Friday, November 03, 2006

I have to say I LOVE Vietnamese food, and I used to have it regularly until I had two gross-outs in a row at my favorite local.

Once I was eating my Pho Tai (noodle soup with wafer-thin slices of beef on top - yum!) and reading a book when a roach came up on the table. I grabbed a magazine and swatted at the wee beastie but it got away. So the damned thing got crafty and went to the underside of the table to the extreme other side and came back up and made a beeline for my plate. I rather expected the little devil to pull out a handgun and demand my purse. Too bold!

Well, I figured, what the heck and shrugged it off. Unfortunately, I should have quit while I was ahead. The next time I went in, my iced tea arrived festooned with the carcass of a baby roach. ew. OK. That was it for me.

There's another Vietnamese joint in town my boss loves, so we went there Thursday. Much cleaner, thank goodness. But I arrived early and went to the bathroom to wash my hands. The gel in the soap dispenser wasn't soap - I strongly suspect it was anti-bacterial hand gel. My hands felt more disgusting after this "wash" than before. So, as I'm drying my hands, my married ring goes flying off and lands by the roach bait under the terlit. Ew. What a total grossout.

Now, mind you, the dropping-the-ring thing wasn't their fault, but for goodness' sake - soap is soap, people, and "sanitizer" is NOT soap. Soap works because it breaks the cell walls of dirt bits, and if you are washing properly and for a decent amount of time, your hands will be *ting!* CLEAN when you finish washing with soap. Sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best way. Hand sanitizer should be held in reserve for those moments that facilities for washing are not available.

About 7 years ago I was performing with a classical vocal ensemble, and in our travels, we went over the border in Matamoros (super down-market) Mexico for a day of shopping. I'll never forget being aghast as my fellow singers stepped off the bus, clustered on the dusty Mexican street, an obviously rich and predominantly white bunch of Americans, blocking the donkey path as they handed around the anti-bacterial gel.

I savored the irony later when the same idiots were getting sloshed on maragaritas filled with ice which was no doubt manufactured from the local pathogen-infested water. Monteczuma's revenge, they call it. I'm ok with that, just so's we know there was some ugly Americanism going on up front that warranted a wee bit o'payback.

Oh, and WTbloodyF is UP with the traffic in DFW lately? It's been like day-after-Thanksgiving traffic over and over lately. Spending 45 minutes to travel a mile - Maddening! I need a jet-pack.

Saturday's post will be late in the day. Hopefully when my cable comes Monday, I'll be back on my regular schedule and again the social butterfly.

Today when I called up the phone company to cancel my DSL, the girl tried to run through a spiel of extra services they'd like to offer me, and this after I'd been bitching about the crap service her company provided. I responded by saying that if they couldn't even keep a clear phone line and DSL running for me, why on earth would I jeopardize other services that actually keep me connected to the outside world? More on that crap next week, no doubt.

Have a great weekend.


Meg said...

Soooo the gel + water? Hummmm.... No wonder the married ring jumped.

Anonymous said...

You cancelled your Dick Sucking Lips?


HollyB said...

Well, being a 'child' of the '70's, I had a bunch of friends who came back from 'Nam with stories of puppies and monkeys used as meat in Vietnamese food, so I've always been leery of that particular cuisine.
I was visiting some friends in Houston one time. They suggested we have lunch at this great place they knew down by the new Convention Center. Turned out to be a VN place. Clean enough. But I couldn't find very many things on the menu that sounded mild enough to be appetizing. I have a cast iron stomach, but a very tender mouth. Finally, Geo ordered for me. When my meal came, I had no implements of destruction. Geo patiently explained I was supposed to wrap my portion in a lettuce leaf, dip it in the sauce, and eat it.
I was appalled! You eat lettuce cut up and smothered in Ranch dressing, or maybe Bleu Cheese. NOT wrapped around meat(?) and veggies!!! Call me provincial, call me narrow-minded, but that was my first and last experience with VN food! I'll stick with Chinese or Japanese from now on. said...

Well, what you experienced was the real Vietnam thing! That's what it was like over there. Here it's called ambiance!

Thomas J Wolfenden said...

When I read "I have to say I LOVE Vietnamese food" I was really glad I didn't see any mention of Nuc Mam...

You don't want to know what that is.


Kelly said...

I like Vietnamese too. I have no problem broadening my horizons and trying food from other cultures.

Sometimes, my dear Phlegm, it's safer not to go in the bathrooms. And that hand gel stuff just makes me feel dirtier when I use it. I always have to follow up by running my hands under water if I'm forced to use it.

Nuoc mam...the scent is like nothing else I've ever experienced in my life. Revolting, but damn if it doesn't add nice flavor. I actually own a bottle.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You have touched a nerve with me on the anti-bacterial gel. Not only are they inferior to soap (for the very reason you stated) at cleaning dirt away, but by their very nature they provide absolutely no protection from viruses and yet so many people use them during cold season to fight off a cold virus. All they do is contribute to the overabundance of bacterial fighters in our environment.

Silver the Evil Chao said...

Ugh, roaches.

You're brave. I would probably start screaming if I saw a roach on the table. Then I'd throw up. x.x;;

Cable internet rocks. It's FAST. ;)

Dick said...

When in Rome...
Secondly, have you ever dug into a freshly murdered Howler monkey?
When you're out in the bush, and hungry as hell, doe-poppin a local monkey is a heavenly thought.
The little bastards are greasy as hell, and gamey like you've never tasted, almost vile smelling, but they go down so damn good.
Just gut the little fucker first, and make damn sure to pull out all of the entrails, or they taste kind of nasty.

A lettuce leaf fucked you up? Give me a break.

Phlegm, let's do dinner this weekend!

Anonymous said...

The traffic has sucked lately.

Come see my new blog.

(it's me, non-gf)

Anonymous said...

Oh Phlegmmy, the traffic thingie is a hangover from going of DST back to standard time.

Anytime after 3 PM when folks realize the sun is setting- NOW- they tend to 'lemming up' and all try to get to the same point simultaneously. It's always the worst for a couple of weeks after the time shift.

This week we also have the additional influx of a couple hundred thouseand yahoos for the races this weekend. Even 75 south out of Plano has been bad all day all week. That 183 bridge getting hit by the truck at midweek at noon is and closing 30 for the weekend isn't doing any favors to downtown, either. Of course, it took me an hour to go from Richardson to Carrollton at midday all this week, too.

Jetpacks, indeed.


Anonymous said...

Matamoros rocks! ...if you like roasted dog!

LJ said...

They say that, come the big one, cockroaches will inherit the earth. The cockroaches, apparently, think they already have. Or at least, they are starting with restaurants.
I loved the Mexico story.

SJ said...

I remember being in a hostel in Auskland, NZ, cooking a pot of soup with one hand and fighting off an invasion of roaches with the other. In the end I threw the soup out because I wasn't convinced some hadn't managed to get in

hammer said...

I have never had vietnamese food. But Thai yes. I wonder if they are similar.

Maven said...

Just when I thought the visual couldn't get any better after the words "festooned with a baby cockroach," you made me have a full body dry heave when your ring ended up in the roach trap.

Anyone got a Pepto?

Fabulous post!

phlegmfatale said...

meg - trust me - it was nasty!

tony - *LOL*

holly b - you sheltered little darling! *grin* I can understand, but I really LOVE Thai lettuce wraps. Oh, and the german meat wrapped in cooked cabbage Kohlrouladen - is superb. Yum! I don't blame you, a bad first experience with any cuisine will forever color how you perceive the lot of that culture's fare. So, I'm guessing you've never had 100 year old eggs?

mushy - Ambience. Ew. I suppose you don't want to go overboard with that mess!

ranger tom - Urgh, now i'm going to have to wikipedia nuc mam - I can't stand not knowing.

kelly - I love when my opinions dovetail with those of a woman of science like yourself.
Nuoc mam - now you're making me think it's rotten fish sauce or some such?

barbara - EXACTLY - why can't people figure out that they are actually contributing to the antibiotic-resistant strains of creepy crawlies all around us? Annoying!

silver the evil chao - I LOVE your name. Yeah, well, I'm not the run-out-shrieking kind of gal, but revulsion was duly noted. What was disgusting was trying to think back to if I'd ever had a little lump of anything come through my straw when I drank iced tea there before - I'd usually think it was a lemon pip, but now, not so sure... ew.

big dick - um, I almost puked out my nose when I read your howler monkey bit - I'm almost afraid to ask, but is that a personal experience you were recounting, or maybe I don't want to know?

bottlejobblonde - LOVE the new blog, babe. Glad you're around.

rabbit --AAAAAAH SO! THAT 'splains it. THat makes me feel so much better - was worried that something sinister was afoot, like a massive influx of people with similar schedules to mine living and working near me. eek.

tony - is THAT what was in my taco? Ew. It really needed some Kikkoman sauce.

lj - I marvel that they are so resilient, cockroaches. Glad you got a giggle over the Mexico story - I have often thought back to that scene and chuckled to myself

scaramouche - ew - I don't blame you - wouldn't want to ingest a stowaway, now, would we? yuck.

hammer - Thai and Vietnamese food are a little similar, but the seasoning is rather different - I find Thai food more satisfying and filling, and there are a few V. dishes that smell very bad to me, so I'm pickier there than at a Thai restaurant.

nuggetmaven - Glad you found a silver lining to my little raincloud.

FHB said...

Went to a Vietnamese place once with a few guys after a movie. The soup was awesome, but I don't remember where it was now. Have to find out from my buddy. No critters were seen.

Becky said...

I have to confess that my favorite Korean place in Hawaii was one of those where I just didn't want to look in the kitchen.

Dick said...

Personal experience.

phlegmfatale said...

fathairybastard - Lucky you. I DO love their soups, especially with the clear broth so then you can dump in sriracha sauce and soy and go to town. Also lots of fresh cilantro. YUM.

becky - Yeah, I can understand that disinclination to look too closely

dick - EEEK!