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Lady of the lake, version #938

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Epoch of incredulity


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of the times, it was frankly more of the same. Another week in life's hopper. Actually on balance a pretty good week although it certainly had its peaks and valleys. I have definitely enjoyed better shows, but it broke the recent bad streak I was on and I like the way I did it. Kid got his mojo back.

I was active on the floor, searching for value and then after putting a smaller than normal margin on top, flipped pretty much everything I bought. Bought some great material. It's sure fun when its flowing and I think that it flowed for a lot of people this weekend. Nice when the gears line up. Rare these days.

Would have sold near everything except I let an old couple bring a Bertha Lum print back because the colors didn't match their couch. Old softie that I am. Basically I got down and dirty and just grinded all week. Bloody knees and elbows but I feel purty good. One of the high points for me was when they made the announcement that there would be a two o'clock lecture on the history of the use of plastics in antiques. I already feel like a throwback, that one put me right over the edge. It's your planet now, have at it.

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The best part of the week was seeing my younger brother John and his family. He is an engineer in San Jose. We have been estranged for too long, my fault entirely and I had never met my 9 and 11 year old niece and nephew. Criminal. Great to see Connie, John and the whole family.


I introduced them to some friends that live in their area and we made plans to spend more time together when we get the next opportunity.

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Guess I will start with the high points and then swing on down to the dips. It was my birthday Thursday, fifty eight if you are wondering. I was joined that evening by ten or so old friends at my current fave chinese place, Koi Palace.


I have written about Koi Palace before, it is situated in a rather nondescript Serramonte shopping mall in the working class berg of Daly City. This is the place that many of the local asian population thinks is the best in the area.


I found Koi Palace on Yelp a few years ago looking for the best dim sum in the city but still haven't made it there in the daytime when dim sum is traditionally served.


I am crazy about the food there, it being clean and of high quality. The fish in the tanks don't look tumor ridden and radioactive like in some chinese restaurants.

Our party was seated at a large table with a lazy susan and we all sipped chrysanthemum tea while we perused the menus. We ordered quick and ruthlessly, the table being inhabited by mostly hard core foodies.


The menu is interesting and well illustrated. There is a set menu and a family dinner menu. Birdseye menus and Superior menus too, it can get pretty fancy and expensive.

Like the pretty lady out front said, when you are there you have to try the seafood.


We started off with hot steamed pork buns and fried tofu, which were sort of like soy tater tots. I thought about the fifty three dollar bowl of soup, which is called buddha jumped over the wall but passed. Not sure what's in it but I'm trying to stay off rhino horn and shark fin at this point of my life. Pork buns were delicious.

They have large special dinners there like this one as well. Have to order the whole suckling pig one day. I am a sucker for maraschino eyeballs.

We ordered squab, a salt and pepper crab, a giant steamed whole fish covered in ginger and cilantro, suckling pig, pee shoots, gee what else? More stuff. The pig was heavenly, moist flesh and perfectly crispy skin. Thought about ordering the concubine chicken but didn't want to be unfaithful.

One diner thought that the crab tasted like it was seasoned with barbecue potato chips, but in a good way. Caked and beautiful, it's taste and texture were awesome. Both times I have visited the crab was delectable. They tried to hook us on some $65.00 a lb. fish but we settled on a perfectly fine swimmer for a third of that. Squab were fat and juicy, perfect. Not Le Cheval perfect but perfect.


We gorged. I ate until I felt like it could have been me up there on that platter with the maraschino eyeballs. I think my companions felt the same, many who have been friends with me back to the seventies and early eighties. Comfort in old friends.


There are so many things I want to try here in the future. The lobster was about three foot long and the giant crabs were crawling out of the clean tanks.



Melissa is recently back from France and she gifted us with some premium olive oil from Brittany? Somewhere, also gave us some local Bay Area gin she is favoring these days.

Yesterday she gave me some freshly shot wild duck from her Chico gig that Leslie is going to prepare tomorrow, maybe on the barbecue if we can figure out the high fat/flare up thing. Thanks, Melissa.

My breath must be really bad if you can see it.
And thanks to everybody who attended, thanks for the mango birthday dessert and the birthday wishes! Wonderful to have you celebrate with me, my friends. Sorry the rest of you missed it. Next time.


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I was basically on my own at this show, Cam helping Bill with Dan's estate. Continuing my recent poverty chic tour, I stayed at the tony Howard Johnsons in San Mateo, a slight step up from the elaborate, detention facility like, Motel Six in Carpenteria.

Tried to read, hated the book, an Ishmael Reed compendium. Hit IHOP one morning and realized that I couldn't see, or resolve my visual information anyway, blurry vision all day. I am trying to set up an operation, hope it takes care of things.

Waiting for cardiac clearance. My ophthalmologist, who I called that night, said it was probably the visual stress of driving that whacked my system. The rapid degeneration has been amazing in its speed. Seeing better today, after 15 hours in the car yesterday.

So I am trying to get down and dirty as I said and have even hit Denny's on this tour, if only to reinforce my proletariat street cred.

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Michael took me to a crowded and trendy bruschetta restaurant in San Mateo. B Street and Vine. I wasn't crazy about it. You order four different bruschettas for $12. They have panini too. I did the bruschetta and it was a mistake. Too many disparate food elements in one's digestive tract. I call it the French Laundry syndrome.  Salami and feta and dates and pistachio, all mixed up, well, you get it. Was okay, wouldn't go back.

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Did korean chicken at O.B. Chicken Town in Berkeley. Excellent, although the chicken seemed a little sweet to me. Needs more bite. Noodle sausage and regular sausage as well as a couple other dishes.

Great place, neat traditional korean atmosphere. Sweet host, very friendly, I might add, recent korean research be damned.


Did a few other meals, Creola for sherry lobster bisque, catfish, and beignets, Kristy's for breakfast once, my normal Burlingame morning hang. Place is like the rockwell calendar on the wall, a throwback like me. I sit at the bar and shmooze with the locals, close my eyes and listen to the perfect music of plates, bells and griddle in their beautiful train station syncopation.


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There is a whole bunch of stuff that I want to write but I think I need to chop things up so I will stop here. I did have a revelation on the way home. I was driving on the five south home, couldn't see my dad, with my vision logistics and nightfall, when I saw a sign for Bravo Farms at the Kettleman City 41 junction.

The great  highway is full of Del Tacos and your normal corporate road food but the sign said barbecue and ice cream and I thought, what the hell? Rare to find anything resembling food. Guess it is part of a small chain.


The exterior of the place looked just a tad sketchy and overdone. Overproduced Temecula old west, which I loathe. But when I went inside and checked out the menu, whoa. I considered the brisket tamales and had a tri tip sandwich instead, accompanied by their own fried curds. They make their own cheese at Bravo Farms and it is excellent, while not cheap by any means. A delicious lunch in a sea of mediocrity. Now they may have had a problem or two in the past but hey, who hasn't?

This place is such a step up, if you are traveling north on the five. check it out. Honestly, e coli, listeria and all, it beats the road competition hands down. I have got vestigial organs for filtering stuff I hardly ever use. Delicious beats occasionally deadly every time.

Bravo Farms.Very friendly, knowledgable and helpful staff. Good food. Really.

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Person pulled out ahead of me in a souped up flame orange charger, almost tore off my front quarter panel he/she was so close. Driver tore into a gas station. I followed close behind. Didn't know who was driving. Screeched in, I'm pissed.

Guy pops out in a red 50's bowling shirt, modified mullet greaseback, fancy rock and roll shoes. Big bald spot. Fading central valley rocker gone to seed.

"Did you know you almost hit me pulling put out back there," I inquired in my peeved tone. Asshole almost didn't register, blinked twice, said he was sorry and slithered away like nothing happened.

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 That's about it for now. Soon.


1 comment:

Max Hall said...

Looking good Robert. Glad that you had great week.