I noticed there's an awful lot of China Buffets in Minnesota & Wisconsin. Upon further geeky investigation I find that 80 (out of 3027) restaurants in my ever-expanding database are called China Buffet, not counting all the New China Buffets & other such variations. 247 restaurants have "Buffet" somewhere in their name. That's not as many as I thought. But then, buffets do not always announce themselves as such.

Of course, the burning question now is: are all the China Buffets related to each other?

Meanwhile, Mary's mother sent along some lovely menus from Georgia. Turns out they have *shrimp* rangoons there, instead of crab. Will wonders never cease?!

I really like how people's mothers are getting all into this project.... Karen's mother sent some great stuff too.


I'm so dismayed about the war, & this morning have been schlumping around the house in a fit of pajama'd depression, until I got an email from Amy about this guy who is working his way systematically through every dish on the menu at Henry's Hunan in San Francisco. So fabulous! Such admirable tenacity! I love people's weird obsessions & the websites that go with them!

More inspiration providing some counterbalance to the war: a triple threat of friends' art openings, starting with Kim Anno's beautiful paintings last night. Heather Johnson up in Santa Rosa tomorrow, Debra Greene on Thursday the 3rd. (Trust me, I've sent you to the right places for these shows; galleries are notorious for slow website updating.)

It also helped a lot to hear Saul Williams delivering the Pledge of Resistance as only he can. Powerful!

In wartime when the destructive stupidity of humanity is so apparent, we really need the creative intelligence that art manifests. All you artists out there, rock on!


Could it be that Minnesota is the Last Uncool Place? I can't find any Minnesota travel books around here... I tried the library & 4 very good bookstores, & there is just nothing where Minnesota should be. The travel bookstore had a book about Minneapolis/St. Paul & a Minnesota history book, but that's the closest I got. What, people around here never want to go to Minnesota? Very interesting... I didn't have this problem with Wyoming. I got a really good guide for Wyoming with no trouble at all. Looks like I gotta go online, sigh....

In contrast, you'd be amazed how many people exclaim, "I grew up in Minnesota!" or "I used to live in Minnesota!" when I mention I'm going there.


Can I just say that I am completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of Chinese restaurants in Minnesota?


So. Every time I go to Phoenix I always eat this shrimp & mayonnaise thing. It's shrimp smeared with mayo & it's mixed with candied walnuts that have sesame seeds on them. This is a warm dish, not a shrimp salad. I've never understood the warm mayonnaise thing, or what mayonnaise is doing in Chinese food anyway, but it's actually pretty good. Warm mayo in person is not nearly as vile as it sounds in the abstract. I don't know which of my relatives is responsible for this dish appearing at every restaurant meal. Maybe it's everybody. Maybe there is something about living in Phoenix that makes you really want to eat shrimp with mayonnaise & walnuts whenever possible?

All I know is that I was eating it about 40 minutes after stepping off the plane. "Wow, I must be in Phoenix!"

Actually, the last time I was there, about a year ago, someone clued me in to the fact that you can actually get this dish in lots of places, including the Bay Area and Hong Kong. (They were like, what is wrong with you that you think we only have this here?!) The Hong Kong part was what made me suspect the mayonnaise must be a Brit thang. Where else could it have come from?


Off-topic again: I've been going around making smart remarks about how I was into duct tape before it was cool, but now I realize that some people have waaay more rights to such a claim. I mean really! I want one of those purses....