Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sated in Seattle

I was in Seattle last week on business and had couple very good meals.

Upon arrival, I headed over to Belltown, the Monday location of popular food truck "Where Ya At, Matt." I tried the jambalaya.  Very good indeed.  Smoky, spicy, but not outrageously hot.  Good andouille, chicken, lots of veggies.  Matt himself was not there so I didn't get to meet him.

Monday night I dined at The Walrus and the Carpenter, an oyster bar in the Ballard neighborhood.  Their website said it opened at 4 pm.  Well, I was still very much on east-coast time, and was feeling a bit hungry, so wandered over to the bar at a very unfashionable 4:30 pm.  There was one seat left, at the bar.  Fine with me!

I'm not much of an oyster person, so forewent them.  But ordered a couple of the small plates on the menu, including grilled sardines with a shallot, walnut, and parsley sauce that was knock-your-socks-off good.  I then had their house-cured salmon, sliced and arrayed on the plate with a smear of creme fraiche, a couple slices of tomato, red onion, and a scattering of capers.  All I needed was a bagel!

Dessert was a locally produced, very fresh, very rich ricotta cheese -- an ice cream scoop-sized dollop on top of Ballard Bee honey.  Extraordinary.   The honey was so good I stopped at a local Whole Foods to see if I could find it.  No luck at Whole Foods, but it is available online.  

Dinner Tuesday was another popular Seattle dining spot:  Serious Pie.  It's one of Seattle restaurateur-entrepreneur Tom Douglas's places.  (If you know Stephen Starr in Philly, well, Tom Douglas is the Seattle equivalent, but Douglas, unlike Starr, is a chef.)  Good place.  A bit warm, from the gas oven.  Communal seating, meaning I shared a table with a couple on a date to my left and three business people in town for a sales meeting on the right.  

I got the clam pizza.  Very tasty.  Excellent, tender crust (not crisp or cracker-y in any way, more like a tender focaccia).  Problem was, it didn't taste much like clams.  I picked up the lemon thyme and the pancetta, but the clam flavor was very subtle.  I though I'd get a clam pizza like the ones I knew from Sally's in New Haven, but I was wrong.  The starter, sauteed mustard greens with a blue cheese drizzle, was very good.  

One of the threesome to my right apparently was quite the gourmand, and another was clearly a reluctant eater of new things.  They were friendly, though, and we chatted a bit.  I did have to laugh -- Mr Gourmand was telling Mr Relucant about the pizza Mr Reluctant had ordered -- house-cured guanciale, a soft-cooked egg, and arugula.  Mr Gourmand kept pronouncing it "guan-i-cal-e," but I didn't have the heart to correct him.  I'll add that to the list that includes "vinegar-ette," "maRscapone," and "papper-ika."

Lunch Thursday was at Palisade, a waterfront restaurant overlooking the marina on Elliott Bay, with magnificent views of the Seattle skyline and Mt Rainier.  Excellent salmon bisque and then crabcakes.  Afterwards, my very eager client took me up to a park on a bluff overlooking the bay (Kerry Park), with breathtaking panoramas of the city, the Sound, and the mountains.  

Seattle skyline from Kerry Park, with a ghostly Mt Rainier in the background.

I had some free time Thursday afternoon between client appointments.  I'd seen some signs posted about the Queen Anne Farmers' Market, that afternoon.  Naturally I couldn't resist stopping by and taking a few photos.  The produce was lovely, and the scene lively and fun.  

Thursday night was a business dinner, and I hosted my client at Wild Ginger.  Very, very good pan-Asian food -- noodles, stir-fries, and their signature satays.  Mountain lamb satay and scallop satay to start.  Then a couple stir-fry dishes -- Angkor Wat chicken, Mongolian noodles, and wok-fried barbecue prawns.  Lots of kick, lots of flavor, very pleasant serving staff, and good business conversation to boot.  Heck, with a meal that good, I'm bound to get his business!

After dinner, I rushed back up to Kerry Park and took advantage of the waning dusk light, and got some good nighttime photos of the skyline.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011


RED.  That is all.


Bloob muffin redux

The blueberries are in profusion.  Can't resist making some muffins.  Peg and Adoom like them, too.

Bloob muffin recipe from last year 

I made a small variation when I made the muffins yesterday -- I added a heaping tablespoon of sugar to the just-washed berries, tossed them around, sprinkled on a bit of cinnamon, and added a teaspoon of shredded lemon zest.  Nice. 

I also sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top of each before popping them into the oven.  Turbinado sugar is a coarse, crystalline, free-flowing brown sugar.  ((Dr Dave puts on chemist's hat)) Not quite sure how 'raw' it is -- it would have to go through some serious processing to achieve a crystalline, free-flowing state -- but it's nice on top of muffins or pies. 

One nice thing about muffins is that they keep well.  There's SO much butter in them relative to the amount of flour that they keep 'fresh' for a couple days well-wrapped. 

 Hot out of the oven.

 You can see the turbinado sugar glistening on top.