Thursday, May 21, 2015

Seattle: Crays, Crows, Coffee, Hills, and Pets

I don't know what you've heard about Seattle, but let me clear it all up (if my title hasn't already). It's super hilly, with lots of "different" people, the crows outnumber the pigeons (and they're everywhere), the beer is good, the coffee is better and there is a Mud Bay (similar to a PetCo) on every street. Boom. There's my three day (probably very inaccurate) portrait of Seattle. 

With all that said, Seattle was a great time and we did a lot of awesome things. To keep it short and sweet I've narrowed it down to 10 photos.

Schilling Cider House. ~30 ciders on tap, $2 for a 3oz pour. Taste your heart out. Even beer drinkers will have a good time.
Down the street from Schillings is Fremont Brewing. Good beer and BYOF (bring your own food!). Good for families, couples, and people just taking a break from their bike ride.
My favorite Americano I had in Seattle (and that's saying something!). Nutty and aromatic without the acidic after taste. Amazing.
The Underground Tour. Highly recommended. Very entertaining and good to learn a little history of the city.
I'm not usually sentimental, but something is really nice about seeing HS friends. Taylor's Shellfish - good for oysters (and just for oysters).
Starbucks Reserve. I don't care, I'm a Starbucks groupie (and shareholder). I like the concept of the Reserve, I'm willing to pay a little more to have you melt chocolate chips into my mocha.
The view from West Seattle. We did a lovely kayak tour with Alki Kayak Tours. Sunset tour was great and as an added bonus we saw a bunch of harbor seals! They were adorable.
The tuna flight from Shiro's sushi. Fatty tuna is my jam. Jin was super friendly. Sit at the bar, make a new friend.

Copper Works Distillery. Just a little guy kind of in the middle of nowhere, but they make an awesome gin. Not available (I don't think) on the East Coast, but I shipped a couple bottles home, so come find me for a taste.
This was at the public library, which is a strange place - there was an entire floor that was just red. Cool architecture there, but the citizens don't care, they just go and watch movies all day (told you the people were "different")
So there is it. 10 photo summary.

Fine, pull my leg, we should have one last to round out this post.

Donuts from Pike's Place. PP itself wasn't all that entertaining, but these donuts were solid. They had an almost crueller like texture, and of course Joe got powdered, because he likes to make a mess everywhere.
Seattle was great and sometime we will definitely return. A good mix of laid back and outdoorsy activities mixed with a great food and cocktail scene!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Taste of the Nation NYC Recap

When Joe and I got married, he asked me to pick a charity to support, and I chose Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to fighting childhood hunger. They host an annual event in NYC (and across America)  called Taste of the Nation, where chefs from the city come together and prepare small plates for a good cause. Supporting Share Our Strength whilst eating delicious food? Yes, please!

Side Note: If you're interested in learning more about the charity: Share Our Strength

This is the second year I've attended this event, and since Joe had training in Boston, Mom stepped in to be my date! We had a great time, running around, stuffing our face, sipping cocktails, and meeting chef celebrities. To the extent I can, I plan to go back to this event every year, it's awesome.

Not quite all of our bites, but a photo trail of our night:
TOTN with my adorable mother.
East coast, beast coast oysters.
Whipped camembert and mushroom toast. 
Some sort of flatbread with guacamole, corn and tomatoes.
Housemade ricotta from County Restaurant. So simple, but so good.
One of our many tacos. Tacos de Barbacoa.

Seafood salad in the cutest little bamboo style plate.

Grasshopper cake. Mom insisted on trying it.
Pork belly confit with lentils.
Brisket slider with spicy vegetable pickles from Hill Country.
Gulf shrimp salad with fire and ice dressing.
Chicken Liang from Jeepney with cassava and soy bean chips.
Hamachi crudo. More please!
Chicken Shawarma.
I can't for the life of me remember what this was. Just that it was smoky and delicious.
Sandwiches from Untamed Sandwiches.

Candied bacon from The Smith. Delicious! Mom said it tasted Chinese...
Bangers and mash. I learned from this event, I don't like bangers and mash.
A ravioli filled with something creamy and delicious and possibly an egg yolk.
Someone's interpretation of a bahn mi. At this point, i was just forcing food into my mouth.
Gnocchi. Mom never had restaurant gnocchi before. Now she knows I make it correctly, she just doesn't like the texture.
Ice cream macarons!
Cheesecake with rhubarb and crumble.
Cracker jack style ice cream. For someone who doesn't really enjoy ice cream, this was quite good.
Somehow we made our way around another floor of food. Peking duck wonton.
Caviar! Mom had a field day with this despite being stuffed.
Potato chip with pork or beef (I can't remember), but I do remember enjoying it.
Spring onion custard. This was amazing. Despite being 150% full, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
Cured salmon. When I asked the chef if he cured it, he replied "Do you think I'd walk in here with someone else's salmon?"
Mussel mousse!
Overall a great night with amazing company and an awesome cause.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Recipe: Dan Dan Noodle Soup

So I bought a book called "Chinese Rice and Noodles", because, well, I'm terrible at making Chinese food. I feel like one day when my kids are like, "Mom, make me something Chinese", I want to be able to make something more than fried rice. I'm going to slowly make my way through it, so here's the first of my "Ya'll Gonna Learn Chinese" (thanks Jin the MC) series.

I was all excited and sent my mom and dad a photo of my dinner, proud of my Chinese Sunday Night Dinner.

The response?

Mom: "Dan Dan noodles should be dry, no soup."
Dad: "Fusion"

But it was in the book, so I furiously texted back "It's in this book, it's a real thing"

Dad: "It is not a real thing. It is like pineapple or seafood pizza. Real thing to ABC (for those that don't know, that means American Born Chinese) not CBA"

So, fail. It was still pretty good though and a great quick and easy meal.

Dan Dan Noodle Soup in all it's ABC glory.
ABC Dan Dan Noodles Soup
Serves 2

  • 1/4 lb. ground pork (or a 1/3-1/2 if you're omitting the tofu)
  • 1/2 a package of extra firm pressed tofu diced finely (this was my touch...because I didn't have enough pork)
  • 2 T. sweet bean paste
  • 2 small stalks of bok choy
  • 3 T. sesame paste
  • 3 T. water
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 t. rice vinegar
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 C. canned chicken soup + 2 C. water (Wait you don't just have chicken stock lying around from all the rotisserie chickens? You do? Then just use a quart of it!)
  • Scallions, cilantro, szechwan pepper, chili oil (all optional...sort of)
  • Dried noodles (I used two small fresh ramen packs)
Start by heating up your chicken stock (and if you have enough pots, start heating up water for cooking your noodles!). We like shiitake mushrooms and always have some lying around, so I throw two sliced up in there. You're probably not supposed to, but I like it, so why not. Once hot, you can blanch your bok choy in here. A minute or so and you can pull it out for later.
Then it's time to make the soup base. Mix the sesame paste, water, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce together in a bowl, Sesame paste can be tough to work with. Sometimes heating it for 30 seconds and using hot water helps everything get smooth. Once well combined, split into two bowls.
Sesame paste should be sold in any Asian grocery store. I like this one.
Almost smooth!
In a dry pan, stir-fry meat and firm tofu (diced finely!). Break up the pork so that it's about the same size as your tofu. After meat is cooked through, add the 2T of bean paste and continue to stir-fry. This would be a good time to drop your noodles into your boiling water as well.
Sweet bean paste. Really handy to have around. 
If you're vegetarian, just double the tofu and eliminate the pork!
We're almost there!
Once that's done and your soup is heated, just dump the soup into your base and stir.
Ready for the rest of the yum!
Add the noodles, bok choy, and tofu/pork mixture. Top with scallions, cilantro, and chili oil/szechuan peppers. Serve hot and enjoy!
So many layers of flavor and a great way to wind down a weekend.
The best part of Sunday Night Dinner, is having Gags across from me.