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China, a Year of Dining


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#91 janeer

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 05:47 PM

Somehow I had missed this thread in the past and I love seeing all these dishes in their natural environment
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#92 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 02:14 AM

Back in China for a quick 11 day trip... Was in Beijing for the night, then over to Qingdao, then to Zhangjiagang and now in Yangzhou.. Internet is not really letting me use fickr or imgur so, it's been hard to upload photos.   

 

Here is my first meal..After a long trip, i ended up at my hotel in Beijing right by the airport.  i was able to walk to a restaurant right near my hotel as i wasn't downtown but, in  like an isolated complex. 

 

chicken in an oniony brown gravy.. the entire bottom layer of the pan was onions.  I was able to point at photos on the menu and do a a little charades..  it's amazing, even though it's cold here and most places aren't heated, they still manage to keep the beer warm. 

 

 


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Cold dark noodles in a spicy and garlicky vinegar sauce

 

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We ordered some sticks.  There was lamb, lamb kidneys and chicken wings. 

 

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A plate of dumplings

 

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they were interesting as they were filled with egg, mushroom and scallions. really nice. 

 

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We also had a plate of greens and a few beers. a smashing start.. Dinner was 172 rmb. Or, like 20 bucks with a few beers.  

 

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#93 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 02:18 AM

Qingdao is right on the water.. it is known for it's seafood.. There is a spectacular selection in the city and I am a seafood guy.. Big fan of Qingdao cuisine. 

 

I love celery.. This dish was cold celery with sesame oil and these little shrimp.  really awesome. the quality of all the seafood in Qingdao is pretty awesome.. 

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greens with garlic and clams or some sort of clammy guy.. such intense garlic.. i loved this dish.  i could happily eat this dish everyday. 

 

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I feel like this is the unofficial dish or maybe the official dish, i don't know, of Qingdao.. I have had this dish at pretty much every meal. 

 

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steamed shrimp with a vinegar dipping sauce.. When i first came to China, maybe 15 years ago, i was taken aback by how my hosts would eat shrimp with chop sticks.. removing the head and the expertly holding the shrimp in their chopsticks as they deshelled the shrimp with small bites..  I would just pick up the shrimp with my fingers, squeeze the tail, remove the head with my fingers and eat them with my hand.. i am proud to say, i can eat shrimp like my hosts now

 

you know,it's the little things i am thankful for. i also ate one before taking the photo

 

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I had this dish in Rizhao City the last trip.. It is fried pork with lots of cumin and some pepper.. It is wrapped in that wheaty hard pancake.  Love the dish. 

 

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Then came out these mushrooms with pork and some chili peppers..

 

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n Beijing or Qingdao, the end of meal dumplings tend to be a lot more loose and less filled... So, its almost like eating a noodle.. These dumplings were shrimp, of course with some scallions.. But, it was a loose dumpling with a lot more skin than filling..  

 

After this huge meal, everyone at the table had like 4 to 8 dumplings. Normally, i would eat an order of 6 dumplings for a meal.. but for some reason, it's just not the filling.. Sure, i skipped dinner last night but, i didn't feel overly stuffed, despite stuffing myself.. 

 

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With every meal there is normally a soup as well.. You can see on the table, there is an egg drop type soup with clam in it.. It was a little under flavored by my standards but, there must be something to it.. As, i often find the soups to need salt or some additional umph.. But, it's consistently like that, no matter the restaurant or the region, so, it must be done on purpose.. i added some vinegar and it was good. 


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Noticed this puppy on the way out.. I asked about it.. the lady i was with, a new supplier said, well, this is good for older people but, maybe might make younger person sick.. I figured it was something to make a man more virile but, apparently, this is good for older people. so, i have something to look forward to.. Some hard alcohol with a buch of snakes and herbs and bark soaking in it. 

 

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#94 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 02:24 AM

Breakfast, 7 am Qingdao
 
We found this place that looked similar to the food I had in X'ian.  It was just opening and it looked decent enough and more importantly there were photos of the food.. The photos were located high up so, there was a lot of pointing and charades going on.   i wasn't confident of what were were getting but, it worked out. 
 
This soup was really nice.. seamed like a tomato and meat broth. There was a really nice, sesame oil back note. There was egg and noodles in it.  
 
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This was a meat and noodles.. a little spicy. the shredded cucumber added an interesting cooling and brightness to the dish. 
 
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Also ordered a pork burger a la X'ian.. This was really lovely..  as good as the ones in X'ian
 
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what visit to a restaurant would be complete without a cultural issue..  These were the glasses they provided for the beer.  Mind you it was 7 in the morning but, still you would think they have some glasses for us

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on the walk home it looks like i found an ex pat bar of some kind.. also opened early in the morning
 
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Edited by basquecook, 17 November 2014 - 02:27 AM.

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#95 liuzhou

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 02:43 AM

Always bite into the head of the shrimp before removing it. It is the most delicious part. 

 

I remember well Qingdao clams (ga la in the local dialect). I ate them every day. And the squid on sticks sold on every beach.

 

Long time ago.

 

When I lived in Xi'an the "hamburgers" were nearly all beef. The best were in the Muslim quarter where they don't eat pork.

 

I still make them regularly.


Edited by liuzhou, 17 November 2014 - 02:50 AM.


#96 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 05:38 AM

It has gotten to the point in Qingdao that I have even had lunch delivered to me at an office and the clams were served from a plastic
Take out carton
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#97 Anna N

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 05:58 AM

So a burger is nothing like a western burger?
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#98 rotuts

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:03 AM

many thanks !


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#99 liuzhou

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:14 AM

So a burger is nothing like a western burger?

 

See here.



#100 Anna N

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:19 AM

See here.

Thank you. Don't especially like burgers so stir-fried beef/pork on a bun is much more appealing.
Edited to add


Can't help a little cross cultural thinking here. The perfect vehicle

http://forums.egulle...14-–/?p=1995255

Edited by Anna N, 17 November 2014 - 06:26 AM.

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#101 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:39 AM

The burgers are really good and a welcome source of bread that you can start to miss while traveling in China.

Wikipedia says this about them.

http://en.m.wikipedi...wiki/Rou_jia_mo

Edited by basquecook, 17 November 2014 - 06:44 AM.

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#102 liuzhou

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 07:03 AM

I'm sorry but the Wikipedia article does not match my experience. I can assure you that, in all my time living in Xi'an and revisiting almost annually over the last 18 years that beef was much more common than pork. Lamb was more common than pork, too. And I have never, ever seen a chicken version. Even wikipedia has flagged that the article has "some issues". As so many do.

#103 rotuts

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 07:16 AM

((  BTW:  FD :  im never going to get to taste anything as interesting as I see here.  :raz:   However, keep the stuff comming !   :biggrin:  ))


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#104 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 07:17 AM

Thank you. Don't especially like burgers so stir-fried beef/pork on a bun is much more appealing.
Edited to add


Can't help a little cross cultural thinking here. The perfect vehicle

http://forums.egulle...14-–/?p=1995255

 

 

thanks for the link, Anna.. Baking is something that i am not wired for.. I am so envious of your talents.   Longly looking at all the great breads.  


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#105 liuzhou

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 07:23 AM

Anyway, wikipedia aside,here are my memories of Qingdao.



#106 liuzhou

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 07:25 AM

 

 

Can't help a little cross cultural thinking here. The perfect vehicle

http://forums.egulle...14-–/?p=1995255

 

Yes Anna, they sound and look very similar. Would work, I reckon.


Edited by liuzhou, 17 November 2014 - 07:26 AM.


#107 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 07:38 AM

after several failed attempts.  internet is terrible at this new hotel.. will try to add more stuff tomorrow..


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#108 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 07:43 AM

and now it works again

 

 

Today for lunch, we had a quick one.. We were not that hungry but, i over ate anyway.. Apparently, about a year ago, my suppler's sister in law purchased a chain out of Shanghai.. they specialize in duck soup.. I was expecting really nice pieces of duck in a soup.. But, it was duck blood and i guess intestine, in a duck broth with clear noodles..  it was really good.. in addition to the soup, they have fried chicken, soup dumplings, meatballs, fried rice and like a tea soaked egg. 

 

when you walk in, the place smells funky.. like, i most likely would have walked out had I not known the proprietor.  

 

It's fast food but, good.. In addition, the kitchen was cooking sichuan food for the staff so, we got a bowl of this sour fish head soup with sichuan peppercorns.  obviously, that was my favorite. 

 

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Not the best i have had but, really pretty good. 

 

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soup was delicious.  added some hot peppers obviously. 

 

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I at first forgot it was supposed to be a duck soup, then i was eating the blood and it was good.. i remembered what the soup was and realized, there are no duck pieces.. just parts and such 

 

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the star of the show.. this is what the kitchen is eating.. really, some stellar sichuan food.  

 

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Edited by basquecook, 17 November 2014 - 07:45 AM.

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#109 Darienne

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 07:46 AM

Add my thanks to the others for this fascinating journey of yours through Chinese food.  We live near a small provincial Ontario city and the Chinese food there is so bad..."all you can eat buffets" and nothing else.  DH and I make our own Chinese dishes at home.  No doubt, nothing authentic, but we like them.

I still can't imagine eating some of the things you enjoy...


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#110 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 08:15 AM

Thanks so much Darienne!!! 

 

I wanted to share this meal from the other night as it had another burger type item.. these were like butter buns.   This was another new thing for me. 

 

 

We had a blow out dinner it was saturday night and they usually gather with their friends.. Small business owner and pilot was our host.. Fun people, interesting conversation but, really, it's the food i came for.  it's a blur of rice wine shots, cheers and smiles and just all around fun.. 

 

Their menu looked like a People Magazine.. It was a glossy magazine that was thick.. There were pages and pages of dishes.. it was pretty amazing actually, just to see it all.. most of the items were also written in english.. 

 

started with cold dishes.. a bean noodle.  

 

 

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tongue and tripe sichuan style
 
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mushrooms. this was really lovely
 
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smoked chicken was the only dish i didn't really like that much
 
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this was cool.. these buttery buns that you fill with pork.. fantastic 

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never met a fish head i didn't like..  this was the classic hunan red and green pepper
 
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stuffed eggplant
 
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tofu stuffed with pork meatballs
 
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potatoes
 
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corn cakes
 
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wonton soup type soup
 
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inside
 
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At some point this huge bread bowl of french vanilla custard was presented.. it was to melt and then there were large cubes of bread that soaked up the ice cream and we all ate it at the end.. 
 
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of course the meal ended with a big plate of noodles.. i have this trick where i use a spoon and sort of loop and twirl the noodles around my chopstick like one would do while eating Spaghetti.. They seem to really get a kick out of this.  
 
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I am sure i left out at least 5 dishes..

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#111 Anna N

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 08:24 AM

thanks for the link, Anna.. Baking is something that i am not wired for.. I am so envious of your talents.   Longly looking at all the great breads.


Thank you but there are far better bakers on eG. I so enjoy looking at the huge variety of foods you share with us.
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#112 Darienne

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 08:35 AM

Fish heads question:  how much of this 'thing' do you eat?  The entire, entire head?  Eyes too? 

I guess I'm not ready for this dining experience.  Ya got me at tripe...

 

ps.  I admit it.  I'm a plebe.


Edited by Darienne, 17 November 2014 - 08:35 AM.

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#113 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 02:24 PM

The cheeks are the most coveted part of the fish. When and an entire fish is served to the table there is a pecking order as to who receives them. So, fish heads here you get two orders of cheeks. By the time the fish head dish is complete there is just a small pile of bones. There is a lot of meat. Eyes are completely edible. The "bones" that are left are long translucent pieces of cartilage that have small bits of meat attached and also little puddles of sauce on them that are great to suck on. It's just meat and bones and sauce. Head, body, it's all from the same fish.
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#114 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 03:07 PM

So we took another flight yesterday.. It is really strange what goes on in these airplanes.   I hate rules for the sake of rules and China is chock full of them.. well, everywhere is chock full of them but, it seems like there is an over abundance here..  For example, when you fly in interior China on say, some scary ass airline with broken seats and ashtrays still in the arm rest and these floppy aluminum can looking wings, there is some strange customs that occur.. For example, the windows need to be open during take off and landing.. The over head lights about the aisle seats need to be on.  All of the seat belts need to be clicked closed.. Not the ones the passengers are using but, the empty seat seat belts need to be clicked closed..  I also discovered, you can't  take your shoes off during the flight.. I had my shoes off, the shoes under my seat, wearing clean socks and all, minding my own business when, the stewardess came over and whispered in my ear,  "do you mind if i take your shoes from you"     It took me a minute to realize, she was asking me to put my shoes on.  

 

Also, I wonder what happens to the stewardesses in China after they reach the age of 25.   I have never seen an old stewardess, i have never seen a stewardess that was not rail thin.. Like, scary thin,. Like so thin, they can pass by the drink cart without turning to the side. 

 

Also, you can not fly with a lighter, or matches in your suitcase the put underneath the plane.  A buzzer and alarm goes off and then they rip through your bag to find the matches.. i don't know how that happens but, they have a sensor that shows matches and lighters and some alarm goes off.. This happened to me a few years ago and i have seen it happen to people at the airport..  Very strange.   

 

Just some observations.   

 

I arrived at the airport and met a driver.. I can always tell when i am near Zhangjighang because i see the castle.. A castle you say?Yes, it's a bright and cheery castle that looks like Disney World.. Unfortunately, it's a chemical plant, nicely dressed up as a fun place to be.   

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We hit the hotel, exchange gifts and we drive to the restaurant as Nina Simone serenades us.. "She has such a beautiful voice" as the other woman starts to play.  

 

Without fail, our first night involves a fancy restaurant, with iPads as menus.  She asks me to order and i beg her to please order.. I can barely think and making a decision would bring to tears at this point in my delirium.  

 

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This is her and husbands new favorite spot.. The restaurant name looks like it's called Cinnamon but, i don't think there are an vowels.. It's more CNMMN

 

Cold eggplant with fried garlic crunch on top

 

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String beans with dried shrimp and spicy peppers and oil 

 

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Thin pieces of pork wrapped around cucumbers.. spicy sichuan noodles. 

 

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Sticky rice with tea leaf flavoring

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This is tofu noodles with baby eel in a brown sauce with pancakes.. Very nice.. 

 

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I consistently love this dish.. Crab roe and tofu in a rich crab guts sauce.. It's served over a flame to keep warm. i love this dish.. never get tired of it in all it's versions

 

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here is the final dish from last night.. It was pork dumplings surrounded by pork belly.  
 
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#115 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 04:23 PM

a sichaun lunch the other day

 

food sitting out to be chosen 

 

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pig ears 

 

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cold rabbit

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peanuts in china are the best. 

 

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chinese bason and scallions

 

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tarro surrounded in this crunchy sugary shell

 

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chicken with potatoes and bamboo

 

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#116 Shelby

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 04:35 PM

You're KILLING me, Basque.  Every. Single. Dish.  looks SO damn good.   I join others in saying I wish that I could experience this type of food.


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#117 Darienne

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 04:57 PM

Ditto for me and I expect all the rest of us.  (Well, I''m still not sure about fish heads, although you did a good job explaining them.) :blush:


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#118 FauxPas

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 05:33 PM

Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to take these pics and post them for us to salivate over. OK, a couple of them I am not sure about, but overall ti's still wonderful to see all the varied, colourful meals you have been lucky enough to participate in.  :shock:


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#119 basquecook

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 05:55 PM

Thanks all,  i really appreciate the feed back and that you are enjoying the photos.. it is a lot of work but, it gives  me something to do during the down time.  


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#120 Shelby

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:24 PM

I know it's a TON of work.  I did a week long blog and it was exhausting (but really fun).  We TRULY enjoy all of what you are doing and we thank you SO much!


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