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eG Foodblog: Abra - Walla Walla Wash and Orcas Island too!


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French or Dutch!?! Nothing like starting off the blog with a difficult question. I've been following both threads and I want it all!

Seriously, just based on what I'm craving now, I'd vote for French. Of course, if you slipped in some of Klary's speculaas for dessert that would be yummy....

Looking forward to the blog, Abra.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Hi Abra. Glad to see that you are blogging and cheffing again. And really putting in the road miles too. You must have superpowers that let you cook creatively and well, plus post while driving. Looking forward to sharing your week.

Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther
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Oh dear oh dear, what a choice! Both French and Dutch sound good, particularly in light of the current threads. Could you, er, do a bit of both and claim it's a Belgian meal? :laugh:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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One vote for Dutch - that thread has me drooling! I made the braised beef and it was the perfect comfort food :smile:.


Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Ok, no clue why, but we're in business, image-wise! So, on the way to Walla Walla

We saw our first snow of the season


and stopped in the little town of Cle Elum, where Glondo's Sausage makes some amazing meat.


The long skinny salsicce in the photo are about two feet long


Here's Charlie Glondo, mayor of Cle Elum and chief sausage maker, showing us his mayoral smile and an old sausage stuffer. He gave us a sample of his salami, causing us to buy a pile, as well as the pound of his beef jerky that I had originally gone in there for. his jerky is the best I've ever had. And that salami is the salami of my youth, tangy, aged, moist. I'll take its picture in a bit, but it could never look as fabulous as it tastes.


Not 25 miles down the road, we couldn't stand it another minute, we had to have meat! Meat to eat, right now. Here we are at Smokin' Joe's in Ellensburg


where we worshipfully devoured this


The meat is self-explanatory. Major Meat. Mighty Meat. Melting meat. More meat than is prudent to eat in one sitting. Joe's sides are really unusual: the beans are really full of cinnamon, which is oddly good, and the salad is a combo macaroni and potato salad, with a little barbecue sauce. It's all quite sweet, sweeter than we'd normally want, but it's hard to leave a single bite. So we didn't.

Stuffed to the gills, we drove over the northern end of the beautiful Columbia River across the Vantage Bridge


and down through high desert country


to adorable little Walla Walla


I'm just guessing that this is not your image of Washington, right?

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to adorable little Walla Walla


I'm just guessing that this is not your image of Washington, right?

I love love love your pic of Walla Walla. The dog, the dresses in the background, the colors of the leaves and the poles. :wub:

And I vote for French.

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Here's Charlie Glondo, mayor of Cle Elum and chief sausage maker, showing us his mayoral smile and an old sausage stuffer.  He gave us a sample of his salami, causing us to buy a pile, as well as the pound of his beef jerky that I had originally gone in there for.  his jerky is the best I've ever had.  And that salami is the salami of my youth, tangy, aged, moist.  I'll take its picture in a bit, but it could never look as fabulous as it tastes.


Now he looks like a man who loves his job!

I vote for French, for the same reason as Safran.


"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Beautiful pictures, Abra--looking forward to your blog. I vote for French.



Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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Once in Walla Walla, although we'd sworn we'd never eat again, we did, in fact, have pizza for dinner. I'm not going to show it to you now, but that pizza will put in a surprise cameo appearance later in the blog.

Bright and early the next morning I was at the grocery store shopping for the party. Well, to tell the truth, I had gone to one store the night before, went to two stores the morning of, and had to send my long-suffering husband to three more stores later in the day. Oh, and I had been to 3-4 stores at home before leaving. This party was a sort of logistical nightmare, not only did I not know the kitchen or the "staff" but I didn't know what would be available at stores in town or what it would cost.

My husband says, about the whole event "there's professional, then there's brave, then there's insane." Guess which he thought I was?

I spent about 9 hours prepping before the first kid showed up, not counting the 2 hours my husband spent saving me from a panic attack, after I heard that none of the kids had actual cooking experience. See how calm he looks? This is before the three trips to the store looking for dulce de leche.


But in fact, there were a couple of serious kids who wanted to cook, were steady and trustworthy, and did a kick-ass job, once I taught them stuff like what it means to reduce a sauce, how to portion something so that every plate gets some, and how to taste for salt. Here they are, plating salad with pomegranate seeds.


On the other hand, one kid dropped a cup of butter in a pan, put it on high, and went off to shoot the breeze with his buddies. Did I mention this was in a church? Oh, the words I did say! Would have had me excommunicated, if I had been communicated in the first place.


As you can see, behind his wild-eyed stirring, there's food and gear just everywhere.

The servers were terrorized by the names of the dishes, so we wrote them down. Even still, this middle-schooler could be heard muttering "Chinese Pork Tartlets" over and over again to herself.


The church's convection ovens wouldn't hold a temp within 100 degrees of wherever you set it, so it's a miracle we had muffins at all


and I was triply glad that Chefpeon had made the carrot cake for me. If I'd had to worry about baking that as well I'd have had a nervous breakdown. I bought some cute leaves from Pfeil and Holing, make a little sauce of the infamous dulce de leche, and the kids went to town plating up the dessert.


All in all, it was a truly amazing experience. The food was all good, every course was served on time, nobody got cut or burned, nobody cried, the anniversary couple were ecstatic, and the kids said "thank you for being our chef." I like to think that one or two of them really learned something, and that they'll have more of a clue next time. Not that there'll be a next time for me, no siree!

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You are a far, far braver woman than I. No wonder you were so patient with me. Those kids will never forget their experience helping you (in a good way! :laugh:).

and I vote for Dutch.

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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So, inevitably there was a Morning After. I can assure you that I woke up in the morning in a daze. Did I really pull that off last night??? Here is where I awoke and shook it off


in that little window, right behind the enchanting sign for the Coffee Perk cafe. Too bad their coffee is so terrible when their sign is so cute. In the great tradition of eG breakfast photos, I give you my breakfast


Nah, just kidding. My husband made me take that picture. Actually, that wine was the Night Before the Morning After. Here's my real breakfast


I kid you not. Leftover pesto pizza and carrot cake. It was a once in a lifetime breakfast, I swear. But see that coffee? Here's a closeup


Wouldn't you call that Unclear on the Concept advertising? My annual cup of Starbucks, my annual breakfast of pizza and carrot cake.

After that breakfast, I needed a walk! There are a couple of square blocks of downtown Walla Walla that are very scenic


In case you haven't heard, Walla Walla is the epicenter of a burgeoning wine industry. In 1999 there were 15 Walla Walla wineries - today there are 70. Cayuse is so popular and so exclusive that it's sold out three years in advance, consequently this store is never open at all, just serves as sort of an architectural billboard for the unobtainable.

After the walk, we went to a memorable lunch that will restore your faith in my good taste. I'll get the pictures uploaded, and you go get a napkin to wipe off the drool. Just a hint - duck confit is involved. Yes, they even have duck confit in Walla Walla.

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Glad you got up and running with the photos! They were worth waiting for. The area is beautiful and of course your food and cooking is so enjoyable.

I would not have pictured Walla Walla like that. Interesting! All I know about it is the onions. I love them. Are Walla Wallas kept in cold storage locally so you continue to have access longer than the rest of us?

If forced to choose, I would vote French.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I haven't yet been to dinner at this place. It's created for the New Walla Walla, the wine money and people, as opposed to the 10,000 Seventh Day Adventists who live in the Walla Walla valley. It's the kind of place with $85 tasting menus, with $6 extra per course for wine pairings.


But after this lunch, I'm absolutely ready to go back for dinner. We started with a bowl of hot beignets, strawberry and apricot jam, and strong coffee.


My husband had Croque Madame, with the thinnest, crispest fries you ever did see and a cup of Hollandaise for dipping


and I had, ta da, Duck Confit Hash


which looked even more pornographic with its yolk broken and oozing.


You might want to go to Walla Walla just for that lunch. Sundays only.

But all good things draw to a close, and we set out across the state again, heading for home. It's really late autumn here now, and the wheatfields


apple orchards


and vineyards


are all settling in for a long winter's nap.

Home on the island today, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Did you think it rains all the time in Seattle? This is from our deck in mid-afternoon, and yes, that's the Space Needle in the left part of the distance.


and just an hour or so later


We're quite far north - that last shot was taken just before 4:30 p.m. And now, it's time to go cook. Halibut is on for tonight, since the season is just about over, and it'll be frozen only for the next few months.

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Ooh Abra - this is great. I've never been to Walla Walla but Orcas Island is among my favorite places in the world and I've had some pretty decent grub there. I look forward to seeing what you find as I'm overdue for a visit there.

The catering story reminds me of a week-long new years party that soem firends and I managed the food for. Flew out to Miami and then drove across to the other side of the state with all the cookware and specialty ingredients we could carry, rented more stuff there (chafing dishes and such) and spent the week managing food prep for 75-120 people with various volunteers to cook the meals (we each did a couple ourselves). You just have to brace yourself and hope for the best :)

Bacon starts its life inside a piglet-shaped cocoon, in which it receives all the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and tasty.


Bacon, the Food of Joy....

-Sarah Vowell

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