Tag Archives: fish

The Folsom Farmers Market

If you’ve been following long enough, you’ll know it’s very likely to find me in a local market sampling any and every thing that’s offered. I love food.

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This round of staying in California placed me living a short distance from the local farmers market. For the first time I was a tourist in my home town as I chatted small talk with the venders every Saturday morning. Walk with me (or kidnap some friends and jog with me)!

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I apologize to the non vegetarians out there as I didn’t get close ups of any animal products. Take my word, there were definitely quality hunks of meat out there and I’m not talking about the guys who came to the market still dressed in their gym clothes.

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This stand sells goodies from under the sea. Fresh fish, smoked items and unique treats such as salmon bacon and fish jerky were a just a few of the options.

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All the way from The Netherlands (one of my favorite European countries) is Marga. With vegan treats and energy boosting snacks, she greeted me with a familiar accent. I replied with the only sentence I know in her language, “Klink ik nederlands?”, which translates “Do I sound Dutch?”. She responded with a giggle and said, “Not really. WellI I guess a little bit since I understood you!”.
Her website offers nutrient packed snacks and details of how it all started. Check her out at www.commonkettle.com

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A special thanks to Teresa. As if her tasty jam wasn’t enjoyable enough, the supportive conversation was something I looked forward to each week. Ps, apricot is amazing if you ever get the chance to order from her!

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Nita, side by side with her daughter, was always eager to divi out the samples (I’m sure because they were confident that you couldn’t resist another bite). From gooey caramel enhanced rice Krispy treats to peanut butter brownies, self discipline was a must when passing by this stand!

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Peel’d has a brilliant idea that is beng loved around the Sacramento area. Each day they juice a fresh new batch of smoothies and bring the amazing flavors out to the market. I know most of you savvy little health nuts out there have a juicer or Vitamix, but this little backpacker doesn’t have room to lug those appliances around. Instead, I choose over worn clothes, trail mix, and a half empty first aid kit.
With that said, this trip I’ve been spoiled with a fresh juice every Weekend. Glorious! If you’re jealous and would love these juicy deliveries to your doorstep, check out their website at www.getpeeld.com.
To Tim and my peel’d friends, your greetings every week spoke in volumes and have still left an imprint on my Saturday morning experiences, much gratitude to the dozens of samples (that you knew I had already tried) and the gifted bottles that I enjoyed to the last drop!

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I didn’t get to know this lovely lady as well as the others, but Nicole’s creativity and passion towards organic dog food stood out to me. Add animals to the list of things that I don’t backpack with, but if you have a healthy pup at home, feel free to look her up at www.inthedoghousetreats.com

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If I could remember the exact words these folks spoke to me I’d share them with the world to brighten the day. Their supportive compliments fueled my traveling fire and the mini bag of granola traveled with me well! Thanks again!

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Usually my market posts are crammed with fruit and veggies, but this round the vibrant people and homemade goodies took over. I don’t want to leave out the vendors that kept my counter piled high with rainbow colored edibles from the earth. Thank you for the abundance of plants grown in your backyard!

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“Food is meant for sharing, and every human deserves to eat”.

It was a year ago, the night before flying out of Malaysia and I found myself in a position of hunger as I had consumed all of my “emergency food stash” knowing my trip was coming to an end and I didn’t want to purchase more than I could eat. With no cash due to a broken ATM and no cards accepted anywhere, I walked the night market with faith that a few “samples” could hold me over.
With a rumbling tummy and a light head, I smiled my way through, stopping occasionally to drool over some tasty looking items… now that I write about it, kind of sounds like self torture! Anyway, I paused in front of a vendor to observe the options of beans, greens and soy when a gentle presence made his way to my left. With aged eyes and a frail looking body, he spoke in broken English and said, (to the best of my memory) “You should have some, it’s very good for you”. I politely declined with “Oh, I’m just looking but I’ll keep it mind, thank you”.

With the slightest head nod, he ordered two different options and turned directly to me and (very clearly in my memory) said these words:
“Food is meant for sharing and every human deserves to eat.”

He handed me a spoon and with a happy lump in my throat and a tear on my cheek, we stood there in silence sharing dinner. He smiled as he handed me the remaining and said, “Please finish… god bless”. He walked away into the crowd and left me standing there with gratitude and a new appreciation for food and mankind. After that day, my previous eagerness to share, give and enjoy with others has continuously expanded to a beautiful place in my life. Thank you peaceful stranger at the night market in Malaysia.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to share the story above, but either way it’s done and now lets move on to the scrumptious world of edibles in Cambodia!

Hello, my name is Erika… and I love food.

Typically when I’m on the road, I search for the local ripe choices that Ive never seen before or the ones that are a rare find in the states. Take Jackfruit for example, this massive fruit is one of the largest tree borne and can weigh up to 60lbs! Like most, it’s packed with fiber and nutrients but Jackfruit is one of the rare ones that also holds B complex group of vitamins. (Ill stop myself there as I can get lost in the nutrition world of edible items).

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Although I’ve found it to be common in most third world countries, I still haven’t gathered total peace in purchasing from the vendors that have their raw chicken hanging above fresh fruit, or the stomach of random animals sharing the table with leafy greens. Clearly it doesn’t affect the locals, and ironically, thats what usually comes out together in a meal, but there’s something programmed in me that keeps my feet moving until I find the stand without blood next to the vegetables.

Meat and fish lovers may enjoy the following photos… Vegetarians, hold your breath and scroll quickly.

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In the photos below you might be able to see the blur of the fish as they flip around. I suppose that’s the freshest you can get next to fishing for it yourself.

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This puts a new meaning to a “fish stick”.

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If you get hungry while shopping around, there’s always several options to choose from. The most common are a variety of spiced soups, noodles and sautéed mixtures.

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My favorite Cambodian dish (so far) is the bean and taro tapioca bowl with warm coconut milk over the top, it reminds me of the rice with milk my grandma use to make. For dessert, I’ve fallen in food love with the pumpkin (the real vegetable, not the canned stuff) that has an egg custard filling topped with sweetened coconut milk and crushed ice. A homemade sweet pumpkin custard snow cone? Yes please! The most you’ll pay for either of these delights is .50 cents.
It’s also handy that you can sit down and enjoy or have it for take away in either a sealed container, plastic baggie, or to-go cup.

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Then there is the small quicker options like hard boiled eggs, dried fish and pre-cut fruit. If you’re still in a snacky mood on your way out, theres never a shortage of random carts that are always politely pushing there way through with finger food items.

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Along the way I spotted out this cart-o-curiosity that had been eyeballing me since I got there. What was in those silly roasted banana leaves!? Oh, a banana… Go figure. The stringy rice noodle texture surrounding the banana has me stumped, but either way, I usually prefer my bananas off the tree, straight to my hand.

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Walking through these aisles of goodness, I find myself nibbling on random snacks and/or never putting my poor camera down. I’m not going to post the other few hundred pictures from the day, but here are just a few more!

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So there you have the food portion of the incredible markets that are found in southern Cambodia. There will have to be a completely separate post describing the nonedible options that entertain the market seekers as well. Nail and hair salons, books and bags, construction tools to buttons and entire strips of what I would consider, a designers toy store. Look for the night market post coming soon!

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“Do you have a menu with pictures please?”

We’ve explored the beautiful world of international markets, so lets now venture into the restaurant scene. As a backpacker, I’m conscious of when and where I splurge, especially when it comes to food, drink and entertainment. With that said, when friends meet up abroad or a group of other travelers are heading out for dinner, sometimes I’ll spoil myself and join them!

Unfortunately I’m not going to post about every country, but here are some memorable meals and unique bites from around the world.

I’m going to start off with a very colorful, protein packed salad in a cafe near Nice, France. Since the extent of my French is “Parlez-vous anglais?” (Do you speak english?) and “merci” (thank you), this was ordered by pointing at a tiny picture and a huge smile.

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This accidental order in Paris came from my eagerness to try “carpaccio”, a plate of thinly sliced raw meat or fish. My innocent mistake was trusting the waiter and agreeing to a similar dish called “Tartare”. This however, is a meat dish made from finely minced raw beef or horse served with onions, caper, seasonings and sometimes a raw egg. Not the same my friends, not…the…same!

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In Spain, I usually find myself nibbling around town due to the ever so popular tapas or pinxtos. Clarification, “tapas” isn’t necessarily a particular type of food, rather a small portion of anything ranging with paella, croquettes, fish and peppers on toast, and so on. Pintxos’ are bites you pick up off the bar and bring back to your table to enjoy. Then, depending on how many sticks you have on your plate tells them how much to charge for at the end. Here are some of my favorite scrumptious snacks in Spain.

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The course pictured below describes my opinion of the country it came from, Switzerland – clean, tasteful and proper.

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Moving on to the hearty land of Germany, specifically the state of Bavaria. Even though I struggle to find lean and light meals there, I can still enjoy a plate of solid comfort food. My favorite is the warm red (or blue or purple depending on which German you ask) cabbage side dish. My not so favorites seen below are the flour and potato dumplings and pretty much anything that may have the word “wurst” in it.

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Before I move on from Germany, I’d like to dedicate a short description and a few photos to the wonderful world of Oktoberfest! Continue reading if you’re up for a story or skip to the pictures to see a few options you may get during the traditional festivities.

The day I learned that the Bavarian language differs from the rest of Germany, goes as follows. My dear friend Carina, you all should know her by now, was attempting to help me order soup. She said she’d do her best since she doesn’t fully understand Bavarian. I asked for anything with vegetables “something that grows or is green” was my request and considering we had been at the festival since sunrise with nothing but a liter of beer, I was excited to consume anything! That was until… until we realized I had ordered liver dumpling soup.

Before…

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During…

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After…

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Other appetizing dishes to coat the stomach while celebrating the largest people’s fair in the world!

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Since I’m usually visiting my friends in Holland, I rarely explore and sit down at a legit Dutch restaurant. I have however, enjoyed the best falafel wrap while in The Netherlands!

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Hungry in Hungary? (Curtesy laugh goes here) Expect meat, potatoes, salad and bread. Not to shabby!

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Sword fish, greens, garlic butter and bread was the choice in Crete, Greece. Naturally complimented by the traditional Greek dessert of Baklava, Ouzo and fruit!

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Heading southeast to Malaysia, I’m going to show you two different ways they can serve up the same meal. First we have the over portioned, grease covered greens aside fried fish.

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After being served the plate above, I mentioned my disappointment to a new local friend who then invited me to a different location to show me how it’s “supposed” to be done.

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My favorite meal in Malyasia wasn’t due to the taste, but the story that comes with it. If your remember the post of volunteering in Malaysia, then you’ll understand that this surprise dish was given and received with much gratitude. Thank you Marcel!

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Jumping over major seas, I’m now bringing you to Central and South America. With several countries, many amazing dishes and unique treats, I’m going to narrow it down to just a few.

First up, Pupusas! These light corn or rice tortilla type patties are stuffed with your filling of choice, then topped with a spicy coleslaw! We were introduced to this savory snack while being treated by a few locals in El Salvador!

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Costa Rica was easy. Just show me to the greens with a bit of fish and whatever drink comes blended, fresh and colorful. Pura vida!

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Jumping down to Ecuador presents some of the tastiest soups and flavorful ceviche I’ve ever experienced! The rich spices, fresh fish and crunchy toppings make for an amazing treat for your taste buds.

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Peru allowed me to feel joy when items like quinoa and sweet potato overruled the usual carbohydrates of pasta, corn and wheat. I love the ingredients of this country so much that I actually took a Peruvian cooking class!

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I’m going to bring Argentina into the mix due to the impressive meal we were served last year in Buenos Aires. I’m generally not a huge meat eater, so for this steak to hit my tops picks says a lot for the quality at hand. Take a look at those veggies too!

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In the waters northeast of South America sits one of my favorite islands called Barbados. Bajan cuisine includes a vibrant blend of foods with African, Indian and British influences. Not to forget one of my favorites, the amazing Roti from Trinidad!

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Australia and New Zealand (I apologize for bulking you two together, but only for the sake of this post), brought many home cooked meals. Mostly fresh from the farms I was volunteering on or hand picked from the gardens that I helped harvest. No complaints here with the abundance of fresh vegetables and local organic meat!

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Last but not least is the large island of noodles, fish, rice and other objects I don’t really know about (simply because my Japanese is as good as my French). Considering I’m wiring this post from Japan, there’s definitely more to come soon! For now, take a look at these mouth watering dishes!

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Ill leave you with an advertisement that isn’t tempting, but certainly entertaining as it’s a bit different than the usual Big Mac add.

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Puerto de La Libertad

When you go to the average restaurant and see “catch of the day” or “fresh fish plate” on the menu, I feel it might be better titled as “the most recently de-thawed” or “the plate of whatever we stocked too much of”. Not here in La Libertad! You actually get to walk the pier as the fisherman are bringing back the load of the morning. You have the choice to buy your protein right there and carry it to a vender or have a seat in one of the cafe’s that line the water and order from their grill.

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Here’s what you’ll find as you walk to the end of the dock and back.

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I’m sure some of you may have lost your appetite after that fresh walk and for the rest of you, you’re ready for some delicious ceviche! Although I’m all about diggin in the local way, I wasn’t confident picking out a slab from the dock to cook ourselves, so we treat our hunger to one of the open air restaurants along the water.

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I went with the white fish ceviche and mom had shrimp in a pink sauce (that came out of a mason jar with no label, got to love it!) A local sat down next to us and suggested the papas fritas with a cervesa and tequilla to compliment it all. No arm twist neccesary as we toast to our “catch of the day”. All of this for $11, score!

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With full belly’s and happy hearts we board the bus heading back to the city. A roundtrip ticket from San Salvador to the coast of La Libertdad is a whopping $1.20.

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How do you pass the time on another bus ride besides gazing out the window and snapping random photos? With some giggles and a game! I held the camera up and we took turns saying an animal or person. With no reaction time allowed, I snapped each photo of our first response. Here are a few of our favorites.

Fish!

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Rabbit!

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Horse!

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Elvis Presley! (Done poorly)

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Jim Carrey!

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Wrapping up our game and realizing we were providing the free entertainment for the other passengers, we’re back to the hostel. Traveled, fed, happy and tired… all for $13.40 total. Perfect!

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Snacks, Japan style!

This post is the first of few as I look back on my stay in Japan. I feel my time there was way too short and has left me searching the calendar for a return date.

Could it have been the fresh food and unlimited amount of tea options? Maybe it was all of the kind people with their gentle demeanor. Possibly a balance of all of the above in combination with the perfect host.
Meet my exceptional cousin Brandon. A man with a huge heart, a positive attitude, and a sense of humor that left me tearing up as the locals stared in confusion at our ability to laugh without breathing for minutes at a time.
He’s here starting his 6th year in the Navy as a Seabee construction electrician, which is just one example of his strong drive and self discipline.

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Our grandmothers are sisters and have lived nearby one another for most of their lives. This means, that although Brandon and I weren’t raised side by side, we’d randomly connect over summer breaks and family holidays. Unfortunately I don’t have any embarrassing childhood photos of us on hand, but here we are now!

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First category, edibles! We had way too much fun snooping around the local shops checking out what was lining the shelves. From confusing items (that to this day we still can’t figure out) to food that found us curious enough to purchase and try at home.

From the hundreds of food photos I snapped, here are a few from each section.
This first one took me for surprise since I assumed everything in Japan was tiny. Check out the size of this apple next to a lemon!

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Pickled everything! This is flavored garlic with some type of herb. We both love garlic so we chose the pink one (you can see it in the background) to take home and try. I wish I could of captured the look on our faces with the first bite. Not only did it taste far from the distinct flavor of garlic, but we were left questioning if this was indeed even what we thought it was! Him and I spent the first half of my trip trying it everyday with high hopes that some new flavor would jump out all of a sudden. “No, I really don’t think this is garlic”, was the common response.

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Care for a baked sweet potato? Here, we’ll just keep it warmed up over hot stones at your local grocery store… Love it!

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Fish anyone?

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As far as convenience is concerned, they’ve got snack size options dialed in. From fish jerky to pretzels, nuts, single packaged hard boiled eggs, a slice of raw salmon paired with cucumber, rice wrapped tuna and flavored seaweed kelp packs.

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I may have went a little over board when I saw all of these individually wrapped snacks at a specialty store. Each time I visit home from abroad I bring my siblings a variety of treats from around the world that (especially being from a small town in Oklahoma) they’ve never seen and generally wouldn’t try.

Side note: This is a surprise, so if you know my family, shhh….

I wish I could tell you what all of these are, maybe after we try them I can give you my best guess. I know a few are fish based and some are sea greens. We found a tiny jar of marshmallow cream with a wooden spoon and several different chocolate treats.

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I have no idea what these are. The circular item on the left has the texture of tofu or pressed cat food with no picture on the wrapper indicating what it might be. The other is a tube of liquid with what appears to be soggy meat, fish, tofu or dog food. Hmmm, we’ll see!

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The first is an extremely popular item here that comes in a range of flavors. This is the original chocolate. The second photo is green tea and green tea with cherry blossom Kit Kat’s. Both along side a box of dark chocolate swirled with green tea flavored white chocolate.

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If there is one thing I must add to the list of all countries have in common, its sweets! I suppose we should face the simple fact that most humans love sugar. At the stores in Japan, you can find a huge variety of desserts ready to be taken home and consumed with a small side of guilt… hold the regrets.

This is a sample of the red bean ice cream, delicious! So was the green tea, cherry plum and my favorite… sweet potato!

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The white and green items are rice balls filled with a sweetened red bean paste and next to them is the brown bean paste coating the outside of a rice ball.

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Oh no he didn’t… yes he did! This is a hotdog, sandwich styled, banana stuffed Twinkie!

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A soft chocolate bread, slightly crispy on the top filled with some fudge like frosting.

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The item at the bottom of the plate is a real baked sweet potato, coated in sugar dust. The other is the same rice balls from above except this time covered in sesame seeds.

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After all of the store adventures, we’d often find dinner being an assortment of “Ooh, that looks weird” next to “Yum, let’s share that!”. Here is a sample spread… Can you spot the pink garlic that didn’t taste anything close to what it looks like? Its near the black stuff that pleasantly tasted like the ocean. Not to be compared with the sweet teriyaki flavored omelette or fresh salmon slices on Daikon radish. How about out the banana dog-o-twinkie?

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This wraps up the grocery food to go. Next post… Restaurants!