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Megan Blocker

eG Foodblog: Megan Blocker - Trading Pumas for Uggs

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Happy Valentine's Day Megan!  :wub:

How wonderful your blog is...again!  I loved your last one, of course :)  But you're making me COLD!  I've been terribly MIA from eG of late but this is the perfect way to jump back in. 

Everything looks so fantastic!  You live/eat so well!  What is it you do for work? Is it mentioned on the prior blog?  Is it the same as then? 

The best additions to hot cocoa are homemade marshmallows and peppermint schnaps!  It'll warm you up in no time!!

Thanks for blogging and being so fascinating! 

Genny

OMG, Genny is my Valentine, because she called me fascinating!!!! She wins my gold star, hands down. :wink: Thank you, Genny.

I am still in the same job, essentially, though my responsibilities have grown and changed over the last year and my seniority has increased somewhat. Essentially, I work in management consulting. We have a large practice that tells people how to outsource/offshore their technology work, and about four years ago, we realized we didn't do the same - not the best way to sell your knowledge/expertise.

I am part of the small team, therefore, that manages the outsourcing of our IT function. It's not at all technical (I actually got into it via recruitment for investment banking), but involves a lot of management, negotiation, finance, and legal knowledge/skills. Parts of it are really interesting, and parts make you want to cry they're so dull.

Whew, enough about that!

Tonight I got home, watched the episode of How I Met Your Mother from Monday night (I am marrying Ted - he is adorable), and then headed out around 7:00 for dinner down the street at Bar Etats-Unis, which is a wine bar attached to the pricier bistro. Both spaces are small and minimalist, with the focus on the food, the wine, and the cocktails.

The bartender, Kate, started me off with a 175 ml bottle of Pommery's Pop Rose - I was at Pommery in October, and really enjoyed their cellar tour. You don't see their wines enough here in the States, in my opinion.

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I decided on a salad and the mac and cheese. Basic comfort food, elevated. The salad was the Texas wedge, with iceberg lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, ranch, and crumbled Stilton.

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In between courses, I chatted with the couple to my left and eavesdropped on the idiot to my right (He talked over his date and described leaving his most recent relationship as getting out of a "paradigm" - I'm a big word abuser, no doubt about it - but paradigm? To your date? Who you don't know well? Oy. Sorry, b*tchfest over.) I also read a bit of my selected literature for the evening...

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On Kate's recommendation, I ordered a glass of 2004 Valpolicella to go with the mac and cheese. One of the coolest things about sitting at the bar is that the kitchen is essentially right there - one prep cook makes everything, and I got to watch him combine the bechamel, parm and cheddar for my mac, and watched him whip cream by hand for my dessert.

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The mac and cheese was delicious - piping hot and rich. As a non-cheese person, I was very proud of ordering two cheese dishes in one sitting. I think I have to email this post to my mom. :wink:

Finally, dessert. I went for the date pudding, which is served with a caramelized, boozy rum sauce and whipped cream. It reminds me of sticky toffee pudding...

gallery_26775_2587_12029.jpg

Before I left, Kate handed me a single white rose, which is now sitting in a bud vase on my dresser. Very sweet. A wonderful Valentine's Day.

I came home and poured myself a teeny-tiny cognac, just to make sure the evening was complete...

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OH! And look what was on my doorstep in a DHL delivery box when I got home from work!

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Tomorrow promises to be an excellent day...lunch will be light, thanks to tonight's meal and also to tomorrow night's. I'm meeting a few other foodie types for the Bo Ssam at Momofuku Ssam Bar! So don't go too far if you want details...

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Happy Valentines Day Megan! Your night out sounded fantastic. God Bless you for reading Jane Austen....I just read Persuasion for my book club and it was the hardest little book to get through, it took me three weeks to go through it, versus the usual 1-2 days for a book. I know she's an icon in the literary world, but I had tough time, as did most of the folks in the book club (they are bigger readers than me) since they didn't read it. I may check out the movie, since I did like the idea of the story.

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Happy Valentines Day Megan!  Your night out sounded fantastic.  God Bless you for reading Jane Austen....I just read Persuasion for my book club and it was the hardest little book to get through, it took me three weeks to go through it, versus the usual 1-2 days for a book.  I know she's an icon in the literary world, but I had  tough time, as did most of the folks in the book club (they are bigger readers than me) since they didn't read it. I may check out the movie, since I did like the idea of the story.

Persuasion is one of my all-time favorites...took a class in Jane Austen in college and have been devoted ever since. She's an incredible wit, completly without cheese or treacly sentiment, but still romantic. My literary soulmate, Miss Austen is.

Try Pride and Prejudice....not as mature or bittersweet a book as Persuasion, but Mr. Darcy is quite dashing. :wink: Also, the movie version of Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, is excellent - you'll love it.

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland. Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

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Cool, I will check out the movie...I got the gist of the story, but it took going back and re-reading and re-reading to get it. I never was exposed to her prior to this, and I think that you and I are about the same age, I might be a little older (shhhh...almost 38, okay just saw your profile and I am a lot older!) but I was never exposed to her in High School or College.

I just started reading "The Pilots Wife", which is starting out to be pretty good. I know its been out for a while.

edited to correct the age difference.


Edited by lucylou95816 (log)

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All right, just posted a topic about my trip to London - post away!!!

oh we know some very good nice cocktail bars in London! and this place that makes an amazing lip gloss- I know, I know but it is fab!! I'll get over to your other post soon!

Happy valentine's day!! Dayne and I served mini bottles of regular POP at our wedding! it was fun to see everyone sipping out of straws and we buy them whenever we are going to travel to the beach or something now :smile:

your dinner looks so good- i really wish we could have gone there when we were in town!

and that is the tiniest! cognac I have ever seen :wink:

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All right, just posted a topic about my trip to London - post away!!!

oh we know some very good nice cocktail bars in London! and this place that makes an amazing lip gloss- I know, I know but it is fab!! I'll get over to your other post soon!

Happy valentine's day!! Dayne and I served mini bottles of regular POP at our wedding! it was fun to see everyone sipping out of straws and we buy them whenever we are going to travel to the beach or something now :smile:

your dinner looks so good- i really wish we could have gone there when we were in town!

and that is the tiniest! cognac I have ever seen :wink:

I know, I know...I have a 10:00 AM presentation...have to be impossibly fresh.

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Catriona   

Re: size of cognac: I often do that.. at the end of a nice evening, just to round it out, a glass of something really nice. But the smallest, tiniest bit. A normal glass of cognac is too much for me, usually - the law of diminishing returns.

I was at a wedding - probably the best one I've been to other than my own (yeah I'm biased, but the food was good) - where on the way between the church and the reception (in the Natural History Museum in London, seated around the dinosaur), we all sipped bottles of Pop in the coach!

Your weather looks just like it was when I went to NY a couple of years ago. Central park was pretty, but the rest... damn cold. And a downpour on the 3rd day after the snow, so that the puddles were a mixture of slush and rainwater, and you couldn't tell where the sidewalk ended. Oh god it was cold.

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Megan, I haven't been able to be here on the 'gullet for weeks. I pop in "just for a second" and here you are. I've used up all my adolescent-free time reading the whole shebang and now must FLY to get ready for the school day. It's so good to read about you.

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My literary soulmate, Miss Austen is.

( ... )

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland.  Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.

Megan, you're a class act. Valentine's Day with Miss Austen is the way to go. (I spent mine with Jeeves and Wooster, which was actually a lot of fun).

Have you ever read The Jane Austen Cookbook? It's collected from authentic recipes, and is quite interesting, not only in reading about the foods they served, but in its discussion of the type of service used at meals (several sequences called "removes," in which there were displays of food from which people served themselves). Interesting reading. I'll have to take a look at it again tonight, but I remember being surprised at the variety of foods therein - I think that the kitchen gardens and hothouses of the great estates provided a lot more than we'd think nowadays.

Keep on blogging! I'm enjoying this very much.

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Genny   
OMG, Genny is my Valentine, because she called me fascinating!!!! She wins my gold star, hands down.  Thank you, Genny.

Awwwww thanks Megan! I'm happy to be your Valentine! Looks like you had a fabo dinner without me tho...next time you should invite me along? If I can't fly there we can chat on the phone to be together for the meal. :wink:

Good girl on the double cheese dinner! Can you put your finger on why you aren't a cheese girl? It doesn't appear that you dislike it, even the more pungent varieties so I'd love to know! What kinds do you like the best? least? (I, on the other hand AM a cheese girl. Sometimes that is whats for dinner accompanied by an appropriate glass of red wine. I'm swooning at the mere thought of it!)

And to compliment the glassware, the champagne glass for your POP was so beautiful and delicate looking. I just adore lovely glassware, it sets the mood and can transcend the moment.

Good luck on your presentation! (hmmm, checking the clock you are likely in the middle of it now!)

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My literary soulmate, Miss Austen is.

( ... )

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland.  Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.

Megan, you're a class act. Valentine's Day with Miss Austen is the way to go. (I spent mine with Jeeves and Wooster, which was actually a lot of fun).

Have you ever read The Jane Austen Cookbook? It's collected from authentic recipes, and is quite interesting, not only in reading about the foods they served, but in its discussion of the type of service used at meals (several sequences called "removes," in which there were displays of food from which people served themselves). Interesting reading. I'll have to take a look at it again tonight, but I remember being surprised at the variety of foods therein - I think that the kitchen gardens and hothouses of the great estates provided a lot more than we'd think nowadays.

Keep on blogging! I'm enjoying this very much.

That sounds fascinating! I think I'll have to check that out of the library...

Good girl on the double cheese dinner! Can you put your finger on why you aren't a cheese girl? It doesn't appear that you dislike it, even the more pungent varieties so I'd love to know! What kinds do you like the best? least? (I, on the other hand AM a cheese girl. Sometimes that is whats for dinner accompanied by an appropriate glass of red wine. I'm swooning at the mere thought of it!)

Thanks!

I really hated cheese as a kid (picked it off the pizza, never had it in the pasta, would gag if I had it on my burger), but I've gotten better at it. I actually seem to like the stinkier cheeses better than the milder ones - which also gels with my love of all things tangy and spicy. There's something about the weird, flat aftertaste of milder cheeses that doesn't sit well with me.

I still don't like cheese by itself - I had a cheese plate in France (and enjoyed it), but I would never order one in lieu of dessert. I don't like cheese and crackers, and I REALLY don't like cheese on my sandwiches or hamburgers.

My friends Miles and Hall made me come over for a cheese tasting last year...Miles is a HUGE cheese person, and they made me eat all kinds, but bribed me with tomato basil soup and a green salad. :wink:


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

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Genny   

See, the beautiful cheese shops there are just wasted on you. Bummer. I *wish* we had such a thing here in the valley. The best we have is an upscale market with a nice selection but they don't keep them properly and certainly don't have knowlegable staff waiting to provide tastings and advise. I'm going to go pout now.

I love that you love the stinky cheese over the bland though! So many people shy away from the pungent. Try a lovely fresh goat cheese on a crustini with your tomatoe basil soup, its a combo that I tap my toes to!

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So, I just got a phone call telling my that my laptop upgrade has been approved (yay, new computer!), and that I can have it done today. So, I'll be unavailable on the computer till late this afternoon...

Tawk amongst yourselves, I'll be back! :biggrin:

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Tonight I got home, watched the episode of How I Met Your Mother from Monday night (I am marrying Ted - he is adorable), and then headed out around 7:00 for dinner down the street at Bar Etats-Unis, which is a wine bar attached to the pricier bistro.  Both spaces are small and minimalist, with the focus on the food, the wine, and the cocktails.

The bartender, Kate, started me off with a 175 ml bottle of Pommery's Pop Rose - I was at Pommery in October, and really enjoyed their cellar tour.  You don't see their wines enough here in the States, in my opinion.

gallery_26775_2587_31144.jpg

Is this the same Pommery that makes the coarse-grained Moutarde de Meaux? I used to buy it all the time from a liquor store/specialty cheese shop near where I lived in Allston, Mass. I really couldn't afford it--or the cheeses I bought with it-- but I didn't care.

Oops! Edited out your Austen reference. I wanted to ask you here what your opinion was of the movie Clueless. I was chatting with a friend of mine at Pure's karaoke (see first foodblog) last night--the friend is a local playwright and also an Austen fan. We both thought that Clueless was an entertaining modernization of Emma. I also liked the film for its useful contribution to contemporary English, namely, the phrase "going postal".

I really hated cheese as a kid (picked it off the pizza, never had it in the pasta, would gag if I had it on my burger), but I've gotten better at it.  I actually seem to like the stinkier cheeses better than the milder ones - which also gels with my love of all things tangy and spicy.  There's something about the weird, flat aftertaste of milder cheeses that doesn't sit well with me.

I don't know if you watch the Today Show in the mornings, but one memorable segment involving cheese from that program lingers in my brain.

They were doing an on-location program in Paris; this was when Bryant Gumbel was still co-hosting, but after Katie Couric had joined the party. Apparently--as we learned from the segment--Gumbel is a serious cheeseophobe; he can't even stand the smell of the stuff.

So they had him do a segment in which he went into a French cheese shop to examine its wares and chat with the proprietor.

I still remember him donning a face mask and rubber gloves on camera, then saying, "Cover me--I'm going in" before entering the shop.

As for you, congratulations on having overcome your childhood distaste for cheese. I don't share your dislike of milder varieties, but agree that the smellier ones are more interesting. Not being a big fan of Brie, however, I have probably given runny cheeses short shrift and need to educate myself more about them.

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Ling   
Tomorrow promises to be an excellent day...lunch will be light, thanks to tonight's meal and also to tomorrow night's.  I'm meeting a few other foodie types for the Bo Ssam at Momofuku Ssam Bar!  So don't go too far if you want details...

Yeah!!!! :biggrin:

ETA: Oops that was me (Henry). Someone keeps logging in from my computer :hmmm:


Edited by Ling (log)

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Chufi   
Also, the movie version of Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, is excellent - you'll love it.

That's my favorite of all the Austen adaptations!

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland.  Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.

yeah, boiled mutton galore! :wink:

I love this quote from one of her letters: "Good applepies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness".

Jane Grigson has a chapter about Austen in her "Food with the famous". I agree with Grigson that "Emma" is the most fun, foodwise - with that hypochonder of a father who is always sending back the good stuff to the kitchen because he thinks it's unhealthy, leaving his guests to snack on water and biscuits ! :smile:

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Happy Valentines Day Megan!  Your night out sounded fantastic.  God Bless you for reading Jane Austen....I just read Persuasion for my book club and it was the hardest little book to get through, it took me three weeks to go through it, versus the usual 1-2 days for a book.  I know she's an icon in the literary world, but I had  tough time, as did most of the folks in the book club (they are bigger readers than me) since they didn't read it. I may check out the movie, since I did like the idea of the story.

Persuasion is one of my all-time favorites...took a class in Jane Austen in college and have been devoted ever since. She's an incredible wit, completly without cheese or treacly sentiment, but still romantic. My literary soulmate, Miss Austen is.

Try Pride and Prejudice....not as mature or bittersweet a book as Persuasion, but Mr. Darcy is quite dashing. :wink: Also, the movie version of Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, is excellent - you'll love it.

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland. Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.

These are two of my favorites as well. Couldn't get through Mansfield Park though. Tried very hard though. The Jane Austen Cookbook sounds like it would be fun - to get a glimpse into the real thing. Thanks for bringing it up.

I'm really enjoying the blog Megan.

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Finally, dessert.  I went for the date pudding, which is served with a caramelized, boozy rum sauce and whipped cream.  It reminds me of sticky toffee pudding...

gallery_26775_2587_12029.jpg

:wub::wub::wub:

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OK, more on tonight's dinner in the morning...today was a crazy day, what with my PC upgrade and all. Lunch was light, an avocado, tomato and cucumber sandwich and some tomato soup from Europa Cafe...

Some really icky weather...

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Sandwich...very tasty, though premade and a little bit soggy.

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And, soup! Tomato with pearl pasta...warming and rich.

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ETA: I promise to post first thing in the AM, but must go do some work emailing now and head to bed. See you all soon!


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

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amapola   
OK, more on tonight's dinner in the morning...today was a crazy day, what with my PC upgrade and all.  Lunch was light, an avocado, tomato and cucumber sandwich and some tomato soup from Europa Cafe...

Some really icky weather...

gallery_26775_2587_24987.jpg

gallery_26775_2587_6268.jpg

Sandwich...very tasty, though premade and a little bit soggy.

gallery_26775_2587_21335.jpg

And, soup!  Tomato with pearl pasta...warming and rich.

gallery_26775_2587_19273.jpg

ETA: I promise to post first thing in the AM, but must go do some work emailing now and head to bed.  See you all soon!

Oooh I love that soup! Soup is the greatest thing ever to perk you up and warm your body and mind when it's so cold and grey and drab :wub:

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Ooh I'm having so much fun watching this blog. Megan, this is a GREAT blog. Thanks for posting the Bite Club pictures, that was a really fun night. I for one would like to see the contents of your fridge, and pantry...or spice cabinet...yeah, I like to pry.

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So nosy, Miss Emma! I shall oblige tonight, I promise.

Dinner last night was quite an event. I met up with fellow foodies (most also food bloggers) Robyn, Eunice, Don (donbert), Gerald, Connie, Doug, and Janet at Momofuku Ssam Bar for some Bo Ssam, a whole, slow-roasted pork butt served with oysters, rice, condiments, and lettuce to wrap it all up with.

But first! We started with some small plates, some that we ordered and some that were very generously comped by the lovely staff. In no particular order...

My beer, a red rice ale...I shamelessly copied donbert and ordered one for myself.

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Sea urchin with whipped tofu...Don can enlighten us a bit about this one and what's in it (my notes aren't that great, and this isn't on the online menu!).

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Seasonal pickles...brussels sprouts, root veggies, kimchi, and all sorts of other goodness.

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Mushroom salad...really, really tasty. Some radishes and mache, too!

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The first of the pork...Benton's ham with baguette and some smoky coffee sauce. The ham melted in your mouth...

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These next two were my favorites...an egg custard with black truffle, braised snails, and edamame on the bottom...such a great mix of flavors and textures. Don and BryanZ apparently have some theories about how they get it so darn smooth.

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Crispy brussels sprouts with chiles and fish sauce, topped with crispy rice. So good it made me want to cry.

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The three-terrine banh mi...even though I picked my cilantro off (I know, I know...) I really enjoyed it.

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Finally, the main event. Bo Ssam. Rubbed with spices, roasted to the point of falling apart...it arrived, glistening, to the table, along with pureed and whole kimchi, a ginger-scallion sauce, oysters and lettuce. We had to hold back while the NYT photographer who was there last night (apparently a review is coming out next week) snapped away for a moment.

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A bite, before condiments...lettuce, rice, pork, oyster.

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Finally, dessert...the mochi ice cream sampler with, from left to right, pistachio, guava, coconut, chocolate mint. Served with apples topped with a little grey salt.

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Before we left, Doug gave us all his latest obsession...jars of Sunflower Seed Butter from Trader Joe's!

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(Momofuku sounds dirty, but it just means "Lucky Peach.")

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Then it was onward...downtown to Death & Company...

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All right, kids. I'm off to grab some breakfast at Cafe Sabarsky and then downtown to do some shopping. I'll see you back here in the early evening, armed with D&Co photos and a full Degustation report!

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    • By sartoric
      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.

       
    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
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