Archive | Local Flavor RSS feed for this section

Nice Day in the City By the Bay

20 Jul

I woke this morning, to the sunshine of the East Bay sun glistening in my face.
Deciding that the weather was too nice to pass up, I started my day with a walk around the block with a furry little animal that now inhabits my home in Berkeley.
After a quick stroll around the block I dropped him off and decided to proceed the rest of the day on foot. Strolling around, enjoying the day of sunshine and cool breeze.

As I walked, I stumbled upon a small store that caught my eye. As I walked in, I was struck my a familiar smell. As I walked around I realized the sounds around me, were of a place I once had once lived.

As I grabbed a quick drink the lady looked at me with a smile, and I quickly replied with a “sawatdee krop”.
She looked at me with confusion, yet happiness, as she replied in a similar fashion.
We went along and continued the transaction in the language I have longed to use, ever since my return to America.

We said our farewells, and I continued on with my day with feeling like no other.

As I walked on, I felt my stomach growl with the desire of a good meal. As I continued, I ran into the place my heart most desired.

Walking in, I already knew what I wanted and needed. No menu needed, as I knew the kitchen would cook to my stomach’s desire.

20120719-144221.jpg

It came out, and I was instantly taken back to a time and a place that I had not been to in far too long.
It smelled of Thai spices and basil, and tasted like heaven.

I couldn’t help but throw an egg on it, as I knew it would only make things that much better.

And as I began my meal, the waitress brought out my 4 compadres, that made me realize I was truly back in Bangkok.
20120719-144239.jpg

The spicy taste of the chilis, along with the sweet Thai Basil, created a medley of flavors that had me just wanting more..

With every bite I was taken back to times with old friends. Sitting along the streets of Bangkok, enjoying a meal with one another, laughing over the memories of nights past.
Of times with my fellow Evergreen students, and of course the boys from 1208.

I said my farewells in the language I learned while abroad and headed to a local coffee shop to unwind.

After a nice relaxing day, it feels nice enjoy the sweet effects of caffeine while writing of my day.

20120719-144247.jpg

A nice day of new memories and old.
Of past and present.
With no idea of the future.

Advertisements

Facebook

3 May

Just a little thing I found browsing the Internet that I felt was just, “oh so true”.

Use this as a little motivation to get up and live your life rather than worrying about what everyone else thinks of you.

Sincerely,

The Caveman

The Eighties Babies

17 Apr

Went out to San Francisco for the weekend with the Breakfast Club.

 

Couldn’t help but snap this pic of these 80s babies hangin on Alamo Square.

Feels great to be back behind the lens.

 

Midday

29 Feb

Enjoying a midday meal on the sidewalk brings me back to days when life was much simpler.
When the biggest dilemma in my life was, “pineapple fried rice or spicy noodles from the guy”.

I long to return to those days.
To return to my old friends.

To enjoy warn weather, and carts at every street corner.
Walking down streets seeing familiar faces smile and exchange a greeting, as we both are excited to pass through each others life for a mere second or two.

20120228-165946.jpg

A Day in The City

17 Feb

It’s 11:00 am, and I am sitting here in the Library attempting to read my “Non-Profit and Governmental Accounting” book. As I read line after line, my mind cannot help but drift further and further away from this place.

I can’t help but reminisce on my days in the city.
I have always thought that suburban societies breed discontent. I cannot say that it is a universal rule, but for I, it is more true than ever.
The Sunday before the couple of Sundays that have passed, was an important day in America.
The day of the American Football Superbowl.
I was as excited as everyone else, yet for a different reason. For the reason that I knew the majority of people would be sitting at home staring at televisions.

The Sun was shining, the weather was great. So instead I ventured out for a day in the city.

We had arrived and were on the look for a good place to get some food.
I looked from place to place. (As if you have ever been to San Francisco, you know that there is no shortage of places to eat)
I walked, and walked. Without feeling that any of the places were “right”.

I dislike places that look to clean. That look “planned”.
I craved some where authentic. Somewhere that rang true from side to side.

As we turned the corner, I saw a place that looked intriguing yet I was reluctant to walk in.
I opened the screen door, and saw just a single worker standing behind a counter.
As I looked around, I saw the menu, scratched on a chalkboard to my side.

This was the place.
So we put in our orders and grabbed some chairs outside.

IMG_9294

Water with a hint of Orange, really hit the spot.

IMG_9296

We sat patently, waiting for our food to arrive.
Waiting gave us a chance to sit back and relax for a while.

Soon our food came out. The young guy looked at me and said, “I made these EXTRA good, so…yea..”
I looked around, as wasn’t really sure what that had meant, but they sure did look extra good.

IMG_9298

Veggie melt for me, and a turkey for her.
Salad on both.

With the first bite, I instantly knew what he meant. They were extra good.

The place was delicious.
A small menu, with just the right variety.

IMG_9301

As we finished, we headed to the park, as I had my eyes set on a place I had seen only weeks before.

The BEIRGARTEN.

What better than a Stein of a Bavarian beer to enjoy a great afternoon in the sun.

IMG_9303

As we brought our steins together for a cheers, I couldn’t help but think of all my German friends from abroad.

IMG_9307

I toasted to them all, as I wished I could have enjoyed another beer with all the Chula exchange students.

As the beer continued to flow, I felt the urge to have some more food as well.
A buttery, salty pretzel hit the spot perfectly.

IMG_9311

The Stein, had me feeling like I was on cloud nine.
We walked around, and relaxed at a nearby park.

IMG_9313

We went to the famous Chantal Guillon’s Macaroon place for dessert.
Although not my cup of tea, they were an interesting way to finish off a day in Hayes Valley.

IMG_9315

It’s sometimes hard to remember how much these little things had brought me so much joy.
How a great restaurant or cafe, could make any day seem grand.

 

 

I spoke to a friend yesterday, and she put something in my head that initially I failed to understand, yet now it cannot leave me.

She told me of a quote she read that resonated with her. It read:

“she had become too settled in her ways, too placid, too content, too anemic in her excitements, and too sober in her taste. As a bride, it had been she who ‘dragged’ Benjamin to dances and dinners — now conditions were reversed. She went out socially with him, but without enthusiasm, devoured entirely by that eternal inertia which comes to live with each of us one day and stays with us to the end.”

 

That “external force” that will put us in a state of change, is not always as far away as it initially seems.

 

Noodle soup kind of Day

27 Jan

Eating noodle soup on the sidewalk brings me back to days in Thailand.

20120126-144948.jpg

It’s just one of those days.

Christmas In The City

25 Dec

I get asked from many people, what Christmas is like in Bangkok.

Well here it is.

Christmas in BKK.

Merry Christmas all.

Sincerely,

The Caveman

Thai Dinner With the Boys

24 Nov

As our time together in Bangkok is coming to an end, we have been doing the most we can to enjoy the people, places and food around us.
So as Sven, Kevin, and I headed out to the streets to eat, we picked up little Yaap on our way. By far, one of the funniest Duchies I know.

We walked down the road, hoping to eat at our usual night spot, an outside restaurant that is inexistent all day. It is not until nightfall that you magically see a full on restaurant appear on the side of the road.
Well that night the magical “BTS” restaurant was nonexistent as well.

Sad and confused on what we should now eat, we walked around until we finally found the place where we would be enjoying dinner.

As soon as we sat we decided to order a couple of bottles of Chang.

IMG_8844

IMG_8846

As the drinks pour, the smiles start to emerge.

IMG_8851

It was going to be a seafood night.
AS we were in a real deal Thai restaurant, we ordered “Thai style” and decided that we would be sharing everything.

IMG_8852

When you order prawns in South East Asia, you really get a Prawn.
The whole thing.
Head. Legs. Tentacles. Eyes.

IMG_8853

It doesn’t stop Kevin though.

IMG_8856

IMG_8858

Sven’s order of squid had finally came.
He was quite excited to eat as he wanted to make sure he ordered separately so it would not be spicy.

IMG_8859

Well… he thought wrong.

IMG_8860

After one bite, Sven realized he had made a big mistake. I saw his face turn from excited to sad.
Instantly.

IMG_8863

We felt for him, so we pured some more drinks and did all we could to cool his, as well as our mouths.

IMG_8867

By far this is one of the best ways to have food served to you.
Fiery hot coals underneath, and tasty squid on top.

IMG_8861

IMG_8868

IMG_8869

The aftermath.

IMG_8870

Smiles all around as we had just finished a real deal Thai meal.
Beer with ice. Sharing Seafood.
No complaints.

IMG_8872

IMG_8873

IMG_8874

We looked back at our meal with triumph. The Thais around us all looked around with confusion. First wondering why we were there, then wondering how we knew what to order and how to eat it.
The soon realized that although we look like westerners, we are no tourists.

I will finish the post in the words of Jaap.
I don’t think anyone could have said it better.

 

Three months ago we would be looking at the food asking what it is; Now, we just stick it in our mouth.”

Lunch With New Friends

21 Nov

Throughout my journey I have been lucky to meet a lot of really amazing people. Everyday I see a new face. Get a surprising email from a follower. Make a new friend. Join old friends.
But some days you unexpectedly run into people  who end up changing the way you see life as you know it.

Exactly last week, that is what happened to me.

It was a normal Monday morning. I got up. Got my things together, and headed towards the BTS to get a jumpstart on my studies.
I entered the elevator, with more people usual. I glanced to my right and noticed a couple I had not seen yet before. Something about them caught my eye. I don’t know what it was. Possibly just a new set of warm faces. Possibly it was the woman’s long red hair I envied, as mine was tied back.
I still to this day do not know, but something about the pair grabbed my attention.

We exited the elevator and I headed down the street. Music in both ears, in my own world. As I went up to enter the train I noticed the same pair. Walking into the same train. Coincidence I suppose.
As I got to my stop I headed out the door, only to find them doing the same. Coincidence once again.

So I went on my way. To the coffee shop I headed. I spent the better half of my morning there, getting ready for classes and projects. I even took some time to post a blog.
As the clock struck noon, I left, as I needed to get to class.

I walked to the MRT, the underground railroad, to take a train straight to Chula.
After buying a token, I headed down to the train platform. I stood there enjoying my new music, yet something had caught my eye.
I looked over only to see the same couple. Getting ready to go on the same train as I once again.
Confused looks over their face, they seemed lost.

I walked over. As they looked towards me, we all could not help but smile. We had not said a word to each other, but we both realized we had met once again.
I did my best to help them with directions, and came to find out they needed to go the same way as I.

As we entered the train we began a conversation.
We only rode together for maybe 5-10 minutes, but in that short amount of time, I felt like I really got to know them. We spoke of school. Of life. Of family. Of our different homes. Of where we had been and where we were going. They have me suggestions, as I did for them.

Before we knew it, it was my stop.
We said our goodbyes and went on our own ways…

As the week went by, we coincidentally crossed paths numerous times.
In the elevator. On the street.
Every time for only a minute or two. But every time learning a bit more about each other.

They had told me on Wednesday, that they soon would be headed back home. I was disappointed to know that we no longer would be bumping into each other, but very happy to have met them.

So I decided to write a little letter to them, tell them thanks, and include a decal, for them to be able to follow my journey.

As the end of the week came, I had no longer bumped into the lovely couple.They were on their way home.
But as I walked past the reception desk, the lady called me over and handed me a card.

I opened it up only to find a hand written note, a train pass, and 500 Baht.
My mouth dropped to the floor, as I was expecting nothing of the sort.
I didn’t know what to say nor what to do.

I read the card, and as they had expressed their gratitude for the letter I had written them, they also included a little note that read…

IMG_8824

Taking “gifts” from people, is always hard. I didn’t know what to do.
But I thought about it, and realized that there was only one thing to do.
Go enjoy a great lunch with no one else but my two new friends.
Although they were not there in a physical sense, there were with me in heart and mind.

I decided to dedicate this post to them. So that they could get a little insight into how they had made my week an amazing one, and how great the lunch was.

Yesterday, after class I decided that it was going to be the day. I would be enjoying a lunch with my new friends.
They had told me about this great place they had gone the night before.
Cabbages & Condoms.
Funny name, but an amazing place. I decided that would be my destination.

IMG_8811

As I walked in, I immediately knew that this was exactly what I needed.

I decided to sit outside and enjoy the scenery, as it was in a beautiful location. Trees of green, and cool air.

IMG_8815

IMG_8816

As I opened the menu, my day became even better. Vegetarian options were plentiful and looked delicious.

IMG_8813

My waiter approached me and asked if I wanted anything to drink. I remember the couple telling me that they had enjoyed a beer. So I decided to get a beer for one, and a Pinta Cola da for the other.
I was going to enjoy my lunch out with them, just as they would have wanted me to.

IMG_8817

I was parched from all of the walking I had done, and decided to get a good beer for a change. It had been quite a while since I was able to drink a “real” beer, so I said why not? Might as well enjoy my time.
After one sip, I was in heaven.
The frothy German Wheat beer flowing through my system, made me remember how much I missed drinking a good beer with friends.

IMG_8820

So as I enjoyed my beer, I decided to open up my card once again and read the letter they had enclosed.

IMG_8823

Reading it again I was amazed at how gracious and giving the couple were. Nowadays finding people with hearts as big as theirs is a rarity.
It truly moved me, to think that two people who had met me only days before would be so kind.
Its things like these that give you hope and make you realize that there are so many amazing people in the world.

IMG_8822

My food soon came out.
Pa-nag Curry with mushrooms and rice.
One word to describe it.
AMAZING.

IMG_8826

Before I dug in I stepped back and looked at all that was in front of me.
I was so excited to be enjoying this great meal with and on behalf of my two new friends.

IMG_8828

As the meal came to an end, I was stuffed.
The meal was amazing, and they drinks were to die for.
The waiter came up after it all had been taken away, and asked if I cared for any dessert. I wanted to say no, but I couldn’t help it.

IMG_8830

Mango with sweet sticky rice.
To die for.

My bill came around and instead of a mint, I was given a different kind of take away.

IMG_8839

I looked around and realized that all of this was thanks to the couple I had met just one week ago. It was surreal.
I don’t think I could ever thank them enough.

IMG_8837

IMG_8840

IMG_8841

So I wanted to write this post. Not only to show you how amazing my meal was, or to explain another great place to eat in Bangkok.

But to show how the smallest of actions, can lead to unexpected friendships, and amazing experiences.

So heres to you Sue and Gary!
You two not only gave me an amazing lunch, but gave me a totally new outlook on life. I am confident to say that amazing and giving people still exist in the world, although many seem to doubt it.
I hope that we meet again in the future.
Whether it been sooner or later, I hope that you know we will be friends forever.

IMG_8825

It just shows you once again, how a “little” really can do a lot.

Cheers!

-The Caveman

Deal of the Day: Firehouse Burgers

20 Nov

As we walked home from a long day of football, Kevin said words that sent our night into oblivion.

“Dude…a burger and fries sounds really good right now”

As he said that I suddenly got taken back home. Visions of diners, BBQs, and juicy burgers popped into my head.
I looked at him. Smiled. And decided that nothing other than a Burger and Fries would suffice.

NO McDonald’s or Burger King crap. I needed a real deal Burger and Fries. (Well…as real deal as it gets for a Vegetarian)
People who know me, know that it doesn’t take much to get me excited. So when I headed home, I went onto the web to search for the best burgers in Bangkok.
I stumbled across an awesome blog. Ironically it has the exact same layout as mine, and is specifically for the “Best Burgers in Bangkok”

On the top of the list was my favorite Pub, “Bully’s”.
None of the guys had been there, but we decided to check out something none of us had been to. There was a new place, not too far from us, that sounded like exactly what we needed.

We showered, got ready and hit the road.
A quick BTS ride to Nana, and a walk down Sukumvit Soi 11 and we were there.

FIREHOUSE.

We glanced in, and I was immediately surprised. It was much fancier, and much smaller than I was expecting.
A very nice ambiance, yet no one inside.
I got scared.
We sat down to two very nice waitresses waiting on our every move. It felt a bit weird at first, but after a while, I figured out that this is what farang men in this area are into. We took their generosity as a compliment though.

The place had great decor, along with some of the nicest silverware I have ever used.

IMG_8779

IMG_8782

Much different from the usual fork and spoon that ends up bending while trying to stir our rice around.

IMG_8780

We opened up the menu, and were greeted by an array of dishes.
Burgers along with many other things to choose from. A surprise to us all, but we had come for one thing, and one thing only.
A slab a juicy *meat* in between two buns, filled with condiments from the heavens, and a side of fried potatoes.

We decided to go a bit gusto, and order an appetizer as well.
Fried Calamari.

IMG_8784

Six Golden fried Os of calamari popped out.
We all were starving, so we dug in.
Fried to a perfect crisp, with a soft succulent squid inside. We all looked up at each other with smiles with the first bite. I don’t think we could have asked for more.

Soon after we finished the Calamari, the first burger popped out.
Our eyes were fixed on it, as we all were hoping it would be placed in front of us.

It was Kevin’s. Sven and I stared with jealousy.

IMG_8785

Huge burger & Crispy fries placed on a slab of wood.
AMAZING.

IMG_8787

As he bit into it, I saw his eyes light up.
It was exactly what we were all hoping for.

Right as he went to tell us all about his burger, I saw a light out of the corner of my eyes.
It was my burger.
I went with the SurfBurger. Although it may not be up to par for the strictest of vegetarians, it could make the  most hippie Vegans turn to pescatarians.

IMG_8790

A giant fried fish, placed inbetween two buns. Tartar sauce. Veggies. Huge potato wedges.
YUM.

IMG_8789

Biting into it was going to be a challenge. I planned for a strategic attack, but ended up giving up any plans I had previously made.
I went in for a full-fledged attack.
My taste buds thanked me for it.

As me and Kevin were enjoying our delicious meals, Sven sat there salivating.
I started to move over a bit, as I was afraid my burger was in danger. But before we knew it, his monster of a burger was here.

IMG_8794

They really should rename it from the “Breakfast Burger” to the SVEN Burger.

Sven stands at a steady 6 foot 4. Only a man of that stature could take on a burger of this size and magnitude.

IMG_8795

Giant and juicy is best way to explain this one. Not just juicy, REALLY JUICY.
With every bite, Sven fell deeper and deeper in love.
How could you blame him?
A giant patty. Bacon. Cheese. An Egg. Veggies.
The perfect burger for a carnivore.

IMG_8797

He had no problem eating it to the very last bite.

After we all finished, we sat back and just basked in our glory, as we had just found the goldmine.
The Burgers were amazing. The ambiance was great.
Service was exceptional.
Nothing else we could have asked for.

So we said our goodbyes, and headed back.

We headed back home in our glory, only to run into one of my dream cars.

I don’t think the night could have been any better.

IMG_8805

One day…

A place like this deserves much more advertisement.
Firehouse Pub and Restaurant.
Amazing food and service.
The owner even came out to thank us, and was excited to hear of their feature on my blog

So I hope that next time you feel like indulging on some delicious burgers, you consider Firehouse.
I promise you won’t be disappointed.

IMG_8800

Look for more “Deal of the Day” posts, by the guys from 1208.