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  1. shain

    Breakfast! 2018

    As whether was finally getting colder, we got a sort of heatwave (at least it's still much better than the summer weather). Soba. Walnut dipping sauce (walnut, miso, vinegar, a touch of sugar). Sesame paste dipping sauce (with soy sauce, miso, mirin). Reduced soy dipping sauce (soy sauce, miso, vinegar, mirin). Scallions. Wassabi (we needed much more than shown in the picture). It's a nice light make-ahead meal.
  2. shain

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Baked ciabattas. I did the mistake of not letting the oven bottom heat enough and crowding the breads too close to each other. Both things caused an uneven raise and alveoli. Oh well, tasted great. Filled them with fresh mozz, tomatoes, basil and some salt. A short reheat to crisp up and melt the cheese a little.
  3. So as I mentioned, we were heading back south, which meant we were passing back by our so far favorite restaurant, Chveni Ezo. The waiters remembers us and seemed truly delighted when we told them that we enjoyed our past visit so much we just had to return. We had roti puri, which was warm, but not as crisp as before. This type of bread is really as its best when super fresh. Nadughi - farmer's cheese with plenty of of mint. I meant to order it in a traditional preparation where it is wrapped in a thin slice of sulguni cheese (see here). SoIt was slightly tangy, creamy (though not rich), and refreshing. It was nice spread over the bread. Fried eggplants with walnut spread. The eggplant was tender and rich. The walnut spread creamy and mild, mostly nutty. The garlic was used very gently. Over all, it was very enjoyable, but I prefer the version we had on our first day at the hotel breakfast - the "meaty" texture of that eggplant (possibly steamed) and the usage of more herbs were unbeatable. Generally speaking, I don't really like fried eggplants, I often sub them for grilled ones. But the georgians seem to have the way with them and they were rarely oily or over-fried. We also had some German weissen and a local lager. For mains we had Abkhazura, which is referred to as spicy meatball, but was akin to a kebab. It made with various spices and herbs, out of them dill is notable (though not overly so), pomegranates give some sweetness and some chili which made it pleasantly more spicy than most Georgian dishes we had. It seemed grilled, but my understanding is that it is wrapped in caul fat and pan fired. It was served with raw onion, which is a popular topping to various kebab-like dishes. I was told it was very good. We also had tkemali, which is a sour plum sauce and was very tasty, enough so that we ended up dipping bread into it and eating as is. A dish of various forest mushrooms and crimini, in a rich broth made of their own juices and butter, browned onion, tomatoes paprika and plenty of dill and parsley. It needed some salt, but once this was take care of, it was truly delicious. I used some bread to soak from the remaining juices. Two meat filled khinkali, one called "urban style" and one "mountain style" (I can't recall the Georgian names). The first flavored with parsley and cilantro, the other gently spiced with cumin and/or caraway. One cheese filled khinkali (the cheese a combination of imaruli and farmers cheese), was slightly tart, and chewy like melted fresh mozzarella. But I didn't like it much, it didn't work in dumpling form. I prefered the mushroom version from last time and hadn't tried the potato version (seemed somewhat boring). I was impressed with the availability of vegetarian versions everywhere, possibly due to lents dicatating meat free meals. Before the meal, I was eyeing the pelamushi on the dessert menu, but since we were stuffed to the brim, I had to pass it.
  4. shain

    Breakfast! 2018

    Chinese style steamed egg, two ways - sesame, sesame oil, white soy sauce. Dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, scallions. Served with hot ginger rice. A tad too tender for my taste, so less liquid next time. Also, I should let the mixture sit onger, as the first batch still had bubbles in it.
  5. shain

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Pad thai. But I forgot to buy bean sprouts, so I used onion instead, to have some crispness. An extra scatter of fresh chilies on top for me
  6. Thanks I think it should be on your list regardless. April to May should be the prime season for green fields and rivers full with water.
  7. After breakfast, we headed back south, for a day of hiking near Sno and Juta. We stopped for rest and wine by a small river.
  8. We had breakfast at a local small cafe-restaurant. It was stuffed by a woman and her older mother, who were very friendly. We had an OK turkish coffee as well as a Penovani khachapuri and a salad with walnut sauce. The khachapuri, made with a laminated pastry, was very crisp, flaky and quite tender. Its flakiness was more akin pie-crust than a puff pastry, but it was tender and yeasted like a puff pastry. The cheese filling was mild and not as acidic as in the one we had before. It was very much like a bourekas. The salad was great, the sauce of finely crushed walnuts, wine vinegar and herbs was great. The walnuts and vinegar together created a thin paste of sort, which coated the vegetables nicely. The vinegar was quite sweet and this worked well with the walnuts. Chopped parsley and basil added another layer of flavor. Simple and very good.
  9. Indeed. The pictures are taken at Gergeti church, Tsdu and Gveleti waterfall.
  10. Almost, I believe the egg is cracked raw on the khachapuri as it goes out of the oven. By the short time it took it to be served and photographed, it cooked enough to thicken a little, the egg white was just starting to set. The egg is traditionally mixed into the cheese (or so I understood), but we couldn't resist dipping the two bready knobs into the yolk. The white we mixed into the cheese. It's nice how you dip into the cheese pieces from the vessel in which it's contained. I'm sure going to, once the weather here chills enough for ovens and hearty, cheesy food. Do you have insights to share from your previous attempt at it? I barely skimmed through a couple of recpies, but my impression is that the dough is very pizza/pita like, enriched with yogurt. Lacking the proper georgian imeruli and sulguni, I plan on using a mixture of sirene, fresh mozz and some greek yogurt for flavor.
  11. Late lunch. Tarragon "lemonade" - Georgian use the term lemonade to refer to various flavored sodas (popular flavors are pear, orange, grapes, tarragon, vanilla and a few others). It was fizzy and sweet, but not overly so. Very slightly acidic, mostly gently minty, and hints of tarragon which I might have missed had it was not written on the label. Kazbegi porter - this was a very decent and basic porter. A tad too light and sweet. I hoped to taste other beers by the brewery, but apparently it is not commonly sold Adjarian khachapuri - nice and tender, slightly crisp, steaming hot. The egg fully liquid. The dough tastes lightly of yogurt. The filling is melting, not stretchy. Lightly salty. Some tartness and taste of lactic fermentation. We enjoyed it very much. Lobio - similar preparation to last time. The beans softer, breaking easily. Less herbal and complex than last time, some flavor of bay leaf. It worked well with the lobiani. We occasionally placed from the bean stew on the pieces of the cheesy khachapuri. The beans balanced it's milikness and acidity. It's richness complimented the beans. I hope I haven't performed a crime against Georgian cuisine. Just imagine what an Italian would say if one was to dip Neapolitan pizza into pasta e fagioli 😲.
  12. Some travel photos.
  13. shain


    I've been eating some mango every day for the last month or so, my fridge is still full of them. To keep things fresh I'm often adding a sprinkle of chili, lime zest or mint. I've also had them with coconut rice a few times, and the overripe fruits have been placed in the freezer to become lassi and shakes.
  14. It's a beautiful and interesting town. Very rural at parts, but quite active at its center. The "Red coffee bus". Not far from the hotel, we found this bakery. Not much to imply it's being one, other then the smell of wood fire and the sweet scent of bread being baked. The small sign on the window specifies the price of tonis puri at 75 tetri, which are 30 cents. A single baker salling only one bread. He is skillfully shaping the dough, stretching it over a special pillow and stick onto the tone oven wall. Ofcourse we bought a bread. Notice the hole where a hook was used to pull the bread out of the oven. They are quite large, measuring nearly 25" in length. It was as delicious as only freshly baked bread can be. Soft and pillow. Hot and aromatic. The crust well browned and crisp, crackling as you tear off a piece. The crumb is elastic and tender, very flavorful and well salted. It's akin to a Neapolitan pizza dough that was baked slower. The crumb is like a baggaute but slightly denser and less chewy, perhaps slightly enriched with oil. Actually, it's a lot like a crisp version of a good fluffy pita bread (in the Egyptian/Yamini style). Now I have to buy me some good pita (my favorite bakery is also quite a hole in the wall, but they use a mechanized conveyor oven). As I mentioned before, we kept some leftover pkhali from dinner. They were great with the bread. We only managed to eat a little more than half Where's my second stomach when I need it?
  15. Breakfast at the guesthouse. Some pan-cakes of sorts (definitely not pancakes, though) a sort of sponge cake, slightly dry, crispy on the outside, eggy in flavor, generously sprinkled with crisp sugar. Sour cream, farmers cheese, plum preserve - those are mixed together. Some tonis bread, a little dry. We chatted with the homeowner about the farmer cheese and their usage, she mentioned that she makes cheese cakes and Russian syrniki. We were also served omelettes, a few sliced vegetables, and sulguni cheese We made two cups of the turkish coffee we brought with us. I wan't in the mode for sweets, so I had my omelette, and sampled the cakes and cheeses with plum preserve. View from the room: Many animals are free to walk the town. No shortage of foliage for them.