This Could Be Trouble

For a long time, I’ve been complaining about the lack of biscuits & gravy in Seattle. There are a few places that have them on the menu, but not nearly enough.

Yesterday, a coworker informed me that a restaurant named Biscuit Bitch had recently opened in Pioneer Square, somewhere on 3rd Avenue. It’s a place that specializes in biscuits & gravy! I later learned that Biscuit Bitch¹ already has two locations in Belltown. (Apparently, it’s been a long time since I’ve visited Belltown.)

This morning, on my way to work, I decided to take some time and find Biscuit Bitch. I stepped out of Pioneer Square Station, and there it was, directly across the street. The “Open” sign was lit, the front door was open, and the “Walk” sign at the crosswalk was on.

I ordered a Straight-Up Bitch – just biscuits and sausage gravy (I could have opted for vegetarian mushroom gravy) and took it to work for breakfast. It was delicious.

This could be trouble. Biscuits & gravy have suddenly become too convenient.

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Today is the first of the month, which means I had to stop by the storage place and pay the rent on my way home. Phillip suggested, yesterday, that I come home first, pick up the car, and drive to the storage unit, so I could pick up our camping chairs from the storage unit, for the parade later this month. I didn’t say anything at the time, but that seemed like an excessive amount of backtracking to me. The storage place is just two blocks from Capitol Hill Station.

Besides, I figured to myself, if I wasn’t able to carry the camping chairs home from the storage place, we wouldn’t be able to carry them from home to the parade. I’ll just stick to my original plan and stop by the storage place on my way home, I decided, and carry the chairs home.

(Besides, there are often cars2go around Cal Anderson Park – and maybe some ReachNow cars – plus there is a bus or two nearby for an easy ride home, if needed.)

I got to the bus stop this morning and realized I’d forgotten the key to the storage unit at home, and the 47 was due in about a minute.

So, I paid the storage rent on my way home today. Although I was in the mood to walk home, I checked on car2go and ReachNow. (You know, I needed to play with my new smart phone.) There were two car2go Smarts and one ReachNow MINI within three blocks. I walked home anyway.

This afternoon, my boss asked me to cover at the U-District office tomorrow morning. Part of me is excited. I can’t remember when I was there last. This will be only the second time I’ve been to University of Washington Station (The first being Opening Day.) As Phillip pointed out, it’s going to be a fast commute – non-stop from Capitol Hill to the U-District! I just wish it wasn’t on a Thursday morning – the busiest morning for me.

¹I’m not crazy about that name.

A Walk For A Burger

Phillip and I had planned for today to be laundry day, and a trip to Li’l Woody’s for a burger.

Today turned out to be recovery day. We’re both under the weather. We skipped the trip to the laundromat. Phillip went back to bed around mid-morning. I did some reading, some de-cluttering, and I played some The Sims 4. I woke Phillip up at 2:00, to see how much later he wanted to sleep. Phillip got up and said he still wanted to go to Li’l Woody’s. The idea of food didn’t sound good to me, or my stomach, but I agreed to go with him.

Li’l Woody’s has been having a burger-of-the-week sort of thing going on this month. Each week, they bring in a guest chef from a local restaurant to come up with a special hamburger. I’d been unaware of this because, for some unknown reason, I hadn’t been following Li’l Woody’s on Facebook.

Phillip wanted to go today, because it was the last day for Edouardo Jordan (from Salare)’s “150 Gram Burger” (honey Dijon mustard, caramelized onions, tomato jam, dill pickle, butter lettuce, smoked prosciutto, mayo, grass-fed beef, on a potato bun) with a side of deep-fried mushrooms.

I didn’t know any of this before we left our apartment.

It was raining slightly as we walked there. When we got there, I decided – upset stomach or not – we’d walked all this way, the 150 Gram Burger sounded good, so I ordered one, with the mushrooms.

Before our burgers arrived, I asked Phillip how much 150 grams is. He didn’t know, either. (We’re so American!) So, I figured that a sugar glider weighs around 80 grams – so it’ll be slightly less than two sugar gliders.

It was all delicious.

It was pouring down rain when we stepped out of Li’l Woody’s. We picked a walking route with the most sidewalk coverage. By the time we reached to bus stop at Bellevue and Olive Street (next to the laundromat!), the rain had let up considerably. Still, we stopped, and Phillip checked OneBusAway. A 47 was due in one minute. So, we waited a minute, and a 47 bus arrived.

Ovaltine LatteWe rode as far as Top Pot Doughnuts, where we stopped in for coffee to go. Phillip got a one-shot mocha, and an Ovaltine Bismarck. I ordered my favorite Ovaltine latte. Then we walked home.

I don’t know if eating that burger was such a great idea, but it was worth it. And the walk definitely felt like it did me some good.

 

A Can Of Coffee

Phillip emailed me a while back. I didn’t quite get the whole story, but it was something about a coworker of his, who had bought a can of Folgers coffee, thinking it was individual packets. It turned out to be a can of loose, ground coffee. The coworker offered the coffee to Phillip. Phillip asked if I wanted him to bring it home.

I am a coffee snob. I buy my coffee in bags, from local roasters. I don’t buy cans of mass-produced stuff. Besides, I get free, unlimited coffee at work. I never make coffee at home anymore.

I have no idea why I replied Yes, bring it home.

Well, actually, I do have an idea why I said yes: I was working at the University District office at the time, where coffee is not free – it comes from the espresso shop next door. I’d been off of my coffee habit.

One weekend, I was craving some coffee, and I was feeling too lazy to walk over to Top Pot. I brewed a pot of Folgers at home.

Yes, it was pretty bad, but there was something oddly comforting about it.

This weekend, I brewed another pot of Folgers. Phillip, who rarely drinks coffee, asked for a cup of coffee. We don’t have any sugar in the apartment, so he mixed in some honey with his coffee.

He spoke the same word I had thought: “comforting”. Then he said, “This is like diner coffee.”

That was the answer I’d been looking for.

I’m realizing these days that I have a taste for “comfort foods”: macaroni & cheese, grits, pot pie, oatmeal, and chicken soup. Perhaps non-gourmet, diner coffee fits that category.

Burgers To Go

Phillip called in sick this morning, and I caught a strangely near-empty 43 to Westlake. We got there early, and I just missed the Link train I usually never even see. That was good, because if I had caught that train, I’d been way too early for work, even by my standard. I waited for my usual train.

Toward the end of the day, Phillip sent me a text message asking me to stop by Blue Moon Burgers to get him a Blue Bayou, extra pickles, no lettuce. (I can always tell when Phillip has a migraine headache. I have to read his text messages out loud, pronouncing each word phonetically, to make sense of them.) I got myself a Blue Shroom, substituting a black bean patty. (Just because meatless burgers are half off every Monday.) I got us both an order of sweet potato fries to share.

Today was the first time I’ve ordered burgers to go from Blue Moon Burgers.

Phillip and I started season four of Farscape this past weekend. Because there are five disc cases in the boxed set Brian loaned us, we’d both been under the impression that we still had a fifth season to watch. While I was looking for information about one of the actors, I discovered that Farscape lasted only four seasons. (The fifth disc case is extra features.)

We are on the final season of Farscape, and we are both saddened by the news. I love, absolutely love, this series.

Among the many, many topics Don and I discussed yesterday was books. I talked about the “Land of Oz” books. Don told me about his favorite author: Rafael Sabatini. Specifically, he told me all about Scaramouche¹ and Captain Blood. Both books are in public domain, he told me, and both are available at Project Gutenberg.

(Scaramouche, or more specifically the movie based on it, was what prompted Don to take up fencing. “Be careful what you read,” Don told me.)

I made a visit to Project Gutenberg this evening, and my backlog of unread books has increased by two. (Thanks, Don.)

¹I can neither hear nor speak the name “Scaramouche” without hearing “Bohemian Rhapsody”, by Queen, in my head.

Burgers And A Pepsi

Phillip and I went to Blue Moon Burgers for lunch today. We hadn’t been there (on a regular basis, anyway) since they’d put the Burger of The Month on hold. The reason for stopping the Burger of The Month, we were told, was so they could devote their energy to opening a new location at Alki. Well, the Alki store has opened, and we took the day off today (to recover from Norwescon).

There was no Burger of The Month listed on the menu board. Phillip asked the woman at the counter about it. She told us Blue Moon has discontinued the Burger of The Month.

Granted, we’ve been given wrong information at the counter before. But, if this news is true, we may have lost some of our love for Blue Moon Burgers. It was our main topic of conversation over lunch today. We may continue to go there occasionally – the regular burgers are still delicious. But the Burger of The Month was so much fun. (Some were better than others, but that was the fun of it. What will they come up with next?)

Phillip’s theory is that this is a negative side-effect of growth. He predicts that Half-Price Wednesdays will be next on the cutting block.

After lunch, we did some errands on Broadway. Then we returned home. I sat down on the couch, looked to my left, and spotted the Pepsi can. It was tucked into the bottom of the Ikea remote holder.

The last time I’d seen the Pepsi can was when I put it on the top of a stack of books, on top of the bookcase in the living room. It disappeared a day or two later.

The Pepsi can was nowhere to be seen for two weeks. Phillip finally confessed that he’d hidden it behind one of the cushions on the couch. I’d been sitting on it for two weeks and hadn’t felt it. We’d already moved it somewhere else. That was at least a week ago.

Now I’ve found the Pepsi can. The Cola War continues.

Meanwhile, I’ve been curious about the history of Norwescon. I knew it started in 1978, but what was Norwescon I like? Are there photos out there on the internet? Has anyone been keeping archives? The only comprehensive information I’ve found, so far, is a single Wikipedia page. The information there is both informative and lacking.

I’ve been doing some personal history of Norwescon as well. For that, I’ve turned to this blog. At first I did a word search for “Norwescon”, but I soon realized there was a quicker way. I turned to that Wikipedia page, found out the dates of each Norwescon, and did an archive search.

I’ve learned that Phillip started volunteering in 2009, at Norwescon XXXII. (Norwescon stopped using Roman numerals with Norwescon 34.) That was before Link Light Rail was completed. I learned that year that even though Metro lists a Park & Ride lot on its maps, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that Park & Ride exists. I also learned just how difficult it is to park near the airport.

A Good Book And Good Food

Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay, became available for download from the library yesterday. I started reading it in the laundromat this morning. I’m 12% of the way through it, and I am loving it. (Thank you, Elle, for the recommendation!)

Sarah’s Key (original title: Elle s’appelait Sarah) is a fictionalized account of the actual Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup of 1942 in which several thousand French Jews were relocated, not by the Nazis, but by the French police, to the Vélodrome d’Hiver, where they were held for days without food or water, until being sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.

The book is following two plots, so far, alternating between the two. One plot takes place in 1942. A ten-year-old girl and her mother are in their Paris apartment, about to be arrested and relocated. The girl is under several misconceptions. She thinks the Germans are sending only men to “the camps” (whatever those are). She thinks her father is hiding in the cellar. She thinks the police will release them in a few hours. So, she locks her 4-year-old brother in a hidden closet with only some water and a flashlight. She pockets the key. Her father shows up outside and he is also taken to the vélodrome before anyone is able to rescue the brother.

The other plot takes place in 2002. An American woman, married to a Frenchman, is living in Paris. They are planning on moving into an apartment once owned by the husband’s grandparents. The woman is working as a writer for a magazine, and has been given an assignment to write about the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup. It’s not going to be an easy assignment, she’s told, because the French tend to be ashamed of that part of their history.

It’s grim reading, but it’s well-written.

After we got home from the laundromat, Phillip and I had brunch at a little restaurant in Belltown named Twisted Pasty. It was our first time there. We’d actually never heard of the place until Phillip bought a Groupon. It was a rather elegant restaurant, and yet casual. (It is the new Belltown, after all.)

I was only vaguely familiar with the concept of a pasty – the working-class lunch of meat and vegetables wrapped in a pastry. I’m assuming the “twisted” refers to the inventiveness of the pasties served there. Phillip had the Bangers & Mash pasty and I had the Curry Chicken pasty. It was delicious and reasonably priced.

There was a map of the British Isles on the wall of Twisted Pasty. It was an outline map with major cities pointed out. Phillip and I have recently realized that we are both fairly ignorant of the geography of the region. Several days ago – I’ve forgotten what brought it up – we were trying to picture, from memory, where Ireland is in relation to England. It turned out that we were both picturing Ireland too far north. Today, looking at the map on the wall, we tried to figure out where Wales is. I thought it was in that bay area just south of Scotland. Phillip thought it was in that part jutting out to the west, just south of that bay area. It turned out, of course, that Phillip was right.

After a party on Friday, cruising around Everett on Saturday, laundry and brunch today, it felt good to simply relax this afternoon.

Never Quite The Same

I went to the food court for lunch today. I was pleasantly surprised to see Chicken Dumpling Soup on the menu at Bowls & Noodles.

It was delicious – don’t get me wrong – but it was not quite the same experience I had the first time. Somehow, it wasn’t the same as when I was expecting something else and got something even better. I enjoyed it a lot today, and when I see it again, I’ll order it again.

This time, I knew not to expect to eat it with a spoon.

I caught the 43 to work this morning, as usual. Passengers boarded at Summit & Olive, the bus pulled away, and as it was merging into the left lane to continue down the hill, some guy appeared from around the corner, waving his cane, and yelling for the bus to stop. The bus driver wisely didn’t stop. The guy with the cane yelled “Fuck you!” as the bus continued down the hill.

I know, from having missed this particular 43 in the past, that there’s another one 10 minutes later.

I don’t think that cursing at a bus driver is a good way to get them to stop for you.

A co-worker once asked me why bus drivers don’t stop for people running for the bus after it has left the stop. I replied, “Imagine you’re in the driver’s seat. You’re pulling away from the curb into traffic. Which way are you going to be looking: To your left, at the traffic, to see if you’re going to hit anything, or to your right, at the sidewalk?” I added that if a bus driver stops in the middle of the street for a passenger, and that passenger gets hit by a car pulling around the stopped bus, or if the bus gets rear-ended after the sudden stop, it’s going to be the bus driver’s fault in the eyes of Metro.

At my office building, there are six elevators serving thirteen floors. I stepped into an empty elevator in the lobby this morning. As the doors were closing, someone stuck their arm in to stop the doors. Then they held the doors open for someone else. A buzzer sounded, and an automated voice said to clear the doors. As the doors were closing the second time, two of my coworkers appeared – running for the elevator. That first person thrust their arm out again, to stop the doors, but they weren’t fast enough. The doors closed.

I stepped out at my floor. Before the doors completely closed behind me, those two coworkers stepped out of the elevator next to mine.

On my way home today, I stepped out of a 70 bus at Third and Pike. There was a 43 at Fourth and Pike, with at least a dozen passengers lined up to board. A few people ran past me, waving their arms at the 43. I didn’t even quicken my pace. I knew there was no way those dozen plus passengers were going to get into the bus and pay their fares before I could walk a block. And, I was right.

The art of commuting is knowing when to run and when not to.

Chicken & Dumplings

The self-serve cafeteria at work has been mostly out of order all week. So, today, I went to the food court. What I had in mind was my favorite chicken bowl, with noodles, at Bowls & Noodles.

Bowls & Noodles is a delightful little place, run by older ladies who barely speak English. The food is delicious, with ingredients already prepared, but with each dish made to order.

When I got there, the daily special was “Chicken Dumpling Soup”. I decided to try something new, so I ordered it. One of the ladies built my soup, gently placing dry ingredients into a container, and then ladling clear broth into it lastly.

I was expecting something like chicken & dumplings, but what I got was different. It was very much like phở. The chunks of chicken were enormous. There were bean spouts, quarter pieces of broccoli, and herbs. The biggest surprise was the “dumplings” – actually pot-stickers with pork inside.

I took a spoon when I brought it back to my desk, but I ended up eating it with a fork and then drinking the broth from the container.

Oh, it was so good.