Friday, February 29, 2008

I love B.B. King!

Was just talking to somebody about this interview I did with blues legend for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, talking about lots of stuff, including his favorite foods.

I still can't get over the super cool slide show Will Hortman put together featuring many fine photos shot by Alan Spearman. Click here to see it.

Who would be your dream interview subject?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hey, can you please be quiet?

There is a good story in the LA Times Wednesday about noisy restaurants, which seems to be part of the business plan at most eating establishments. The din over din din helps creates a dining room's energy. The cacophony almost always drowns out the tunes on the sound system, reducing it to a thumping bass line.

Hushed quiet means a place is deadsville, right? Unless you want to have a conversation without shouting. What are the quietest dining rooms in Seattle? Does quiet mean boring?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Reuben, where are you??

The search goes on for a decent Reuben on the left coast. Had some high hopes for Mike's East Coast Sandwiches, but they nuked the pastrami, which turned it into a hot ball o' meat. Boo! Hiss!!

The sandwich actually was called an almost Reuben because it had mustard and Thousand Island. Yes, too much of a good thing. Even on the fabulous Macrina bread, it fell apart.

Surly servers didn't enhance this not-so-New York minute.

So, outside of chef Dave Hill's spectacular Reuben -- at Hill's Someplace Else in Spokane -- I've yet to find a sandwich in this part of the world worthy of that name.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spring is here?

Sun-starved Seattle has been bathed in glorious rays the past few days. This shot's from a beach in West Seattle, one of my favorite places to bake.
Walked to the Pike Place Market today and it was mobbed. Still chilly, but everywhere there were guys and dolls in shorts and flip-flops. Kind of rushing into summer before it hits 70, but whatever.
The spot that was really hopping was Copacabana, not because the food's great, but because the outdoor deck was open. Containers filled with barely blooming daffodils added to the spring-y mood.
Me? Found a place in the sun and cooled off with some fat-free fro-yo from Shy Giant, near Fero's Meat Market.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lemon-orange marmalade: Brilliant!

Friend Laura gifted me with some homemade lemon-orange marmalade and it is without question, the best thing I've spread on my morning toast in recent memory. The secret to this sticky sweet stuff not going bitter is that there's no pith, just the zest.

Laura is one of the smartest people I know; she spends her days in a lab at the University of Washington, doing scientificky stuff to bacteria and protein. Yet, I'm equally in awe of her commitment to canning. She has a pantry full of put-up fruit and promised to let me join in the process this summer.

Can't wait to try the sweet pickles she gave me. Reminds me of my thrifty Nana, who tried to pass on the canning craft to her grandkids, but it just didn't stick. Maybe this year I'll finally get my preserving groove on.

Tots are so hot right now!

OK, this might qualify as the zenith of my food writing career: I'm interviewed for an NPR story on Tater Tots. How cool is that?
Of course, this would be the one morning I didn't turn on my radio, but heard about it from somebody who heard it. It was a really fun story, found a link to it on the World Wide Web. Click above.
What makes this especially meaningful is my long history with the golden nuggets. When I pregnant, Tots were what I craved. An obvious comfort food. My mother wasn't much of a cook, our freezer stuffed with every TV dinner imaginable. Still, she made a great Tot.
Any warm and fuzzy Tot tales to share?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What a world!

Just got a news release from some fancy-pants hotel in Key West that's serving 99 cent Cuba Libres to commemorate Castro's "retirement." Only in America, huh? That the end of a ruthless dictator's era is fodder for a marketing blitz. CRAZY!

Speaking of bone-headed PR moves, I just got a note from a local media/marketing person who said she took me off her e-mail list because somebody told her I left town. (Could this be wishful thinking?) No worries, mate, except... isn't it your job to read the local newspapers if you work in PR? Geez!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Tuesday report: Candied bacon and kumquats

Baby Girl and I walked downtown on Tuesday to do a little shopping and stop in for a quickie at SAM. (That's the best thing about having a museum membership; you can break visits into little bites. So much easier to digest.)

Of course, post-SAM, we hit Taste for some of Elise Fineberg's wonderful goodies. I am a sucker for the warm cookies sidled up to a shot of milk. But I was so tempted to go for the apple pie with caramel sauce and candied bacon. Sweet! And salty, too. Still, after heated negotiations, Claire went way savory and ordered the mini burger and frites and I chose cookies. Oh, maybe next time there will be a candied bacon shortbread cookie?!

When we got home, there was a gray bin sitting by the gate, a delivery from Pioneer Organics. I've just started getting organic fruits and veggies delivered every other week and I love it so much. The quality has been outstanding and I've been experimenting with new raw ingredients. But, hey, I do not remember checking the box for kumquats. I have no clue what to do with these itty-bitty oranges. HELP!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Chocolate hangover

Finally made it into Cupcake Royale for the now-legendary "Deathcake", which is a killer quad shot of chocolate badness. And I mean bad like bad ass.

Had to split this goodie with Bridget. It was a treat to watch her face light up after taking that first sinful bite. Pity it's only available this time of year.

The love of my life gifted me with some Fran's chocolates, which are sublime. The assortment includes chocolate sprinkled with French salt. Hubby thinks that combo is plain awful. Like Pamela Anderson and Kidd Rock, they just do not belong together. But I love that sweet/salty contrast. No, I'm not talking about the D-list celebs.

That's exactly what got me hooked on dulce de leche, the thick caramel sauce I first tasted in Buenos Aires. It tastes like it has a pinch of salt to keep the sweet from getting too sticky.

Where do you stand on this importance issue of pairing chocolate and salt??

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Eat your heart out!

This just in:

This Valentine’s Day (aka Single’s Awareness Day) Pagliacci will offer customers free artichoke hearts as a topping. The hearts will be available on whole pies or by the slice from Pagliacci’s 15 delivery kitchens and six pizzerias. For more information or to order pizza, call (206) 726-1717 in Seattle or (425) 453-1717 on the Eastside, or visit

What's on your Valentine's Day menu?

I'm cooking. Something red. From Nonna's Kitchen. If I can find that darned cookbook!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How sweet it is! Theo gets a shout out in the NYTimes

Theo Chocolates is on a roll. First a mention in O mag, now a "we like it" in a tasty article in The New York Times. Read it by clicking here. (But do not read it on an empty stomach!)

My BFF Diane Mapes wrote about touring Theo in her Valentine's Day singles column -- Single Shot -- in the P-I a couple of weeks back.

And the P-I's James Beard award-winning-restaurant-critic-turned-food-writer Rebekah Denn was impressed with the Fremont-based chocolatier in last week's food section.

Great to see a hard-working, forward-thinking local company get well-deserved props! Now, fellas, you know what day it is tomorrow: Get out there and buy your honey something sweet, K? And that means you too, Hubby No. 1!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Savoring some salmon

Jon Rowley sent me this photo of Lummi-style salmon, which immediately made me hungry for that fish. But this is the dead of winter, and it's tough to get good wild salmon. Right?
I found Copper River salmon -- previously frozen -- on sale at Met Market for $10 a pound. I'm a little leary of frozen, but it looked so good, I bit. Cooked it using Rowley's sure-fire, fool-proof method, which he's writing about in an upcoming issue of Gourmet magazine. It involves searing it on the stove top and finishing it in a 275-degree oven for 15 minutes. It was perfect, paired with Thai curry sauce and a savoy cabbage slaw. (A variation of a recipe from Terra, the beautiful restaurant in St. Helena, Calif.)
I am determined to eat more salmon this winter, even exploring canned salmon. Sure would love to hear some success stories about recipes that include canned salmon. Feel free to e-mail me at

Friday, February 8, 2008

Post-Obama rally: Everybody wants to eat!

Went to the Barack Obama rally with my daughter today, quite an event. Some 20,000-plus crammed into Key Arena, eating up every word the man said.

It went through the lunch hour, and as soon as the thunderous applause quieted, people hit the streets looking for food. Lines were out the door at every restaurant near the Seattle Center.

Baby Girl and I walked down the road to Tup Tim Thai and beat the rush. It was like everyone had just seen Bruce Springsteen or fill-in-your-favorite-charismatic-figure. There was an energy, a glow. It sounds corny, but I don't care. It was an electrifying scene.

One that obviously made people hungry.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Snapple/Sarah Silverman damage control?

Got this "press release" from Snapple's PR firm:

Hey Jimmy,
Heard that you found out about Sarah f*cking Matt Damon. Sorry you had to find out that way and that my sublime flavor blinded you to Sarah's philandering ways.
In an attempt to console you, here's a whole lotta me for you to enjoy. Hopefully it will numb the pain. In fact, if your viewers want to share their girlfriend/boyfriend is f*cking someone else story on air , they can have a case of me too… Anyway, keep your spirits up. It's not like she was f*cking Ben Affleck or anything. Now that would have been embarrassing.
Diet Snapple

This cannot be for reals, can it?

The YouTube clip of the now famous clip:

Laissez le bon au temp rouler!

Where are you going to let the good times roll this Fat Tuesday? I know we're a long way from New Orleans, but I'm in the mood for some red beans and rice and a Big Ass Beer. (That is what those mondo, walk-away draft beers are called, I didn't make it up.)

Baby Girl and I have tickets for "The Breach", the heart-breaking post-Katrina play at the Seattle Rep, but tonight I'm going to drink at least one Sazerac. When I called Seattle's Sazerac restaurant to see what was cooking, they said nothing. A restaurant that's a tribute to that great city not making an effort on Fat Tuesday? Pitiful!

I guess things used to get pretty crazy down in Pioneer Square. But no more?

Hmmm, wonder where I put my beads...

For more pics (like the one above) from today's Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans, check out the Times-Pic's Web site: