Love this track.

vienna3 cafe vienna

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Before the art installations, graffiti parties, or Halloween parties, before squatters took over and it was ever nicknamed Bates Motel, the Sunset Pacific motel on Sunset was simply known as Mr. Eng’s Office to my family and me. And this was where I spent many of my childhood vacations.

It was Edward Eng, my dad’s boss, who owned the motel and property. When you entered through the “lobby” and went through a door behind the counter, there was a larger room in the back, which was where Mr. Eng’s accounting business that my father managed before taking over and moving the practice to Monterey Park, taking with him the majority of his Chinese clients.

This was where I spent summer vacations and most bitterly, many spring breaks, which was more like a week-long labor camp aka tax season. Instead of going on vacation like normal kids, my brother, sister, and I worked. While I was too young to enter people’s tax information onto the worksheets, which is what my older siblings would do, I sorted the client’s receipts. This trivial task suited a child of six or seven as I would just arrange these bits of paper into neat piles and staple them to make it easier for the employees to add up. Usually, the week after my mom would buy us discounted egg dying kits and chocolate rabbits because my parents were too busy working up until April 15. We always missed Easter.

Edward Eng (but we only ever called him Mr. Eng) was a looming presence but was never in the office — I never met him, but I heard a lot about him. How he had a horrible temper and yelled a lot. He was clearly a formidable man, even to my father, who also has a legendary temper. But also how he was exceptionally clever — he was an account, a lawyer, and prolific L.A. property owner — including his ranch in Half Moon Bay, and in the midwest, where he’d go for old fashioned animal hunts. The upstairs of the office had a giant bear and tiger that he hunted, now spread eagled, and mounted to his wall, along with an innocuous mounted moose head. He shot all of these animals himself. And as a child terrified of everything, I would hold my pee for as long as possible, because this was where the restroom was so very conveniently located. I refused to go up there by myself among the animals in the dark and decrepit room. With their eyes and mouths ferociously open, as if they were lunging at him just before he shot them dead.
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11 Often Discarded Parts of Meat and Produce That You Can Eat

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In Epping Forest, outside of London.

Epping Forest

I was all ready to pick dandelion leaves for salad, but none was to be found.

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Devil’s Dyke was the best walk I’ve had in a while. As much as I love hiking, I would be motivated to go more often if there was a “Hiker’s Rest” in the middle of every walk serving delicious cream teas (with amazing clotted cream) outside of a 19th century barn.

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I have become like my parents where, when I’m in a city in some other part of the world, I have to visit Chinatown, if there is one. In case you were wondering, Chinese roast duck looks and tastes the same just about everywhere — London, Paris, Vancouver, Manchester, and after this weekend, Liverpool.

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Since England has sort of become my second home it feels important to learn about the Chinese immigrant experience here.

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Photo: mysupermarket.co.uk

Photo: mysupermarket.co.uk

A few months ago, I had some dark, leafy greens at the Hawksmoor served braised with a Sunday roast. They were tender like mustard and collard greens but sweeter and without any of the bitterness.

Suspecting that these “Fresh British greens” were the same greens, I gave it a go — they are just as delicious sautéed in olive oil and garlic. I also added them in risotto. I am sure they will be starring in some gratin, stir-fry and noodle soup very soon.

But I still don’t know what they are. It’s a bit unfair that something this good is given such a generic name that googling it will pull up anything that’s fresh, green and British-grown.

Anyone out there have any idea if there’s another name for these greens?

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