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Posts posted by skyflyer3

  1. I think black sapote may be what I know as "chico" in the Phillipines. It is brown on the outside, brown on the inside and three dark seeds in very juicy but slightly grainy flesh. It has a darkly sweet taste very much like coffee - if there were a coffee fruit, I think this would be it. Not that it is bitter, but it has that chocolatey, caramelly, roasted, round flavor that coffee has - more of the smell of it than the taste. I hope that makes sense. I don't like it, because it is too sweet for me, but then I love jackfruit, which is much sweeter, so go figure.

    I have only had jackfruit canned, though, so fresh must be amazing! I have had a similar fruit to jackfruit - ababai - which must be cooked, though, before eating due to its high enzyme content. It tastes like peaches mixed with mangos - very sweet.

  2. This is a really tough question. How young are the kids? I think there was a thread on family-friendly places earlier, but I forget what places came up. I usually don't go downtown for places I take my son, that aren't a chain (Old Spaghetti Factory, Benihana, Ivar's, Red Robin) so if they are okay with going elsewhere, my 10-year old and his friends love Tutta Bella in Columbia City, or Piatti's in the U. District, or even Whole Foods. Actually, most places at Pike's Place would probably be fine - I'm sure they see a lot of kids.

  3. Favorite candy bar is the Lion Bar. Tried them on a whim in Italy, and promptly bought a dozen to bring back home. You can find them here in Seattle at the Perennial Tea Room (occasionally) or at this English teahouse/food import place in Redmond, of all places. I searched madly for these when I got back home, emailed the company and was told that they wouldn't carry them in the U.S. Looked for them in Canad, where I've heard rumors that you can find them there, but suppsedly there are cocoa butter restrictions in North America, while there are no limits in the UK and so the ones in Europe are better. For those of you who have never experienced a Lion Bar, they are wafers covered in caramel and crispies, then covered in chocolate. Kind of like a Hundred Grand morphed with a Kit Kat.

    Nestle makes a similar candy bar called the "Drifter". We found them at Cost Plus - two slim bars covering caramel with chocolate - much like a Twix, but with wafers instead of cookies. Tasty, although the chocolate is a little cloying.

    Those Scharffenberger bars you can get at Trader Joes are pretty good. As are the Ritter Joghurt bars (chocolate bars with a tangy yogurt center). Love Toblerone, and Skor. Currently, though, I've got a hankering for Guittard Couverture Wafers. I sampled them at the Gift Show, and now I can't think of anything else. If anyone knows where I can get them locally here in Seattle, please let me know.

  4. There are a couple of restaurant bathrooms here in Seattle that just plain freak me out.

    1) At Tini Bigs - the bathrooms are painted a deep, wet blood red, and dimly lit, so it seems like something could be crouching in the corner, covered in blood. Just what I want to see after I eat a hamburger.

    2) At Dilettante's - the stalls inside the bathrooms have full-length mirrors, placed less than half a foot in front of you on the doors. I kid you not. Obviously, patrons complained enough to the staff about the lack of mirror space in the bathrooms that they now offer you the benefit of fixing your hair while you're on the loo. Gotta love it.

  5. I have to say that I'm not a fan of the Waterfront, but I've only been there once. We were there for the 25 for $25, and throughout our meal the service was snobby and not well-coordinated. They brought out our dinners when I was still visibly eating my salad, and took my plate away anyway, without asking if I minded or offering an apology. My son had the white salmon, which was heartbreakingly good, but my scallops were overdone. And then once a huge group of fiteen were seated next to us, our server blatantly ignored us for over half an hour. I had to get up and ask him to bring us our check. So while I'd like to go back and give them a try, I'm scared of having the same type of experience and paying way too much money for it.

  6. I have add a hearty recommendation for St. Jude's Tuna, usually sold at Columbia City, Renton, Ballard, Bellevue and Redmond Farmer's Markets (I think they go to Edmonds as well). I've been buying his sashimi-grade tune fillets for over three years now, and we prepare them as sushi every week. His steaks are great for throwing on the grill, the canned tuna is fabulous in salads (mediterranean is my fave) , and my 10-year old loves the tuna jerky. Joe Malley, the ship's captain, is usually the one who's at the markets himself, and he'll tell you anything you want to know about fish. He was featured in the PI last week, and has done extensive testing on his catches for mercury, all of which have come out super low. His fish is featured at several restaurants and sushi bars, and lots of local chefs (Douglas, Atkinson to name a few) have used his stuff for private events. If you haven't tried his stuff, go for the fillets (but leave some for me, they sell out fast!).

  7. Thanks so much for the replies. I ended up throwing it in the fridge, and whisking madly every hour. Eventually it came together, but not as the glossy loveliness that it usually is. I'm thinking it was a combination of suggestions here - too much and too hot cream, and the chocolate was a touch past prime (the El Rey was new, but the Callebaut was not). The nice thing was that I still managed to use it as frosting when it got super thick - I mixed it up with a little diplomat cream that I was using as filling, and it turned into a beautiful creamy mocha color that covered the cake quite nicely. Paired with King Arthur's Rich White Cake layers, it was really delicious. Thanks again for the assistance!

  8. I'm currently trying to make a batch of chocolate ganache for a cake, and for some reason it turned into an oily, gooey mess in my double boiler. I've only got two cups of cream and about a pound of Callebaut and El Rey bittersweet in there. I don't know how this has happened - I've always heated the cream, added the chopped up chocolate, stirred and it always came out fine. Now it looks curdled and very oily. Is there anything that can be done? thank you....

  9. I third the alice medrich recipe. It's good, fast and dang easy. It's also easy to modify - I do the apricot lemon variation with the toasted almond crust. The apricot preserves really mellow the tang, and the almond crust makes it all pop.

  10. I picked up some Rama ones at the market as well, and they were splendid. In addition, I picked up a variety of nectarines from another Columbia City market seller - red golds, arctic whites, flame nectarines - diced them up with the peaches and tossed in a few blackberries and made the free-form tart that was in the latest Cooks Illustrated. The crust was wonderful, but the fruit (which I knew was all sweet, since I took nibbles of some slices as I made it) turned out sour after I baked it. Which made me sad and perplexed. Do pitted fruits turn sour when you bake them? I didn't add much sugar to them because I didn't think they needed any. :sad: Please help.

    I love to eat them sliced with Total Yogurt and a little bit of honey. As far as judging if they are sweet, I go by the smell test and the gold test. I've always heard that the deeper the golden color on peaches and nectarines, especially in the areas around the stem, the sweeter it will be. Seems to work really well.

  11. I, too have to commend the Frye on surprisingly good lunches. I don't remember what I ordered last time I was there (I think it was a special, as it isn't on the regular menu) but my friend had the Salad Nicoise and it was great. The egg that accompanied it was the most perfectly cooked egg I have ever had - really creamy and fresh. Okay, I know it's bad that I don't remember what I had and I'm basing this recommendation on an egg, but it was a really, really good egg. You can eat lots of good eggs, but a perfectly cooked one is a rare and true find.

    I had a surprisingly good lunch at the downtown Nordstrom's Cafe about two weeks ago. I had some chicken berry salad, and it was awesome. Candied walnuts, a berry vinaigrette, tender chicken, and assorted berries seemed like a gamble but came together wonderfully. It seems like something simple to make at home - I'm just too lazy to try and figure it out.

    My companions had a tasty tuna melt that came with sizable salads, and a divine pear and blue cheese salad. All were generous entries, reasonably priced ($8-10) and made with quality ingredients. And the desserts in the case looked great - I had a toffee cookie and it was instantly inhaled. The format for ordering your meal is weird - you order at the dessert bar, and then get seated and served - but seemed pretty efficient. Worth a good look.

    Lastly, I love to have lunch at Le Fournil. Yes, it isn't Salumi (a place I also love for lunch) but I really like their sandwiches, and the lunch deal is fabulous - a drink, a sandwich or slice of quiche, and a selection from the pastry case for $6.99! My favorite is the bread and butter with ham and cheese sandwich, although the tuna is good, too. Lunch at Essential is good as well, but seems more expensive than Le Fournil (maybe because I always have to purchase a few chocolates on the side!).

  12. I have to concur with everyone's replies about Mio Gelato and Staccato Gelato - I'd go for Mio Gelato for authenticity, hands down over Staccato Gelato. It's not that Staccato Gelato is bad, it's just that there are enough subtle nuances in the gelato carried by Mio Gelato that make it better, flavor and texture-wise. But Mio Gelato still is too thick/dense in texture for me - it still seems more like ice cream than gelato, if that makes sense.

    We tried Bluehour last time we were down, and if you are just eating with one other person, don't get the caeser salad expecting it to be small. It's huge! But the desserts are quite good. We had black cherry profiteroles and I think chocolate mousse something. And we were at Wildwood three months before - good, but not knock-my-socks-off good - it was all too "clean". Very Northwest. I know that doesn't make sense, but Bluehour's food was better to me.

    Ken's is definitely the place to go - the sandwiches are quite good, the macarons are amazing and the croissants are to die for. Please go the Portland Farmer's Market - it's a splendid one and you can get Rogue Creamery's Butter, and fish and lamb and flowers and black calla lily bulbs and beautiful heirloom cherries. And avoid Moonstruck - the quality has gone so downhill, it makes me sad. I wonder what happened to them? Ten years ago, they were awesome.

  13. I went to the Portland Market a couple of weeks ago, and Jim Dixon was nice enough to point out many worthy places to try, as well as recommend Rogue Creamery's butter. I just made brownies with this butter last week, and they were the best I'd ever had, taste and texture wise. I'm definitely brining a cooler and stocking up on the butter next time I go down.

  14. We checked out the new WF in Bellevue yesterday, and while it's nice, it seems a lot like the one in Portland to me. Which seems a lot like Larry's Market to me, for some reason. I think it has more of a yuppy feel... which is why I don't like it as much as the Roosevelt store. The Roosevelt one is smaller, they store their tea in light impermeable canisters and my car won't heat up in the underground parking. And I didn't see a Jamba Juice in the store. And Trader Joe's is right down the street from the Seattle WF. So I'm sticking to the Seattle one - but am glad that there are more popping up.

    Speaking of which, I heard a rumor there's one going up on Capital Hill, near the Broadway Market. Anyone else hear this?

  15. I just got some Ciao Bella Gelato when I was checking out the new Whole Foods in Bellevue. Nerd that I am, I trolled every single aisle to see if there were different products stocked, and this was one of them (or maybe I just haven't seen this stuff at the Roosevelt store yet). We picked up the Blood Orange Sorbetto flavor and now it's almost gone. I ate nearly half the pint over a bowl of ripe nectarines *swoon*.

    It tastes very much like the cartons of blood orange juice you can buy in little groceries in Italy. Actually, I was hoping it would taste like the Mandarino sorbetto you can get at Giolitti's in Rome. It doesn't, but it's very very good nonetheless. And pulling it from the freezer is much better than having to drive anywhere for ice cream in this awful heat with sticky leather seats and no air conditioning.

    (I brought up the Rome reference because I'm hoping someone is either going to Rome or is there or has just gotten back from there and knows what flavor I'm talking about. If you are going, please stop there and get the Mandarino. It's like biting into sunshine, it's so bright.)

  16. I love this french brand of honey from Chefshop called Huguel; their wild mountain honey is thick and viscous and perfect for tea. It smells a little sharp and acrid, but it's heaven. And the Acacia honey by the same brand is awesome on thickly buttered toast and english muffins, and scones and in yogurt with some mangoes and marmalade. It has a very sunny, mild flavor, very buttery. All the other honey flavors in this line are too strong for me, but these two rock.

    I also have tried the amazingly expensive white hawaaian honey, which is great in texture - very thick and creamy, almost chewy - but the flavor is very subtle. Because the texture is so thick, it's hard to use but I like it on toast as well.

    I got stuck on the Huguel honeys because of a generic brand of honey I had in france called Miel de Lune, that came in these little packets at this motel where we stayed. It was fabulous! Next time I go back there, I'm picking up a jar. Perfect in tea, on butter, anything. It has a well-balanced sweetness, and is a rich, thick gold, like Lyle's Golden Syrup. Really fantastic stuff.

  17. I thought Blue C had fresher fish than Marinepolis Sushiland (both Bellevue and Queen Anne locations) but the service and wait has been terrible, and the prices are too high. I can get better sushi by the piece and pay less at a finer sushi joint.

    But the nice thing about Blue C is that they don't use the "rice pooper", as my son calls it. Sushiland has a machine that squeezes out rice in pre-formed nigiri "blobs", which makes it easier for the "chefs" to add fish for nigiri. The machine feed tube is coated with Vegelene, some sort of spray oil that, combined with watching the machine do its thing, makes me feel seriously ill when I eat the nigiri there. So I stick with the fried clamari, edamame, and sushi with minimal rice. I do like that seared salmon nigiri, though - raw salmon with a little mayo squeezed on it, then seared briefly by a mini propane torch. Actually, I think the salmon is the only thing worth eating at Sushiland. (By the way, if you still want to try Sushiland, go to the Bellevue one. For some reason, they seem to have more variety, although the service is a little uncoordinated at times).

    Wasn't there a kaiten place in the same building as New Kowloon on Jackson in the I.D.? Or is it gone now?

  18. We tried Clara's a few weeks ago, and while it seemed nice, the food was only "eh". Had the pork, and the chicken katsu, and the cheesecake, and I truly don't remember much about the meal except that we thought it was overpriced for the lack of zing we had assumed there'd be, and that we didn't feel the need to go back again. But the servers were very nice, and it was a cute little joint.

  19. I really love Olympic Mountain, but I think it's only sold at restaurants. But for me, better than ice cream, is Bottega Italiana's gelato. Sign me up for the lemon any day. Much better and more authentic - to me, at least - than Gelatiamo, Procopio, Dolce Vita, etc. By the way, has anyone tried the new gelato place in Fremont?

  20. It sounds like Northern Italian is the way I want to go - and actually it was in Venice where we had this amazing lasagna experience. Thank you all for pointing me in the right direction.

    So now it's narrowed down to Northern Italian, could I get some advice on cookbooks that would help me recreate the dish? Thanks again!

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