Monthly Archives: November 2014

Stone soup at Hotel Bel Air – a dessert I’ll remember forever

I am a frequent visitor of Hotel Bel Air. I am very impressed by their staff, and their excellent food. Once in a while I like to write about something unusual that they created, and now is one of those times. I’ve ordered most of the desserts on the menu at one time or another. I remember one of their desserts had a bunch of items that didn’t seem to belong together such as cantaloupe, ice cream, tres leches cake, berries, and a more antiquated elegant type of ice cream. All of the components were excellent, but somehow they didn’t quite belong together. But, the ingredients in Stone Soup went seamlessly together!

Stone Soup
I am a bit sad to say that although I wrote down the ingredients in Stone Soup, I can’t find where I wrote them down — and they are not available online. I remember that there was nectarine, granola, ice cream, and a pretzel shaped object that looked like it was made out of hardened marshmallow. I remember a touch of mint which was wonderful as well. There were more ingredients, but I can’t find where I wrote them down! The impressive part was the peach sauce which was poured on after the fact. As I wrote above, often times, fancy restaurants will put lots of different ingredients together that don’t necessarily gel together. But, this Stone Soup really was unusual, and the ingredients went together flawlessly. I’m surprised that I have never heard of this soup before.

Oh, and by the way. There were no stones in the soup. I’m not sure how this soup got its name!

Thai Burgers Anyone?

Places with fun burgers
It is fun to go to places like The Counter and get custom made burgers. What was even more fun at The Counter was when I did burger and beer tastings once. I got burgers done the way they like it instead of how I like it and it was very interesting. The sauces and the combinations of extras was quite unusual. However, the beers that accompanied the pairing were really awful and didn’t exactly match the flavors in the burger either. But, burger and beer tasting is a great idea. But, what about Thai burgers?

It is common for fun places to have multiple types of burgers. The mushroom burger, portobello, various types of cheeses, etc. But, I have never heard of a Thai burger. What would it be like?

Thai burgers
The meat of a Thai burger should be grilled. Perhaps a chicken burger, or maybe beef or even pork. I could even picture a mixture of meats. But, the meat should be well grilled and a bit charred on the outside.

The seasonings could include basil, mint, galanga (an Indonesian spice common to most Thai curries) as well as coconut or peanut sauce. Some lime could accompany the sauces as well. The philosophy behind the seasonings in a Thai burger are based somewhat on Thai sate which is a popular appetizer. It is grilled meat with a peanut, sweet, or hot sauce. The other flavors are common in Thai stir fry or salads. But, rather than generalize about Thai flavors for cooking meat, and let’s come up with some specific ideas.

The Angel Burger
We’ve all had Thai angel wings which are stuffed with glass noodles and spices. But, what if this concept could be turned into an innovative and bizarre burger? Let’s first create a patty out of chicken meat, but not regular chicken meat. Let’s use the wing meat for extra flavor. We could even fry the wings before we grind them and then mix that meat with ground meat and put glass noodles in the middle. I’m not sure how this would turn out. You might have to add the glass noodles after the fact! The burger could be cut into four quarters and each quarter (or create sliders) could have a different sauce. A lemongrass sauce, peanut sauce, sweet & spicy sauce, and a red curry sauce for the last quarter.

The Pork Belly Slider
Pork belly is popular with Koreans as it was a traditional food that helped coal miners maintain lung health. The fat in the pork belly helps to remove heavy metals from the lungs! What if you cooked some pork belly, ground it up and mixed it with ground pork, and created a patty you could grill? Then, it could be served with a spicy sesame sauce. Maybe this sounds more Korean than Thai, but it sounds delicious to me.

Wagyu Beef
Nothing beats a high quality beef like Wagyu or Kobe beef. The taste of the beef has a lot to do with where it is raised as well as what name brand it is. But, a good wagyu beef burger would go well with a peanut sate sauce in a burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, and perhaps a little mint or basil to add a little unique Thai touch to it.

Beef short ribs AKA kalbi
Forgive me, for I live near Koreatown. I rarely eat there, but, the culture has influenced me. Kalbi sliders, tacos, or anything else you can think of sound wonderful to me. But, what Thai seasonings would this traditionally Korean specialty go well with? Why not do tortilla lime short rib tacos with a basil / mint Thai sauce on the top. How is that for tri-cultural innovation?

Mixed meat
It might be fun to have a burger that is not all beef. Why not mix chicken, beef, and pork in one burger. You could have a cashew spice sauce as well just to be different. Or just use the regular sate sauce which has spices, peanut, coconut, and more!

I am not a cook and have no idea what any of these dishes would taste like. But, it is fun to think about it, and I would drive 100 miles to taste any of these creations! Maybe some restauranteur will try these some day and see how the crowd reacts!

Dessert Sushi

I love sushi. It is good for losing weight, and fun to eat. I’ve heard rumors that wasabe has chemicals that are bad for your health though, so watch out! On the other hand, wasabe kills bacteria, so if you don’t have it, then you’re in even worse trouble. But, what about a dessert sushi experience?

Nigiri ice cream & fruit combinations.
Imagine having a very cold flat piece of stoneware in front of you. It has to be cold, because ice cream will be sitting on it shortly. You know how nigiri sushi looks. It is a rectangularly shaped piece of rice with a slice of fish on it, perhaps held together by a seatbelt made of nori seaweed. But, what if this nigiri sushi was made out of fruit and ice cream?

You could create rectangular pieces of vanilla ice cream that would be one inch by two inches. Then, you could shape fruit to put on top. You could eat this with chopsticks. You could cut strawberries to fit rectangularly. You might need two slices from a large strawberry, or perhaps one vertical slice from a really abnormally large strawberry. Rectangular slices of peach, banana, or other fruits would be easier. Kiwi tastes like strawberry and might go well with this idea as well. Putting a few blueberries on a domino shaped piece of ice cream might work well. The trick here is not to let the ice cream melt, otherwise your chopsticks won’t be able to grab them properly.

Chocolate soy sauce
But, there’s more. You need to use that soy sauce pourer for this. Instead of soy sauce you use chocolate sauce! But, you better eat your concoction fast before the chocolate sauce melts the ice cream.

Ice cream sushi rolls
You could make sushi rolls with ice cream and fruit too. This might be easier. You could use rice paper instead of nori, and even put sweet rice on the outside of the roll. Just keep it cold so it doesn’t melt.

Wasabe & Ginger?
You could have candied ginger and the wasabe would be a mint paste that goes well with vanilla and chocolate.

Imagine a fantasy city with bike & Segway highways

The way cities around the world are set up is not very imaginative. There are roads, generally arranged into grids. If you live in Boston, then cow paths each going its own random direction (which is even worse.) Then, there are buses which drive along the same congested roads that cars do, ensuring a jerky and bumpy ride. Finally, there are trains, but getting to a train station and waiting for a congested train, inhaling urine smells, and having no way to park at the train station just are not fun. The Canadians at least have mastered the art of coordinating buses that connect to trains in both directions. Americans are very backwards in this sense.

Bike highways
But, let’s think outside the box here. It is not easy for bike enthusiasts to get around in today’s transportation systems. You have to ride on a road where you could easily lose your life if a bus hits you. People might throw stuff out their window and hit you too. Additionally, if you park your bike, it will get vandalized or stolen. These are all serious problems to consider when building a fantasy city.

What if a city were built that had bike highways. You might get hit by another bike, but that would probably not kill you. The sides of the highway could be padded too for your protection. People could ride in lanes that were wide enough for safety and comfort. Additionally, there could be stores along the highway that catered to the needs of fitness fanatics such as bike repair shops, sports clothing, refreshments, health food, newspapers, magazines, internet cafes, and more. Additionally, there would be connections from the bike highway to trains, buses, and other modes of transportation. Remember, that this is a fantasy city, so there might be modes of transportation that don’t exist in the real world… yet. There would be secured places to park your bike. You could lock the entire bike in a narrow glass box. There would be no way to steal the bike, nor would it be possible to vandalize the bike. You just lock it up with a hardened steel circular lock, and off you go. Security guards and cameras would also be present to guard your bikes, and all bikes would have GPS tracking by law to ensure that they could be quickly recovered if stolen.

Let me reiterate. The bike highway system would have:
(1) Wide lanes for bikes ONLY
(2) Stores catering to the needs of fitness lovers including refreshment stands, newspapers, internet, etc.
(3) Narrow glass boxes with heavy locks to park your bike if you transfer to a train, or are at your destination.

The bike highway could go through parks, next to lakes, trees, etc. But, it could also be elevated in dense urban areas, so that you wouldn’t be delayed by stop signs, red lights, etc. You would essentially be able to travel more quickly on a bike, than those would be able to in a car, and in a safe, fun and comfortable environment as well.

Segway highways
Segway technology fascinates me. It is so easy, and the device is so small. Imagine if you could have highways specifically designed for Segway travel. My dream is to have an elevated or enclosed tunnel for Segway traffic. You would not use your own. You would just walk in. Hop on, and take it to your destination and drop it off. There would be no way to remove the Segway from the established track, so theft would not be an issue. This sounds like a Dutch inspired idea, but it would work amazingly in the rest of the world as well.

Multi-person robotic carts?
What if you had an urban area in a fantasy city where there were 30 main transportation hubs in the various parts of town. You could have a stop in each of these hubs for a new type of transportation which is only used in manufacturing at the current time. Robotic carts! Imagine that four people can jump on a robotic cart that is programmed to take you to a particular destination. Imagine that you get on standing up, with side pads and a belt to keep you comfortably in place. Each stop could have 30 different carts. Once your cart is filled with four people, or three on a slow day, it instructs you to connect your belts, and then away it goes to the established location. It would be like advanced carpooling or India’s share rickshaws, but much easier to coordinate, and with no driver — well, at least not a human driver. Such carts could probably move around at 12 miles per hour which is plenty in a dense urban area, especially since there would be no traffic on these designated passageways exclusively for robotic cart traffic.

Review of WurstKuche — downtown Los Angeles, CA: best fries anywhere

It has been years that I have been dreaming of having rattlesnake sausage. A place in Northern California said they had it, but were out of it the day that I got there. So, finally, years later, I learned that WurstKuche in Downtown Los Angeles had this amazing sausage. Theirs was a rabbit / rattlesnake sausage. Close enough! In any case, I went down there with my friend. We rarely go to the artist district except to get Japanese food in Little Tokyo which is another fun destination if you like ramen and udon.

We got a little lost driving these odd streets, with odd angled intersections. It is an old industrial part of down with defunct railroad tracks. decaying industrial buildings, and newly refurbished artist dwellings. The population there is a mix of cool artists walking their dogs at 2 am, homeless people who harass you for spare change, and the folks who go to Japantown!

So, you are probably wondering about the restaurant. Let’s get back to the point of this article! The restaurant was set up like a bar with concrete floors, elevated ceilings. It was very industrial in appearance and loud which I didn’t like. You order in the back around a hallway. They have dozens of different types of sausages, plus Belgian fries. Their soda selection redefines eclectic. They had soda selections that I have never seen before, not to mention some designer beers. I’m not a beer drinker, so I’ll tell you about what I did have.

First of all, the paper plates and steel trays came at bizarre angles. Very artistic and industrial! We ate outside to avoid the noise. A homeless lady started bothering everyone, so I tolerated her for a while and then started yelling at her and she left.

Dandelion Soda
We started the evening with sodas. I got Dandelion soda which tasted flat with bubblegum overtones. Not a favorite, but it was fun to try something new. My housemate got an old fashioned ginger beer from a boutique brewery. It was not as good as Reeds which you can get at Whole Foods. She preferred my soda and I preferred hers, so we swapped.

Rattlesnake Sausage
This sausage was not bad. It was just bland. I’m glad that it was served with onions, peppers, and they had grainy Dijon mustard which was very flavorful. They actually had a yellow mustard, a white wine Dijon, as well as a more robust grainy darker Dijon which is my favorite. I suggested that when the waitress brings out the rattlesnake sausage that she rattles a castanet for ambiance. Maybe one day they will do that.

Belgian Fries
I am not a lover of fries. They are off my diet and do nightmares for my gallbladder and liver. However, these fries were the best I’ve had in my life. They were flavorful, wide and ultra soft. The dips they give you were amazing. Curry ketchup was okay. But, the chipotle aioli was truly amazing, and I will get a double of that next time I go.

Duck & Bacon sausage
This sausage had a much more robust flavor than the other one. I like unusual foods, robust flavors, and I feel that duck and bacon go well together we well (although bacon goes well with everything.)

Austin Blues
Next time I go, I will have their BBQ flavored sausage called, Austin Blues. I’m looking forward to that.

Vegetarian Sausages
My housemate is vegetarian and was very pleased that WurstKuche had a selection of vegetarian sausages. The evening worked well for us since there were many choices of drinks, and foods that were pleasing to the both of us!

We went down to Peddlers a few blocks west for dessert. They are an ice cream joint near Main and 5th where they peddle their own ice cream using a bicycle connected to a contraption that churns the ice cream. They also have an elaborate connection of bicycle parts, chains, wheels, gears, cogs, that all go around together. They figured out how to connect all of these parts that in real life would not be connected.

Peddler’s is unique because they are run by bicycle enthusiasts who are fun and upbeat and love what they do. The ice cream is excellent and uses coconut milk which is an unusual attribute here in America. I suggested that they do a green curry flavored ice cream since they use coconut milk. I think they will not take me up on this idea. I tried the lemon shortbread ice cream there. It was excellent and I love their unusual flavors over there. You can find more about peddlers on Twitter if you are interested!

A dream about an oreo cookie: (actually two oreos)

So many dreams, so little time
I have all types of dreams, and took up the past time of analyzing my dreams. There are many basic dream symbols which you can learn from books. Some items in dreams symbolize parts of your life or emotions while others just are what they are. If you dream about your back yard, basement or back door, that relates to your subconscious in some way. If you dream about gasoline that represents an explosive situation. Different foods have vastly different meanings ranging from fulfillment, sexuality and comfort. But, Oreos are not in the dream dictionary, so what did my dream mean?

I had a dream that there were two huge Oreo cookies back to back.
I was just looking at these cookies hovering in air. I woke up and thought about the dream I had just had. What was the deeper meaning in this dream? What did these Oreo cookies represent — after all in dreams, each symbol has to symbolize something, unless it symbolizes itself which is also possible. Keep in mind that some dream symbols have standardized meanings while other symbols could be more personalized or have different meanings in different dreams. Dreams are created by your subconscious which plays by its own rules, not the rules of your dream dictionary.

I didn’t have time to analyze this dream
Nor did I have time to ask my psychic. The next day I decided to have steak for dinner. My acupuncturist says I need to have a few ounces of rare red meat every two or three weeks to keep my red blood cell count up. So, I do exactly that. I will meander down to Wood Ranch and get their Filet Mignon which is very reasonably priced. I always enjoy myself when I am at their location in The Grove in Los Angeles. They have a lively crowd and fun servers. Their steaks are my favorite, but not that expensive. I was hungry that day. I had worked too much, and eaten too little. So, I munched on my rolls, and sipped on my wine. I wolfed down my filet, but felt an emptiness inside. This didn’t fulfill me. I needed something more…

WAITER: “Would you like to see the dessert menu?”
ME: “Funny you should mention that…”

I glanced at the menu and noticed their crushed Oreo cookie encrusted vanilla ice cream. It is a huge sphere of vanilla ice cream with crushed Oreo cookie (without the filling) embedded on the outside of the vanilla sphere. I figured that would satisfy my needs. There was a choice of raspberry syrup or chocolate. I asked for mostly chocolate with a touch of raspberry. That turned out perfectly. I chatted with the waiter as I forged my way into this humongous Oreo encrusted snowball that mitigated my avalanche of hunger.

I’d like to compose a blog about innovative and unusual desserts and you can bet that this glob of Oreo madness will top the list along with tequila tortilla lime brittle and mousse balls.

Until next time!

The Angry Thai – a restaurant with a huge angry Buddha

Some bored restauranteurs got together to discuss some ideas. They were tired with the same old restaurants, the nice service, the outfits, the predictable menus, etc. They wanted to do something different, but what? One guy thought of the idea of doing underwater dining, but that has already been done in some foreign country. Another thought of a simulated outer space experience, but that was too costly and complicated. Finally, after hours of brainstorming Ryan came up with the idea of a Thai restaurant where everyone was angry. The other guys were not sure if the idea would fly. It would go either way. People might like the idea because it was different, or they might be scared off. The main point was that the restaurant would be an experience that you would not forget.

So, they built a restaurant with a huge angry Buddha. This Buddha got so upset, that steam would come out of its ears when it got mad. Not only that, but the floor, windows, and porcelain would start to rattle every time the Buddha got mad. At first this was fun. But, little did they know that the idea would get out of hand.

The next hurdle was to find staff. Thai people are generally very congenial and nice. It is very rare that you meet an angry Thai person. Even if they are angry, they smile and pretend to be happy, as that is their culture. I only met an angry Thai person once. She was very rude. The other people are her work outcasted her and basically threw her out. It is socially not acceptable to be angry with Thais (or Indians) for that matter. You’ll get outcasted faster than you can say Rad Na if you are!

Finally, after lots of looking around, they found some actors and actresses who were good at acting angry, but no too angry. This was good, because they didn’t want to have situations that were out of control. They put together a menu, found a few good chefs, and they were open for business.

HOSTESS: “Sawat di kaaaaaa… Welcome to the Angry Thai, is there anything I can do to make your stay more angry?”

CUSTOMER: “Um, we heard you had a very good Thai style angry pork sandwich.”

HOSTESS: “Yaaaa, very angry-la. It has many chili peppers in it — make you very angry very fast. You like…”

CUSTOMER: “Sounds great. Can you recommend anything else?”

HOSTESS: “Try our salads, very spicy too. Not sate salad — too agreeable. Try spicy beef salad with lemongrass, lime and chilis. Guaranteed to make you mad after your first bite. Have a seat, your server will be with you.”

SERVER: “Welcome to the angry Thai, I’m Nelson, and I’m angry.”

CUSTOMER: “Nice to meet you Nelson.”

SERVER: “No, not nice. I am not nice — I am angry, and meeting me is not nice.”

CUSTOMER: “Got it. We are interested in the papaya salad.”

SERVER: “Okay, but not angry. To compensate, I can step on your toe.”

CUSTOMER: “Okay, just don’t step too hard. By the way, that is a very nice Buddha you have over there.”

SERVER: “You must never speak ill of the Buddha — he will get very very angry! And terrible things will happen…”

CUSTOMER: “I thought that the Buddha was enlightened and happy, and spread peace throughout the world.”

SERVER: “You’ve got the wrong Buddha lady. Our Buddha is not like that. He gets mad!”

CUSTOMER: “I don’t believe that.” (speaking to the Buddha) “Hey Buddha, what’s the secret to enlightenment?”

SERVER: “Oh no, you must not do that…”

HOSTESS: “How is everything? Is everybody angry yet?”

CUSTOMER: “No, I just asked the Buddha a question.”

HOSTESS: “Oh no, don’t do that. He get very angry. Don’t play game with our Buddha. He not like other Buddha.”

CUSTOMER: “I don’t believe that.” (speaking to the Buddha) “Hey Buddha, how come you meditate all the time, why don’t you get a girlfriend.”

GUY AT NEXT TABLE: “Seriously, you are pushing it. That Buddha has a reputation. The whole place will start shaking if you make him mad.

CUSTOMER: “That’s a bunch of BS. And besides. I can get exactly the same Buddha for less than half what you paid on”

Suddenly, the entire restaurant started shaking. The chinaware was clanging, the pots were banging, the floor was shaking, and steam was coming out from the Buddha’s ears.

HOSTESS: “Oh no, you made the Buddha mad. See what you did?”

CUSTOMER: “I thought that was the whole point of coming here — to have an angry experience…”

HOSTESS: “Yes, getting mad is okay, just don’t make the Buddha mad — when he get mad, he get very very angry. Terrible things will happen.”

The customers enjoyed their angry Thai food and went home feeling satisfied. They were even more satisfied that they upset the Buddha, and regarded making him mad as a mark of achievement. Several weeks later something much more serious happened. A family with children came to the restaurant. The children taunted the Buddha and kept poking him and asking him why he was so angry. The Buddha got so angry that the whole restaurant shook, but much more seriously than before. Instead of a light tremor, it was more like an 8.7. The paintings fell off the wall, the windows started to break, the walls started to cave in. Everyone rushed for the door and barely escaped with their lives. The Buddha got so angry that the entire neighborhood shook until no building was standing for two blocks. The entire area was reduced to rubble. When the clean up crew came, the only object that was still intact was the golden angry Buddha. Word on the street was that the angry Buddha was angry because it was inhabited by an angry spirit of a disgruntled monk from Burma whose community turned on him and kicked him out of the monastery.

But, the angry Buddha was different now. He usually had a scowl and sharply angled eyebrows. The Buddha’s physical appearance had changed. Now, he was content and relieved, and anyone who looked at him could tell. The Buddha was smiling. Perhaps a different spirit was inside of this golden Buddha now. A happy spirit. What an irony.

And that is the tale of the Angry Buddha at the Angry Thai Restaurant.
Have an angry rest of your day!
The end!

You never know who you’ll meet on a train ride

An original story
You never know who you’ll meet on a train ride- LA to Dallas.

Traveling with the church lady
Ever since “The Lady Vanishes” (1938-Hitchcock), train travelers can wonder who their fellow passengers are. I’ve met federal energy experts, devastated survivors, traveling minstrels, men from WWII Japanese prison camps, and missionaries. But you’ll also met ordinary people. As Amtrak’s policy for meals is community seating you’ll almost always wind up with a meal-mate with a story- unless she’s just some old grandma. So on one trip, just to be polite, I asked the white-haired dearies across from me what they did to pass their time (as in babysit, clean house, knit, or whatever). The dearies kindly informed me that they designed nuclear missiles for the Department of Defense- they weren’t kidding. So much for my stereotypes. Who are you on the train with?

My Kerala train story
I was once on a train to Kerela in India. I was in too much of a hurry and didn’t book a place to stay. There was a very friendly Muslim guy who was drinking far too much whiskey. He was going to his sleeping compartment, then walking around, offering whiskey to the workers (who accepted,) and then going back to his sleeping compartment. Back and forth. We talked briefly about Islam. I thought that the fasting they did was to remember God. He informed me that the fasting was to remember the poor, not God. My comment was — why not just eat a little bit and give the rest of your food to the poor instead of gorging promptly upon sundown. The extremely poor don’t get to gorge ever! We talked about spirituality, meditation, Islam, travel and other topics. He told me that I was on the wrong path doing meditation. I wonder if that was a subtle hint from the brighter world about what was going to happen to me in my spiritual group which indeed did go sour. But, the best part about meeting this weirdo (who was kicked off the train by the guards for being a nuisance) was that he gave me the phone number for a very clean and affordable hotel in Ernakalum (near Kochi) for $20 a night. I booked from the train, and they were only one kilometer from the rail station which made for an easy and affordable cab ride!

(1) Traveling with The Church Lady? When this 93 year-old isn’t serving cookies she’s designing nuclear
missiles for Raytheon. #ttot

(2) During a long and soothing train ride I met a sweet 93 year old lady, Mrs. Higgins, a Nuclear missile designer. #ttot

(3) Meet Mrs Higins, a Sweet 93 year old Church Lady/ Nuclear missile designer

Israeli Collective Punishment in the occupied territories is immoral

Israel makes a regular practice of collective punishment. They have the Palestinians in the occupied territories all living in what is not much different than internment camps. Although, many militants are rotting in Israeli prisons, as a general rule, Israel doesn’t distinguish between militants and civilians. This is an identical philosophy of Islamic extremists who want to kill Jews who also don’t distinguish between military and civilians.

A religious point of view
According to the Koran, it is allowed that you can defend yourself from an oppressor. And if you are evicted, you have the right to evict the evictor. Although Muslim extremists seem to do a lot of killing, they are people who like to live by principles. The problem is not their religion, but the interpretation of their religious principles.

Israel is an entity, and it is the entity which violated the property rights of 700,000 Palestinians back between 1947 and 1949. Due to the high birth rate of Palestinians, the descendants of these former (current) refugees number in the millions. I don’t know the exact count, but there might be around 4,000,000 Palestinian refugees as well as several million more descendants of displaced Palestinians. Many Palestinians foolishly blame “Jews” for this problem, when it is not the fault of Jews at all. It is the fault of Zionists. The further irony is that over 80% of the donations that go to Israel by Zionists are not from Jews at all — they are from good old fashioned Bible thumping Protestant Southerners from America! Jews are not to blame for the suffering of the Palestinians — Zionists are purely to blame.

So, the entities responsible for the oppression of Palestinians and the theft of Palestinian owned land are:
(1) The state of Israel
(2) Individuals with the ideology of Zionism which calls for the expulsion of non-Jews from the land of Eretz Israel.

Terrorism and why it is wrong
The basic ethical problem with Terrorism is that they target civilians. If Hamas fires a rocket into Israel aimed at civilian areas, it could kill anyone. It might kill children who are clearly not at fault for anything more than wetting their bed. It could kill non-Zionist Israelis. It could kill tourists. This is wrong. According to Islam, Palestinians have the right to fight their oppressor which is the state of Israel, but not civilians who are not directly involved in the conflict.

Not all Israeli civilians do military duty
Another issue to consider is that most Israelis traditionally were forced to do military service. Islamic extremists might argue that they don’t need to distinguish between military and civilians since all civilians go into the military in Israel. This is not true. The Israeli military does not typically take conscientious objectors. They also typically do not enroll orthodox Jews who are a quickly growing minority in Israel, soon perhaps to become a majority. If you are a Jew who has any sympathy towards Palestinians or any Palestinian friends, the military will not take you. So, there are many Israelis who are not in the military and who object to the cruelty that the military inflicts upon civilians.

Collective punishment goes both directions in Israel.
Hamas engages in collective punishment against Israeli civilians through missile attacks. Israel engages in collective punishment against Palestinian civilians through holding them like prisoners in their towns. There are checkpoints throughout the occupied territories that make it time consuming or impossible to travel from place to place. Civilians are effectively under house arrest. From my point of view it is immoral to punish someone unless they have done something to merit the punishment. Punishing someone because they were born into a particular community is pure cruelty and bigotry and incites bigotry in return which is an unfortunate reality. Israel’s cruelty breeds extremism in Palestinians. It is easy to see how many could feel that extremism is the only chance they have. Palestinians who are pro diplomacy haven’t really made any headway in the last few decades. Of course, extremists haven’t made headway either.

Solutions to the problem
I don’t see any real solution to the Palestine Israel question. But, I do feel that both sides should only punish those who individually merit punishment. It might be easier if supporters of extremism all lived in the same areas. That way if there was a collective punishment, they would all merit it based on their demonic ideology! If ultra right wing Zionists all lived in particular communities, and Hamas targeted them — it would still be bad. But, at least the victims would have “done” something to merit this punishment.

An interesting twist on the reality of extremism
I think it would be fun if Palestinian extremists and Israeli extremists were forced to live together. I wonder what would happen. Would they just draw a green line between them and keep to themselves? Would they all kill each other? Or, would they make peace? The Israeli village of Neve Shalom is the opposite reality where Christians, Muslims, and Jews live happily together in peace as neighbors. Why is it that we never hear about them in the news? They make a great role model, don’t you think?

Liquid nitrogen ice cream at the Ice Cream Lab?

I saw footage of The Ice Cream Lab on television. I didn’t realize it was only three miles away in Beverly Hills, CA. So, I went on a day when I had a little extra time. Okay, it was actually at night time because you can’t get parking so easily during the day. It was about 10pm. I had just had dinner at Panini Cafe which is a great place to get kabobs, rice, soups, taftoon wrap sandwiches, and huge desserts. Their desserts are great, but too large for a single person. In any case, there is an ice cream and cupcakes place called Sprinkles half a block to the West which is where I generally go (they are ultra-popular) and the Ice Cream Lab was two blocks in the Eastward direction. So, a-walking I went!

Bizarre Flavors
I got to this lab and it was filled with people. I checked out the menu. They had six flavors of ice cream. They had green tea, banilla, donilla (vanilla with cookie dough) purple velvet, and a few other flavors. Considering that they had a clientele that was 90% Asian, I think they should have more Asian flavors like Boba flavored ice cream, red bean, lychee, jackfruit or whatever else people like in the East.

What did it taste like?
I had a try of the purple velvet. It was a little bit too cream cheesy for my tastes, but that is their all time favorite flavor, so the others like it. Banilla was excellent too, and came with two wafers. Their ice cream is unique in that it is the creamiest of any type of ice cream that I’ve ever sampled. Los Angeles is a mecca for micro-creameries, so try this one while tasting at other unique locations as well to see ice cream in a new perspective!

How do they make it?
Judging from the fact that white vapor came pouring out of their machines, through the gap beneath the glass separating the staff from the customers, and into the room — I suggested that they get mad scientist outfits and try to play on how scientific their ice cream production technology really is. I think that a Halloween lab set up with bubbling test tubes, deranged looking scientests, and perhaps a Frankenstein look alike being experimented on would be the perfect touch. I’m not sure if they have room for this, but they could try.

The basically use liquid nitrogen to freeze the cream while their machine whisks it. It is a very unusual process. The actual temperature of the liquid nitrogen is negative 320 degrees believe it or not. I was actually concerned about my safety being next to something that cold, but I didn’t die, so all is well.

Is it Kosher?
It is certified Kosher by Kosher Los Angeles.

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