Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wagyu Hamburgers at the Crowne Plaza

If you have ever been to Japan you might be familiar with Kobe or Waygu beef. It is basically the most delicious thing in the entire encyclopedia of edible Mammals. You might have to mortgage your house or sell your children to afford it, but your taste buds will thank you, and when you think about it, you might actually be saving money because College is really expensive these days.

OMG, look at that marbling! 
Eat it once, and like an opioid addict you'll be chasing that original high forever. Every single bite contains the flavor of an entire ordinary cow, and the flesh is so tender that you hardly need to chew. It's my favorite thing to cook and to eat.

So Much Tasty Fat!!!!
Sultan Center reliably stocks Wagyu beef, and although it totally blows the budget, once or twice a month I'll buy some and bring it home to cook. And it's AMAZEBALLS. The flavor of Wagyu is incredibly distinctive. Seared rare with a little brandy and soy sauce it's like Beefy heaven. So delicious.

Thus, Imagine my delight last night when I saw Dukes bar has Wagyu burgers on the menu. I'd actually forgotten about it, but I had one there a few months ago and it was really good. I was feeling celebratory after a good day and out with one of my oldest friends so I thought why not, and ordered one of those bad boys up, Medium rare. After much back and forth with the wait staff regarding did I really want the burger medium rare or not, they came out and asked me to sigh the following :

Yes, there is such a thing as a "Hamburger Policy",  evidently...

This is the best picture my dining companion and I could take since it was dark. It's a FULL PAGE release indemnifying the crowne against future legal action should they poison me with poorly prepared meat. I have literally signed shorter indemnity papers for motorsport activities, bungee jumping, and medical procedures.  The whole vibe was not exactly confidence-inducing but YOLO! So I signed it and got ready to eat an amazing Hamburger and then possibly die a slow and horrible death from salmonella, hepatitis-B or E-coli.

Much, Much later, my burger arrived, and it was a thing of beauty. Perfect bun, perfect cheese, perfect beef bacon, perfect veggies, crispy chips, and a little tiny pot of roasted onion mayonnaise. The food at the Crowne Plaza has been improving by leaps and bounds over the last year or so, and my companion's steak sandwich* was a thing of beauty to taste and see. Seriously, guys, I was so pumped to eat that massive, bloody, fatty, wagyu flavored burger.

But then I ate it, and it wasn't made of Wagyu. The meat was lean, bloody bright red, no fat or grease, and had no flavor of Wagyu. What I had was a reasonably tasty burger made from grass-fed beef of some description. I'm figuring they either pulled a regular grass fed burger from the fridge, or ground up some fresh beef, or ran out of Wagyu but figured nobody would know the difference, or the Wagyu burgers were nearing the end of their shelf life so the kitchen knew they couldn't get away with sending out questionable meat cooked mid-rare.

And whilst I'm honestly grateful that the kitchen or management erred on the side of caution in order not to kill me or have to admit that the wagyu they were serving that night was well past it's prime, when you are charging just under 10 OMR (26 USD) for a burger that is made out of the most delicious cows on earth, I would like to buy a burger that contains pieces of the most delicious cow on earth.

I ate it, paid and left. It is hard to imagine a scenario where I would show them the burger and they would say "oh, gosh, you are right, we will go get you a wagyu burger now" What would have happened, inevitably, was me saying that this wasn't wagyu, and them insisting I must be mistaken or don't understand beef.

So, I guess I'll just go back to cooking my own Wagyu from now on, and leave the Crowne Plaza to serve up their legally indemnified liability-free mystery meat to others. Bummer.

* My companion's Steak Sandwich tho... I would eat that for my last meal, it was so good. Seriously. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

American elections, Sexual assault, and consent.

Firstly: On the subject of obtaining consent before one does something sexual to or with another Human being, one of my favorite Ex-boyfriends said it best:
"Consent is a good thing, Don't get me wrong... But personally I would hold out for Enthusiasm" -Ex-Boyfriend Matt, an outstanding human being. 

Is anyone else fantasizing about slitting their wrists if they have to watch any more of the American election? November 8th can't come soon enough.

One particularly rage inducing aspect of the election has been watching the backlash against the women who have come forward with accounts of being fondled or sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. Various snippets of the backlash show up on my facebook news feed, where several men whom I previously held in high regard, say that the accusations are all made up. Their rationale for this is that if these women were in fact assaulted or groped, why didn't they speak out about it sooner? Every time I see a comment to that effect, I want to scream, or hit something, or not be a woman anymore, or die. I am not alone in this feeling, as the hashtag on twitter #Whywomendontreport shows. Reading the tweets on that hashtag is therapeutic in a re-living every sexual trauma of my entire life sort of way. Which is to say: not really all that therapeutic.

What might be therapeutic is actually talking about my rape (It's all Mine! I'm so cool, so hip, so lucky that I have my very own rape!) and all the reasons I didn't report it, why I didn't tell anyone  about it until 11 years after it happened, why until now I have only told a handful of people in detail what happened, and then maybe examining why I can't bring myself to say this to my own family, or on facebook, or directly to the people I actually KNOW but instead have to write it down here in the safety of quasi-anonymity in blogland. Before that, I'm going to list a few of the responses I got from the people I DID tell.
  • Why were you even there? 
  • You shouldn't have put yourself in that position. 
  • Were you drinking?
  • Maybe you gave him the wrong idea. 
  • You are way too friendly with people.
  • He's not that big a guy, you could have fought back.
  • You are way to naive, you need to protect yourself more.
  • That doesn't seem like a "real" Rape-y sort of rape.  
And this was when I told the three closest men in my life, one of whom I am ACTUALLY MARRIED TO, about being raped. Do you really think that total strangers, the police, industry peers, or co-workers would be more sympathetic?

These responses above are a selection from three different and genuinely wonderful men: From my own husband, from a good friend, and from my partner at work. There were two notable outliers in the responses who should be thanked by name. Parmy and Mans:  You are both gentlemen above and beyond measure, and I'm eternally grateful to you both for listening to me, for responding so kindly and appropriately, and for loving me. Thank You, Guys. 

I don't know if I will follow this up with a post that details the HILARIOUS nitty-gritty account of my own rape. More to the point, Whilst I could recount to you every detail of that one time I was genuinely, definitely, and totally raped, I could not possibly tell you about the absolute countless times I have been groped or assaulted or fondled and had to brush it off as "flattery" "he was drunk" "he's just a bit like that" "You were basically inviting it" etc... I couldn't write that because that kind of shit has happened so many times the post would be like 20,000 pages long. You guys, it's fucking bonkers.

To recap the words of Matt, my absolute favorite Ex-Boyfriend, you can grope or assault a woman against her will, and hey, there isn't much she is likely to do about it, or you could beg and plead and guilt trip her into giving consent, but wouldn't it be better if she WANTED you to do that? Guys, hold out for enthusiasm.

More tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rant: Radio in Oman

Mr. Sythe, over at Muscat Mutterings is running a poll about radio in Oman, which you should go and fill out because I am asking you nicely.

Mr. Sythe sent me a facebook message today asking me nicely to fill out the poll. I did so and then replied with something akin to the following:
"There is not a space in your survey for me to put in how much I hate every DJ in this goddamn country except Faiq on the Mike and that Canadian guy they fired and also why in the name of god are there still expat people on the goddamn national radio station who cannot actually speak English please someone explain this because jesus fucking christ we have been trying to achieve Omanisation for like 20 goddamn years I mean what is this even. furthermore I want to light all the annoyingly chipper british dj's on fire and I will buy the petrol if you think we can get permission to do it in the interest of public service "
So Mr. Sythe said maybe if I had such strong feelings about the radio I should blog it. That is a good suggestion since I have little else to do with my time except for trying not to fall to the floor screaming in the grocery store because EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE and I feel like I am living in some sort of extremely boring expat housewife version of groundhog day.

What follows is a rant, where I am going to say mean things. If you don't feel like reading it you should go somewhere else now. OK?

So, Radio Listeners of Oman, here is everything that I wish there was a space to put in Mr. Sythe's survey about English Language Radio in the Sultanate:

  • What happened to that Canadian guy on 90.4? He was the best thing that happened to radio here in Oman since 2003 or 2004 when there was a very funny lady who would sometimes co-host the morning show with Faiq.
  • When you really really really think about it, Faiq on the Mike is an incredible DJ. I will love him until the oceans dry up and the earth is a cold, dead hunk of carbon circling a burned out star. 
  • The music is the worst, presumably chosen by a 12-year-old girl. 
  • The music is all the same. I suspect the director of programming at all three stations is the same 12-year-old girl. 
  • How can there be so many annoyingly chipper people who sound exactly like a narrator in Minecraft videos and how did they all get here and are we paying them ACTUAL MONEY and are they all mildly retarded because I think they would have to be in order to engage in chatter as banal and mindless as that and lastly how can we persuade them to please go away? 
  • No, really, the chatter is so vapid that I feel it is an insult to the intelligence of the entire nation. 
  • Actually, the best thing that ever happened in Oman radio was back when HiFM didn't have any on-air talent and they were just broadcasting music from Eihab's iPod. The mix of music was great except for one day when the Electric 6 song Gay Bar came on. It played for almost a minute before somebody managed to skip forward to the next song. THAT RIGHT THERE, was the single most entertaining minute of radio in the history of the sultanate. 

  • Finally, can anybody explain to me how it is possible that we have not fully Omanised 90.4 FM, and if we have failed to Omanise it why we have thus far been unable to staff it with expats who can actually speak English, or who are able to provide more entertaining content than asking questions my kindergartner can answer, and reading shit from Wikipedia verbatim? Why? Why? Why??? 
  • Slightly related to the point directly above, I give you the real, actual, very best moment in Omani Radio History: This happened on 90.4 FM in maybe 2006 I think. I was driving home from work late one night and the DJ was asking questions and callers were calling in to answer the questions live on air. 
    • DJ: A, E, I, O, and U form what part of the English Alphabet? 
    • Caller: Those are Vowels.
    • DJ: I'm afraid not, would you like to guess again?
    • Caller: VOWELS. A-E-I-O-U are vowels. 
    • DJ: I'm sorry, but that's still not right, Would you like to know the correct answer?
    • Caller: Um, I guess? 
    • DJ: It's Waavvles!  A-E-I-O and U are WAAVLES!!!!
    • I ran my car off the road and nearly into a tree because I was laughing so hard. 
  • OK, that was the ACTUAL best moment in Oman Radio History. 
I feel surprisingly better having got that off my chest. Thank you, Mr. Sythe!