Hot Pot

Some of you may remember James from a post I did some weeks back. Last night, he invited me to go to Boston with him for a traditional hot-pot dinner. James grew up eating hot-pot and I’ve heard him talking about it since we met two years ago. I have to say that as someone who has always eaten American-ized Chinese food, I was excited about this outing.

Hot-pot is much like fondue. You have a pot filled with broth in which you cook various foods that you order. First you have to select the broth. James comes from a region of China that favors spicy foods, so we had a bowl divided with a spicy, red Szechuan broth and a tame yet flavorful mushroom broth. You can see the bowl and James in the main image. The bowl is placed on a heating element built into the table and heated to boiling. Next, each of us was provided with a small bowl of soy sauce. The little white containers you see are filled with flavorings to mix into your soy sauce. We added four: garlic, green onion, salty fish paste, and spicy red paste. As the broths cooked, the waiter brought us the food we ordered to go in the pot: thinly slice beef and lamb (pictured with the rice), broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, Chinese yams, tofu skins (which looked like noodles), noodles and quail eggs.

James expertly cooked each in turn and served them. We dipped them in our soy sauce and then ate them. Oh, if you ever do this with quail eggs, let them cool a bit before eating them (ouch). Everything was really tasty. The spicy broth and sauce was spicy. I slowed down on the spice about half way through the meal. Also, I had ordered the white rice and used it to counter the spice when my mouth became too hot.

This was really a unique experience and not something that I would have been likely to try without someone who knew that they were doing. The reality is that is was not that difficult. The food was good and the process made it fun. It was also really healthy. We left there full, but there was no oil or frying involved and the only sauce was the soy sauce. Everything came to the table really fresh with little processing. I thanked James profusely for this rare opportunity, and I was proud when he gave my chopstick skills and A+.

Cheers!

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Making the World Beautiful

When I came out of the parking garage and into this park, I spotted this man amidst dozens of potted plants that he was busy putting in the soil. “What a great thing.” I thought, “He makes the world more beautiful.” I went over and asked if I could take his photo. He allowed me to do so. When I asked, he told me he is from El Salvador. I’d lived and taught there for a couple of months two years ago. We chatted for a few minutes about El Salvador and his new life here in the US. Then we shook hands and went our ways.

Street Art at Madison Park High


This is some of the other street art at Madison Park High School in Boston’s Roxbury district. There are some very talented people out there. Cheers!

Patriots Day


Today is Patriots Day in Boston, which means the running of the Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, they are running in a cold rain. But Saturday was fun. As you can see the city was getting ready for the race and people were coming down to check out the finish line. Solas pub had this sign out offering the runners a last chance for a pint before crossing the finish line. I think an Irish coffee would be a better choice today.

Urban Jungle


This image of a tiger on a wall in Roxbury was painted by GoFive, who also painted the image I posted yesterday. The way it wraps around the corner gives it an added dimension.

Prince Tribute Street Art


I’ve not posted the past week or so due to a lack of decent images to use. This is not a time of the year that lends itself to good weather or generally pretty scenes. That said, I went into the city today to make some images. Last year when I was researching street art in Boston, I saw a photo of this image. It’s in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, which I don’t generally frequent. But I made a trip there today to show it to you. The best part is that the school where this was painted also has a number of other wonderful pieces of street art.

This painting was done by the artist known as GoFive. He did it after Prince’s death.