Kitchener and Creature Comforts

1 January – 3 January

Kitchener. Small city. Brother and his friend cook excellent vegan food. Must gain mastery of the seitan. Dumplings, noodles, salads, good wine. Good coffee at Matter of Taste. See movie of True Grit. Good adaptation of Norwood’s book of same title.

The Food Pyramid

December 2010

The quest for pyramids is hungry business. Fortunately there is a lot to eat in New York. There is so much to eat that the city of New York has had to enlist the entire population to eat it. The exact chain of food supply, distribution and waste management is not well understood. In 2010 Columbia University published a brief study trying to identify the basic elements of food supply for New York City. City Harvest collects 35,000kg of leftover food a day and redistributes it to New York’s hungry.

Our contribution to consumption was modest. For those who appreciate vegan food, I recommend Ozu’s almond cream, azuki mousse, chocolate tofu pie and jasmine tea; Peacefood Cafe‘s peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate ganache, dumplings, soup and Daiya ‘cheese’; Wild Ginger‘s menu in general and; Quantum Leap’s Big Leap Burger. Happiness indeed for the vegan in New York City.

In the non-vegan category and in general there were many many cheesecakes, cheeseburgers and cheap pizza slices of happiness. Good coffee was hard to find. Roasting Plant Coffee on 7th Avenue had some groovy pneumatic tube grinding and roasting contraption that resulted in tasty coffee. Ecopolis in Brooklyn on Smith Street was also above par. I didn’t partake but who can object to street stands selling milkshakes and cupcakes…

Cupcakes outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Things I have found amusing in New York

Despite the ambiguous name, the 3 Star Coffee a great friendly place for a cheap, decent feed. Family run for over 45 years.

Eight dollars before tax and tip at the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Bar. The service was the worst I’ve had since arriving here. The Plaza Hotel may be a good source of funds for building a pyramid.

A common sight in Central Park and the Upper West Side.

2 December 2010 – San Francisco

Final day in San Francisco. A short day. Breakfast in Cafe el Greco on Columbia and a brief wander along Fisherman’s Wharf via Lombard Street – a Vertigo filming location and home to a crooked street. Got shocked by one of the street performers. His gimmick was to hide behind a bunch of leaves and then roar at distracted tourists. I had seen him play the same trick on someone else two days earlier. Fisherman’s Wharf very much the tourist trap. Sipped water and swallowed panadol on the the San Francisco’s National Maritime Park wharf. Disturbed a great orange ginger tom from his nap. Lunch in a tacky Johnny Rocket diner. Chrome fittings and red leather chairs. I had a chocolate milkshake. The table jukeboxes were alas not functioning but they played Motown – not a complete loss. We made our way to San Jose on the Caltrain in the afternoon to rest up in the Ramada hotel. Finished Charles Portis’ Norwood. Good book. Flying to New York in the morning.