Category Archives: Restaurants to try

Back in the kitchen, back to my senses

More than two months without a post. Wow. The summer was a blur of work, travel, kids without a schedule and fun times with friends.  I skirted my way with a few memorable menus, but generally lacked any discipline for meal planning.

My waistline noticed. Five pounds heavier. Egads! What the heck happened?  Well, let’s see.  Could have been the fruit shakes and guacamole in Costa Rica. Fresh plaintains, still green and starchy, smashed into cakes and fried, make a savory filling snack that likely contributed to my “expansion” early in the summer.

Then friends visited from Austin. Oh good, a reason to finally prep a decent meal or two!  Grilled chicken and peaches with arugula salad for a picnic by the lake.  Steamed crabs on the back patio, followed the next day by crab cakes topped with sherry aioli.

I entered the true danger zone, calorie-wise, during the month of August. A business trip Down Under was the beginning of the end. Fish and chips, with a pint of ale, at Watson’s Bay in Sydney.

Breakfast the next day: Ricotta pancakes with berry compote, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I simply lost my senses with this concoction, gazing at the ski surfers while sitting in an outdoor cafe at Manly Beach.

Then it was back for two weeks before heading to Santa Fe for a long-planned vacation with a dear friend from Cleveland. Enter sopapillas – doughy pillows topped with sugar (or savory, stuffed with chicken or beef) – at Tomasita’s, amazing blue corn enchiladas at The Shed.  We hit two of the city’s hottest restaurants — La Boca for tapas and Restaurant Martin for new American cuisine — and relished every bite.

Sopapillas at Tomasita's Cafe

No wonder, then, that I’m now browsing through stacks of recipes for healthy eating.  Time to get back into a meal plan that’s easy to manage. This fall I’m thinking in themes to keep me on track. I figured a handful of catchy phrases would bring some rhythm and inventiveness to the tedious task of meal planning.  Already we’re in our second week of themes.  Here it goes (with comments from the peanut gallery):

Meatless Monday – “Yeah, Baby” (husband) “WHAAT?  You’re kidding me.” (sons)

Tasty Tuesday – “Mom, that’s stupid.  Isn’t every meal supposed to be tasty?”

Whole Grain Wednesday – “Hmmm, Not sure about that one.” (husband)

Thermal Thursday (using the Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker) – “Clever.” (husband)

Fun Friday (because we either order out or indulge in a late “date night” meal without the kids) – “Great Idea!” (me)

Details to come as weeknight meal plans swing back into gear!

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Foodie File: Spotlight on Seattle treats

Here’s one for the foodie file: A travel piece in Sunday’s New York Times featuring some of our best treats.

Theo Chocolate, Panama Hotel, Columbia City Bakery, Full Tilt Ice Cream, Cafe Besalu, and Bakery Nouveau are featured.  I’ve only frequented two of these spots so I can see we have a bit of homework to do this summer.

Check it out:

The U.S. Issue | Choice Tables

In the Seattle Area, an Assortment of Treats

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What’s with the Coke-in-a-crockpot search?

It’s amazing how many people want to pour Coca-cola into their slow cookers. At least that’s my takeaway from the statistics on You Ate That???

Keyword searches for “cola,” “slow cooker” and “corned beef” — or any combination thereof — appear to be one of the most common paths for random visitors to find this blog. Pulled pork is another commonly searched term. My last endeavor with a pork shoulder in the slow cooker wasn’t so successful. I figure I did something wrong along the way so I’m still seeking salvation on the web.

Good Stuff NW, a food blogger in Oregon, discovered a series of tweets from The Little Red Bike, a cafe in Portland, for an amazing pulled pork. Here is the tweeted recipe:

  • Secrets to our pulled pork revealed! Start with nice, healthy pork butt. Make rub w/ pepper, paprika, mustard, coffee, ginger, sugar, salt.
  • Rub, cover, let sit in fridge overnight. Remove next day, allow to rest @ room temp. 2 hours, place in crockpot. http://twitpic.com/1f7cca
  • Top roast w/ garlic and sliced onions. http://twitpic.com/1f7ctu
  • Here’s the secret! Pour in one bottle of ginger beer. Cover, set crockpot on low 12 hours and cook. http://twitpic.com/1f7d9h
  • After 12 hours, remove remaining fat, shred, return to pot along w/bottle of BBQ sauce and cook 4 more hours. Place on buns w/slaw & enjoy

My taste buds occasionally dictate our travel plans so I keep a mental list of food destinations. The Little Red Bike is now officially on the list. The blog could be satisfying substitution until we make the trip to Portland; it’s on our “one day we will go to xxx for the weekend” list.

If anyone tries this recipe, let me know how it turns out!

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Surprise Saturday night date

Portage – yes! Cozy in Queen Anne.

Baby Chioggia and Golden Beet gratin, Niçoise Olives, Roquefort Cheese Mousse

Bouillabaisse in a saffron broth

Cardamom – Vanilla pots de creme

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Date night @ Delancey

We finally made it to Delancey on Saturday, the same day I opened my latest issue of Sunset magazine to find the restaurant noted as one of best pizza places in the West.

Booked a table for a group weeks ago to avoid the two-hour wait. Indulged in wood-fired thin-crust goodness.

To die for (IMHO):

Starter: Wood oven-roasted radicchio – preserved Meyer lemon, garlic breadcrumbs, anchovy vinaigrette.

Pizzas: the Brooklyn, the Sausage, the Crimini and even the Romana (though very spicy)

Dessert: Meyer lemon budino with candied pistachios, anise caramel and sable cookie

Value wine: Chateau Jouclary Cabardes Cuvee Tradition, France 2006

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Appetite for Twitter

Tracking down the latest locations of Seattle’s street food vendors might be enough to make me serious about Twitter this spring.  Or keeping up with the latest offerings at Delancey, the artisanal pizzeria that tweets its seasonal indulgences daily.

Before I forget, here’s an excerpt from Seattle magazine on top mobile food vendors.  I’ll have to see if they tweet:
2009: The Explosion of Cheap Eats
This year, Seattle’s hottest eatery openings were of the mobile variety: Tasty kimchi quesadillas at Marination Mobile, piles of pulled pork at the now-hibernating Maximus-Minimus, Cuban sandwiches at Paladar Cubano, even pork belly (and braised beef tongue, and tender octopus) tacos at our (now-defunct) favorite street food joint, Eastlake’s Tako Truk. But it wasn’t just nouveau mobile food that hit the spot this year; the original mobile eateries—taco trucks (or more often, taco buses)—also continued to satisfy. Our new favorite: El Camion (Shoreline, 11728 Aurora Ave. N; 206.367.2777), which has been treating north-enders to its fresher-than-most Mexican in the Haller Lake Home Depot parking lot for two years, spawned a SoDo truck this summer (2918 First Ave. S; 206.659.0236). With still-firm veggies, fresh fish tacos, and beef cheeks, tongue and some darned fine carnitas, the food’s worth standing in line for.

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