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eG Foodblog: HhLodesign - On Food and Architecture


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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.

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Next I bought the meat at Don and Joe's.

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Then off to Delaurenti for cheese.

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And Frank's for produce.

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Finally I had to pick up some wine. Pike and Western Wine Shop for that.

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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.

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But I have to use the back door.

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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.

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Here's a closeup of the menu for tonight.

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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!

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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.

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I used the processor, but I didn't like the final texture. I should have hand chopped it.

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Then I made the soup.

Carrots, leaks, and ginger went into the hot wok with butter.

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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.

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I finish it with some more butter right before I serve it.

I prepped the brussel sprouts.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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By now it was 10 to 8 so I decided to start cooking the poptstickers, hoping my guest would be on time....They were.

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We drank some Champagne and sat down for dinner.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I did the cheese course family style.

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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.

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The Cara Cara Orange sorbet came out very well. I served it inside the flute with Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose.

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It was a very fun evening. Now I have to clean up! :sad:

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Dinner looks great.

A couple of questions. Does the curry overtake the taste of the halibut?

I tried truffle cheeses about a month ago and thought that the truffle flavor really dominated the cheese, you mentioned too much truffle. Did you mean you would have like more variety or the truffle flavor was too pronounced?

Did you like the flavor of the pot stickers?

I liked the menu I sounds like an excellent combintation of flavors?

Do you like chili black bean sauce I use it as a condiment some times but I am using it more is stir fry and it seems to back the heat of the off, but it adds a nice fermented taste that I really enjoy.

edited to try to resemble english

Edited by handmc (log)

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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That was a very nice looking meal with a good theme. Agrumes, ginger, carrots, curry, nice colors everywhere.

What made you choose Newski Bacon? Does it have a particular flavor? Is it a local bacon?

I like that combination of ginger and leek, I'm going to try that. Comments on the white truffle oil? Was it the perfect marriage?

Will you do the sorbet float again? What did you add to the juice to make the sorbet?

Sorry for all the questions. I loved your meal.

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I really liked the look of your table and your plating. Really puts the spotlight on the food. Everything looked divine, from beginning to end. Lucky guests!!! I can't believe how calm you seemed.... Yikes, I would have been scrambling!!

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Very pretty folding job! (I'm the queen of lumpy, mis-shapen potstickers)

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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How lovely.

I love the clean lines and strong colors on the set table. The white menus were integral to the look, rather than added on. I also very much like the black plates you used during prep and for the cheese course. and, of course, the food (menu and pix)... kisses tips of fingers...

What icecream maker do you use? It must be seriously quiet for you to use it in that space during a dinner party. And seriously fast.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Wow, that's a wonderful, elegant, and very tasty looking dinner!

And to do all of that in 2 hours, taking pictures as well.. fantastic job! I could never do that!

very interesting the way you did the sprouts.. I've never seen that before, just using the leaves..

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great Blog, really enjoying it. Love your abode as well, reminds of a place i used to live in, esp. as we always have a skateboard floating around our place as well. Seattle is a great city, being from Vancouver, I come down there a few times a year, and tomorro is one of them, we are going to see a band (Gomez) at the triple door, can you recommend any places to dine near that venue.

Many people in Seattle seem to like Wild Ginger. It's just upstairs from the Triple Door. In fact, I think they share the same kitchen. I am not one of those people.

Just down the street is a great place called Union. Nothing else in the area comes close.

I might also check out the Library Bistro. I haven't been there since Matt Costello (the old chef) left for The Inn at Langely. But it was very good back then.

It's also 25 for $25 month. 3 course dinners for $25. The participants near the Triple door are Wild Ginger, Tulio, Earth and Ocean, and Sazerac.

You heard what I think of Wild Ginger.

Tulio is fantastic since the chef came back from a stint at Troiani.

Earth and Ocean I am boycotting because they refuse to serve foie gras. (Kidding, but it does make me pause) I hear Maria Hines is very good, but i haven't been there since she took over from Jonathan Sundstrom. Which reminds me, Jon Sundstrom at Lark is doing some great things.

Sazerac I've never been to.

Although I would agree wholeheartedly with this article:

25 for $25 is bulls#@t

Gomez huh? You'll have to tell us how the show was. And where you ate!

Edited to add: All the girls seem to like the Mango Daq at Wild Ginger. They probabley serve it at triple door too.

Thanks for all the recommendations. We actually got into town at around 3 and ate at Salumi, I had the porchetta sandwich and my husband had a salami sandwich and we were SO incredibbly full. By the time we got to the third Door, all we had were a few beer and a couple appetizers which were not that good at all. But thankfully show was amazing, one of the best shows i think i have seen and the venue was amazing. But thanks also for your sandwich and restaurant tour, we never really know where to eat in Seattle and now you have shown us the light!

DANIELLE

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

-Virginia Woolf

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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.

:laugh:

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!

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Lovely dinner! I kept waiting to see a picture of Anne and John, to see if I know them. Perhaps everyone knows an Anne and John couple?

If you haven't had the Szechuan crab at Seven Stars Pepper, get it asap! Although I read that the place was sold recently, and am really hoping they haven't changed things.

And in Vancouver, you've got to try Phnom Penh (thanks Jamie Maw!) for delicious garlic squid and other unusual and delectable stuff. Personally, I was underwhelmed by Sun Sui Wah, but I only went once, for dim sum. Hey, where's your favorite Seattle dim sum?

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Hi Henry. I just wanted to let you know that I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. What a lovely way to live - beautiful location and surroundings, great friends and fantastic food. I'm envious! :wub:

I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us. Thanks so much.

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Were you in Florence on a Fulbright? It's interesting; Italy is part of my family heritage, even though it's a country where I have no ancestry or relatives, because my father, who's a painter, spent a year in Florence on a Fulbright before I was born. So my mother and father cooked a lot of Italian food when I was a child, and I grew up reading Il Capucetto Rosso in Italian, instead of Little Red Riding Hood in English. Eventually, I was able to use my own grant money to go to Italy for two summers when I was in graduate school and have my own love affair with that wonderful country, its wonderful people and culture (and of course, food and wine).

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!

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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So Henry, how does an architect from SoCal get to be so entrenched in the culinary world in Seattle?  How did you get to know and befriend so many of the top purveyors of your city?

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.

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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Was the intense green of the wonderful kitchen you designed your own idea or that of the client?

Given your fascination with food and relationships with people in related businesses in Seattle, would you be interested in designing on a smaller scale: silverware?  plates? drawer handles?

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.

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If you haven't had the Szechuan crab at Seven Stars Pepper, get it asap! Although I read that the place was sold recently, and am really hoping they haven't changed things.

Not to worry, though they were sold last August the food (including the crab, which we cannot go a single week without) is as good as ever.

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Sun Sui Wah is pretty good for Chinese, but apparently the squab dish that you (and I) like so much is not so good anymore. Sea Harbour is a favourite of Vancouver Egulleter canucklehead, who is much more knowledgable about Chinese regional cuisine than me. It is located in Richmond.

photos from Sea Harbour

There's also many pictures/reviews in this thread! Chinese in Vancouver

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!

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Florence transformed a lot of eaters here, I suspect. Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe writes beautifully about her experience there, too.

Did you go to Venice and visit Carlo Scarpa's buildings during your time in Italy?

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Does the curry overtake the taste of the halibut?

I tried truffle cheeses about a month ago and thought that the truffle flavor really dominated the cheese, you mentioned too much truffle. Did you mean you would have like more variety or the truffle flavor was too pronounced?

Did you like the flavor of the pot stickers?

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?

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What made you choose Newski Bacon?  Does it have a particular flavor? Is it a local bacon?

Comments on the white truffle oil?  Was it the perfect marriage?  

Will you do the sorbet float again?  What did you add to the juice to make the sorbet? 

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!

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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What icecream maker do you use? It must be seriously quiet for you to use it in that space during a dinner party. And seriously fast.

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.

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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.

:laugh:

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! :wink:

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      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
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