Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

5 Star Pho

My favorite little restaurant, 5 Star Pho, is totally packed at noon, every table but one is taken, and that one has a reserved sign on it. Fortunately for me, a booth opens up just moments after I arrive. The waitress brings me a hot cup of tea – a welcome treat for a woman who has just escaped the heat of Kuwait to shiver in Seattle – and a menu, but I already know what I want.

This is what I crave while I am living in Kuwait. My friend, Coeurcountry, has improved my life so much by making me a gift of the rice-paper wrappers, and a great recipe, so I CAN make them myself, but oh, 5 Star Pho does it so much better! Even though I am in and out of town, not a daily or even a weekly regular customer, they always remember me. I don’t even have to ask; they bring me extra peanut sauce!

I am sorry, I couldn’t wait. I had to take a bite even before I shot the photo!

August 1, 2008 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Relationships, Seattle | 7 Comments

Seattle OKs Bag Fee

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

City OKs 20-cent fee on plastic, paper bags
Council also outlaws foam food and drink containers


Move over, baseball caps and T-shirts.

Logo-emblazoned cloth grocery bags could soon become the most popular company freebie in the Puget Sound region.

Seattle became on Monday one of the first major American cities to discourage the use of paper and plastic shopping bags by requiring grocery, drug and convenience stores to charge 20 cents per bag. In a related action, the City Council also banned plastic foam food and drink containers.

Both laws will go into effect Jan. 1.

People can avoid the fees by bringing their own reusable bags when they shop. The city of Seattle will launch a 90-day education effort to help people figure out the best ways to use cloth bags, and remember to take them when they go shopping. The city also plans to provide residents with a couple of free bags.

One of my favorite stores, Trader Joe’s, has been selling reusable bags forever. They now have a display with many sizes and designs to choose from:

I’m really trying hard. I have a friend who is so conscientious about recycling, she always carries her own bags, and her actions have influenced me greatly. She believes even one person makes a difference, and I believe her – I can see that her behavior has already changed mine! I am trying to carry my own reusable bags now, too.

Especially for my Kuwait/Gulf/Middle East readers, I got a big grin when I saw this in the prepared food section:

A ready-to-go lunch, with felafel, hummous, tabouli and a little bit of flat bread.

August 1, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Middle East, Seattle, Shopping, Social Issues | 10 Comments