Katrina D: In a historic Weird Vegetables moment, Erin and I are blogging in the same post. We're up in Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival with my parents. Erin is mercifully standing in as my proxy sibling/ambiguous bed-time companion.
Erin K: When we're not oohing over the unexpected charms of our B & B (warm chocolate chip cookies at midnight! toilet paper wound into rosettes!), we're inventing activities outside the realm of our normal city-dwelling routines — like shopping for novelty shower curtains and searching for versions of our aged selves. This evening, on our way into The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, Katrina spotted the woman she wants to be at 65.
KD: Or just will be regardless of my own wishes. She wore a stripey t-shirt dress outside of the Kat Wok, a saucy pan-Asian restaurant, sushi bar, and nightclub. But back to vegetables. Wait, are olives a vegetable? Either way, we should talk about the Olive Pit in Corning, CA, an exciting mid-way lunch stop on the drive from San Francisco to Ashland.
EK: I thiiiiink olives are a fruit, but since I use them regularly as spicer-uppers of veg cuisine, they occupy a spot on vegetable spectrum in my mind. Regardless, the Olive Pit's got jars and jars of green gems, flavored in strange and delightful ways, identifiable thanks to signs with catchy names and handy drawings. I think the illustration of almond-stuffed olives looks like an ogre toe.
KD: Yeah, that place was nutty, kind of like the Nut Tree, only with olives. I felt like we were in an Andreas Gursky photo (lower right). Here's my Forrest Gump listing of all the flavors they had: Pitted, Green Pitted, Spiced Pimiento, Martini, Manzanillo, Queen, Garlic Style, Smoked Style, Kosher Style, Dill Kosher, French Style, Italian Style, Onion Stuffed, Almond Stuffed —keep reading, dahlings, it's only gonna get crazier — Smoke Flavored, Brine Greek, Cuban, Ranch (ew!), Cracked Sicilian, Napa Valley Wine, Mild Mustard, Hot Spiced, Jalapeño Style, Texas Hot Chili, and finally, Deep South Cajun. Whew! My fingers hurt.
EK: Strangely, after snapping photos and marveling at the various signs, we didn't manage to buy a single jar. This can be explained by the phenomenon of bulk-food turn-off —when I encounter anything edible in massive quantities, it loses its appeal. An obvious example is a vat of gravy, dispensed by hand-pump (I really saw it! In Ely, NV) but even a hotel pan of seared duck breasts can seem gross because there's just so many of them.
KD: Clearly, you do not share my mom's passion for the temple of consumer gluttony also known as Costco. I enjoy building my sense of superiority by lecturing her on the evils of buying gallon jugs of o.j. but then secretly grab a bunch of bulk-bought toilet paper and Kleenex from the garage on my way out. But if I had purchased anything from the Olive Pit, it definitely would have been the Dynamic Duo: Jalapeño & Garlic Stuffed. My only question is, are you Jalapeño or Garlic?
EK: Welp, considering one morsel of each is wedged into every olive, does it matter?