After getting a haircut today, I realized that my favorite local roastery is in the same building as the barbershop. How awesome is that? Two of my favorite places in the same spot.
Because I live a charmed life, where only good things happen to me, the coffee place was celebrating their second anniversary today, and was giving away free coffee.
We tried a few of their special roasts, and a lite coconut pudding. The two brews were very different from each other, and different from most coffees that we’ve had. I liked the Bourbon Natural more than the Catimor Black Honey, but they were both really good (note: bourbon is a type of coffee bean. Not a whisky-soaked bean. But I like your thinking).
Buying beans wasn’t in my original plan, but since I got two free cups of coffee, I would have felt guilty if I walked out empty-handed. So I bought a half-pound of beans. Even though the shop got money from me in the end, I think I got the better deal in the end.
Vietnam’s soccer team made it to the semi-finals of something (I don’t have the soccer gene, so I don’t know exactly what’s going on). The streets have been flooded with flag-waving, cheering people for at least five hours now.
On a recent trip to the countryside, we ran into an unexpected problem. Come dinnertime, we couldn’t find anything to eat! There were no restaurants in the area, just farm houses and small towns. Even the stores closed up early.
We finally found one “restaurant” that I wouldn’t want to eat at, if I had a choice. Picture a concrete barn. But we didn’t have any other options, so we went in and ordered their “specialty” (the only thing the restaurant sells): glutinous rice and duck meat. The owner of the restaurant looked at us like we were stupid and said: “we’re all out of food.” I guess by 6:00pm or so, restaurants in the area have sold all of the food that they prepared for the day, and that’s it. And we were stupid for not knowing that. The owner said she still had a glob of glutinous rice, but no more duck meat.
Better than nothing, we figured. We asked her to split up the glob into three portions, one for each of us. I’m not a fan of glutinous rice in the first place, and wasn’t looking forward to eating that for dinner, but I was hungry, and so mentally prepared myself for the worst dinner of the year.
As we walked back to our car, by chance, we saw someone across the street making little “banh xeo” (Vietnamese savory pancakes). They’re usually much bigger, the side of large dinner plate. I’d never seen them made this way before. We got some of those to add to our feast of lukewarm leftover glutinous rice.
Banh Xeo: shrimp, batter, bean sprouts, “served” with a handful of fresh herbs (mint, basil, lettuce) and fish sauce.
This was a dinner that I won’t forget, at least not for a long time. At least it was cheap.