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eG Foodblog: HhLodesign - On Food and Architecture

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#31 fou de Bassan

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 04:44 AM

henry,
oh dear, my dial up is gasping trying to keep up with the photos! Looks like I'll be visiting friends with better connections just to check in on your blog.
Great start, btw.
If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

#32 hhlodesign

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 12:36 PM

Dinner at Veil was quite the experience. As soon as I stepped in the front door, the hostess said to me, "I hope you are hungry, because Shannon really went all out!"

I met my party at the bar and they were all buzzing as well. We had one drink. I had water, as I knew the wine would be flowing at dinner, and sat around 8:15pm.

I am very impressed with the wine list at Veil. More than half the bottles are in the $30-$50 range. They don't really focus on any particular region, but have wines from all over. I think they really went to the trouble of finding great wines that are both affordable and go well with the food.

We started with the Ployes-Jaquemarte Brut Rose. A very subtle rose champagne. Not quite as full bodied as the Billecart Salmon Brut Rose, and also half the price. It was light and crisp and would go very well with our first few course.

The tuna crudo came out first.
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Very simple tuna tartart with small bits of fennel and dill. Very refreshing. Especially with the Champagne.

Next came the Penn Cove oyster.
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It was sitting on a thin sheet of cucumber gellee and topped with "cucumber spagetti" and champagne vinegar. The oyster was very fresh and went nicely with the sweet cucmber accompaniments.

Nantucket Scallop
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This was my favorite dish. I think they found a new holy trinity of scallop, asparagus, and abalone mushroom. Alll sitting in some 25 year old balsamic.

Main Lobster Tail Salad
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With shaved fennel, meyer lemon aioli, citrus powder, and some white asparagus tips. A very clean dish.

Pacific Tuna Pave
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Another favorite of the table. Came with chives and tarragon (I helped pick the tarragon leaves the night before. Shannon was meticulus about the size of leaves he would use), smoked anchovies, and harissa rouille powder, which has a smoked paprika like flavor. I should note that the powders are usually presented in a nice line on the side of the plate, so that the diner can use as much or little as he wishes. Plus it makes for a nice presentation contrasting the round plate.

Black Bass Filet
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This was my next favorite dish. It was served with "peas and carrots" Texas pea puree and small albine carrots. I have never seen albino carrots before. They seem to taste more subtle than orange ones. Great course!

Alaskan Halibut
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This was Shannon's take of Fish and Chips. The chips were a potato halibut cake and the tartar sauce was a remoulade. Loved it!

Bronzino
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With spicy garbonzo beans and chorizo and a spanish spice called leppo. Here's where the courses started to move towards the more flavorful fish. We were finishing up our Champagne and had started the next bottle, a Pouilly Fuisse from Bret Brothers.
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Although this was a very nice dish, I think we needed a bit more full bodied wine to go with our later dishes. The wine was indeed wonderful though!

Spanish Sardine
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Maybe it's the fact that I'm Chinese, but there is something I love about an entire fish coming to the table. Also the fact that you can eat the whole thing. This sardine was stuffed with tomato confit and capers. Splashed with some caper vinegrette. I loved this dish! Very strong flavors that all worked together.

I should note that Shannon had been bringing many course to our table and has keeping a good eye on us to see how we were doing. After the Sardine course, he asked if we thought we could finish the menu. We were a unanimous "probabely not". He suggested we combine the next two courses and finish with a light dessert. I really enjoyed the fact that the chef knew that he needed to interact with the client and make sure that the menu could adjust accordingly to how the client is reacting to it.

The next two courses came together. Two servings of each for the four of us.
Salmon
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with heirloom beets, zinfandel dressing, and a small dolope of creme freche. Nice.
Calamari
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Stuffed with beef cheeks and shitake tapenade (I helped make that the night before). I would have loved this dish had I not been stuffed beyond full 4 courses ago. The Beef was just the last thing I wanted when I just can't eat another bite of anything.

Study in Sorbet
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Spoon coconut with passion fruit soup. Best of the 3
"Lemon Iced Tea" tea sorbet with Meyer lemon soup. Very refreshing.
"Gin and Tonic" Quinine sorbet with lime curd. The after dinner drink if you will. loved it.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
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We couldn't leave without getting one thing on the normal menu. The peanut butter ice cream is legendary. I think they should sell it byt he pint!

There is the age old philisophical question, "Can you Feast every day?" The answer is unquestionably "NO!" After 2 days of tasting menus, I'm wondering if I can get through this week without altering the itinerary. Stay tuned.

Edited by hhlodesign, 19 March 2006 - 02:59 PM.


#33 Chufi

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 02:19 PM

Henry that's an awesome dinner! I can imagine you needed to recuperate a bit after that.. :smile:

Please feel free to change your plans, we want to see you eat but most of all we want you to enjoy yourself!

#34 Safran

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 02:32 PM

Henry, there would be no brunch for me today if I had been at that table! The Alaskan Halibut looked exquisite...actually, everything looked fabulous!

#35 hhlodesign

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 04:14 PM

Architecture Tangent

I've come to realize my favorite "fancy" meals tend to correspond with the way I think about design. My work tends to be about the purity if the material. It its wood, let's make it look like wood, concrete should look like concrete, steel like steel. Fo me, its about using the material in its purest form and doing just enough to it to make it perform the appropriate function. Minimalism. This is what I've noticed about places like Veil. Shannon picks the best ingredients and does just enough to them to bring out their natural flavors. The art is what he chooses to put together and how their flavor compositions interact in your mouth. Very much like architecture in that the beauty is in the interaction of materials or ingredients.

My photos from last night do not do the food justice, so I felt the need to post some professional shots:
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I love how the food is always in its pure form. And they are not covered in heavy sauces both aesthetically and in flavors.

When I speak to my architect friends about chefs, I tend to compare them to architects. I compare chefs like Shannon Galusha and Thomas Keller to Tadao Ando for all the reasons I described above. Ando's buildings are all about purity of the material and composition.
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William Belickis of Mistral is also in this catagory, and its also one of my favorite places. His food resembles the work of David Bouley, as he spent time at the Bouley Bakery before coming out to Seattle. I have quite the meal planned at Mistral this Thursday!

I would say guys like Grant Achatz and Ferran Adria are somewhat like a mix between Rem Koolhaas and Santiago Calatrava.
While RK and SC are not "avante garde" per se, their work tends to resemble living diagrams. Koohaus will study how he thinks a building should work, and the form of the building takes the shape of the diagram. It's a very logical, and I feel successfull, approach of creating form.
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Calatrava, on the other hand, is all about structure. The form of the building is the structure. There is a certain flair to the way he assembles the pieces, but he is all about exposing the beauty in the structure.
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So its all about taking something that is very tangible and real, and abstracting it to create form. That's how I interprep the movement started by Adria.

Let's end this with some images of the gorgeous design of Veil. A local firm in Seattle,Arai Jackson, did a great job on the place. The idea was to make the food the art. they wanted the architecture to be minimal, and let the food stand out, but still be distinctive. I think they suceeded.
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#36 ChefCrash

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 04:19 PM

Henry, there would be no brunch for me today if I had been at that table!  The Alaskan Halibut looked exquisite...actually, everything looked fabulous!

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Ha! There's no dinner for me after just looking at these dishes. :biggrin:
Wonderful blog Henry.

I'm hooked on these blogs.

#37 hhlodesign

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 04:25 PM

Henry, there would be no brunch for me today if I had been at that table!

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Alas, I had to keep to the itinerary. Brunch today was at Monsoon.

They do the best Pho in Seattle. maybe it has to do with the fact that they use Kobe Beef.
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They also have a very eccletic mix of western and asian menu items. Anything from Daikon cakes with chinese sausage to Vanilla French Toast:
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We also had crispy shrimp and chive dumplings
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scrambled duck eggs with abalone mushrooms
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and steamed sticky rice with pork
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Now its off the the Pike Place Market to shop for the Sopranos Pot Luck tonight. Eggplant Parmesiano will be my contribution.

I really need to find some time also to do some cardio and burn off the calories I've been consuming. Typing just isn't doing it for me.

#38 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 04:32 PM

Wow..........I'm totally enjoying your perspective...thanks!

#39 Genny

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 05:11 PM

Henry, hello! It is nice to meet you. You really are taking one for the team this week. This blog is pure fantasy! I have always enjoyed architecture and am fascinated by your thoughful parallels to chef's plating. Fascinating!

Can you tell us if you have any particular favorite chefs or architects?

By the way...is that a skateboard I see in the kitchen?
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#40 Rebecca263

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 05:27 PM

Rem Koolhas! :wub: Thank you, for eating all of this food for us, and for sharing with us your unique perspective of food and architecture!
edited by me to add: KoolhAs, jejejeje!

Edited by Rebecca263, 19 March 2006 - 10:16 PM.

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#41 Safran

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 05:47 PM

Daikon cakes??? Duck eggs??? I weaken at the knees........

#42 Megan Blocker

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 06:34 PM

My goodness, Henry! How are you still moving? I think you must have at least two hollow limbs. Bravo!
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#43 jamiemaw

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 06:53 PM

Thank you for philosophic alignment of food and architecture. I agree with you: Build it local and they will come.

Edited by jamiemaw, 19 March 2006 - 08:28 PM.

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

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

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#44 Jmahl

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 08:22 PM

Intriguing – creative use of space and local.


Have you heard of “Eating Architecture” Edited by Jamie Horwitz and Paulette Singley -- 2004 MIT Press?

Some interesting observations on the interaction of Food and Architecture.
The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

#45 Ling

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 08:28 PM

Absolutely amazing blog! I love the creative use of space in your kitchen, and the meals you've shown us look incredible. I can't wait to come down to Seattle and eat at Monsoon and Veil!

#46 Jmahl

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 08:35 PM

In the book sited to above, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett argues that “food as a performance medium.” Is there any doubt?
The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

#47 MarketStEl

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 10:10 PM

Oh, wow.

Back when I was little--the age at which most boys answer the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with "A fireman!" or "A cowboy!"--I answered it, "I want to be an architect!"

Didn't come to pass, sorry to say. But writing has its pleasures too.

This is the most visually appealing blog I've run across yet, although I'm afraid Rem Koolhaas has yet to grow on me. (Neotraditional city planning and New Urbanist thought are more my speed, and these subjects have less to do with the essence of materials than the spatial relationships between structures and uses. Consider it a form of "plating," if you will.)

I've only just skimmed the surface, as I have to turn in soon to get up at an ungodly early hour Monday to do work I would have done tonight had I not spent the entire evening trying to make a recalcitrant wireless router behave, without success. I plan to dig into the meat of this exercise sometime tomorrow.

Great work so far. You may even be able to get away without the obligatory inside-the-fridge shot. :wink:
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#48 bjones9942

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 11:05 PM

Yet another, 'Thank You'! Simply wonderful.
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#49 hhlodesign

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 11:46 PM

Thanks to everyone for all the encouraging feedback. It makes an already enjoyable experience even more so!

#50 hhlodesign

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 11:49 PM

Henry that's an awesome dinner! I can imagine you needed to recuperate a bit after that.. :smile:

Please feel free to change your plans, we want to see you eat but most of all we want you to enjoy yourself!

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Gonna try and keep with the original plan. I'm just gonna up the nightly running regimen. Also, portion control.

#51 hhlodesign

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:03 AM

Can you tell us if you have any particular favorite chefs or architects?

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I really admire the work of Thom Mayne of Morphosis
and Rem Koolhaas of OMA.

They are both taking architecture beyond simply building, but thinking about human interaction with space, innovative uses of textures and materials, and redefining how we think about buildings.

In that same regard, I have to admire Ferran Adria. Although I've never eaten at el bulli, I have the 98-02 book (to simply call it a cookbook would be blasphemous) His devotion to innovation, creativity, experimental attitude, and perfectionism is something I strive for. God! I want to eat there!!!

As far as chefs whose food I've eaten (not counting the local places I will be talking about in this blog), I've had some great meals at Danube and Bouley and try to get to one of them every time I'm in NY.

I had a meal at Chez Pannise a few years ago and was very impressed. And how can I not acknowledge the innovations attributed to Alice Waters!

I'm still trying to get a meal at the French Laundry, but the open face lamb sandwich I had at Bouchon was wonderful, not to mention the French onion soup (someone I was with asked if he could get it with no cheese or beef, really!) His books are two of the most beautiful in my collection and from everything I've read, I'd say Thomas Keller would have to be on my list of favorites.

Edited to add: How can I forget Mario Batali. The only American who truely gets how to do Italian right! Not to mention his dad's skills at curing meat. You'll all be seeing that on Wednesday.

Then, of course, there is the guy (or girl) who makes my "cheeseburger animal style" from In-N-Out, any Italian grandmother, and my mom!

By the way...is that a skateboard I see in the kitchen?

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I grew up in Southern California and always have a skateboard around. It's funny how many people comment on that. My place was in a local magazine last year and the photographer wanted a shot of me skateboarding through the space (which I often do). Concrete floors are great! It also give me just enough extra height to reach the upper cabinets above my open shelving, and I take it down to the Market sometimes.
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Edited by hhlodesign, 20 March 2006 - 03:39 AM.


#52 hhlodesign

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:28 AM

Intriguing – creative use of space and local. 


Have you heard of “Eating Architecture” Edited by Jamie Horwitz and Paulette Singley -- 2004 MIT Press? 

Some interesting observations on the interaction of Food and Architecture.

View Post


Wow! I just looked it up and ordered it on Amazon.

"Antonin Careme, father of French cuisine, claimed, "Most noble of all the arts is architecture, and its greatest manifestation is the art of the pastry chef.""

#53 hhlodesign

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 12:52 AM

"Sopranos Pot Luck"

Shopped at the Pike Place Market for my ingredients, but I'll have a whole entry about the Market in a future installment. Here's just a teaser photo.
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My plan was to make eggplant parmesiano because I thought some vegetarian friends of mine were coming, but they ended up eating at Veil instead. So I decided to call them out on National Media. "Real nice Aaron and Stacy!"
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I love my Salumi apron!

But I thought it would be fun nonetheless. First I sliced up the eggplant, salted them and let them drain for about 30 mins.
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Then came the chopping.
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garlic
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onions
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parsley (flat leaf of course!)

after pressing the eggplant dry on paper towels, it was time to bread them.
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I put some chinese 5 spice and cayanne in the flower. the breadcrumbs are panko.
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While they roasted in the oven, I made the marinera. Just garlic, onions (everything good starts with garlic and onions!), a can of San Marzanos, oregano, and basil. I also added some curry powder and anchovy paste.

Finally I assembled it all together with parm, assiago, and mozz.
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Then it was upstairs to watch the Sopranos. I had mentioned before how I am friends with many people in the building I live in. Mardi and Dion live on the 3rd floor and they have a huge loft. We purchased an LCD projector together last year (for a Super Bowl Party) and we lug it back and forth between our homes depending on who want to use it. Tonight they had it.
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Here's the problem with Italian Pot Lucks. Not enough food, and too many bottles of Chianti. That's what happened tonight. William brought a very nice antipasta platter (forgot to take a pic), Melissa made a wonderful tiramisu,
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and Tom brought biscotti and vinsanto.
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It was a very fun evening.

Time to go for a run and work off some of that food.

Good night!

#54 Ling

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 01:11 AM

I want a Salumi apron too! :wub:

Did you use a recipe for the eggplant parmesiano? I made one awhile back using Emeril's recipe (it has meat) and it was pretty good. I haven't thought of putting in anchovy paste in the sauce...sounds like a good addition! :smile:

#55 hhlodesign

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 01:43 AM

Back when I was little--the age at which most boys answer the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with "A fireman!" or "A cowboy!"--I answered it, "I want to be an architect!"

Didn't come to pass, sorry to say. But writing has its pleasures too.

View Post


It's never too late!

Great work so far.  You may even be able to get away without the obligatory inside-the-fridge shot.  :wink:

View Post


My inside the fridge shot is not that exciting. I tend to walk down to the market and buy ingredients fresh when I want to cook. It's nice because I can go during the day because I work for myself. It's usually a nice half hour break from work, and usually combine shopping with lunch.
But here you go:
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All the beer is leftover from a party I had. I don't really drink beer, so they tend to linger til the next party.
I think I'm addicted to Pelligrino.
I have some tofu marinating to be grilled.
leftover Cole slaw that I made last week (should be thrown out)
leftover chili I made last week (must be thrown out!)
You always have to have a bottle of white chilling!
I usually keep some scallions, onions, carrots, spinach, leaks, and peppers around.

#56 His Nibs

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 03:26 AM

nice mac knives! :wub: No sane male of chinese descent will be caught by the lack of LKK sauces (especially the black bean with garlic)! :biggrin: Great Blog!

Edited by His Nibs, 20 March 2006 - 03:27 AM.


#57 FabulousFoodBabe

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 05:13 AM

Great blog, Henry. Heck: great apartment, great writing, great knives, great life! You're a man of many talents; thank you for sharing them.

(BTW, your apartment is an empty-nest dream of mine ... )
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

#58 Kouign Aman

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 06:59 AM

I tend to walk down to the market and buy ingredients fresh when I want to cook. It's nice because I can go during the day ...


I think you just described paradise.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#59 Swisskaese

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 08:24 AM

I am really enjoying this blog Henry. I think it is so cool that you are getting to see how a restaurants runs.

I also like your living space and it reminds me of a Japanese architect called Kei ichi Irie.

Here is a link to his website.

#60 DameD

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 09:36 AM

great Blog, really enjoying it. Love your abode as well, reminds of a place i used to live in, esp. as we always have a skateboard floating around our place as well. Seattle is a great city, being from Vancouver, I come down there a few times a year, and tomorro is one of them, we are going to see a band (Gomez) at the triple door, can you recommend any places to dine near that venue.
DANIELLE

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