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Chez Dumonet, Restaurant Josephine - Paris

Chez Dumonet, Restaurant Josephine - Paris
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  • Chez Dumonet, Restaurant Josephine - Paris

    Post #1 - November 9th, 2010, 9:42 pm
    Post #1 - November 9th, 2010, 9:42 pm Post #1 - November 9th, 2010, 9:42 pm
    One of the best 'traditional' meals we had during our recent Paris trip was at Chez Dumonet, Restaurant Josephine. It's a store front bistro that turned out amazing renditions of classic bistro dishes. It's run by chef Jean-Christian Dumonent, who, in addition to being a seriously skilled chef, is also a really cool cat. He worked the dining room tirelessly during our meal and I do not mean that he schmoozed. He took it upon himself to essentially expedite the dining room so that all the diners had everything they wanted and servers were doing their jobs without issue. When we chose a wine, he suggested bringing another one that he felt would pair better with what we'd ordered. He also had a great sense of humor and because of the way he comported himself, there was no mistaking the fact that this was his 'maison.' Pictures are captioned in my terrible French to English translation but menus are posted here for those who want to see them as we saw them in the restaurant . . .

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    117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris, France


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    Menu


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    Dessert Menu


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    Amuse
    Not sure exactly what this tasty little cup held but but I'm pretty sure it was some sort of squash or pumpkin soup garnished with some aged balsamic vinegar.


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    Smoked Salmon
    Cold-smoked by chef Dumonet himself. It was gloriously fatty and unctuous, and it made me totally embarrassed by the stuff I make.


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    Terrine de Campagne Maison
    A great rendition with beautiful flavors and definition.


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    Stuffed Morels
    This appetizer portion was sizeable and totally awesome. They were stuffed with forcemeat, naturally! :)


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    Stuffed Morels, up close
    Morel porn, plain and simple.


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    Cassoulet
    I had cassoulet a number of times on this trip and this was, by a wide margin, the best one . . . and the best version I can ever remember having. The beans were tender but not mushy at all, the meats were flavorful and the resuting pot liquor was garlicky and rich. Even the crunchy cracklins came through with perfection.


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    Cassoulet, plated
    I shot this before I managed to scoop some of the duck confit out of the pot. Love that big hunk of bacon in there!


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    Duck Confit
    Textbook, awesome. This was ordered by my son, who absolutely loved it. It really was perfect with the soft, fatty meat and crackly-crispy skin.


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    Grilled Andouillette
    Wow! I'd never had this before but I knew to expect that it would be funky and was it ever. It was almost barnyard-like. I was so incredibly full but I still couldn't stop nibbling it.


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    Millefeuille Jean-Louis
    This was another sensational dish, that we couldn't stop eating in spite of ourselves. I don't know what part was best...the pastry, the cream or the chocolate. The portion size was enormous. I think we ate about half of it.


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    Apple Tart
    A delectable work of art. Not very sweet at all, which made it all the more compelling. This was a seriously masterful dish.


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    Grand Marnier Souffle
    So tall and light. The flavor was subtle and the light crunch from the shell and the crystal sugar with which it was dusted was a fantastic sensation.



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    Me and Chef
    I really just wanted a picture of chef but being the super nice guy that he is, he insisted that we take one together. It's cool that I have it and I'm really glad he suggested it.

    I loved everything about Chez Dumonet because by eating there, I was educated in exactly how these classic dishes are supposed to be executed. In a large sense, I finally "got it." It's going to be very hard to order most of these dishes at home now because most local versions don't come close to measuring up. The only negative about the meal was that it came only about 3 hours after our epic lunch at Alain Ducasse and we were really full. At one point, I think chef Dumonet was a bit concerned that we didn't like our food until we apologized to him and explained to him about our huge lunch at Ducasse. At that point, his eyes lit up, he smiled and practically embraced us. Not only did he no longer seem concerned about our apparent lack of appetite, he actually seemed bemused that we would even attempt such a combination. But honestly, we left food on those plates at Dumonet that I really wish I had in front of me right now. I cannot believe how little of that cassoulet -- the best one I'd ever had -- I actually managed to put away. No matter how great a trip is, there are always some regrets. I don't pine for the museums or cathedrals I didn't visit in Paris. I'm not really sorry that I missed going down into the catacombs or up in the Eiffel Tower but the food I couldn't finish and the restaurants, boulangeries, patisseries and boucheries I never visited . . . those still sting and probably will for some time.

    At the end of the evening, chef actually apologized to us for his food not being as good as Ducasse's. I assured him that as much as we loved Ducasse, his was food that we'd love to eat everyday. Any future trips I make to Paris will unquestionably include another meal cooked by chef Jean-Chrisitan Dumonet . . . if I have anything to say about it.

    =R=

    Chez Dumonet, Restaurant Josephine
    117 Rue du Cherche-Midi
    75006 Paris, France
    01 45 48 52 40
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - November 10th, 2010, 7:49 am
    Post #2 - November 10th, 2010, 7:49 am Post #2 - November 10th, 2010, 7:49 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I loved everything about Chez Dumonet because by eating there, I was educated in exactly how these classic dishes are supposed to be executed. In a large sense, I finally "got it." It's going to be very hard to order most of these dishes at home now because most local versions don't come close to measuring up. The only negative about the meal was that it came only about 3 hours after our epic lunch at Alain Ducasse and we were really full. At one point, I think chef Dumonet was a bit concerned that we didn't like our food until we apologized to him and explained to him about our huge lunch at Ducasse. At that point, his eyes lit up, he smiled and practically embraced us. Not only did he no longer seem concerned about our apparent lack of appetite, he actually seemed bemused that we would even attempt such a combination. But honestly, we left food on those plates at Dumonet that I really wish I had in front of me right now. I cannot believe how little of that cassoulet -- the best one I'd ever had -- I actually managed to put away. No matter how great a trip is, there are always some regrets. I don't pine for the museums or cathedrals I didn't visit in Paris. I'm not really sorry that I missed going down into the catacombs or up in the Eiffel Tower but the food I couldn't finish and the restaurants, boulangeries, patisseries and boucheries I never visited . . . those still sting and probably will for some time.

    At the end of the evening, chef actually apologized to us for his food not being as good as Ducasse's. I assured him that as much as we loved Ducasse, his was food that we'd love to eat everyday. Any future trips I make to Paris will unquestionably include another meal cooked by chef Jean-Chrisitan Dumonet . . . if I have anything to say about it.

    =R=


    Like pretty much everyone around here, I'm ready to hop on the bus to Paris. It's really interesting, I think, this idea of "getting it." I know what you mean is that everything just tasted so much better, was made with more skill and exquisite attention to detail, but what it also seems to me, based especially on your reports, is a couple of things that mostly come up lacking when we eat and eat out around here.

    Mostly, it is a sense, a sense that comes in so strong from your comments and that picture with the Chef, is of a situation of embracement, of wanting to meet your needs. I mean I don't want to be gross or insulting or overly antagonistic, but take for instance the constant local chef complaints about food forums, bloggers, etc. There just seems a lot more "us vs. them" here whereas my impressions (and it's been over 20 years since I was last in France) that it's a lot more us and us there.

    Look at the portions. The stereotypes are that French food is all fussy and finicky and dainty, but the reality is quite the opposite. It's not just the hearty-ness of a cassoulet or a basket of sausages, knife on the side. It's the over-the-top generosity of service. Why serve a slice of terrine when you can offer the whole terrine? Do we see that here? I have no good answers or comments, but look at the price points of this meal and that other bistro meal, the one with the sausage basket, can anyone imagine the same amount of food, this type/quality of food, at the same price points around here?

    And what also kills me is how total and complete all those dishes seem. Ronnie's comments are all about the duck confit, but those potatoes, I assume cooked in duck fat, my god! The way everything is packaged and put together just reinforces to me what it is. Just this general sense that we should most fully enjoy and appreciate each plate put before us.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #3 - November 10th, 2010, 9:20 am
    Post #3 - November 10th, 2010, 9:20 am Post #3 - November 10th, 2010, 9:20 am
    There is no substitute for going to the source. You don't learn this from a class, book or movie. How can you make the definitive cassoulet if you've never had one to judge it by? Tasted white beans cooked perfectly with rich garlicy pot liquor studded with bacon. Or even the revelation simple bread and butter can be?

    In a word, travel (with Ronnie if you're lucky enough) and see how it's done on it's own turf. At least for a point of reference before we attempt to replicate, stack, deconstruct or foam it.

    I've learned more from my travels than I ever did in school. Bravo Ronnie for your meticulous documentation for our hungry souls, exposing Lucas to another world and your spirit in general.

    Well done buddy. Magnifique.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #4 - November 10th, 2010, 7:21 pm
    Post #4 - November 10th, 2010, 7:21 pm Post #4 - November 10th, 2010, 7:21 pm
    More incredible pictures. Also salient points by VI. I found the Parisians to be incredibly gracious and patient with us. That being said I was once at a classy little bistro and some locals were unhappy being seated in the side room, they complained, and the proprietress took their plates away and told them to get out! Lesson: do not complain about your seats in Paris.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #5 - November 10th, 2010, 8:40 pm
    Post #5 - November 10th, 2010, 8:40 pm Post #5 - November 10th, 2010, 8:40 pm
    teatpuller wrote:More incredible pictures. Also salient points by VI. I found the Parisians to be incredibly gracious and patient with us. That being said I was once at a classy little bistro and some locals were unhappy being seated in the side room, they complained, and the proprietress took their plates away and told them to get out! Lesson: do not complain about your seats in Paris.

    We too, were treated kindly at every turn. My wife spoke just enough French to get us through situations where not knowing some French might have created minor awkardness. But even when I ventured out on my own, speaking essentially no French, the locals with whom I interacted were always helpful, friendly and polite. Some knew more English than others but we always found a way to communicate.

    Before our trip, on the recommendation of a friend, we printed out Patricia Wells' French to English Food Glossary, which I kept in my camera bag. I also stored a .pdf copy on my phone. Each time we sat down to eat, we'd take it out and decipher the menus we'd been given. Invariably, we'd be asked if we wanted English menus but we never took them because we really enjoyed taking our time, figuring out together what all the ingredients and preparations were. It became a very fun part of our trip. Sure, there were some idioms we never quite figured out and we had to ask a few questions but the glossary was very useful.

    I think it probably had a positive effect on the way we were treated, too but that's only a guess. At Dumonet, for example, our server noticed that the glossary had Patricia Well's name printed largely on the first page. He immediately asked if he could show it to chef because chef and Patricia Wells are friends. Chef seemed bemused or fascinated by it, as if he'd never seen it before. But he also seemed pleased that we'd gone to the trouble to print it out and try to translate the menu for ourselves. Throughout the trip, the glossary elicited very positive reactions from everyone who reacted openly to it.

    In an overall sense on this trip, we found that our attempts at politeness were always met with the same, regardless of whether we spoke (good) French or not.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #6 - November 23rd, 2010, 10:47 pm
    Post #6 - November 23rd, 2010, 10:47 pm Post #6 - November 23rd, 2010, 10:47 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Before our trip, on the recommendation of a friend, we printed out Patricia Wells' French to English Food Glossary, which I kept in my camera bag. I also stored a .pdf copy on my phone.


    This is brilliant, thanks. My wife has loaded it on her Kindle, and it is going to save us a ton of grief this week. She is nearly fluent in French, but never learned haute cuisine, nor is she interested in most game or offal, so those words don't tend to stick in her memory.
  • Post #7 - December 2nd, 2010, 8:36 pm
    Post #7 - December 2nd, 2010, 8:36 pm Post #7 - December 2nd, 2010, 8:36 pm
    This place is fantastic...had dinner there on Monday night, and despite my horrible error in ordering the andouillette*, we had a terrific meal.

    The chef greeted us at the door and sent over a complementary aperitif, very thoughtful. Our amuse was cauliflower soup with the same balsamic drizzle pictured above. Extraordinary, the very essence of cauliflower, magnified. Had the terrine, salmon and shrimp starters. All were exceptional representations of their class, but the salmon may have been the best I've ever had. The less said about the andouillette** the better, but my wife's beef bourguignon was a perfect rendition. The cheese plate was an overwhelming portion, but she finished that, too...I'll have to let that speak for itself, as I couldn't manage a single bite after putting away the humongous soufflé. Midway through dessert, the chef noticed I'd finished the small glass of Grand Marnier that was served along side the soufflé and fetched the bottle from the bar to refill it. Needless to say, service was immaculate.

    *Funky sausage? That sounds right up my alley...
    **I consider myself an extremely adventurous eater, but that thing has no redeeming quality in my book. It smells like the after effects of a baby getting into a block of Roquefort and cutting into it produces something akin to Han Solo slicing into a tonton. The taste...well, it was better than the smell or appearance, but that isn't saying much. I can't think of another dish I've had from the menu of a respectable restaurant that I would never order again...but andouillette is now atop that list. The chef thankfully offered mustard when the mains hit the table, and after catching a whiff of the thing, I nearly begged him for it. I managed a few bites while waiting for the mustard to arrive and was able to choke down about 2/3 of the portion once sufficiently smothered, but demurred finishing it with the excuse that I had the soufflé coming.
  • Post #8 - December 3rd, 2010, 10:02 am
    Post #8 - December 3rd, 2010, 10:02 am Post #8 - December 3rd, 2010, 10:02 am
    Ah, but now you too can ask people if they've tried the andouillette! :D
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #9 - December 4th, 2010, 12:54 pm
    Post #9 - December 4th, 2010, 12:54 pm Post #9 - December 4th, 2010, 12:54 pm
    kl1191 wrote:I consider myself an extremely adventurous eater, but that thing has no redeeming quality in my book. It smells like the after effects of a baby getting into a block of Roquefort and cutting into it produces something akin to Han Solo slicing into a tonton. The taste...well, it was better than the smell or appearance, but that isn't saying much.


    I had to look up exactly what andouillette was. According to Wikipedia, "As with all tripe sausages, andouillettes are an acquired taste. Their strong smell can be reminiscent of feces and may offend people unaccustomed to the dish."

    :shock:
  • Post #10 - September 17th, 2012, 6:51 pm
    Post #10 - September 17th, 2012, 6:51 pm Post #10 - September 17th, 2012, 6:51 pm
    Left the good camera at home for this one. Excellent meal. Our server barely spoke English and we spoke almost zero French, yet we had several great laughs together. Will definitely be on the agenda for our next trip to Paris. Would really like to dive deeper into this menu.

    Butter Poached Artichokes

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    Perfect. Practically melted in your mouth.

    Foie Gras

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    Best foie gras I've ever had. I tend to think of foie really needing something else to balance its richness, usually something sweet. I absolutely loved this just smeared on bread and ate the entire portion myself.

    Beef Bourguignon

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    Incredibly rich. The depth of flavor was outanding.

    Chateaubriand

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    Really great, perfectly prepared tenderloin, but also something you can get at a lot of places in Chicago. Wish I would have gotten the Duck Confit. My wife wanted to try whatever I got, and doesn't eat duck so convinced me otherwise. Oh well, next time.

    Grand Marnier Souffle

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    Paris's culinary scene is so vast, I would typically try not to make repeat visits, but as I stated above, if we're lucky enough to return to the City of Lights, I will definitely head right back to Chez Dumonet.
  • Post #11 - October 25th, 2015, 9:15 am
    Post #11 - October 25th, 2015, 9:15 am Post #11 - October 25th, 2015, 9:15 am
    Food: a good solid A, if not an A+. Everything we had, we enjoyed, though inevitably some things more than others. Disappointingly, however, service/ambiance rates more like a B. There were four servers for the entire house: two older gentlemen (40s, I would guess) and two younger men (very early 20s). The older ones seemed to take the orders and the youngers ones to remove plates, deliver silver, and bring the courses. Though the restaurant isn’t especially large, it’s big enough and, despite the fact that it was a Tuesday, the place was absolutely slammed—not even counting the regular entry of people coming in without a reservation, hoping for a place. So we counted ourselves fortunate to be served our courses in a (mostly) timely manner. Chef was never once in the dining room, leading us to suspect that he may not have been in the house that night. And so our experience was mixed: though the food was everything Ronnie reported it to be five years ago (the menu has changed remarkably little in five years; there’s a fascinating copy of the menu from 1982 on the net and, with a number of deletions from that larger menu, things haven’t changed much in over thirty years!), the service was nothing like what he experienced. The place was just slammed and there simply was little time for interaction, even had anyone been so inclined.

    The gentleman who took our order was, apparently, not English speaking and, though I can manage in French, I’m far from fluent. Since the menu had not changed much since what Ronnie posted, it didn’t take me long to explain the changes to the Lovely Dining Companion. We had some questions about some of the offerings and, eventually, managed to get answers enough to help us choose. Our “order-taker” was neither friendly nor particularly helpful and indulged my French was a slight exasperation. As but one example, LDC doesn’t drink alcohol—a fact which I explained (in French) as a reason for my wanting to order less than a full bottle. Whether glass or carafe matter not to me, but I was having trouble with the wine list since there seemed to be few choices in reds that were anything but a full bottle. I asked for his guidance or help and he a little abruptly told me that he would give me a glass of house Bordeaux. He offered nothing by way of information about it or even whether I might have another option. Over the course of the evening, we would see him a few times, but most of the courses were served (and cleared) by one of the other three, usually the two youngest.

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    Interior

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    Gougeres

    The food, as I said, was terrific. We began with complimentary glasses of white wine (never identified) and an amuse of gougeres, a dish which, I must confess, I am beginning to tire of. We’ve eaten out in more places than usual of late and it seems like the default amuse is gougeres. The ones here were good, but we’ve had better renditions several times. My app was pretty much a foregone conclusion: after reading Ronnie’s post and checking the menu, I had little choice ;-) I knew I had to have a half order of the stuffed morels. Everything Ron reported. If they bottled that sauce and sold it, I would pay dearly for it. Exquisite.

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    Stuffed morels

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    Miss Morel’s close-up (inspired by Ron’s “Morel porn” above)

    LDC chose a crawfish velouté: light and rich and deep with flavor.

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    Velouté d’écrevisses

    For her main, she went with one of the new dishes on the menu: dos de cabillaud (back of cod) with Cocos de Paimpol (small white beans) and chorizo.

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    Cod with white beans and chorizo

    Although the menu is not particularly large, I had a dilemma. There were simply too many tempting choices. I wanted one of everything, a problem tempered by the fact that—although there are a few items that can be delivered as a half-order, there are very few of them and they are mostly apps. How to choose between the confit, the millefeuille of pigeon, the veal sweetbreads, or some of the steaks on offer? It was a dilemma with no solution whatsoever—except perhaps to stay in Paris another week and eat there every night. Since I couldn’t figure out how to manage that, I finally decided on the most traditional, classically French item I could: the boeuf bourguignon. A full order.

    The preparation was a little distinct from what I am accustomed to in that there appeared to be some, but not many, onions. I’m used to seeing lots of pearl onions. Plenty of mushrooms, as always. And instead of a little bacon/ham to flavor, there was quite a bit, altering the balance of flavors so that the rich, meaty flavor of the long-cooked beef was nearly evenly balanced with that of the bacon and ham nuggets. I liked it, but I didn’t positively love it. On the other hand, I sopped up every last drop of sauce, so yes, I’d recommend it!

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    Boeuf bourguignon (with tagliatelle)

    Dessert proved to be a similar challenge (even though there were but three items available—the Paris Brest wasn’t on the menu—plus a cheese selection), but we finally opted to split the Millefeuille Jean-Louis (apparently named after the chef’s brother), a massive brick that, even after being split by the waiter, was more than a vast portion. Puff pastry with crème anglaise and powdered sugar. No chocolate that we could discern. Who cares? Now we know what the angels have after dinner…

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    Millefeuille Jean-Louis

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    Mignardises

    All in all, an exemplary dinner. Terrific food but an experience that, sadly, left us wanting. For all the atmosphere of the room itself, it was a fairly sterile experience. We felt no warmth from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. There were plenty of people literally standing in the space between one row tables and the bar, waiting for tables to be vacated. There is no place else, save outside, to wait. And so it increasingly felt factory-like as new diners entered, were seated, ate, and departed. To their credit, we never once felt rushed, but the atmosphere was not particularly welcoming, the people not particularly friendly. Had Chef been in the house (and we have no way of knowing save for the fact that he never once appeared), it might have been different. We didn’t expect a packed house on a Tuesday, and even less since we arrived at the stroke of 7:30 pm when it opened. But packed it was, and packed it stayed all night. (For what it may be worth, dinner--two apps, two mains, dessert, coffee, and one glass of wine--ran about $175. Dinner the night before at La Regalade Saint Honore--which I will post on soon--was about $120 and we preferred it. The food was on a par but I enjoyed the evening far more at La Regalade; fwiw, LDC votes for Chez Dumonet.)

    Would we return? In a heartbeat. The food was among the best we had in our very short week in Paris. But Chez Dumonet is on everyone’s radar and finding a quiet(er) evening may be well nigh impossible now. The price of success, I suppose. A pity.
    Last edited by Gypsy Boy on October 25th, 2015, 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #12 - October 25th, 2015, 9:51 am
    Post #12 - October 25th, 2015, 9:51 am Post #12 - October 25th, 2015, 9:51 am
    I could eat like that every day of my life and not complain about the lack of variety.
    i used to milk cows

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