Here in Las Vegas, we have what is ostensibly called a “Chinatown.” While it is a concentration of all things Asian, “China” is just a part of the mix. I will try to avoid standing on my political soapbox about mixing together very different peoples into one analogous concoction just because they happen to share certain characteristics. No Bueno.

But I digress.

Whenever I go shopping in Chinatown, it’s always an adventure.  This time of year, it almost becomes surreal. When you hear a Christmas carol sung in an unidentifiable (to me) Asian language. you just know that it’s going to be an adventure in shopping.

Now that I’m geographically closer to the Asian markets than I used to be by about five miles or so, I will probably get there more often. I love the foods that I find there and I’m always good for an adventure, even if I’ve never heard of the stuff.

I like going several times a year, but with all the drama involved in buying the new house, I hadn’t been there in quite a while. This time of year I can often find the unusual, such as the Bat Nuts from a previous visit several years ago. Believe me, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

I’ve had a great time snacking on the items that I purchased. Whether it’s the Vietnamese spinach, beef tendons (added to the bone broth), the Szechuan (Sichuan) peppers, a gazillion persimmons, duck tongues (a post all its own), Vietnamese fish sauce, or black vinegar, just to name a few, I find that trying other cultures’ food is invigorating. And confusing. On the way home I stopped at Cardeñas for cranberry beans, Mexican onions, tomatoes, and avocados. I have a knack, apparently, for mixing cultural elements in food and making them delicious. I love that about me.

So what about wine? After making my bone broth (oxtails, rib ends, tendon, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, seasonings), I found that it paired perfectly with Pinot Noir. Of course, that included rice, a salad, and a small steak. My cranberry bean soup is terrific with a crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc. My recipe is soaked cranberry beans, sautéd onion, garlic, peppers, carrots, smoked turkey (I use tails because that’s weird), and seasonings to taste. Crockpot for a few hours and it’s ready to eat with rice, salad, and cornbread. It’s a simple, rustic, peasant dish that is very satisfying during these cold days.

Believe me, no matter what it is, I can find a way to pair a wine with it!

Anyway, enjoy the photos. I wish there were more, but I was really having a great time shopping and kept forgetting to snap. The only bad thing was that I forgot to go back for a bag of chestnuts. It’s that time of year. The whole open fire and stuff.

 

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