Saturday, August 9, 2008

Welcome home

Well, we're in our new home in the Tacoma area. The house is piled high with boxes, there is a POD in the driveway, and the kitchen is almost unusable. In other words, we're moving in.

The unload & unpack went remarkably well: the POD arrived at 7:00 AM, and it was empty by 10:00 PM. Not too bad.

I have my grill back, I re-assembled and polished it; then loaded it up for its inaugural cook: chicken leg quarters. I have a history with chicken leg quarters, it was 18 chicken leg quarters that caused the Great Fireball wherein I reduced the venturis from my gas grill into molten metal and ended up with some interesting objects:

The chicken leg quarters did very well over charcoal, and turned out not too badly. But I still have deep respect for chicken leg quarters.

A friend told me yesterday that Anthony Bourdain summed up the Pacific Northwest with "obsession". A quick Google search suggests that's true, but I've been unable to find the original quote. Nevertheless, it is an extremely apt description.

I don't think Vancouver Island is characteristically obsessive---certainly not like Seattle or Tacoma---there is a very different culture and sense there.

But at least in the Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula areas, obsession is rife. Ames and I travelled down to Tacoma from the Island for some business a couple weeks ago, via the BlackBall Ferry, which runs between Victoria, BC and Port Angeles, WA. Port Angeles is a very interesting town---I regret it's so close to home, as I'll likely only ever go through it, rather than stopping and exploring it. One thing one notices about Port Angeles is, every restaurant---without exception---advertises "Espresso". You see signs "Soup and Espresso," "Burgers and Espresso"... the combinations get quite interesting. Even here in the Tacoma area, we've seen a stand advertising "Hot Dogs and Espresso".

The cliche that there is a Starbuck's on every corner isn't far off. One intersection a few miles from the new house has a Starbuck's, an independent coffee shop, and a grocery store advertising an in-store Starbuck's kiosk. Literally all on one intersection. Every strip mall seems to have an espresso stand (generally not part of a chain) in the parking lot in addition to coffee shops (Starbuck's or otherwise) in the mall itself. A couple of the espresso stands have prominent signs advertising they're open 24 hours. Because you never know when you'll need an espresso at 3:00 AM...

These people are obsessed.

And the coffee obsession is not unique. There are at least a dozen teriyaki restaurants within 6 miles of our new house. Teriyaki and noodles, teriyaki and burgers... if you can eat it, you can find a place that serves it and teriyaki within ten miles of our place.

But despite the gentle laughs we've had at our new home and its residents, I'm honestly enjoying my time here. I have to admit I moved here somewhat reluctantly---I was wanting to be a good deal further north and less urban than where I am---but I am thoroughly pleased with our new city.

We'll be taking pictures and so on soon, but we're still in the throes of moving, so both my loyal readers will have to wait.


Eryn said...

welcome to your new home.i cant wait to see pictures. boy, could i use an espresso right now....

(just kidding, cant stand the stuff)

EPIMENOS said...

So... is 'espresso' the Pacific Northwest's version of "Cold Beer" in the South?

Shan said...

Ha ha! "Both".

Vancouver Island isn't obsessive because it's not the Pacific Northwest - the "Pacific Northwest" ends at the border, where the "Pacific Southwest" begins. If you know what I mean.

On Robson St in Vancouver there is an intersection where all four businesses at all four corners are Starbucks. It's kind of surreal.

Michelle said...

This is just one of the reasons that I enjoy moving from place to place so much - each area is so different, and those differences can indeed be fascinating. I wonder what quirks Calgary will have - what fun!

I'm glad you're enjoying settling in, and that you're warming to the area. Looking forward to visiting sometime!

KingJaymz said...

Yes, we have plenty of teriyaki joints, but, you forgot the most important! Unless you live in Europe, there is no better place for beer, and I could make a pretty compelling argument that the Pacific Northwest is even better than Europe for that.

And, unless you watch the episode of No Reservations on the Pacific Northwest, you probably won't find the quote.

I can't wait to see the photo (yes, I used the singular on purpose) from our visit. We sure are blessed you guys are here.