Posts Tagged ‘cookie’
Summer is finally here in Seattle! We celebrate the long days of glorious sunshine by being outdoors from dawn to dusk on weekends, the city thriving with activities. There are festivals day and night, and restaurants have oiled the decks, hosed the patios and swept the courtyards for al fresco dining.
I love city parks, urban oases of fresh air, mowed lawns and pruned trees. Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill is a compact version of this. At its heart is the Seattle Asian Art Museum and at the top edge is the Volunteer Park Conservatory. We strolled through the serene greens to Volunteer Park Café for lunch.
I had sampled chef Erika Burke’s fare at Keren’s book launch party and Foodportunity, and was curious about the controversial eatery. Located a couple of blocks east of the park on a leafy street, Volunteer Park Café is in a century old building. Rusty azure chairs contrasted with the creamy yellow timber.
There are three sets of tables and chairs on the sidewalk, the one in the blazing sun is conspicuously vacant.
A blackboard easel listed daily specials.
Breakfast and lunch items were listed on three walled blackboards. Staff were frantically assembling sandwiches as we queued to order.
Discs of golden cookies in tin buckets, their flavours stamped on placards, were visual lures.
The centrepiece of the cosy space is the communal table. We pirouetted to sit by the window. It was a warm day, and the enclosed room was sweltering and amplified the cacophony of the crowd.
Layers of pastrami and caraway sauerkraut were accessorised with Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing. The thick rye bread was gently toasted. It was a moist and tender café Rueben, the tangy fermented cabbage moderated the savoury meat.
Steadied by a bamboo toothpick, the prosciutto and mozzarella baguette was a chewy delight. Peppery arugula, sweet fig balsamic, buttery prosciutto and milky mozzarella were a splendid combination.
We exited quickly and took our parcel of chocolate chip cookie and cinnamon swirl coffee cake back to the park, and shared dessert in quiet contentment.
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of GreenRubino. This is not a sponsored post.
I had had lunch at Pop Kitchen + Bar prior to going home to Australia in November. I returned yesterday to sample their happy hour fare courtesy of GreenRubino. An afternoon downpour was looming and I was glad to be indoors. Located in the Experienced Music Project Museum, Pop Kitchen + Bar has changed management since it opened and it is now operated by Wolfgang Puck.
A signature textured metallic crumble, the café has a spectacular view of the Frank Gehry designed EMP.
The interior is modern with white benches and lemon chairs.
Screens looped music videos above the bar. A generous glass of Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon was smooth and fruity.
Vases of daisies in vibrant hues decorated the buffet table.
Layered into a plastic container, the Chinese chicken salad was spiked with a pair of chopsticks. Mixed greens were tossed with shredded chicken, pickled ginger, coriander and shards of crispy wonton skins.
My favourite item on the happy hour menu was the spring salad of mixed greens, sliced strawberries, shaved Manchego and candied walnuts. A piquant vinaigrette was tempered by the sweetness of the fruit and nut.
A fluffy flatbread was topped with mandolined potatoes, cubes of pancetta and dotted with ricotta and Pecorino. I also nibbled on a wedge of cheese pizza of molten mozzarella, Gouda, chèvre and Parmesan.
A healthy vegan option, the cute slider was skewered by a cherry tomato and stacked with a white bean and quinoa patty.
Dessert was ginger molasses and chocolate chip cookies. The ginger molasses cookie had a rich caramelised flavour and the chocolate chip cookie was delightfully chewy.
I left with a gift box which I had guessed were cookies but was surprised by half a dozen macarons.
I had one of each flavour for supper!
I’m a little homesick after a week in London. An Antipodean feels at home in the Old Dart. The accent, the vocabulary, the cuisine, the flag, ‘it’s the vibe‘!
Our local bakery in Sydney was on my route home from work. I was tempted by their afternoon discounts of croissants, lamingtons, apple pies and vanilla slices, and their sponge cakes and fruit tarts were lovely gifts for dinner parties. I have many fond memories of sharing their sweet treats with family and friends.
Crumble & Flake, Neil Robertson’s new patisserie opened on Sunday and was sold out by midday. A Canlis and MistralKitchen alum, the Seattle food community was abuzz with Neil’s crumbles and flakes. He had baked the Momofuku Milk Bar crack pie for the Christina Tosi cookbook event at the Book Larder last year and it was a perfect replica of the sugary dessert.
A tiny glass storefront with an open plan stainless steel kitchen, the modern and minimalist patisserie had a one-to-one ratio of staff to customer when we were in there. They had already sold out of croissants for the day and Neil was apologetic on Twitter about the daily quantities.
Rectangular cabinets and white trays displayed the classic techniques of the bearded chef. On the left were fig and olive tapenade rolls and currant scones were on the right.
Rows of peanut butter cookies and ‘filled-to-order’ cream puffs in two sizes.
On the top shelf were ‘Cheweo’, an Oreo style cookie sandwich, and below were lemon and caipirinha macarons.
There were two left each of the double brownie and rhubarb financier.
We strolled up to Arabica Lounge, ordered coffees and sampled our purchases.
Two decadent discs of chocolate cookies were pressed together with a thick layer of cream. The Cheweo was indeed chewy, each bite was soft and luscious.
A cute golden orb, the mini cream puff was piped with vanilla custard. The crisp choux shell was a sturdy vessel for the silky fragrant cream.
Wide and flat, the lemon macaron had an intense citrus filling. The meringue was a little thin but the lemony paste was a highlight.
It was a saccharine welcome to Crumble & Flake!
It was ice cream weather in New York. After shopping for a couple of hours, I criss-crossed Midtown Manhattan to Momofuku Milk Bar for a sweet treat. Located in the foyer of Momofuku Má Pêche, Christina Tosi‘s neon pink homage to baking was reprieve from the humidity.
The chalkboard menu spanned the wall. Neatly printed in rainbow colours, the menu was categorised into soft serve, merchandise, cookies, flavoured milks, pies, milkshakes, cake truffles, coffee, whole cakes and daily breads.
In contrast the opposite wall was plain. Birch shelves had wire baskets of cookies, stacks of cardboard boxes and branded merchandise.
David Chang’s ‘quarterly print journal’ Lucky Peach, the Momofuku cookbook, and Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar were displayed with bottles of Cereal Milk mix, cookie mix, t-shirts and totes.
Individually packaged blueberry and cream cookies.
Momofuku Milk Bar served Stumptown coffee. An illuminated milk sign projected a magenta glow over the croissants and bagels.
The centrepiece behind the counter was a machine dispensing Cereal Milk and pineapple upside down cake flavoured soft serve.
The Cereal Milk soft serve was squeezed into a paper cup and dropped into a larger plastic one. The double cupping insulated warm fingers and there was no dripping. I’m a slow eater and the frozen dessert was surprisingly sturdy, retaining its shape for several minutes without melting. Smooth and creamy, the Cereal Milk soft serve was luscious.
I purchased a bottle of Cereal Milk mix, a fun dessert for the next dinner party.
I will return to Momofuku Milk Bar for their savoury items, bagel bomb (bacon, scallion and cream cheese) or volcano bread (caramelised onion, potato gratin, Gruyère, bacon and pancetta)!
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Curator PR. This is not a sponsored post.
I’m a slow grocery shopper. I browse the aisles for discounts, read the nutrition labels, convert measurements to metric, and compare brands. AmazonFresh delivers our non-perishable staples, and we’re lucky to live within walking distance to Melrose Market and Pike Place Market.
Whole Foods Westlake is my local supermarket and we’re there several times a week for vegetables, fruits and incidentals. Whole Foods has a reputation for being expensive (hence the moniker ‘Whole Paycheque’) but it is a greengrocer, butcher, baker, deli and purveyor of specialty goods all in one that is both of quality and convenient.
Located near Alderwood Mall just off I-5 exit 181B, the first Whole Foods in Snohomish County is opening this Thursday 15 March in Lynnwood.
My tour was scheduled on Friday at 9am and it was a surprisingly quick half hour drive to Lynnwood. The 33,000 square feet standalone store clad in Douglas-fir wood was a beacon on a bleak day.
Decorated in pastel colours throughout, the store was brightly lit and bustling with staff training and shelf stocking.
We breakfasted on muesli bars from the bakery.
A tray of berry muffins.
Of the 150 employees, fifty per cent currently work for Whole Foods so it’s a one to one training ratio. Founded in 1980 in Texas, Whole Foods is a natural food store. It stocks many organic products but it’s not certified organic. It has since expanded to Britain and Canada, and they’re considering sites in Alaska, Tacoma and West Seattle.
Denise Breyley is the Local Forager for the Pacific Northwest and I covet her job! She described it as being a ‘matchmaker’, sourcing products from local farmers and producers. There are seven recipients (Firefly Kitchens is one) of the Local Producer Loan Program in the Pacific Northwest. The money is for new equipment purchase, organic certification and other capital investments.
Mt Townsend Creamery is another beneficiary of the Local Producers Loan Program. These wheels of Trufflestack and Cirrus are from the first batch made with loan money.
The produce section is next where we sampled Sumo Citrus. A hybrid of Japanese Satsuma and Californian oranges, the citrus fruit is plump, seedless and bursting with sunshine.
Whole Foods Lynnwood will open with at least thirty items in the produce section, will increase to more than one hundred in the first month of trading and peaks at seventy per cent in summer.
Sold by weight, acrylic containers dispensed bulk cereals, dried fruits, flour, grains, lentils, nuts, rice, seeds and snacks. Buying in bulk is value for money and eliminates waste in packaging.
In the bulk section is the cooking department. The wooden counter will have computers for cooking resources, and the area will feature ingredients and local authors, Amy Pennington will be the first on 16 March.
The cheese department is in the back left corner. Patrons can sample all the cheeses, and they maintain a database of your purchases for your reference. You can buy shredded cheese by weight. There are also thirty varieties of olives for scooping.
A lime sign above the seafood department encouraged us to ‘bring some local flavour home for dinner’. Each fish and crustacean is tagged with information and staff can assist with sustainability questions.
Whole Foods own Select Fish, a processing facility, for quality control. They partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium to rate by fishery and Whole Foods does not sell red rated or non-rated seafood. A non-affiliated third party audits farmed aquaculture annually for feed and water quality, and environmental impact. Whole Foods targets three per cent wastage or spoiled seafood which is composted.
A set of clocks indicated what time the beef was minced. The meat department is a full service butchery. Whole Foods applies Global Animal Partnership‘s five-step animal welfare rating system for all meats. A fridge was marked dry aged beef, done in-house for a minimum fourteen days.
The Whole Body department has a swap program where you can bring in two conventional products to exchange for private label equivalents.
My favourite, ice creams and frozen desserts!
Refrigerators with doors and energy efficient LED lights were installed for milk and juices.
Deli, sandwiches, taqueria, and greens, beans and grains will cater for lunches and dinners. FareStart students supply the packed salads. There is an organic salad bar in the prepared foods department, and rotating themed hot bars (Thai, Mexican, Indian and comfort food). The intention is for it to be a ‘one stop shop’ for meals.
The espresso bar serves Allegro Coffee.
And they have soft serve machines with a toppings selection!
The tour concluded with brownies and cookies from the bakery.
All the staff spoke with genuine passion about what they do. There is much excitement to be ‘part of the Lynnwood community’.
Whole Foods Lynnwood opens this Thursday 15 March with a bread breaking ceremony at 8am.
A screen projected the live Foodportunity Twitter feed.
The lovely Keren spoke briefly to thank Foodportunity’s sponsors and supporters, and drew the winners of the business card raffle.
My first taste was at Metropolitan Market, the main sponsor of Foodportunity. Imported wheels of Zola Gouda were stacked on the table.
A generous portion of creamy macaroni and cheese was sprinkled with bread crumbs and Parmesan.
I interspersed savoury dishes with desserts. Next was Fat Cat Fudge, a smooth chocolate fudge that was moderately sweet.
I spotted The Coterie Room in the corner and happily crunched on a decadent snack of ham crackling dipped in black truffle fondue.
In the same area was Inn at Langley. On a wooden paddle was a disc of smouldered spruce panna cotta with truffle honey foam and pine nut sugar.
Except I didn’t notice the sign until after I ate the bacon wrapped rabbit saddle with cheesy grits and maple truffle jus. I don’t eat rabbit. But the meaty cylinder topped with a jelly cube was an appetising pairing.
Cooked on an induction stovetop at the stall, the malloreddi alla Siciliana was exceptional.
Fumie’s Gold had silver platters of sweet treats. I sampled the green tea cookie and it had a balanced matcha flavour.
The profiteroles and tiramisu were tempting!
My first loop concluded at the entrance where Mt Townsend Creamery was. Cirrus is a favourite and there were nibbles of Seastack.
Light and citrusy fromage blanc was spread on apple crisps.
I meandered back to the restaurants I had skipped due to crowds. At Blackfish from Tulalip was house smoked sockeye salmon with chèvre cucumber purse on a bamboo square. The salmon was surprisingly dense, tempered by the mandolined cucumber and goat cheese.
On a wooden board at Volunteer Park Café was crimped puff pastry with caramelised onion, a smear of chèvre and black trumpet mushrooms. I have fond memories of their grilled figs at Keren’s book launch party and these morsels were a highlight too!
The last dessert was by Main Street Cookie Company. Made with quality ingredients, the chocolate chunk and dark chocolate cookies were perfectly baked.
I hovered at Lucky Palate, curious about the contents of the paper cups. A vegetarian meal delivery company, the quinoa and farro were both textured and healthy.
A scarlet tablecloth greeted us at Tipu’s Chai. Steeped in herbs and spices, chai is a traditional Indian beverage.
A stainless steel and glass dispenser poured the Tipu’s Chai Now, a vegan instant chai. It was soothing and aromatic.
The penultimate was Tabby Cat Pickling Co.
Jars of pickles were scooped into bowls and the curried cauliflower floret was piquant.
Fluffy buns encased a spicy pork belly and octopus chorizo with fennel. It was a warming conclusion to a fun first Foodportunity.
Sincere thanks to Keren for connecting the Seattle food community!
The precipitation in Seattle is unique. When it rains in Sydney, you hear the splatter and you sense the impending storm. Here it tends to drizzle, too light for an umbrella but enough to sprinkle my glasses. At times it’s a drifting mist, dotting my coat with needlepoint droplets.
It was such a day when I walked up to Capitol Hill for a sweet respite with a group gathered by Leslie. A shake of my coat and a wipe of my glasses and I was dry and ready for the hospitality of Oddfellows Café.
Located next to the Elliott Bay Book Company in an historic building, Oddfellows Café is charmingly decorated. A spacious loft with exposed brick walls, the room is homage to a bygone era with salvaged fixtures, recycled furniture and vintage photographs.
We were seated at the communal bench at the back with a view of the oscillations of the open plan kitchen.
A complimentary platter of baked treats was welcomed. There were chunks of nutty rice crispies and shards of chewy cookies.
Between the six of us we sampled the hot chocolate, chilli hot chocolate and spiked peppermint hot chocolate. Each cup of hot chocolate was served with a square of house made marshmallow, thickening and sweetening the cocoa as it melted.
The only hot chocolate with alcohol was poured into a tall glass and garnished with a mint leaf. A creamy concoction, the cocoa was laced with a strong peppermint flavour and it reminded me of After Eight Mints.
The aromas from the kitchen were enticing but Oddfellows Café is a requisite spot for hot chocolate lovers.
I attended my first event at Book Larder yesterday. A community cookbook store in Fremont, it is a warm and welcoming space with the kitchen at its heart. A large group gathered for Christina Tosi, author, chef and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar.
A vintage stove is salvaged as a window display.
Cookbooks are categorised and neatly stacked. I’m enamoured by the teal walls, a regal shade against the stark white shelves.
Wooden tables are focal points for new releases and local authors.
The kitchen is equipped with modern appliances and accoutrements.
On the cover of Christina’s cookbook is the neon ‘milk’ sign of Momofuku Milk Bars.
A container of cereal milk mix.
The view of the kitchen through a glass of cereal milk. Milk infused with cornflakes, sugar and salt, the sugary beverage replicates the taste of the liquid left at the bottom of a breakfast bowl.
The air was perfumed with butter and there was an abundance of sweet treats.
We munched on sample containers of cereal crunch, a caramelised cornflakes snack.
A platter of cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies.
Deceptively plain in appearance, these corn cookies were chewy with a distinct corn flavour.
Sugar, butter, cream, eggs, milk, cream and oats. The core ingredients of crack pie. Its magical ratios are whisked, kneaded, cooled, baked and frozen into a dense, sticky and crumbly dessert.
Christina described Momofuku Milk Bar as a bakery that serves cookies and cakes with a personality. As a child she was a ‘picky eater with a sweet tooth’. She enrolled in culinary school in New York as an aspiring pastry chef to do what she loves which is to ‘eat sweets all day’! After she graduated she worked in fine dining restaurants. She enjoyed the challenge but was questioning her career direction when she was introduced to David Chang.
David had ‘drive and courage but no infrastructure’ and Christina was hired for the ‘etcetera’ role of ‘everything non-kitchen’ related. She would work during the day, bake at home at night and bring her baked goods into the office to share. There were no desserts on the menu at Noodle Bar or Ssäm Bar. The restaurants were chef focused where the chefs did the payroll and trained the wait staff. It was endearing but masculine.
After a couple of jokes, David was serious about Christina making desserts for the restaurants. She introduced one at a time while still doing her ‘etcetera’ role and transitioned to full-time chef. When the real estate next to Ssäm Bar became vacant, David decided Christina should open the Milk Bar. It is this passion and intuition that characterises David Chang.
Christina commented that the Milk Bar was a ‘lady approach to opening a Momofuku’. Christina built a team of small and talented people that operate the Milk Bars. Each item at the Milk Bars has intention and story behind it. Favourite components of desserts are deconstructed and reconstituted.
David opened Momofuku Seiōbo in Sydney last week and I asked Christina if she’ll follow with a Milk Bar. She explained the business has grown rapidly over the last three years and her fear is to split her team and fracture the creative process. She noted there was space available for the expansion!
Another question asked was about home cooking. Christina said the essence is home cooking but she references her formal training. She likened milk powder to ‘MSG for the baker’. She worked at wd~50 prior to joining Momofuku and it was there that she learned to think about the science of food. Her cooking is ‘tangible in unexpected ways’.
The final question was about working with David Chang. Christina spoke with respect and affection on her relationship with David. Working with David requires commitment and tenacity, they have a deep understanding and trust that is ‘silently dynamic’. She is stubborn and David knows it!
Christina brought boxes of cookies from the Milk Bar. From top right: corn cookie, cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie, compost cookie, blueberry and cream cookie, and confetti cookie.
I purchased a copy of the book and I look forward to reading about the ’intention and story’ of each of the recipes.
Congratulations to the Book Larder for a stellar calendar of events and sincere thanks to Christina Tosi for sweetening our Tuesday evening.
Myra gathered a group of food lovers at short notice for a conversation with author Marissa Guggiana yesterday. Marissa was a judge at Lamb Jam last weekend and returned to Seattle from Portland for a demonstration and book signing with Ethan Stowell at the University District Farmers Market this Saturday at 10am and an ‘Off the Menu’ dinner on Sunday at Tavolàta.
A large stainless steel bowl filled with ice chilled bottled beverages.
There were salumi and pizzas from the Serious Pie kitchen. On the left is translucent mangalitza, and on the right is marbled lamb coppa.
Blistered and charred, the sweet fennel sausage, roasted peppers and provolone pizza is a regular order for us.
Buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and fresh basil are ingredients of the classic Margherita pizza.
We snacked on a couple of cartons of Dahlia Bakery caramel popcorn.
Author of Primal Cuts and Off the Menu, co-founder of The Butcher’s Guild, ex-editor and contributor to Meatpaper, a 2008 fellow of Roots of Change and a board member of Ag Innovations Network, Marissa studied at Seattle University and lives in Northern California.
An aspiring playwright, she moved to New York after she graduated but soon returned home and was the first employee at Laloo’s Goat’s Milk Ice Cream. Her family owned a food distribution company and was buying meat from Australia, cutting and re-selling it. She became interested in the origins of meat and soon changed the business model to buying whole animals only.
Welcome Books is a boutique publisher focused on the context of food, and published both Primal Cuts and Off the Menu. She took all the photos for both her books.
For Primal Cuts, Marissa drove 15,000 miles in a Prius in four months! She interviewed fifty butchers across the country. She spent days with them recording hours of conversations that were transcribed and edited. Her goal was to present the whole industry and not just the art of butchery and knife skills. The book includes recipes for every part of the animal, a variety of cooking styles and culinary traditions, and from industrial to niche retail butchery.
Marissa identified a need to connect butchers to share expertise and thus, The Butcher’s Guild was founded. She mentioned young butchers were learning from YouTube videos! It takes time for butchers to educate their customers and the guild is a network to support this.
Off the Menu represents Marissa’s approach to cooking. Staff meals are quick, cheap and tasty. Basic techniques and quality ingredients are fundamental. The commitment to dining together every day builds morale and exemplifies respect for each other. Marissa ate fifty one staff meals in two months!
She obtained recipes from the cooks and the chefs submitted answers to a questionnaire. Marissa noted Blackbird in Chicago as a highlight where the staff meal was braised, battered and fried duck leg served with waffles and coleslaw. Tavolàta epitomised the concept of the book where staff meals are after service in a relaxed atmosphere. Marissa was effusive about the culture of service in New Orleans. Loyal staff work at the same restaurant for decades.
Off the Menu celebrates the ritual of communal dining. She spoke passionately about her experience at Camino in Oakland. Dignified staff eat in the restaurant, they understand the food and there is a transparency in how the restaurant operates.
Marissa’s interest is in food systems and her next book will be on the future of protein from an academic perspective. Genuine and humble, sincere thanks to Marissa for joining us for the afternoon.
‘In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made;
there’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York.’
My first visit to New York was in 1999 on a family holiday. We were en route to Europe and three days in the Big Apple marked the half way point of a round the world trip. I remember shopping at the mall in the concourse of the World Trade Center, surprised that it was Westfield branded. I have a framed photo displayed at home that was taken in the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
We travelled to New York last year to attend the wedding of a dear friend. With photos in Central Park, and the ceremony and reception at Public in the Lower East Side, it was the quintessential New York celebration. We also had our first momofuku experience that week. I had read about David Chang when he visited Australia (he will open momofuku seiōbo in Sydney later this year) and was keen to dine at one of his restaurants. Four of us were defeated by the fried chicken dinner!
A convenient Midtown location, the restaurant has a narrow entrance and the street frontage is occupied by the milk bar.
The main dining room is below but I sat in the bar area upstairs. The space is lit by an amber glow and the bar itself is perched on a mezzanine level overlooking communal tables downstairs.
Small paintings cover the walls and there are two alcoves with half a dozen tables plus counter seating.
I’m yet to sample the famed steamed pork buns and unfortunately it was not part of the prix-fixe menu. At twenty five dollars for three courses, it was good value by New York standard.
I selected the summer rolls for an appetiser. Silken tofu, shredded lettuce and a crispy wonton cigar were wrapped in rice paper, and served with hoisin sauce and peanuts. These were refreshing and a healthy alternative to spring rolls.
A noodle fiend, I chose the rice noodles for the main. It was a fiery bowl of minced pork, bok choy, basil and cherry tomatoes. Although tasty, I struggled with the spiciness and I had to pause several times to gulp water.
A compost cookie from the milk bar concluded the meal. Sweet and chewy, the waiter described the compost cookie as ‘leftover ingredients smashed together’. I loved that the bill was delivered with a complimentary postcard!
I had intended on returning for the steamed pork buns, and a soft serve and a slice of crack pie from the milk bar but Mother Nature cancelled that plan for me with a state of emergency declared for Hurricane Irene.