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Oh, Seattle

Seattle, the Ave makes me sad, and you’d better do something about it. It’s the strung-out street kids and their skinny dogs. I suppose the Ave is good for those days when I enjoy being ogled and harassed, but for the most part, it just makes me sad. Seattle, are you listening?

Speaking of the Ave, I met my dear friend Kate for an early-evening drink yesterday before her GMAT class in the U District. We sat next to the window, where there was a cool-ish breeze coming in from the door, and we Ave-watched and drank Bohemia with big wedges of lime. Kate had brought me a groaning basket of treats from her family’s garden: dozens of dusty purple prune plums, ten or so little Japanese pears, and big handfuls of Romano beans.

Opening my refrigerator gets more and more satisfying every day. Summer’s bounty, you are mine all mine. I think a plum-and-honey tart is in the works for this weekend.

It strikes me that I must sound like a broken record, going on and on about Romano beans and ricotta and plums and tomatoes and and and and, but it’s a delicious monotony. One of my childhood babysitters used to tell me that I’d turn into chocolate milk if I drank too much of it. Dear Virginia Hamilton, rest in peace. If your reasoning is correct, I suppose I’m now going to turn into heirloom tomato-bread salad. Delicious monotony, indeed.

But when I’m not reveling in garlicky bread and tomatoes, I often find myself bothered by the fact that I’m not fearless, food-wise. I do love liver, preferably chopped chicken liver with caramelized onions, eaten off the side of a knife or spread on hunks of boule from Au Levain du Marais. Actually, liver in any form will do. But on the other hand, take snails: I fear them alive; I fear them dead. Or witness tripe, which has been described as tasting like a hot-water bottle. I hear kidneys can taste like urine, although I do wonder how many of us have tasted urine. I worry about the gelatinous quality of oxtails. And a friend told me today about a Korean dish that conjures up what may be the most horrific mental image I’ve had in quite some time. A block of tofu is boiled in a pot. Live baby eels are added. The eels, seeking the coolest place left to them, burrow madly into the tofu. They die there. The block of tofu is then sliced and eaten. This aforementioned friend also told me about a dish involving little octopi that are hacked up alive and then eaten with a dipping sauce, their body-bits still squirming and twitching on the plate. He said that you have to chew them very thoroughly so that the tentacles don’t cling to your gums and tongue and throat. The mere thought of this makes me feel itchy.

But on a brighter note, dear reader, today ends well. We drank Champagne after evening mat class at Pilates Powerhouse NW. Rebecca Leone, my former employer and owner of Pilates Powerhouse NW, is a genius. A force of nature, nothing less. Alarmingly strong. I try to stay out of her way. She wears enormous diamonds. She downs coffee mugs full of Hershey’s kisses and orders the biggest steak on the menu. Today I watched her eat an entire tub of cottage cheese and drink three glasses of pink Champagne.


Blogger Ken said...

'tis true, the Ave has been in a nose-dive for the past 10-15 years. Some blame it on the astronomical rents, others on University Village (renovated in part due to high commercial rent on the Ave). Or perhaps it's all part of a plan by the UW regents to become more like Yale. All the same, I agree - the U-district is in need of serious help.

8:56 AM, February 08, 2007  
Blogger twelfth said...

Yes. We are listening. The sadness of the Ave is not constrained to the buildings, streets and cafes you frequent. It is the human beings that have little choice but to rely on the Ave for their survival. Many of them are trying to get off drugs and get healthy and that’s why there is a comprehensive network of services in the U District. These “strung-out street kids” rely on one another for their safety. In fact, that’s why many of them have dogs – many of these kids feed and treat their dogs better than they feed themselves. When you look at it that way, it’s hard to feel contempt for them. While I recognize your frustration over the conditions they undoubtedly live in, I caution you to reconsider how you view these youth. They are not on the Ave to disturb you – they are there exercising the few options they have to survive out on those streets.

1:26 PM, May 21, 2008  
Blogger Ryan said...

last time I was in Seattle, I went out with girlfriends and sis-n-laws to a friends' bar on the ave...all was well until a brutal fight broke out right in front of the bar. Two guys took off and the one left behind was rendered nearly unconscious by the enormous knot on his head. Girlfriend came and dragged him off despite the fact he clearly needed medical attention. The whole thing was very disturbing, mainly that they would eschew getting med. attention b/c of fear of being asked questions by authorities. I don't remember it being that bad when I lived there a decade ago.

10:08 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger The Coppertop Doll said...

WHY did you tell me about the eels burrowing into the tofu? I will be haunted by that image for days.

9:23 AM, June 08, 2011  

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