Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Greetings from Mock Duck, USA!

Did you know that Minneapolis is the Mock Duck capital of the US? Neither did I, officially, until I saw that PETA deal, but it makes sense. When I moved to Chicago about three years ago I lived in Uptown, near the Argyle stop, kind of a vibrant Vietnamese neighborhood. Being from Minneapolis, I associated Vietnamese food with mock duck, and while I was able to purchase those beautiful briny blue cans in the Asian supermarkets near Argyle, I couldn't find it in a restaurant to save my life.

So Twin Cities, you're quaint as hell, passive agressive as a mother-in-law (pardon the sterotyping, will you please?), but you've got mock duck going for you.

Now. To all you restaurants out there serving mock duck, and also to the Surly Vegan home audience, I can't stress enough the importance of pressing the brine out of your mock duck before cooking with it. I mean really press it. Don't stop there, either, because you need to marinate it in a good veggie stock or some other such concoction (that includes, among other things, a bay leaf, some sesame oil, maybe some white pepper and a little sri racha rooster brand hot sauce) for some time before you fry it up. If there's one thing I hate (Caravelle on Eat Street, I'm talking to you, though you're certainly not the sole offenders here) it's briny mock duck, and I'd venture to guess no one else likes it either.

If you want a restaurant that really knows how to prepare that shit, treat yourself to the mock duck and potatoes at Kinh Do. That's the first restaurant in which I ever dined with a large group of vegans, probably before I was even vegan, and I've been going back ever since. Since I love the hell out of some Thai food, I was pleased as a priest at a playground when Kinh Do added some Thai offerings to their menu. Now if only they'd deliver, I wouldn't have to mess around with Uptown...(for the out of towners, I'm complaining about Uptown Minneapolis here, not the aforementioned Uptown Chicago. In some bizarre twist, Uptown Minneapolis is South of Downtown. Go figure. I could complain about the gentrification of Uptown Chicago, but I fear it would be misplaced in this blog, and really, who's paying attention anyway?)

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Actually, I do know that one person at least is paying attention. That's right, kids, the Surly Vegan audience is growing by leaps and bounds to a confirmed one. Thank you, SG, for checking in. SG stumbled over from another one of my nerd haunts, www.bikeforums.net, and promised to keep reading if I keep up the current pace. Well, I should mention that I am a full-time student and a full-time employee, and unfortunately (?) I don't have a desk job, so I kind of pull this stuff out of my ass on the fly, but I'll do my best.

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This has nothing to do with veganism and everything to do with surliness. I live in a working-class neighborhood that has more progressives than it knows what to do with. I rent a unit in a four-plex, and today went over to the National Night Out event with my wife and our immediate next-door neighbors. We met some people, and they were nice enough, right up until they found out where we all lived. "Oh, I really hope they convert those to condos." "I love this neighborhood, but it would be nice, for stability, to get rid of the renters. Oh, not you guys, of course, you're good renters."

I made myself go over to this thing against my cynical nature, in the hopes that maybe a little community-building would do the neighborhood some good, but in the end I guess there's some people that aren't worth building with. Look, it's great that you could afford to buy and I can't, but why don't you go fuck yourself before you pass any more judgement on me and my lowly kind.

Anyway, Minneapolis can't sustain it's current housing boom as it is without another landlord trying to turn a profit converting an apartment building into condos, especially where we live. Here's what would happen: maybe people would buy initially, but they'd never get their money back out of the place, there would be a perpetual for sale sign out in front of this and the buildings on either side of us, preventing the appreciation of the nearby homes, causing everyone to think wistfully of the days when those nice couples lived in those apartments and talked shit on them in their blogs.

And who the hell puts meat in bean dip? WTF?

So we went home and staked up some tomatoes that were totally out of control, ate the first cherry tomato of the season, and ordered Pizza Luce, who are doing great thing with mock duck, by the way. Maybe I'll do some real cooking tomorrow.

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