Posts Tagged ‘food’

Performance food

Jonathan Judge, one of the directors at work, made this really interesting documentary. Go check it out.

Doug Fitch and Mimi Oka claim to be the world’s only “sustenance artists”. Both trained as chefs in Paris but now specialise in what they call Orphic Feasts – wildly absurdist performances which vary from creating edible pasta paintings to dining underwater. Audience participation is welcomed: in 2000 they invited helpers to carry a 250ft noodle through the streets of New York.

Vín og skel

Steve and I went to Vín og skel for lunch today. I’d been hearing about this restaurant from friends and am pleased to report that the food is very good. I ordered the two course lunch special. Turnip soup, that even my meat-and-potatoes brother liked. Then redfish served over a couscous pilaf, with a delightful trio of vegetables dishes, in individual tiny bowls; carmelized onions, pan fried potatoes, and sauteed rutabega and butternut squash. Very good, nice presentation and excellent service.

After that, we headed off to work. Steve dropped me off at work and headed out to explore the town.

Icelandic Indian food.

Today was one of our very rare working Saturdays. I don’t know how they manage, but somehow the working Saturdays only happen when I have guests in from out of town. Like, say, my brother. It’s actually not as annoying as it sounds, because it means that I get Monday off, which is in many ways better. Everyone heads out of town on the weekends, so it would have been fairly crowded. Monday on the other hand, we’ll have things to ourselves. Plus, it was a great day on the floor. Lots and lots of live hand stuff to do with Julie, which is always fun.

After work, Steve took us out to dinner at Austur India, which Harrison Ford said had the best Indian food he’d ever had. I can’t agree with that assessment, but it was good. There was no heat to the dishes, even the ones that said “spicy.” I suppose that it is possible that spicy means “seasoning other than salt,” but I don’t know for certain.

We ordered the Tandoori Jhinga, Murgh Tikka Makhni, the Banarasi Saag and an assortment of naan breads. The Tandoori Jhinga was the only dish with a hint of heat, and probably the best balanced of the three. The Saag was disappointingly bland and runnier than I’m used to saag dishes being. Not unpleasant, mind you, just not outstanding. All of the naan breads were very good, but oilier than I would have liked. I wish I knew what dishes Mr. Ford ordered when he came.

Tveir Fiskar

We went to dinner at Tveir Fiskar (Two Fish) last night. Poor Rob has such a bad head cold that he can’t taste anything. He said that even the blue cheese on his salad was only barely present.

The rest of us quite enjoyed our food, I think.

gullemotAs a starter everyone ordered the Martha’s Vineyard Salad with blue cheese, red onion and pine nuts, but I ordered the lightly smoked guillemot with onion marmalade and crow berry vinaigrette. I thought I might as well taste things that I can’t taste outside of Iceland. They don’t mention the buckshot, but I suppose that is because there was only one tiny lead ball per serving. It did at a delicate zing to the meal.

After that, Rob and I moved onto the Icelandic seafood soup “bouillabaisse,” which had blue mussels, scallops, salmon, shrimp and lobster in it. Pat had the salmon and Glenn had a whale steak, which tastes like steak. The fastest way to remember that a whale is a mammal is to eat it. Otherwise you just think its a big fish and it is so profoundly mammalian.

We tried the creme brulee, but alas, the texture was wrong. I haven’t had a good one here yet. I’ll keep trying though.

Tveir Fiskar

We went to dinner at Tveir Fiskar (Two Fish) last night. Poor Rob has such a bad head cold that he can’t taste anything. He said that even the blue cheese on his salad was only barely present.

The rest of us quite enjoyed our food, I think.

gullemotAs a starter everyone ordered the Martha’s Vineyard Salad with blue cheese, red onion and pine nuts, but I ordered the lightly smoked guillemot with onion marmalade and crow berry vinaigrette. I thought I might as well taste things that I can’t taste outside of Iceland. They don’t mention the buckshot, but I suppose that is because there was only one tiny lead ball per serving. It did at a delicate zing to the meal.

After that, Rob and I moved onto the Icelandic seafood soup “bouillabaisse,” which had blue mussels, scallops, salmon, shrimp and lobster in it. Pat had the salmon and Glenn had a whale steak, which tastes like steak. The fastest way to remember that a whale is a mammal is to eat it. Otherwise you just think its a big fish and it is so profoundly mammalian.

We tried the creme brulee, but alas, the texture was wrong. I haven’t had a good one here yet. I’ll keep trying though.

Beauty treatment

Today a group of “us girls” went out for brunch at a cafe in health food store. I had no idea the place existed, but besides a wonderful menu, they had great produce. I was tempted to go grocery shopping, but resisted because we all had treatments scheduled at the Nordica spa. I had a facial, I think it was the surface treatment.

The spa is rather like sitting in a beautifully designed thermal cave. The walls are natural rock, or blue-green tile. One of the bathing pools has basalt columns in it. Among other things, they give you a neck massage while sitting in the hot tub. How lovely is that?

So we soaked and steamed–eucalyptus and lavender steamroom–and then went in for our various treatments. My skin is so soft and hydrated now. I could also sleep for days.

Low-key

Today was fairly low-key. We had a couple of shots this morning and were finished with puppet stuff by two o’clock. Emily and I left the building and headed out to do errands. While I love living in Reykjavík the fact that everything closes at five or six is very challenging when trying to deal with business things.

I went to the bank and actually managed to say, “May I pay these?” in Icelandic–oh, I should explain that you pay all bills at the banks in Iceland. It’s easy, unless you don’t get off work until seven p.m.

After that, we went to the turf house for seafood soup. It’s this delightful little house right by the thermal beach. They have amazing soup and are willing to let you sit for hours.

Music Festival

The music festival in Isjafjörður was a nice example of the word eclectic. Apparently the way the festival works is that anyone who wants to participate gets 15 minutes on stage. It’s nice that they can dole fame out like that, don’t you think? Anyway, the first group up featured an electric guitar, trumpet, electric bass, drums, violin and recorder. Every size of recorder from soprano to bass. I have no idea what any of them sounded like, because they never could get her mike placed correctly. I did hear the alto recorder once, but I think that was an accident. The music was sort of eastern inspired jazz with an atonal swing. Very odd, but with a little more polish they might have something. I’m sure the recorder would have made the difference.

The second band was a straight rock band. They all wore black leather coats, except one fellow who didn’t seem to have gotten the memo. He wore a traditional Icelandic sweater. During the course of their set, each of the guitarists and the bass player broke a string. They kept playing and did a fine job. Interestingly, even though all but one of their songs seemed to be original, the lead singer sang in English. What is it about rock that demands English?

We fled the next group. I’m not sure what they had planned, but I think the duo was a Laurie Anderson wannabe. They had a Mac mixing station, a xylophone, electric guitar, and modulated vocals. Or rather, that was clearly their intent. In reality, they had only the Macintosh playing random sampled material, and a performance art exploration of cables and wiring.

After reviving ourselves with seafood soup and conversation with Jodi, Sam, Julie, Sarah and a group of drunk Icelandic teenagers, we returned to the music hall in time to hear the men’s chorus. We had all been very excited to hear the men’s chorus until the most sober of the Icelandic teens told us that it was a joke group that the boys at the local school threw together.

I must say, they did a fine job. They all wore white tie and tails, and had a really tight rhythym and blues trio backup. They sang with regimented enthusiasm, which had periodic breaks into wailing solo vocals. At one point an entire horn section joined them and they did the Icelandic national anthem. What made this work was their dedication to looking like a serious mens chorus in the Russian tradition, while having a serious backup group. This was easily the most fun in the evening.

All in all, an excellent way to spend Tax Day.

Dinner in Raleigh

I arrived safely in Raleigh this evening after an easy drive. Koren, Katherine, Peter, Emily and I went to the Olive Garden where we had the smarmiest waiter ever. He was like a lounge lizard turned waiter. He inserted himself into every conversation and made them all about him. It was really bad technique. The food was what you would expect, but the kids liked it.

Oh, and I watched American Idol for the first time ever. I’ve been told that this is not a particularly good episode to be introduced to the show with because it was the one where the semi-finalists were chosen. So without knowing all the drama that has gone into it thus far the episode seemed, um, repetitive.

Tomorrow, I get up and drive back to Chattanooga. What a crazy life.

Grandma’s birthday.

I would sum up the weekend but Steve Savile did such a nice job covering the writing portion, that I’ll just talk about Grandma’s birthday party.

I made the little packets of recipe cards, each containing fourteen recipes daintily tied with a sheer blue bow. We had a basked of those sitting on the table for people to take as they circulated through the house. Grandma was very pleased. She said, “I knew you would do something clever, but I didn’t know what.”

Here is another recipe for your enjoyment.

Makes 6 apple dumplings
14 oz lemon-lime soda
1 1/2 cup sugar.
Bring to boil and add 1/2 stick butter.

6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Peel and core 6 apples.

Make rich pastry and cut in 7 inch squares. Mix sugar, cinnamon, allspice. Roll pastry around apple and fill center of apple with this mixture. Put in a baking dish and pour lemon-lime soda over all. Dot with butter and bake until done at about 325.

After Grandma’s birthday party, Rob and I went out with Steve and Alethea for Indian food. They’ve headed for home now, so I’m just catching up on some writing and then I will head to bed.

Nia, Alethea and Steve

I went to Nia’s house for dinner last night with a gaggle of other writers. Truly, I only drove as far as Murfreesboro and then carpooled the rest of the way to Nashville with Steve and Alethea. It was fun and the food was yummy. We had black beans, tomatillo rice, mache salad with almonds and cranberries. And then, Nia brought out the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I’m telling you, life was good.

This morning, while Alethea went to work at Ingram, Steve helped me hammer out a few of the problems I’d been having with Cerbo en Vitro ujo. Then we trotted off to have lunch with Alethea, who told us the most fabulous news and that’s all I’ll say about it until it’s on her blog. It’s really, really terrific though, and I’m very excited and proud of her.

That’s about it.

Oh wait. Have I mentioned that I am giddy that my story is on Strange Horizons?

Soul food

This evening we went to Aunt Gen and Uncle Marvin’s for dinner.

The Menu
Fried Okra
Beans and Pear Relish
Coleslaw
Cornbread
Marinated grilled chicken
Mashed potato casserole
Carrot Cake

For those of you who are curious, yes, I ate the chicken. It tasted like tempeh.

We had a grand time there, and I heard some stories about Mom that I’d never heard before. Apparently when she was very young, she had a high fever. High enough that she was hallucinating. So, in the middle of the night, she got out of bed, went into the kitchen and got a butcher knife so she could kill her older sister.

Somehow, I’m really glad I didn’t know this story when I was growing up.

Happy New Year!

For New Year’s Eve we all went down to George and Julie’s house in Atlanta. Based on the amount of food, Julie seemed to be expecting more than the dozen guests attending. We dined and drank champagnes and Spanish wines.

My cousin Robert, their eldest son, is off to Spain for five months of study beginning on the third, so the Spanish wines were in his honor.

After dinner we sat around the table talking until it was time to watch the ball drop on the television. We made as much racket as we could, but I’m sure it didn’t hold a candle to what the Hawaii Kowal’s did. After midnight, we welcomed the New Year with a miniture pickin’ and grinnin’. Dad, Gil, Claire and John pulled out their instruments and played.

It was a lot of fun.

This morning, we had a delightful brunch before heading back up to Chattanooga for black-eyed peas and greens.

The only downside to the weekend was that Rob picked up a headcold.

Over the river…

and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we went. Mom, Rob and I went to Grandma’s to do some New Year’s cleaning. I say that we cleaned Grandma’s house. In truth we just vacuumed and then I attempted to dust, but there wasn’t any dust.

In between my cleaning attempts, we got to do some visiting. I learned that when Grandma was in high school she was on the girl’s basketball team. Who knew?

She fed us a pimento cheese sandwich for lunch. Mm-mm good. That’s some serious comfort food that I miss when I’m in Portland.

So much food!

How can we still have so many leftovers in the house? It is staggering. At each meal, the counter is covered with food from Christmas Eve. It doesn’t help that Mom is also cooking something to supplement the leftovers, as if there isn’t enough food already.

Dad took us out on tromp around the property to look at the new property lines and to clear the walking path some. There’s a lot of land here.