucking Spain. "Needless to say, we did not enjoy the food here at all" you say. I say "GGG-GGG-GGG-GGG-GGG-GGG-GGGG-GGGG-GGGG-GGG-GGG"...(or however you spell machine gun fire).

Then you complain about the experience on Trip Advisor. Later reviews for this same place might say "staff seemed unwelcoming and unaccommodating for non-Spanish speakers". You know why? THEY'RE TIRED OF YOUR CRAZY FUCKING REQUESTS. And can I split this bill six ways?

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6 comments:

Klary said...

you know there's no potatoes in traditional bitterballen, right? of course that doesn't mean you can't make duck / sweet potato ones.

MEM said...

No, apparently i don't know much of anything. I didn't even read my own wikipedia link. I wonder, though...do you think the sweet potato idea would work out?

Zora said...

Can you make a cream sauce thickened with sweet potatoes?

And TripAdvisor. Oh my gosh yes. I can't read it for more than ten minutes without getting incredibly depressed at the thought of all these chronically miserable travelers out there, the ones who are apparently relying on the hotel desk staff to acknowledge them and give their lives meaning. And the ones as you describe, who visit Spain without even knowing what good things they're missing to eat there.

Peter and I have a standard way of complaining about stupid things. We yell, "DEAR TRIPADVISOR!" and make little typing motions, and then proceed to vent about the ridiculous thing we've encountered: "The bus seat had CRUMBS on it! I was APPALLED!" We feel much better.

Klary said...

not sure.. i think the sweet potato would possibly make it too gloopy. would probably just do duck bound with a thick bechamel. OR.... fry tiny cubes of sweet potato and mix that into the duck / bechamel mixture... hm.... for texture contrast? and then deep fry the whole bitterbal again.

MEM said...

you could probably thin mashed sweet potatoes with enough cream to make them the right, eh, density? but i think there wouldn't be enough starch for the texture to be floury enough. wonder if duck fat is an idea...

ha ha about bus seat crumbs and Swami Peter. please tell him helloski fromsk us.

MEM said...

blogger's comment moderation has jumbled our timeline here....

so yes, now seeing klary's comment, cubes of sweet potato, nuggets o'duck, yes, yes, go on....wonder if you could make an almond flour bechamel. or chickpea flour bechamel and turn the spicing in an indian or moroccan direction....