Thursday, July 31, 2008

The best burger in Seattle? Heck yeah!

If there's a better $17 burger in Seattle, I want to taste it!

This jaw-testing beauty is one of the dishes I liked a whole lot at Spring Hill, the West Seattle venue I'm reviewing this week in the Seattle P-I

The fries really blew me away. First, I'm a huge fan of the crinkle cut. I think the ridges make for a crispier fried tater. Spring Hill makes its own ketchup, too.

Let's take a vote: Shoestrings? Crinkle cuts? Steak fries? What's your fave?

Carpaccio in Seattle?

A reader wonders where to find this beefy treat... I just saw Alton Brown prepare it on his great "Good Eats" last night.

While working in Memphis, I got to meet Alton, who is just as bubbly in person, though the goofy/genius routine was toned way down.

Speaking of TV chefs, I just heard Hells Kitchen is going to be cancelled. Say it ain't @$##$-ing so!! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tribute to mayo!

Found some old photos, which made me deeply nostalgic! This was taken at the Calvary Waffle Shop, a wonderous place that only exists during Lent at the Calvary Baptist Church in Memphis. You didn't have to go to the noon preaching to enjoy the lunch, which included made-from-scratch mayo. 

John T. Edge wrote about this delicious tradition in the revised edition of "Southern Belly."

I've never successfully made my own mayo, but have learned to embellish the store-bought stuff pretty well. Last night, made a true remoulade to spoon on top of fresh Dungeness crab some friends caught in the San Juans. It was so sweet, so fresh.

In my extended family tree, there was one branch firmly planted in the Miracle Whip camp. I still love my cousins, but YUCK! 

So, where do you stand? Mayo? Miracle Whip?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

DIY fish fillet tips

Just love Rebekah Denn's tutorial piece on the tricky business of filleting your own fish. Chef Eric Donnelly makes it look so easy in this video. Maybe if I had his knife, or had tackled the thousands of fish he's skillfully sliced... 

This weekend, I made a whole salmon for a family dinner and took the easy way out, buying two pieces, tucking fennel and leeks between the two and cooking them on a plank for nearly two hours (at 275 degrees). When it was time to serve, I saw the fish was still a shade undercooked, so I popped it under the broiler. Not perfect, but it tasted great.

What's your favorite way to cook salmon?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Little slice of heaven

Was supposed to meet up with a friend at Suncadia last weekend, but I messed up the dates. So, had a little dose of alone time, and truly relished the peace and quiet at this planned community resort 80 miles east of Seattle.
The best part was getting in on the opening of the new luxe spa, including a "vinotherapy" massage (chardonnay-scented oil applied by Jess, a true healer!) and a Caviar, Champagne and Truffles facial. Yum. After, they bring you a glass of stellar Chinook chard and some bon bons. Ain't life sweet?
I was impressed by the meal I had at the new Portals restaurant, especially the lemon ricotta ravioli. The whole place pays tribute to its mining past, which I thought was very cool.
Anybody been lately? This summer, the chef is doing demos featuring local farmers on Saturdays. Might be worth a road trip.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Say you want a Revolution?

What better way to celebrate the peasants storming the Bastille than sitting down to an expensive meal?

Let them eat cake indeed!

Don't you think it's just a little hinky that Americans turn July 14 into an excuse to indulge? I guess it's no worse than the crass commercialism of Christmas.

Speaking of the winter holiday of giving, I'm organizing a Christmas in July food drive at the Seattle P-I with the help of Rebekah Denn. I've started volunteering at the U-District Food Bank, and, not surprisingly, the need has never been greater.

So... instead of going out and blowing big bucks on a meal, I'm going to eat at home and take the money I've saved and make a donation. Vive la Revolution!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Herbfarm review

My review of The Herbfarm ran in today's Seattle P-I, a piece I spent days agonizing about. Not to mention the roughly 15 hours of dine time during three nine-course meals.

It's no picnic to criticize a beloved icon, but it's my responsibility to report honestly about my experience. And in a pretty limited space, considering all the food I tried. I didn't even get to go into the quirks of the place, the incessant merchandising and self-promotion, the arrogance of calling Foraged and Found's Jeremy Faber the house forager (when he supplies to restaurants throughout the region) and the curious absence of the guitarist for a long stretch at the beginning of one dinner service.

Then, there was the utter lack of personal connection. Though I went to dinner three times in three months, there was never a glimmer of recognition for a returning guest. Not a critic, because I make reservations under another name, but just a "welcome back", "nice to see you again." Time and again, when I saw guests try to interact with the owner, they were given a smart-aleck response -- Carrie Van Dyck asked if I was mad at her when I furrowed my brow as she set a plate in front of me... say what!!?? -- or virtually ignored. A woman who was celebrating her anniversary lavished compliments and all she got in return from Ron Zimmerman was a strained smile. 

I was -- I still am -- prepared for an avalanche of blow back on this controversial review. But so far, I've only heard agreement. Anyone care to share their Herbfarm experience?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nothing says baseball like pudding, right?

Kozy Shack has become a sponsor for the NY Mets! As reported in the NYTimes July 3.

I am quite fond of the rice pudding, but really? Is this gonna edge out Crackerjack? Hot dogs? Peanuts and popcorn? How do you work it into "Take me out to the ballgame"?