Mountain Meat

I am a food adventurer (unless it means eating animal guts or unidentifiable parts or fluids) and LOVE when I get to try a new-to-me food, as I did when I was last in Seoul. The sign sitting next to the dish said “Deodeok.” It was coated in a very spicy and tasty red pepper sauce. The texture was somewhere in between pineapple and pork. I looked it up afterward. It was Grilled Deodeok, or, Deodeok gui, AKA Mountain Meat, a Korean traditional vegetarian dish. “The aroma of wild Deodeok (bonnet bellflower root) can be sensed even from a great distance. Sweet and pleasantly bitter, it is claimed that wild Deodeok grows on dewdrops in the mountainsides. Deodeok is rich in fiber and has earned the nickname ‘mountain meat’ because of its firm, chewy texture. In China, deodeok has been used purely as a medicinal herb, but Koreans have used it mostly for cooking.” Not bitter at all. Nom nom. I loved it!

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Happy summer!

I hope y’all are having a good summer! Here at Flygirl Acres we’ve been working hard to keep the vineyard and the orchard alive in drought conditions, feeling fortunate that we have water rights to an NID irrigation canal. The deer are also very grateful that we keep the vines alive, as they’re waiting for the grapes to hit that perfect sugar level, when they’ll delicately with their little deer lips pluck off all the grapes they can reach. We declared war on the squirrels this year for the first time so it looks like we might have an almond harvest. And pecans. Last year they ate every last one. If they’d only shared and left us a few, sure, we’d have coexisted. Life in the country, as they say…

It’s been way too hot here. People always say, “But it’s a dry heat.” Well, so’s your oven. I suppose it’s better than a Papua-New-Guinea-esque level of humidity so I’lll take it, but this girl will be glad to see the cooler temps that come with fall.

 

Here are a few pics from the past couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Almonds ripening:

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Rare summertime clouds in our valley–we even got a few sprinkles of rain:IMG_5338 On layover in Waikiki! View of Diamond Head:IMG_5729 The Shorebird. Awesome place to sip Myers dark rum and fresh pineapple juice:IMG_5730 More Waikiki:IMG_5735 Me posing by my big bird at Honolulu international. Excuse the teeth, I’m wearing my new Invisalign braces:IMG_5738 The palace in Tokyo:IMG_5747 The reason why so many Japanese women don’t have sun damaged skin:IMG_5752 Love the contrast of the palace buildings and the modern city buildings:
IMG_5753 Algae in the moat:IMG_5754 So many grapes in the vineyard this year!:IMG_5793Peaceful summer eve in Seoul, South Korea:
IMG_5834 Summer sunset in Seoul:IMG_5835 Jumbo selfie!:IMG_5838 And so a nap truce is called…:IMG_5849 Breakfast udon in Tokyo:IMG_5852-2

 

Until next time, fly high!

 

 

 

 

Desert Islands and Bowls of Ramen

I’m in the middle of a 6-day trip flying between Honolulu and Tokyo. We were flying a typical “great circle” route from San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo/Narita (NRT) the other day when the ubiquitous undercast cleared. Whenever it does, and it really is rare, yet seems to be happening more often lately, and I don’t want to think too hard on why, I get to see some fascinating sights. Here’s the big picture of where the following photos were taken. You’ll notice a little place marker in the middle of the Aleutian Islands chain, just east of Adak.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 4.10.02 PMZoomed in a bit.
Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 4.09.53 PMYou can see the clouds in the background (how this region usually looks when I fly over it) with no land at all visible. But soon they retreated enough to reveal great views of Adak and…
IMG_5708IMG_5713Then…look at that–a tiny island with a crater in the center! Wow! I really had to zoom my iphone6 in to get any detail. Cool!!! What was this place? Was that fresh water in the center? Was it warm from thermal heating? From an ancient volcano? It looked completely scrubbed and desolate, and I wondered why, as wouldn’t it be the perfect seasonal habitat for seabirds and other life? Since I couldn’t rappel down from 37,000 feet to explore I scribbled down the approximate latitude and longitude and when I got to Tokyo I googled it.IMG_5711It was a real place and it even had a name: Kasatochi Island! With a violent and tragic past, I learned. Prior to 2008, it was green and beautiful, considered by many to be the most picturesque of the Aleutian Islands. Before disaster struck…Kasatochi_Island_crater_lake,_August_14,_2004“Before the 2008 eruption, it was steep, rugged and it’s vegetation was dense, low-growing and dominated by many species of grasses and forbes making it similar to other Aleutian Islands. What set Kasatochi apart was the diversity and abundance of seabirds that nested there each summer. Most notably, Kasatochi supported a colony of about 250,000 least and crested auklets, one of only seven such colonies in the Aleutian chain. The large numbers of seabirds attracted a variety of avian predators such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons. Kasatochi was also notable in that it supported a rookery of the endangered Steller sea lion.” –Alaskan USCS483398488 Auklet_flock_Kasatochi_Island Wow… And now this… :(
IMG_5711After Kasatochi, it was onward to crossing north of Adak and eventually south of Russian airspace to Japan. Those who know me well know I LOVE traditionally made Japanese ramen. This was my dinner in a little noodle shop in Minato District in downtown Tokyo. A creamy, slightly spicy surprisingly good broth for a tiny hole-in-the-wall place with noodles and some vegetables. I added ground sesame seeds and a little more chili. I went early, before it got crowded with “salarymen” after work, because while I love ramen, I hate eating it to the sound of loud slurping, the proper way to eat the noodles, apparently.
IMG_5715 Funny, my breakfast looked a lot like my dinner!
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Omelette bar? No thanks. Give me the noodle bar. I made Udon noodles (at the hotel breakfast buffet) with an egg and loads of vegetables, hot chili, cilantro, sesame oil, and lemon to flavor, and one meat-ish ball plopped in, because why not? A thing of beauty…and it tasted amazing, too! IMG_5717
I’ll write a post about Honolulu next. Until then, be good…

 

Alaska the beautiful

Another crossing where the rare absence of cloud cover revealed amazing views! This is Kodiak Island and the region south of King Salmon (Katmai National Park). Less than a half hour after I took these pics the clouds were back and over Russia we went.

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Here’s  map of the approximate route. The crooked blue line is my fault–finger drawing! :)

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