home for three weeks in january for a wedding in the family, i discovered the beginnings of a coffee culture in singapore, one that gets the coffee right and the space too (here and here). reports from the field suggest that third (or even fourth) wave cafes are proliferating with astounding speed. i also discovered that food in singapore, once effortlessly and inexpensively tasty and full of heart, is now depressingly pricey and mediocre. i stopped in tokyo on the way back to cambridge. i'm glad to have seen japan again before the tsunami and fukushima devastated the country. it remains one of the few places where things are done right. we had a remarkable and understated dinner at tsuru ni tachibana that remains high on my incomplete list of nearly perfect meals (also see these frustrating updates from our field correspondent, who lives close by).
spring came, damply. i went to dc several times to visit a field site. my respect for their operation grows and grows. each visit was the occasion for some informative drinking with the person behind the quite fine selections at ledroit. some long negotiations bore fruit, opening the way to a summer in denmark and the uk. meanwhile, the landlord at 32 chatham st, finally realising the value of his property, raised the rent by 25%. it was a nice apartment—but not that nice. i disposed variously of 50% of my stuff, in preparation for moving.
the fall was brilliant: warm and dry. a good growing season in the northeast, so the markets overflowed (the apples were particularly good this year, if difficult to identify). it was not perfect weather for making kimchi, but the process seemed to work anyway. late in the season, various individuals converged on stockbridge, MA; some of us made a return visit to nudel, in lenox. we hope this will be an annual event.
now, we are in the depths of winter, but fall hasn't really left us. other than several hours of wet slush during a visit from some detroit food entrepreneurs and a few isolated flakes on christmas morning, we have had no snow. this winter has been unseasonably warm, in contrast with last winter which was brutal and involved many days of wintry mix and glassy frozen sidewalks. to celebrate, i freed myself from the tyranny of AT&T and apple.
i'm grateful for small things and big things too.