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eG Foodblog: HhLodesign - On Food and Architecture

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#1 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 07:51 AM

It’s not even 6am yet and I was so excited about starting my food blog today, I couldn’t fall back asleep. I had quite the late night last night, yet my body seems to be telling me that 4 hours of sleep is enough when there is food to write about!

First, a bit about myself. My name is Henry H Lo. I am in no way connected to the “industry” but have found that I have a passion for good food and cooking my whole life. I am 33 years old and an architect in Seattle.

The relationship between cooking and architecture is generally discussed among the architecture world. Both are art forms which are not always recognized as art by the general public. Just as food must provide nourishment for life, architecture must provide shelter. Once these basic requirements are established, only the educated few can see the artistic qualities which some architects/chefs elevate their work to. A few exceptions exist which are too obvious as to not be recognized as art. The buildings of Rem Koolhaus, and Ferran Adria’s work come to mind. I find that my architecture is greatly influenced by lessons I've learned from the cooking world. After all, in both endevours, we are creating "functional art."

Another nice thing about being an architect was the fact that I was able to design and build my own kitchen. More on my kitchen to come.

When I found out I would be food blogging, I set up a number of events in Seattle for myself and my friends to take part in. Here’s a short list of the things I have planned for this week:

Friday March 17th
Trail the chef at Veil
Veil

I did this last night and had a great time. More on this to come. Here's a teaser photo though:
Posted Image

Friday March 17th
Dinner at Crush
Crush
Had a great time! Stay tuned for more information.

Saturday March 18th
Dinner at Veil

Sunday March 19th
Brunch at Monsoon
Monsoon
(That's me on the webpage behind the potted cypress. The owner is sitting to my left)

Sunday March 20th
“Sopranos” Pot Luck

Monday March 21st
Dinner at The Barking Frog
Barking Frog

Tuesday March 22nd
Dinner Party at home

Wednesday March 23rd
Special lunch at Salumi
Salumi

Thursday March 24th
Dinner at Mistral for 20
Mistral

Friday March 25th
Trail the chef at Mistral

Saturday March 26th
Dinner at Marjorie
Marjorie

I also plan on taking you all on a sandwich tour of Seattle. After all, the sandwich is the perfect food!

I am really looking forward to sharing my great food town with the rest of you. Please feel free to let me know if there are any specific places or things in Seattle you would like me to explore.

Talk to you all soon!

#2 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 07:53 AM

Oh my goodness. This looks astonishing. I hope you have a supply of good strong coffee and many, many camera batteries.

Blog on, Henry!
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#3 Safran

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 08:25 AM

Oh my!!! This will indeed be a treat. Am very much looking forward to your blog, Henry. And yes, we do very much want a peek of your kitchen....

#4 bleudauvergne

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 08:44 AM

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Those are some mighty fine looking ribs there, Henry! Hail to the mighty food blog! Looking forward to a week of sleepless nights with you. :cool:

#5 jamiemaw

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 09:18 AM

As a Virgo, Henry, I like the structured itinerary you've put up. And as a builder, I'll be intrigued to see how you link the two functional arts (and sciences) of food and architecture beyond structure.

Jamie

Edited by jamiemaw, 18 March 2006 - 11:53 AM.

from the thinly veneered desk of:
Jamie Maw
Food Editor
Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com
Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

#6 Chufi

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 09:58 AM

Hi Henry,
this is going to be fabulous!
I used to work for an architectural firm (as a secretary) and I often talked with the architects and designers about the link architecture - food. It'll be interesting to learn what you have to say about it.
Also, since I'm going to be in Seattle this fall (for the first time) I'm very excited about all the restaurants you're going to visit, I might get some nice ideas! A sandwich tour will be just what I need!

#7 Abra

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 09:58 AM

Wow, you're sure hitting the high spots! And though I'm only 8 miles from you, except for Salumi, I haven't been to any of the places you'll be taking us, so I'm really looking forward to your travels and musings.

Er, do you cook much, or mostly eat out? And could you find us the best banh mi?

#8 Swisskaese

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 11:12 AM

I am looking forward to this blog. I have a degree in Interior Design and I love Seattle.

I can't wait to see the picture from Monsoon. I adore Dim Sum. Unfortunately, the Dim Sum here is pretty dismal.

I haven't been to Seattle in about 12 years. I ate dinner at the Painted Table. It was fantastic. I heard that it closed.

Blog on Henry....

Edited by Swisskaese, 18 March 2006 - 11:27 AM.


#9 GourmetLight$

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 12:02 PM

:biggrin: Looking forward to this, Henry! And like Abra, I've only been to Salumi on your list of illustrious restaurants in Seattle. Hope to meet you sometime soon.

Cheers,
Carolyn





"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
J.R.R. Tolkien

#10 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 12:50 PM

I got to work in the Veil kitchen last night. It was really quite the experience for me. The first time I've ever worked in a professional restuarant kitchen. I learned quite a bit about the way they cook vs. the way we cook at home.
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For those of you unfamiliar with Veil. It's restaurant about 5 months old in the Lower Queen Anne area of Seattle. The chef, Shannon Galusha, has an extensive resume including stints at The French Laundry and Michele Rostang in Paris. His kitchen is beatiful and very well designed for the way they work.
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There are 5 separate stations that all face North South with the pass facing east west on one side of all the stations. This makes it very easy for each station to complete their component of the dish and slide it to the pass for Shannon the assemble the final creation.
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Although I'm getting ahead of myself. I started by showing up at 3pm and they gave me some chef whites and apron to wear. (Damn! should have gotten a picture of me in those!) My first task was to slice kiwi for the pastry chef.
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Derrick, the sous chef, taught me a great trick for peeling the kiwi. Cut off each end and slide a spoon between the meat and the skin. Then just slide the spoon around the entire circumference of the kiwi. Comes out very clean.
The next thinig I did was learn how to break down an entire Halibut.
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Shannon took off the first 3 loins. It was actually a very simply process of just finding where the backbone was. Slicing down that line, then taking the meat off the cartilage. This was easy because the halibut has a solid plate of cartilage, as opposed to individual bones. So I just had to angle my knife and run it along the plate. not very hard at all.
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Then we cut the loins into serving portions. Shannon gave me a whole lesson on portion sizes, food costs, waste, and such.

Then I wrapped lamb shanks in caul fat. They have all these lamb shanks that are pre-braised overnight. In order to finish the braising process when one is ordered, they have to wrap the shank in caul fat netting. this keeps the shank from falling apart so that they many serve it whole on the plate. Caul fat is the stomach lining of a cow. It's basically all fat and disentagrates when they do the final braise. There are no signs of it (if I did my job right) on the finished plate.
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Dinner service begins at 5pm and the first ticket came in around 5:45pm. They have this small printer in the kitchen that spits out orders as soon as the servers put in the order (sorry if I'm going over things that most of you already know, this is all new to me). Once it started, it never stopped. The kitchen is really a smoothly oiled machine back there. To the untrained observer, it looked like chaos, but they kept coordinating all the dishes perfectly. Everyone knew when the individual parts of an entre needed to get to the pass; and they all got there, hot, within seconds of each other. It seemed that the protein guy, Jake, was the director, telling the others how much time it was going to be before the protein would be done. Then other guys would adjust accordingly.

Here are some interesting shots I got:

mise en place:
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Here's the veg guy hard at work
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One thing I really loved about a professional kitchen was the burners they were using. They never turn the heat up or down. Its always on one temp, but they regulate the tempurate for pans by how close to the center they place the pan.
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The amuse was BLT soup. Lettuce soup, with guanciale bits (smoked pork jowel from Salumi), and smoked tomato oil.
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Here's a shitake tapenade they were making for some dish. Its exactly they way you make a regular tapenade, but they used shitake mushrooms instead of olives.
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Here's a huge vat of stock that was cooking away the entire time I was there. They skimmed it all the time.
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I worked til about 8:30 then got a drink at the bar.
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That's a Hellkat. Invented by Katherine and Helen. Absolute Citron, Amaretto, Triple Sec, pineapple juice. Actually, the bartender forgot to put in fresh mint. His name is Scott so we called this the HellScat.
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After my drink, I was off to Crush for dinner. I would be eating at Veil the following night (tonight), so I didn't want to eat there again. I'm gonna watch some basketball then get back to my meal at Crush.

Edited by hhlodesign, 18 March 2006 - 05:49 PM.


#11 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 12:54 PM

Oh my!!!  This will indeed be a treat.  Am very much looking forward to your blog, Henry.  And yes, we do very much want a peek of your kitchen....

View Post


You can get a sneak peak on my website:

HhLodesign
It's the project titled HhLodesign Studio Residence (obviously)

I'm currently cleaning it so I can take some more photographs to post.

Edited by hhlodesign, 18 March 2006 - 12:55 PM.


#12 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 01:02 PM

Er, do you cook much, or mostly eat out?  And could you find us the best banh mi?

View Post


I Cook about 4 nights a week and eat out the rest. I live alone, so its not so easy to cook for one. I tend to make simple things just for myself. I learned Chinese food from my mom and Italian from the woman who cleaned our school in Florence (I spent my 4th year of architecture school in Florence). So you'll see pasta and fried rice, noodles and simple stir frys often on my weeknight coffee table.

Although, I am friends with many people who live in my building, so we tend to cook for each other quite often. We also have quite a few cooking events and parties.

Here is a link to a color dinner event we had last year.
Color Dinner

#13 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 01:07 PM

Fantastic so far. So, tell me, how is it that you scored this gig? Did you just call and say, "Hey, can I work for you next week?"

Makes me wish I had asked at Al Forno instead of just visiting during the afternoon prep.... :angry:
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#14 Safran

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 02:08 PM

Your loft kitchen is cool, Henry, and the Huwe kitchen is pretty amazing too!

#15 maggiethecat

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 02:20 PM

Henry: all that gorgeous caul fat is as good as food porn gets! I checked the link to your Color Dinner and was appropriately wowed -- what the heck was in the Blue Soup?

You have a busy week coming up, and I, for one, will be checking in here often.

Margaret McArthur

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Studs Terkel

1912-2008

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#16 jackal10

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 02:26 PM

Fantastic views of Viel. Look forward for more

Edited by jackal10, 18 March 2006 - 04:16 PM.


#17 Radio7

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 02:58 PM

Wow. I am envious of your frequent dinners with neighbours. Cool stuff. I look forward to following your blog along, your writing is crisp and eloquent - a pleasure. :cool:
the tall drink of water...

#18 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 03:58 PM

Dinner at Crush was a very nice experience. They opened about a year ago in an area of town called Madison Valley. Although there is only a short stretch of commercial on this particular road. Four top quality restaurants exist there: Rover's, Harvest Vine,Nishino, and of course,Crush. It's a nice neighborhood to be in.

The owners are a husband and wife. The husband, Jason, is the chef, while his wife, Nicole runs the front of the house. I mean literally the "front of the house." They purchased an old single family residence and converted it into a restaurant. I wish I had taken more pictures of the restaurant, but alas, I forgot.

We sat at the bar and asked the chef to do a small tasting menu for us.

The first course was a seared halibut with....(Note to self, take notes next time, and maybe drink less wine) I also forgot to take a picture of this one.

The second course I will never forget:
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"Burger and fries" The burger is a small slice of pan seared foie gras, the bun is a donut hole cut in half, the ketsup is huckleberry puree, the fries are fried salsify chips. A truely amazing and creative dish.

Next we had a seared whitefish (sorry forgot again) with rabbit confit, orage segments, and huckleberry purre.
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Seared tuna on smoked, then braised pork belly. I'm just gonna stop mentioning the ingredients that I forgot.
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I thought the Laguiole knives were a very nice touch. And they only had one stolen since they opened.
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Braised lamb shank with beluga lentils and minted goat cheese.
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I loved the minted goat cheese pairing. It provided both a contrast in textures, tempuratures and flavors.

I forgot to take a picture of the cheese course, and honestly didn't eat much of it. I was already bursting by this time.

Dessert was a selection of chocolates they make in house. Highlights included the Earl Grey Tea ganash, Almond Joy, and PB&(Grandma's homemade)J

We also got a very decadent pecan pie with vanilla ice cream.
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I appoligize for the quality of the photos. the restaurant was full up until dessert. So I opted not to use a flash.

#19 Kouign Aman

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 04:03 PM

What a week you have planned!
And what a start!
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! :biggrin:


Yes, what is in that blue soup?
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#20 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 04:21 PM

Seattle Sandwich Tour Stop #1
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The Baguette Box was opened by the owner of Monsoon, Eric Bahn. Eric and his sister Sophie are origianlly from Vietnam and Edmonton Canada. They opened Monsoon about 7 years ago in Seattle, and it has since become an institution. I wouldn't call the food "fusion" so much as colonial Vietnamese. They use great Northwest ingredients and prepare them based on their Vietnamese roots with highly french influenced flavors. Monsoon is one of my favorite places in Seattle.
Eric is the one on the right.
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I feel the need to describe Monsoon because Eric has taken the same approach wih his sandwich shop. Everything he makes is very distinctive any unlike anything you'll find in other sandwich shops.
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Some of my favorites include the drunken chicken, the braised pork shoulder, the pork loin, and the braised tofu.

I got the tofu today:
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The tofu is braised in coconut milk, then deep fried. It is served with some kind of flavored mayo, pickled daikon, carrots, raw red onions, cilantro, and the most important ingredient...scallion oil.

This place has also gotten very popular, as you can see by the line at 2pm on Saturday:
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I'll be back during the week to feature a few other sandwiches from this place. And stay tuned tomorrow for my brunch at Monsoon.

#21 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 04:22 PM

Fantastic so far. So, tell me, how is it that you scored this gig? Did you just call and say, "Hey, can I work for you next week?"

Makes me wish I had asked at Al Forno instead of just visiting during the afternoon prep.... :angry:

View Post


I am actually good friends with the chef, so it wasn't a difficult gig to get. But my guess is the line "I'm foodblogging for eGullet this week" will open a lot of doors.

#22 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 04:24 PM

Henry: all that gorgeous caul fat is as good as food porn gets!  I checked the link to your Color Dinner and was appropriately wowed -- what the heck was in the Blue Soup?

You have a busy week coming up, and I, for one, will be checking in here often.

View Post


It was a blueberry soup with an aspic jelly top. I think she used a flower for the coloring. The rule was no artificial colors.

#23 Pan

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 07:34 PM

Nice to meet you, Henry! I'm impressed by how organized you are! Your architecture is intriguing, and I look forward to being able to see more pictures of your work when you put them up. The rest of your schedule promises to make for great reading.

A question -- or, rather, a few related questions -- come to mind:

Are you a native of Seattle? If not, how did you end up there? And if you had to move somewhere else, which other places would you most like to live in?

I have been to Seattle for a visit a few years ago and really liked it. I thought Seattle was beautiful, and I ate very well while I was there and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere (to me, as a New Yorker), so I'm not asking any of these questions with the thought of speaking ill of your city. :smile:

#24 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 08:14 PM

"The Kitchen Photos"

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I purchased a commercial storefront space in the Belltown area of Seattle a few years ago. This allowed me to fulfill two requirements I had when looking for a place to live; design my own place, and live in the city. Belltown is a location right next to the Pike Place Market (about a 4 block walk). We have numerous restaurants and bars in the neighborhood. Not to mention boutiquey shops and such.

The problem with my space was that it was long and narrow. So I opted to create a galley kitchen that runs along most of the length of the space.
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The shelves and countertop opposite the kitchen allowed me to have lots of counterspace and provide separation from my bedroom without actually enclosing the space.
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I cut a hole in the countertop next to my cutting area for easy access to garbage. It was also behind a concrete column, making the couterspace unusable.
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I like to keep my spices, oils and sauces within easy reach of the range.
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I have quite the extensive collection of salts.
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Some of the highlights include Italian trufffle salt, himalyan pink salt, and superfine korean salt.

You can never have enough white plates, wine glasses, champagne flutes, cookbooks, and wine.
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Closeup of the cookbooks.
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I had to move all the non cooking food books to another shelf because I was running out of room. (You know the ones...Kitchen Confidential, The Man Who Ate Everything, Noble Rot, Salt, Choice Cuts, Fork it Over, and so on...)

Here's a rendering so you can better understand what I was trying to do with the space.
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The idea was to have everything I added to the space read as an assemblage of pieces that were dropped into the space, almost like a large piece of furniture. I didn't want it to read as if I built walls that divide the space up, yet still have a clear sense of separation between different functioning "rooms"

Off to dinner at Veil. You can read (and see) about it tomorrow!

Edited by hhlodesign, 19 March 2006 - 01:33 AM.


#25 hhlodesign

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 08:31 PM

Are you a native of Seattle? If not, how did you end up there? And if you had to move somewhere else, which other places would you most like to live in?

View Post


The short story:

Moved to NYC just out of grad school at UCLA. Slept on a friend's couch for a few weeks (he was at Columbia at the time.) Recent architecture grads made about 30k a year in 1998. I wanted to live A) in Manhattan B) By myself. I should have ended up in Park Slope with roomates, but everything happens for a reason. A friend of mine said I should come out to Seattle for a 1 year pit stop on the way to NY. That was seven years ago.

More on my background later.

#26 BryanZ

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 08:35 PM

This is a sweet foodblog.

#27 mizducky

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 08:46 PM

Well, this is looking like one spectacular blog. And I was already looking forward to it as a former resident of Seattle. Sounds like you have an incredibly full week planned already, but if I might put in a wee request, I would dearly love if you could wedge in a visit to Kingfish Cafe. I loved that joint.

Oh yeah, and I just couldn't resist highlighting this one particular dish you had at Crush:

The second course I will never forget:
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"Burger and fries" The burger is a small slice of pan seared foie gras, the bun is a donut hole cut in half, the ketsup is huckleberry puree, the fries are fried salsify chips. A truely amazing and creative dish.

View Post

Seems to me I recall a topic elsewhere on this very board concerning another dish featuring a hunk of animal-protein sandwiched between two halves of a donut-type baked good. Just wondering if some of the folks who were perturbed by that other, admittedly much more lowbrow dish might find the concept more palatable in this more rarified form. :raz: :laugh:

#28 hhlodesign

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 01:53 AM

Just got back from dinner at Veil.
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13 courses and four hours later, I am exhausted! Report to follow in the morning.

Good night!

#29 hhlodesign

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 02:26 AM

Your loft kitchen is cool, Henry, and the Huwe kitchen is pretty amazing too!

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Thanks! The Huwe kitchen actually made the cover of Sunset last year.

Sunset Article

#30 Radio7

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 03:18 AM

Henry - you rock.
And your home is most impressive. Hooray for creative living!
the tall drink of water...





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