Monthly Archives: August 2018

The Kasbah Chronicles: August 2018

The Kasbah Chronicles
August 2018


Carlsbad Beach: 7:30AM

 

Why travel in the summer when we can take an early morning walk along one of the most photogenic beaches in Southern CA? With the dramatic Orange County fires a mere 50 miles to our northeast, I can only count my blessings when wading through arcs of receding ocean foam as intricate as Belgian lace.

 

 

Photo courtesy Jeff and Sigrid Stillman
I was so excited to view this photo of a formerly endangered species making a comeback on our  North County beaches.

My friend Roger, an avid bird watcher, enlightened me as to this species of birds: “”The terns . .  are almost certainly Royal Terns, a species of large tern that occurs along much of the East Coast and also along the California Coast as far north, I’d guess, as San Francisco.  They have to be distinguished from two other large terns, Caspian and Elegant Terns, both of which do breed in your area. . . “

Contents

End of my Vietnam gastronomic adventure: Historic Hoi An and Vietnamese banh mis
Three Art institutions not to miss in San Diego County
Stay cool with ginger and lemon grass tea. . .
So retro: Gin and Tonic
San Diego Festival of Books
Presentations and book signings
Links of interests in English and in French
The MERCI Train; Le Train de la Reconnaissance
in  North Dakota

Kitty’s books
A Biblical Feast
and
Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion are available as eBooks on Amazon.com.

Musings:

Hoi An, Vietnam’s cultural capital:
One thing I didn’t expect upon visiting Hoi An’s ancient UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE city center was The Reach Out Teahouse’s (https://reachingoutvietnam.com) divine quietude and its charming cadre of speech or hearing-impaired young staff. Whispering is de rigueur in this oasis of serenity where the only way to communicate is by sign language or post-it notes. Patrons lost in solitary contemplation recline on hassocks in the cool penumbra sipping ginger and lemongrass tea. (Recipe below)

The blissful tea house is far removed from the supercharged atmosphere at Mme Phuong’s, a world-renowned sandwich shop, which, according to former globe-trotting author Anthony Bourdain serves the world’s best banh mi, Vietnamese sandwich. (https://www.facebook.com/Bánh-Mì-Phượng-Hội-An). I almost missed the sliver of an entrance to Mme Phuong’s, had it not been for the swarm of foreign patrons slinking past an assembly line of uniformed sandwich makers making banh mis in metronomic precision.

My food forays didn’t stop there:  at Mme Vy’s Cooking School (https://tastevietnam.asia/vietnamese-cooking-classes-hoi-an)I uncovered a Pandora’s box of culinary specialties. This brilliant establishment combines a vast food hall cum market place, and an up-to-the-minute cooking school staffed by a trained instructor. Six hours later, I was privy to the secrets of making pho (Vietnamese soup), crispy eggrolls, Vietnamese beef stew, shrimp soup, and their special nuoc mam sauce. Thank you Phoebe, agent for Asiatica (http://www.asiatica.com), a Hanoi-based travel company, for creating our private, food-centric itinerary.


There is water, water everywhere around Hoi An, and you can’t access certain areas without a short boat ride, or crossing a well-travelled bridge. We accessed Tra Que Island in this manner to spend time at a local farm, and lunch al fresco. Later, we embarked in a “basket boat” or coracle, for a leisurely mini-cruise on the Thu Bon River. . .at 2PM, many waterways were overrun with a cacophony of Korean vacationers with boomboxes, each boat practicing its own karaoke skills in view of a prize for who could sing (screech?) loudest. Interesting.

Yes, I did learn how to make Vietnamese Rice Pancakes, but I have found equally good ones at Sontra Restaurant, between Fig and Date, on Valley Parkway  in Escondido (CA). I have mentioned the take-out establishment before, but it bears repeating that SonTra’s banh mis are just about as good as Mme Phuong’s!

Kitty’s Ginger and lemongrass tea

In Hoi An, where the April heat proved almost debilitating, downing several glasses of iced ginger and lemongrass tea at breakfast energized me for ensuing hours of sightseeing. I have planted lemongrass at home (though you will find lemongrass in all well-stocked supermarkets) and I can reproduce this elixir in my kitchen in Vista. It’s a great alternative to iced tea.

1 stem fresh lemongrass, trimmed of dead leaves
4 thick pieces fresh ginger (be generous)
4 cups water
Sugar or honey to taste

Trim a stem of lemongrass where the leaves meet the bulb. Discard the tops. Smash the bulbous part with a rolling pin. Do the same for the ginger. Bring the water to a boil and add the lemongrass and the ginger. Simmer 15 to 20 mns. Remove from the heat. Sweeten to taste. Serve iced.

The old-fashioned pleasure of a gin and tonic:
I am not a drinker. Neither is my husband. I sip a glass of wine now and then, but cannot abide the flavor of beer. Lately, however, the crushing heat inspired me to make a retro drink, a drink that for me, defined my parents’ generation . . . But I am a baby boomer and I have acquired a new taste for old flavors, such as a gin and tonic in all its retro goodness – from the bitterness of the tonic to the surprising smoothness of the gin, and a squeeze of lime from our ever bearing Bearss lime tree.

Presentations and book signings:
From the Poway Library: Thank you!
Hi Kitty,
Thank you for your wonderful presentation at the Poway Library this past Saturday!  It was much enjoyed by all the participants and the food and tea samples were excellent.  I also received my first issue of your electronic newsletter- thank you!  . . .
I think you also mentioned that you do presentations on your Edible Flowers book.  I would love to book you for that in the future!
Sincerely,
Karen Baluyot, Poway Library

Come one! Come all!
San Diego Festival of Books: http://www.sdfestivalofbooks.com
SATURDAY, AUGUST 25, 2018.  10AM to 5PM.
Liberty Station, San Diego
Kitty will be there from 1 to 2PM. Look for a table hosted by Adventures by the Book and Novel Network
http://www.adventuresbythebook.com
http://www.novelnetwork.com

Still the best cultural Enewsletter for San Diego County!
http://parobs.org

“The City of San Diego is home to one of the most vital and culturally diverse populations to be found anywhere in America. The Participant Observer is a web magazine dedicated to discovering and showcasing the wide variety of culturally interesting events, people, places and organizations our city has to offer. . . In addition to covering local events, The Participant Observer publishes features and articles about cultural events and phenomena happening around the world. . . “

Have you visited these San Diego art institutions lately?
The California Center for the Arts in Escondido (CA):
http://artcenter.org

I am a docent here.  The American Watercolor Society 151st Traveling Exhibition & Local Color, showcases the best of the best among American watercolor artists: Do not miss! ENDS August 26, 2018

. . . Each year the AWS holds a juried exhibition that draws thousands of entries from artists throughout the world. . .
Featured local artists include: Janice Cipriani-Willis, Pat Dispenziere, Linda Doll, Robin Erickson, Ken Goldman, Elaine Harvey, Carol Mansfield, Chuck McPherson (I LOVE his humorous self-portrait!), Charles Rouse, and Keiko Tanabe (plein air artist.)

San Diego Art Institute
1439 El Prado
Balboa Park
San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is a local and vibrant art venue sometimes overlooked. View the exciting upcoming exhibits
https://www.sandiego-art.org/

Museum of Making Music, Carlsbad, CA. 15 mns from my house, and located across the street from LEGOLAND! https://www.museumofmakingmusic.org/events
I have just discovered this terrific “museum”. Shame on me for not having done so sooner. This hive of musical activity features an ongoing array of artists from California and beyond. I was so taken by the museum that I joined a chorus class. I have absolutely NO musical training… but I am learning how to read music (sort of, though it remains pretty much like Chinese to me), and better still, I am exercising my untrained vocal chords as part of a chorus. A HOOT!

 

Links of interest in English and en français:

Another French culinary icon leaves us: Adieu Joel Robuchon

https://france-amerique.com/fr

Quel fromage??! En quelle saison? Eat cheese, but eat it in season ??
https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2018/08/02/manger-du-reblochon-l-ete-du-mont-d-or-l-hiver-quelle-saisonnalite-pour-les-fromages

It takes all kinds, n’est-ce pas?

https://france-amerique.com/fr/on-the-usefulness-of-french-classes-in-the-united-states Thus declares the governor of KY:

https://france-amerique.com/en/kentucky-governor-says-no-to-french/

Did you know this governor? Milwaukee (WI) has one of the largest Bastille Day celebrations in the US. So does Santa Barbara (CA)

https://france-amerique.com/fr/what-do-we-celebrate-on-bastille-day/?ct=t(France-Amerique-newsletter-28-june-2018_COPY_01)

Did you know about the French Gratitude Train and museum in North Dakota? http://www.mercitrain.org/
“. . .The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens. They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948 . . . “
Traduction: Le saviez-vous ?
« . . . Le Train de la reconnaissance comptait 49 wagons remplis de plusieurs dizaines de milliers de cadeaux, témoignages de la gratitude d’au moins autant de citoyens Français. Ces derniers exprimaient ainsi leur reconnaissance aux Américains qui, en 1948, leur avaient envoyé plus de 700 wagons pleins de denrées essentielles, données en grande partie par de simples citoyens. Le Train de la reconnaissance arriva dans le port de New York le 3 février 1949, et chacun des 48 États américains reçu un des wagons chargés de cadeaux. Washington D.C. et le territoire d’Hawaii se partagèrent le contenu du 49e. . . » My cousin, on a trip through North Dakota, sent me these pictures:

ON the other hand: Hey, KY governor: Did you realize?
http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20180808-what-is-the-future-of-english-in-the-us
“The combination of being American and a native English speaker is one that affords huge economic privilege to swathes of the United States population. Those of us who speak English from the cradle forget how easy we have it . . . despite being a racially diverse country where over 350 languages are spoken – Generation Z – loosely defined as those born after the year 2000 – is set to be the most racially diverse generation in US history . . .”
online here.

From Morocco and beyond:
Alcohol is banned in Morocco as in all Muslim countries: Wrong.. We have the Romans and Phoenicians to thank for giving birth to Morocco’s thriving wine industry. The Doukkala, the region where our riad, Dar Zitoun is located, produces an array of wines, as does the area around Meknes. . .
https://telquel.ma/2018/07/20/le-vin-marocain-2500-ans-dhistoire_

Sephardic places of worship experiencing a revival in Marrakech:
http://www.highatlasfoundation.org/blogs

If you are traveling to Morocco in the summer: Be careful of vendors along Moroccan beaches: Anarchie sur les plages
https://dimabladna.gbp.ma

Kitty is selling:
I have mentioned previously that I brought back items from my father’s estate in Morocco. Two of these happen to be antique lamps. I will not ship them, thus they have to be picked up in North San Diego County. This chandelier was part of my father’s estate in Casablanca, Morocco. I obtained it in 1994, when I brought some of his personal items to the US. The arms all are movable; the chandelier can hold candles but is also electrified. No breakage, all hanging parts are in excellent shape, and I have a few spares. It might be an original Louis 16th chandelier, or made in the style, in France, and brought to Morocco at the onset of the French Protectorate in 1912.
It is on display at TAP Lighting in Hillcrest in SD.
3690 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest
(619)692-0065
info: taplighting@aol.com

  • I am personally selling: $595.00

  • AUTHENTIC EARLY 20th CENTURY ANTIQUE HANGING LAMP IN EXECELLENT CONDITION.

  • Antique pull-down Victorian hanging glass oil lamp.My father originally purchased this lamp in Casablanca. It probably dates to the beginning of the twentieth century. Might be English or French (the French occupied Morocco from 1912 to 1956.)

  • This stunning lamp hangs from the ceiling from an adjustable, brass, double-jack, chain-driven manual pulley attached to an ornate cap. Beveled (pressed?) blue glass is in excellent condition with four decorative, raised detailing, painted bouquets, and diamond patterns all around. The small oil burner at the base pulls down, and needs a wick. Some corrosion to metal parts commensurate with age. This is its natural state. In 2002 I took it to the Antiques Road Show in San Diego to have it appraised. Price at auction was set at $800.00

Measures:
Height of glass section: about 12 inches
Circumference at widest point: about 29 inches
Length of chain and pulleys: about 17 inches with 3 ornate brass pulleys and 6 chain “link” pulleys that can be lengthened or shortened

And this very special Moroccan cookbook written by a well-know chef in Marrakech:
New. Gorgeous photos. With matching slip cover.
USD60.00
plus shipping if necessary

  • Hardcover: 348 pages

  • Publisher: Art Creation Realisation (April 1, 2004)

  • Language: French

  • ISBN-13: 978-2867701672

  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.8 inches

  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds

Thanks for reading!

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As always:

Bismillah
and
Bon Appétit