Moar photos from the proprietor

November 17, 2020 • 2:15 pm

There is much to brain about, but although the neurons are willing the flesh is weak. Perhaps tomorrow, but, for the nonce, here are some pictures I’ve taken. These are just random photos as I scroll through the years. Some of these I’ve posted before

Three from St. Petersburg, July 2011, during the Littorina (marine snail) meetings. Somehow I fell in with this great group of researchers, who love to have fun and hold good meetings in nice places. First: Dostoyevsky’s cigarette case, inscribed by his young daughter the day he died:  “28 January. Papa died today.” He died on February 9, 1881, so I assume that the written date is the Julian calendar date.  This is in his apartment home in St. Petersburg:

One of my favorite pictures I ever took, at Peter the Great’s Peterhof Palace (they took us all out there; the meeting organizers were fantastic). When I saw this scene I knew it was a Cartier-Bresson “decisive moment” with all the children posed as if in a dance. It might be better in black and white:

The locomotive and tender of the train that brought Lenin to the Finland Station from Switzerland on April 16, 1917, before the October Revolution. Not many people know this locomotive is there, and it took me nearly an hour to make myself understood that I wanted to see it. There were no English-speakers, and I finally drew a locomotive with a picture of Lenin on top to show a ticket-taker, which twigged him to my request. You have to get special permission to see it, and it’s under glass.

August, 2011. Lunch at Allen & Son, a ramshackle BBQ joint in the middle of nowhere near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My companion was John Willis, a professor at Duke, who, like me, loves BBQ. Note the chopped North Carolina version, with slaw and hush puppies, as well as fried okra as a side dish. Banana pudding for dessert is served only on Fridays, and therefore we went on a Friday:


Alas, Allen and Son is no more. Genuine BBQ joints are an endangered species.

Chicago, September 2011:

October, 2011: What many think is America’s best pizza: the white clam pie at Pepe’s in New Haven, made with lots of garlic and fresh clams. It’s not available every day. I made my friend Fred Cohan take me there after I gave a seminar at his school,  Wesleyan.

November, 2011: eating the best paella I’ve ever had, and in Valencia, of course. I gave a talk at the University, and then my best friend Kenny and his wife Jane, whose son Adam was living in Valencia, came down to take me to this joint far out in the country. An old man tends the paellas over a wood stove. Lord, was it good!

On to another seminar in Madrid, where I visited one of the most famous places to get chocolate and fresh, hot churros. (This is one of the best things about being an academic: you get local hospitality and travel as part of the job.)

The chocolate is thick and rich, and you dip the hot churros into it.

Costa Rica, January 2012 for a meeting of the officers of the Society for the Study of Evolution. (I did a lot of traveling that year!) After the meeting, I traveled around with our Secretary, Judy Stone, to act as her companion while she collected plants:

Overlooking the Pacific:

Oophaga pumilio, known as the strawberry-poison-dart frog, or “blue jeans frog”. It’s tiny (this is an adult), and I photographed one in my hand.

36 thoughts on “Moar photos from the proprietor

  1. Was the frog raised in captivity and thus not toxic, or are those ones just not among the more dangerous one? I ask because, though I’m sure the skin of the palm is probably not permeable enough to be a danger, it would make me nervous.

    And wow, that cigarette case and the locomotive! What amazing things to have seen in person.

            1. Studious attention to a locally-relevant fungi identification book would probably yield more “active ingredient” for less “online footprint”.

      1. There’s a toad here in South Florida that supposedly has psychedelic properties if you lick it.

        I haven’t found it yet, though I’ve licked a lotta members of the family Bufonidae lookin’. 🙂

  2. This is in his [Dostoyevsky’s] apartment home in St. Petersburg …

    Much nicer than Raskolnikov’s St. Pete digs.

  3. Well, these are very evocative pics. Delighted to see that so many of them are related to edible substances.

  4. When I saw this scene I knew it was a Cartier-Bresson “decisive moment” with all the children posed as if in a dance.

    The master’s tableau vivant.

  5. What many think is America’s best pizza: the white clam pie at Pepe’s in New Haven …

    My buddies and in-laws in Boston all swear Santarpio’s in Eastie is the best in New England.

    I couldn’t sleep again the other night, so fired up Netflix and watched Spotlight again. Noticed Santarpio’s got a shoutout in it.

    1. I love white pizza best. Just olive oil and garlic under the toppings, thanks!

      Goat cheese, (properly cured) green olives, and artichoke hearts on top. 🙂

  6. … eating the best paella I’ve ever had, and in Valencia, of course.

    They make a mean paella at Versailles, the iconic Cuban restaurant on Calle Ocho in Little Havana. You’ve gotta call a few hours ahead of time, in the afternoon, to order it. That’s the best paella I’ve eaten, but then I’ve never tried the real deal in Valencia.

    1. I’ve dined at the Versailles once (on my employer’s nickel — my boss was on this trip and planned all the dinners!)

      We had: Chicken, Red beans & rice and plantains and Cuba Libres.

      When in Rome …

  7. Ah North Carolina BBQ! I ate ate quite a few places across the coastal plain and piedmont. And then for variety go up into the mountains for the tomato-containing variety of BBQ.

    I wish that fried okra and cobblers were widely available in the north!

    1. I focussed in on the fried Okra also. My Mom used to cook the best Fried Okra I’ve ever had. But Papa’s in Eugene, OR (if it’s still in business) used to do a fine version. You could order two side dishes with your main dish and I always ordered two Fried Okras. There’s a family style restaurant over in the Tri-Cities in OR on the way into WA that also does Fried Okra. When heading that way, we always stopped there.

      Thanks for sharing your photos PCC(E).
      Loved them all. Please do moar.

      1. By Tri-Cities do you mean Richland/Pasco/Kennewick WA?

        Can you please be more specific about where this restaurant is? We will be permanent residents of this area in the very near future. 🙂

  8. That does look like a mean paella. A very fun dish to make, though sometimes difficult to get the perfect socarrat.
    The strawberry poison dart frog is adorable. Their pollywogs must be ant-sized.
    Did you end up eating all that chocolate? Looks like a LOT. But can there ever be too much chocolate? I think not.

        1. Certainly it is Valencian (yes, do not dare to say Catalan, Valencian people would get angry), I just meant that if he knew such a difficult word he would surely know some Spanish, enough to get the tips and cook some ‘arroz con cosas’ (rice with things, literally, anything but a cannonical paella) fully socarrat

  9. Thanks for the pix, PCC(e). It would be fun to see your rendering of a locomotive with Lenin on top of it. How about dashing it off again, and posting it here for your followers to ponder.

    I think the locomotive of Lenin’s funeral train is on general public display at a train museum in Moscow. Then there are the tissue slices of Lenin’s brain, which were long kept at an Institute of some kind in Moscow—quite possibly an institute set up for no other function. I wonder what happened to the great man’s brain slices post-USSR?

  10. OMG those food photos!

    Was the Pepe’s clam pie “all that?”

    I’d like to try it if only to see if I can get past my prejudice against white pizza’s of any type (missing tomato or similar sauce). I have never encountered a white pizza that did quickly prove monotonous to eat.

      1. Thanks, good to hear. I’d planned a trip to NYC this summer but…COVID. Will hope to do it next year maybe and put Pepe’s on the list.

  11. I always enjoy the travel pics and the food. I’m not a “train guy” but that train in St. Ptsbg must have been cool.

    You know they have the VIP train car Kim Jong Il died in on display in the “Palace of the Sun” Kumsusan in Korean I think – in Pyongyang for inspection just as he croaked in it. Like Trotsky’s desk in MX. Preserved death scenes of “great” men are very cool in my book. Keep well and keep the pics coming.

    David Anderson, NYC

  12. As a South Carolina native I feel compelled to stand up for what I (and all other good Sandlappers) consider a far superior variety of barbecue, especially when compared to that of North Carolina.

    My favorite is Sweatman’s in Holly Hill, SC (I would give the address but there is only one and you will probably need to ask for directions regardless- Waze and Google maps are less than reliable in the area).
    Next is Sikes Barbeque in Eastover, SC, 11170 Garners Ferry Rd. (there are multiple similarly named in relative proximity but this is the one you want).

    Granted, most do not venture into either area without a specific reason (family, etc.) but if you find yourself close, both are worth the side trip.

  13. I need to make a paella!

    We don’t “do” carbs at our house anymore (sad goodbye to: Lasagna, mac&(3)cheeses with polish sausage, paella, cheesy potatoes with ham …). But I have told my family that I will do each of these once per year. Moderation in all things, including moderation. 🙂

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