…but I miss blogging!
Does anyone want to take any bets on how much weight I will have gained by the end of next week? Seriously. We have spent about half the month of July out of town, eating either terrible junk food (hello, Cheez-its) or really good, fatty restaurant food (I love you, fraisier with fresh strawberries). I ate out tonight, will be eating out the rest of the week and then I will proceed to go to Lollapalooza Friday-Sunday and eat god knows what kind of terrible, fattening fried goodness for three straight days.
Thanks to my time spent on the plane this month, I did read a couple of food-related books, which I recommend if you haven’t had a chance to read them yet. I also read Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield. It is not food related, but I recommend it nonetheless 🙂
- Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise Reichl (now the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine) recounts her time as the restaurant critic at the New York Times. In order to remain anonymous and give accurate reviews, she must disguise herself as many different characters. It’s crazy to think how much clout restaurant critics have…especially those who work for the most powerful paper in the world. Her book is also littered with a few of her personal recipes and restaurant reviews that appeared in the Times. Reichl’s writing is really warm and inviting, and the way she talks about food…well, you can almost taste it.
- Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously Powell, a temp-turned-secretary approaching her 30th birthday, decides to “do something” with her life. She picks up a worn copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and decides to make each of the 524 recipes during the course of one year and document it in a blog. Powell has a great sense of humor and an informal, engaging writing style. This book is not for you if all you want to do is read about Child and the recipes from MtAoFC. This book is for you if you are looking for a quick, humorous read about one year in the life of a woman who is, well, pretty much like the rest of us.
So, yes, the plane. We just got back from Seattle last night…err, this morning. I’m not entirely sure what we were thinking when we planned to get in at 2am and then work the next day but that’s how it turned out. We had a great time, ate some great food and walked up a whole lot of hills.
First, let’s talk Tully’s. This is some mighty fine coffee, I must say. I don’t know how it was that Starbucks took over the world (personally I think their coffee tastes like burnt mud) but it shoulda been Tully’s. I wish I would have bought some coffee to bring home with me while I was there, but I will probably order some online.
The Pike Place Market is wonderful. There’s tons of fresh fish, fruit, jams, and pretty much anything else local and delicious that you want to get your hands on. Give me some fresh fruit and pastries for breakfast, and you’ve got yourself a happy camper. Due to limited suitcase space/money/perishable items I only brought back some pasta from Pappardelle’s. I got 2 different types of orzo: autumn harvest (chestnut, sage and pumpkin) and supreme (saffron, fire-roasted red pepper, porcini mushroom) and some southwestern pasta (blue corn, yellow maize, red southwestern chili, jalapeno). When I finally get back in the kitchen, I will report back with some recipes for these pastas, which I am hoping are as delicious as they sound.
Tom took some pictures of the market, but I don’t have those at the moment so I’ll add them later.
We ate dinner at Campagne the first night we were there. It was delicious. They start you off with some fresh bread and some gruyere puffs (how can you go wrong there?). Tom had the prix fixe menu which, unlike most prix fixe menus I have run across, gave a few options for each course. He got the crevettes (sauteed wild gulf prawns served on wilted butter lettuce with shellfish velouté), poisson du jour (roasted whitefish served on fava beans, cucumber and zucchini tossed in tarragon butter) and a selection of cheeses for dessert (not part of the prix fix but I ate his dessert from that). I started with a tomato, chevre and black olive tapenade salad (I know, big surprise, huh?), and got the roasted leg of lamb served with garlic and oyster mushroom risotto. The lamb was absolutely PERFECT. Perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, perfectly delicious. The risotto, I thought, was just OK. It was lacking some basic flavors. To be honest, one of the reasons I went with this lamb dish instead of a different one is because I read in Ruth Reichl’s book that French chefs have a difficult time mastering risotto. This was sort of a test. I don’t want to say they failed (it was cooked pretty well) but it certainly was not the best I’ve had. We also got some pomme frites a la canard which were sliced in rounds instead of thin fries. I can go either way with duck fat frites. Sometimes they are just a little too…ducky. Other times they are so good. These were mighty tasty but they didn’t really taste like duck fat frites. They pretty much tasted like regular ol’ frites…but any sort of fried potato is OK in my book. I ended with a fraisier with fresh strawberries and cream which was, basically, to.die.for. Oh and Tom had an Andalot beer and I hate a glass of Cotes (wish I could remember the winery) with my meal.
The second night, we ate at Lola. Tom and I liked the food, but we didn’t LOVE it. I have been hearing a ton about Tom Douglas’s restaurants since I mentioned we were going to Seattle. He is sort of the premier Seattle chef (from what I hear). We were debating between Dahlia Lounge and Lola and ultimately decided on Lola. It’s sort of a modern Greek restaurant. I felt their menu was pretty limited and not terribly intriguing. And most of the entrees were not Greek to me at all (like hangar steak). We did like the lamb flatbread quite a bit. We split the sea bass (bonus is the portions are big and are meant to be shared so our meal was very affordable) which Tom liked and I thought was OK. To be fair, I am not a seafood person. I don’t HATE fish but I just find it sort of “eh” and this was no different to me. It has some fresh herbs, capers and toasted almonds on it. As far as fish goes it is probably some of the best I will have, especially since it’s SO fresh, but like I said, I am not all that crazy about fish. We also split some tzatziki and pita, and some spaghetti with brown butter and mizithra, both just okay. Dessert was by far the best part. I had loukoumades. You bet your ass that any chance I have to get hot, delicious honey-glazed greek donuts, I am going to take it. They were delicious. Tom’s dessert was definitely one of, if not the, best thing I tried there. It was a very simple bowl of cherries tossed with some kirsch and served over goat cheese. Like an insanely good, crustless cheesecake.
We didn’t go out for dinner any other night because we had the wedding one night (which also had a French theme, so how could you go wrong there?) and a wedding-eve dinner at the groom’s parents’ house another night. We did make it to the Five Point Cafe, which has the infamous view of the Space Needle from a periscope situated at eye level of the men’s urinal. We had a really good, really basic breakfast there. We also had a great breakfast at Pesos on Queen Anne (where our hotel was located). We made it to Salumi, which is owned by Mario Batali’s parents (and is, apparently Anthony Bourdain’s favorite place to eat in the NW). It had a line well out the door around 2pm but we had our lunch in hand about 25 minutes later and, well, it’s definitely the best (oregano) salami sandwich I will ever eat. There were about 278403 more places I would have loved to dine in, but we just didn’t have the time or the means (we didn’t rent a car so pretty much anything outside a 2.5 mile radius was off limits, especially when you are walking uphill). So, I guess we’ll just have to go back!
So there you have it. Oh! In other food-related news, I met my friend Joelen for dinner tonight and she gave me a belated birthday present–a madeleine pan! Yay! I can’t wait to make some of those. So keep that in mind when you are guessing how much weight I will be packing on 🙂