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BBQ'd Seaweed

After San Francisco we headed south to the sand dune town of Marina, just a few miles north of the Monterey Peninsula. We checked into our hotel around 6:00 pm and rushed to the nearest beach to catch a phenomenal sunset.

marina beach at dusk

After the evening light took its final bow, we headed to a randomly selected seafood restaurant. We looked at their menu and decided the prices were too high. Next door was a Korean BBQ. We looked at their menu and decided the price was right.

None of us had ever eaten Korean food before so we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. My Mom and I played it safe and decided to split an order of "Tofu and Vegetables." My Dad ordered "Beef and Vegetables" with the beef on the side (this cracked my Mother and I up -- that's pretty much like ordering lasagna with the noodles on the side, wouldn't you say?).

Anyway, what the waitress delivered to our table will be the subject of a humorous yet cautionary tale passed down in my family through the generations for at least the next few weeks.

What came to our table was a large tray with 8-10 small white bowls, each filled with an unidentifiable "vegetable" matter. We politely thanked the waitress and waited until she was out of ear shot before we started in with the what in the hell have we got here jokes. My Mom thought it was the discarded remains from a fisherman's bait bucket. I wondered if it was the same organic sea debris we had just seen washed up on the shore.

We started forking small portions of the more edible-looking matter onto our plates. One bowl contained rubbery minnows (none for me, thank you). Another had white blubbery chunks in it. Other bowls held what looked like fried grass. I thought I recognized a form of zucchini in another.

In the spirit of adventure I tried to shirk off my narrow, white American culinary expectations and experience something new. I stabbed some of the blubbery substance onto my fork and gave it a go. It was soft and actually kind-of tasty truth be told, but I couldn't get past the fact that I didn't know what the hell it was. It could have been octopus testicles for all I knew!

We ate as much as we could. My Dad even ate some of the minnows. "Oh God, they're chewy!", he said as he ate them.

The next morning we explored the Carmel River State Beach. Here's some sea matter that looks suspiciously like our dinner at the Korean BBQ. I just now googled "Korean cuisine" and it's true! Seaweed and other algae are part of a balanced Korean diet.

seadebris2

My Dad dared my Mom to pick up this thick, ropey strand of seaweed. She was apprehensive at first, but figured, what the hell we were putting this stuff in our mouths the night before. She said it felt like a garden hose. The part she's holding on to is called the "stipe." Finally, the mystery of Michael Stipe's last name is revealed! From here on out you can think of him as "Michael Seaweed Stem." I know I will.

carmel river beach6

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
marstokyo
Oct. 15th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC)
Ahem, I think that thing your mom picked up is a discarded sex toy .
createdestiny
Oct. 15th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)
Ha ha, Freaky!!!
ygolonac
Oct. 15th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Michael Stipe is named after a discarded sex toy then?

"Michael Sextoy"
createdestiny
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
Now why would somebody throw away a perfectly good sex toy like Michael Stipe?

I would gladly take him off someone's hands. ;)
nodressrehersal
Oct. 15th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
I am, in equal measure, mesmerized and repulsed by this bulbous stipe.
cwmackowski
Oct. 15th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC)
Perhaps in REM's song "Harborcoat," Stipe is really saying "Harborkelp" as an homage to his own last name.

The kelp forests off the coastline where you are are supposed to be magnificent. I've never been in the water there, and would be scared of the sharks if I took a dip, but I bet they'd still be something cool to see underwater. Just the remains that wash up on the beach look so foreign!
createdestiny
Oct. 16th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, those remains that wash up on California's central coast are really foreign. They're all the way from Korea! ;P

Kelp forests!?! I had no idea! I just googled some images and that's some pretty amazing stuff, very beautiful. Thanks for the info.
vagynafondue
Oct. 16th, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
My Dad ordered "Beef and Vegetables" with the beef on the side

This made me crack up, too.

I've had seaweed before, but if I had known of this here stipe beforehand, I might have passed! That thing is gigantic.
motherhalo
Oct. 25th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
A great time! I am adding you.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )