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Everything posted by hhlodesign

  1. It was our 5 month anniversary tongiht. Dinner tonight was at Union Restaurant. Ethan Stowell's place just south of the Pike Place Market. I like the style of the room. Simple, minimal, and elegant. Ethan was kind enough to comp us a split of Laurent Perrier Champagne. One of my favorite Champagnes. I like it when I sit down and the server takes the menus away and says, "You won't be needing those tonight." We got to have our favorite bread from Columbia City Bakery tonight! The butter was Plugra Our first course was fluke crudo with lime, ginger, cucumber, sel gris, and olive oil. It was very refreshing and a great way to start the meal. I loved the ginger flavor on the fish. Poached Japanese diver scallops in heirloom tomato soup with organic pea shoots. Our server, also Ethan, was telling us how they cut the pea shoots at the restaurant themselves, so they are as fresh as possible. this was a wonderful soup. I'd describe it was the same as biting into a fresh, ripe, flavorful tomato but in liquid form. A decadent use of a great product. Speaking of decadent, look at the size of this chuck of foie gras! It was served with hazelnuts, figs, and saba (unaged balsamic vinegar.) This was one of the best preparations of foie gras I've had! Seared Opa (hawaiian grouper) with avocado puree and basil oil. Makes you wonder if avocado makes everything taste better. The fish was perfectly seared. Bacon wrapped rabbit loin with Italian pear mustard and red wine reduction frisee. This was my second favorite dish, behind the foie. Wrap bacon around a hot dog and I'll like it, but a rabbit loin?! It should be illegal! The pear mustard flavors worked so amazingly well with the rest of the dish components. Hand made cavatelli with brasie leg of rabbit, parsley, and parmesiano. Beautifully made pasta! Ethan is opening an artisan pasta restaurant 2 blocks from my house in the next month or two. If this dish is any indication of the food he's serving there, I'll be in twice a week. Its going to be called La Tavolata. Seared Wagyu loin with red wine shallot demi, and chantrelles. Lorna, "This crust is SOOOOO BUTTERY!" The cheese was not served with bread, but a lightly dressed green salad. Champagne vinegrette. I liked the salad at the end of the meal. We had Spanish sheep's milk blue and a triple cream cow called Moule a Affinios. Both were very strong and creamy and worked well with the champagne salad. dessert was an almond cake with fresh berries and ginger ice cream. It seems they just got a paco-jet in the kitchen. they made good use of it. we stopped by the kitchen to say hi on the way out. And also met up with Rockdoggydog at the bar for a drink. He shared with us his snack of fried rabbit flank. these were awesome! Just when i thought I couldn't eat another bite, stick some fried rabbit in front of me and I can find room! It was really a beautiful evening. thanks Ethan and Ethan!
  2. Here's a link to some photos we took at the Emily Lucchetti Ice Cream social event. Ice Cream Social
  3. Here is a detailed look at my kitchen from me previous blog. The Kitchen Photos I go up to Vancouver often. I love Chinese food, and good Chinese food is pretty hard to come by down here. We usually trade off weeks of driving up or driving down.
  4. We stopped by heyjude's house today to return and borrow more cookbooks. She has a HUGE collection of cookbooks and has become our own personal cookbook librarian. We met Judy and Richard recently through eGullet, and have since enjoyed some wonderful meals together. Judy works with Kim Ricketts events and knows many chefs and cookbook authors. She recently invited us to sit with Emily Lucchetti at an "Ice Cream Social" at Eva. It was a wonderful event. Judy and Richard live in a classic Seattle building. The Loveless Building in Capitol Hill I'm more of a fan of modern architecture. But I can appreciate a well designed, timeless work. The street frontage contains shops and restaurants. including the recently demised Fork, and soon to be Sue McCown's new dessert shop Coco Latida. But a small opening on the street leads to a beautifully manicured courtyard. With residences off the courtyard. An overview of the main bookshelf Overflow bookshelves And when those fill up... Lorna was entranced with the Chocolate shelves.... The Classics Interestingly enough, Judy mentioned that anytime chefs come over, they love looking through the Time / Life series. She says she currently has over 3500 cookbooks! Wow!
  5. We didn't want to repeat things from my last blog. However, One cannot write about food and Seattle without a trip to Salumi. Since we did the special lunch last time (read about that here) we decided to just stop in for an ordinary weekday lunch. Fennel sausage was the special this week. That is one of my favorite specials. I'm also a fan of the pork cheeks, and oxtail. Most days you can find Armandino back behind the counter. Here he is slicing some bread. The have a small curing room in the front, but most of the curing happens in the back. Here are a few finocciono sandwiches being made. Finocciono is a spicy salumi with fennel and lots of black peppercorns. One of my favorites. they have quite the selection of house cured meats My favorites are the lamb prosciutto, finocciono, lomo, culatello, and hot soprassata. and the sandwich menu Lorna and I decided to split the hot meat plate. It's a selection of all their cooked meats. We have Porchetta, fennel sausage, meatballs, grilled lamb, grilled cotechino, and peppers. Lorna's favorites were the grilled cotechino, meatballs, and fennel sausage. Mine were the fennel sausage and grilled cotechino. The other reason we had to go o Salumi was to drop off a present for Armandino and the entire Salumi gang. A few months ago, I stopped in and talked to Marilyn (Armandino's wife) about shipping salumi to Iraq for a marine friend of mine. She helped me put a package together with tons of their products all prepped and labelled so shipping it would be easy. It must have been hundreds of dollars worth of products. When I went to the front to pay, they said, "That's on us, tell him thanks from all of us at Salumi!" Needless to say, my marine friend, Doug, was extremely grateful. As a sign of gratitude, he flew an American flag over the his base in Iraq on the 4th of July then sent it back to me to give to Salumi. Armandino loved the gift! He even offered to have Doug in for a special lunch when he gets home. Thanks to Armandino, Marilyn, Gina, Brian, and all the staff at Salumi. They really are wonderful people.
  6. Some commetns from the judges: "Daring flavor combination, gastrique made it work." "This is the best thing ever!" "Interesting presentation. Peaches a little tart." "It's like summer in a bowl." "Gorgonzola flavor too mild." "Pork a little dry." "Very refreshing." "Crust a little thick, great flavors." I should note that the thinking for my dessert course was this: Having seen the size of Lorna's tart and ice cream, I didn't want to overwhelm the judges with a large dessert of my own. Espescially since even the "savory" courses were sweet as well. So I thought a small "pre-dessert" would be perfect.
  7. IRON CHEF RESULTS Course 1 scores Lorna - 7, 9, 5, 10, 9.5 Henry - 7.5, 8.6, 6, 9, 8.5 Course 2 scores Lorna - 6.5, 7.6, 6, 8, 7.5 Henry - 6.5, 8, 6, 9, 8 Course 3 scores Lorna - 7.5, 9, 7, 8.5, 9 Henry - 7.5, 8.6, 8, 8, 9 total "live" scores Lorna - 117.1 Henry - 118.2 average "virtual" scores Lorna - 8.43 Henry - 7.815 Final Scores Lorna - 125.53 Henry - 126.015 While it appears that I squeaked by, I'll say that we fall within statistical error. So we tie! Rematch next year.
  8. Sosio's Sorry, I didn't want to post the name because I felt like I was cheating on Frank.
  9. I have been numerous times, and always enjoy myself. But I also met the owners in a social setting before my first meal, and was also informed that if you know the "rules" of the place, you'll have a great time. The "rules" are basically this: 1. Don't show up at 6pm expecting to be seated - They have five deuces that they turn over about once a night. They don't take reservations. I usually show up around 9-10pm on a weeknight and expect to stay past midnight. 2. Let Phred do the driving - Phred is the co-owner and front of house guy. They only have 3 people on staff; Phred, Laurie (wife, co-owner, and chef), and a busser/ expediter. Phred is a wine guy and loves to share his knowledge. Let him "educate" you. I have no problem with this because I admittedly have a lot to learn about wine. They do a 4 course tasting menu with wine pairings for around $50. They refuse to take tip. I often like to go to restaurants and just tell them to "cook for us, we eat everything." Elemental is that kind of place. I have heard numerous stories about Phred's "abrupt" attitude. But have yet to experience it.
  10. More photos from the Grand Central Baking Co. Guess who was holding the camera? We ordered a plain croissant We both thought the croissant was very flaky and buttery, but maybe a bit too big. Which gave it a lower than ideal crust to crumb ratio. a clubhouse sandwich The sandwich was very nice. Juicy chicken, crispy bacon, ripe tomatoes, and (of course) fresh baked bread. and a petite baguette The crust to crumb ratio on the baguette was just right. I really like GCBC and would frequent it more, except for the fact that I have so many good bakeries within walking distance of my house; including Macrina, Le Panier, and Dahlia Bakery.
  11. My appologies, but we are going to be in Madison Park for a prior engagement before dinner. So La Carta De Oaxaca is just too far across town to be a viable choice. Lark and Harvest Vine are still in the running. And any Seattlites with write in votes will be considered. Anything between Madison Park and Belltown are in the running. I'm thinking Sitka and Spruce. They just got 4 stars from the Seattle times: review Or Elemental @ Gasworks who is famous for their dictatorial service! Elemental @ gasworks
  12. If that happens, the Chicago City Council will vote for putting a ban on peaches. Those poor Chicagoians need a break. Give peaches a chance. ← Don't get me started on this one! Last time I talked about this, I got censored!
  13. I will neither confirm or deny the identities of the ICs. Great feedback from everyone. Thanks for taking the time. I should point out how the judging was done. Each course was rated between 1-10 from each judge. Taking into account originality, taste, and presentation. However no guidance as to how much to weigh each factor. 3 courses each times 5 judges equal a total of 150 points availiable from the "live" judges. At the end of the "live" judging round it was a virtual dead heat. We thought about going to Katherine Harris to decide who was in the lead. An extra 10 points are available as the average from the "virtual" judges. Making a total of 160 points available to each IC. So for those of you who opted not to award points, know that they do count. In fact, it basically comes down to you guys! Thanks again for all the feedback! We'll post judges comments after the voting has closed.
  14. And so it begins: We returned from the market with a flat of Holy Shit Peaches (15 in all.) They were ripe, sweet, and gorgeous! We thought we would have to time do some prep work, then I could do some archtiecture work while Lorna went to the gym. That did not happen. We prepped and cooked from 2pm until the guests left a few minutes ago (10pm PST.) I don't know how chefs do it. It's exhausting work. We were actually so busy trying to get things done, we forgot to take many cooking photos. Sorry! Peach BBQ sauce Crushed Ginger Altoids Coated on scored peach slices Peach "foie gras" The Judges The Chef/ Owner of Mistral, William Belickis (Lower House Member) The Chef De Cuisine of Mistral, Charles Walpole (Rosangin Scholar) The Pastry Chef of The Barking Frog, Melissa Walpole (Fortune Teller) Mardi Brekke (giggly Japanese actress) Dion Hutchings (Jeffrey Steingarten) The latter two are both friends and reisidents of the Belltown Lofts. I think we have a "Russian Judge" on our hands! The judging was VERY close so your votes will definitely matter.
  15. I am not a Southerner. Nor am I a fan of desserts and sweets. Given those caveats, THIS WAS A DAMN GOOD CAKE!!!! The Southern Boy was happy! To say the least. This is also our breakfast this morning.
  16. Thanks to Pontormo for the official vote tally. See below: Below are the votes cast before midnight, tabulated. Mizducky offered the final vote before midnight. If anyone voted for more than one ingredient, the first item mentioned was counted, the second one ignored. One vote per person, period. If anyone changed his or her mind, as long as a final vote was cast before midnight, the final vote counted and the earlier votes were ignored. If anyone wrote in both an item on the list and one that is not, only the item from the official list appears below. If someone votes only for a write-in ingredient and nothing official is named, only the new write-in ingredient is mentioned. RESULTS: Peaches: 12 Eggs: 1 Garlic: 1 Bacon: 3 Cheese: 1 Mushrooms: 4 Salmon: 0 Write-Ins: Fregole Cabebs Rice Okra Ramen This is being sent at 8:07 Pacific Time. Peaches is it!!! ALLEZ CUISINE!!!!!!!!
  17. Here's a preview of our menu for tonight's dinner. The story behind this dinner is that instead of buying a wedding present for both of these couples (who both live in the Lofts, or used to) I opted to cook dinner for them instead. I believe Miss Manners says that I have one year from the wedding for the present. I have since past that mark, so it is finally time to delivery the gift. Luckily, I have met a wonderful cooking companion in Lorna who so generously wanted to help with this meal! The nature of the menu is for every course to represent one of the guest's geological backgrounds. Which makes for an ecclectic menu since we have Pacific Northwest, Australia, the South, and the Midwest represented. I think the Midwest course is my favorite. You can't go wrong with meat and potatoes! The story of the Amuse Bouche is related to a speech I gave at a wedding comparing the bride and groom to foie gras and sauternes: "When I think of the bride and groom, two things immediately come to mind... goose liver and rotten grapes. (pause for laughter) You see, the French take the fattened liver of a goose, and call it foie gras. To taste it is to know that it is one of the most extraordinary culinary experiences known to man. The French also use grapes that have been infected with something called botrytis, also referred to as noble rot. What noble rot does is dehydrate the grape, greatly increasing its sugar to water ratio. So when that grape is pressed for juice, the liquid that comes out is immensely sweet and complex. The wine that is made from this juice is called Sauterenes, and is one of the most rare, expensive, and complex wines on Earth. Now, the incredible thing about both foie gras and sauterenes is that each of these things can stand individually as a remarkable thing. They would never need anything to add to the greatness they've already achieved own their own....However, if you take a bite of foie gras, and then a sip of sauternes, something remarkable happens. They each bring something out of the other that you didn't know was there before. Creating a whole which is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. This is a phenomenon many chefs refer to as "a Perfect Pairing." There are so few perfect pairings in this world that I feel honored and privelidged to take part in another such perfect pairing." So that's the story of the Amuse Bouche. Time to start cooking. We'll try to post our dinner photos tonight.
  18. Just finished shopping for our dinner tonight at Uwajamya in Seattle's International District (What the locals call Chinatown, but since everyone needs to be PC in Seattle we can't call it Chinatown, even us Chinese People.) Uwajamya is more Japanese than Chinese centric. We do have a 99 Ranch Market but it's a 30 min. drive away. It was nice to be greeted by the smell of Chestnuts at the store entrance (for numerous reasons: see previous blog ) While the array of unfamiliar foodstuffs can be intimidating, it's never boring: I LOVE KIMCHEE!!!!!!!! While the sauce isle is impressive, this pales in comparison to stores in Richmond, BC They carry meats from both Snake River and Misty Isle Farms here. Although the marbelling did not seem as prominent as I expected for Wagyu: It was after this shot that I got yelled at for taking pictures in the store. Evidently, they don't allow it. "Calm down lady! I'm not gonna sell them to the Russians!" Have you ever seen a larger selection of Panko? Obligatory Pocky Shot We had the horrible idea of getting some food at the food court: Not even worth commenting about.
  19. We'll be hosting the Chinese banquet in my studio for friends in the building. Lorna and I will be cooking. We've yet to plan the menu exactly, but so far we're thinking: Dungenous crab with Japanese pumkin and black bean sauce Whole steamed fish Hot and Sour Soup Potstickers Red-Brasied Pork Belly Szechuan Homestyle Tofu Hunan Smoked pork belly stir fry Hot and Spicy Chicken More to come...
  20. RE: Iron Chef Ingredient Maybe we'll just take a tally and the ingredient with the most votes by midnight PST tonight will be our ingredient. Please vote on the following list: Peaches Eggs Garlic Bacon Cheese Mushrooms Salmon Just post your vote in the thread. thanks!
  21. Re: the name of this blog Something I touched on in the last blog was the fact we are friends with many people who live in my building. I believe the community aspect of the building balance out living in a less than ideal urban area. We have our fair share of shootings, stabbings, public drunkeness and urinating in the neighborhood, but the building has fostered such a wonderful community, that the negative aspects of urban living are far outweighed. From an architectural standpoint, the building is centered around an open air courtyard which provide both visual contact between neighbors and promote interaction and communication. We have an art gallery in the lobby with a rotating exhibit and resident curator. Art openings happen every few weeks, which is a great way to meet new residents. We also have a few rooftop decks (both public and private) which are the perfect places for summer parties. Here are some shots of our recent 4th of July Party on one such roofdeck: 4th of July Party We wanted to share this week with our friends from the Belltown Lofts, and hope to introduce all of you to our urban family!
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