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A few years ago I was in Bangkok, suffering from some tremendously awful jetlag. After a full, hard day of work in a foreign and unfamiliar kitchen, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep so around 1am I gave up and decided to explore. I caught a cab and told the driver to take me to the Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat) which I read doesn’t really get hopping until 2am or later. If I couldn’t sleep, at least I’d see part of the city as my sight seeing had been pretty limited up to that point.

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I felt the need for some BBQ the other day, but in a new and different way. No burgers or hot dogs, no chicken or ribs. Instead I started thinking about Korean BBQ, one of my favorites. Korean food is fantastic – delicious, fully flavored and a little spicy at times. I headed to my favorite Korean market, steadying my nerves for the inevitable Tetris parking lot situation, white knuckeling my car into an oddly shaped spot. I grabbed a cart and looked around to put together some ideas. Korean BBQ was now definitely on the menu; it was just a question of how I was going to pull it off.

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On a random weekday before the July 4th holiday, a friend and I decided to take a little road trip. She was in the midst of selling her condo and I had just wrapped up a series of stressful meetings. Our nerves were frayed and we needed a change of scenery so we decided to go to a few Michigan beach towns and buy some blueberries. A short drive, less than two hours, and we were enjoying a much-needed change of scenery. The day was absolutely gorgeous; one of those bright sunny, breezy days that plants a smile firmly on your face. We had lunch, went whiskey and beer tasting, roamed a local farmers market, wandered in an out of antique shops and art galleries and hit a favorite produce stand.

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It’s grotesquely hot around here. I know, its mid July, it’s supposed to be hot yet somehow I’m caught by surprise. Mother Nature fools with us, you know? She’ll sneak in a couple absolutely gorgeous days then, BOOM, 90 degrees with 90% humidity. My energy goes down as the temperature goes up, as does my motivation to cook anything. During times like this, I only want to eat two things: watermelon and ice cream. I eat and ungodly amount of watermelon and ice cream during these sweltering weeks.

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Unless it’s crispy and fried, chicken sandwiches bore me to death. Maybe I’ve eaten too many of them in my life but they’re typically tough, bland and incredibly boring. Slapping on a few strips of bacon and avocado does not save a sad sandwich and I’ve simply moved on to more delicious things. But something funny happened the other day as I was flipping through my recipe files. I came across a recipe from a trip I took many years ago for a grilled chicken sandwich I ate poolside at a Four Seasons in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It wasn’t even a Thai recipe but it peaked my curiosity.

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Sitting at a traffic light not long ago, I looked up and saw something I hadn’t thought of in years: Orange Julius. Those frothy whipped orange drinks were a large part of my teenage years due to the enormous amount of time I spent at the local mall. I haven’t seen them in a while. Where have they been? According to a little web research, Orange Julius started in the late 1920s and thanks to an acquisition by Dairy Queen, seems to be making a resurgence of late.

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A few weeks ago a made a slew of ice pops from large amounts of fruit I’d stockpiled in my freezers. They were great: simple to make, easy to grab and really delicious. I gave most of them to a friend whose 13-year-old triplet nephews were about to descend upon her for a summer vacation. She needed them more than I, for distractions and rewards if nothing else. Plus she gave me a pineapple in return. Fair trade. The hit of the lot were the pina colada pops I whipped up on the fly and with a pineapple in hand, I decided to make some more. Sort of.

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