Sep 20, 2015

pho weekend

Friday, I left the office early and went home to wait for Saori who went to yoga after work. We strolled to dinner at a vietnamese restaurant for some Pho, which turned out to be not bad- the soup base was really good and the meat cuts were good, but for the price and the lack of the usual add-ons, I was not so impressed.

Walking back, we came across Feuersee Fest, a small neighborhood party around the old church with lots of little crafts and clothing, a small stage, a few food stalls, and of course, a few stalls selling beers and wine. Whenever we come back to the US, I am going to seriously agitate to loosen these antiquated and puritanical open container laws.

Saori bought a pair of earrings, and we both plugged our ears to escape the attrocious live electro-pop or whatever it was claiming to be.

Saturday I made fried eggs with my salsa and we got out into town early. We had a long list of groceries and things to buy, so we hit the markthalle where I reloaded the pozole essentials (dried mexican chiles, hominy) and then we browsed a bit of this and that in the stores around the city center before getting down to business at the big grocery store.

This big new grocery store carries a lot of really nice things. This trip, we ended up picking up two small plants for the kitchen, a 30 inch tall little palm tree and a similar height banana tree.

We also picked up some fresh mussels from Belgium, and some other necessities. Hauling everything back home, we refreshed ourselves, and headed out again since Saori was looking for some pots for the new plants. We split after the city center and I headed back to our neighborhood to pick up some ingrediants for Pho at the asian corner store.

Saori ended up getting stuck for a bit because the police basically barricaded the city center and diverted a ton of traffic and mass transit due to a large protest of mostly turks protesting the Turkish government. It was quite interesting to see in this orderly city, a mass of chanting people not protesting the train station, but also the hundreds of police in full riot gear. Stuttgart tends to over-react to protests in terms at least of presence.

Anyway, the moulles, being an unexpected score (they were about 7 dollars for the package) required eating that night, so I whipped us up some moules mariniere with the leftover bread and white wine I had.

Sunday I made pear and walnut pancakes for breakfast. I got this great recipe from Jamie Oliver which is really quite good. One egg, one cup self-raising flour, one cup milk, one fruit (grated pear, smashed banana, cup of berries, whatever). Mix well and cook in pan with melted butter.

Today was also the big fall flohmarkt (flea market) where the three biggest plazas in the city center and all the streets joining them fill with stalls and people selling everything in a massive garage sale. Prices are dirt cheap as everyone wants to get rid of everything. I ended up buying a solid pewter beer mug with the crest of one of the city brewers on it.

Afterwards, we got maultauschen from a food truck and then pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks.

Saori went to work to teach a coworker Nadine how to use Rhino and I went home to work on the beef soup stock for the Pho. It was exciting to make, and good, at the end, but a big greasy mess since all the gristle and fat renders in the pressure cooker. Also delicious.

Letting the stock cool, I joined Saori at Nadines rooftop flat and she served us up some homemade chocolate pound cake and tea. Do not let that description mislead you- Nadine is a really interesting and cool girl. She is a landcape architect who is obsessed with the band Social Distortion, California living, palm tree varieties, and tattoos, in that order.

So tonight I made pho from scratch for the first time. The beef bone and oxtail stock with star anise and cinnamon and fish sauce, bean sprouts, cilantro and mint, habernero chiles, squirt of lime. Rice noodles. Really really good. I need to up the star anise a bit though.

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