Month: June 2009

shopping trip to MACRO, and a photo

matt and i just finished a crazy shopping trip to MACRO… for those of you who don’t live here, it’s a wholesale warehouse for the hotel/cafe/restaurant industry.  honestly, i like Sligro better, but it was fun.  Matt bought gigantic quantities of buttermilk and flour, stuff like that.  I mostly just kept a running list in my head of things i can get there that I haven’t seen somewhere else.  Good to know when making things later.

after, i dropped him off, then my groceries off, then the greenwheels car off, and walked down de clerqstraat back to rozengracht and thus home.  at the corner of de clerqstraat and nassaukade, there’s a liquor store/delicatessen that i’ve been wanting to stop in for some time.  So i did.  Turns out they also have a number of foreign products – for example, marshmallow goo, devonshire clotted cream, and… JONES SODA!!!!  the jones were outrageously priced at 2euros or so a bottle, but i bought 2 anyway.  yum… jones…

and here’s a photo from Day 2 of the trip, for your viewing pleasure:

In Trutnov, CZ – there’s a dragon crawling down the side of the church in the main square.

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Day One: Leipzig (DE) to Děčín (CZ)

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Děčín is pronounced Dyechin, or close enough.

We left Leipzig in the late morning of Wednesday, 3 June.  We had decided to avoid freeways and to head in the direction of the Czech border.  I’m honestly a bit confused now, looking at my map.  We used my TomTom GPS system, and I think we must have followed highway 6 until around Dresden, then I’m not really sure, but I think we crossed the border on highway 62, because I know it followed a river and was stunningly gorgeous. 

It wasn’t far.  The day was very chilly, so we stopped frequently.  The first stop was for a warming-up coffee, at a roadside but very charming cafe.  There was something ridiculous about this first stop, and I remember being unreasonably goofy, or thinking that I was being so.  We ordered a pot of coffee for 2 and a hot milk.  I used the hot milk in my coffee (it was really cold out, and I really needed the warm-up), and spilled it all over the table in the process.  The toilet was around the corner outside the building, and when Dick went out to use it I paid for the coffees, and dropped one of my coins on the floor.  It rolled under the chair of the old man sitting behind me at the next table.  I looked at him, he looked at me, we both stiffly tried to reach for it (he because he is old, I because I was wearing leathers on a cold day).  Eventually I crawled down under the table.  It turned out to be only 20c, so hardly worth the effort, but we couldn’t tell from where we were.  I was still on the floor when Dick came back in, which caused the unwarranted jollity to continue.  I have NO idea why we were so punchy, but we were.

On this small highway through Germany, the very neat and orderly villages were completely still.  No movement, other than the other cars & trucks passing through.  Shutters were closed, shops and cafes not open.  Flowers bloomed in well-tended gardens and window boxes, and stoops were swept, so people MUST have been around, but we didn’t see any.  If it had been an evening, or early morning, or maybe a weekend, I might have understood, but it was mid-day on Wednesday.  Where was everyone?

The emptiness became a problem when I had to pee.  There was enough traffic that trying to pee along the road was out of the question, and when we stopped for gas, there was no public toilet at the gas station.  (Consequently, I refused to get gas there.  We didn’t need it that badly, and I think that gas stations that don’t provide toilets for paying customers are just being miserly.  They don’t get my money.  Yes, I am definitely an American – I vote regularly with my wallet.)  Eventually we saw a woman selling strawberries at a roadside stand.  I went over and asked her where I could find a toilet.  She asked if it was big or little, and when I said little (pee), she told me that she goes over to a stand of trees by the stream nearby, that it wasn’t visible from the road.  So I borrowed Dick’s roll of toilet paper, and headed over.  For the record, it is much more difficult squatting in leather pants than it is in a skirt.  Obvious, I know…

When we came to that beautiful river route into the Czech Republic, there were bicycles everywhere.  It is apparently quite the destination for elderly bicycle enthusiasts.  I didn’t see any young ones.  We decided that when we got to Děčín we would look for a hotel and a cash machine.  We found both at a lovely square, Masarykovo Náměstí (Náměstí means square, and Masarykovo is, in my experience, a pretty common name for squares, stations, and streets in Czechia, as Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was the first president and founder of Czechoslovakia, after the 1st world war).  The hotel (Hotel Česká Korunahttp://www.hotelceskakoruna.cz) looked more expensive than we really wanted to pay, but I went in and asked.  For 1370 czech crowns (česká koruny, possibly I’ve spelled this wrong), or approx 52 euros, we had a very nice room, breakfast included, and were able to park our motorcycles INSIDE.

Getting them inside was another story.  The girl at the desk told me that if I went around the corner of the building, I would see two doors.  Then, if I went inside, I could “put the bread down” and I’d be able to get the bikes inside.  Then I was to go through the steps and bring back the key.  Her English was actually even worse than this, but I figured these things would be obvious when I saw them, so I said thanks, took the key to this mystery door, and we drove around the building.  We saw lots of steps to doors, and nothing that looked like we could get 2 large motorcycles through.  So I went back in and asked her again.  She repeated that I would have to “put the bread down.”  This is when I started to get the picture.  We went outside again, around the corner, and unlocked the first door.  Inside were many bicycles and a sturdy construction made out of boards, to put against the steps and take our motorcycles up the steps. 

First, we had to move a bunch of bicycles inside, to make room.  We both drive Triumph SpeedTriples (mine is older, 1995, but bigger, 900cc, and Dick’s is 1997, 750cc), and they are heavy and pretty big.  When we were finished with that, a man came with a bicycle, and wanted to put it inside.  He put it right in the cleared spot, and I explained that we needed him NOT to put it there, that the motorcycles were going there.  He started to lock it up, and said to me that they’d fit next to his.  I told him to move it or I would probably damage his bike.  He moved.  He made comments about big bikes, not important bikes.  I rolled my eyes at him.

We moved Dick’s bike in.  While we were setting that up, an older man outside was admiring mine.  I grinned at him and made gestures to say it was mine (and words).  Talking with him, I found that I actually remembered Czech words.  He showed us a picture of his own Triumph, also 900 cc, and I translated a little to Dick.  We did a lot of grinning and gesturing, but I actually remembered some Czech, which I haven’t needed to remember in years.

After showering and changing into comfy clothing, Dick and I walked up the hill to a castle above the hotel, and then back down to a very cozy café around the corner from the hotel, where I once again showed my Czech language skills by successfully navigating the menu and ordering for us dark beers and a delicious – and completely vegetarian – meal.  Dick had thought he’d be eating meat this time, but I took over and we had fried cheese (mmmmmm), broccoli with creamy cheese sauce, home-made potato croquettes, and batter-fried mushrooms, with various side sauces and salad.  I was very full of myself by now, and had started translating signs we could see through the windows, on buses and shops.  The waitress was not so impressed, but that’s because it was very loud in there, and I could barely hear her over the conversation of the people sharing the room with us. 

We were exhausted after dinner, and literally collapsed back at the hotel.

last night’s dream

so, in real life,

  is making bookshelves for the new apartment of   and b. 

in my dream,   proudly showed me the results, via photo:  the original, the problem, she said, was that they’ve been storing everything in this old army duffel (she showed me a picture).  but

  had done for her a new design, which she was very excited about:  a very space age, hanging duffel thing that looked a lot like a heavy bag…. right.

then i was looking around their new apartment (in the dream), and i saw that indeed   and b. are having a very difficult time with storage solutions – they had clothes and things crammed pretty much into anything that could hold anything.  they’d even managed to hide some clothes behind the screen of a very old-fashioned but huge TV.

really, that’s the whole dream, as it was a lot of images of things everywhere.  🙂

so,

 , good luck with the installation, or are you all finished this week?  and  , girl – i hope your real life situation doesn’t feel like that.  and feel better!

Black Mole Enchiladas

To make the mole from paste:

1/2 kg paste
1/2 kg red tomatoes + 1/4 kg tomatillos (or all as red, if tomatillos are unavailable)
50 gr. mexican chocolate (or if necessary regular chocolate)
1 lt chicken (or vegetable) broth
  1. roast the tomatoes (and tomatillos)
  2. grind the mixture in blender or food processor with some of the broth
  3. strain the mixture through a sieve into a pot (sometimes i don’t bother)
  4. heat on low/med
  5. dissolve mole paste into mixture
  6. add the chocolate (stirring very regularly – or whisking)
  7. finally add rest of broth/ salt as needed/ to taste
  8. try to keep below boiling

To prepare the enchiladas:

 
  1. pre-heat the oven (lowish temperature)
  2. make fillings of choice (i usually make cilantro-lime rice & some kind of black bean mixture)
  3. roll fillings in tortillas & put in a lasagna pan
  4. pour the mole liberally over the enchiladas
  5. sprinkle with cheese (optional)
  6. bake in oven until you can’t wait any longer – my centers are usually lukewarm, but hey, everything was cooked originally, so what the hell.  so long as the cheese is melted!

To serve:

  1. optional toppings include but are not limited to:  fried egg, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, sweet corn kernels… the choice is yours.  i’m pretty liberal with use of cilantro in ALL aspects of these various ingredients (and fillings); i love cilantro.
  2. tequila
  3. corona
  4. did i mention tequila?
  5. horchata is also yummy.

blessed peace

hello!

i am in the office, alone!  yes, it’s amazing.  my boss is at a conference, two colleagues are on vacation, and my (temp) assistant left about 20 minutes ago.  ahhhhhhh……

this is not the best day for this, as i stayed up way too late last night reading ("Labyrinth" by Kate Mosse).  still, i may actually get something done.

news in short:

  • wave gotik treffen was GREAT this year.  saw good music, saw good friends, drank, ate, had a good time. thanks to gea & garry for luggage transport again!!!!
  • my road trip to the balkans was also good – although too short.  spent too much time getting there and back, and missed slovenia altogether.  really enjoyed serbia, bosnia-herzogovina, and croatia, though.  took small highways and backroads almost entire time (including the to/from, which is why that part took so long).  next time:  train the bike somewhere?
  • last week/weekend:  worked long long hours, began editing a friend’s latest novel, attended a really fun wedding party (including boat ride & yummy dinner) on saturday, and celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on sunday and kind of on monday.  Monday was stolen by the LONG-AWAITED arrival of our tile order at the kitchen store.  finally we can work on finishing up the kitchen!!!!
  • tonight:  mole enchiladas!  yum!
  • thursday:  my (temp) assistant will be dj’ing at pacific parc.  i will go and have a listen.
  • friday: beer club then onderstroom
  • saturday: i’m pretty sure there’s something on saturday, but i forget what… will have to check calendar

so now…  i’m going to try to get some WORK done!!!  all’s quiet!!!!

OH, AND HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAYS, MEL, NATHAN & LYNN!!!!