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eG Foodblog: ronnie_suburban, redux - Adventures in the ordinary


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Ah, skirt steak. It is not readily available in the Twin Cities, unless one goes to a Hispianic market.

My former neighbors used to have these wonderful parties. They would get pounds of this stuff. Marinate in beer (must be Budwiester, accorinding to them) and lime juice. Grilled over a way hot fire, just have you have done. Crispy on the outside, rare on the inside. Jorge would take these, off the grill, put them on the picnic table and wack them up.

Loaded on corn tortillas, homemade minutes before, served with "embellished" rice on the side, and two kinds of "salsa" -- one of the pico variety, the other of the fried pepper variety.

That, with the music, the folk -- the grandmas passing the babies back and forth, the teens flurting, the kids racing around, and The Rest Of Us sitting around drinking beer, eating these "fajitas" and communicating in whatever language worked. Memories.

Skirt steak. Ah. 'Tis a wonderful thing.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Mr. Forcemeat, sir, I don't know what's in your sweet tamales..... but the sweet tamales I had this week, which were similar in color, contained rice, cinnamon, and a bit of pineapple.

We could spend time considering what's in your sweet tamales, tho. It could be different. :)

--adoxograph

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Great pictures. Meat will definitely be on my menu tonight.

Edit to add:

Squeat, wait until closer to Christmas. Ronnie get lots of delicious freebies if last year was any indication.

Edited by Rhea_S (log)
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Mr. Forcemeat, sir, I don't know what's in your sweet tamales..... but the sweet tamales I had this week, which were similar in color, contained rice, cinnamon, and a bit of pineapple.

We could spend time considering what's in your sweet tamales, tho.  It could be different. :)

These did taste very horchata-like. Any idea about the seriously unnatural color?

Again, no breakfast this morning but my monthly chiropractic appointment landed me next door to Sweet Memories Bakery which is owned and operated by eGullet member, mkfradin (aka Marjorie)...

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Sweet Memories Bakery, Highland Park, IL

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It beckons

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I'll have one of each, please :wink:

When I arrived, Marjorie was putting the finishing touches on a cake...

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Intricate flower formation

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Chocolate-Mint Cake made with ganache instead of buttercream...astoundingly delicious and a smooth finish on the palate that you just can't achieve with buttercream.

I decided that "had to" pick up a few things for the office and for my son. :wink::biggrin:

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Cookie Tree

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Very cute cake cones

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More treats

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My son will love this...if he can wrestle it away from me :biggrin:

Up next, lunch.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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These did taste very horchata-like. Any idea about the seriously unnatural color?

My first thought was annato, but I think that's more of a pure red, not a somewhat purplish tint.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Lunch was from a burgeoning local chain called Potbelly Sandwich Works. I think they also have locations in the Washington DC area too.

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The Wreck, (salami, roast beef, turkey, ham & swiss) from Potbelly's

I ordered the sammich shown above with everything except onion. I love their dusseldorf-style mustard and hot gardiniera :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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That looks like a fun treat. Damn, now I'm craving sugar.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Unfortunately, Potbelly's botched our order (charged us for 4 sandwiches, shipped only 3) so one of my co-workers ran across the street to Seul's Tavern to pick up lunch for himself. I took advantage of the situation and asked him to grab me a cup of their chili--what I think is just about the best restaurant chili available around these parts...

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Chili from Seul's Tavern in Northfield, IL. You fans of styrofoam should be happy once again

It's very spicy and beefy without being overly tangy with tomato; perfect amount of beans as well...very nice :smile:

=R=

Edited to add that I'm sorry I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand :wink:

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Dinner is served...

gallery_3085_293_1099092482.jpg

Frisee aux Lardons with Chicken Liver Vinaigrette* from "Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook"

I did make a couple modifications*...

1) Couldn't find straight frisee so I used a blend of mixed greens which contained some.

2) Instead of using olive oil for the vinaigrette, I used the rendered bacon fat from the lardons instead...figuring that Tony would approve of this.

3) The salad screamed to be topped with a fried egg, so I happily obliged...again assuming Tony would be okay with this.

It was really delicious but again, when bacon, chicken liver and eggs are involved, what's not to like? :biggrin:

=R=

sorry for the lousy pic, I forgot my camera at the office and had to use my wife's camera, which is kinda' broken :sad:

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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It was really delicious but again, when bacon, chicken liver and eggs are involved, what's not to like? :biggrin:

=R=

sorry for the lousy pic, I forgot my camera at the office and had to use my wife's camera, which is kinda' broken :sad:

You are my kind of man! Trust you fried the egg in bacon grease?

And, how are the potbelly sandwiches? They have a couple Twin Cities locations, and would get to one if they are worthwhile.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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You are my kind of man!  Trust you fried the egg in bacon grease?

And, how are the potbelly sandwiches?  They have a couple Twin Cities locations, and would get to one if they are worthwhile.

Yes, indeedie...I did use the same pan to cook the livers and the eggs, after I'd cooked the bacon in it :biggrin: (...and I guess that counts as another modification because Tony says to cook the livers in butter...clearly I could never work in his kitchen :wink:)

As for Potbelly's, I think they are great--especially for a chain. Their bread is very nice and they treat it properly by giving it more than just a perfunctory toasting. Their toppings vary but are usually top-notch. I already mentioned their hot peppers (gardiniera) and mustard upthread, but they also offer very thinly-sliced planks of pickles as a topping and they really add a lot to the quality of their sandwiches. Will it be the same (i.e. as good) in MN? Not sure, but at under $4 for a sandwich, all it will really cost you to try it out is time.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I just had my dinner and all that stuff STILL looks great. Say, does your company have any use for a math nerd from downstate?

(Still sorry I missed the summer eG get-together, still hoping I get invited to another one at some point  :wink: )

Amazingly, we are long on math nerds--especially those from downstate. And yes, the Heartland will ride again :wink:

=R=,

who is the 'hottest' food purveyor you buy stuff from? i want to shop wherever she works this weekend  :smile: .

Don't know her name but she works at Foodstuffs in Glencoe, IL. :wub:

=R=,

if you have a 'signature dish', what would it be?

what does your wife do with the matzos after passover?

My signature dish (because I make it for so many holiday meals) is probably braised brisket, which you will not see this week. It's not my favorite thing I make but it's the one I'm asked about the most (as in, "are you making brisket?"). As for the post-Passover matzoh and my wife, let's just say that she did exactly what I asked her to not do with it. No worries, it was nothing that the plumber and few hundred dollars couldn't rectify :wacko::biggrin:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Happy Saturday Everyone! :smile:

The day started out pretty typically with a stop at Starbucks for the IVA.

After that, we debated between eating breakfast at home or going out. We decided to go out to a nearby joint called Eggshell Cafe. There, I ordered this ham and american cheese omelette...

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All in all, a much more enjoyable plate than the one served to me on Wednesday morning. These eggs tasted good and the ham was very tender and had been cut from the bone fairly recently. American cheese is decidedly bleh but at this place neither the cheddar nor the swiss are any better. The rye toast was actually hot--butter melted when spread upon it :wink: Sadly, the potatoes were lousy. The best place around here to get good hash browns on a consistent basis is in my kitchen, but I just wasn't up for it today.

Now I'm going to catch up on some tv. I have several episodes of Charlie Trotter's and Jacques Pepin's current cooking shows on my tivo and I'm going to try to knock a few episodes down.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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We did a little shopping this afternoon (with the boy) which landed us near Steak 'n Shake and we took full advantage of it. For those of you who do not know, S&S is a regionally-focused burger chain that is currently making a strong growth effort.

Here's lunch...

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Cup of chili

Their version of chili, while not world-class, is certainly distinctive. In it, they use bits of steak instead of ground beef and the chili has an atypical flavor and aroma. I wouldn't surprise me to learn that they use cocoa in their chili :wink:

I also ordered...

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Double Steak Burger with cheese and bacon

Their burgers are, well...'distinctive' is probably the best way to put it. They are comprised of very thin, perfectly greasy patties. A single isn't a whole lot bigger than a White Castle single. This double (with cheese and bacon) did me just fine. Very delicious and those fries are every bit as crispy as they look!

Lunch came at the beginning of our shopping and by the end of it we were getting kind of hungry again :smile:

I'd been thinking about Thai for a few days and we were very near my favorite Thai carry-out, Opart's Thai, so we called in our order. Since we each like something slightly different from Opart, our order was a bit redundant but even the noodle dishes vary greatly from each other.

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Tiger Cry...marinated, seared beef with a fantastic fish-sauce based dipping sauce

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Pad Thai with Chicken...the wife's favorite

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Pad See Ewe with chicken and broccoli. This is my son's favorite. We both love the thick, wide, pan-fried noodles and he loves the sweeter sauce in this dish. :smile:

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Beef Panang...spicy hot and creamy all at once. Very complex combination of flavors

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Pad Ka Prow...very spicy ground chicken with basil, fish sauce, sugar, chiles, etc. which is served over rice. My absolute favorite dish at Opart

All in all, a very nice--and relatively effortless--day of food. I'm somewhat astonished that I haven't had even one cocktail, glass of wine or beer all week but I suppose there's still time for that...I still have Sunday and Monday.

Tomorrow, the food forecast indicates breakfast at home, a neighbor's open house for lunch and hopefully, making something special for dinner.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Pad Ka Prow...very spicy ground chicken with basil, fish sauce, sugar, chiles, etc. which is served over rice.  My absolute favorite dish at Opart

This is one of my all time favorite Thai dishes (next to larb). I had a ton of Thai and Holy basil in my garden this year. It doesn't dry well -- loses to much of the umph. So, this year, I stuck it in the food processor with some vegetable oil. Fixed this dish (using pork) just a few days ago, and I can report that this is a good way to preserve Thai basil. I find that when I get it at the market, it has a VERY short shelf life.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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On the one hand, I'd like to say thank you for your pictures of your Thai dinner.

On the other hand, I'm about ready to lick the monitor screen. That looks so good, and our only decent Thai place recently went out of business (and I've been unable to find out why, dammit, the food was good and it was always busy), and that pad see ew looks like what they used to make. I hope you all enjoyed it greatly!

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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Thanks for the kind comments, everyone :smile:

That food from Opart was really fantastic...lots and lots of it left too. It could end up being the Monday lunch :shock:

Breakfast this morning was an easy one...

gallery_3085_293_1099246261.jpg

Lox and Toasted Sesame Bagel with chive cream cheese and fresh chives

Toasted sesame and smoked fish is one of my favorite flavor combos. I'll eat a poppyseed or everything bagel, but sesame is, by far, my favorite with lox. This bagel is from a place called Upper Crust Bagels in Deerfield, IL. They turn out great bagels there. Not too big, perfect density, excellent exterior hardness and deep flavor throughout the chew. The lox is from Trader :angry: Joe's :wink:

Please forgive the pretentious-looking chives...I love their flavor and I as long as I have them on hand, I want to use them up. But chopped chives are not a standard part of my bagel ritual.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Beautiful and yummy looking, I like the chives :raz:  What will you drink with this lovely breakfast?

No coffee or caffeine today, as I like to "protect" my sleep on Sunday nights. This went down with a big glass of water.

Leaving shortly for the next door neighbors' open house. Not really very hungry but we'll see how "inspirational" their caterer, Hel's Kitchen, is. :biggrin:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I have never had a toasted sesame bagel with lox... it's sometimes onion but usually plain. Thanks for the idea!

I agree with Dejah's comment; your blog seems far from the ordinary to me. Your photos made me crave certain foods more than any other, I believe. I only I wish my metabolism and body size would allow me to eat breakfasts and lunches like those, in addition to dinners! It all looks so good. Nice job.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I have never had a toasted sesame bagel with lox... it's sometimes onion but usually plain.  Thanks for the idea!

I agree with Dejah's comment; your blog seems far from the ordinary to me.  Your photos made me crave certain foods more than any other, I believe.  I only I wish my metabolism and body size would allow me to eat breakfasts and lunches like those, in addition to dinners!  It all looks so good.  Nice job.

Luckily, my body size has grown to accomodate my blog week :biggrin:

Seriously though, I am an erratic eater in the sense that my meals aren't really as regular as they may appear in this blog. Some of those office lunches don't get eaten until almost 2 pm and on those days, I may make a big dinner but often only eat a small part of it. I've tried to keep things varied this week but I've also had quite a few "DNF's" as well. When my blog ends, I'm on course to get thwapped by the back end of the 'blog week leftovers' rubberband, big time :biggrin:

I just returned from my neighbors' open house, where the food was really good but I was still full from that breakfast bagel. I picked...had a mini ham sandwich, a few spears of blanched asparagus, some jicama, and small square of foccacia. Everything looked great, but I had no room for it. If I'd known the spread was going to be that elaborate, I probably would have skipped the bagel this morning.

As I mentioned earlier, I have something 'special' planned for dinner and I had to keep coming home to tend to it during the open house. :smile: I'll be back after trick or treating to deliver the goods.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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It's dark and the trick or treaters are just about done for the night. It's been almost 20 minutes since the doorbell last rang. When my son got home from his trick or treating rounds, my wife informed me that he'd swapped all of his chocolate to one of his evil little friends before heading for home. So, I don't think there will be any "raiding" of his pumpkin later tonight. Skittles and Smarties mean nothing to me :raz:

Because I knew I was going to be around the house today, I decided to make some ribs. I started last night by brining three slabs of baby back ribs in a gallon of water and hefty half-cup of pickling salt. This morning, I washed and dried the ribs, then covered them with my rub. After that I took them out to the Weber...

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Unlike earlier in the week with the skirt steak, this time the goal is to keep the grill temperature between 240-260 degrees F.

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The racked ribs, about 30 minutes into their cooking. That's a mixture of lump charcoal and hickory wood in the fuel basket

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At the very end of the cooking, about 5 1/2 hours later

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I cut these ribs for the sake of the photograph...

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...but as this picture reveals, the meat all but came away from the bone with a gentle tug

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I generally prefer rub-only ribs, but when I'm in the mood for sauce, this is the only one I use--when I don't make my own

As you can see, Caffeine-free Diet Coke was the beverage of choice. I was going to make a batch of purple cabbage cole-slaw, but we decided to have the leftover rice and noodles (from the Thai food) as our side dish. I'll definitely bring some ribs to the office tomorrow...plenty leftover. :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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DAMN !!!

Those close-ups are killing me!

I have to be content with soya sauce chicken when all I want now are some of those ribs! :angry::laugh:

Not sure I could be civil to trick or treaters at this moment. . .

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Enjoying your blog very much...

However , I think your "title" is a misnomer...adventures in the ordinary?

I hardly think so from the looks of the images! :rolleyes:

I totally agree with Dejah.

Those ribs look extraordinary! You've probably posted it already and I may have missed it, but what is in your dry rub?

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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      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.
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