Sunday, March 30, 2008

Day before Opening Day... Hooray!

I get to go eat a bunch of food on Opening Day of Baseball (AKA at my home: the Super Bowl of Spring). My better half is baseball obsessed. (Well, Mariners obsessed; a blessing and a curse.) So, he reads me snippets from stories about trades and spring training and other blather throughout the winter. (When he's not skiing, or biking 35 miles on a Sunday. Yeah, he is hard core.)

But today, he read me the best baseball story I've heard all year, about the Chicago Tribune's contest to have readers come up with protest songs flying in the face of the news that filthy rich owner Sam Zell wants to rename Wrigley Field. You've got to watch the You Tube video of the winner. Click here. It's a scream.

If I wasn't an M's fan -- albeit a fair weather one -- I would be a Cubs fan. I've been to the legendary park and it's so retro cool. Plus, Sweet Lou is the manager. I miss Lou in Seattle. Did I ever tell you about the time I saw him out on the town, eating a huge steak after a come-from-behind win. The game where relief pitcher Arthur Rhoades was asked to remove his diamond earring and a brawl broke out. (DON'T BE MESSIN' WITH A MAN'S JEWELRY!)

Hubby got up and went over and shook Lou's hand. Gives me chill bumps just thinking about it!

Anybody want to meet me at the game Monday for a bite? I'm buying.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Skillet

I was blown away by the quality of the ingredients in this innovative take on risotto, barley standing in for arborio rice.

The setting certainly was at odds with the classy menu served from an Airstream at various locations around Seattle. Earlier this week, I had lunch at the industrial hood known as SODO. (Think "Blade Runner".) And wrote about it in today's P-I.

This dish was distinguished by roasted golden beets, broccolini and shaved fennel. And, get this, it was just $6.

This moveable feast can be a little maddening. No showing sometimes. Cutting off orders during the lunch rush. Next time, I'll go early. Because it really is some of the most interesting (and crazy cheap) eats I've had in the city.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tasting at National Museum of the American Indian

Buffalo chili, black bean tamal, corn pudding, mashed yucca and fry bread, oh my. Had quite an amazing feast recently at the National Museum of the American Indian in D.C.

The cafeteria is arranged in geographic regions, and the Northwest Coast was well represented. Wild salmon from the Quinault tribe, cooked over an oak fire. The buffalo ribeye, too. (Pictured on the right, along with a stuffed apple.

This was some of the best food I ate during my trip. I wrote about in my dining column in the Seattle P-I. Love to hear some thoughts on bringing more First Nation fare to the table in local-centric Seattle.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Epic day in D.C.

I'm having an absolute blast in the other Washington. 

Here's what I saw today:

Kennedy's grave, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, The Spirit of St. Louis, Gemini capsules, moon rocks, a scrap of fabric from the Wright Brothers first plane, Abe Lincoln's hat, Dorothy's Ruby Slippers, the first lightbulb/telegraph/telephone/computer, Carrie Bradshaw's laptop, Jerry's puffy shirt, Mr. Roger's sweater, Archie Bunker's chair, a hand-written recipe from Julia Child's kitchen, paintings by Renior/Monet/Manet/Degas/Andy Warhol/Van Gogh/Jackson Pollock, the Washington Monument, the Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial. Whew. Guess that's about it.

Oh, and yesterday, I got to visit my sister on the set of a major motion picture. (I can't say what just yet... don't want to get sissy fired!) Yessir, I'm having a fine time. No mind-blowing meals yet, but I have high hopes for tonight: Got a table at Cashion's Eat Place.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Whole lot of coffee love

I was so moved by the warm tributes readers sent in about their favorite coffee places. There were poems and praise for baristas who warmed cups, doled out chocolate, gave up a kidney! That story was in The New York Times recently. I am dead serious.

There was loads of Starbucks bashing, but also heard from fans, who gave a big high-five to the coffee giant for its gracious customer service. (Are you listening sullen Tully's?)

Here's a lyrical salute to S'bucks, to a particular store in Hawaii, from Joann Severson:

A special an anniversary trip,
so many places we could see.
After many hours of deliberation
we decided to go to Kauai.

We cherished our time on the garden isle,
the sun, the sand, the shore,
My favorite memory of the entire trip?
Our daily visits to the Starbucks store!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Not an appetizing sight!

Holy grease trap Batman! What a nasty bit of business being flushed onto the streets of downtown Seattle this morning. After eating brunch, I stumbled onto a surreal scene. A grease trap being power-washed on a second story fire escape, the grimy water raining down into the alley, onto unsuspecting pedestrians.
This pan was laid out on Senaca, near Fifth Avenue. Not the kind of scene you'd expect to see in a city that prides itself on its PC earth-friendly ways. This was blatant pollution. Or, am I hopelessly naiive?
It sure put me off every eating at that particular place, a deli in the garage across from the Fairmont Olympic. Do restaurants routinely flush their waste onto the street?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

An ode to coffee

My column in today's Seattle P-I challenged readers to write a tribute to their favorite espresso hangout/barista/drink. I've had some great response so far, but the most inspired comes from Sue Maddox. A straight shot of dark roast love!

For Joe

I dream of black
that blisters like the
equatorial sun.

Steamy pleasures
French and bold,
Transverse my mind,
Inhale, hold.

It’s dark, I’m not frightened,
Uninspiring whitened.

Pull me from my reverie,
render me awake,
morning is at stake.

Liquid voodoo
I surrender to you,
Imperious cup of caffeinery.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Top Pot opens on top of Queen Anne Hill

Stopped in at the new Top Pot this morning, and it's still got that new car smell. Just opened last Friday. The staff was welcoming, the doughnuts dazzling. One varieties twirled on a spinning plate. Mmmmm, dizzy doughnuts.
I had a maple glazed cake because they were out of my fave, the old-fashioned chocolate. That's what I had yesterday morning at Starbucks. Was in the ubiquitous coffee titan checking out whether the retraining had magically transformed the chain. I can't lie, my drink was well made and the counter crew was so darned pleasant.

Much rather buy my $4 cuppa at an indie. Love the Caffe Vita in my new hood, and Vivace on Cap Hill, and on and on. We're so spoiled in Seattle when it comes to coffee, but just try finding a sweet tea. Ain't gonna happen!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Revisiting old recipes

We moved recently, and unearthed a box of old cookbooks I haven't seen in some time. One was stuffed with hand-written recipes from old friends, chefs I've profiled, generous readers. Many of these gems are yellowed and torn, splattered with batter.

There's Melanie's verde sauce, Nell's wine cake, Nana's Peanut Butter cookies, Laurie's microwave peanut brittle. I have a recipe for polenta stars that were featured on "Northern Exposure" from Dahlia Lounge from the early '90s. Back when polenta was wildly exotic and Tom Douglas was just another chef. Found a really old recipe for buttery pound cake passed on with the recommendation I keep an eye out for recipes from Paula Deen.

From that same era, I have a recipe from Marian Burros for fish tacos. When nobody dreamed of sticking seafood in a tortilla. It reminded me how far we've come in our food savvy-ness. These days, I continue to learn something new every day. But, a cold fact I find hard to swallow: Nobody writes out recipes on cards and shares them anymore. Or do they? Love to bring back that tradition!