The Art of Consumption, Round 2 or How to Get Free Food and Beer

(Ed. note: Technically speaking, this was the A of C, R 1 since it preceded by 2 days the one I wrote about yesterday, but what the hell.)

Saturday night I headed off to a restaurant I have discovered on Food Street which serves good, cheap, spicy food along with good, cheap, cold, cold beer. However, as I walked down the street I saw an outside grill set up and they were cooking oysters and crayfish. I didn’t get past it.

The Best Table in the House

A romantic table for one on the window. Well it was on the outside of the window of the restaurant.

A romantic table for one on the window. Well, it was on the outside of the window of the restaurant, not too far from the air conditioning unit. This how all smallish restaurants (and some large ones too) bring you your “china” – shrink-wrapped in saran wrap to show it is sterile.

The Kitchen

Chefs in the Kitchen. She couldn't stop looking at me and laughing and he wouldn't look or laugh.

Chefs in the Kitchen. She couldn’t stop looking at me and laughing and he wouldn’t look or laugh.

The Prep Kitchen

Just before I took the picture, she got rid of her cigarette.

Just before I took the picture, she got rid of her cigarette.

The First Course

The spicy, cumin flavoured crayfish were fantastic ...

The spicy, cumin flavoured crayfish were fantastic … Not only spicy hot, but piping hot.

The Best Eating Utensils

They give you two sets of these in order to eat the first course. Here's the problem: By the time you realize you need to change them or take them off, they are VERY slippery and difficult to remove.

They give you two sets of these gloves in order to eat the first course. Here are the problems: 1. They don’t provide a lot of protection from the hotness of the shells and 2. By the time you realize you need to change them or take them off, they are VERY slippery and difficult to remove.

Second Course

As good as the crayfish were, these were better.

As good as the crayfish were, these were better.

A Growing Business

As best as I can figure out, this is what is going on. There is an established restaurant in this spot on my right with many inside tables, pictures of dishes on the wall etc. The grill gets set up outside by a couple of  “temporary chefs” when shellfish is in season. I think this because at various times in the evening a chef in real whites comes out and seems to give these two some directions. Also, as more people want to eat outside, the man goes to the truck, brings out stands, table tops and stools and sets them up. You can order stuff from inside or out. Much like the sidewalk cafes we experienced in Bangkok.

Need more tables and chairs?

Need more tables and chairs?

Now, about the title of this posting. After I had finished the crayfish and oysters (and 3 large beer) I saw them bring out some more shellfish which seemed larger and somehow different than what I had, so I put in an order, they cooked it and brought it over. Lo and behold it was the same thing. (Ed. note: Turns out that when you cook shellfish, they get smaller, unlike, say souffles, which get bigger. Ah, the world of cookery – one learns something every day.) I had talked a little bit to the people at the table next to me earlier – 4 men and a women in their 20’s. We had had the obligatory toast to China, Canada and whatever else they said and they had invited me to join them. I didn’t but when I saw it was the same thing, I gave the crayfish dish to them and proceeded to finish my beer. Just as I called for the bill, one of them said “Oh sir, you can go now, my friend has paid your bill.” So, free food and 3 (so far) free beer. How good is that!

I thank them profusely, leave and start wandering down the street. I pass a another table of 10 or so  20 somethings and one says “Hello” and I say “Hello” and he grabs my arm, a full beer off the loaded table and we Gambei! Again, I offer my thanks and I leave.

(Ed. note: Pretty sure none of the above happened to the Shanghai Party Girls!!! So there!)

On a different note: I was coming back from the train station the other day and passed a residential complex. There are 20 – 30 very nice looking 30 story apartment towers and a similar number of 4 – 5 story condos. I would think it is about 50% completed and occupied, with the 50% incomplete section still surrounded by HUGE plywood or concrete fences (it is difficult to tell as they are painted). The gates to the completed section welcome you to the Chianti Aristocratic Family ResidencesThe walls around the incomplete section advertise the Chianti Royal GardensBut here’s the thing. The slogan on all of the walls says:

The Quality of Life is So Different in France*

The Shoe Blog 

For all you who say I have a female foot/shoe fetish, I say – this is why!

Who puts yellow rubber soles on men's brown leather saddle shoes?

Who puts yellow rubber soles on men’s brown leather saddle shoes?

* For those who have forgotten their geography, Chianti is in ITALY!

 

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