Tuesday, March 29, 2022


Somewhere in this neighborhood someone is breakfasting on fried rice noodles and a strong glass of drip coffee. Chaau mai, yuet naam sik gaa fei; 炒米,越南式咖啡。This is something of which I am certain. It's not a real certain, but an idealized certain. Because in this weather something hot and savoury like stirfried noodles, with a good wake-me-up like strong drip coffee and sweetened condensed milk would be perfect.

Okay, admittedly the further up hill I go on Nob Hill the older and whiter it gets, and there are dreary looking people walking their dogs in every block of the stroll, but still. A food hero.
Who feels the call of culinary adventure upon waking.
What fabulous thing will I eat today?
Let's boil some water.

White people, as is well known, can't make coffee themselves, which is why Starbucks is open. And cooking? There's Bob's Donuts. Therefore this is the best of all possible worlds. Now if only someone else would walk the dog so that we can catch some yoga in our fancy togs on our special mats before we start the day, everything would be perfect!

I don't go to Starbucks but make my own morning coffee, eschew yoga, and haven't a dog. And trust me, I would not look fabulous in yoga pants on a mat. Also, while I like donuts, it may have been over a year since I had one.

The reason I'm already out here is to have a nice smoke after home-brewed coffee, while my apartment mate fixes herself something to eat and argues with the turkey vulture.
Breakfast for Dutch Americans is coffee and a pipe; everybody knows that. Men, women, children, and infants at their mother's breast. It's how we start the day.

Actually, that's how I start the day. But as I may very well be the only Dutch American in this neck of the woods, I am the example everyone follows, and long ago I decided that this was the thing to do.
Evenso, I am curious about that perfect world gustator of fried rice noodles and drip coffee. What kind of person is he or she? Do they finish their meal with a cigarillo, perhaps?
Or a quick puff of Rattray's in the old black briar?

[Rattray's, recommended tobaccos: Brown Clunee, Marlin Flake, Old Gowrie, Hal O'The Wynd. All of these are exceptional flue-cured tobacco blends with minor condimental leaf additions. Perfect for a thoughtful person.]

How are they preparing their rice noodles?

Maybe chopped bacon for some grease, and half a dozen dried oysters (蠔豉) rehydrated in the fridge overnight, then halved and rinsed, the rice noodles first blanched in boiling water and drained, then added to the pan with the rendered bacon grease and oysters.
With some minced ginger, scallion, and jalapeño. And parhaps an egg.
All of the cooking could be done while the coffee drips.
And it would really smell wonderful.

I don't eat breakfast, but I'll gladly join you for a second cup of coffee.
Provided you don't mind the smell of my pipe.

My cardiologist would probably advise you to not eat like that everyday, but he doesn't have to know. The pipe, of course, is also strongly disrecommended.
We shan't mention that to him either.


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