Archive for the ‘Eating’ Category
Posted Wednesday 21 November 2012on:
Local restauranteurs and Seattleites supporting the relief efforts.
Tini Bigs poured Manhattans.
Skillet‘s linguine with clams.
Hot Cakes‘ chocolate egg creams and chocolate chip cookies.
Seattle hearts New York City!
Crossing the International Date Line and hemispheres have confused me. I think it’s spring in Seattle and I open the passenger door to get into the car. To drive. It’s opposite seasons but the weather is the same in Sydney and Seattle. Crisp mornings and cool evenings are moderated by hours of glorious sunshine. We’ve been blessed with a technicolour autumn where produce is ripe and bountiful. We celebrated the local harvest at An Incredible Feast last night. The Neighbourhood Farmers Market Alliance fundraiser was hosted by Swansons Nursery.
Recycled outdoor furniture on display.
Pots of asters and chrysanthemums.
An ice bucket of DRY Soda.
Silent auction items.
The North Greenhouse decorated by pumpkins, hay bales and corn stalks.
Mountain Lodge Farm cheese.
Anthony Polozzi of Steelhead Diner: pork rillettes.
Chester Gerl of Matt’s in the Market: txistorra sausage, fingerling potatoes and charred walla walla sweet onions.
Nashi pear sorbet with vanilla ice cream and Rockridge apple wood smoked salt.
Coffee art at Strand Arcade in Sydney.
Bacon and egg breakfast sandwich at Mr Stuzzichini in Hunters Hill Sydney.
Burrata and beet salad at Pendolino in Sydney.
A country lunch at Grazing in Gundaroo.
Scones at The Old Bakery Tea Rooms in Berrima.
Lunch at Vessel in Downtown Seattle.
Chocolate tasting at Northwest Chocolate Festival.
I have a love-hate relationship with the food truck pod in the Amazon precinct. In a car park on Harrison near Fairview in South Lake Union, there is a diverse selection of food trucks on rotation on weekdays. I love that there’s a location for the mobile eateries in the neighbourhood. I hate that the crowds idle on the footpath. I’m in the area several times a week and it’s an obstacle course to hustle through the blue badge coterie.
I’ve noticed some trucks position their windows towards the car park so the queues are away from the street. Others park their trucks at an angle to maximise the space between their vehicle and the footpath. I appreciate the pedestrian friendly effort!
Frybread is a Native American specialty and we both ordered the combo of two Indian tacos and one sweet frybread. On the left is chicken chilli verde and on the right is pulled pork. The frybread was a golden puff, a fluffy pillow for the taco toppings. A sturdy container for the meats, the frybread soaked up the marinade and had a lightly chewy texture.
The Indian tacos were garnished with coleslaw and sprigs of coriander. Braised in beer, the chicken was drizzled with a rich crema sauce. Smoked for ten hours, a honey bourbon barbecue sauce was stirred in the pulled pork. Both were tender and strongly seasoned, an unctuous introduction to frybreads.
Sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, the sweet frybread resembled a doughnut minus the hole. It was ethereal, so delicate and similar to Greek loukoumades and Italian zeppole.
The Nutella version of sweet frybread was a sticky mess, the viscous hazelnut chocolate dripped down the side.
Off the Rez has affirmed my liking for food trucks!
When I’m in a lift I have a tendency to exit at the next floor the door opens. Each level of my work building in Sydney was painted a different colour so it was discombobulating when I’m in the foyer of the wrong one.
Here in Seattle I’ve inserted a key into the wrong apartment and panicked when it wouldn’t turn. I looked at the number and realised I was three floors above home. I gasped, stumbled and ran down the stairs. And I counted the number of floors.
When Marisa was driving us to dinner at Gainsburg we took the scenic route. We were happily chatting until we crossed the Fremont Bridge and not the Aurora Bridge. We were going in the direction of Greenwood, and thankfully American blocks are perpendicular and numbered so our absentmindedness was easily rectified.
The exterior is ominously clad in black, a ‘dining room and cocktails’ sign beckoned.
It was dark inside. Amber lights diffused a sepia tone and the furniture was in moody shades of red and brown.
We perched on stools at the counter and quizzed the affable chef on the menu.
An ornate plate of charcuterie consisted of coppa, porcini ham, smoked duck breast, olives, cornichons, bread and mustard.
A pot of macaronis et fromage was served with a side salad. Molten Gruyère and Brie were stirred into penne seasoned with roasted garlic and thyme.
A narrow baguette was stuffed with slices of duck breast and brie, caramelised apple and fennel, arugula and Dijon mustard, and served with frites.
The cheesecake du jour was salted caramel. A fluffy cheesecake with a thin biscuit base, the saltiness was balanced by the drizzle of glossy caramel on top.
Layers of spongy chocolate cake and satiny fudge were an opulent dessert.
Appetites satiated and enriched by conversations, we returned across the Aurora Bridge and I alighted the lift on my floor!
Chinatown-International District. I’m sceptical about this hyphenated neighbourhood in Seattle. It was eerily quiet on Chinese New Year (農曆新年) last year. The streets were devoid of people and absent of colour. There were no red lanterns, no auspicious posters and no lion dances. It was a forlorn hour as I wandered up and down King Street.
In contrast we were greeted by a cacophony of sounds at Dragon Fest last month. Dull drums and sharp cymbals reverberated through the crowds as the nimble lion pranced and leaped. We were there for the $2 Food Walk to sample the multicultural eateries. Sea Garden (一定好) was last on our list and their salt and pepper chicken wings were a highlight.
I return for weekday lunch the next week and shared four items between the three of us. The walls were painted a drab olive green, and the dining room was furnished with laminate tables and wooden chairs.
Thickened by corn starch, morsels of tofu and shiitake mushrooms were suspended in the savoury bowl of complimentary soup.
A tangled mess of egg noodles were crispy on the bottom and topped with brown sauce. The pork and bean sprout chow mein (肉絲炒麵) was a hearty and toothsome dish.
A neon orange, the sweet and sour pork (咕嚕肉) was sticky and bold. Chunks of tender pork were tossed in a sugary and vinegary syrup.
These six crescents were deep fried prawns (炸蝦球). Similar to beer battered fish, the prawns had an airy coating and were dipped in plum sauce.
Last was eggplant Sichuan style with minced meat (魚香茄子). Silky and spicy, its richness was tempered with plain rice.
The Chinese name of Sea Garden aptly translates to ‘certainly or definitely good’.
If I had to name a favourite restaurant in Seattle it would be Lark. Seasonal ingredients, small plates, attentive service. I have dined there twice and both meals presented regional cuisine at its best and epitomised what I love about a restaurant experience.
The only blemish is the lighting. For a city ensconced in a melancholic grey for half the year, Seattle’s eateries are in the shadow of candles and dimmers. The Danish word ‘hygge’ is the perfect description of cosy ambience but I would like to read the menu without squinting!
The Lark dining room has a homely feel. Opaque curtains partition the centre tables and there is a row of booths along one side. It is intimate and comfortable.
Categorised into cheeses, vegetables and grains, charcuterie, fish and meat, the menu is designed for sharing and the wait staff can recommend the number of dishes depending on your appetite.
Wine was poured and bread buttered as our group of four chatted on a quiet Sunday evening in spring.
Asparagus featured in three of the courses and starred in this in Provençal style. Tender spears were sautéed in olive oil, garlic, rosemary and black olive.
On a terracotta plate were ribbons of La Quercia prosciutto garnished with figs and Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.
Three plump scallops were atop asparagus in an earthy broth.
The ubiquitous asparagus were paired with slices of rare Mishima Ranch wagyu hanger steak, roasted potatoes and a dollop of ramp butter.
A petite cocotte of pommes de terre Robuchon was smooth and buttery, an elegant mashed potatoes.
Dining with the French means duck. A crispy Liberty Ducks leg was served with spring onions and green chickpeas.
I neglected to note the third cheese but the other two were Kukulu Bleu de Brebis from the Pyrénées and Taleggio from Lombardy.
A compact round of hazelnut brown butter cake was adorned with whiskey poached figs and accompanied by a quenelle of salted caramel ice cream.
Light and ethereal, a generous mound of miniature madeleines was dipped in a tiny pot of Theo organic dark chocolate sauce.
Lark is simply splendid, a beacon for the Pacific Northwest.
Posted Thursday 09 August 2012on:
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Starbucks. This is not a sponsored post.
The first coffee I drank was from Starbucks. It was early morning and I was bleary eyed when I entered a Starbucks in Sydney and ordered an iced mocha. Espresso. Chocolate. Milk. Ice. Its cold sweetness was jolting, the caffeine sharpened my senses. Thus I welcomed coffee into my life, a daily embrace with a chocolaty, milky beverage that focuses my mind.
A proud Seattle company, Starbucks pilots new concepts such as Starbucks Evenings here. Stores such as Olive Way and Terry and Republican have pioneered an after 4pm menu of wine, beer and small plates. ‘Drop in after work, with friends, after yoga, by yourself, after a long day or after a great day’ for an apéritif or digestif from your friendly barista!
Located in the Amazon hub at South Lake Union, Terry and Republican is a lively Starbucks. About half a dozen tables are in the sunken courtyard.
A sign advertised Starbucks Evenings with a sketch of a wedge of cheese, a wine glass and a beer bottle.
A radiant sun: coffee, tea, pastries and sandwiches. A crescent moon: red wine, white wine, small plates and desserts.
The interior is spacious and modern with exposed ducts, cement pillars, wood panelling and industrial lights. Floor-to-ceiling windows brightened the muted tones. The Starbucks logo is spray-painted on a wall made from salvaged bicycle tires.
As you wait for your coffee you’re reminded of Starbucks Evenings with more chalkboard art.
We were seated behind the counter and we peeked through the open shelves to the nimble baristas and crowd of patrons.
We perched on stools and were greeted with Starbucks designed Riedel glassware, a glass of ‘refreshing’ Villa Sandi Prosecco DOC Treviso Il Fresco from Italy topped with a petite bowl for spiced pepitas.
Each glass is etched with a whimsical saying such as ‘take a moment or three’ and ‘permission to relax’. We also sampled a ‘crisp’ Erath Pinot Gris from Oregon, ‘fruity’ Rosa Regale Brachetto from Italy and a ‘full-bodied’ Bergevin Lane Syrah She-Devil from Columbia Valley.
A bowl of rosemary and brown sugar cashews were warm and crunchy.
A wedge of triple cream blue brie was paired with walnut cranberry bread and fig preserves.
Deglet Noor dates were stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon. A drizzle of piquant balsamic glaze tempered the decadent morsels.
An oval flatbread of marinated artichoke hearts, red peppers, dry Jack and goat cheese was appetisingly spicy.
A bouquet of vegetable spears was served with a pot of smoky chipotle hummus. I munched on the plain crudités as a palate cleanser between the small plates.
Two tender skewers of panko and Parmesan crusted chicken were dipped in a tangy honey Dijon sauce.
Truffle macaroni and cheese was in a shallow dish to maximise the surface area of the golden herbed Parmesan breadcrumbs.
The pièce de résistance was the chocolate fondue. A cookie tray was filled with luscious dark chocolate. Threesomes of madeleines, marshmallows and strawberries were the perfect shapes for plunging into the viscous pool with our fingers.
Ms D-R and I lingered for a while afterwards, enjoying the ambience and discussing gathering friends for Starbucks Evenings.
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Full Circle. This is not a sponsored post.
Sydney is a urban sprawl. Streets are at odd angles and arterial roads twist through suburbs. North, south, east and west, to drive from the geographical centre of the city to its boundaries would take at least an hour.
Seattle is more compact. Neighbourhoods cluster around the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, it is a short distance from houses and malls to fields and forests. The abrupt transition is bewildering and we ponder the scenery as we navigated to Carnation for Feast on the Farm.
Full Circle delivers ‘farm-fresh, locally-sourced organic and sustainably-grown’ produce to consumers. The mission of Stewardship Partners is to ‘restore and preserve the natural landscapes of Washington State’. Salmon-Safe certification ‘requires management practices that protect water quality and restore habitat’.
Groups sheltered under the umbrella and marquee for reprieve from the blazing sun. Hats, sunglasses and sturdy shoes were requisite attire.
We stepped and stumbled on a milk crate to board the tractor tour. We perched on hay bales covered by a blanket as we gently looped the acres.
Andrew Stout, founder of Full Circle, was our guide. The engine chugged along the dusty path as Andrew spoke about the growth of Full Circle and how the land is being rehabilitated.
Lettuce and kale were neatly planted in rows.
A serene vista.
The many hues of clouds, mountains, trees and farm buildings.
Symmetrically ploughed fields.
We snacked on smoky discs of Via Tribunali wood fire pizzas.
On the left is David Burger, executive director of Stewardship Partners, and Andrew Stout is on the left. My favourite quote of the event was ‘we’re in the business of killing plants’. The crowd chortled and snorted.
A still reflection on the creek.
Sal, the leggy mascot of Salmon-Safe, greeted us.
A country kitchen.
Currant bushes marked the field where perpendicular tables were set.
Our view of the second table.
Mason jars decorated the length of the table, posies interspersed with leafy produce.
From one end to the other.
Effervescent and mild, Dry Soda quenched my thirst.
First was Salumi charcuterie. We nibbled politely on thin slices of cured meats and Castelvetrano olives as introductions were made. I had sprayed my limbs with insect repellent and apologised to our dining companions for reeking of citronella. We were seated with an interesting group of people, there was much laughter and engaging conversations on culture, food and literature.
A mound of shredded Tuscan kale was garnished with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzled with anchovy dressing. This was one of three healthful salads served.
Chunks of roasted beets were topped with a dollop of house made ricotta. Pistachio kernels dotted the tender beets, it was an earthy combination of flavours.
Plump grains of farro were tossed with carrot and English peas. I had several spoonfuls of this toothsome salad.
Mediterranean mussels were roasted with guanciale, lemon and olive oil. The bivalves were aromatic and succulent.
In sunglasses, an apron and boat shoes, Chef Ethan Stowell generously donated two private dinners in Staple & Fancy‘s cellar room for auction to benefit Stewardship Partners.
Fennel and carrots were grilled, the former seasoned with bottarga and the latter with mint and orange.
Dessert was a creamy panna cotta with mixed berries, slivered almonds and aged balsamic vinegar.
There was spirited bidding on auction items, and Mike McCready (guitar), Kim Virant (vocal) and Gary Westlake (bass) entertained us.
Each attendee was gifted a box of Full Circle produce which we happily carried home.
Carefully packed, the top layer was fennel, kale and lettuce.
On the bottom were apricots, cabbage, carrots, cherries, cucumber, onions and rockmelon.
Sincere thanks to Shirley and Full Circle for the opportunity to experience Feast on the Farm!
Disclosure: This was a complimentary meal courtesy of Evolution Fresh. This is not a sponsored post.
My favourite Boost Juice is Passion Mango. An icy blend of mango, passionfruit, tropical juice, sorbet and yoghurt, it is my standard order for on-the-go sustenance. I like that they have a store at Sydney airport where it’s economical to pay seven dollars for a smoothie instead of double that for greasy noodles or oily pizza.
I had peeked into the first Evolution Fresh store in Bellevue when I was on the Eastside for lunch at Din Tai Fung. It has a salad bar and seating, whereas the Downtown Seattle one is compact, designed for ‘juice and food good to go’.
Banners line the wall with appetising photos of the signature bowls, a flowchart for cold pressed juices, and a whiteboard for customers to scrawl messages.
The shelves are laden with bottles of juices and pre-packed meals. Sweet treats were in glass cloches and jars.
Wire baskets of fruits, drink bottles, an apron and a chopping board were hooked onto metal rails in a corner of the tiny kitchen.
Six screens panelled the back wall display the beverages menu.
Eight juices are available on tap, including organic apple and organic carrot.
Lemon, ginger and cayenne pepper, the spicy lemonade piqued my interest.
Categorised into easy, balanced and green, a mix of six juices are in cleansing packs.
Breakfast items intermingled with snacks, signature bowls, sauces, sandwiches, salads and wraps. Each has a colourful nutrition label.
I scanned for the keyword, mango! Mango, papaya, pineapple and apple juice were a summery medley, the Smooth Mango was refreshing.
I was a frequent patron of Saladworks in Sydney and the signature bowls are a similar concept. Fast and fresh, each bowl has a healthful serving of vegetables, nuts and seeds. Spinach, julienned carrot, sugar snap peas, roasted red peppers, sautéed shiitake, grilled portabella, scallions, coriander and parsley were layered on top of cold buckwheat noodles.
The buckwheat noodles signature bowl was paired with tamari five spice sauce.
I drizzled the viscous dressing over the spinach leaves and gently tossed it through. It was crunchy and herbaceous, a substantial size for lunch.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, Evolution Fresh is convenient and nourishing.