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CWE Ideas: A Taste of Southeast Asia

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Food and Drink travel  Thai 202 TechArtista Slow Food convivium Mark Kurlansky Left Bank Books Dr. Jeff Marsh CWE Ideas Thought Salon Central West End

Join us for a Taste of Southeast Asia

CWE Ideas invites you to a Southeast Asia slide presentation and buffet dinner prepared by Anajak Suebsawangkul, Head Chef and Owner of Thai 202. This event will be hosted on Wednesday, May 31 at TechArtista Coworking, 4818 Washington (just east of Euclid) from 6:30pm – 8:00pm.

Longtime CWE residents Beki and Jeff Marsh have been visiting Asia together since the early 1980’s. Their slide presentation will offer a taste of their experiences in Southeast Asia (previously known as Indochina).

For more information on the Marshes, here is a blogpost titled Dr. Jeff and Beki Marsh and the Bhutan Cleft Care Project found on Nicki’s Central West End Guide (http://bit.ly/2pOZZRY). Beki started the Slow Food convivium in St. Louis and in Missouri. I attended a very special Slow Food event at the Marshes years ago featuring a discussion with author Mark Kurlansky (Salt, Cod, 1968) ahead of his appearance at Left Bank Books.

And for more information on Thai202, stop by the restaurant located at 235 North Euclid Avenue and try the fast-casual dishes prepared freshly by Anajak and his staff!

The registration fee is $15 and it includes a Thai beer and food. Wine and beer will be available for purchase. We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

CWE Ideas

On being a tourist in San Francisco

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink travel  Sump Coffee Song Tea and Ceramics SFMOMA San Francisco Legion of Honor Diane Arbus

As followers of this blog have observed, I frequently travel to San Francisco to visit family.  I was back there two weeks ago and this time the visit included an in-depth tour of several well-known tourist destinations, which I’ve seen many times, but never really observed at a leisurely pace. Thanks to my sister Sandy’s extensive itinerary and copious notes, we strolled through Chinatown and Japantown, sampled teas, stopped in a fortune cookie factory, Japanese paper shops and visited a couple of museums too.

The photo, above, shows Chinatown at the intersection of Grant and California Avenues. The area is the oldest Chinese settlement in North America and home to the largest Chinese population outside mainland China. Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral & Chinese Mission is located at the same intersection and holds special memories for me—our son was married there.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink travel  Sump Coffee Song Tea and Ceramics SFMOMA San Francisco Legion of Honor Diane Arbus

 

The dramatic Lenten altar at Old St. Mary’s, left. The cathedral was built in 1853 with granite quarried in China and brick from New England. It survived the earthquake of 1906 only to burn to the ground the day after by fires caused by the quake. The cathedral reopened in 1909.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink travel  Sump Coffee Song Tea and Ceramics SFMOMA San Francisco Legion of Honor Diane Arbus   Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Food and Drink travel  Sump Coffee Song Tea and Ceramics SFMOMA San Francisco Legion of Honor Diane Arbus

Waverley Place, now known as “the street of painted balconies,” was formerly called “15 Cent Street,” where haircuts were 15 cents. This is also we climbed many steps to visit the Tin How Temple (the Goddess of Heaven and Sea), the oldest Chinese temple in the U. S.

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Meet CWEnder Nicola MacPherson

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Services travel  Timber Farms The Sinks Salem News Ozark Forest Mushrooms Nicola MacPherson Hellmuth & Bicknese Beaver Lake Guest House air bnb

The oft-heard advice to bloom where you’re planted came to mind recently when I interviewed CWEnder Nicola MacPherson, above, to learn more about her business, Ozark Forest Mushrooms. The Wales native was attending the University of Yorkshire when she met St. Louisan Dan Hellmuth, who was at the university for his junior year abroad. They married and MacPherson moved to St. Louis, a place she had never been. At first, she said, it was not only a huge adjustment but she was also lonely. Twenty-seven years and 2 children later, she has put down strong roots in the Central West End as well as on the Hellmuth family farm, Timber Farms The Sinks, in the Missouri Ozark Big Springs region. She still visits family in Wales as often as she can.

Shortly after they were married, the couple participated in an alternative farming workshop in Kansas City where they learned that their heavily timbered 500-acre property located 3 hours southwest of St. Louis (between Salem and Eminence) was conducive to growing mushrooms, a timber product. The area, according to the website, is “designated one of the ‘Last Great Places’ by the Nature Conservancy and abounds with crystal clear springs (always 55 degrees) and vast areas of forest.” The area is also known as the Irish Wilderness as it was populated by immigrants from Ireland and England.

In the photo above, MacPherson is shown with boxes of yellow oyster and shiitake mushrooms that were to be delivered later that afternoon to chefs in area restaurants.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Services travel  Timber Farms The Sinks Salem News Ozark Forest Mushrooms Nicola MacPherson Hellmuth & Bicknese Beaver Lake Guest House air bnb   The couple also discovered that the micro-climate on the farm is similar to areas of Japan where shiitake mushrooms are grown. In Japanese, “shii” means hardwood, like oak (which is in abundant supply in the Ozarks), and “take” means mushroom. Last year they toured southern Japan to gain more knowledge of farming techniques growing shiitakes, which in Japan are believed to be medicinal. “A shiitake a day, keeps the doctor away,” added Nikki MacPherson.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Services travel  Timber Farms The Sinks Salem News Ozark Forest Mushrooms Nicola MacPherson Hellmuth & Bicknese Beaver Lake Guest House air bnb   Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Services travel  Timber Farms The Sinks Salem News Ozark Forest Mushrooms Nicola MacPherson Hellmuth & Bicknese Beaver Lake Guest House air bnb

Photo courtesy of Timber Farms The Sinks website

MacPherson, above, started the agro-forestry crop (growing food out of trees) on 20-4′ white oak logs which were inoculated with mushroom strands (mycelium). Twenty-five years later, the business has grown so that she now employs 4 local “wood people” full-time, and other workers part-time, to tend to 20,000 logs (see crib stacks above) on which 4 varieties of shiitakes, 3 varieties of oyster mushrooms, as well as many other types of organic mushrooms are grown. To get an idea of the work involved in mushroom production, the crew first drills 1/2″ holes every 2 to 3 inches and then inoculates 6,500 logs with mushroom spawn each year. As Nikki said, farming “tree to table” is not an easy business, but she seems to thrive on it.

While I took copious notes about mushroom farming when we had lunch at Bowood Farms, for more detailed and accurate information I suggest you read reporter Andrew Shelley’s excellent article published in The Salem News last June. (more…)