Monday, May 30, 2011


This onion was mostly hidden under a parked car on Eastlake outside the Mars Bar. It seemed intact except for a missing patch of papery outer skin. This exposed spot was whitish-yellow and embedded with tiny gray rocks from the pavement. Juice leaked from the punctures. An ambulance was parked next door with lights flashing and I imagined someone had dropped the onion because they were having a stroke. From then on I thought of it as the “Stroke Onion.” I imagined the onion’s former owner as a Russian peasant like the ones in old movies like The Battleship Potemkin.I always picture disasters as being very bizarre or dramatic and when I witness them sometimes the most horrifying thing is that they appear insignificant in comparison to the way I imagined them. The idea of an old Russian lady being rushed away in an ambulance while her new onion rolled under a car was so depressing I decided to make the Stroke Onion into the most cheerful dish I could think of, which was a stir fry. I sliced up about a third of the onion and sautéed it in olive oil, then added chopped bell pepper, asparagus, broccoli, and tofu. I seasoned the stir fry with soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, and rice vinegar. I added chopped zucchini last so it wouldn’t get mushy. The sauce-saturated onion slices covered the vegetables that couldn’t be cooked long enough to absorb flavor. I wrapped what remained of it up for future dinners.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


The corner of Pine and Pike Place is ghostly and magical on a May evening, like a single jelly bean left in a bag because no one knows what flavor it is, discarded on an ancient burial ground. Pike Place Market closes at 6 PM and some tourists are still wandering between Post alley bars in the fading blue daylight. At this hour of the day, in the absence of flavored honey and Pike Place Fish’s airborne fish corpses, Pike Place Market’s popularity with tourists seems even more arbitrary than usual. It looks the same as any brick or cobblestone street in town that was built on a foundation of hundred-year-old garbage and toilets that all overflowed simultaneously when the tide came in, but with a few remnants of the day’s business, like this shriveled banana pepper. It was near a produce stand that was enclosed in after-hours plastic. There was something sinister about it, lying withered on the cobblestones in near-darkness. I expected it to be intensely spicy, but the piece I shaved off with a pair of scissors tasted just like a raisin. Leathery, sweet and mysteriously not spicy, a shred of this pepper was the perfect thing to eat on a street deserted except for a few people who had travelled thousands of miles to watch someone throw fish.

If you find food on the street, send location and description to