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foodzings: June 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ombu Wood Fired Grill

After consulting my trusty yelp recommendations, I had my one dinner in Winston-Salem at Ombu Wood Fired Grill. I had a near mishap because this place is fairly new and on a new street, and when you try to get directions here, it takes you some where else. I didn't realize that until I followed my directions to a residential area. There was not a restaurant in sight. But one call to the restaurant and I got there fairly easily.
The place opened in October and it's quite beautiful. I loved the decor of this place, it was incredibly warm. The open kitchen's half wall had the most amazing tile, I was totally in love with it. And they had these beautiful wine racks. There are several dining areas as well, it's a sizeable place.
Since I'm a total lightweight, I stuck with my pink lemonade. The bartender was amazingly sweet and was a total pro.
Some complimentary bread. They just switched breads so the bartender had never tasted it. It was warm and delicious, with just a hint of some herbs. And paired with olive oil and balsamic for dipping, it was great. I told her she had to try it. With bread this good, I knew I'd be in for a great meal.
I had to get the lobster bisque. But it wasn't just any lobster bisque, it was velvety lobster saffron bisque garnished with blistered sweet corn, crème fraich, and bits of lobster. Whoo! This was excellent bisque. What's not to like about this soup? Everything in it was good. And I only ordered a cup but it was a very sizeable portion, for just a cup. It was nearly a bowl.
For my entree, I had the wood oven seared grouper with sweet potato-plantain hash, haricot verts, and a sweet chili gastrique. Again, amazing. This was a huge hunk of grouper, which is a thick and meaty fish. It was seared with a nice crust and cooked to perfection. The hash was also amazing, especially with the sweet chili sauce. And you know I love green beans of all kind.

This is an excellent restaurant, and would be an excellent restaurant in any city. Even if it were in a large city, let's say NYC or San Francisco, this would be an excellent restaurant. Winston-Salem is lucky to have a gem like this in their town. So for you locals, go and support them!

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My Dream!

The booze aisle at a Target in Winston-Salem. I'm not in Pennsy anymore!

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Eating At Work - Al Fresco

So I was in Winston-Salem on business visiting a leading apparel company. I won't name names, but just sing to yourself, wait til we get our ___ on you! They have a beautiful campus. Like seriously beautiful. With a jogging trail and tons of land and even a lake type thing. And tons of outdoor spots for dining. And it's hot here people. Hot and sunny. So I enjoyed myself a little outdoor dining with my giant heap of taco salad from their cafeteria. And pink lemonade.

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Makin Waffles

I like to stay at hotels that give you complimentary breakfast of some kind. I like it because then I don't have to think about it. I'm not a huge breakfast person so it's not a meal that I particularly like to plan around. And when a hotel has complimentary breakfast, there's usually tons of stuff to choose from, and there's bound to be at least a few things I like. And I especially love it when they have belgian waffle stations! There's something about "making" it on my own that makes me happy.
These made perfect breakfasts during my stay. The batter was premade, but great! You could totally tell you were in the south because of the breakfast choices here. There were biscuits, but there was also sausage gravy. There was also hot sauce available. For breakfast. I love seeing regional food differences!

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Not So Good Thai

When I travel, whether it's for business or pleasure, you know my ass is going to plan eating at certain places. I always do some amount of food research! When in North Carolina you have to eat bbq. So I decided to go to Little Richard's. Lo and behold, they're closed on Sundays. Not just closed early, but closed all day long. I guess this is what I get when I cross the mason dixon on a Sunday. Suffice it to say, my growling belly was severely disappointed. So then in a starvation panic, I decided to just go to mcdonald's. As I turned into the driveway, I saw a little strip mall behind it and spotted a thai restaurant. So I just went there and ordered some food.

Well, I should have gotten mcdonald's. HA! Yeah, it wasn't very good. I haven't eaten too much thai food in my life, but I've eaten enough to know what's good and what isn't. And this just was not good at all. The tofu would have probably been ok, were they not cold by the time I ate them. That's not the restaurant's fault at all. But the noodles... well, these had so much potential, but they really failed.

It was the Pad Kee Maw - stir-fried fresh large rice noodles with mixed vegetables, eggs, and fresh basil leaves. I ordered it with the seafood combo. So this seafood was clearly from a frozen mix. The squid was teeny tiny, the crab was imitation crab sticks, the shrimps were scrawny and there were 3, and the scallops were flavorless. It was supposed to be a tamarind sauce but it just wasn't good. I just didn't care for it at all. And you'd think that since I was so damn hungry, that I would enjoy it anyway. Even when starving, I did not like it much. I ate some, but really, I was just disheartened. So much for hoping impromptu meal decisions would lead to good things. I was still hungry so I ended up eating some microwave popcorn that was in my hotel room. That was pretty good at least!

Sorry Cha Da Thai, but you're not going to get any love from me!

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Off To North Carolina!

Off to North Carolina! Flying into Greensboro and then heading to Winston-Salem. The only time I've been to North Carolina was to visit the outer banks. That was good times.

This FUZE stuff? Eh. Fancy packaging doesn't make it good. But "What Is The What" by David Eggers? F'in fantastic. Even in its not so fancy packaging.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Huge Breakfast - Suburban Style

R was in town from Austin to attend a former colleague's wedding to another former colleague. Oye. Yes, where I used to work, they like to all pair of with each other. Anyhoo, we decided to meet up before the festivities for breakfast. Since she was staying in malvern, we met up at the King Street Grille. I haven't been here in such a long time! But I've always had fond memories of this place.
While they serve all kinds of food, you really need to come here for the breakfast items. It's pretty tremendous. Both R and D ended up getting some variety of pancake. These are not little plates people. These are big plates, and these are big pancakes. Look at those banana pancakes. How beautiful are they? Oh, and you can't get one pancake. You have to get at least a stack of 2.
Look at what I got! Ha! It's a giant plate of whipped cream! Oh wait, is there a waffle under there? Oh yes there is! And some bananas! And then it's topped with an entire container of whipped cream! Yes King Street Grille, perhaps you went a little overboard with the whipped cream here! The waffle was tasty and the bananas were good too, but it would probably have been better if the bananas were cooked. Man... I should have gotten the banana pancakes! Next time.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sushi At Raw

Had an amazing dinner at Raw on Friday night. It's not a place I would normally go to, because it's sorta on the fancy pants side. Not super snooty or anything, but most people that go here are dressed up. Like glittery and shiny and such. And I'm not typically one to hang around glittery and shiny people. But when M invited me out, I couldn't say no. And man, we had such a surprisingly good meal.
The place is sizeable, one long dining area, along with some outdoor dining. You would never know it from the outside how big the place is or how nice it is on the inside. It's next to capogiro, but it's almost like an alleyway because the street on that block is so small. The decor is nice and bold with asian accents, but not in a cheesy way. It's quite tasteful! Very warm, with all the deep red paint and all.
Cocktails! And really strong ones to boot. Miso soup. Their version is very mis0-y! They definitely don't skimp on the miso. So if you like that, then you'll be happy. I like all kinds of miso soups, strong or weak, so I liked it regardless.

M's friend R had told us to get a very specific roll, but it was not on the menu, and it was not one of the specials either. Disappointing. But that's ok! We got one of the special rolls - the white tiger. Holy lord was this good! And hello, they give you seaweed salad with it! And I love me some seaweed salad.
Behold - white tuna in the middle, with some seared white tuna on top, and then topped off with some spicy white tuna. Gah, this was one of the greates things ever. And their rolls are nice and big! They're pricey, yes, but you get a lot! My goodness, goodness was this delicious. The fish was amazingly fresh. Like crazy fresh!
And the freshness of the fish was just so obvious with the sashimi that we got. First off, this was a lot of fish, and really lovely thick cuts. You don't get scrawny fish here! And everything was just so amazingly fresh, you could just tell with every bite. I haven't had fish this fresh in such a long time... perhaps since I caught my own and ate it! And this was tons of food for two people. I said this place is expensive, and yes, it sure is, but the quality of the food and the freshness of the fish kind of make it totally worth it. And you're hearing this from the queen of frugals. I would totally go back here. Yes, I said it. I would come back to this fancy place. It tends to get mixed review, so perhaps I had low expectations. But our meal was superb and I would recommend it highly to anyone.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Bagel Sandwiches

I've totally been making myself bagel sandwiches lately. I love the chewiness of bagels as sandwich bread. They're substantial and not flimsy. I just throw a little turkey, cheese, and lettuce in there, simply because I have it. And mayo too. I'm not a mayo freak or anything, but in a turkey sandwich, it's got to be there! I wish I had tomatoes around because they would totally make this better.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009


Sometimes my mom just comes by and drops off fruit. Even when I'm not there. She's like a little fruit fairy. On this last fruit fairy drop, she included cherries. I've been scoping some out at the grocery stores but they tend to be mad expensive. I don't know why, but they just are. So I was glad to be given this special treat. They weren't the best cherries in the world, but still good!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Easiest Veggie Stir Fry, Ever!

I had bought a giant bag of green beans the other day. It's not something I normally do, but it was already bagged up and on a super sale. I love green beans so I knew I could do something with them. After remembering that I had these, I bought some broccoli too later in the week. And then I threw together the easiest veggie stir fry, ever. I swear. There's 3 ingredients. That's it.
Ingredient 1 - veggies. Ok, so that can be 1 or as many as you want, but let's just lump it together as one ingredient. For me, I had green beans, broccoli, and onions.
Ingredient 2 - garlic. I chopped up a whole bunch and then I cooked that up for a little bit with the onions. I wanted the onions to be cooked down a bit that's why I threw them in with the garlic. Otherwise, I could have waited until the rest of the veggies. There's some oil in the pan, whatever kind you like, however much you feel like, if you choose.
Ingredient 3 - kecap manis. I don't know what this is exactly, except it's indonesian, and comes in a big bottle. And it's thick and dark and delish. It's a perfect stir fry sauce.
That's it! Throw in the veggies after you cook the garlic and onions a bit, and then cook the veggies a little bit until they're done the way you want. Then throw in some kecap manis. And voila. Done! Delicious, quick, super easy veggie stir fry. Trust me, it's good. It's savory and sweet and lovely. Cooking does not get easier than this. And if you think this is hard, then please step away from the kitchen.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Love You Broken Rice

I pose this question to you, my dear blog readers. Why is broken rice so damn good? Seriously. In concept, it's ridiculous. It's broken bits of rice. It's the stuff that extremely expensive and sophisticated machinery are designed to remove from the rice they are sorting. The whole point of those machines is to take these defective grains and toss them. Yet when I get a bowl of broken rice in front of me, it's just the best damn thing in the world. And I know you agree. When you get vietnamese rice plates, this is what you get. Broken rice, rice bit, whatever it's called, all I know is that it tastes amazing. And I just don't know why. It just does. I always wanted to buy and make my own, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Simply because of the concept itself. I'm paying real money for the rice parts that they typically throw away. But I finally broke down and did it, and gosh darn it, it's awesome.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

POM Juices

I've never gotten anything for free because I have a food blog. Until the people from POM wanted to send me some free POMs. How could I say no? And oh my gosh, they went me a case of the most adorable little single serve size POMs. So cute and adorable, just mini versions of the bigger bottles.

Pomegranate juice is super awesome for you in so many ways. And although tart, it's pretty tasty. I actually like to mix some seltzer or club soda in so that it's like a little POM spritzer. One thing I'll say about these juices though, is that be careful when you drink it. With these little bottles, I found myself spilling quite a lot, even though I was drinking directly from the bottle. There was always a tiny bit of spray as I was finishing sipping. And I ended up staining a bunch of shirts with a little drop or two. It never failed. So just be careful! Or wear dark clothes when you want some POM!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shopping and Legal Sea Foods

After going to K of P to return a bunch of random crap that none of us needs, we decided to eat at Legal Sea Foods, because R had never been there and she loves her some damn seafood. It was pretty late, and the place is big, so there weren't too many people in there.
R got the rainbow trout with horseradish butter, rice pilaf, and mashed potatoes. Their choice of sides is uber heavy on the carbs. There should really be more veggie choices, pretty please. The trout was fine, but she really dug the horseradish butter. The thought of this revolts me, as I can't stand horseradish. But she loved it! She got the clam chowder too. At first, she ordered the lite clam chowder. We thought this would be a lighter version of the new england clam chowder. Wrong! It is a lite clam chowder, and definitely nothing like new england. One look at its weird watery broth and seeing nothing but chopped carrots and celery, she sent it back. Then she got the proper new england chowder. So be warned, they are completely different soups! She felt the same way about the new england clam chowder as I did. That's it's nothing special.
I got the scallops again, because I got them the last time and loved it, and I'm someone that likes to stick with what she know sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes. I got pilaf and asparagus. I had wanted sugar snap peas but they were out, but luckily, they had asparagus instead. I really love these scallops. They're just grilled but that's all they need. They're awesome. And it's a nice portion too. I had enough to take home and eat the next day with some noodles I cooked up.
R felt like dessert, so she got this gluten-free chocolate mousse. Ok, first off, this is not mousse. It's not light and airy and moussey. It's a thick and rich tort. You get three little hunks of these "mousse" and not only is it gluten-free, but it was also nonfat. All those things scream tasteless in my book (haha), but this was actually pretty good. A little too chocolatey for my taste! But I was still impressed by the flavor, considering how "healthy" it was.

Overall, another solid meal, but nothing super fantastic. I think this is what Legal is. Good food, not crazy prices, but not cheap either, with nice atmosphere. I think they want to be fancier than they think they are. And for whatever reason, our server really annoyed me. She was beyond fake and artificial and I think it oozed out her bitter food service worker pores.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lovers and Madmen

My friend G just recently starting holding additional movie nights at Lovers and Madmen, a fairly new coffee shop, in University City. It's adorable. Just damn adorable. I love the paint color combinations on the outside. Totally adorable, it sickens me.
The menu? Sparse. But I can appreciate that. Just do a few things well instead of doing a crapload of things meh. I wanted a decaf iced coffee (y'all know I can't do caffeine) but they said they were out. But he suggested making me a decaf iced americano instead. It was perfect. And the barista was so nice. The place is small, but not claustrophobic. It's decorated very tastefully. They do have some food for sale, but not too much. And they have a nice flatscreen where we can watch our movie. And couches too! It's a place for lovers, it's a place for madmen, it's a place for everyone.

Lovers & Madmen Coffee Lounge
28 S 40th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 243-9851

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Monday, June 15, 2009

South Philly Tap Room

More art this past sunday. Golly, what's it with art festivals weekend after every darn weekend? Oh, by the way, were you caught in the freakin monsoon on saturday? Yeesh. I was trapped at a mall, literally, because it was raining so hard that we could not leave. I felt like I was in jail. Ok, back to the sunday. After more art, we were hungry, of course, or at least I was, so we ventured all the way south because I wanted to check out that new Ultimo coffee place. I thought they had food there, but it really didn't look like it, and my tummy was growling, so we walked the 10 feet down to South Philadelphia Tap Room instead. This place is real laid back and warm inside. There's a decent sized bar and some seating, inside and out. We sat at the round table right at the front with deep seats. We felt real short!
R thought that the shrimp ceviche sounded good so she ordered it. It had huge shrimp in it, along with the ceviche part (onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, in a spicy tomato based sauce), sliced avocado, and oyster crackers. It was great! And slightly spicy, but not overly so.
R also ordered the shortrib sandwich. She didn't really need to, as the appetizer was actually plenty. Another little side would have been plenty enough. This was a big sandwich with tons of meat and stewed onions and cheese. It was a bit too unwieldy to eat like a true sandwich. Juicy. Kind of a mess, but tasty. There was a nice side of salad too. You get a choice of fries, salad, or a pasta or potato salad.
And me? Oh my gawd. I got the meatloaf. It is amazing. Well, maybe not just the mealoaf, but it comes on top of an entire plate of mac and cheese. And this mac and cheese is definitely amazing. The best mac and cheese. Ever. At least for me. It's lovely and mild. I don't like crazy sharp cheese and this mac and cheese is just perfect for me. The meatloaf is pretty plain and grilled a bit before serving, and it's great as well. They serve it with some french fried onions, which I just loved. They go a little overboard with the scallions here as garnish, and they should stop it. A little is ok, but they're a bit too crazy about it. Despite the scallion overload, this whole dish was amazing. And it's served with a homemade ketchup, which is also amazing. Seriously, I love this dish! Did I write the word amazing enough?
Service was good. The people here are nice and friendly. It's a very comfortable place, not at all pretentious, not overloaded with hipsters, just a nice nieghborhood bar, which looks nice and also serves kick ass food. It's so far down though. Gah, I wish it was in center city. But then it probably wouldn't feel like how it does. So venture down to SPTR!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Free Sandwich!

I met up with P and J for lunch the other day. Since we all live nearby, we just decided to stop at Saxby's. Since the first time I was here and discovered that they actually have food here, I wanted to try it out. So here we were. They have sandwiches, salads, smoothies, fro yo. We wanted real food, so we all got sandwiches. You get to pick what kind you want and on what kind of bread. I ordered an egg salad on ciabatta. When I got it and took it back to my table, I noticed that there was no egg salad in it. But instead, it was the prociutto sandwich. Oops. I took it back, but he said I could keep it and he would make me my egg salad. Score! Free sandwich!
So ok, I eventually got my egg sandwich. It was a nice heaping of egg salad with lettuce, tomato, pickle, pepper jack cheese, and a red pepper spread. Really quite nice. But the best, I mean BEST, part of the sandwich was this ciabatta bread. Goodness! It was amazing! Like perfection! There was something about it, and I can't even put my finger on it, but it was just the perfectest sandwich bread ever. It was lightly toasted so it was crunchy, but good crunchy, not tear up your gums crunchy, yet still soft. I don't even know. It was just the best sandwich bread ever. And it came with chips. I don't really eat potato chips much, and I certainly never buy it, but if it's there, I'll eat them. Man, I wolfed these down.
So since I ended up with a free sandwich, I ate the other one for dinner. I enjoyed it even more because it was free! The free one was a prociutto sandwich, with a hunk of mozzarella, avocado, roasted red peppers, basil, and an olive tapenade. I could have done without the olive tapenade, because I loathe olives, but otherwise, another excellent sandwich. Count two wins in the sandwich column for Saxby's.

They have outdoor dining here, which is a plus. It was just a bit too hot for that on this day. I had a nice iced coffee too. The sandwiches are not cheap, but I think it's a good place to grab a bite and a coffee. The place itself is nice, the workers are friendlyl, and the quality of the food is good. Try it out!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I totally craved some fresh fruit and veggies the other night. I'd been subsisting on pasta and meats and grains, and my body totally realized it. So I picked up a bunch of berries, including these lovely blueberries. Gah, I love me some good blueberries!I got some regular strawberries too. Then on a separate trip to whole foods, I picked up some organic strawberries because they were on sale. Trust me, fruit shopping at whole foods isn't something I normally do. So I decided to do a taste test. So the organic one is on the left, and the regular one is on the right. And the taste? Well, they were both good, but neither was great. It's so hit or miss with fruit, you know? Sometimes you can just get the most amazing pint of strawberries one week, and then the next it sucks. Or it's just ok all the time. I crave for consistency. They were a bit different from each other, but not one worse than the other. But neither of them was an amazing strawberry. So really, this girl doesn't see any difference.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Fast Food Pick Ups

After stuffing our faces, we weren't really hungry for anything else, but being in the burbs, we had spotted umpteen fast food places along the way. And we spotted taco bell and wendy's. And we totally wanted cinnamon twists and a frosty. So we got some. Then we drove to a random park and just enjoyed. It was a beyond lovely day and the park was chock full of families.

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Last weekend, I hung out in some faraway burbs after going to a little art reception in the middle of nowhere. I was in bryn athyn, which has a crazy story. As in entire town of inbred swedes. Seriously. In any case, we grabbed some vittles after nearby.
Angelo's is an italian joint in some random suburban stripmall. I wasn't sure if it was open because there were no cars around. But it was early, so I guess that made sense. The place is very old school on the inside. Not swanky. It's very laid back here.
So yeah, it's italian food. Standard stuff. Me? I got eggplant parm. You get a salad too, and some bread. This salad was kind of sad, but you know it's just something accompanying the main event. My eggplant parm was great. Just old fashioned and hearty.
R got the veal parm. A very sizeable hunk of veal. And we both got giant heaps of pasta with it. The spaghetti wasn't round, it was square or rectangular, which made us think that it may have been homemade, but that's just a guess. This place might not be that fancy.
The service was not that hot. Getting the server to run our check took forever. We kept wanting to pay and give them our money, but it's like they weren't having any of it. And they never offered us any refills on drinks. Not soda and not water either. Service is definitely not the high point here. That is the food. It's a nice neighborhood joint for a hearty affordable meal.

Angelo's Ristorante
11036 Rennard St
Philadelphia, PA 19116
(215) 677-3432


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Queen of Grilling

M was kind enough to invite me to a cookout at her house the other night. I did some last minute yard work, against my will, and was starving, so I couldn't refuse. All I had to do was show up! And food showed up on the plate, and I got a nice cold Stella put in my hand! We had ribs, bratwurst, mushrooms, potatoes, and grilled corn. It was perfect. And my company was beyond entertaining that evening. If it weren't for their nutjob neighbor, we would have taken advantage of their firepit. Boo for bad neighbors!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Simple Sweets

Sometimes, some scoopfuls of old fashioned rainbow sherbet that comes in a giant tub that you picked up at a big box store, is all you need to satisfy your cold treat need. I can't get enough of this right now. It's a good thing that tub is so giant.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hankering for Pasta

Some days, I just hanker for something. Something very specific. The other week I wanted spaghetti with italian sausage. And I wanted it bad. So I whipped some up. It's easy! Here's what you need:

Italian sausage
Onions - sliced, chopped, whatever
Jar of spaghetti sauce
Throw the onions and the sausage in a pan, skillet, whatever you want to cook on. I just bought some sweet italian sausage, but I could have used hot just as easily. Depends on my mood. There's tons of way to cook the sausage, but this is just the way I did it. I should have cut up the sausage into smaller pieces, but I just cut it up into bigger chunks. And then while cooking, I just cut them up even more. It would probably have been easier to cut it up first with a proper knife.Then once the sausage and onions are cooked through, just dump a jar of spaghetti sauce in there. Whatever flavor you like. Heat this up a bit and then after your pasta is cooked the way you want, dump the sauce over the pasta. Then proceed eating. This obviously makes a ton. It lasted me for days!
Sure looks like a hot mess, but it certainly tasted great. It's super easy to prepare and nice and hearty!

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