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eG Foodblog: HhLodesign - On Food and Architecture

226 posts in this topic

Well, this is looking like one spectacular blog. And I was already looking forward to it as a former resident of Seattle. Sounds like you have an incredibly full week planned already, but if I might put in a wee request, I would dearly love if you could wedge in a visit to Kingfish Cafe. I loved that joint.

Oh yeah, and I just couldn't resist highlighting this one particular dish you had at Crush:

The second course I will never forget:


"Burger and fries" The burger is a small slice of pan seared foie gras, the bun is a donut hole cut in half, the ketsup is huckleberry puree, the fries are fried salsify chips. A truely amazing and creative dish.

Seems to me I recall a topic elsewhere on this very board concerning another dish featuring a hunk of animal-protein sandwiched between two halves of a donut-type baked good. Just wondering if some of the folks who were perturbed by that other, admittedly much more lowbrow dish might find the concept more palatable in this more rarified form. :raz::laugh:

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Henry - you rock.

And your home is most impressive. Hooray for creative living!

the tall drink of water...

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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.

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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.


Very simple tuna tartart with small bits of fennel and dill. Very refreshing. Especially with the Champagne.

Next came the Penn Cove oyster.


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


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


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

Pacific Tuna Pave


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


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


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!



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.


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


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.



with heirloom beets, zinfandel dressing, and a small dolope of creme freche. Nice.



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


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


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 (log)

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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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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:



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.



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.


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.




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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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!

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

Wonderful blog Henry.

I'm hooked on these blogs.

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

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.


They also have a very eccletic mix of western and asian menu items. Anything from Daikon cakes with chinese sausage to Vanilla French Toast:


We also had crispy shrimp and chive dumplings


scrambled duck eggs with abalone mushrooms


and steamed sticky rice with pork


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.

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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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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 (log)

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

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

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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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.

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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.

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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:

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Yet another, 'Thank You'! Simply wonderful.

No one can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it. - T. Bankhead

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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!

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

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