Apr 5, 2014

Emergency Dim Sum

     Some the most cathartic trips trips for me are ones that I didn't know were coming the day before. There's just something about dropping everything and jumping in the car on the spur of the moment that does wonders for my stress levels. Early in April this year, my wife got a hankering for some authentic Chinese "cuisine" (she spent a total of about a year in China during college teaching English to little kids so she actually knows what she's talking about). This particular hankering was brought about by watching an episode of Bizarre Foods which took place partly in Seattle's Chinotown. That's not TOO far from our house, so off to Seattle we went! 
     By recommendation of random anonymous strangers on Yelp and Google we ended up at a place called Jade Garden. It seemed pretty darn authentic to me, and was so full of people that it had to be good. Near the front counter they had tanks filled with live lobsters, crabs, and China rockfish. Though I'm probably the only one who appreciated the cleverness of having China rockfish in a Chinese restaurant (or knew they were called China rockfish for that matter...).
     After waiting in line forever, we were seated and they began bringing around carts of food. I didn't drive 3.5 hours for some fried rice and chow mein, this was supposed to be authentic, so I dove straight into the deep end. The waitress looked at me sideways when I asked if they had chicken feet and tripe, but cautiously handed them over. To my surprise, she looked at me sideways again when I asked for a glass of water (That doesn't sound too unreasonable does it??). My wife explained that in China they don't often drink water with their meals. What do they wash the chicken feet down with then?? In their defense, they had provided us with a pot of steaming hot tea, but tea is not, well, my cup of tea. In the end, we thoroughly enjoyed our unpronounceable meal, even if we didn't have any water to wash it down with and I had no idea what most of it was.
The only things I know how to pronounce here are chicken foot and tripe. I'm pretty sure it just got weirder from there!
I really stuck my foot in my mouth there...
I don't think my lady friend appreciated the subtle bouquet of flavors in the tripe.
     The next morning, I woke up early and headed down to a pier to wet a line. Oh don't act so surprised, you knew it was coming. I went back to Pier 86, a spot where I had visited a couple years ago (see Sleepless in Seattle). There's still plenty of new creatures to catch in Puget Sound, so I had grand plans of finding some. I started out fruitlessly fishing some big jigs and lures, then my offerings began getting smaller and smaller as I shifted my targets. I ended up dipping an especially appetizing sabiki rig down in between some rocks near the shore, felt a tiny tug, and pulled up a beautifully colored sculpin, definitely a new one for me. I consulted the almighty Google via my cell phone and identified it as a longfin sculpin. The trip was a success!
Four inches of excitement
He seems to want a kiss.
     Having gotten rid of the skunk and added a new species, I again up-sized my tackle to try for something bigger. I dropped down some sand shrimp and began getting little taps. I only hooked one fish, but in the end, it was one of my favorite fish of the year. It felt big when I hooked it, and it even managed to wrap me around some debris twice on the way to the surface. I had to give him some slack and let him swim out before I could continue reeling him up. I was surprised to see how small it was when it finally surfaced. But I was also surprised at how brightly colored it was! I don't often catch things that I can't identify at least to the family, but this was one where I didn't have a clue. It's always exciting when that happens! I again consulted the Google machine and determined that I had caught a painted greenling! I also learned that they're only supposed to grow to be about 6 inches. This one was about 10, so evidently my little fish was actually a doosy!

This is probably one of my most colorful fish ever, plus, check out those lips!
     That concluded the catching portion of my fishing trip, but two new species in a morning is definitely a win in my book! I went back to the hotel, and since this was a random trip, and we could do whatever random things we wanted, to finish out our trip we went to the zoo!
Some people would call this a peacock. I would call it 10,000 flies just begging to be tied!
Here's a little monkey grooming a big monkey.
And here's a big monkey grooming a little monkey.
The sad thing is, I'm sure they had to put this sign up because somebody touched it. Other similarly useful signs might warn that sharks bite, skunks stink, and fire is hot!

No comments:

Post a Comment