Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend

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Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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2010/10/19 15:57:57 (permalink)

Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend

Bob at Boudinlink.com was kind enough to invite me to his Boudin Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana this past weekend.  The following was my itinerary - click on any of the links to jump directly to that section.
 
Thursday
Johnson’s Boucaniere - Boudin, gumbo, sausage and tasso sauce Piquante
 
Friday
Old Tyme Grocery – Zapps Potato chips, shrimp po’boy
The French Press – Bacon, egg, cheese, boudin on Texas toast.  Bacon praline
Creole Lunch House – Sausage stuffed bread with a chicken fricassee sauce
Villager’s Café – Pot roast poor-boy, shrimp po’boy, french fries  
Judice Inn – Hamburger
Southside Bakery – “Gourmet Hamburger”
Café de Amis – Turtle soup, fried green tomatoes with imperial crab sauce, sirop cake ala mode
 
 
Saturday
Café de Amis – Oreille de Couchon stuffed with boudin, omelet covered with crawfish etouffee, pancakes (crepes) with praline sauce
Boudin Festival - 42 samples of boudin
Boudin Festival Leftovers
Borden’s – Strawberry ice cream
The Bluerunners Reunion Concert
 
Sunday
Meche’s Donut King – Glazed donut, apple fritter
Mike’s Country Corner – Pork plate
post edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. - 2010/10/23 21:22:26
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 16:10:52 (permalink)

    Immediately after landing in Lafayette I met up with Bob (Boudinlink.com) at one of his favorite local eateries - Johnson’s Boucaniere.  He gave me a tour and introduced me to Greg and Lori, the family behind the eating establishment since 1937.
     
    After we sat down, we sampled the menu.  You can read a complete review here http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/7388-8093/johnsons-boucaniere 
     
    We started with Sausage And Tasso Sauce Piquante

     
    Afterward, we  sampled some of the legendary boudin.  For those not familiar with the dish, it is a mix of rice, pork (pork butt, in this photo), red pepper, bell pepper, and a little bit of pork liver.  I admit the photos aren't sexy, and if you have never sampled the dish, it looks fatty, but trust me, it is far from that.  Boudin is lean compared to the sausages common to most people, and Johnson's is completely void of cartilage and other foreign pig parts.
     

     
    I sampled some Gumbo, which contained leftover chicken garlic sausage, and pork sausage.  It was very brothy and could probably cure a cold.
     

     
    After lunch, Greg took me to the back-of-house and showed me his custom made smoker.  Viola!
     

     

    post edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. - 2010/10/19 16:14:19
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 16:23:27 (permalink)
    After lunch I went back to my hotel room and took a well-deserved nap since I woke up at 3:45 AM for my flight!  Upon awakening, I returned back to Johnson's for a private dinner with friends, co-workers and family.  I didn't think it would be appropriate to bring my camera, so I don't have much to show, but we sampled a variety of meats and drank local beer.  The biggest surprise was a dish that Bob concocted while driving from Louisiana to NY for a food festival.  It is a grilled cheese sandwich with a boudin ball and bbq sauce smashed between the two layers of toast.
     
    Unfortunately, I only have a fuzzy photo of this dish that I took with my mobile phone.
     
     
    Bob, I think we need to send you on more road trips so we can see what other creative ideas you have tucked away.
    #3
    Tony Bad
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 16:34:00 (permalink)
    You did remember to bring me a few pounds of cracklins...didn't you?  
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    Sundancer7
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 16:38:58 (permalink)
    Stephen:  I consulted with a pharma firm in Lafayette for close to five years post retirement.  I have visited several of the places you mentioned.  Boudin and cracklins are some of my favorite items to purchase when I am there.
     
    Too bad you miss T Coons which is a very good Lafayette low key resturant that features rabbit on Mondays and a great breakfast.
     
    https://tcoons.com/Home_Page.html
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 16:45:04 (permalink)
    Friday Morning – Old Tyme Grocery
    After a nice welcoming to Lafayette the previous night, I was ready to sample a variety of restaurants.
     
    My first stop was the Old Tyme Grocery, a favorite among college students for affordable po’boys.

     
    It was pretty clear the meats were ordinary deli-packaged, so I placed an order for a shrimp po’boy.  While waiting, I grabbed a bag of Zapp’s Voodoo Gumbo potato chips.  According to Zapp’s this flavor of kettle cooked chips was an accident - apparently a worker knocked over a bunch of spices and shortly afterward realized the mix was pretty tasty.  Zapp’s was able to re-create and the end result is a melody of sweet and spicy spices.  Be sure to try this if you are ever in Louisiana.

     
    When the Po’boy finally arrived, it was served with a hollowed-out roll. The shrimp tasted fresh with a nice fried crunch.  Overall it was an excellent sandwich, but I was on the hunt for a signature dish.

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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 17:11:27 (permalink)
    Friday Morning – The French Press
    The French Press is new upscale restaurant with a trendy vibe.  I couldn’t resist sampling the Acadian breakfast sandwich and praline bacon.
     
    The praline bacon had a nice balance of sweet, salty and savory with chunks of pecans interspersed.
    The sandwich consisted of bacon, egg, cheese and boudin in between two pieces of buttered Texas toast. I knew before taking my first bite, this was going to be the heaviest sandwich I have ever eaten.  The moistness of egg, cheese, bacon and boudin caused the ingredients to seal together into a powerful artery-clogging delight.  The toast wasn’t thick enough to rescue me from cholesterol overload, so I had two put the sandwich down after a couple of bites if I wanted to continue eating for the rest of the day.
     

     
    Overall, an excellent meal, but I would encourage sharing if you plan on having multiple meals before diner.
     
    #7
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 17:16:30 (permalink)
    Stephen, the sandwich looked super and your description was very good but it sounds like you were trying to outdo Adam Richman
     
    Paul E. Smith
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 17:20:08 (permalink)
    Stephen, the photos are gorgeous!  I especially like the one with all the hanging sausages.  And I will be jonesing for that fried shrimp po boy the rest of the night!
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    mar52
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 18:10:18 (permalink)
    Boudin of my dreams!  Swooooon!
    There's nothing un-sexy about your picture.
     
    Pork Boudin is one of my favorite things and I always have some in the freezer.
     
    So.... do you eat the casing?  I love it when it's crispy.
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    leethebard
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 18:53:36 (permalink)
    Great report,Stephen...that French Press restaurant looks fascinating, and love your breakfast...what an interesting sandwich...thanks for the pictures!!!
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 19:58:25 (permalink)
    Friday Morning – Creole Lunch House
    After the hearty breakfast at the French Press, I met up with Bob (BoudinLink.com) for two more of his personal favorites.
     

     
    Creole’s Lunch house is discretely located in a residential area of Lafayette.  When Bob and I exited the car, I still couldn’t find the place since it resembles every other residence in the neighborhood.  After the embarrassment of my disorientation, we headed inside Merline’s cozy eatery.  The white board posted an assortment of rotating plate lunches, and Bob persuaded me to save my appetite for the next place and order the sausage stuffed bread with a side of chicken fricassee sauce.
     
    As you can see from the photo, the inner ring of the bread was moist from the meat and the thin rustic exterior provided a light chew.  Mopping the stuffed bread into the chicken fricassee sauce amplified the carnivorous flavors.
     

     

    post edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. - 2010/10/19 20:00:22
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    stricken_detective
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 20:07:06 (permalink)
    Hot Boudin
    Cold Cous Cous
    Come On, Tigers
    Poosh Poosh Poosh!!!!
     
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 20:16:44 (permalink)
    Friday Afternoon – Villager’s Café
     
    Located just outside of Lafayette in the small town of Maurice, the Villager’s Café is renowned for Poor-Boy’s sandwiches.  The restaurant is a humble structure with an interior that must contain an assortment of items collected at garage sales over the years.
     

     
    The bowl of crispy French fries were portioned as quartered discs, lightly salted and prime for grabbing with two fingers and dipping into ketchup.  They visually resemble home fries, but are much crispier – just the way I like them.
     

     
    The pot roast po’boy is the distinguishing menu item; fully dressed with thinly shredded lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise, the juices from the succulent slow roasted meat were fighting their way to the outer crust of the bread.  This was the signature po’boy I was searching for.  Don’t leave Lafayette without ordering one.
     


     
    We also ordered a shrimp po’boy which was also excellent.

    post edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. - 2010/10/19 20:18:05
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 20:39:22 (permalink)
    So it sounds like boudin is basically Cajun spiced hash and rice stuffed into a casing?  And that stuffed bread must be a meaty cousin of the runza?
     
    Terrific pictures Stephen--a weekend spent evaluating po'boys is never a bad thing.  :)
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 20:45:11 (permalink)
    Friday Afternoon – Judice Inn
     
    It seems that everyone in Lafayette knows about the Judice Inn and the Judice family.  There family has been serving burgers in the small town for over 60 years, so it came as no surprise that everyone was praising this eatery.  My Roadfood radar had a good feeling about the place, since they have been specializing in a single dish for a long time, nearly everyone recommended it, and the place was packed at all hours of the day.
     

     
    Even the best Roadfood radars have malfunctions.  When I opened the wax paper wrapping, I could tell the heavily griddled single-paddy burger was half-hazardly put together because three quarters of the lettuce and onions weren’t on the bun.  I was so excited about this place, and wanted to like it, but after the first bite I realized the thoroughly cooked burger meat coupled with the dry and slightly stale bun was less appetizing than a kitchen sponge.  After managing to swallow, I was in disbelief that it could be so unappetizing.  Did I get a bad batch?  The place was still busy, so I looked around at the other tables.  Everyone else seemed to be enjoying their meal.  I reluctantly took another a bite.  Check mate – It was no different, so I put the burger down, paid the bill and called it quits.

     

    post edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. - 2010/10/19 20:46:48
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/19 21:05:09 (permalink)
    Friday Afternoon – Southside Bakery
    The second most popular burger recommendation was the Southside Bakery.  My Roadfood radar was immediately skeptical about the place because of the experience at the prior restaurant.  After opening the door, I was engulfed with the odors of bakery sweets cooking in the ovens.  It’s odd to order a hamburger at a bakery, and the menu board branded theirs as a “gourmet burger”, which made me even more skeptical.  In the name of research, I went through with the purchase.
     

     
    Several minutes later, a well-done and properly formed patty was served.  The good news – the homemade toasted bun was light, airy and sweet.  I would rank it as one of the top 5 hamburger buns anywhere.  The not-so-good news – the burger was too compact and heavily spiced like meatloaf.  I headed out the door after three bites.
     

     
    Strike two on finding good Roadfood.  I needed to get back on track – fast.
    post edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. - 2010/10/19 21:06:14
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    mar52
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/20 00:13:59 (permalink)
    Maybe Lousiana isn't the place for a burger?
     
    Back to Boudin!
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    Foodbme
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/20 02:04:22 (permalink)
    I've been anxiously awaiting your report! And you are delivering! Can't wait for the next Chapter in "City Slicker Meets Boudin"!
    post edited by Foodbme - 2010/10/20 02:05:34
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    Foodbme
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/20 02:10:36 (permalink)
    What is the definition/translation/pronunciation of the word, "Boucaniere"?
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    Michael Stern
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/20 05:17:50 (permalink)
    Foodbme

    What is the definition/translation/pronunciation of the word, "Boucaniere"?


    It means smokehouse in French: Boo-con-year.
     
    Stephen: What appetizing photos!
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/20 07:09:42 (permalink)
    Stephan, Great report and pictures! I haven't been to Lafayette in many years! I'm so jealous of your trip! Thanks for posting it!
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/20 08:19:47 (permalink)
    Friday Afternoon – Café de Amis
     
    Café de Amis is about 15 miles east of Lafayette in the quaint town of Breaux Bridge.  The restaurant was literally empty at 3 PM when I arrived, so I had ample time to chat with the wait staff and get their recommendations.
     

     
    I started with the turtle soup served alongside tiny portion of sherry which you can mix to your liking.  The meat was hearty and tender.
     

     
    The fried green tomatoes with a crab imperial sauce were going to be my vegetables for the day (I had to Google to see if it is a fruit or vegetable http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato) , and they didn’t disappoint.  The sweet interior of the tomato counterbalanced the crisp cornmeal and flower breading. The crab imperial sauce was mild but necessary to moisten the dish.
     

     
    Lastly, on the recommendation of the waitress, I dug into the Gateau Sirop, a sweet and spicy cake made from cane syrup and topped with roasted pecans and vanilla ice cream.  Similar to gingerbread, the moist cake should be consumed with half a spoon of ice cream in every bite.  After sampling meats, boudin, and seafood for the prior 8 hours, anything with sugar was a welcomed change.  The cake was delicious, and I contemplated ordering a second one but I came to my senses when I remembered that I would be sampling over 40 boudin sausages the next day and should leave some appetite for the weekend.

    #23
    mar52
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/20 11:01:13 (permalink)
    Over 40 boudin?  *thud*
     
     
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    Foodbme
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/20 11:35:10 (permalink)
    Michael Stern

    Foodbme

    What is the definition/translation/pronunciation of the word, "Boucaniere"?


    It means smokehouse in French: Boo-con-year.

    THANX! Boucaniere sounds so much more exotic than Smokehouse.
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    Lafayette
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/21 09:39:27 (permalink)
    I live here in Lafayette and it is unfortunate that the Judice Inn is 1. so bad and 2. has such a following that they have zero desire/incentive to make things better.  There is no reason that they can't turn out a good burger and they have the ambiance and history to stand out as a noteworthy roadfood destination.
     
    I stopped going here after giving them three tries.  On the third and final attempt the four burgers we ordered came out so burned (not just overcooked but "burned") that they were truly inedible.  I was with some friends and didn't want to make a scene, plus I had the impression that the young guys in the kitchen would have been less-than-receptive to the burgers being sent back.  We voted with our feet and left (for good).
     
    There are dozens of awesome roadfood worthy stops in this region.  Thanks for calling the duds for what they are and for giving credit where it is due.
     
    Bob
    post edited by Lafayette - 2010/10/21 09:40:35
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/22 11:12:22 (permalink)
    Lafayette-
    Welcome to Roadfood!  Glad you are here.  No doubt that where you live has an incredible amount of interesting Roadfood places and I hope you stick around to tell us about some of your favorites.
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    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/22 20:37:46 (permalink)
    Saturday Morning – Café de Amis
    Gina and Jody from the Downtown Lafayette organization were kind enough to join me at the famous Café de Amis Saturday morning Zydeco breakfast.  We arrived at the restaurant just before the opening at 7:30 AM and there was already a queue of over a dozen people.  Jody and her connections got us through the door and secured us a prime seat for eating, people watching and dancing.  We all ordered a Bloody Mary to jumpstart the day and watched the restaurant completely fill with people in 15 minutes.  Every table was occupied by a diner, every barstool was occupied by an early morning cocktail, and every space between the tables was occupied by someone ready to dance.  Not too many restaurants have this anticipatory energy at 8 AM!
     
    The three of us were heading over to the Boudin festival in Lafayette after breakfast, so we started with some breakfast boudin. The Oreille de Couchon starter is thin fried dough shaped like pigs’ ears, and stuffed with boudin.  The sweetness of the powdered sugar mixed with boudin provided a delicious sweet and savory combination.  The outer edges of the dough were brittle, while the thicker middle had a tender and crispy combination from the boudin.  Oreille de Couchon should be on every Lafayette visitor’s breakfast list.
     

     

     
    After polishing off the fried dough stuffed with boudin, the Zydeco band started playing and the place really started coming alive.  Both strangers and partners were dancing to the catchy soulful music. Condiments, drinks and our plates were literally bouncing around the table from enthusiastic dancers having fun on the restaurants old wooden floors.  I couldn’t tell you the name of the band, but the lead singer had a voice that reminded me of Van Morison in the 1970’s.  According to my local companions, the place isn’t a tourist trap – they estimated 80% of the people were from the area.  Check out the HD video yourself:
     

     

     
    After burning a few calories dancing, we shared an omelet covered with a smooth and tender crawfish etouffee.  A buttery and flakey biscuit was also served alongside a cup of grits.
     

     
    Finally, we ordered a pancake after seeing one delivered at our neighbors table.  We initially tried the praline sauce, which was thick and nutty, but found it to be lacking the liquidity we normally enjoy with syrup.  Cane syrup was our backup plan, and the sweet cane atop the thin buttery pancake was deemed the winning combination.
     

     
    Parting shot of the band:

    post edited by Stephen Rushmore Jr. - 2010/10/23 10:05:31
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    Ivyhouse
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/22 22:43:54 (permalink)
    Stephen, the omelette looks wonderful -- how was it?  And why is the etouffee two-toned -- were there two different types?
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    Re:Lafayette, LA and the Boudin Festival Weekend 2010/10/22 23:52:11 (permalink)
    What a marvelous report Stephen. Great photos, great description of the food and eating establishments. Can hardly wait to hear about the sausage
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