breakfast of champions for a melting-pot nation

While on a weekend visit with friends, circumstances conspired to reveal to me an exquisite breakfast treat.
Because we were all flying in late, our friday night dinner was ready-to-cook bulgogi from the korean market, plus a big jar of kimchi and some sticky rice. Yum yum.
And because we were visiting friends in the Baltimore area and hanging out with at least one other food-crazed person, we visited supermarkets — and at said supermarkets we acquired some scrapple.
And therefore, on sunday morning, brunch consisted of hot sticky rice, crunchy fried scrapple, eggs over medium, and large amounts of kimchi. HUBBA HUBBA. Oh and for dessert, a delicious eggy apple pancake with caramelized cinnamon sugar topping. Yay.

ann sather cinnamon buns

Eh. I had a little bit of one this morning at work, leftover from a training breakfast, and it was pretty mediocre: pasty and yeasty and dry, not nearly enough cinna-goop or glazing. They have cinnamon buns on their boxes as their logo, so they must be renowned for them, but I can’t see why. I didn’t even bother to finish eating the half-bun I took. Bleh. I’ve had way better, most recently at an Amish bake stand in the Reading Terminal Market in Philly.

the joy of seltzer

I have been obsessed with seltzer water lately. I crave those tangy, tingly little bubbles. I drink it plain, I drink it mixed with a little cherry juice or lemonade or orange juice (orangina, without all the sugar!). Can’t get enough. And so I am starting to get annoyed with schlepping those heavy bottles home from the store, and even more annoyed with the fact that in so doing, they inevitably get jostled, so that when you open each and every bottle, you get a face or a shirtsleeve full of seltzer. I have got to get a working soda siphon pronto. The fabulous red metallic spherical one i got in a secondhand shop still has some funky odor about it which I haven’t been able to chase away yet, so I may have to break down and buy a new one. In the meantime, can i interest you in a spritzer? There’s a vanilla flavored bottle I’m about to try…
(and ps: why is it that whenever I ask for a seltzer water in a restaurant or bar, the server has NO IDEA what I am talking about? I have to ask for fizzy water, soda water, or in the most dire of cases, club soda before I make myself understood. Is it so regional an expression that only new yorkers and jews know from seltzer?)

my favorite food

Speaking of Wu Chon House…. I’ve never had a “favorite food.” It always felt like choosing one of my many beloved children as the favorite — impossible. My fallback answer has always been “cheese.” Just cheese? Yes, all cheeses — never met one i didn’t like.
But into my life has come the perfect food. It has all the necessary attributes for a food: spicy, meaty, sweet, vinegary, fatty, savory, contrasting textures. And I am deliriously happy whenever I am eating it. Tofu kimchi bokum, particularly as made by Wu Chon House, is my favorite food. (Hedge tells me Koreans just call it tofu kimchi and all is understood. But I found it at Wu Chon, and I call it what they call it.)
Take kimchi and onions and fry till caramelized. Add thin slices of fatty pork belly and fry some more. Add a sauce made of gochu jang (spicy pepper soybean paste), brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic. Add a half cup or so of water to it, because you’re going to add some rice pucks and they’ll need water to soften up. Simmer this till everything is soft, the sauce thickens and the pucks are chewy soft. Put some cool sliced tofu next to it on the plate. Eat and be happy. Or just go to Wu Chon and order some — no one else makes it better.
(Thanks to Hedge for the recipe — I shall never again lack for my favorite food.)

lunch in brown and yellow

We were out of lunchmeat this morning, and I forgot about the tasty leftovers in the fridge from last night’s Korean food frenzy at Wu Chon House, so it was the dreaded caf for me today.
When forced to go to the caf, I’ll usually get two grilled cheese and tomato sammies and a cup of soup. Outrageous at 7 bucks (ok, it’s really like $6.50, but I round up) but it’s fairly safe and the soup usually doesn’t totally suck.
But it’s slim pickin’s at 1:20 — it closes at 1:30 (not the first of my peeves). By the time I get down there, they’ve already shut down the grill and the one soup that might have been appetizing was popular enough that all that’s left are a few grains of barley and bits of drying vegetables dotting the bottom of the serving container.
So I end up with the meatloaf from the “Market Carvery” station, topped with brown gravy. Two sides? Well, the rice tray looks almost untouched, and the green beans look like sad withered twigs cooked with…something. Onions? Garlic? I give up on 20 questions and get the mashed potatoes and corn.
The corn looks to be cooked to within an inch of its life. But no, I stand corrected — they’ve had the life cooked out of them, leaving only yellow husks of fiber and starch. The meatloaf tastes alright, but it has a strange chewiness that I don’t generally associate with meat. The potatoes are quite passable by comparison, but that’s not saying much.
And all this for five bucks. What a deal, eh?
I hate the caf.

the holy grail

the holy grail of chips, while we’re on the subject, is Herr’s Hot Cheese Curls. These things are fucking transcendent. They are the best snack EVER. They are everything a snack should be: crunchy, salty, spicy, cheesy, savory. I get chills just thinking about it. (And while on the Herr’s site, I noticed they make/sell the Glenny’s Soy Chip line, which strangely doesn’t suck — they’re good for you, protein/carb balanced, and deliver full doses of flavor crystals. Good for those times you need salty goodness but feel virtuous.)
hmm, and these are good too, but I have no idea where to buy them in these parts.