No gas at the gas stations, but I found some gas in Atlanta

September 30, 2008 at 5:34 pm (friends, politics, travel)

I just got back from Atlanta, the land of gas shortages.  And the land of really long and disorienting escalators.  For some reason their subway system is really far underground.  So are various parts of the airport.  So they have these really long escalators.  To make it even worse, they put tiles next to the escalators that aren’t lined up with the up and down as gravity sees it.  So in the middle of these escalator tunnels, you can’t see anything outside of the tunnel to orient yourself, and they have these confusing tiles.  So you don’t know which way is up.  And you don’t know if you’re going up or straight forward.  I would hold on to the railings to steady myself, but I recently heard about how someone witnessed a person rubbing body parts against the escalator railings in a subway station… you’ll have to find this person yourself and ask her for more details.

Which way is up?  Is Mark standing straight on a moving walkway?  Or is he going down an escalator?

Which way is up? Is Mark standing straight on a moving walkway? Or is he going down an escalator? This is a photo from a trip to ATL a few years ago.

Other than these issues, I had a fun time.  That brings me to the second part of the title of this post.  I visited Rosa and Baron and their new outrageously smiley and adorable baby Braelynn.  (It’s okay to talk about gas when it’s coming from babies.  Farts and burps are cute when they are baby farts and baby burps.)

Da, for some reason, decided to call her Bubbly while she was still in utero.  It turns out that she was very prescient.  Or maybe she just realized that all babies have gas and make spit bubbles.

It doesn’t take very much to make this baby smile.  Waving a blanket in front of her face makes her ridiculously happy for an amazingly long time.  When she holds the blanket her self, she moves it to her face, makes snorting noises, and has a huge grin on her face and kicks her feet in excitement.  I’m not sure what’s she’s getting out of the snorting the blanket, but it is very stimulating for her.  Actually, this baby is continuously excited and doesn’t stop kicking her feet.  I wonder if she’ll wear herself out!

We also went to the aquarium.  I saw the big whale sharks and the big manta ray.  They’re BIG.  The tank is also big, but you don’t really get that feeling because you can’t see the whole tank at once.

Guess which one is the whale shark...

Guess which one is the whale shark...

Whale sharks apparently are filter feeders.  We watched a feeding… they look like vacuum cleaners and the water just gets sucked right into their wide flat mouths.  I couldn’t get a good photo because when they are feeding like this, they are also moving fast, and those photos came out very blurry.

It was all pretty mesmerizing, for adults and babies alike.

Okay, so maybe the huge football stadium-sized tank wasn't enough to keep Braelynn's attention for the whole time, but there were lots of people to watch also

There were other mesmerizing things at the aquarium, like the blinking lights on my camera.

Now I’m back in DC.

On an unrelated note, I hope I don’t get disenfranchised.  I had to reregister because I moved.  But I’m not sure that it went through.  But this is an important election year!  I’ll be registered in California, so my vote probably won’t matter much for the presidential election.  But there are other issues at stake:

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Big news!

June 1, 2008 at 8:17 am (food, politics, restaurants, review)

Last night, I went to a Pakistani/Indian restaurant in the Tenderloin that blew me away in how delicious it was – I haven’t been blown away by Indian/Pakistani food in a long time – there are many good places in San Francisco, but no one stood out from the rest of the pack.  It’s my new and clear favorite Indian/Pakistani restaurant!

The best dish was an eggplant curry dish. Eggplant by itself is magic, but in this dish, it was elevated beyond magical – to godliness and divinity. There’s also this hard to find (according to our Curry Facilitator) fish dish that looks like it’s cooked in the tandoor oven. (Is saying “tandoor oven” like saying “The El Camino”?) Others in the group thought this was the best dish, and it is quite good, but it was not even at the same level as the eggplant dish. Some of my companions think that Shalimar, a neighbor to this place, has better naan, but I respectfully disagree. The flavor of the dough was much better, almost sweeter. And the texture was better – chewy but very light at the same time. And there was a good balance of thin crusty parts and thicker, but not too thick parts. And they were very generous with the butter/ghee.

I haven’t revealed the name yet because that’s the best part. No, the eggplant was the best part. This is maybe second place. Lahore, pronounced “La whore.” Full name is actually Lahore Karahi. This extends the fun beyond dinner, both before an after… “I have a craving for Lahore.” After sitting in the fragrant atmosphere of the restaurant during your leisurely meal… “I smell like Lahore.” And so on.

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They gave us some kulfi to end our meal. I’m not sure if they do this for everyone or if it was because of our C.F., but it was a nice touch.

If I’ve ever recommended an Indian and/or Pakistani place to you in the past, scratch that. Just go to Lahore.

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Wheel…. Of…. Produce!

May 27, 2008 at 10:33 pm (food, politics, san francisco)

I’d like to buy a cherry.

If you’re trying to plan for meals that use local and in season produce, it helps to have an idea of what’s in season in your area. But I know I’ve lost touch with my farming roots (what farming roots, you ask? I’m sure I have some ancestors at some point who were involved in farming) and I don’t have a complete picture of how things grow and when they’re ready. But I’m getting better with the help of the SF Bay Area’s local foods wheel. It’s a literal wheel made from cardstock and you can spin the wheel to figure out what’s in season at any point in the year. I love mine and it’s worth the investment of $12 or so, I think. It also makes a great gift. I’m actually planning to give mine to someone when I leave the Bay Area (don’t worry, I’m keeping mine nice and pristine). I haven’t decided who I’ll give it to just yet, but if you’re interested, let me know! 🙂 Someone should enjoy it when I’m living far from California’s bountiful and fruitful and vegetableful harvests.

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The website also has all the information listed as text, but the wheel is a lot more fun with nice hand-drawn pictures of the different foods. And with the text version, it’s not easy to see which foods are in season at a given time during the year. The wheel is good for inspiration when I’m planning a menu or before I go shopping or to the farmers market.

For those of you outside of the Bay Area, there’s also Epicurious’ map. But it’s not as complete as the local foods wheel – California only has 9 things listed as being in season during May! But it’ll do until there are wheels are invented for everyone!

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Nutritious subsidies?

May 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm (environment, food, politics)

I thought this was a very interesting and telling figure:

2008_05_22-FarmBill.jpg

That figure says a lot all by itself, but if you’re interested in reading more, here’s the blog post that talks more about this figure and the latest farm bill.

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