Category Archives: Explorations

The BEST Thing I Ever Ate [Blog #6]

It was a cold day, on the verge of rain, as we toured San Francisco’s Mission District. Walking from restaurant to restaurant, we could hardly bear to stand outside too long as we would beg for our tour guide to speak to us inside as we tried out our tour’s meals. On this trip throughout the Mission District I unexpectedly encountered the best ice cream I have ever had.

As we entered Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream the first thing I spelled was waffle cones, just like any other ice cream shop. I couldn’t figure out why we would stop at an ice cream shop, what could be so special about this place?

After my first glance over the 12 flavors I knew this would not be an ordinary ice cream shop: Special Breakfast with cornflakes and bourbon? The flavors handwritten on place cards before the ice cream tubs were certainly not your average 31 flavors.

After a number of testers the decision was final, my scoop of choice would be the Chocolate Sea Salt. No matter how many bites I took of those flavors the Chocolate Sea Salt intrigued me the most.

Chocolate Sea Salt Ice Cream

Chocolate Sea Salt was exactly what the name deemed it to be.

Each bite of this chocolate ice cream was a deceptive pleasure.

The first taste was the smooth, creamy chocolate that tasted like chocolate truffles, just a sweet and milky taste that was just comforting and swell.  Just as you are being taken in by this warm chocolate embrace, a bite of salt overtakes such sweetness. It was exactly like eating sea salt caramel. As the seconds passed the taste of the chocolate faded and the sea salt overwhelmed my taste buds, counteracting the balance of sweet to salty. I could taste the grain of salt melting in my mouth. It was so strong at the end of each bite I anticipated the rough lastings of a piece of sea salt, and every time my mouth turned up empty, awaiting the next bite.

The ice cream would dissolve completely, revealing itself as a truly creamy delight.

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Chinatown: A Little Taste of Reality [Blog #4]

Today I went to Chinatown in San Francisco for the first time! I had anticipated this trip all week long and I never would have been prepared for what I had in store. As my American mind has been trained to block out the idea of where food comes from, the Chinatown residents do not leave anything up to the imagination.

Frank, our tour guide shared his plethora of insight on the city he grew up in. As we walked along the streets of Chinatown there were a few restaurants with carcasses of cooked -ducks, head in-tacked. The duck was being hung by the neck with a metal hook, as its body dripped of the various greases and marinades that lathered the dead flesh. Seeing the face of the creature I could potentially be eating that day was only the first part of the torturous reality check.

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Duck

After a few other sights we made our way to the market. A crowded scene of fresh produce, only a day or two off the root, lined the west sidewalk. The misshapen fruits and veggies appeared toxic compared to the industrially processed foods I was used to seeing in safeway.

After venturing down a block we crossed the street to view the east sidewalk. The first shop simply had pounds of meat that took on colors I did not recognize for meat, such as a black shade of duck. It was a deceiving introduction for what was next to come. Just a few steps ahead reality set in.

The meat suppliers were all much like that of the restaurants serving duck. The bodies of dead animals hung on the window in order to show its costumers their fresh available options. According to Frank, the reason they showed the bodies of the meats was for two reasons: to show the freshness of the product and because the Chinese do not waste anything, they will use every last part of the body they can.

The freshness of the products went beyond displaying the entire body. We passed tubs of fish, shrimp, turtles, and frogs as they swam and took their last few breathes before being chosen as a dish for someone’s evening meal.

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I could not imagine seeing the food you were able to kill, butcher, and eat as a living creature. Now I knew why my friend Linsey is a vegetarian. There were certainly a few moments there that I had considered changing my life choices of a meat-eater as I watched the bodies of living beings be tortured. But then I came back to my senses as the sweet aroma of the cooked meats overtook my feelings of guilt and remorse for these creatures.