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  1. When I completed my culinary school, they sent me to do my internship at one of the best restaurant in the world Celler de Can Roca, just imagine working at one of the top restaurant in the world with no prior experience in a professional kitchen, I was shocked and scared at the same time. When I got to Girona I was nervous, mainly because I was scared of making a mistake, but also because I am with people who had prior experience in the kitchen, it was quiet intimidating for me, I got to meet a lot of interesting people that I got to work with and surprisingly they all helped me out during my months working there. During the first months I was working in the production section, it was difficult at first but once you get used it it was easier, after I worked in carnes or the meat section for 2 weeks doing double shift for those 2 weeks which was exhausting, and after finishing the meat section I went to cuatro frio which is the salad section, and I got to say compare to all the other sections this one was more intense, because you have to do a lot of multi tasking and running back and forward from the freezer, cleaning room or the pantry back to the kitchen. I was sometime frustrated and sometimes excited because it was always back and forward between the different plates in the section. On the final day or the final service I was sad because I have experienced and changed in so many ways that I didn't expect that I would change so many ways, my personality and physique have changed, all my companions and friends in Celler de Can Roca said I came in as a boy and now you came out as a man. To summarise, working in 3 Michelin Restaurant is intense, a lot of hard work and a lot of patience, sometime you wish you don't want to go to work or want to sometimes cry because of how hard it is, but you have to remember that every day you changed and get better then the previous day, and work is work, it is not a game where you can quiet and start over, you have to force yourself and push yourself past your limit, and their will be people who will help you and make you sure you push yourself past your limit.
  2. OK - we're back at it again. I'm here to lay on you some amazing food stuffs and regale you with more tales of getting sick while being half way around the world. I swear, it seems like the more careful we are, the more assured we are of getting sick while traveling. Prior to our trip, we basically quarantined for 3 weeks. Yes, I still went to work, but I wore a major N95 mask pretty much any time I was around people (and I still kept my distance as well!) or in an area where people had been a half hour before. My mask never came off at the airport except for very brief stints when security demanded it. And I finally removed it on the plane once we had been in the air for about 20 minutes when the air filtration system has "supposedly" reached the optimal point where it changes the air in the plane every 2-3 minutes. And I put the mask back on whenever I had to leave my seat to go to the bathroom or the snack area! So, enough of my tale of woe (for now) and let's start getting into the fun stuff. North Sulawesi is a fascinating section of Indonesia (not that it's all not interesting). Unlike most of Indonesia, the vast majority of people are Christian, not Muslim, as Dutch missionaries brought Christianity there a long time ago. The area is a peninsula, surrounded by water on 3 sides which means that fish/seafood are very important. The interior is mountainous and traditionally, the local villages there have little access to the ocean and are in the middle of a large rainforest - so the traditional diet of the Minahasa people (the local people of the interior highlands) has a history of using any meat source available: dog, monkey, bat, snake, etc. They also have created tons of small areas for fish farming - usually taking up the majority of a person's yard area. There are usually at least a few people per village who have small fish farms at their house and they sell their fish to their village. But before we get there, we had to spend a day in Singapore - oh the horror! If you've read any of my stuff before (or see what I post in RecipEgullet or the dinner section) you'll probably know that I love Singapore, so having to spend the day there is certainly not a hardship. This time we had to spend an overnight there since the flight from SIN to Manado (the main city of North Sulawesi) only goes 4 or 5 times a week and it just so happened that there was no flight the day our flight from NY landed. We landed around 5:30AM and true to form of the efficiency there, we were checked into our hotel in the middle of the city in just under an hour after the plane arrived at the gate - that includes the time to get off the plane and we were in the rear 2/3 of the plane! Since we had sent our immigration info in beforehand (using Singapore's immigration app) we were able to use their automated immigration lanes which is super speedy, but even still, our bags were waiting for us on the baggage claim belt when we got there. One of the reasons I love Singapore is all of the tropical plants. It's like the whole city is dropped into the middle of a giant garden. This feeling starts at the airport: The immigration hall Baggage claim (obviously). Once checked into the hotel, we took a nap for a few hours, then headed out for lunch. A while back, I had realized that in all our time in Singapore, we had never had fish head curry!!! How is this possible? It's one of their national dishes! One of the most famous places to get it (and supposedly the inventor of the dish) is Samy's Curry Restaurant, located in the lushly green Dempsey Hill neighborhood. One of our requirements for dining in Singapore on this trip was that we had to be able to eat outside, as we wanted to take all precautions against getting sick since our first few days in North Sulawesi was dedicated to scuba diving and we wanted to make sure we were completely healthy for that. So that means N95 mask in the short taxi ride (the driver was masked also) and doing all outdoor activities. A few weeks before, I had made a reservation for lunch and requested an outside table. Unfortunately, when we got there, they couldn't find our reservation - basically because I had made it for the wrong day!!! Arrgghhhh.... but they were super helpful and with only a 10-15 minute wait, they were able to seat us outside anyway. This restaurant started as a standard South Indian style restaurant - which means that your plate is a banana leaf where they pile rice and a few sides (included) and then you add whatever else it is you ordered. I didn't take photos of the whole menu, but here's most of it: All prices are in SGD, where 1 USD = 1.35 SGD at the current rate of exchange. I didn't know if just the fish head would be enough food for us, so I also ordered the Masala chicken which also looked really good. The portion that arrived was a LOT larger than pictured in the menu and we barely made a dent in it - but it was really good. The masala is typical of South India with mustard seeds and curry leaves. I definitely have to make this at home! My plate with rice, some type of onion/cauliflower side (on the left) and masala potatoes on the right. More mustard seeds. Note to self, must order more mustard seeds. Another guy comes around with two vats of sauces and asks if we're having fish or chicken. Since the fish head curry was to be the main event, I said fish and he put a ladle full of fish curry sauce on my rice (with a piece of okra). Homemade pappadum (included), just in case there isn't enough food... And of course, when in Singapore, a pitcher of lime juice: This is how the main event arrives: There is a ton of meat on this fish head, and it is perfectly cooked. The curry also contained some small green eggplant and okra. The curry sauce is really good - tons of spices and slightly sour from tamarind. So aromatic. A complete plate. And yes, we used utensils. Many of the South Indian patrons there ate traditionally, using the fingers on their right hand, but we don't have experience doing that yet and didn't feel like that day was a good day to start. Holy crap, that meal was good. We were stuffed to the gills. So, what better way to work it off than by walking around the Singapore Botanical Gardens? ...
  3. Let's go to the city! But it's not just any city, it's a mega city. Ciudad de México! I have been at the airport a bunch of times but it's the first time I had to exit it after passport control. Ay ,caramba! So good to see you again Benito (as in Juárez, international airport)! Immediately grabbed a taxi to the bus terminal to catch the first bus to a small town in the mountains 2 hours away. It's a massive city from the air, and it's really massive seen from the taxi. Streets are full of cars in pitch black at 4:30am. Getting off the bus in Zitacuaro and another taxi ride to a small village deep in the mountains on the border of Mexico state and Michoacan. We are staying at this lovely guest house, the only place to eat and sleep here. So tranquil and green. Best thing is a hot shower and breakfast after 24 hours straight without sleep. But first coffee. Everything in this part of Mexico is about the butterflies. But it's not just any butterfly, it's the mariposa monarca! Btw, we are off the grid here in Macheros village. The hotel has to build their own communication tower and there's no cell phone service/signal. With cheese My favourite: with tomatoes and onions. Fruits, fresh juice and corn tortillas. Chilli poster in the breakfast room One of the avocado trees in the guest house's garden Some of the things I've brought to give away. I am giving the camera and Chile wool bag (which only this camera fits in) to someone who works here at the guest house, a family member who's also a butterfly guide and one I had been in communication with. Some T shirts, 2 brand new blazers, shoes, headphones, bag, Bolivian cookery books are for the 3 ladies who work in the kitchen. There are also toys, slippers, new underwear and other things that are not in the photo. My rucksack is suddenly half full! Tomorrow off to see the monarcas in one of the sanctuaries. 2 hours on horseback up a steep trail to reach the butterfly colony. It feels fantastic to be back in one of my favourite countries!
  4. It's that time of year again, for a KennethT SE Asian adventure. This is our first trip to Asia since COVID. We'd been looking to go to Penang for a long time - it's nickname has been the Pearl of the Orient since colonial days, but more recently it's more commonly referred to as one of the street food capitals of the world. In order to get there, we flew non stop from NY to Singapore, detailed here: We had a few hour layover in Singapore, where we had dinner. Terminal 4 of Singapore's airport is relatively new and smaller than the other terminals, but they have a hawker stall type of food court with a lot of different choices. To get in the Malaysian mood, we decided on a place that makes nasi lemak - coconut rice with a lot of stuff with it: Chicken curry with spring roll, ikan bilis (small dried fish with peanuts), sambal, cucumber and shrimp chips. Requisite neon yellow "lime juice" - this was a barely diluted concentrate! Yikes.... Same thing but with sambal chicken which is a different sambal to the one they put on the side. Both meals were pretty tasty - especially after sitting on a plane for 18 hours. Our flight to Penang (about an hour or so) got in around 10PM, so there was nothing else until the next morning.
  5. Where to spend the real first summer vacations after the Covid hiatus - definitely not an easy question to answer. For reasons that might be disclosed later the Duvel family opted for Scotland. It was not an unanimous decision … Nevertheless, there is sufficient food content that makes me feel comfortable to share some parts of this trip with you 🤗 Stay tuned …
  6. Good morning! I decided to add a little more crazy to this week and do a blog. As you guys know (or some of you know), we have a friend that comes at least once a year and stays with us. He's a very good guest--along with hunting he usually helps Ronnie with some of the more major difficult chores around here. Last year he even hung storm windows on every window in the house. Not a small task. Anyway, he arrives this morning and will be here until Sunday afternoon. I'm going to send a camera along with them with strict instructions to snap photos of their adventures going after birds. It's dove and teal (duck) season now. And, there might be some river fishing thrown in, too. There will be a lot of cooking going on. So, since I'm alone in the kitchen putzing around, I figure I'll take you guys along with me . PS: Our guest will be returning the first week of December for deer season (and goose etc.) so maybe we will lock this blog until then and open it back up. I've promised for years to post pictures of cutting up deer. Maybe this will be the year I get it done lol.
  7. Saturday, July 9th was my 63rd birthday. And since the trip out of town to Florida and SC was so satisfying, I requested another adventure. Only one day and close to home this time. We’re in the Richmond VA area and only one hour and one and a half hours respectively from the charming little towns of Charlottesville and Staunton, VA. I asked for an off-the-interstate drive, a wander around the lovely Staunton, lunch and dinner at old favorite places, a visit to Reunion bakery, and chocolates from our own @Jim D.. The only thing that didn’t happen was Reunion. Sadly, they were closed that week for their summer break. Still, it gives me a good excuse to get the family on the road again and make another visit to Jim. I didn’t eat a bite of breakfast because I wanted to be good and hungry for lunch. This was difficult to accomplish as our first stop on the way to Staunton was at the Albemarle Baking Co. in Charlottesville: Incredible place! I wish we had something comparable in Richmond. We bought a few things that fit into breakfasts and snacks over the next couple of days. A sampling: Back in 1987-1989 when Mr. Kim was in grad school at VA and we lived in Charlottesville one of our favorite places to sightsee was a store called Food of All Nations. I say sightsee rather than shop because we were, of course, broke. Our name for it was Food of High Prices. But we loved to look and did treat ourselves occasionally – my beloved English candies, HP sauce, German sausages, good bread, etc. We almost never go to Charlottesville without stopping and this time was no exception. A good wander through the aisles, a search for Tiptree Little Scarlett jam (none there), and a little stash of candies: I can’t find the treacle toffee here in Richmond anymore and haven’t had liquorice toffee since Callard & Bowser stopped making it. Then it was on to Staunton for lunch and neighborhood crawling and CHOCOLATE! (Back to Charlottesville for dinner). Lunch was at Wright’s Dairy-Rite, a classic drive in (with actual car hops). When Mr. Kim was in grad school, I worked at a private social service agency, inspecting day care homes for the USDA meal reimbursement program. One of my responsibilities was observing meals served at day care homes that were licensed through our agency. Every home had to be visited once every six months, so about half my time was traveling around central VA meeting day care providers and children and helping to serve breakfast, morning snack, lunch, or afternoon snack. When I would find myself in Staunton, I always ate at Wright’s. I’d sit in my car, order a cheeseburger and a shake, and eat. I could read a book, smoke a cigarette, and enjoy some quiet time! They have a pretty wide assortment of food (including a highly recommended Reuben, funnily enough) but we stuck with the classics. Jessica had a double cheeseburger and crinkle cuts: Mr. Kim had another double with jalapenos: I had the “Superburger” and onion rings. Basically, an early Big Mac, but with excellent, flavorful burgers: The burgers were just our style – thin and juicy. Let’s just take another look at those onion rings: These were among the best onion rings I’ve ever had. Maybe I had some better ones when I was a toddler, but not since I became an adult have I had any better ones. They were NOT tempura, which is what everyone seems to do nowadays. They were crumb coated, but thinly. The onions were completely cooked, but still crunchy. I cannot say enough good things about these. Two weeks later, we’re still talking about them. The day just kept getting better. Next, we got to meet @Jim D.. He was so gracious and invited us into his home for a little visit and “get to know you”. We had a lovely time and really enjoyed meeting Jim and hearing about his late arrival at chocolate making. Mr. Kim had arranged for me to receive this gorgeous assortment of chocolates: I was stunned at how lovely they were but was truly stunned at how delicious and inventive they were when I tasted them. I’ve done a more in-depth post about them here, and you should definitely go look at that. After a leisurely drive around the lovely old neighborhoods of Staunton and a little antiquing, we had a snack and a drink at Clocktower Eats & Sweets. A lovely coconut cake: And the saltiest soft pretzels and beer cheese we’d ever tasted: 😵 More neighborhood wandering, then we took the long way to Charlottesville – my favorite drive across Afton Mountain and Rockfish Gap and beside lovely old homes. Dinner in Charlottesville was at our family favorite, Al Carbon. I’ve talked about this restaurant before and shown almost identical photos. Most American cities now have the Mexican/Central American rotisserie/charcoal chicken places, and they are good. But most of them that we’ve been to are basically Mexican restaurants with rotisserie chicken. This is miles above any other place we’ve ever tried. The chicken is astonishingly good, and the sandwiches and sides are unlike anything I’ve ever had. This is a chicken tamale and the beef cemita: Don’t know why I neglected to undress the tamale before taking the picture. The cemita was loaded with breaded slices of beef, Oaxaco cheese, ham, and avocado. It’s my favorite thing there. The elote and the incomparable chicken: It’s even excellent cold the next day. Sweet potato and fried plantains: The sweet potato is cooked in a sweet, creamy sauce and is slightly caramelized and the plantains are perfectly cooked. Dessert always presents a dilemma. Al Carbon makes churros to order. BUT just outside, in the parking lot is a frozen custard stand. I had a flash of genius. Considering that it was my birthday and that you are allowed, actually ENCOURAGED, to go big that day it occurred to me to do both. We ordered churros and took them across the parking lot and created this on the spot: It was utterly divine. And we were a happy family:
  8. Left from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver - destination, Qualicum on Vancouver Island. Arrived in Nanaimo, had a quick visit with a friend who is in a care facility for traumatic brain injuries there, then headed to our accomodation, stopping briefly at a grocery store for breakfast fruit, yogurt, etc. Arrived at our beachfront condo, unpacked, had an extended happy hour and decided to just walk next door to a diner type place. Upon arrival, the owner greeted us, and let us know that they were slammed and we were welcome to come on in, but the food might be a while. We were fine with that, their Monday special was double Margarita rocks for 6.00. Food was good if basic. My beef dip was elevated with a garlic/horseradish aioli. Back to the condo for a champagne toast to the sunset
  9. Hello! And welcome to the official edition of my traveling around southern Iceland foodblog. We just got home around midnight last night, so I'm a little tired/jetlagged but hopefully this will make some sense as I work on this over the next couple of days. Iceland is otherworldly beautiful - the landscape constantly changes as you drive through it, from moss covered lava fields to hay fields (they just finished baling) to miles (kilometers?) of stark nothingness to moss covered mountains and snow covered peaks. Hopefully you'll get a good sense of this as you read along - I'm going to be adding some videos also that will help illustrate some things which pictures can't really do justice to. One thing to note is that, contrary to most of our other trips to SE Asia, Iceland is exhorbitantly expensive - from fuel to food. I don't know how much is being affected by the war in Ukraine, but I am of the understanding that no matter what, it's always expensive there. For example, fuel prices averaged 345 Krona per liter, which at the current rate of exchange of about 130 Krona/US$, works out to $10.22 per gallon! Obviously this is not the best time for a driving vacation, but this was originally scheduled for July 2020 and we all know how that worked out. Meals in a simple cafe (kaffi) are expensive - a standard burger was typically over $17! I don't think food prices are affected by Ukraine so much as it seems as though just about all the animal proteins are grown locally, most being free range/grass fed - I read that Iceland is self sustainable with meat/dairy with no imports necessary. Vegetables (at least that I saw in the summer) usually came from local farms or a restaurant's own garden. We've tried to take photos of menus to give a sense of things. One more interesting tidbit before I get on with the show is the use of English. It seemed that everyone I dealt with - from the gas station attendant to waiter to hotel staff to tour guide spoke better English than I did. As right now is super peak season, there were tons of tourists, many of them were surprisingly to me American. I don't think I've seen such a high proportion of American tourists in a foreign country I've visited, ever. So, flying over the area in preparation for landing, you can see a good example of landscape right off the bat - huge tracts of nothing - or more specifically, undisturbed moss covered lava fields: We landed around 9:30AM local time, which is 4 hours ahead of my standard Eastern Daylight Savings Time. The flight left late at night, and I worked a full day that day which means that by the time we picked up the rental car, I had been up for over 24 hours straight - the flight is so short (about 5 hours from NYC) that there's really no time to get any sleep. And since we had about an hour and a half drive to check into our first hotel, it makes this an absolute necessity: Just driving away from the airport is gorgeous: We checked into our hotel just around lunchtime and since we were exhausted and starving, we opted to have lunch there. The hotel's restaurant is really only open for breakfast (included with the room rate) and dinner but they will make you a "box lunch" upon request... Since it was beautiful out - about 55F and sunny, we decided to have it on our patio. Upon closer inspection, it looks like this: A simple ham and cheese sandwich with mayo and cucumber with a slice of some kind of tart (which we'll also see at breakfast) and some fruit. Interestingly enough, the apple was from France. After we rested a bit, we decided to do a bit of sightseeing. This hotel has good proximity for the Golden Circle sights - which are commonly seen on day trips for people staying in Reykjavik. I had allotted about a day and a half for these since one of the days will be spent doing a big hike in the interior highlands a couple hours away. The first stop - Kerid crater formed by volcanic activity and is basically filled with groundwater - the level of the water in the crater rises and falls with ground water levels but never actually drains. You can take the stairs down to the bottom: From the bottom: After viewing the crater, we went to dinner in Selfoss, which is the major town near our hotel. Outside of these types of towns, there is literally nothing except landscape. I had done a bunch of research before the trip, and found a few places in Selfoss that I had wanted to try - we'd only get to some of them though as well see later. First dinner: Krisp Overall, the food was really tasty here. We forgot to take photos of the menu, but prices were in the range of most other places we went to, which you'll see later on. Local cod tempura - I was surprised to see chillies being used all over the place in Iceland - fresh chillies, chilli jam, pickled chillies... served breakfast to dinner! Grilled local lamb (all Iceland lamb is free range) with roasted potatoes smothered in the same sauce as came with the tempura - like a citrus aioli. I don't know what cut of lamb they used - it was perfectly cooked, but you can see different muscle groups: Local wolf fish on barley with some kind of fruit compote on top - to tell the truth, I don't remember it much but I was exhausted by that point. It was really tasty though.
  10. You’re going the wrong direction! I just got off my OKC to Chicago flight for a weekend of Mexican food. I’m not too keen on heading to Mexico City at just this moment, so Chicago it is. We have a 9pm dinner reservation, so engaged in a little pre-gaming at Tortas in O’Hare, one of the best airport restaurants there is. And O’Hare is sort of a food desert, so I’m glad this Bayless outpost is here. Just some chips and guacamole to hold us over for a few hours…
  11. It's been 5 long years since we last went to Kerala, which I wrote about here. That was to celebrate my niece's wedding. This time we're back on the occasion of the rice feeding ceremony for the couple's 5 month old son. It won't be as big a do as the wedding but it will be a more intimate gathering. So here is my first lunch in my mother's kitchen. Rice, yellow daal, pan-fried mackerel and a mackarel curry. In the background is some fried chicken and a green lentil daal. I never asked for nor touched the fork, honest!
  12. My niece has just married and we are in Kerala as part of the celebrations. I wish I could have preserved the whole event in detail for eGullet, as I’ve enjoyed the posts of others so much. In particular I’m thinking of @chefmd's Mongolia blog and @sartoric's amazing South Indian report. Forget that standard! I’m going to try a little mini-blog. Not only am I terribly disorganised and IT challenged but I am also currently suffering from a rotator cuff tear which makes photography painful and difficult. Even though this will be a very scanty record, I think I can offer something a little different to what we've seen before. Prawn fry. Chicken fry. Rice. My mother used to send us off to school with our lunch of fried prawns, rice and yoghurt. I think this rice is basmati, which is not quite correct. The yoghurt is home made daily. The prawns are from the Kerala backwaters; large and fresh caught. These are spiced mainly with chilli paste, and cooked in coconut oil to a somewhat firmer consistency than would be considered polite nowadays in the UK. This combination takes me right back to kindergarten tiffin. The nuns used to roll their eyes and tut at how red and hot the prawns looked. We don’t get it much or at all any more when we’re back in England, so this was an absolute treat. The chicken fry and chicken curry (just pictured with the rice) would normally have been stars in their own shows, but got hardly a look-in today. The thoran (again not pictured) being vegetarian, was sadly neglected. I’m sure it was very good but vegetables really have to fight for their space on my plate. Please bear with me for the misalligned pictures, varying resolution and clunky editing...
  13. DAY ONE 6/10/2022 We took a little trip – the first real vacation we’ve taken since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020. For the folks who are on FB with me, I didn't talk about the Florida aspect of it there because there is a relative that lives there that I don't care to spend time with - especially since we only had two day. So that's why on FB it only looks like we went to Charleston. We left Richmond on the morning of the 10th heading south on the way to Florida. No stops of note until our traditional stop at the out of control South of the Border just inside the South Carolina border. This tourist trap is one that I’ll stop at every time I drive by. I grew up wanting desperately to go there and being fascinated by what I could see from I-95: Not to mention those amazing billboards up and down the highway: But Ted was his most British on long drives and put his nose in the air and foot on the gas and refused to indulge me (though he indulged me in a myriad of other ways). Mr. Kim’s dad was similar. So, as adults in control of our own car with our own spending money, we stop every trip. My little fat self was always curiously craving cafeteria foods, Drive In movie snacks, gas station hot dogs, etc. I still have that curiosity, though I don’t gratify it very often. But understanding that, you’ll know how hard it is for me to turn away from this: I mean they have a giant hamburger on the ROOF! AND they serve tamales. But I managed to deny myself and just got a drink. In the bizarre time warp of Pedro’s South of the Border, they still sell candy cigarettes: One of the reasons that I was willing to leave South of the Border untasted was because we’d decided to take a slight detour off I-95 to go here in Holly Hill, SC: When you see the sign, you think that it’s hard to believe this place has only been open 45 years. It feels much older and more established. And then you read this on their website: "Mr. and Mrs. Harold Sweatman, better known as Bub and Margie Sweatman first opened a small bar-b-que place in the town of Holly Hill, SC in 1959. After closing this location, they only cooked for special gatherings with family and friends. Cooking for these occasions took place in the "old dairy" which was located just a few yards from the Sweatman's home. Their desire to open a bar-b-que restaurant came to fruition when they purchased an old farmhouse. Sweatman's Bar-B-Que opened for business in 1977. " The house where the restaurant is located: And the pit house in the back: They cook during the week and are only open Fridays and Saturday. They do whole hogs over oak, hickory, and pecan and baste them with their mustard sauce (mustard based BBQ sauce is a SC tradition). The menu: My “plate”: Gorgeous mac & cheese, some short ribs (these aren’t even mentioned, we just got them with our meal) – incredibly tender and flavorful, pulled pork and hash on rice (see Mr. Kim’s description below). On top is just a casual piece of crisp, fatty crackling. Every portion gets one until they run out. Mr. Kim’s meal: Slaw, ribs, hash on rice (some of those short ribs, too – you just can’t see them). And a little cup of banana pudding, because how can you not? I didn’t even mind the use of Nilla Wafers. Every single thing was truly delicious. Mr. Kim’s Yelp review: "Sweatman's is legendary. I am glad we diverted off of the tedium of I-95 to eat here. You have to love barbecue to go looking for this place, but it is time well spent. An old school pit to plate kind of place, you won't find anything fancy here. But Sweatman's delivers good smoked meats.... ribs are pretty much unadorned but well smoked. A good deal fattier than I prefer, but tasty. Whole hog pork is very well executed. The barbecue hash over rice is really good -- for those unfamiliar, it is like a thickened brunswick stew with bbq meat in it. If you are like me (and I pity you if you are) and are obsessed with tasting the full variety of what the world of BBQ has to offer, this is one place you have to include on your list." We got to our friends’ in time for dinner. Mr. Kim had brought, as requested, some of his BBQ which we had for dinner: We brought the slaw and meat, they supplied the buns, beans, and broccoli salad. They couldn’t believe that we’d eat BBQ for lunch and be ready for it again at dinner. We told them that one of our retirement dreams is to do a couple of months long BBQ crawl all over the south. Day one done. Went to be exhausted, full, and smelling vaguely of smoke. More to come!
  14. After a 2 year hiatus, we're finally back on the horse (plane)! This trip was originally planned for summer of 2020 but we all know what happened to those plans. Luckily, the airline (Iceland Air), all 4 hotels and the car rental company were completely understanding and were more than happy to practically indefinitely postpone our reservations considering that we had prepaid all our hotels to get the best rates. Iceland was one of the first European countries to open up to tourism with no quarantine period, and by now we don't even need a negative test or anything else - we don't even need proof of vaccination... Be prepared for some amazing, otherworldly landscapes and most probably lots of langoustine!!! Langoustine is caught locally - unfortunately we just missed their annual Lobster Festival in Hofn which was 2 days ago. Also popular there is locally caught artic char, horse and hopefully we'll get some reindeer somewhere. Our flight leaves late tonight and we get in around 9:30AM local time. As usual, I may put up some teasers here and there while we're away, but I'll put a whole writeup together once I get home.
  15. Fasten your seatbelts. It is that time of year again. We are a day late and a dollar short as they say but I was able to attend my granddaughter's graduation last night. We are on our way to Manitoulin via Sudbury. As always our vehicle is packed to the gunwales and then some. I hope we have both remembered all the essential things. As if we really needed more in a fully-stocked townhouse! Mostly we will be carting ingredients that will be hard to find up there. We are both unduly attached to our Joules so they are packed. Kerry does not leave home without the Thermomix. The Instant Pot and the Cuisinart Steam Oven are already there waiting for us along with most kitchen toys that one might need. Kira is securely strapped in her seat. Wouldn't do to forget her! I expect will stop somewhere for breakfast and one of us will remember photographs.
  16. My "first taste" of Iceland and now I want more. Watch in full screen.
  17. We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food. A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions. A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.
  18. I’m on Day Two of sunning myself on the Redneck Riviera, on the Gulf Coast of western Florida, and it occurred to me I should at least document some of the seafood. Apologies for the two meals I’ve failed to photograph so far; I will do better. Trip down Tuesday was about 2 1/2 hours longer than expected, as we acquired a 3/8 inch bolt through the sidewall of a tire. The delay impacted our lunch plans at Mary Mahoney’s Old French House in Biloxi, MS, one of my favorite destinations for Creole cuisine. We got there about 3, discovered they’d changed from the lunch to the dinner menu, so we had a late lunch/early dinner. My traveling companion is a connoisseur of gumbo, and contends MM’s is the best she’s had. We both had a cup, a rich brown, with plenteous portions of shrimp and lump crabmeat, spicy but not hot. I guess there was trinity cooked in the roux, but none survived in noticeable bits. She had fried shrimp, which looked awfully tasty with a crispy batter, almost tempura-ish but a little heavier. I had an appetizer-sized portion of shrimp and crab au gratin, the seafood in an extremely rich Mornay sauce, topped with cheese and broiled. It’ll make a liar of anyone who says one shouldn’t cook seafood with cheese. Thus fortified, we made it the final 200 miles to our destination, where we enjoyed a late glass of wine on the deck while watching the sunset over the gulf, and I took one of the few photos I’ve taken so far: Yesterday, we lounged on the beach and by the pool, and headed out for dinner to another favorite, Acme Oyster House, a western outpost of the NOLA classic. In a new building on the Intercoastal Waterway, the room is uncommonly pleasant: high ceilings, dark wood, lots of windows. I was, sadly, a little disappointed in the food. Sue had a half a fried shrimp po’boy and a cup of butter beans, sausage and Tasso, and pronounced it good. I was less impressed with my grilled marinated shrimp, which had a Godawfully sweet taste to them. They were somewhat redeemed, though, by the excellent sweet potato fries, which were twice-fried to achieve a crispy outer shell and a creamy inside. Today is more lounging on the beach and at the pool, and debating where we’ll eat tonight. High in the running are Cobalt, a newish place on Perdido Bay where we ate lunch last year; Wolf Bay Lodge, which came highly recommended; and DeSoto’s Seafood House, a classic that’s been dishing up local seafood for 50 years. Or maybe one of a half-dozen other attractive looking places. I promise food photos!
  19. Well, it took a pandemic, but I’m finally in New Orleans. I’ve meant to come for many years and it just never happened: but a relatively last-minute cancellation of a scheduled trip to Amsterdam left me with a week off, and plenty of airline credits. When traveling I typically divide my trips into “food trips” and “not food trips” (for example, in 2021 I did a lot of national parks: those are very much “not food trips”). So finally, here is a trip that is most emphatically a “food trip”. My timing is a little awkward here: to map with the time off I’d already taken, but avoid New Years and football bowl season, I am here Sunday through Thursday—it’s not ideal dining days, but I’m sure I can make it work. So without further ado:
  20. The first week of November are „autumn holidays“ in the area where I live. We wanted to use that time to go to Paris, but when my parents-in-law somewhat surprisingly announced they‘d be coming over from Spain for the whole of November, we scrapped that idea and looked for something more German … So … Berlin. Not the best time to travel (cold & rainy), but with a couple of museums for the little one and the slightly older ones to enjoy together, plus some food options I was looking forward it was a destination we could all agree on. The Covid19 warnings in the Berlin subway support that notion …
  21. It's been unseasonably warm here in Southern Ontario - until Thursday morning when we woke to a significant chill in the air. Yesterday was downright cold! So that means it's time to head north again for my usual couple of weeks of work in Little Current. The car is packed (actually overpacked) - though I'm sure I will forget a thing or two - there is a cooler full of odds and ends, a nice chunk of brisket I picked up at Wegmans on Monday, a honking big duck breast, the colcannon I made yesterday that I'm sure hubby won't eat while I'm away, lots of cheese (some smoked), some tomato chutney, red pepper jelly... Cocktail books include my handwritten favourites and a copy of Death and Company that everyone seems to be making recipes from lately. I'm taking a couple of new bottles I picked up - some mescal, a bottle of Carpano Classico and some Suze for one the cocktails mentioned from Death and Co that I want to try. I don't think I've packed any regular cookbooks now that I think about it - I may regret that when I arrive. I may be asking for recipes from people as I go along. I'm taking along the rice wine under construction - inside of the house here is going to smell better, the condo perhaps not so - and a few odds and ends I've been fermenting lately. There's some grape juice fermenting downstairs - but that will be left behind - perhaps it will have finished itself by the time I return. The fridge and freezer are filled with meals for hubby and rug rat - I'm sure they won't starve while I'm gone. Not sure if I'll be able to post from the phone as I drive up today - but I shall try. I'll certainly catch you up when I arrive on the island and get settled in.
  22. Good morning, everyone and happy Monday! It's me again....that girl from Kansas. This is VERY spur-of-the-moment. I was sitting here yesterday thinking of all of the canning etc. that I needed to do this week and I thought, well, why not ask you guys if you want to spend the week with me while I do it? I got the ok from Smithy so away we go! This will not be nearly as organized as my first blog was. But, really, when does a sequel ever measure up to the first? Most of you know all about me--if you missed my first blog you can read it here. Nothing much has changed around here. Same furry babies, same house, same husband . Right now we have field corn planted all around the house. In the outer fields we have soybeans that were planted after the wheat was harvested. Sorry for the blur....it was so humid the camera kept fogging up. I just came in from the garden. I snapped a few pictures....for more (and prettier) pictures you can look in the gardening thread. I always start out saying that I will not let a weed grow in there. By August I'm like..."Oh what's a few weeds" lol. Here's a total list of what I planted this year: 7 cucumbers 8 basil 23 okra 4 rows assorted lettuce 20 peppers-thai, jalapeño, bell, banana 4 rows peas 5 cilantro 1 tarragon 2 dill many many red and white onions 7 eggplant 3 rows spinach 57 tomatoes 5 cherry tomatoes 7 rows silver queen sweet corn 11 squash 4 watermelon 2 cantaloupe 6 pumpkin I killed the cantaloupes...and I tried damn hard to kill the squash lol.....sigh...squash bugs came early this year and we sprayed with some kind of stuff. WOW the plants did not like it, but they've come back and are producing. I just love okra flowers Found some more smut
  23. OK - so I think it's very fitting for my 1000th post that I start this food blog... I love eGullet, and have been a member for several years, but I don't post that often, and have never done anything like this, so please bear with me!!! My wife and I left NYC for Singapore on July 1st, at 1:25AM on an EVA flight connecting through Taipei, Taiwan. There used to be a direct NY to Singapore flight on Singapore Airlines, but SA discontinued it a few years ago. I like the long overnight flight to Asia because, on a 14 hour flight, it gives you plenty of time to eat (they feed you very well on those flights), medicate yourself and sleep for 6-8 hours, then wake up and watch a few movies before landing at about 6AM. Plus, since the flight leaves so late, it makes it much easier to sleep on the flight (especially after working a full day beforehand). The EVA flight is quite comfortable, even in coach. When I say they feed you well, I mean it - dinner was a stir fried chicken with steamed bok choy and rice, with many sides. Throughout the flight they came through the cabin with mustard coated fried chicken sandwiches as snacks, then breakfast of pork congee with many sides (including a package of fish floss). Sorry, I didn't take photos of the above - I was exhausted! We had about a 2 hour layover in the airport in Taiwan, so what does that mean? Time for dim sum and beef noodle soup!!! This was our breakfast destination Left to right, Xie Long Bao (Shanghainese pork soup dumplings), char siu bao (fluffy buns filled with BBQ pork - although this Taiwanese version was not nearly as sweet as the typical Hong Kong version), Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and a loose leaf oolong tea. With the waters, cost about US$20!!! It was quite the feast, especially after the constant EVA flight 'buffet', and the fact that they were going to feed us again on our next flight to Singapore!
  24. Start spreading the news. We are on our way north. Just stopped in Barrie for breakfast at a place called Cottage Canoe. Will post more shortly.
  25. My son married a lovely young lady from Yakeshi, Inner Mongolia, China. Mongolian: ᠶᠠᠠᠠᠰᠢ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Ягши хот); Chinese: 牙克石; pinyin: Yákèshí We had a wedding in the US but her family also wanted to have a traditional wedding in China. DH and I have never being to China so this was an exciting opportunity for us! We spent a few days in Beijing doing touristy stuff and then flew to Hailar. There is only one flight a day on Air China that we took at 6 in the morning. Yakeshi is about an hour drive from Hailar on a beautiful toll road with no cars on it. I wish we took pictures of free roaming sheep and cows along the way. The original free range meat. The family met us at the airport. We were greeted with a shot of a traditional Chinese spirit from a traditional leather vessel. Nothing says welcome like a stiff drink at 9 AM. We were supposed to have a three shots (may be they were joking) but family took pity on us and limited it to one only.
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