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eG Foodblog: *Deborah* - Power, Convection and Lies


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Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose Mum used to take her out for Report Card Dinners, beginning with Grade 1, the onset of thirteen years of straight As (...then university happened. Let’s not go there :wink:). We would go to fancy places when we could afford them, and less-fancy places when we couldn’t. My palate wasn’t too discriminating at the age of 5: I was happy to go out, period, and had as much fun at Le Champignon as I did at The Old Spaghetti Factory (I have an abiding love for spumoni and pistachio gelato to this day) or The Noodlemaker (watching the koi madly swim beneath the little bridges, summoned to their dinner by the gong--was there ever anything more enchanting for a child?). The waiters at Le Champignon were charmed by my nascent French-language skills and always gave me extra desserts off the pastry tray.

The Report Card Dinner underwent a few changes over time, as circumstances and location changed (when we moved to the East Coast to live with my stepdad, the economic situation meant that an RCD was more likely to just be something special, home-made, than a dinner out in NYC or, later, Philadelphia), but the concept of good food as a reward for good behaviour or good marks was set. When I have something to celebrate, the first thing I want to do, still, is go out for a good meal.

Fast-forward 30-something years, and I’m back in Vancouver, living in a flash condo just outside of Yaletown, with a gas stove and granite counters...

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cooking now and then, baking a lot of homely but tasty birthday cakes for my co-workers, finding eGullet thanks to Jamie Maw’s column in Vancouver Magazine, finding some bosom pals who appreciate food the way that I do...real estate goes insane, I decide to sell my condo, take my profit and run, and buy a little house in East Vancouver.

The little house has an enormous problem, though: the kitchen is a joke. It comes complete with an electric range and a built-in banquette, reminiscent of an RV. Just my style....NOT!

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It just so happens, I know this kitchen designer...:biggrin:

I decide I need a new kitchen, dining room, and refurbished bathroom upstairs (the living space is up, bedrooms are down). I hire a guy I know to act as my General Contractor and do this work for me, with kitchen design, cabinetry and so forth from Daddy-A.

Now we come to the matter of the title of this blog: Power, Convection and Lies. Some of you may recognize a riff on a favourite 1980s New Order album. I’ve kind of always wanted a big fancy range, somewhat for snobby reasons (I mean, let’s be honest here!), but also for practical reasons. I got a real jones on for Power when I took the Serious Foodie cooking class at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver. Then I had a dinner party which brought home to me the utility and desirability of two ovens and an extra burner or two...

So I’ve sold my soul to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce for a 48 in. Wolf range with 6 burners and a chargrill--and two ovens, one of which is Convection. My first! we'll see what it does to my baking.

That brings us to the Lies. :hmmm:

I know that construction is always later than they say it will be, and I mean they’ve only been working on the 300 sq. ft or so of the renovation since the beginning of March :rolleyes: ...everyone told me the millwork would be late, bla bla bla. The first thing that was supposed to be finished was the bathroom, since it’s rather inconvenient running down and upstairs all the time, and I didn't have water available upstairs for about two months. Then things were to be done as much as possible so that the millwork could come in, the countertops could be installed, the appliances could be installed, and Bob was supposed to be my uncle....

Well, I rescheduled my blog when it became apparent that the earlier date would be impossible.

The millwork was right on time, the countertops were early, the appliances came in a week ago...and they’re still not completely installed. The other rooms are in even worse shape! My contractor has a habit of saying "I’m going to do X tomorrow, Deborah," and then not only not doing X, not doing anything.

If I had more money, I’d fire him and hire someone a little more reliable, but I won’t go into the whole rigmarole. Suffice to say that, while I thought about calling this blog Power, Convection and Size, Lies seems more appropriate just now.

So here I am. Blogging.

My house continues to be a work in progress, but I hope it progresses rather quickly as I have invited 7 Gulleters/spouses over for dinner on Saturday :hmmm: The menu is sort of set; the wine has been bought; the crystal has been unpacked :shock: and I just hope I can get my house in shape in time!

Aside from Saturday dinner, we’ll do some Vespa shopping (I commute to work on my new Vespa, Enzo, every day :wub:), go to the first Trout Lake Market of the year (since my house conveniently backs onto Trout Lake :wink:), hit a luau, and I’ll show you a couple of my favourite restaurants. With luck, God and the electrician willing, I’ll even be able to do some cooking in the midst of all this! and watch some hockey! Go Oilers!

I will have more pics in the morning. Well, a few. Everything is still pretty topsy-turvy, but I am determined to make my coffee in the new kitchen tomorrow, for the first time.

Time for bed.

Good night, Gullet!

Edited by *Deborah* (log)

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I'm excited to see a blog from one of our local Egullet members. Good luck with your reno! And I like the idea of those Report Card Dinners. We may have to adopt a similar strategy for my older daughter.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Welcome aboard! This foodblog is going to have it all, including suspense. I am looking forward to getting home from work to see what's up today. Cheers!

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Enzo! :cool:

I always think of Jean Reno in the Big Blue when I hear that name. Suspecting a pet-less environment this week, I propose a pic of your new Vespa, Enzo! :rolleyes:

The Trout Lake Market includes Iron Maiden Seafood, a true boat-to-market outfit. Are you a patron and how do they rate?

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

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Enzo! :cool:

I always think of Jean Reno in the Big Blue when I hear that name.  Suspecting a pet-less environment this week, I propose a pic of your new Vespa, Enzo! :rolleyes:

The Trout Lake Market includes Iron Maiden Seafood, a true boat-to-market outfit.  Are you a patron and how do they rate?

Enzo is named after Enzo Ferrari, since he's a nice Ferrari red (I hope this doesn't tread on any Piaggio toes or anything, but I don't know too much about the company history)...and there are certainly pets! they stayed out last night, though, and I'm not sure when they'll make an appearance. We'll have pics of Enzo as well as I will be trying to fit my shopping in the various receptacles!

I haven't been a patron of anything at Trout Lake Market yet, since I just moved here a few months ago and the market hasn't begun yet for the season. I have heard good things about three vendors in particular: Rise Bakery, Milan's Heirloom tomatoes (not out yet, of course), and Bad Girl Chocolates. I was planning to get some seafood for Saturday night, so perhaps Iron Maiden can help me out! thanks for the recommendation. I like to support the small guy where possible.

My coffee machine should be warm by now, I will have the unveiling of the state of the kitchen momentarily.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Ah, I have a cup of coffee in front of me :wub:

Action picture!

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I saved the Lavazza packaging I opened a few days ago. I am probably the least chic of anyone I know with respect to coffee. I like the fancy coffees, but ...this stuff is so cheap that it's really hard to justify spending twice as much for something else, since I like the taste! I should be PC, but I like this and it's consistent. It's not even the fancy Lavazza! :laugh:

And here is a broader view of the kitchen.

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I started to switch the handle last night, but decided to finish today. My kitchen design had to change on the fly as we discovered a vent that was too tricky to move, and I've ended up with a mirror of the original design. Alas, the fridge was delivered before the design change! There's my custom little built-in, to accommodate my IKEA wine racks :laugh:

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That shelf was originally intended for cookbooks, but right now it's holding the crystal. I'm not sure how it will pan out. In spite of having more cupboards than in my old kitchen, logic is compelling me to arrange certain things certain ways, and the cupboards above that shelf are not big enough for all my glassware at all.

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My Wolf :wub: After reading many topics on eGullet, I ordered the s-grates (at a rather ridiculous additional cost, I must say!)...my wrists tend to be weak, and I will have a much easier time shifting heavy pots from one burner to another, so it's worth it. Although the gas is hooked up, the plug it's plugged into isn't, nor is the hood fan, so I haven't been able to use it yet. I hope it's done in time for dinner tonight, the Mouse family is supposed to come over! :unsure:

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And the corner with the coffee machine. I'm not sure if it will stay there. I can't really have things on the counters yet, since there are still trades all over the place. Notice the jerry-rigged power cord :laugh: It's that Power thing again!

And I assure you all that, while I am certainly not the neatest person in the world, the current state of my kitchen (and the rest of the house, really) bears no relation whatsoever to how I usually have things!

I will be online during the day, but no new photos till I get home this evening. Have a good day, everyone, and cross your fingers that there's good Power news when I get home!

Edited by *Deborah* (log)

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I'm excited to see a blog from one of our local Egullet members. Good luck with your reno! And I like the idea of those Report Card Dinners. We may have to adopt a similar strategy for my older daughter.

If your daughter likes to eat, it can be a good motivator!

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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gallery_28661_2918_42384.jpg

My Wolf :wub:

Woo hoo! It fit!!! :laugh:

Deborah & I had a running debate over the size of this range. Typically, I wouldn't put a range this large into an 8' x 11' kitchen. Then again, Deborah wasn't a typical client and the 48" range really made sense for her. I kept teasing her that while I was sure the range would fit into the design, I wasn't sure the range would actually be able to fit through the narrow hallways and make it into the kitchen.

A.

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Hah! Arne, I'll take another pic later to show you the 1/32 in. clearance available on either side of the range...and I didn't show the wall opposite the kitchen that got a bit smashed...or the gouge in the dining room wall (the only one that was nicely painted, as it happens). Sigh. That's OK. My crummy photography notwithstanding, it's a thing of beauty.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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and I’ll show you a couple of my favourite restaurants.

*Deborah*- Could you maybe give us a little bit of a teaser of what restaurants you might be visiting? I'm taking notes for our trip in August!! Can't wait!

"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

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Oh, *Deborah*, you really are a brave soul! Then again, there are enough folks around here who've been through the kitchen renovation thing, or are starting it, or are thinking about it, that I suspect this blog will be keenly watched. After all, misery loves company! :laugh:

I like the color scheme.

Could you show an up-close of the S grates? I haven't been following that thread (I afraid of getting the new-stove bug) so I don't know what you're talking about. A friend of mine has just finished a kitchen reno - complete with 2 ovens (one convection) and she's in heaven.

How's the weather in Vancouver now?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Enzo! :cool:

I always think of Jean Reno in the Big Blue when I hear that name.  Suspecting a pet-less environment this week, I propose a pic of your new Vespa, Enzo! :rolleyes:

Enzo is named after Enzo Ferrari, since he's a nice Ferrari red (I hope this doesn't tread on any Piaggio toes or anything, but I don't know too much about the company history)[....]

Weird, I tell you.

Yesterday morning on the 109 bus from 69th Street (I missed the 7:47 R3 to Swarthmore), I was reading a story in The Philadelphia Inquirer about some bizarre car crash in California in which a strange character made mincemeat of a Ferrari Enzo by sending it into a utility pole at somewhere north of 160 mph. The driver was badly injured but survived, and it seems that all sorts of shady things about him are coming to the surface as the authorities investigate the accident and how the driver managed to get his hands on the car, which wasn't his. The Enzo is one of those rare "exotic" sports cars--only a few hundred were produced, and each one sells for probably about what your condo fetched (somewhere around US$600,000).

The article includes lamentations from exotic-car buffs.

I trust that your Vespa is nowhere near that exotic and that you wouldn't jet around Vancouver on it doing 160 anyway (if it is capable of that speed to begin with).

Good luck getting your kitchen to fall into place. Your range is a Wolf, but it looks like your fridge is not a Sub-Zero (not that I would suspect you would get one after reading the rather discouraging posts about SZ reliability here on eG), but rather something much more mundane. It actually bears some resemblance to the Frigidaire in my apartment, except that you have a bottom-freezer model. Anything inside it yet?

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

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Deb, just a quick note to say good luck with the blog and the kitchen completion. Never did see the "before" photos. Needless to say the reno, incomplete though it is, is already miles above.

PS: Be sure to show off the sink that can double as a St Bernard washdown station too.

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Well Deb, it begins, and with only 3/4 of a kitchen. I sooooo hope that when you get home this evening you have power and everything is almost finished. Just remember to keep the blood pressure in check.

I still think you should have kept that banquette as part of a feature in your new dining room. It was so comfy and had so much character.

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*Deborah*-  Could you maybe give us a little bit of a teaser of what restaurants you might be visiting?  I'm taking notes for our trip in August!!  Can't wait!

Oh, I don’t know...so far three are planned...we’ll sip tea in the park; we’ll go to a wonderful place near the park; and then we’ll probably park ourselves at the bar of a groovy modern Japanese spot. :wink: All will be revealed!

I like the color scheme.

Could you show an up-close of the S grates?  I haven't been following that thread (I afraid of getting the new-stove bug) so I don't know what you're talking about.  A friend of mine has just finished a kitchen reno - complete with 2 ovens (one convection) and she's in heaven.

How's the weather in Vancouver now?

Thanks! I wanted a bright colour and I’ve just been all about orange lately.

I will definitely take a better pic of the stove--many!--and show the s-grates a little more clearly.

Our weather is sublime! we had a record setting day on Tuesday: about 29°C (85°F) and today is another clear, cloudless day. Forecast high of 25°C (77°F). The rain will make an appearance before I’m done, though.

Weird, I tell you.

Yesterday morning on the 109 bus from 69th Street (I missed the 7:47 R3 to Swarthmore), I was reading a story in The Philadelphia Inquirer about some bizarre car crash in California in which a strange character made mincemeat of a Ferrari Enzo by sending it into a utility pole at somewhere north of 160 mph.  The driver was badly injured but survived, and it seems that all sorts of shady things about him are coming to the surface as the authorities investigate the accident and how the driver managed to get his hands on the car, which wasn't his.  The Enzo is one of those rare "exotic" sports cars--only a few hundred were produced, and each one sells for probably about what your condo fetched (somewhere around US$600,000).

The article includes lamentations from exotic-car buffs.

I trust that your Vespa is nowhere near that exotic and that you wouldn't jet around Vancouver on it doing 160 anyway (if it is capable of that speed to begin with).

Good luck getting your kitchen to fall into place.  Your range is a Wolf, but it looks like your fridge is not a Sub-Zero (not that I would suspect you would get one after reading the rather discouraging posts about SZ reliability here on eG), but rather something much more mundane.  It actually bears some resemblance to the Frigidaire in my apartment, except that you have a bottom-freezer model.  Anything inside it yet?

My Vespa is pretty run of the mill, for a Vespa! although Enzo came with a whack of chrome extras (they were already on in the shop, and impatient me couldn’t wait for an undecorated model to ship)...The top speed I’ve attained so far is about 65 kph (40 mph), Enzo only has 50 cc!

I’ve had the fridge since I moved in, and there are a few things in there. Mustard, wine...you know! :laugh:I can post the obligatory pic later :smile: It is an Amana. I didn’t have budget for anything fancy in the fridge department, but I like the fridge up/freezer down concept a lot.

Deb, just a quick note to say good luck with the blog and the kitchen completion.  Never did see the "before" photos.  Needless to say the reno, incomplete though it is, is already miles above.

PS: Be sure to show off the sink that can double as a St Bernard washdown station too.

:laugh: Check.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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The rich warm colors you chose for the kitchen walls are so appealing.

And I really admire the little built-in wine rack.

Good luck with the remodel finishing soon and well, and thanks for blogging.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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gallery_28661_2918_16933.jpg

That shelf was originally intended for cookbooks, but right now it's holding the crystal. I'm not sure how it will pan out. In spite of having more cupboards than in my old kitchen, logic is compelling me to arrange certain things certain ways, and the cupboards above that shelf are not big enough for all my glassware at all.

May I suggest the type of rack that holds the inverted glasses by the base might go UNDER your cabinet? The glasses might block the outlet, but not too badly, I think.

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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May I suggest the type of rack that holds the inverted glasses by the base might go UNDER your cabinet? The glasses might block the outlet, but not too badly, I think.

That's a good option. I don't know if I will keep that quantity of glasses out all the time, either; I might put some back in the box and have a little more space on the shelf for other things.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Kitchen is looking good. You and Daddy-A have done a great job so far.

How are you liking the faucet you picked? We picked the same one for our kitchen reno job, which is very much a work in progress. Reading your posts is like deja vu all over again. I also have self-imposed deadlines by scheduling dinner parties in a kitchen that is not even installed yet...

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Kitchen is looking good.  You and Daddy-A have done a great job so far.

How are you liking the faucet you picked?  We picked the same one for our kitchen reno job, which is very much a work in progress.  Reading your posts is like deja vu all over again.  I also have self-imposed deadlines by scheduling dinner parties in a kitchen that is not even installed yet...

:laugh:

I usually work best to deadline; I think my contractor does, too.

I like the faucet a lot, so far! it was much bigger than I expected (I ordered off eBay), but seeing as I have the enormous, pony-washing sink

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I think it works out OK. It is big...it has a great spray, and I'm getting used to the one-hand operation.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I'm excited to see a blog from one of our local Egullet members. Good luck with your reno! And I like the idea of those Report Card Dinners. We may have to adopt a similar strategy for my older daughter.

If your daughter likes to eat, it can be a good motivator!

Yes, the eating part won't be a problem. So tell me, was there some sort of sliding scale involved, or was it a "good/bad report card--go/no go" system? Inquiring minds want to know! :biggrin:

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose Mum used to take her out for Report Card Dinners, beginning with Grade 1, the onset of thirteen years of straight As (...then university happened. Let’s not go there :wink:). We would go to fancy places when we could afford them, and less-fancy places when we couldn’t. My palate wasn’t too discriminating at the age of 5:

We did this too - and I can't believe how excited we were when Burger King came to Canada and that became a special report card treat! My, how things have changed.

hit a luau,

Please let that be a Victoria Day luau. That seems to be an appropriately Vancouver-ish thing to do (I have no idea why - it just does!).

I can't wait to see pictures of the final kitchen - I love the orange.

This should be a fun week!

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      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      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.
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