Posts Tagged ‘Frantic Foodie’
Posted Wednesday 27 July 2011on:
The Good Food Guide is the Sydney and Melbourne equivalent of the Michelin Guide. Similar to the Michelin star ratings, restaurants are awarded one, two or three hats on a scale of twenty points. Published yearly to coincide with the Sydney International Food Festival, I purchase it as soon as it’s released and the book had a permanently spot on our coffee table.
When we moved here, I was searching for a comprehensive listing of Seattle restaurant recommendations to assist in our gastronomic navigation through our new city. I was very excited when I read about the impending publication of Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle, eager to use the guide book to explore the neighbourhoods of Seattle.
Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle has replaced the Sydney Good Food Guide on our coffee table and is now our primary reference for a snapshot of Seattle dining.
To celebrate the publication of her book, Keren hosted a launch party at the Shilshole Bay Beach Club which was also a fundraiser for FareStart. With a panoramic view of Puget Sound, the Beach Club was a spacious venue for tasting bite size samples from various eateries while gazing at the still water and moody sky.
I heard the click of the Wheel of Fonté all evening with guests spinning it out of nostalgia, or lured by the aroma of freshly ground coffee and the chimes of the espresso machine.
Punjab Sweets attracted crowds with a vibrant display and silver platters of burfi. Hidden in the foil trays were spicy samosas.
My favourite bakery was there to showcase their breads and pastries. Boulangerie Nantaise had baskets of croissants, Danishes, buns, scones and cookies.
High teas are popular in Australia because of our British heritage but I haven’t encountered it in Seattle. Pretty in pink, the Tuscan Tea Room enticed with three tiers of strawberry jam sponge cake.
Slices of Prosser Farm cucumbers were topped with a dollop of tzatziki and dotted with glistening jewels from the Seattle Caviar Company.
The definition of self-control, I restricted myself to two pieces of Theo Chocolate! A shard of toasted coconut dark chocolate was rich and smooth, and Mr S would have liked the intense Scotch ganache.
A whimsical arrangement of cascading sausages was at the Fonté Café table.
Louisa’s Café and Bakery tempted attendees with petite caramel cream pies.
A spiral of spicy tuna empanada at Olivar were crispy and flavoursome.
I love the Blackboard Bistro logo! Oink! I watched the chefs expertly assemble these salsa verde pork sliders in double time.
These grilled figs from Volunteer Park Café were a delectable combination of sweet and savoury, creamy and crunchy.
Piñata and a game of Twister concluded a convivial evening.
Congratulations again Keren!
I attended a Keren Brown Seattle food blogger event several weeks ago with Chef Barton Seaver, author of the new cookbook For Cod and Country. Graciously hosted by owners Kevin and Terresa Davis at Blueacre Seafood restaurant, it was an evening of eating, networking and learning.
Blueacre Seafood is the sister restaurant of Steelhead Diner at Pike Place Market. Terresa greeted me and she recognised my Australian accent. The Davises are expat Aussies from Adelaide and have been living in America for two decades. She introduced me to Barton Seaver and we chatted briefly as wines were poured.
Platters of food were placed on the buffet table as groups mingled and balanced plates of delectable seafood and glasses of wine.
Clockwise from top: natural oyster, smoked salmon on rye, salmon roe and crème fraiche fritter, poached salmon salad, fried calamari, baked scallop, and shredded and sautéed vegetables. The highlights of this plate were the fresh and briny oyster, and the crispy calamari. A lovely crust formed over the shell hiding a plump scallop, although the bread crumb mixture was a little spicy.
Clockwise from top: oyster shell, crab cake, pork belly pie, fried quail with biscuit and gravy, and scallop shell. I would return to Blueacre just to eat these. The crab cake was overflowing with chunks of sweet crab meat, the petite sized pork belly pie was rich and moreish, and the quail leg was tender and well seasoned.
Hunger sated, we were seated for Barton’s speech. Kevin and Terresa commented that for Seattleites ‘the path to the future is to take care of the Pacific Northwest’ and this philosophy informs the cooking at their restaurants.
Jon Rowley, an inductee of the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, introduced National Geographic Fellow, Barton Seaver. Jon described Barton as an advocate of seafood sustainability, an effective spokesperson and a recipient of the Seafood Choices Alliance Seafood Champion award.
A charming and enigmatic man, Barton spoke with passion and conviction. He asked us to ‘listen as a witness, not as an expert’. With intrepid cooks as parents, Barton had an intimate relationship with food growing up. His parents cultivated his respect for food and his understanding of where food comes from.
The ‘guiding hand in natural selection is the chef’ – there is a dichotomy in the burden to destroy and the responsibility to restore. In his work with National Geographic, ‘food is the common lens of exploration’. Barton made the bold statement that our world today is about ‘making sense of the knowledge we already have and not about new discoveries … the next great leap in evolution is from civilised to humanised’.
He cited examples from Peru and Switzerland to support this. In Peru, anchovies (anchovetas) were transformed from by-products to being sold for human consumption. In Switzerland, creative use of a geothermal spring was attributed to the economic resurgence of a hamlet with greenhouses producing bananas and other tropical fruits, and a Siberian sturgeon caviar farm. These stories are about better utilisation and nourishing of existing resources and not finding new ones.
Barton has a different approach to environmentalism and sustainability. The current narrative is focused on healing our wounded planet and how ecosystems are impacted by our footprint. He believes it should be the opposite – nature is not in peril but our reality in nature is at risk. He is a proponent of responsible consumption, a restorative dialogue is needed on not just what we use but how we use it. He mentioned the biblical loaves and fishes miracle as an allegory of taking only what we need and sharing the leftover.
Barton concluded that the ‘long arm of the industrial revolution is deconstructed organism’ where the human element is removed from food.
Sterling Epicure generously gifted each attendee with a copy of For Cod and Country. In his introduction ‘Delicious is the New Environmentalism’, Barton quotes John Hersey - ‘in our quest for food we begin to find our place within the systems of the world’. This encapsulates Barton’s belief in responsible and restorative consumption.
The cookbook is divided into seasons and there are sections on techniques and pantry staples such as spice rubs, marinades, sauces and dressings. There are some non-seafood recipes and a chapter on the seafood showcased in the cookbook. Flicking through the pages, the recipes are relatively simple and most have a short list of ingredients. They’re designed to let the freshness and flavours of the seafood shine.
Sincerely thanks to Keren Brown for organising, Kevin and Terresa Davis at Blueacre for hosting and Barton Seaver for sharing.
Posted Thursday 23 June 2011on:
I love live events. Plays, musicals, comedy shows, festivals – there is something intensely intimate and vulnerable about a live performance. Seattle has finally awaken from its winter slumber, emerged from hibernation to embrace a full calendar of cultural activities.
Usually a wallflower in a room with strangers, I was apprehensive about attending What We Talk About When We Talk About Food (WWTAWWTAF) alone. Thankfully the lovely Kimberly spotted me and we were also warmly welcomed by Myra, the hostess with the mostest of the Andrew Scrivani food photography workshop.
We nibbled on hors d’œuvres as groups mingled. Clockwise from top: salumi and olives cone, fava and garlic skordalia with shallot pita, radish and chive butter toast and smoked trout devilled eggs.
The devilled eggs were very retro and the skordalia was creamy and heady with garlic. The simplicity of the radish toast was a palate cleanser.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Food (I affectionately pronounce the acronym as ‘what-ta-what-taf’) showcased the local talents of, from left to right:
* Amy Pennington of GoGoGreenGarden blog and author of Urban Pantry and Apartment Gardening;
* Anna Roth, food and travel writer and author of West Coast Road Eats;
* Becky Selengut of Chef Reinvented blog and author of Good Fish;
* and Keren Brown of Frantic Foodie blog, founder of Foodportunity and author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle.
Moderated by Amy Pennington, it was a relaxed atmosphere and a convivial panel discussion. There was much laughter at the friendly banter and the rapport between the women were endearing.
Each author also read snippets from their books. My favourite was Becky Selengut’s headnote for her tom yum goong recipe. She had me giggling that the heat rating is WGS – white girl safe.
Below are some anecdotes from each of the authors that I jotted down.
Keren Brown – Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle
* Recommended Mustafa’s harissa as her go-to flavour enhancer
* Felt strongly that tourist landmarks should be included in her guide book
Amy Pennington – Apartment Gardening
* Most people plant in pots that are too shallow for what they’re growing
* Rabbits and bees can make a small space productive (the rabbit section was omitted from her book in editing)
Anna Roth – West Coast Road Eats
* Emphasised the importance of the eateries’ context in and connection to their communities
* The thrill of eating in the moment transforms an excursion into an adventure
Becky Selengut – Good Fish
* Fish species ebb and flow; currently (pun intended) anchovies are ebbing and sardines are flowing
* Suggested mussels, clams, farm trout, squid and of course, sardines as cheap and sustainable seafood for now
I lingered for a while and moseyed across to the Palace Kitchen for supper with Myra, Kimberly and Kate McDermott, pie baker extraordinaire. The aromas of the grilled asparagus and braised pork cheeks were enticing but I opted for a dessert of chocolate Ovaltine panna cotta with cinnamon milk. Genuine conversation, delicious food - a lovely conclusion to a fun evening!
And finally, I’m proud to be the first to purchase a copy of Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle. Where are my Post-it flags?