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Everything posted by hhlodesign

  1. Of course! I also made it out to the Brion Cemetery.. What a hauntingly (pun intended) lovely place!
  2. They'll be at the Mistral dinner on Thursday. I'll get a picture up then. Wanted to focus on the food last night. Love the crab at SSP! SSP is actually very good. Its just so much more dramatic to say "There is NO good Chinese in Seattle!" I like Honey Court in the ID and the place in the Great Wall Mall by 99 Ranch Market. Monsoon for a "different" kind of dim sum.
  3. There's quite a few threads on the PNW board that mention Paseo, some going back as far as 2003. Lookie here. No worries, bro, the secret's been out for awhile! ← They should all be shot!
  4. Damn! Now you've gone and made me admit that I am terribly wasteful. Soup next time.
  5. Just a simple (cheap) Cuisinart. The plastic one that comes in different colors. We had nice music playing and good conversation to mask the noise from the maker. I get the mixture as cold as possible in the freezer before I put it in the maker. It took around 20 mins. We had the halibut and cheese courses while it was going.
  6. Shannon introduced me to it. I figured out that my spellling was wrong its nueske bacon. I find the smoke flavor more intense. White truffle I think goes great with a nice sweet scallop. Perfect marriage, maybe? At least until the scallop finds a younger, prettier truffle. The sorbet was just juice and sugar. I kept tasting it til I thought it had enough sugar. I will definately do the float again! It was a hit!
  7. I can definitely taste the halibut, but also the curry as well. So I'd say no. I just meant I should not have had truffles in every cheese. It would have been nice to take a break from truffles for a bite or two of something completely different, like a blue or a goat. Love the flavor of the potstickers! Why, does it not sound appetizing?
  8. Too bad about the SSW dish. I'm due for another Whistler trip soon, so I think I'll try Sea Harbour this time. Thanks!
  9. When we were talking about colors, I was showing my client the computer model of her space. I told her we could look at any color she wanted in the computer. Her eyeglass at time were lime green. I said I we can even plug in the color of her glasses. When I rendered it up. We both loved it! I would absolutley love to do product design! The problem is that there are only so many hours in a day.
  10. I first went to Mistral with a girl who was up here from San Fran in 2001. (Thanks Cindy!) She was extremely into good food and on expense account, so she was at Mistral once a week. She knew the chef, William Belickis, very well and introduced me when I went in. This was the very first time I had a tasting menu. It was a life changing experience. Even though we ordered a bottle of wine, they brought us different wines for certain courses; including a sauternes for the foie gras course. It was also the first timeI had ever had foie gras. I was so enthralled with this dining experience, I couldn't stop talking about it for weeks. Coincidentally, the local NPR station was having a restaurant call-in show a week after my meal. I felt compelled to call in. KUOW restaurant show My appearance begins 27 minutes into it. William called me a few weeks after the show aired (I had given him my business card.) He wanted to thank me for what I said on the radio and offered me and a date dinner on him. We've been good friends ever since. The owners of Veil are high school friends from Bainbridge Island. One of them moved into my building about 2 years ago. Through him I met Shannon. We've all become good friends. Of course knowing the owners/chefs of these places may cloud my judgement. But I contend that the places I write about in this blog are truely some of the best in the city. Other places I get to know the owners just from being a regular. Very much like the Fat Guy writes about in Turning the Tables. I've learned that the restaurant industry is quite a small community. All the chefs seem to have worked with each other at some point. So they all know each other. So when I hang with some chef friends after dinner service, I tend to meet other ones as well. It's really pretty cool! At my orphan's Thanksgiving last year, I had chefs from some of the best restaurants in town at my house! How cool is that! Orphan's Thanksgiving 2005 I should also add that the communal table at Salumi is a great place to meet not only chefs, but all kinds of interesting people. You'll read about that tonight.
  11. I wish I was smart enough to be on a Fulbright! It was actually my 4th year of architcture school (5 year BArch program) Luckily, my university offers study abroad programs in Florence, Copenhagen, and Kyushu, Japan. I think I picked the best one! I spent 9 months in school right in the heart of Florence, and traveled around Europe on the weekends and for 3 months after finishing the program. It was one of the best years of my life! You must understand that before I left for Florence, I had only lived in Southern California my whole life. Even worse, only Orange County (behind the Orange Curtain) and Pomona (the armpit of LA.) I ended up getting an apartment with 3 other architecture students 3 blocks from the Duomo and steps from the Mercato Centrale, or San Lorenzo Market. It was in Florence that I realized the importance of buying fresh ingredients every day and getting to know your purveyers. Until that year, I bought everything from the closest grocery store to my house. I really got to know my local bakery, fish guy, meat guy, produce people, and alimentari (small shop selling staples.) The local alimentari also made fresh panini to order. I usually got the same one all the time; Salami piccante con fontina y pesto. It was also in Florence that I started to understand the concept of buying only the best ingredients, and doing very little to them. I also developed a love for Panna. Small packages of very thick cream I used to make white sauces. I can't seem to find that here in Seattle, or back in LA. Anyone? Since I was on a student budget, we never really ate at the very nice places. But boy! did I ever have some good food that year. One of my favorite places was a small sandwich shop inside a little tunnel called Antico Noe. The other side of the tunnel from Noe was another tiny hole in the wall (literally) that made the best falafel and shawarma sandwiches. My usual order was a shawarma piccante and an aranccino. Aranccini are rice balls with meat that are breaded and deep fried. Mmmmmmmmm! Another favorite of ours is il Latini. Large communal table. Two set seatings a night. Family style dinners. Hundreds of prociutto hanging from the ceiling. When the meal was finishing, two guys came to the table. One tall and thin, the other short and round. We called them Laurel and Hardy. The tall one pointed around the table and told the short guy what we had. The short guy wrote nothing down, but told us what we owed. Human calculator. I miss Florence! I haven't been back since 1995. I need to go!
  12. It's so nice to wake up to so many wonderful comments. Thanks All!
  13. I had a small dinner party tonight. Just 3 guests. I've been wanting to have my friends Anne and John over for awhile. They recently had a tribute to Julia Child dinner party where they cooked only out of the MTAOFC book. It was unbelievable, and I have yet to return the favor. I had a meeting at 3pm which ran longer than expected, so I was off to a late start. left for the Market at 5:30pm. First I picked up my fish. There are 3 fish mongers in the market. The guys who throw, I never go to. You have to deal with the throngs of tourists standing around waiting for them to throw something. I go to Pure Foods. Next I bought the meat at Don and Joe's. Then off to Delaurenti for cheese. And Frank's for produce. Finally I had to pick up some wine. Pike and Western Wine Shop for that. You can see the Sound beyond the park from their window. Then I had to get some foie gras. The chefs at Mistral are generous enough to give me the scrap pieces they don't use. Luckily, Mistral is (almost) on the way home from the Market. But I have to use the back door. That's Stacy the pastry chef. Got home at 6:00pm with 2 hours before my guest were scheduled to arrive. I like to set the table first. Here's a closeup of the menu for tonight. In case you still can't read it: Foie Gras and Duck Confit Potstickers Ginger Carrot Soup With Seared Diver Scallop Curried Halibut with Newski Bacon and Brussel Sprouts Assorment of truffle cheeses with La Panzanella Crostini Mimosa Float Now it was time to cook! Pot stickers came first. The filling is Duck Confit (I bought it, no time to confit the duck myself), foie gras, shitakes, shallots, soy, sesame oil, salt and pepper. I used the processor, but I didn't like the final texture. I should have hand chopped it. Then I made the soup. Carrots, leaks, and ginger went into the hot wok with butter. Then I add chicken stock, boil, then simmer for about 45 mins. then into the blender, strained, and back on the range to simmer until its ready to serve. I finish it with some more butter right before I serve it. I prepped the brussel sprouts. I just used the outer leaves. The inside ones don't look very appealing. I cut the bacon into small pieces and threw them onto the range to crisp up a bit. I let them cool and chopped them up into fine bits. I squeezed and strained the Cara Cara oranges. They are like blood oranges, but meat is more pink than red. Then put the juice in to the freezer to chill. Then I prepped the scallops and halibut. Scored the scallops with a tic tac toe grid on one side. then just salt and pepper. The halibut just got salt, pepper, and curry powder. By now it was 10 to 8 so I decided to start cooking the poptstickers, hoping my guest would be on time....They were. We drank some Champagne and sat down for dinner. The sauce is simply soy, sesame oil, black vinegar, and chili garlic sauce. When I do multi course dinner parties, I usually sit with my guests, eat my course as quick as I can, then slide into the kitchen to make the next course. It usually works pretty good. Since my soup was already made. I only had to sear the scallop. This takes very little time. I like my scallops almost raw. I get the pan as hot at I can so the outisde will brown quickly leaving the inside rare. Then I ladle the soup around it. I put some white truffle oil and Hawaiian pink salt on top. I seared the halibut as I made the brussel sprout bacon side. The Brussel sprouts and bacon just get a splash of soy and black pepper. I'm a big fan of lots of negative space on a plate. I also liek the look of colored food on a white plate on a black table cloth. I did the cheese course family style. Truffled Gouda Cacio di Bosco Stagianato (Sheep) Sottecenere al Tartuffo (Cow) They all have truffles in them! In hindsight, I think it was a bit too much truffle. I should have gotten more variety. Dessert was a lot of fun. I started the ice cream maker when I was making the halibut dish. The Cara Cara Orange sorbet came out very well. I served it inside the flute with Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose. It was a very fun evening. Now I have to clean up!
  14. I'll have to check it out. I did read an article recently about how both Del Posto and Morimoto were suffering. Anyone been? thoughts? I love "The Man Who Ate Everything."
  15. I'm gonna get back to this one, cause I have a lot to say about my experience in Florence and what I learned about food and eating there. I just have too much work to get done today. Oh, and we had 6 in our party before Pablo sat down.
  16. That's quite a line-up. I wish I was there to finish up the desserts for you all. I love Michel Cluizel, Valrhona Manjari, and Nutella. Date ice-cream sounds very interesting and delicious as well! Do you have a favourite dessert in Seattle, Henry? When I was eating my way through the Dahlia Lounge pastry case, my favourite was the lemon tart with Italian meringue. ← We could have used your help. It's always such a shame when the desserts come and are so delicious and you are just way to full to eat anything else, regardless of how good it is. My favorite dessert is still the peanut butter ice cream at Veil! You have to try it when you come down! I have a nice mental image of you in the pastry case at Dahlia eating away. I'll have to try the lemon tart. I need your list of great Chinese places in Vancouver. What do you think of Sun Sei Wah? and is the downtown or Richmond one better?
  17. Seattle Sandwich tour Stop #3 Paseo. Unless you know where you're going, you'll never find it. There is no sign. I should be shot for sharing this little secret place with the world. They are a little shack in the Fremont area of Seattle, and they do the best cuban sandwiches on Earth! Of course I've never been to Cuba so I'm speaking from an area of ignorance. I'm not talking about the pressed, melted cheese, jobs all over miami. They marinate porkshoulder, chicken breast, thighs, fish, tofu, and prawns in their secret marinade and grill or slow roast it. Everything is good here, but my favoite is the midnight cuban sandwich. Its slow roasted pork shoulder with grilled onions (they go on every sandwich and are awesome!) jalepeno relish, mayo, and lettuce. Aaron (the vegetarian) got a tofu sandwich. Same as mine sub the tofu for pork. I haven't tried it yet cause I can't help but order the Midnight Cuban every time. I eat lunch with my friend Aaron all the time because he also works for himself. His office used to be next door to my studio, which is how I know him. We alternate who pays each time, and keep track with a little free lunch coupon we made and both signed. Today was his turn.
  18. They only got married a year ago... ← Just trying to be funny. Call it creative license. Don't go Oprah on me.
  19. I grew up in Orange County. Fountain Valley to be exact. Under grad at Cal Poly Pomona and Grad school at UCLA. Both degrees in architecture (I want to teach.) Other than a year in Florence, I have lived in SoCal til 1999 when I moved to Seattle by way of NY. My mom is from Jiang Su and Dad is from Hunan so I had lots of spicy dishes and noodle based dishes. My mom is a great cook and really enjoyed it. I wish I had taken an interest in cooking as a child, but she is still teaching my things now. As I said before, my godmother is from Szechaun and made lots of great spicy Szechaun dishes for me. It's still my favorite regional cuisine of China. That and Hunan. Love the spice! It's been awhile since I've been back to LA for Chinese. I typically eat at two places in OC when Igo home to visit, Wei's and Mandarin Gourmet. But I like Ding Tai Phong in Montery Park. And some Cantonese place in West LA I forget the name of. Ocean something. I tend to lean more towards the Mandarin side of Chinese cuisine because that's what I grew up with. I only speak mandarin, no cantonese. Not to say I don't enjoy Dim Sum, and Cantonese specialties often. It's funny, I was on the local NPR station a few months ago telling Ruth Reichel that there is no good Mandarin style Chinese food in Seattle. I still stand behind that, but I should have mentioned that a few places are doing decent food. Seven Stars Pepper, Rocking Wok, and Chiang's Gourmet. I should try to get to one of those this week. I also love the fried squab and salt and pepper crab at Sun Sei Wa in Vancouver! I go there almost everytime I go up. I think Frank Gehry has a very talented "eye." He kind of "emotes" his designs, as opposed to a logical progression of steps. He just sort of knows what looks good and makes his buildings look like that. I'm not a fan of the form not representing what the structure is doing. If you look at drawings for the Disney Concert Hall. The structure is very rectilinear. The facade and interiors are simply applied. It's dishonest in my opinion. Not to say that he is not intellectual about how he creates. Maybe its just over my head. So how do I compare a chef to that description?....hmmm... I think I'll leave that alone for now. Edited to add: Having said all that, I'd still say that (aesthetically speaking) the Guggenheim in Bilbao is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
  20. I've actually been thinking about this. I have lunch and dinner everyday. So If I go to a nice restaurant or cook something quick and simple at home, the caloric intake should not be that far off. As long as I control my portions. I never said I clean my plate.
  21. I don't know. But I kind of like it cold for some reason.
  22. Thanks! It's actually very easy when you have such a great city to write about. What are some of your favorite places to eat?
  23. Dinner tonight was at the Barking Frog in Woodinville. It is located in the Willows Lodge complex which also houses The Herbfarm. You can read my thoughts on Herbfarm here: Externship thread I was lucky enough to be dining with the pastry chef of the restaurant tonight, so they started sending out special courses right off the bat. We got a foie gras course 2 minutes after our wine was poured. This was pan seared foie gras with "fiddle faddle", cinnamon gastrique, and smoked almonds. The fiddle faddle was made by Melissa who was sitting right at my table. The question was posed "what's fiddle faddle" and I stupidly answered, "Its like cracker jacks but cheaper and you get it in huge jugs at Costco." Forgetting that I was sitting at the same table with Melissa who personally made the fiddle faddle herself. I'm constantly putting my foot in my mouth. I really liked the contrast of textures between the very soft foie and the crunchy FF. The next course they sent out was chicken based soup with lemongrass, ginger, and kaffir lime leaves. This was pressed in a French coffee press at the table, then poured over a deep fried mascarpone lobster wonton. Very unique presentation and a nice refreshing dish. Then came series of appetizer courses. Kobe Beef tartar and Carpaccio with spicy tomato relish and raw quail egg. Very well executed and nicely balanced flavors, but not the most original dish. Grand Marnier Prawns with lemongrass vinagarette. This dish was a guilty pleasure. The prawns were crisp and succulent. The sauce sweet and tangy. Its admittedly a favorite of the diners. Its the kind of dish that everyone is supposed to love. Even those who know nothing about food. Playing to the mass market/ business traveller/ hotel crowd. And I loved it! Oh well, I like what I like. Goat Cheese and Artichoke Terrine with sorrel pesto and sunchoke chips. I didn't even get to try this one. My main course was the Grilled Kurabota Double Cut Pork Chop served with honey glazed radichio, roasted cauliflower and ruby crescent fingerling potatoes, in a Parmesian white wine sauce. Wow! What a nice dish. For those of you who don't know, Kurabota pork is to pork what Kobe beef is to beef. This is especially nice since in the last few decades, pork in America has been bred to have virtually no fat left. The radicchio added just the right amount of sweetness. I didn't get much out of the cauliflower other than texture, but maybe that's what they were going for. A lovely dish! Some other entrees on the table: Beef tenderlion Beef Short Ribs Seared tuna Everyone seemed to enjoy their meals. Dessert came next and was quite the spectacle. Mardi and Dion (also in attendance) have a toy poodle named Tiny Elvis. Melissa actually made a cookie shaped Tiny Elvis! On the plate are meyer lemon tarts, Amareno cherries in Michelle Cluizel chocolate (72% cacao), and others I forgot to write down. Other desserts that we could barely finish: Manjari Chocolate Bread Pudding with apricot coulis and chocolate sorbet. Caramel Apple Cake with Date ice cream, chamomile anglaise, and fried apple skins. Willows Lodge chocolate hazelnut torte. Its a vanilla rum sponge cake with nutella mousse. The GM is a friend of all of us, so joined us for a glass of wine at the table. Pablo (sitting) is a great front of house guy. The sous chef, Brian Figler, also came out to say hi. Bobby Moore is the executive chef, but he was off for the night. Brian did a fine job though. This is the most talented culinary marriage in the city: Charles Walpole is the Chef De Cuisine at Mistral, while his wife Melissa Walpole is the pastry chef at Barking Frog. Imagine going to a dinner party at their house...hint hint. After dinner Melissa gave us a tour of the kitchen. I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of people back there. Close to 10 when Veil had around 6 for around the same size dining room. But Melissa informed me that they have room service and banquet facilities as well. We couldn't leave with saying hi to the resident truffle pigs at the Willows Lodge. They had their work cut out for them because I don't think there are truffles growing within hundreds of miles from Seattle.
  24. Went to a wine tasting for Brian Carter Cellars at the Waterfront Restaurant this afternoon. It is located on Pier 70 on the Puget Sound, and is about a 5 minute walk from my studio. My friends and I have drinks there often. The food is...not bad. I don't eat dinner there often. But the bar area has a gorgeous view of the sound. A better place to watch the sunset and have a drink I cannot think of. Brian Carter Cellars makes only belnds. They had 5 wines they were showcasing tonight. The memorable ones for me were the 2004 Oriana. A white blend of Roussane, Riesling, and Viognier. Also, the 2000 Solesce, which is a Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, and Malbec blend. I wish I could speak about wine more intelligently. I just know what I think tastes good.
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