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eG Foodblog: Verjuice - Red, Green or Christmas?


Verjuice
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The word “Christmas” in New Mexico can mean two entirely different things, one of which can be enjoyed every day of the year: Chile. Red and green. Side by side, just like it ought to be.

Isn’t it gorgeous here?

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For those of you that don’t know: Santa Fe is cold! We’ve had lots of snow over the last week and the skiing is fantastic. Check out this 5 ft long icicle on my canale:

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And my pear tree:

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About me:

-I grew up in Abu Dhabi, which is the capital of the U.A.E. (home of Dubai, which most people are familiar with), and am half-Emirati and half-Lebanese. I will gladly post photos of the Emirates if anyone is interested, since I still consider myself a part-time resident.

-I am 26 but don't always act my age.

-Like a lot of people on eG, I’ve been obsessed with food for as long as I can remember.

-At the metabolically enviable age of 15, I began to cook family meals and fully embrace the insatiable appetite that has remained with me through good times and bad; I can always eat. That same year, I left the Emirates for Yale, where I experienced my first skinless boneless chicken breast, promptly swore off dining hall meats, and was elated to discover the godsend that is New Haven pizza. After graduating in 2001, I moved to Santa Fe to pursue blue skies, crisp air, and a M.S. in Oriental Medicine.

-Until recently, my work (complementary medicine legislation and public health policy reform) allowed me to travel back and forth between the Emirates and Santa Fe, which was great, because I am very close to my family. Most importantly, my 6 year-old “son”, Emile, whom I brought with me when I moved back to the Emirates, is still there, and he’s my ultimate dreamboat:

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-A few weeks ago, I stashed my heels at the back of the closet, started practicing Chinese medicine clinically, and got myself a part-time job cooking for a wonderful couple a few evenings a week.

-Finally: This is a years of firsts for me: I bought my first house here in Santa Fe, hosted my first Thanksgiving meal, and about to experience my first Christmas and my first blog. I'm an unapologetic glutton, and this is going to be an exciting week for me, so I'm thrilled to be blogging it out...

Tonight:

-Canyon Road Walk (with eG member wrenwillow) to chug hot cider and see the farolitos

-Dinner at a friend's off-the-grid homestead about twenty miles north of town

Tomorrow:

-My dashing and heroic R and I are hosting a private dinner for ten at the Rio Chama, which he manages. It's the one day of the year that the restaurant is closed, and we'll have full reign of the kitchen. It'll be my first experience cooking in a restaurant kitchen...!

Now I have to get to Whole Foods the moment it opens so that I don't get trampled!

See you later, when I post breakfast.

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Oh, wow! So rooftop1000 guessed right! It is you! I hadn't realized you'd moved back to the States.

Santa Fe is one of my favorite cities and it'll be a delight to see it in its Christmas glory. Welcome to the world of eGullet blogging! Hope you enjoy writing your blog as much as I know I'll enjoy reading it.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Hooray!!!

What a treat to awake to, this frosty morning. Looking forward to a fun week.

Wait---I re-read---You went to YALE at fifteen???!!! And graduated at twenty?

Wow. Another Wunderkind. We DO love a smarty-pants around here.

Edited by racheld (log)
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Ha first Thanksgiving led to first Christmas. Going to make another turkey? :wink:

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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Its nice to have someone in my neck of the woods (5 hours away...its all relative). And since red decorations are added to the green tree, we'll allow red chile to enter this green blog! Just this morning I heard on NPR that even green chile will be machine harvested next year...but I digress. Looking forward to seeing how things are up north.

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What a TREAT! Someplace new, and a new look at our holiday. This will be great for relaxing in spare moments between Christmas chores. Now......off to cut the pork loin to get ready for stuffing.

Snowing lightly for now in western NYS.

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Well, I survived Whole Foods, but it was unlike anything I've ever seen. Shopping cart murderball.

I left the house at 7am to meet Virginia for a quick coffee and menu-planning session before heading to Whole Foods together. It was a bracing 13 degrees out!

I do love this weather, and although I missed the snow while I was living in the Gulf, I wasn't tempted to pay for admission to this faux Alpine nightmare on ice, which some of you may recognize:

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It's the Dubai indoor ski slope. As you can see, the picture was taken through a plate of glass! It was 100 degrees outside that day.

Anyway, back to this morning. I had my usual black coffee:

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And Virginia passed on her usual short latte and had a cup of spiced cider:

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It was nice to come home to this:

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And to sit here:

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And pork out on this magnificent thing:

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It's an everything bagel (no comment on the bagel) with cream cheese, red onion and few shy capers... crowned with the most incredible smoked sturgeon from City Fish at Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Speaking of Seattle, I was amazed -and happy- to find that the downtown Whole Foods serves Allegro coffee instead of a local roaster's brew. As far as I know, Allegro ships out of Colorado, and next to Aroma Coffee, which is local, it is the most ubiquitous brand of coffee in town.

For me, nothing beats the coffee at Ohori's. I will have to get down there one of these days. It's great, chewy coffee, but it does leave you feeling like you need to floss.

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I bought my home eight months ago. It's a 50 year-old Stamm house, single-story like nearly every other home within city limits. The previous owner was a wine merchant from Northern California, and she was responsible for the major renovation that was done on the property, including turning most of the original part of the house into an open kichen/living/dining area. The dining area used to be a bedroom, for starters:

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I like a balance of rich, time-weathered textures with bold colors and an overall clean, contemporary look and feel. I hate clutter, but I love warmth, and sometimes I think the two can be confused with one another.

My dining setup seats eight, and includes two glossy black Panton chairs and two IKEA benches (painted black) with a table made by gifted Uruguayan woodworker, Leonel Capparelli, who owns Hands of America out on Rodeo Road here in town. I had always loved his work but it was priced out of my range, so I made him an offer on the table he had been using as a desk for many years. He removed all the drawers and dropped it a few inches and voila!- my fantasy table at a price I could afford.

Some kitchens look more inviting to me after dark, and I think that mine is one of those. This room was completely walled in, and had vinyl cabinetry and pink shag carpeting. Pink, I tell you!

These pictures were taken last night:

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Love: farmer's sink, downward drafting stove, floor, storage space, slide-out shelves.

Hate: Countertops, countertops, countertops.

I'll replace them with granite this spring. I put off the things I disliked about the house (counters) in favor of dealing immediately with the stuff that I found downright intolerable (the yard). The re-landscaping project began with demolishing and dumping 9 tons of concrete over the summer with nothing more than a sledgehammer, a chisel and a wheelbarrow.

I've sloooowly been bringing my books back from the U.A.E. with me in a suitcase every time I go back. It was easy enough getting all 2,000 lbs of books there a few years ago because of this wonderful American thing called Media Mail Freight Shipping, however no such thing exists in the U.A.E., and it would cost me close to 10k to ship my books back! No thanks. So I've been carrying them in myself.

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It looks sparse, but as evidenced by the fuller shelves on the right, my food-related books are a top priority. I still have another five suitcases worth of cookbooks and food magazines waiting for me. And I bought all of them used, with the exception of Dorie Greenspan's wonderful book, "Baking: From My Home To Yours" and a couple of others I just couldn't wait for.

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This should be great! As a relatively new resident of Santa Fe (July 2007) it will be fun to see someone elses take on this wonderful city. We're also planning to head to Canyon Road this evening. Bundle up and happy blogging!

KathyM

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Ah, there's nothing like bookcase after bookcase of books to warm my heart.

Please, though, intersperse as you have shots of Dubai! I'd love to hear the counterpoints you can play from the two cultures.

Cheers, Merry Christmas, and a Happy 'Id!

Peter

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I bought my home eight months ago. It's a 50 year-old Stamm house, single-story like nearly every other home within city limits. The previous owner was a wine merchant from Northern California, and she was responsible for the major renovation that was done on the property, including turning most of the original part of the house into an open kichen/living/dining area. The dining area used to be a bedroom, for starters:

gallery_11735_5499_3927.jpg

I like a balance of rich, time-weathered textures with bold colors and an overall clean, contemporary look and feel. I hate clutter, but I love warmth, and sometimes I think the two can be confused with one another.

My dining setup seats eight, and includes two glossy black Panton chairs and two IKEA benches (painted black) with a table made by gifted Uruguayan woodworker, Leonel Capparelli, who owns Hands of America out on Rodeo Road here in town. I had always loved his work but it was priced out of my range, so I made him an offer on the table he had been using as a desk for many years. He removed all the drawers and dropped it a few inches and voila!- my fantasy table at a price I could afford.

Some kitchens look more inviting to me after dark, and I think that mine is one of those. This room was completely walled in, and had vinyl cabinetry and pink shag carpeting. Pink, I tell you!

These pictures were taken last night:

gallery_11735_5529_233897.jpg

gallery_11735_5529_289603.jpg

Love: farmer's sink, downward drafting stove, floor, storage space, slide-out shelves.

Hate: Countertops, countertops, countertops.

I'll replace them with granite this spring. I put off the things I disliked about the house (counters) in favor of dealing immediately with the stuff that I found downright intolerable (the yard). The re-landscaping project began with demolishing and dumping 9 tons of concrete over the summer with nothing more than a sledgehammer, a chisel and a wheelbarrow. [/quote=Verjuice,Dec 24 2007, 04:04 PM]

Wow, do I have major kitchen envy! At least you HAVE countertops; I'm in a little one bedroom condo in Florida with a kitchen that measures about 10' x 10', including the appliances. :blink: That means I have about MAYBE 5 square feet of floorspace and about 2 square feet of counterspace. :angry:

Well, at least the fact that it's a one bedroom keeps me out of trouble... (loooong story) :rolleyes::raz:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Okay, I just had a cup of tea and an entire bag of blueberry-acai gummy pandas, intended as a stocking stuffer. Whoops.

Notice the unsightly gash that accidentally disemboweled the bag of gummies. No, I am not proud of my inability to control my appetite for sugar. They were pretty good!

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I was still hungry, so I made lunch. That is not whole wheat pasta, it's radicchio pasta from Chefshop.com. I had to use up these shiitake mushrooms that I originally bought for miso soup, so in they went. As I was photographing it, I was reminded of my unspoken pledge as a blogger to gild the lily whenever possible, so I added a nice thick wodge of porcini butter. That's better!

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And yeah, I'm pretty full.

Edited by Verjuice (log)
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Hooray!!!

What a treat to awake to, this frosty morning.  Looking forward to a fun week.

Wait---I re-read---You went to YALE at fifteen???!!!  And graduated at twenty?

Wow.  Another Wunderkind.  We DO love a smarty-pants around here.

Hi Racheld!

Well, I actually started when I was sixteen and graduated at twenty. But I remember distinctly that I started cooking on a daily basis during my senior year of high school, and that really influenced my attitude until I left for college. I ended up getting a full college scholarship from an investment agency, which, at the time, seemed instrumental in my desire for independence.

edited for melodrama

Edited by Verjuice (log)
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Ha first Thanksgiving led to first Christmas. Going to make another turkey? :wink:

tracey

Heck, no! :shock:

That stupid Thanksgiving turkey almost made me cry when I took that first bite. Blah! Not worth the effort or the enormous amount of oven space it consumed.

This time, I have no such space constraints, but I'm doing a boneless leg of lamb. I've never done one, but I have a feeling that the reward to effort ratio will be much more... rewarding.

What do you think of that? :smile:

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Its nice to have someone in my neck of the woods (5 hours away...its all relative).  And since red decorations are added to the green tree, we'll allow red chile to enter this green blog!  Just this morning I heard on NPR that even green chile will be machine harvested next year...but I digress.  Looking forward to seeing how things are up north.

It's in my neck of the woods too! I am about an hour south of Santa Fe, in Albuquerque. Not as much snow here: most of ours is gone, but the temps are frigid.

Christine

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Ah, there's nothing like bookcase after bookcase of books to warm my heart.

Please, though, intersperse as you have shots of Dubai!  I'd love to hear the counterpoints you can play from the two cultures.

Cheers, Merry Christmas, and a Happy 'Id!

Peter

I know! There are days when my sparsely filled shelves bring a pang of grief to my heart.

I have shots of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the greatest emirate of them all: Ras al-Khaimah, the northernmost one that borders Oman. I'll try to find some far-fetched way of making it relevant to the blog, and then I'll post them. :smile:

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It's in my neck of the woods too!  I am about an hour south of Santa Fe, in Albuquerque.  Not as much snow here: most of ours is gone, but the temps are frigid.

Christine

My t-t-t-t--teeth have been chattering intermittently since I left the house this morning. I think my bones froze!

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MMmm leg of lamb...I do one every Easter all rubbed up with garlic and paprika right on the grill

turkey tonight ...turkey tomorrow sigh

T

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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The word “Christmas” in New Mexico can mean two entirely different things, one of which can be enjoyed every day of the year: Chile. Red and green. Side by side, just like it ought to be.

I just love that. I've only done one New Mexico road trip, but I totally did the love at first sight thing with the whole chile thing. In fact, in my freezer right this moment are five ziplock bags of green chile from this year's harvest. :wub:

Oh, and I share your pain about the tile countertops. My current kitchen has those, and they are definitely better to look at than to use.

Digging the blog already. Merry Christmas, and have fun!

Edited by mizducky (log)
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ohhh.....your blog is making me homesick. I'm from Albuquerque (family in Clovis), how I wish I was having a New Mexico Christmas this year.....I can smell the posole cooking now. I live down South now, but we have decorated our house with luminarias (or as you all from Sante Fe call them, farolitos, lol) and I've made my biscochitos, prune pies and tamales. It's not quite the same, but it will have to do.

I'm loving the blog so much already! :biggrin:

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Speaking of Seattle, I was amazed -and happy- to find that the downtown Whole Foods serves Allegro coffee instead of a local roaster's brew. As far as I know, Allegro ships out of Colorado, and next to Aroma Coffee, which is local, it is the most ubiquitous brand of coffee in town.

For me, nothing beats the coffee at Ohori's. I will have to get down there one of these days. It's great, chewy coffee, but it does leave you feeling like you need to floss.

Which Allegro coffee do you get? The Whole Foodses (what is the plural of Foods which is already plural?!?) here also serve it, and I've been soundly disappointed by it.

In fact...I tend to get my coffee shipped in from New Mexico. Thunderbolt blend from Rio Grande Roasters, which used to be found at Raley's and apparently is now still being carried since Albertson's took them over. My in laws live in Rio Rancho and I have friends in Albuquerque and I get them to run by the grocery store any time they're heading up this way, or when we visit I stock up (and on red and green chiles).

Does Ohori's have a web site? We drive through Santa Fe on the way to visit my in laws, and I'm never averse to a culinary detour!

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Which Allegro coffee do you get? The Whole Foodses (what is the plural of Foods which is already plural?!?) here also serve it, and I've been soundly disappointed by it.

In fact...I tend to get my coffee shipped in from New Mexico. Thunderbolt blend from Rio Grande Roasters, which used to be found at Raley's and apparently is now still being carried since Albertson's took them over. My in laws live in Rio Rancho and I have friends in Albuquerque and I get them to run by the grocery store any time they're heading up this way, or when we visit I stock up (and on red and green chiles).

Does Ohori's have a web site? We drive through Santa Fe on the way to visit my in laws, and I'm never averse to a culinary detour!

Marcia.

Ohori's Coffee has two locations. The one off of St. Francis (on Pen Road) is closer to I-25 and it has a drive-thru, in case you're pressed for time.

I've never heard of Rio Grande Roasters, but that's probably because I never brew coffee at home here, so I don't look at the beans at the store.

As for Allegro coffee, it's very hit or miss, but I adore the Vail Blend. I really do not like the special holiday one they have been serving everywhere these days; I think it's called Celebration Blend.

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This is great! You're everything I'm interested in, rolled into one package!

I spent some time in the UAE last spring. Much to my regret, I never made it to Abu Dhabi, but I stayed mostly in Sharjah and took day trips to Dubai (which I hated). I also passed through Ras al-Khaimah, and I agree, it's a great emirate. I thought I wouldn't mind living there if I ever moved to the UAE. My friends work for HCT, so I was lucky enough to go to the Women's College to meet some Emirati women, too. Maybe in 10 years time, I'll head back to work there for a bit.

I'll ask you a similar question I've asked other ex-pats--what do you miss most from the UAE (foodwise or otherwise), and what do you miss from the US when you're in the UAE?

I'm also very interested in New Mexico--my parents met and married there (Las Cruces), so I'm hoping to get some travel hints from your blog. My mother and I are planning to head down there within the next few years to visit all my parents' old haunts. Are you going to take us anywhere outside of Santa Fe?

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Last night, I had dinner with Virginia and her family at their 25 acre off the grid home. It's in Canoncito, about a twenty-five minute drive from town. Her home is absolutely stunning and was built almost entirely by Virginia and her husband, Lauri.

Old Las Vegas Highway:

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A storm was brewing at midday the last time I visited, a few days ago.

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They have several dachshunds. Here's mama Fanny with her 8 week old son, Savi.

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This picture was taken at Virginia's place. She and I went hiking in Cappadocia a few years ago, and while we were there she fell in love with the 'Tree of Life' motif in the tile mosaics and carpets:

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They also just put the finishing touches on this traditional Finnish sauna:

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On to dinner! V made broccoli-cheese soup and lasagne, which I neglected to photograph, as well as her famous green chile cornbread, which looks dry and crumbly here, but is moist and addictive in reality:

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I was very proud that Virginia, a lifetime vegetarian, does not shy away from the task of cooking meat for others. She roasted this chicken herself. Sorry- forgot to snap it until it was too late.

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Salad...

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Did I mention a passion for dachshunds? Salt and pepper:

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Duvel and Chimay Red to drink.

Edited by Verjuice (log)
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      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
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