Archive for July, 2009

Turkules, we hardly knew ye

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I guess I didn’t learn my lesson from my last fucking fair fish.  Simon coerced me into going to the OC Fair (posts forthcoming if that mofo ever emails me the pictures), and Christopher had been wanting something alive to hang out with in his apartment, so I thought that the perfect solution to everything was to get another fair goldfish.

I shelled out the buckaroos for 10 game tickets and popped that motherfucking pingpong ball right into the bowl.  Win!

I asked for a purple fish tank, but the fish contained inside the purple one was fug.  So I rejected him/her/it and asked for another one.  The resulting fish was the above-pictured Turkules.

Turkules was so named because, following in the tradition of Fryloaf/Cheeto and Skittles, he needed a food name, ideally related to the fair.  At this fair I had had, among a billion other foodstuffs, a turkey leg.  We also paid a buck to take a gander at Hercules, the really big horse (I think his real tagline was more magnificent but I can’t remember it now):

Hercules was a sad ol’ horse, despite the fact that he stood at 6’6” and weighed 3045 pounds.  He could only stand diagonally in his cage, because he didn’t fit any other way, and his rein was barely long enough to munch on his enticing grass pile.  Sadded.

Anyway, this is about to be one hell of a sad post.

Anyway anyway, Turkey leg + Hercules = Turkules.  It’s so much name for such a little fish.  Perhaps it was too big of a burden to bear?

I’m sure you know how this ends.  With a horrible and horribly blurry text message from Christopher, not one week after little Turk came home (and after several misinformed days with emails from C saying things like “Turk is gaining strength and is swimming vertically”), Turkules went to the big blue fishbowl in the sky…

Turkules, you will be missed?  Not like I cried over Skittles, though…

In case you missed the Skittles saga:

We rescue Skittles and Cheeto from the L.A. County Fair.
Skittles loses/kills his best buddy and gets a new home.
Skittles battles THE BLACK SMUDGE and wins.
Skittles being wriggly and cute.
Skittles and The Return of THE BLACK SMUDGE.
Skittles’ last days.

Jin Patisserie

Sunday, July 12th, 2009


I’ve had my eye on Jin Patisserie for a while.  Ever since I peeked in on a random trip to see what Abbot Kinney was all about a couple years ago.

Now I go to Abbot Kinney probably once every 1.5 weeks (Christopher’s hood), even though I always feel a little bit like an imposter not nearly stylish or hipster enough to be hanging out there.  My favorite parts of that street are the big “K” in the yard of the Kangol house, and the store that has random Japaneezy stuff, and of course The Brig’s parking lot where many mobile goodies like Kogi’s and ice cream sandwiches are to be found.



Hipster/not hipster, etc. is irrelevant to Jin, which is a divinely peaceful enclave, where a front wall effectively kills all street noise and the tiny, charming garden space is anchored by the most beautiful stone fountain in the middle.  The cakes, analogously, are tiny and charming and utterly impossible to choose between.  Pictured top is the Desire – Madagascar chocolate mousse with vanilla creme brulee, feuilletine on a chocolate sponge cake.  Hidden inside were juicy, tart cooked cherries that helped ease the wounds of not getting the raspberry half (Christopher called it).

Before we even ordered the cake, however, we started with some Lapsang Souchong tea (“smoky! mmm!”) and buttercake with clotted cream.  This was, I admit, my first experience with clotted cream.  It’s exactly between whipped heavy cream and butter.  Why don’t we Americans eat this all the time, on everything?  I think it would be good on: pancakes, strawberries, Oreo’s, everything!  The buttercake had raspberries in it and the texture was moist and crumbling, but not crumbly, if that makes sense.



We also got macarons – here we settled (uncharacteristically) fairly quickly on Ume flavor and lemon.  They were out of lemon, so in its place we got Yuzu – a Japanese citrus (the “zu” in Ponzu sauce refers to the “zu” in yuzu).  Wait, backing up backing up.  What’s ume?  Ume (ooo-may) means plum in Japanese, but it also can refer specifically to salty plums – plums pickled in salt that are super intensely salty and sour, so much so that one can (and during the war, many did) eat an entire bowl of rice with a single ume.  Not the first thing that comes to mind when trying to invent macaron flavors.

The macarons yielded easily to my teeth.  Each chew brought with it a different reaction.  Yuzu – (1) “This macaron is so soft I feel like Mike Tyson if he were biting through, like, a puppy ear.” (2) “Sour!  Must use real yuzu!” (3) “OK now everything’s melding together and the tart is gone.  Boo.”  Ume – (1) “What the fuck this is SALTY!” (2) “Wait a second now it’s sour and weirdly very creamy ick.” (3) “Oh hold up this is actually glorious.”  Christopher had a similar reaction, but quicker – “WhoaI’mnotfeelingthatatallMMMMMM!”

“Each macaron takes you on a taste journey,” I said smartly to him, internally squealing at how food-bloggery this sounded.

“How are you going to blog this?” Christopher asked, reading my thoughts.

“I’ll probably veer off into a tangent about what the difference is between these macarons and coconut macaroons, like, from Wikipedia or something,” I said.

So here it is – “Macaroons are sweet foods made either with coconut and egg white or with a coarse almond paste formed into a dense cookie or confection. They are often confused (due to the very similar spelling) with the French Macaronswhich are entirely different in appearance.”

I didn’t know that.  I thought they were the same thing.  Don’t tell anyone.

The total bill was $31 with tip (“A bit pricey for just an afternoon tea, no?” said C) but I thought it was well worth it for the quality of the food and the ambiance of the garden where you’d expect nymphs to be hanging out.  Plus I added clotted cream and macaron/macaroons to my foodcabulary (and “foodcabularly” I guess), so I was blissed out.

See for yourself at their stylish website.

Jin Patisserie
1202 Abbot Kinney
Venice, CA 90291

Four Winds II: Snorkeling Cruise to Molokini

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Tinx iPhoning, me dying

Simon, Tinx, and DJ Deer and I went to Maui a couple weeks ago.  The flight was a gift from Simon for gradumacating and the condo was a free timeshare donated to us by Simon’s auntie.  YESSSS!

Most of our trip was being lazy.  In Tinx’s case, it was wake up, eat breakfast, take a nap, wake up, eat lunch, take a nap, wake up, eat dinner, go to bed early.  The one activity that hypertron DJ Deer and Slothasaur Tinx could agree on was a snorkeling cruise.

We looked through our guidebook and found one that they recommended – the Four Winds II.  There was some stuff about how they stay at Molokini (a crescent-shaped island 2 miles out from Maui) the longest, and how their BBQ was delicious, but our eyes didn’t light up until we read the part about how the Four Winds II “has the longest open bar out of all the Molokini boats.”  Done and done.

Should we have trusted a guidebook?  One that had the actual line “What do sea turtles eat? Dolphins.”  They’re either seriously misinformed or else they have a shitty sense of humor.  Either way.

Anyway, we were told by Simon’s overbearing dad that we should get there an hour early because parking at the marina fills up.  The cruise left at 7, so we woke up at 5:30 and got there super early.  We yelled, “THERE’S ONE!!!” at the first open parking spot and burnt rubber into it.  And then walked a quarter of a mile to the actual ship, past probably 100 open parking spots.  Fail.

The one thing the guidebook didn’t love about the Four Winds II (oh, by the way, it’s $100 a person, not the $80 that the guidebook says) was the incessant sales pitch.  We experienced this firsthand.  The barrage of shilling included waterproof disposable cameras, waterproof digital cameras, photographs of our tour, SNUBA, and, of course, a DVD of our snorkeling extravaganza, marketed exhaustingly to us by Trey the Videoooographer, a blonde surfer dude with a very weird vocal cadence.  “HEY GUYS! IT’S ME, TREY, THE VIDEOOOOGRAPHER.  COME CHECK OUT THE COOL FOOTAGE I GOT OF YOU GUYSSSS!  WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR A GREAT TIME SNORKELING HUH GUYS?  CHECK IT OUUUUT!  CHECK OUT THE GALLERYYYYY!”

Our captain, who continually referred to himself in the third person as “Cappy,” was a scraggly old dude reminiscent of the lecherous grandpa that everyone tolerates but would never, ever, under any circumstance, give a microphone and control of 180 people to.

Some notable things about Cappy – He pointed out the nude beach and said, “We’ll be heading over there after snorkeling.  Ladies, feel free to get ready now.  Fellas, let’s wait until we get there.”  He had a 2:00 tee time so he wanted us to be SURE we were dying before we called for help in the water.  He referred to Tinx continually as “Red.”  “Hey Red, better get some sunscreen on that skiiiiin of yoursssss.”  He had fishing lines off the back of the boat so he unnecessarily took us around the rough side of the island so that he had a better chance of catching some tuna.  He had a fetish for tags sticking out of bikini bottoms and would announce over the entire ship’s broadcasting system when he spotted one.  Or, in our case, he said, “Hey!  Red!  Hey Red!  Your friend’s tag is sticking out!  Better fix it!  Yeah, you!  Better fix it!”

Anyway, we finally got to Molokini, which took almost two hours.  That’s 1 mile per hour.  Yeah.  

At that point I was very uncharacteristically seasick.  It could have been the extreme stench of birdshit blowing off the island and into my nostrils.  (The island itself is not open to people, but np – why the fuck would you want to go on that crap mountain?)

I figured when I got in the water it would be better…and indeed the snorkeling was amazing, astonishing, stunning, all of that.  Minus the part where TREY THE VIDEOOOOGRAPHER came around swimming with his underwater still and video cameras and made us pose like idiots.  Damn him.

So, usually seasickness gets better once one is in the ocean, right?  Not for me apparently.  The fish were so gorgeous and cute, though, so I stayed in as long as I could.  I stayed in until I knew in five seconds I was going to feed the fish with my vomit and they would likely eat my face off.  I scampered onto the boat in a hurry, where the crew was BBQing and some guy got a burger flipped into his face, haha.  I asked in a trembling voice for some Dramamine and Cappy said, “We don’t have any.”  WHAT AND CRY!  Why wouldn’t a cruise ship carry DRAMAMINE?!?  Cappy got onto the mic (his favorite) and asked if anyone had any extra, and a nice midwestern lady gave me … one tablet.  Lame.

I climbed up to the second story to live out my misery, passing an Indian family on the way who went snorkeling full-on in their saris, haha.  I spent the rest of the cruise getting sunburnt (no wherewithal to stay on top of the sunscreen sitch) and rolling around feeling awful.

I know, I know.  Wah wah I’m in Maui for free and I’m siiiick wahhh.

Not what we saw.

So there’s this place called Turtle Town that all the cruises go to.  Cappy said, “Screw that Turtle Town!  We’re going to Turtle UNIVERSE!” and took us to a place, cut the engine, and…crickets.  “Hmmm.  Usually they’re a million around here…”  Everyone was craning their necks (except mine, which was lolled over the edge of the bench in agony), and finally – ONE TURTLE!  We saw maybe five total from pretty far away, causing DJ Deer to use “Turtle Universe” to refer to anything that sucked for the rest of the vacation.

In sum, fish rock but everything else about this cruise, including the fact that I didn’t get to take advantage of the open bar, was only so-so.  Also the fact that Cappy told us that the raffle prize was a sea turtle and a year’s worth of food (a year’s worth of DOLPHINS!??!) but he lied – it was just a T-shirt.  But still, the Four Winds II spends the longest amount of time at Molokini, so it’s probably worth it.

Even if you do have a leering Cappy staring at your ass the whole time…

Four Winds II