Tag Archives: Earthworm Envy

SE Asia Omelet Zine featuring eateries in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos now available

In 2010, Bangkok Books began distributing You Can’t Hide an Elephant in an Omelet as an e-book.  Tara Blackmore from Broken Pencil has this to say about the book:  “What a neat concept this book offers: essays and stories about omelettes and cuisine from around the world. This particular issue offers experiences from Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

Part restaurant review, part tour guide, this book offers pure entertainment in eloquent language that can be enjoyed by just about everyone.

Written like a memoir (the good kind), the book offers a glimpse into foreign food production, consumption and a healthy dose of social interaction and culture shock as well. It’s an objective look at travel and all it entails, offering tips and advice on how to get by. It also gives descriptions of local cuisine that can either repulse you or attract you, so reading it while hungry is a bad idea.

This book is well worth the money. Rich with well-worded descriptions and beautiful photos, this zine will satisfy the reader who has either travel-curiosity or no idea what to make for dinner (which, of course, would be omelettes).”

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN WANTING TO READ A CLEVERLY WRITTEN BOOK ABOUT EATING OMELETS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA HERE’S YOUR OPPORTUNITY.

Click on one of the below links to purchase a copy:

Ipad
Android
Kindle
Bangkok Books

Front Cover
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Sample Page
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Back Cover
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Strazzilicious Omelets (guest omelet review)

written by the Strawberry Girl

Dear Friends,

To usher her way into her sophomore effort, the Strawberry Girl decided to take her Fieldwork into another direction. In keeping with the omelet theme, she decided to declare her favorite omelets in some of her favorite American towns. Beware; the Strazzie ‘best of five’ general voting criterion, which is quite subjective…and created, voted, collected and compiled by the same person. Still, the Strawberry Girl can’t help but share some of her best cross-country omelet memories; the good, the bad and the OK.

BOISE, IDAHO

3 ½ Strazzies; Boise is definitely the most affordable of the five reviewed restaurants.

Best Bang-For-Your-Buck Omelet: the super-sized omelets of the historic Trolley House (1821 Warm Springs Ave., 208-345-9255) are enough to conceal a small child and made from the freshest ingredients the Strawberry Girl’s ever had in the Treasure Valley.

Best Non-Traditional Omelet: the reasonably-proportioned omelets soufflés of Bardenay (155 E Riverside Dr., Eagle, ID 208-939-5093) are deceiving at first, but the taste and presentation of each ingredient really gets to be enjoyed.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

4 ½ Strazzies; San Francisco is the hometown of the Strawberry Girl…need we say more?

Best Hangover Omelet Period: Dottie’s True Blue Café (522 Jones St, 415-885-2767) is hidden in Civic Center Plaza, where urban decay and cheap rent meets hipsters- and Dottie truly does know how to satisfy the groggy-headed morning-after crowd.

Best Vegan Omelet: Though not an omelet in the traditional sense, the substituted egg for tofu at Herbivore (983 Valencia St. 415-826-5657) is so hearty and flavorful, it’s a nice break from the norm.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

4 Strazzies; the Strawberry Girl apologizes- she was not forth coming. She is, in fact, part Apple.

Best Manhattan Omelet: Overlooking bus Canal and Broadway Streets, 416 B.C. (416 Broadway, 212-625-0981) serves a traditional Bulgarian dish called a kravarma, which is a hearty vegetable goulash wrapped in a thick egg crepe.

Best Brooklyn Omelet: Maggie Brown’s (455 Myrtle, 718-643-7001) reminds the Strawberry Girl of the old TV show Mel’s Diner, only with great food!

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

3 ¾ Strazzies; Vegas is an out of control, landlocked, gangster’s paradise and home to some great restaurants; for both the disconcerting palette and the no-nonsense diners.

Best Vegas Omelet Period: There is absolutely nothing pretentious about this establishment; the name and the reputation speak for themselves. The Omelet House (702-384-6868, 2160 W Charleston Blvd.) is a Vegas chain that has three equally awesome locations, but the Strip is the Strip.

Best Vegas Casino Omelet: The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino has every freaking type of restaurant you could possibly crave; all open 24/7 and all mean business. But Raffles Diner (3950 Las Vegas Blvd., 702-632-7406) stole the Strawberry Girl’s heart and further fueled her fantasy of time-traveling for a martini brunch with the Rat Pack.

 

Swan Falls can be Fun without Petrol and Booze (pedal power)

Heading south from Boise to Kuna, I travel in constant traffic. From Kuna to Swan Falls, the road is straight with long rolling hills. The desert landscape of lava rock and sagebrush lends itself to clear views of the horizon, which makes sharing the road safe for both motorists and bicyclists.

The traffic becomes lighter, but the large SUVs are now pulling boats. Amy and I are the only ones traveling by bicycle, with panniers and a bicycle trailer loaded with camping equipment but no room for motorized contraptions or a cooler full of booze. From observing my fellow Swan Falls recreationalists, I become worried about boredom on this adventure.

Will a day at the Snake River without petrol or booze be like celebrating Jesus’s birthday without gifts, enjoying Thanksgiving without a television, or being charitable without going through an approved organization?

When I reach the rim of the canyon and look down onto Swan Falls, I feel like a vegetarian who has walked into a steak house to find a green local salad bar with a sesame grilled tofu vegetarian option.

Swan Falls Dam, built in 1901, the oldest dam on the Snake River


Swan Falls offers a park with large trees giving shade – perfect for picnics, bird watching, reading, writing, fishing and playing cards. The bathroom provides flushing toilets, a water fountain, and plenty of counter space to wash dishes. Beyond the park, a person can follow the rocky road to set up a tent in between the sagebrush.

As the boat people are getting ready to turn the Snake River into a busy roadway, my favorite activity, after a four and a half hour bike ride, is strip to my cycling shorts and go for a swim.

Shades of Green

THE AUTHENTICS

by Erin Ryan, The Idaho Statesman

Thanks to Brandon Follett and Amy Johnson, Barack Obama may soon share his thoughts on omelets and interstate transportation. The wandering artists teamed up in 2006 to travel, make films, bump heads (and mopeds) with ordinary people and write sociopolitical commentary cleverly disguised as omelet reviews.

Apparently, Obama enjoys an egg white and green pepper mixture in the morning, and Follett and Johnson saw this as a perfect vector to ask the presidential hopeful about his environmental policies as they relate to sustainable agriculture and economics.

All in a day’s work for the creative team behind Boise-based Earthworm Envy, a Web site that offers omelet reviews from around the world, essays, poems, blogs, links to like-minded local organizations and short documentary films on everything from Thai “ice cream” to the Cambodian legacy of John F. Kennedy’s hair.

But there is more to Johnson and Follett than multimedia gold. They are committed to living well, which just so happens to be green.

“I know what a tomato tastes like, so I can’t eat one from the store in January,” Johnson said. She and Follett grow their own or volunteer on organic farms, and what they do buy is as unprocessed, seasonal and socially responsible as possible. Bananas, for instance, are known as the Hummer of the fruit world because of the energy it takes to harvest and transport them, and Johnson refuses to buy them. And even though packaged organics seem green, Follett says they are a trendy offshoot of a deeper problem.

“The biggest thing is consumption. I think people need not to buy into the grand marketing scheme,” he said. “They want to be babysat, for legislation to be made, but you have to start with yourself. Maybe you just need to change your lifestyle … . What if I-84 is full of hybrid cars – does that change anything? And if you’re replacing your eco-friendly clothes every year because of fashion, what’s the point?”

To live as authentically as possible, they try to keep new purchases to a minimum by swapping with friends. They do not own cars and travel everywhere on their touring bicycles. Weather controls their activities to some extent, but neither feels inhibited.

“It’s a mindset change,” Johnson said. “People think I have to give up my freedom, but once you do it’s a different freedom.”

Their love of two-wheeled travel exploded during a six-month trip to southeast Asia last year, where they worked their way through Thailand, Cambodia and Laos as farmers, construction workers and teachers. They found that locals only used big vehicles for big jobs, and community support was integral to individual success.

“It’s about using what you have wisely. It’s just logic, common sense,” Follett said.

Back in Boise, he and Johnson are saving for a bike trek down through Mexico, where they will continue studying omelets and cultures that are closer to the earth.

“Our cities aren’t set up to be green, so it is a bit of a challenge,” Johnson said. “I don’t have a religion, but this is my morality. We have this abundance, so we need to take it upon ourselves to do these things. If I do have the money to buy a Hummer, maybe I’ll buy a park instead.”

The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa located in Riverside, California

A Couple, a President, and Me

Conversing in their kitchen while making omelets, a couple in Redlands, California agree their current church is an unsuitable place to worship God. Some people go to church to express their style in designer clothes, fancy cars, and pockets full of the latest electronic gadgets. The couple has style but not in the typical consumer sense. They decide to approach the pastor about the matter.

They say, “Pastor, do you mind if we eat omelets while you preach? We would really like to praise the Lord with our omelet style and show off how blessed we our with fresh eggs and imported fancy cheeses from Europe.”

The pastor did not want anything to do with these omelet Christians. He remembers the story about his great-grandfather, Pastor Harold, who caved in to the automobile Christians who wanted to come to church with their cars. Soon the automobile Christians outnumbered the horse, foot, and trolley Christians. In fact, as space issues arose, the automobile Christians voted to stop converting the heathens, building larger parking lots instead of a larger church.

To the atheist, this might seem like an odd, nonsensical start to an omelet review. However, one of the key components to Christ worship is the place of worship. A person who worships Christ without a proper place to kneel is like a duck without water. It was this integral part of worship that led the couple to the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.

The story of the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa begins in 1876. The Inn was primarily a hotel and spa until 1910 when the St. Cecilia Chapel and catacombs were built. Today the Mission Inn consists of a swanky chapel and four restaurants that combine the freshest and finest ingredients to make anyone’s dinning experience memorable.

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The Mission Inn boasts visits by eight U.S. presidents. Of these, William Howard Taft was by far the largest. When Amy and I sat in his chair, we felt like little babies sitting in the backseat of a suburban. The only spatial relationship I have to Taft is Taft Street in Boise, Idaho. His street isn’t any larger then the two-lane Jefferson or Adams. To be true to its name, Taft Street really needs to be a six-lane street with a wide turning lane in the middle.

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The last presidential portrait hanging on the wall is George W. Bush. I don’t know how much George W. Bush cares about fresh ingredients. He never mentions his love of organic local fresh vegetables only his dislike of terrorists because they want to eat Americans. If he did value fresh food, I’m sure he would turn part of the White House lawn into a vegetable garden and would declare war on global warming. His first stance would be to proclaim that all chairs or boards used in water board torture be made of 100% recycled material. To conserve water, his torture victims would be choked on gray water or out of date milk. The water or milk coughed up from the torture victims lungs will be used to hydrate the office plants. To ease Americans’ minds about the new torture technique, Bush would call the treatment, “Watering the Office Plants.”

My personal view of the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa: The restaurant offers a fantastic omelet experience! I would like to first mention that I worked at an establishment whose chef threw daily temper tantrums behind the swinging kitchen door. I’m now a fan of the open kitchen.

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As you can see from the photo, the Inn takes the open kitchen to a fun level. A guest walks up to the chef, decides what she’d like on her omelet, and watches the chef go to work. Not only does the guest have the pleasure of seeing the fresh omelet ingredients but also gets to watch skillfully quick hands and enjoy the chef’s witty banter. While eating the omelet, roaming musicians will stop and grace your omelet eating with beautiful music. The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa gets four stars based on a delicious omelet, live music, and polite chefs.

Kong Keo Guest House located in Phonsavan, Laos

Innocent Omelet-Eater Struck by Bomblet
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At the Kong Keo guest house in Phonsavan, Laos, a row of planter boxes made from bombshells separates the outside patio from an old airstrip. Some bars and restaurants in the U.S. mount guns on the walls, but the guns probably have never been used with the intent to kill people. What an odd omelet thought to know that these bombs were intended to kill omelet eaters just like Amy.

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The omelet comes inside a baguette, the first of many omelets cradled in warm bread while traveling in Laos. It has the right combo of fresh carrots and pepper. The taste should take me into a moment of pure omelet indulgence, but there is a familiar sadness to this place and a nagging from the past, like I’ve been here before. I wonder if at one time I could have been an Air Force pilot or Army soldier involved in the secret war in Laos? Then went back to the USA and shot myself in the head to become another number in the embarrassing statistic that more Vietnam veterans have killed themselves than actually died in combat?

Having been raised Christian, it’s hard for me to grasp the idea of past lives. Anyway, a victim of a screwed up war and suicide would most likely be in purgatory, confused, with one hand reaching toward the devil’s tit and the other toward Jesus’s warm heart, instead of eating an omelet in Laos. There’s got to be another reason for the familiar feeling of sadness. On the table I notice an ashtray made out of a bomblet. Bomblets are small round canisters that are released from a cluster bomb, a weapon that many nations are in the process of banning. Besides the obvious problem of dropping bombs on people, a lot of the bomblets do not explode on impact. 35 years later, little kids find the unexploded ordnances while playing and blow themselves up.

The familiar feeling of sadness becomes even stronger as I reflect on an article I read last summer about Israel pulling out of Lebanon and dropping cluster bombs on the border villages. Now, like the Lao kids, Lebanese kids are blowing themselves up after the Israeli withdrawal. In both cases, the cluster bombs were made in the USA.

The other day, I read an article about an international cluster bomb meeting. Countries around the world have signed an agreement not to use cluster bombs. Two countries did not attend the meeting: USA and Israel.

I hope the United States and Israel change their military and foreign policies, so that next time I experience a familiar feeling in a new land it will be one of pride and happiness.

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Info about cluster bombs

30-year-old bombs still very deadly in Laos

46 nations declare cluster bomb ban

Cluster bombs kill in Iraq, even after shooting ends

Israeli / US Cluster Bombs Litter Lebanon

Handicap International

**Take Action: Ban the Bombs that Keep on Killing show your support for the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act of 2007**

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Kong Keo Guesthouse
P.O. Box 158A, Phonsavan
Xieng Khuang Province
Tel: (20) 551 6365
http://www.kongkeojar.com/

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Bombs, Jars, and Omelets photo slideshow. After eating omelets, we visited the Plain of Jars, a tourist site in Phonsavan, Laos. Music by Veronica and the Mental Foreplays.