Just Be Thankful - You Got It Good, Trust Me On That One


Funny how we complain every day. 

I'm too bored, fat, lonley, sick, dumb, poor, angry, out of shape, unhappy, whatever.  Oh Really?  But, are you?  When you take and honest-to-god step back from yourself, jack yourself up into an aerial view and check out your life...are you any of the above?  Maybe one, two at most.  In all actuality, our world is pretty dang unreal. 

We eat amazing meals, drink mighty fine drinks, have ice at our disposal, don't hurt for much, dress pretty decent, laugh loads, read good books, glace the paper cause it barely affects us, exercise now and again, keep up with the daily doin's of our fave stars, see first run movies, have savings accounts, sport a solid family to fall back on if needed, and all around just live a super amazing life. 

Not much to really complain about.  These little ones in Thailand were the happiest sprouts I've seen in a long, long time.  And, I work in one of the most "exotic" industries in the world. 

I'd see them playing with a piece of plastic amid a sea of garbage.  Eating only fish cause their Pa just caught it and thats ALL THERE IS.  School?  Yah right?  New clothes?  Hardly.  Their own room?  Try 6 to a bed. 

Yet, they laughed.  They played.  They cheered.  They explored.  They were curious.  They peeked about.  They swam in the sea with sheer and utter delight to be cool when the air was warm.  They roved without shoes.  They chased after bugs.  They were pure and full of light.

Bottom line, they gave me hope.







Back In Thai Time


Today is one of those days where I just need to go back in time. 

Back to another place that felt right and good.  One where the days were made up of sunshine, booze explorations, snack escapades, and all day long walkabouts.  A couple of naps here and there.  Good thrillers.  No clock to watch slowly tick by.

Thailand was all at once magical and trust-worthy.  Every Thai I met felt good down to the core.  Invited me into their little kitchens.  Took pride in a coconut rum drink.  Shined with delight at being a garbage wo/man.  Just to have a job, I guess.  Glowed when I mmmmmm'ed at how good the food was.  All teeth and lips strecthing back into gigantic grins every where I turned.

I did a lot of observing.  Spying with a long lens.  I'm a bit of a natural at building dossiers on those who are unaware.  The sweaty sailor off-loading his vessel.  In my mind, it's all contraband on the make for secret spots.  It's all just something more exciting than the world of television. 

It was cruising about in balmy weather just after a rainstorm looking for a restaurant, THE restaurant, called Bang Po.  There seemed to be dozens, but I'd read about one that was the best food on the island.  Finally, at the end of the run, I found it.  Baby octopus.  Whole fish smothered in chile sauce.  Beer with buckets of ice.  I like quests like that.  My whole damn day revolved around finding one specific restaurant so I could gorge.  That is happiness at its greatest for me.  Like a self-assigned task that eats me alive in the very best way.

Just today, I'm looking for something just out of reach that's bigger and more thrilling that this life.  It's all out there.  It was in Thailand. It's out my front door in the marina back in LA.  It's out my front door on Lake Michigan in Chicago.  It's usually just within a few steps of me, but today is a weird one.  Not even Southern BBQ is a cheer up to my belly/mind/soul.








Fire Pit vs Wood Fired Oven


Burn, burn, burn...

I've become smitten with wood fired food.  Nothing in the entire world compares to the texture, taste and complexity of something that's been tossed onto a baby inferno and partially charred.  Chewy, crunchy, taste sensation like no other.

Octopus, bread, potatoes, anything at all.  I had some pizza the other day - with smoked mozzarella, thyme, and tomato cream - that shook me in my boots.  Those few bites got me to thinking about building a wood fired oven on the FloBo.  A bona fide real deal wood fired oven!

How hard could it be to toss a few bricks together, sling in some wood and get that mofo rolling?  Not sure that would be a super wise idea atop a mostly wood boat, but my God, the Pacific is underneath it, you know? 

Meanwhile - the little fire pit that the rural folks usually cobble together on the side of the road is priceless.   Crude, rough and does the job.  The meat smells that permate of every corner chop shop is intoxicating.  Makes a vegetarian want to do a full slam of all parts meat quite badly. 

Now, about that wood fired oven...I see it mine and my new restaurants future.

A Funny Thing About Thai Spring Rolls...


First of all, they ain't served up Vietnamese style.

If you could have seen the looks of confusion on those poor Thai's faces when I asked for lettuce, basil, mint - all the greens you usually get from the Viet folks when they serve up spring rolls.  Dead chaos and confusion...cause they really wanna give you what you desire, but have no idea what the frosty hell you are talking about.  Their rolls just don't come out that way!

There was one and only one street stall that immediately tossed my fresh rice paper wrapped spring roll into a tiny plastic bag, littered it with some cukes, a bit of lettuce and some fish sauce and took my 30 cents - somehow they knew a bit of the drill.  The most delish fried rolls on all of the island.  Restaurant versions were a mix between good, damn good and downright delicious, but nothing like the street hawker version.  That was just simply some next level fry up.

There is a place here in LA that I must try before I head back to NJ next week - Jitlada.  Supposed to be the very best Thai in all of LA.  Southern style.  I've seen pix, they look next to perfect.  10 more days and I'm gone.  Simply unreal.

In other breaking news though - I scored myself a new sailboat slip in the marina.  Channel side.  Super cool.  AND, AND, AND...I meet with my FloBo architect this week.  He has the first pass ready of the Flo upgrade.  Cannot wait!





My New Thai Fetish. Plural.


Not even a pad thai fan, yet I became obsessed...

Once I discovered that some pad thai was made with silky little noodles, I went a bit berserk in Thailand.  It just became some much more palatable thinking I could slip it back in about 4 bites.  Tiny dried shrimp and fresh lime are two other musts.  I can't say it really tasted anything like its American counterpart.  It was just spicier, tangier and eggier.  I love the egg.  Add more.  Three, four even.  I can kill off a cool half dozen eggs in one sitting, no problem.

Another freaky fascination became crab in yellow powder.  These small spiced up crab legs with baby bits of meat tucked in every nook.  So easy to stalk.  If you order just crab meat, well plan on getting exactly that.  Piles of meat.  Tasty, but I like sucking it off the bone.  And, being surprised and delighted when I found yet another tiny leg buried in the sauce graveyard.

Then there was the fish.  The whole fried fish (whatever was fresh that day) absolutely blanketed in spicy chile sauce. Again, lots of lime.  Each little sliver picked clean of flaky white meat.  A swig of beer after every few chomps.  A belly so satisfied.

Pretty views from every stoop on the beach and for real, when I said, "please bring ice"...it was a friggin BUCKET that showed up tableside.  I love Thailand.




Real Thai Food in Thailand...Totally Dif - Just Like Mexican!


Yet again, rough-hewn kitchens turn on the best food ever.

Just got back from a over-too-fast trip to Koh Samui - a lovely little island off the coast of Thailand.  I went to do a full on body recharge, but of course my entire stay became about finding really authentic seafood, tracking down the perfect pina colada and coming home with a mega tan.  All were achieved with great results!

First of all, I was stunned to realize that pad thai wasn't made with the thick noodles over in the mother land like we're used to back home.  It's thin noodles all the way around.  The seafood was phenomenal - other-worldly even.  The beaches were the best I've seen in a long, long time - and became even more so with a chilly pina colada served up in a young coconut that was just macheted out of the tree. I'd order plate after plate of food and the bills would be like $20. 

I have a billion photos, and a lot of stories to go with them.  Once my desktop decides to pop back on, well - it shall begin!