Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Culture shock, just a little.

My plane from Tokyo was diverted to San Francisco because of the snowstorm. The pilot came on the mic about an hour before we were supposed to land and said that braking at PDX was nil. That didn't sound so hot, considering what happened in Denver with no ice, so to SFO we went.
As we were waiting in line at the NWA ticket counter to get our hotel vouchers, a friendly woman named Jeanette struck up a conversation with me, engaging the other passengers around us, and talking my ear off. On the shuttle, she gave me $2 to tip the driver, since I didn't have any singles. The driver, grinning, drove us badly to the hotel, stopping ten minutes into his route to fuel up the rig. The clerks at the hotel were brusque, verging on rude. One called Ashika sighed as she checked us in, as if we were ruining her day by taking up rooms.

I waited for 30 minutes in the rain for a bus to take me from South San Francisco into the city. After I got on, a scruffy man with sweat-stained clothes and five-day stubble said "Hey baby, how you doing?" to me. Of course, I immediately gave him my number.
I got off at 20th and Potrero and walked through a fine drizzle to my old neighborhood, the Mission district. I gorged myself on murals and, sated with art, browsed in little shops on Valencia on my way down to my final destination, and the main reason for braving public transportation into the city on this unexpected visit.
I arrived at Papalote, my favorite burrito joint. Every San Franciscan has a favorite spot to feast on Mission burritos; Papalote is mine. The food is fresh, the salsa is spicy, and I don't worry that tongue or tripe drippings are going to sneak their way into my veggies.
At the taqueria, which was filled with the expected Valencia hipsters, I overheard lots of conversations at the tables around me. Topics varied, but not much. They included reincarnation, and, "How are you planning on changing that? Yoga? Meditation?" and "You might THINK you're happy in the relationship, but you're not." It's good to be back.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Limón y Sal

Limón y Sal
by Julieta Venegas

Tengo que confesar que a veces
no me gusta tu forma de ser
luego te me desapareces
y no entiendo muy bien por qué

I have to confess that at times
I don't like the way you are
Later you disappear to me
And I don't really understand why

No dices nada romántico
cuando llega el atardecer
te pones de un humor extraño
con cada luna llena al mes

You don't say anything romantic
When you arrive at dusk
You possess a strange humor
With every full moon

Pero a todo lo demás
le gana lo bueno que me das
sólo tenerte cerca
siento que vuelvo a empezar

But all that aside
The good that you give me wins
Just to have you near
I feel I can begin

Yo te quiero con limón y sal
yo te quiero tal y como estás
no hace falta cambiarte nada
yo te quiero si vienes o si vas
si subes y bajas y no estás
seguro de lo que sientes

I love you with lemon and salt
I love you just and as you are
You don't have to change anything
I love you coming and going
If you rise or fall or you
aren't sure what you feel

Tengo que confesarte ahora
nunca creí en la felicidad
a veces algo se le parece
pero es pura casualidad

I have to confess to you that now
I never believed in happiness
At times it may have seemed like something
But it was pure coincidence

Luego me vengo a encontrar
con tus ojos me dan algo más
sólo tenerte cerca
siento que vuelvo a empezar

Then I came to find
That your eyes give me something more
Just to have you near
I feel I can begin


Sólo tenerte cerca
siento que vuelvo a empezar

Just to have you near
I feel I can begin

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cranberry Noels times two

I started to make icebox cookies to send in packages. I started with this recipe. But as some commenters said, the dough was very dry and unworkable. It was easily remedied by adding two teaspoons or so of soy milk. I was able to crank out a log and a half of cookies. For the second time around, though, I decided to go with last year's old standard, Ms. Stewart's. Which worked great and yielded more cookies.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


This blueberry coffee cake is based on a recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. The original recipe is for a cranberry coffee cake using fresh whole cranberries, which are of course impossible to find in Japan. This got devoured at the Japanese class Christmas party - I didn't even get to have a piece. I guess I'll have to try it again in its original incarnation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

She lives on Drury Lane

I made a batch of nutmeg muffins that I found over at Orangette. I just happened to have some whole nutmeg knocking about on the spice shelf. What are the odds?
I've had a fair number of successes with the girl, I have to say.

These aren't too sweet, but they have an oh-so-lovely aroma and are delightful with morning coffee.

Don't mind if I do.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My crappy boss told my co-worker not to cross her legs during class, because it's rude.

Be that as it may, considering the number of upskirt views I've been subjected to on the train, I think I'll stick to my culture's version of politeness. I've already had my ass grabbed on a crowded subway; I don't need some perv checking out my undies as well.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kitchen sink

I wanted to make oatmeal cookies, using this recipe as a base.

But frosting? Oatmeal cookies don't need frosting.

Halfway through the mixing, I realized that I didn't have enough oats. I had about half as much as I needed. Well, let's substitute.

In went about a third of a cup of McCann's steel cut oats. It's still oatmeal, right?

After that, I shook in some organic Cascade Valley oat and flake and bran cereal that looks good in theory but is disgusting when it hits the soymilk. The bran squiggles dissolve instantly into a soggy, gluey mess. Bleck.

The cookies turned out well, though, with some chopped up butterscotch chips that were languishing in the butter drawer in the fridge. Except mine's a chocolate drawer. The chips had been semi-melted and re-hardened, and were more a block than chips. I broke off a chunk and chopped them up on the cutting board.

The only thing is that steel cut oats don't work in baking. I'm glad I only put in a third of a cup, otherwise the things would be way too hard and chewy. As it is, these are just a little bit toothy. The cereal, however, is indistinguishable. A great way to use up those flakes that are slowly going stale.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Onion pie

Sweetie pie, Onion tart. Sound like a song to me. This was good.

Smitten Kitchen sez. But I would brush the crust with a bit of olive oil next time, and use fewer onions.