FOOD FOR THOUGHT: banh cuoun aka fawm kauv

steamed pork rolls. i still remember how much i'd crave these little bad boys after i'd moved away for college. it was during those days when i yearned for a little taste of home (or, missed my mum) that i found myself trying to make them, only to fail... every. single. time. call me crazy, but i still have vivid memories of watching the mixture go down my drain as i poured it out after many honest but failed attempts... and the feeling of defeat as it overcame me was just as traumatic.

a little dramatic here? yes, haha, but i can laugh about it now. then? then, i just remember feeling so damn sad each time i built enough courage to try again, convincing myself of only positive thoughts, only to fail and fail again.

it was because growing up, banh cuoun was what my mum always made me as a special treat because of how time-consuming they are! maybe it was just because it was her who made thembut they definitely were and still are one of the most nostalgic foods that always has a way of invoking an emotion of love and brings me back to a sense of security. strange how food can do that to a person...

needless to say, i didn't go on very long after that not knowing the trick to making fawm kauv. i made sure that during my next visit home, they weren't ready and waiting for me, as they have been in the past, and instead, spent my time in the kitchen with my mum making them together... her showing me the ways. :) after several more visits and the confidence from her guidance, she was phasing out her own involvement - and before i knew it, i was mastering them on my own!

i like to believe i've gotten the technique to making steamed rice rolls down to an art now; i'm even experimenting now. and for the record, yes, the pan does in fact make an incredible world of difference; that's what i didn't have in college, the right pan. i also had neither the knowledge to get my mixture right, nor the meticulous skill set required for the assembly too... so, thanks mum! <3 these days, it's not so much the rolls i'm worried about anymore, but moreso the endless ideas with dipping sauces to complement them! again, another blog post for yet another rainy day. :)

i foresee a tutorial on how to make these little guys in the near future with how often i make them. it just hasn't happened yet because it's one of those processes where rhythm and timing are everything and although it's fairly simple... the learning curve proved to be fairly steep, as i learned the hard way. haha. i don't know how i'd handle the relapse of another failed attempt if it happened! lols.

dottie and the brew city overcast.

the lakefront; brewery. cielito lindo. lincoln park. urban fishing. bbq's for two. miller tours. summerfest. mpm. mam. pabst. tap city. mke county zoo. seven mile fair. value village. records. thrifting. 727 21st. 437 shawley. ugly mug. yellow jacket. stonefly. hip hop. libraries. marquette. the darkside of the moon. budget cinema. washington park. dineen. stallis. brady street strolls. rushmor. the blue armadillo. wizard of odd. eesanes. 7th&maple. oakland gyros. oak leaf trail. autozone. music festivals. jjs. pizza shuttle. thomson. herbs. jameson. jim beam. little red, the devil schwinn. bremen cafe. cafe mocha. art bar. maingia. berni. dan. mando. pie. enid edie. el rey. renaissance books. and bayview.

it's not that i miss you or that i long to someday return - but moreso, that feeling i can still vividly recall while i was there with you that brings a certain peace to my heart. so thank you... for being such a big part of me and showing me what beauty really entails when you can look past the rough streets and begin to appreciate the hidden gems between each nook and cranny so many overlook. for that, i will always love you. and regardless of the evils - we had some pretty amazing times, you and i :) that's what i choose to remember and take with me.

♪ ♩ ♫ when i was drinking, when i was with you... living it up when the rent was due. with nothing and no one to live up to. you and me dying on the vine, holding hands and drinking wine. now i'm not the same girl i left behind with you. twelve bars behind us and twelve bars to go... bottles of beer lined up in a row. one for each hour you didn't show. you and me dying everyday. getting high just to pass away, but that's not the reason i couldn't stay with you. now i am sober, now i'm alone... three years have gone by since you have gone. letting you go, letting me go on, but i'll raise a glass now to you and me. to lift me higher so i can see... which of these blessings are killing me. ♪ ♩ ♫

enchante, to the next set of adventures...!

i heart nyc!

growing up in a small town in the midwest, i've always dreamed about visiting the great new york city and see - at least once - what i saw on television and in movies all my life! prior to leaving for the big apple, i created a list of specific sights to see, places to go and things i wanted to do - and to my surprise... by the time we left new amsterdam, every single item (but one - the bronx zoo) was crossed off! what an unforgettable time it was.

as a fan of bob dylan, i've been reading positively 4th street and it just happened to have several important nyc references that got me thinking about the opportunity to physically be in a space where some of these great people who've inspired me the most found their inspiration! in addition, folks like jack kerouac have always fascinated me because of a profound connection i feel with the philosophies of the beatniks of that generation... and therefore, it was nothing less than natural for me to be intrigued with the historical significance of places where their stories originated.

for example... greenwhich village, washington square, cafe wha and other popular venues of that era were where so many of these talented people frequented during the start of their incredible careers during a time that eventually came to shape an entire subculture. for me, i loved the idea of being able to literally visit and occupy the same spaces they had at one time - and if only for a second, live vicariously through the ideologies that carry their legacy.

other places to visit were more common, like walking through time square, taking a horse drawn carriage ride through central park, strolling the bustling streets of chinatown, taking the staten island ferry out to view the statue of liberty, walking the coney island pier - also the set from one of my favorite films of all time, requiem for a dream - 30 rock, and several other iconic buildings, etc. mission: accomplished!

when all was said and done though, i was glad to be back home! don't get me wrong, i love nyc and hope to return throughout my lifetime with different opportunities to zoom in my experiences on more specific things to do, but i don't know if i could ever live there long-term. the shortage of space, lack of green and just the socioeconomic divide from the homeless to the wealthy in that small of area just makes me a little sad to see how different that part of the country is from my homegrown roots in the midwest. here, our tallest building is 4 stories vs. the empire state building. and the people are just kinder. it's not that i mind the fast-paced big city life, it's just that i came back with the realization that i am truly a small town girl at heart! and damn proud of it.