Nürnberg: Rock Konzert

Day 10, 07.03.2009: Rock Concert at Desi

My group met up with Herr Birkelbach to talk about our week in BERLIN! I was slightly worried that our meals were already planned out, since most people in my group didn’t know I was vegetarian, but H. Birkelbach told me not to worry because he’s vegetarian too! Score. Afterwards, we continued our class on war films in Deutsch. There was a huge debate about whether plot or music was more important to a film. At least a third of the people in my group voted on music. I voted for plot because it sets the environment from which music is developed. Trying to vocalize my argument comprehensibly in German was really difficult. Herr Besmens just stared at me with an incredibly puzzled look for at least 10 seconds before going, “…okay…?” Allow me to dissolve into my desk and chair in embarrassment now. We watched this movie called “Paths of Glory” and I thought it was okay. Pretty boring. The dialogue, situations, and characters’ actions were so ludicrous  sometimes that suspension of disbelief was not possible. But perhaps I missed the point because it was dubbed in German spoken too quickly.

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Lunch of the day–creamed broccoli with fettucine–paired with view of incoming storm.

I joined Clara in her Religion class later, and ended up reading Grapes of Wrath for my summer AP English homework instead of listening to the teacher. Clara and I went home, ate lunch, and watched this romance film called “Barfuß” (barefoot) and it was a cute romance flick. The story was basically about this girl who’s been sheltered by her mother all her life and is incapable of handling the outside world. After mother dies, she’s sent to a mental asylum, where she tried to commit suicide but was saved in time by this guy working there. She sees him as her savior and starts following him everywhere and he’s this punk who’s used to looking out for himself, yadayadayada.

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Dinner of the day–buttered squash with tomato sauce and rice–paired with lovely view of hail

Around 5pm, it started pouring and a couple minutes later it was hailing like crazy. Hail is forever exciting to a Californian. I opened the windows and tried to catch as many pieces as I could. They were so big! Later that night, Clara took me to a rock concert held at this Biergarten called Desi, where the local bands were holding an anti-Nazi event. AWESOME music. There was a steam punk band with an awesomesauce clarinetist. The music and crowd were pumpin’ so hard that my ears hurt half an hour into the show. I literally stuffed cotton balls into my ears to lessen some of the pounding. Stephanie (this girl I met from group 5) and I would occasionally go out and for some sweet silence. While we waited for our hearing to come back, we played foosball with Clara, this random dude, and Clara’s friend. Stephanie and I lost the first round,  but random dude and I won the other two.

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Clara and I had also gone to Desi the day before to meet her friends. Atmosphere was cozy and very hipster, with artsy, handwritten signs lining the steps up to the bar.  I tried regular beer at first, and we really did not click. So, Clara suggested a mix of Coke and beer, but the taste of beer was still way too strong for me. Same with the cocktails I tried from her friends. We spent a couple of hours there, just chilling and gossiping about high school things. On our way home, there were some absolutely wasted Americans in our boxcar. Drunk people are hilarious–I was a prudish high school kid and listening to such dirty talk made me feel more like a young adult than ever. The entire car was stuffy with beer vapor. Clara told me later that there’s an American military base about 20 minutes from Roßtal and that’s probably where they were from. When we got off at our stop, they asked me where I was from and I shouted “LAAAAAA!” and all of them went “WHOOP WHOOP! YEAAAAAH REPRESEEEEENTTTT! AMERICAAAA”. Our ride home after the concert, however, had no drunken Americans and was very quiet.

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三六九素包子店, 369 Buns, Taipei

369baoziOne of my mom’s best friends in college recommended this place to us. It’s actually a chain, but she told us the one on 長春路 [Changchun Rd] and  遼寧街口 [Liaoning St] is the best. I haven’t been to any of the other stores, so I can’t say if that’s true. Regardless, they make the best 包子 [baozi, or bun] that I’ve ever had. You would walk right past it if you weren’t careful. My mom and I always get our haircuts right around the corner, and this is the place we go to afterwards for a quick, dirty, and delicious lunch. I’ve managed to figure out its location by looking for the 長春市場 [chang chun shi chang, or Changchun market]. I believe they’re diagonally across from each other (??). Feel free to correct me though. 🙂 And since 2012/13, they’ve had a name change to 正饌素食 [zheng zhuan su shi]. However, the people who run the place haven’t changed, and neither has the quality of their food.

369baozi2The storefront is narrow and sits no more than 20 people at most. There are about 4 small tables inside. The menu is a short list of about 15 items, most of them buns. Go figure. It costs about 17 NTD/bun, which is about $0.50 USD! SO CHEAP! And they’re rather large buns too, which makes it all the more worth it.

369baozi3369baozi4There are 8 flavors of bun, some sweet and some savory. We tend get the savory buns. My favorites are the 香菇脆筍包 [xiang gu cui sun bao, or mushroom and bamboo shoot bun] and the 四季豆包 [si ji dou bao, or green bean bun]. I’m the kind of person who loves food with texture, e.g. chunky peanut butter and minestrone, and the filling made at 369 always fulfills this criterion. The mushrooms in the mushroom/bamboo bun are always tender and juicy; the bamboo is always crisp and fresh. The green beans are never mushy–I love the feeling of the beans popping out of the pod and into my mouth. And there’s always a dash of sesame oil in there. Mmm. 😀 All the other flavors are equally delicious too, so try them all!

369baozi5The filling is then lovingly wrapped in the most wonderfully springy wrapper a steamed bun could have. Upon breaking it open, warm steam powders your face. Fingers leave gentle grooves in the supple and slightly spongy dough, like a Tempur-Pedic mattress. Pair these buns with some 黑豆漿 [hei dou jiang, or black soybean milk] and you’re set. Their black soymilk is made in limited quantity, so beat the lunch rush to get it!

Venture outside of the buns and you will be rewarded with some of the tastiest dumplings outside of Din Tai Fung (in my humble opinion). The style is entirely different, but 369’s dumplings are like little bags of gold–so heavy and full with delicious mustard green filling. You get about  8-10 pieces for 50 NTD, or $1.50 USD.

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I also really, really like the 蘿蔔絲餅 [luo buo si bing, or sesame turnip pastry] they make there. Flaky pastry shell with sesame baked into it, and finely shredded turnip sauteed with white pepper. My mom never fails to get their 冬粉 [dong feng]. Vermicelli noodle soup with Chinese celery, daikon, shredded bamboo, A 菜 [Taiwanese chard], fried tofu, and some really tasty homemade bean curd roll-ups.

So if you want great, cheap food, go check 369 out at 台北市中山區遼寧街152號 [Taipei Zhongshan District Liaoning St, No. 152]!