Tag Archives: food

Ode to food.

Come Saturday, we’re saying goodbye to Taichung, our home for the past two months, which is yet another amazing place in Taiwan. We were cautious when we first came – people didn’t have the most effusive things to say about Taichung – it lacked an MRT or subway system, wasn’t either the capital of the south or the north, was full of triads and Taiwanese gang activity (this is still true), and when we came in 2013, we had a bad experience here with a hostel which wasn’t really a hostel. Despite all these things, we actually found plenty to enjoy around the city. It has changed a lot in the past few years, and the public transit is no disappointment. It also has lovely parks, cheap fresh fruit, a lot of great dogs and people, and of course, delicious restaurants which we’ve gone back to time after time. Without a kitchen, we end up eating out for pretty much every meal, and I think I’d like to write about these and record these in our memory. I’ve also attached prices and locations in case people wander onto this page and want to visit.

A busy morning at A-Gen.

Ryan introduced us to A-Gen on our very first morning in Taichung. We’ve been familiar with egg pancakes (蛋餅) since we last visited Taiwan, but instead of being soft and oily pancakes, these are crispy, delicious, pancakes with an egg scrambled on the other side. Our favorite ones come with bacon and American cheese, and a light sprinkling of chopped green onions. AMAZING for just 40 NT (~$1.30 USD). We will have to hit them up before leaving the city. A-Gen is located on Meicun, two blocks south of Gongyi, and tends to accumulate a 10-minute line by 9 am, but as I have to get to work by 8 am, that suits us just fine. Continue reading Ode to food.

Tweeting about Taiwan.

This is the laziest post I will be writing in this blog. Rather than actually sit down to recount what we’ve been up to, I’m just going to repost some tweets I’ve been making on Twitter about Taichung, and add a little bit more detail. It’s kind of like a social media sausage! Enjoy.

This was set up next to the park near our house recently. I don’t really understand why they have people playing the trombones, and it looks more like a Christmas exhibit, but it’s pretty cool anyway. After I took this picture, I saw a 50-something year-old man kneeling to take a picture of this sign from a lower angle. People love their photo ops here, which is why they put this here, I guess!   Continue reading Tweeting about Taiwan.

The first two weeks.

Rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated… yes, we’ve been here for two weeks, and we’ve been fairly quiet, but that’s because we’ve been fairly busy! Today is the last day of my ten-day work week. Yes, I wrote that correctly. Last week, I started my internship on Tuesday, worked an event over the weekend, and am ending this week early to enjoy a well-deserved long weekend.

Where do I even start? Well, there’s much more time to talk about my internship ahead, so I will probably save that for another time. Let me tell you instead about the lovely city of Taichung. Taichung is on the western coast of the island, three hours south of Taipei. We’re in a valley basin here, and on the twelfth floor of the building where I work, I can look out the windows to the north and west and see the mountains in the distance that surround us. Early summer is the rainy season for East Asia. Yesterday, it rained from the time that I got to work until the evening, barely letting up to a drizzle. Today, it is grey and overcast, but I don’t mind since that means it’s not so hot! Taichung is in the high eighties most days with extreme humidity, and it’s only May…  Continue reading The first two weeks.

Completing the circumnavacation.

In case you were wondering, yes, Steve and I are still traveling. And yes, we’re really tired. And yes, it’s about to be over very soon.

About a week ago, Steve and I said goodbye to Steve’s parents in Greenville and lit out for Charleston by the sea for three days. We hung out with many friends, worked some sand into our luggage, and had some spanking good barbecue (along with the most deliciously creamy and tangy coleslaw I’ve ever had in my life) before driving back up north. We stopped in Columbia, in the middle of the state, where Steve went to college for lunch. I had the distinct pleasure of sampling the bibimbap at Blue Cactus, a Korean joint, where Steve used to walk in and ask for “the regular”. We picked up some coffee (Steve) and an iced chai latte (me) at Immaculate Consumption, and were back to Greenville by the end of the day. Saying goodbye to Stella at the airport the next day was so hard! Karen drove us to the airport and brought her along in the car, and she wanted to follow us so badly! Luckily, we’ll see her again really soon.

Continue reading Completing the circumnavacation.

In the heart of England.

We spent the last days of our world trip in London, but between Edinburgh and London, we made two stops in the middle of England. The first stop was in Stoke-On-Trent, in the Midlands, where Steve and I would reunite with his distant English relatives Jean and Peter, and the second stop was in Cambridge, just to the northeast of London, where we would be welcome by Sam and Sarah once more. Here is a little bit about our two lovely days with friends and family.

Last Thursday, we boarded the train at Edinburgh and took two connections to get to Stoke-On-Trent. Peter met us at the train station, and drove us to their home, a scant five minutes away. As we pulled into the front parking space, his wife, Jean, emerged from the house and waved us into their picture perfect, quintessentially English house. It was what I had pictured from books, movies, and stories, but exceeded even that, with all its old fashioned charm of knickknacks and figurines, elegant art and ceramics, and beautifully manicured garden.

By the kitchen, there is a small mirror hung with a set of clothesbrushes that I have read about in books but never actually seen in person. In the foyer, next to the door, is an elegant, embroidered hanging which says “Farmers Market,” handmade by Steve’s grandmother Alice. In the living room, ceramic plates decorate the top of the walls, a wooden duck stands in the process of looking over his shoulder by the fireplace, and the walls are hung with watercolors, pastels, lithographs, all in exquisite frames. The living room opens up to a small sun room, which invites one to step through and into the garden. Plain and simple, Jean and Peter have the idiosyncratically perfect picture of an English house garden. Their backyard garden is long and narrow, framed by hedgerows on both sides like their neighbors’ to the left and right as far as the eye can see. On both sides as you walk down, there are large, well-tended clumps of brilliant flowers. Most of them I can’t identify, but I saw varieties on sunflowers, calla lilies, sprays of delicate pink, hanging star blossoms of red that show dark violet petals. There are even several small trees growing between the flowers and the bushes, and underfoot, perfectly manicured, short green lawn that felt like a carpet. Beyond all of this, beyond the back hedgerow, there is an expanse of pastoral green rolling hills bisected by lines of dark green bushes and dotted with cows. Continue reading In the heart of England.

Wandering down the Royal Mile.

For me, Edinburgh will always evoke an image of calm and comfort, a cup of fragrant earl grey, and a scone piled high with butter and jam. Steve and I spent almost three days here (July 14-17), walking through very historic streets and scaling its heights to see the surrounding scenery, and braving the occasional showers. We left too soon, but I have hopes that we’ll be back.

We stayed for three nights at an apartment in Edinburgh’s Old Town, and spent most of our time wandering up and down the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is a gently sloping road which bisects Edinburgh, dividing the New Town (not so new, dating from the 1700s) in the north from the Old Town in the South. On the western end is Edinburgh Castle, and after walking by about 45 stores specializing in kilts and cashmeres, on the eastern end is Holyrood Palace, where the Queen keeps her apartments when she comes to Scotland. Just south of the palace is Holyrood Park, a vast inverted green bowl that rises hundreds of meters into the air. It is punctuated by brown rocky craigs and hills, and from street level, you can see people climbing their way up the hill like so many ants. It is an imposing height, but not at all an imposing hike, as we covered the highest peaks of the park within three hours (including a half-hour nap!). Continue reading Wandering down the Royal Mile.

Death by chocolate.

With so much to write about, I really shouldn’t be taking the time to gloat over all the food we had in France, but I feel much less like making responsible, detailed entries about how impressive Scotland is and much more like writing about something frivolous… like French desserts! Steve tends to be rather Puritan about food, or about the pleasures of eating, in any case. In his view, food as a way to make yourself happy is probably one of the worst approaches possible. This is a stark difference between us, as I am far too attuned to the pleasures of food to abstain. Well, I’ll see how many people read this entry and decide which side you guys are on!

So many good things to eat, and so little time.

French desserts are pretty much legendary. Everyone knows and loves croissants, pain au chocolats, the crème brulées… we sampled a lot of sweets in our two and a half months in France, and while some of them were very well-known to us, some were completely novel! Here goes an attempt at a rundown.  Continue reading Death by chocolate.

When life gives you apples and cows, make cider and stinky cheese.

When we arrived in Normandy, Murray and Julie half-apologetically told us that there was really very little in this part of the country except agriculture and dairy. And by agriculture, they meant apples. So cows and apples, for short. There are not really any vineyards (Burgandy) or chateaus (the Loire Valley) or skiing (Alps) or even glamorous beaches (Marseilles)… but that was fine with me. Having grown up in New England, I have a healthy respect for apples and cows and otherwise fairly austere pursuits. On the last day of our stay, Murray indulged us in what Normandy had to offer by taking us to a cidery, a small picturesque town, and getting us some of the stinkiest cheese in the world. Continue reading When life gives you apples and cows, make cider and stinky cheese.

The dog days of Normandy.

Summer is in full flower in Basse-Normandie, and it has brought the funniest weather I’ve ever seen. Murray and Julie joke that there’s no point to checking the weather forecast (or what the French call the météo), since it always has a bit of everything: we wake up to brisk and sunny mornings that quickly warm up to hot middays, and work through cloudy afternoons interspersed with drizzle against the windowpanes. It usually clears up in time for brilliant sunsets around 10 pm, and true darkness only descends after midnight. We’ve been keeping quite busy, with our animals and our work, but finding time somehow to admire the weather and the landscape around us. Continue reading The dog days of Normandy.

The city of Gaudi.

We now resume our interrupted broadcast of our travels from Spain. It was just two weeks ago that our three brave heroes found themselves in the capital of Catalonia…

The road to Barcelona is well-trodden, and every tour of the city includes its iconic monuments to Antoni Gaudi, the well-known Spanish Catalan architect. This might as well be the city of Gaudi, we had to conclude after three days of wandering around. Our first stop was Park Guell, on a hill in the north of Barcelona that affords a picturesque view of the city. Gaudi designed and built the park in 1914, and it has come to be known for his signature touch of modernist and naturalist architecture, built of strange, organic shapes and encrusted with mosaics. The winding park terrace which is also covered with mosaics are well-known to me, and recall to me the films like L’auberge espagnole and Vicky Cristina Barcelona where I first saw them.

The famous Park Guell mosaic terrace benches.

Continue reading The city of Gaudi.