“Extreme close-up of my Grape Tomatoes” and other neighborhood photos

Minimal Cafe, Shida neighborhood. This coffeehouse is pretentious, over-priced, and crowded… and also is a cat sanctuary. I can steal it’s wifi from Borneo next door.

Two nights ago when I got back from Shanghai, I ordered a plate of pasta, just because it was on the menu and I had to eat something.  Last night, however, I found myself craving pasta.  Is semolina addictive?

So I took my camera down the street two blocks to Mita Pasta, which bills itself as Italian, but reminds me more of Provence.  This is a chain, folks, not a big destination with great cultural significance.

The bill came out to 200块, which was weird for a plate of pasta, but I paid it.  I think they charged me for le menu, which means I somehow turned down a bowl of soup, a salad, a dessert, and a drink… which is fine, that plate of pasta was really all I wanted.   200块 is probably an exorbitant amount to spend on dinner for one in Taipei, but then again it’s less than seven bones USD.

Wide-angle from the laundry porch, minimal post… just a little saturation boost.

wide angle from the 5th floor laundry porch, with a bunch of cheesy post-effects.

Ānfū Street, the little ‘mainstreet’ area of this neighborhood.

Mita Pasta. Tables are set with carafes of water with two grape tomatoes and a mandolin-sliced calamansi. I think in photo class we called this “rhythm”

Mita Pasta. It’s supposed to be an Italian restaurant, but there are huge reproductions of watercolors of provençal scenes, with commentary written in French. I wonder if these were taken from Peter Mail’s “A Year in Provence”

this mug has a crazy shaped handle that form-fits to the shape of my grip. next time I go I’m going to order a dozen cups of coffee, and when I’ve drank it all I will slip each up into my backpack, and walk out. whistling.

Spaghetti in cream sauce, with bacon and a a raw egg yolk. The egg yolk presentation on top like that reminds me of a carbonara I ordered once in an Italian restaurant in Avignon, (Provence, France). The cream sauce did not.

Subway vs. Street Food. A lot of Americans I know would head straight for the Subway, out of familiarity. But in this situation, you have to ask yourself; which of these contexts will Taiwanese/Chinese people get *right*? They’re making your food, which one do *they* have a better understanding of?

  1. 法租界 fǎzūjiè: French Concession, in Shanghai
  2. 沒圖沒真相 méi tú méi zhēnxiàng: “Pics or it didn’t happen”
  3. 套餐 tàocān:  le menu (French), combo, fixed menu (American English), set meal/lunch set/dinner set (International English)

Note to Americans:  if you travel, you’ll end up saying “set menu, lunch set, dinner set” a lot, in Europe and in Asia.  Non-Americans love to help you limit your menu options; it helps keep it simple in the kitchen and keeps you from taking an hour to read the whole damn menu.  I know it sounds gross to concede to International English, but the “set meal” is usually a pretty good deal; you’ll eat a complete, civilized meal, at a reasonable price.  Going for that is better than the alternatives, which is often getting frustrated at the foreign menu and ending up with two sides of potatoes and some ketchup packets.

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