4/3/08

Adventures in food and other things


We've had a couple of days of adventure around here. With Mike still on break from school, and the SN adoption world still in limbo, we've been re-embracing our time as two childless adults at loose on the town. Night before last, we had tickets to the London stage production of My Fair Lady, which was brilliant. I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to see it while it's on tour. Then, yesterday, we had a tax appointment, after which we'd promised ourselves a little freeform roaming of the kind that we indulged in frequently during our first year in the city.

We grabbed hot dogs on the street near the Capitol, and ate them in the park, where the trees were just on the brink of bloom.

A Denver lion in the heart of the city, with a temperament to match!

The capitol, through pinkening boughs.

Ode to the wild west.

A seldom-seen fresco of elk, hidden among the forest of pillars.


After Capitol Hill, we headed west to the Asian district of Federal Boulevard, and a market called Little Saigon.

This is what grass jelly looks like (for you Loungers to whom I might have mentioned it). When you open it, though, it isn't bright green, but the deep brown of old grass clippings in aspic. I'm still not sure what you do with it. The proprietress of one of the local Vietnamese markets once tried to explain to me the proper preparation method, but since I could only understand every third word or so (in spite of her dramatic increase in volume) I remain, to this day, in the dark.

Periwinkle snails in the fish case.

Vegetables with texture.

A scintillating display of luncheon loaf.

Here's a closer look. My favorite is the PORK and HAM loaf with the pig on it. I did manage to refrain from purchasing it, however. But only just.

Afterward, we did a little zen wandering around neighborhoods we hadn't yet explored...one of our favorite things to do. This one was oddly surreal, and lion-strewn.

At home again, we went through our loot from the Asian markets. Here's a package of salted duck eggs that Mike felt the need to purchase.

And, even more dramatic, duck eggs preserved in tea. It turns them purple, and they also seem to crystallize, so that they look a bit like a geode when you crack them open.

The outside...

...and the inside.

I think Mike's t-shirt was not inappropriate at this moment.

Another view.

This was my favorite discovery of the afternoon. This is a beverage made from the actual spittle of cave swifts. These swifts build their nests from solidified saliva, which is then collected at grave risk to life and limb by men who climb a rickety kind of bamboo scaffolding (the caves are enormous and treacherous). You may have heard of "bird's nest soup". I don't know about you (you may just find the idea disgusting) but to me there is something so utterly lyrical about the idea of a beverage made from the spittle of swallows. I had to have it. It seems like it should give you superpowers, or at very least make you immortal. I'm chilling it right now, but I'll let you know how it tastes (and whether I have any superpowers afterward!)
(Footnote: In China, many beneficial properties are attributed to the consumption of bird's nest soup, including an increased libido and improved voice. Unfortunately, the practice of harvesting the nests of the swifts has historically been less than ethical, and has contributed to the endangerment of the cave swift. Regulations have been imposed, and nest collectors must now be licensed. A bowl of bird's nest soup can reportedly go for up to $100 in China. My beverage that you see here is a product of Malaysia and only cost about $1.69. )

6 comments:

3D said...

You are very adventurous with your food purchases. I wanna hear they all tasted like!

Keep smilin!

Tamara said...

Asian markets have fun stuff, and you def. need to report on the birds nest drink.

Alana said...

sorry..I am just not adventerous enough to drink another creatures spit. But HEY! if it floats your boat baby, go for it!

Tish said...

Can't wait to hear about your superpowers! Flynn's room looks great!!!

Yoli said...

I love the pictures of the food! That is sooo cool Maia!!!

J said...

I love to wander around the Asian market! I only tend to get adventurous when it comes to new fruits & vegetables though; no preserved eggs or drinks made of spit for me. I went a couple weeks ago, and the second I walked in the door, I had flashbacks of China. It smelled JUST like China.