little sarah Big World

Month: August, 2011

Hey, Guys

Hey, guys. Hey, Friends. Guess what I just did?

I just became a dot-com. littlesarahBigWorld.com, to be specific.

That’s me.

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The Way to a Man’s Heart

…is through his stomach. Or so they say. They way to MY heart is through a man’s amazing culinary skills. I find men who can cook all that much more attractive.

Problem is…we are not great cooks. We are bakers, mostly. But we are learning. We totally roasted zucchini the other night. Yes, we did that.

Nevermind that for even the most novice cooks, roasting veggies is something that can be done without too much thought or planning, whereas we definitely had to check online for oven temperature. Maybe we thought that 325°F would be enough. Maybe we sauteed mushrooms, onions, and fake sausage before adding them to a jar of pasta sauce and called it cooking. Yes, we did that.

Also, feta cheese. Lots and lots of feta cheese. That is probably the easiest way to earn my love.

The other way to my heart is to support my merienda habit, which Kevin does. Frequently. Like this:

I sent him a text saying that I would kill for a morning bun from Tulie and returned home, sweaty and cranky from a noon-time run, to find iced coffee and streusel from the coffee shop around the corner. Plus ice water. Ice water is our new greatest pleasure. Before that it was popsicles.

We are not great cooks, but we are a pretty good match.

By Any Other Name

I dreamed I had a name that was not my own. Of course, I don’t remember what it was. Something fitting, I remember, in fact so fitting that I’d forgotten for a while that I’d ever been called anything else.  But then I remembered, and I wanted to go back. I missed being Sarah with an H.

Kevin doesn’t put much stock in dreams, but I do. Things have been changing for me. I’ve given up on some old dreams, some old friends. And while I know it’s necessary, to shed this old skin so that I can move forward, it’s hard. Hard to say goodbye, to let go. And I do miss the Sarah I used to be, sometimes, naïve though she was.

KoREA: Cuisine

So while I’m picnicking an hour to the north and filing it under “Travel,” others are grilling slabs of raw meat over open coals in foreign lands. That’s right, you guessed it–another guest blog from Ms. Whitney! Please enjoy, and don’t forget to tip your server.

 

Before this trip, I had no experiences with Korean food.  My friend once worked in a pan-asian fusion restaurant that was run by Koreans and they thus served kimchi fried rice (but I never had any), so that’s all I knew of before coming here.  And once people knew I was coming here, all they would mention to me was kimchi (pickled cabbage with red pepper paste), and it’s true, kimchi is a very prevalent and popular dish here.  Traditionally, it made a good winter food, as its fermentation process and resulting pickled state allowed it to “keep” for a long period of time after the harvest season.  But there is so much more to Korean food than kimchi!  My novice experience with the culinary culture has exposed me to yaki mandoo (potstickers, essentially), bibim bab (a bowl of rice with veggies and a fried egg, meat optional), cold raddish soup; these and other dishes are served in a way with which we are familiar: you order and receive.  In a different category, there is bulgogi, samgyeopsal, galbi and more; these are dishes that you order and COOK YOURSELF.

Most of the Korean restaurants we’ve been to are set up with their own miniature grills in the center of each table for 4.  They present you with an array of side dishes (bean sprouts, fish cakes, silk worms, raw cabbage salad, raddish soup, and yes, kimchi), a basket of lettuce leaves, and a plate of raw meat.  They place a bucket of white-hot coals inside your grill and you begin cooking the meat right there.  It’s kind of like being at a smaller Benihana table with yourself as the chef!  If the meat is still in slab form and not yet cut up into pieces, you wait for it to cook a little while then start cutting it up with scissors while holding it with a pair of tongs (sometimes the restaurant staff does this for you).  Once the meat is cooked, you place a couple of pieces in a lettuce leaf with whatever combination of rice and side dishes you’d like, and scarf it.

White-hot coals at a table for 4

White-hot coals at a table for 4

Meat over coals at a table for 4 (we cooked and staff intervened when necessary)

Meat and mushrooms over coals at a table for 4 (we cooked and staff intervened when necessary)

Chicken and veggies on round barrel grill

Chicken and veggies on round barrel grill (staff cooked)

Meat-Restaurant on mini square grill (we cooked)

Meat-Restaurant, gas grill (we cooked)

We assume that we haven’t encountered restaurants like this in the States because a) none of us have frequently been in the company of Koreans who would know the locations of such restaurants, and b) if such places exist, they would be quickly shut down by some jerk who didn’t allow his pork or beef to cook thoroughly before eating it, got food poisoning, and filed a crippling lawsuit against the restaurant to gain compensation for his self-inflicted illness.  But now that I know what to look for, I will keep my eyes out (especially in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond neighborhood).

SNACKS AND TREATS:

I have also sampled a small variety of street vendor foods.  There is Miss Jin’s Top burger (two hamburger patties, one thick slice of ham, three fried eggs, layer after layer of cabbage, and condiments) and a couple local kebab-eries, but these foods you can find in many cities of the world.  A few things I hadn’t seen before coming here include rice-balls filled with red bean paste, spiral potato slices on a stick and many popsicle/ice cream bar variations:

Andrew, Daniel and I try spiral potatoes on a stick

Andrew, Daniel and I try spiral potatoes on a stick

Tim devours corn on the cob ice cream (encased in a corn-shaped "cone" with real kernels of corn!)

Tim devours corn on the cob ice cream (encased in a corn-shaped "cone" with real kernels of corn!)

Milkshake in a bag

This ice cream is essentially a milkshake in a bag; sold as a solid frozen block of ice cream, you mush it up and then drink it through the top. Also good for icing bee stings, as seen here (Korean bumblebees can sting you through your jeans, I've learned).

I’ve also sampled a number of Korean sodas.  The one I’m holding below actually tasted like pine:

Korean sodas, from left: Coke's version of "milkis" (milky-colored Sprite-like soda), Chilsung cider (also similar to Sprite), and my pine-flavored drink.

Korean sodas, from left: Coke's version of "milkis" (milky-colored Sprite-like soda), Chilsung cider (also similar to Sprite), and my pine-flavored drink.

They also have here, as I was pleasantly surprised to find, Baskin Robbins.  On behalf of a traveling American who has grown somewhat weary of gustatory surprises that necessitate trying (read: silk worms), thank you, ice cream gods, for delivering to  us the wonderful American ice cream cake!

Baskin Robbins Rainbow cake for Daniel's birthday

Baskin Robbins Rainbow ice cream cake for Daniel's birthday

We celebrated Daniel’s 22nd birthday with a good old-fashioned American tradition.  I feel so pampered!

End of Summer

Back to school shopping with my cousin this weekend felt like an end. The end of Summer. Tweeds and cardigans and corduroys, when I’m still yearning for light summer dresses and woven sandals. Ah, well, I suppose this is how the world moves on. Before you’re ready.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t soak up every last drop of the golden August sun. So, Pineview again, this time with Stephanie and Paula friends, and a picnic of Mediterranean bean salad, bread, and cherries. Cherries mean Summer.

Then a private screening of Magic Trip at the Art House Cinema, in Ogden, where we sipped Mexican coke from bottles and fantasized about great American road trips.  Cold drinks and air-conditioned theaters mean Summer.

Then we walked around in the baking sun, snapping pictures and taking our time, before heading to Rooster’s for burgers, fries, and iced tea, savored slowly in the cool shade of a long canvas canopy. Iced tea means summer. So does dining outside.

 

I figure we’ve got about a month left of swimming, of backyard barbecues, and dresses, and heat. A month left of weekend mornings with Kevin–sleeping in, getting coffee, eating pastry, and TV.

I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.

New Friends, Part III

The third and final part, because from here on out they can probably just be considered Friends. No qualifying adjective required.

Sometimes life goes by too fast to be documented. Sometimes you are too busy actually living the damned thing to take pictures or notes. So from a jam-packed weekend of car borrowing, backyard gin and tonics, square dancing in an emptied-out woodworker’s shop, pizza and beer and talk of violin-making, and a crowded work picnic with a surprise, 10-minute rainstorm…you come away with little glimpses, random moments of laughter or light. Like lanterns hanging in a friend’s backyard…

…or the savaged remains of a much-anticipated Root Beer Float Cake. And there is so much more that I could tell you about, so many more images that I’d love to show you–new memories made with new friends–but it all whizzed by too fast to capture, a blur of friends and laughter and booze and food and talk.

And I’m okay with that, really, because I know that there is more to come. Much, much more.

Great Salt Lake City

My cousin Addie is about to be a senior in high school, and she’s shopping around for colleges in Utah. Having ruled out Weber State (she’s from Ogden, like me, and wanted to get away, also like me), she’s now faced with a choice between Utah State in Logan (meh), BYU in Provo (bleh), or…the University of Utah! My own alma mater!

In SALT!

LAKE!

CITY!!!

(Obviously I have a bias.)

And not just because I went to the U (as it’s commonly called), either. I mean, I went to summer camp up at Utah State for, like, five years in a row, and I loved it. I loved the campus, I loved the dorms. And while I would never personally go to BYU, being, you know, not Mormon, I appreciate that they have world class faculty and programs.

But the U of U has Salt Lake, and this city is leaps and bounds cooler than either Logan or Provo. So much so, in fact, that when I told family, friends, coworkers, etc. that my job this weekend was “to make Salt Lake look cooler than Provo or Logan,” they laughed. “That shouldn’t be too hard” was a common response.

But don’t take my word for it! (Reading Rainbow). Judge for yourselves. Here’s what we did, divided by neighborhood:

Sugar House

Perused piles of used books at Central Book Exchange, after stopping for coffee (me) and italian soda (Addie) at Sugar House Coffee.

Stopped by Sprague library to visit Kevin, on our way to Pib’s X-Change for cheap, chic, clean second-hand clothing.

9th & 9th

Joined by Mom, our mid-day chauffeur and meal ticket, who wanted lunch at 11:30 am, but settled for caffeine, from Coffee Garden. We returned to 9th & 9th the next morning, for free yoga at Centered City. But there are no pictures of that. I’m not perfect.

University

Walked from the top of campus (which is actually the East) down to President’s Circle, stopping at the Marriot Library. Then we ate lunch at The Pie.

Downtown

Rode TRAX, which it turns out will give you 17 golden dollar coins if you pay with a twenty for your ticket. Cool.

Made a surprise-impulse pit-stop at Caffe D’Bolla, where we sipped bubble teas and played Jenga. So…yes, this was our third coffee shop of the day, which was unintentional, but–if you think about it–definitely something Salt Lake has that Provo and Logan would never even dream of: more than one decent coffee place.

Shopping until dropping at The Gateway (it is, after all, back to school time). Also posing for pictures. Why not?

They grow so fast. I mean, I knew this girl when she was still listening to Bananas in Pajamas, and now she’s nearly as tall as me, taking AP courses and extra-curriculars and stressing out about making the final choice in a decision-making process that she started as a sophomore.

She’s a serious girl. A good kid. Someone who will undoubtedly review all of the information she’s been given, compare how each institution stacks up against her various criteria (campus life, academic programs, etc.), and make the right decision. I’m not too worried. YOU CAN SOLVE THIS PUZZLE, ADDIE.

If it were me, though, I’d choose Salt Lake. No contest.

A House Called Boing

Once or twice a week I go to my friend Eric’s house, to rehearse.

He’s a composer. He lives with something like a dozen other anarchists, drifters and passers-by in a community-focused collective called Boing! House. You can read more info about it here. Also there are creatures. Like Petey, the kitty.

The place was looking particularly photogenic last time I was there. So I took some shots. For you guys.

(True Story: a dog barked right as I was taking this picture, and it made me jump. But I liked how it turned out, anyways. Creatures.)

*       *       *

I wanted to show you all that anarchy has a good side. Photographically speaking, of course.

“We don’t care about the fire that’s coming, because we’re already candles burning.”

New Friends, Part II

Last weekend we got invited to a dance party.

There was face-painting.

And drinking.

Probably too much of that, actually, on my part.

Remember also Melissa’s party? And last night I went to new friend/old acquaintance Stephanie’s house to watch My Girl and drink pink wine. Amazing.

But also exhausting. New friends are exhausting. I have been sick from too much new friendship and too much running, but still, tonight we are going to a farewell party for Paul friend, who is about to do the Camino de Santiago. I baked him my best chocolate chip cookies. Because Friendship is important.

To me, at least.

Amateur Photography

I didn’t do so well in high school. I graduated with a two point…something GPA. It’s all a little hazy, honestly. And the first two years of college weren’t so great, either. I didn’t really know what I was doing there.

So I took a semester off, worked full time, realized that though I wasn’t certain about what I wanted to do, I sure as hell didn’t want to do 40 hours a week of menial labor for the rest of my life, and went back to college. Friends, I aced it. Straight As, even with a bulging course load and multiple part-time jobs.

Well, almost straight As. I had two A minuses. One in Political Science (meh), and one in Photography. Beginning Photography, for non-majors. I had taken the class because I thought I’d do well, that I had a good eye. But then I was repeatedly disappointed to see that my fellow non-majors consistently achieved far better results in the dark room. My stuff just wasn’t that good. A minus material. And I carried that around with me for a while, thinking that I was not that great of a photographer, that I did not, after all, have an interesting perspective to share with the world. I hardly took any pictures, even while traveling abroad, for years after that.

*       *       *

But that’s bulls*#$. I take great photos, Friends, even though I only use a dinky little Costco camera, designed for clumsy folk like me (shock proof and water proof). And I take LOTS of photos. So many, in fact, that I can’t share them all with you here.

So I’ve opened a Flickr account. Me! Sarah! The not-so-great-photographer, has enough share-worthy photos that it will take me days–no, weeks, probably–to get them all up onto Flickr. Check out my progress here.

In the meantime, here’s a preview–what’s left of that week at the cabin. Judge for yourselves if I really deserved that A- or may, in fact, have a unique view of the Big World.