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eG Foodblog: HhLodesign - On Food and Architecture


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A belated thank you for your blog.   I have many talented architect friends, and they're all wonderful chefs as well.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Anyway, two of them are temporarily relocating to Seattle (from Boston), and I'm going to recommend your blog as a good intro to the culinary highlights of your fair city.

And that salumi platter is killing me.  Lamb prosciutto?  be still my heart...

Please do. Have them give me a call, I love to meet fellow architects who are also into food.

The lamb prosciutto is every bit as good as it sounds! I'm sure you can find Salumi meats somewhere in Boston. They do a wholesale business all over the country. I can find out which restaurants they sell to if you'd like.

I'm going to Boston to sit on some architecture juries in May. They are going to take me out to dinner pretty much anywhere I want after. I suggested Oleana. Thoughts? Suggestions?

I'm thoroughly enjoying your very thoughtful & highly interesting blog. Thanks for all your effort!

Oleana is one of our favorite restaurants in Boston. My daughter was in grad school at Harvard & whenever we visited her, we went to Oleana, including the day she graduated! Ana Sortun is very innovative & we highly recommend Oleana.

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The lamb prosciutto is every bit as good as it sounds!  I'm sure you can find Salumi meats somewhere in Boston. They do a wholesale business all over the country. I can find out which restaurants they sell to if you'd like.

I'm going to Boston to sit on some architecture juries in May. They are going to take me out to dinner pretty much anywhere I want after. I suggested Oleana. Thoughts? Suggestions?

I'm thoroughly enjoying your very thoughtful & highly interesting blog.  Thanks for all your effort!

Oleana is one of our favorite restaurants in Boston.  My daughter was in grad school at Harvard & whenever we visited her, we went to Oleana, including the day she graduated!  Ana Sortun is very innovative & we highly recommend Oleana.

Henry- just started reading this blog yesterday and felt compelled to read from start to finish. Love your perspective on architecture and food and I am feeling the need to visit Seattle for all the food. I think I'd go for Salumi alone.

Not sure if you'd be interested in two more cents on restaurants in Boston - in case you have other opportunities to eat out while here.

I think Oleana is a great idea, and I would also check out Rialto and Hamersley's if you have the time.

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I just found out that my planned restaurant location for Saturday will be without the Chef. Matt Fortner is the extremely talented chef atMarjorie, and will be in Tennessee for the weekend. This place has become my neighborhood hangout. It's 2 blocks from my house and the food is excellent. The food is simple, yet complex. Meaning he makes classic items unique and exciting. He does everything from pizza, to mac and cheese (the best in the city...well...Veil's lobster mac and cheese is right there as well), to porchetta, to braised short ribs, to the best roast chicken in the city (well, its a tie between Matt's and Jim Droman of Le Pichet.) The sous chef, Phil is also immensely talented, and I'm sure he would do a fine job. But....

A friend of mine mentioned that it seemed odd that I was not featuring a sushi place. There is so much excellent fresh fish in this town, we have some very good sushi restaurants to choose from. Even though two exceptional sushi places are within blocks of my house, Saito's, and Shiro's,I routinely get in my car and drive to Madison Valley to eat at Nishino. Tatsu Nishino used to work with Nobu Matsuhisa in LA, so his work tends to be similar to Nobu's (I actually think Nishino is a better omakase than Matsuhisa, it might have something to do with the price though.) He opened Nishino up here in Seattle almost ten years ago, and they've been consistenly the best sushi in town ever since. I often do the omakese menu and am constantly trying new things I would never think to order. You can see great pictures of his work here:

Nishino eBook

So what do you guys think, tasting menu at Marjorie, or omakase at Nishino?

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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So what do you guys think, tasting menu at Marjorie, or omakase at Nishino?

I love Marjorie (and their roast chicken) but I would vote for omakase at Nishino.

I agree--Marjorie sounds lovely, but I am such a sucker for really excellent sushi.

Henry, I am now so homesick for Seattle it's ridiculous. It's those shots of the Market that put me over the edge (terrific photography, by the way). I'm really overdue for a visit--gotta fix that soon.

Now if you really want to score a nostalgia-knockout punch on me, all you'd have to do is take your camera down to Uwajimaya ... :wub:

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The relationship between music an architecture is very close in a lot of ways[...]

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." --David Byrne

(sorry, couldn't resist)

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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The relationship between music an architecture is very close in a lot of ways[...]

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." --David Byrne

(sorry, couldn't resist)

And I couldn't resist adding that I thought that line originated with Jules Feiffer (I sure remember hearing it before I remember first hearing of the Talking Heads), although Google reveals that there is actually considerable disagreement about its attribution ... but boy is this ever topic drift! :laugh:

Hauling this back on-topic ... Henry, here's the bazillion-dollar question: have you gotten involved in any restaurant design yet? With your knowledge and enthusiasm (not to mention your design chops and friendship network), I for one think you'd be a natural.

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Seattle Sandwich Tour Stop #4 and 5 Market Grill and Delaurenti.

I walked down to the Market today with my friend Aaron; you know, the vegetarian.

Coincidentally, we ran into Matt Fortner from Marjorie shopping at Frank's Produce.

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He said we just missed William and Charles buying all kinds of wonderful things for our dinner tonight at Mistral. We are up to 28 people!

Market Grill is right across from where I buy my fish, Pure Foods.

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They get all their fish from Pure Foods and their bread from Le Panier. Everything fresh from the Market. I ordered the Blackened Salmon Sandwich. It's coated with cajun seasonings and grilled right in front of you.

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I also got a small cup of the best clam chowder in Seattle.

While they were making my order, we went a couple yards up the Market to Delaurenti because there is nothing at the Market Grill for Aaron to eat.

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Delauranti has a sandwich case with pre-made sandwiches that are thrown on the panini grill after you order them.

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The have a variety to choose from.

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However, only one of them is vegetarian.

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The Caprese.

Aaron bought a slice of cheese pizza and a salad. Nothing worth photographing.

We then picked up my sandwich from Market Grill and walk to a public seating area not a lot of people know about. Or if they do, they don't use it.

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My sandwich was still warm, juicy, and delicious.

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The baguette is grilled and spread with a dill mayo. They also add lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, and an herb that looks and tastes like tarragon.

My cup of chowder and cole slaw.

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I think the differentiation in the chowder is dill.

Can you think of a more beautiful place to have a salmon sandwich?

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Hauling this back on-topic ... Henry, here's the bazillion-dollar question: have you gotten involved in any restaurant design yet? With your knowledge and enthusiasm (not to mention your design chops and friendship network), I for one think you'd be a natural.

I just finished up an addition to the dining room of Monsoon.. Basically, the owner wanted to fill in the area between the existing front of the restaurant, and the sidewalk. If you look on the website. The table we are sitting at is exactly where the addition goes.

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I also designed the new bakery facility for La Panzanella. It's strictly utilitarian and will not be in my portfolio.

I talked to Erik and Shannon (Veil owners) when they were interviewing architects, but I was way to busy with 3 villas I was designing in Shanghai to even throw my name into the ring.

I have 3 potential restaurant projects in the planning stages as we speak. But, the owners are very hush hush about them.

I really enjoy working with restaurnat owners, and hope to make that a large part of my practice in the future.

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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Now if you really want to score a nostalgia-knockout punch on me, all you'd have to do is take your camera down to Uwajimaya ...  :wub:

I might just do that. Although Uwajimaya tends to lean more towards the Japanese side. If I have the time, I'd rather drive 20 extra minutes to 99 Ranch Market in the Great Wall Mall (that's really what it's called.) They have a great Dim Sum place in the same building. Imperial Garden.

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Oleana is one of our favorite restaurants in Boston.  My daughter was in grad school at Harvard & whenever we visited her, we went to Oleana, including the day she graduated!  Ana Sortun is very innovative & we highly recommend Oleana.

Ask your daughter about the Scorpion Bowl at the Hong Kong! That's I place I plan on returning to this next trip out.

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Now if you really want to score a nostalgia-knockout punch on me, all you'd have to do is take your camera down to Uwajimaya ...  :wub:

I might just do that. Although Uwajimaya tends to lean more towards the Japanese side. If I have the time, I'd rather drive 20 extra minutes to 99 Ranch Market in the Great Wall Mall (that's really what it's called.) They have a great Dim Sum place in the same building. Imperial Garden.

Whoa! When did that mall open up?!? If it existed while I still lived in Seattle (I left in August 2002), I must have been totally not paying proper attention, because I would have been all over that joint if I'd known about it. (And I should own stock in IKEA now, with all the business I gave that IKEA down in the same area.) If you do decide to visit Great Wall instead of Uwajimaya, I wouldn't mind one bit! :smile:

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Mizducky, I'm not sure how long ago you were last here, but you might find Uwajimaya to be unrecognizable. They moved to a new, huge store maybe 5 years ago, just a block from the old place, but the new one is slicker 'n a smelt and has apartments upstairs. That's my dream urban location, living upstairs from Uwajimaya.

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I'm just basking in the wonders each new day of this blog brings... :smile: . Thank you for sharing so many great and interesting things about Seattle food and its intersection with your life. Your portrayal of Salumi was indeed mouthwatering; I could easily plan a trip up there again just based on potential food visits there.

I'm loving your overview of great sandwich places in Seattle. I'm not sure we currently have as many great choices in the Bay Area although they may be spread out enough that I'm not aware of them. Your salmon sandwich and the other panini looked just great today. I miss the easy access to great coldcuts both Italian and German/Austrian in the Northeast. I don't think the Bay Area has a great sandwich/submarine/grinder culture. That being said, I think Paul Bertolli (recently of Oliveto's in Oakland) and some other folks are going to be opening some retail salumeria with Italian cured meats in the area. There is a welcome trend of restaurants here curing their own meats, at this point, usually Italian.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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it seems the food blogs just get better and better! this is a really wonderful picture of seattle. thank you.

i had to laugh when you spoke of your godmother as my mom has a similar set up outdoors! actually, she has an entire kitchen outside...rather ghetto, but functional. besides, it is easier to clean up when you can just hose down the kitchen area :biggrin:

love your loft and your lifestyle, as many have already said: you're doing it right!

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I read somewhere about the duality of God. Well, in the Mistral kitchen, they have their own interpretation. Behold the duality of the Mistral kitchen god.

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Mistral is truely a temple of food. It's a small restaurant, (40 covers) with a small kitchen, (3 chefs.) They only do tasting menus; 5, 7, or 10 courses. The owner/chef is William Belickis. He trained under David Bouley in NY before coming west to do his own thing. I must say that after eating at Bouley, Danube, and Mistral; the pupil has surpassed the teacher. I say that more for dramatic effect. Bouley and Danube are some of the best meals I've had in my life. But so is Mistral!

Mistral got off to a slow start when they opened in 2000 (I think). i don't think people were used to not having an ala carte choice on the menu. I also don't think they were used to the prices. I remember in the early years, I stop in and say high to find the dining room nearly empty. It was very disheartening for me to watch someone who is so dedicated to their craft, and talented, not succeed. But I firmly believe that the cream always rises to the top. 4 years ago, Mistral received a 29 food rating in Zagat. I'm not sure if that was the turning point or not, but they've been doing great ever since. I hear there are only two 29s on the west coast; Mistral and Gary Danko. I'd love to try Danko one of these days! I also hear there are less than ten 29s in America. Not that I put that much weight in Zagat ratings, (William contends that if Mistral was in NYC, he'd never get a 29,) but its still pretty good company to be in.

Luckily, I had a friend take pictures of this event. He has professional equipment (and professional skills), and is also a friend of the Mistral kitchen. So he was able to get some shots of them setting up. I was at home watching the UCLA Gonzaga game. Go Bruins!

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I'll write more about what happens in the kitchen tomorrow, as I'll be working there.

I showed up a bit late because I got lost in the game. But I had to stop in the kitchen and say hi.

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That's William in the foreground.

Here are the people who would be working hard all night to make us a very happy group.

Charles, the chef de cuisine.

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Stacy, the pastry chef.

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Juan, the dishwasher.

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By now people were seated and the room was nicely buzzing. (Sound, that is. Not alcohol)

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We started with a wonderful amuse. Kumomoto Oysters with pomello and grapefruuit granita and celery bubbles.

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You should have seen the layout area in the kitchen!

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Well, there you go!

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I've never had oysters and grapefruit together before. I will in the future. What a great pairing. The oysters were as fresh as ever, and the celery froth added just the right amount of balance.

I should note that we were having wine pairings with every course. But I wrote nothing down, and the picts of the wine have not gotten back to me yet. I'll post them when I get them.

Michelle does not eat raw shelfish. So she got a lobstrer claw dish instead.

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I have no idea how they go the meat out of the claw so perfectly. Maybe I'll find out tonight.

Seared scallop with english pea basil soup and carrot froth.

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Now you see where I stole my scallop/ soup idea. They do this one often, For good reason. Its one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth!

Alaskan Halibut with rice beans, abalone mushroom noodles and beet vinagrette.

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I'm running out of superlatives. It was very good!

Hamachi with Italian plum puree, blood orange, fennel, butternut squash and capers.

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I should point out here that Charles and William tend to focaus a lot on really good seafood with simple, unadorned flavor accompaniments. This dish is a perfect example. They are good at what they do!

Risotto with Hanshimeji mushrooms, Lions mane mushroom, Idiazabel Cheese, and burnt scallion oil.

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that Lion's mane mushroom on top was pure heaven.

Next came one of the highlights of the evening. Sous Vi De Pork with bolognese flavors.

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They seal the pork lion in a vacuum seleed bag and cook it under low heat for 8 hours. I have no idea how they got the pork to be cooked absolutley perfectly. It was, tender, sweet, juicy, and delicious!

Louis Kahn, one of the greatest American architects, once said, "Ask a brick what it wants to be, it will say an arch." It is about the true nature of a brick. What it was design to do and how an arch is the epitome of its designed function.

I say "Ask a pork tenderlion what it wants to be, it will say Sous Vi."

Sonoma Artisan foie gras (enjoy it while we can!) with rhubarb puree, gingerbread crumbs, and hibiscus syrup.

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I commonly contend that Mistral does the best foie gras in the city. Tonight's dish did not change my mind. For many people in my group, this was their first taste of foie gras. Everyone was amazed with this dish. I was so happy to be sharing an experience I enjoyed just a few years before in the same room. Of course, they served it with a sauternes.

Breast of Moulard duck, fingerling potato pureee, swiss chard and zhatar spice.

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again, perfectly cooked meat. I think duck breast is the hardest meat to get right. It seems the window of opportunity is the smallest compared to other meats. They got it perfect!

Always a great cheese course.

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Brillat Savarin with truffles, maitre seguin, perseil be Beaujolais, l'edel de Cleron.

Everyone was having a lovely time.

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Desserts came out next.

Here's Stacy hard at work.

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Green grape and pineapple sorbets with roasted pineapple and grape confit. and Muscat ice.

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Chocolate + passion fruit. Chocolate croquant, chocolate ice cream, chocolate pot de creme with cara cara float.

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We finished with sour cherry financier's. I forgot to get a picture of those.

Thanks to the entire staff at Mistral for one of the most memorable and enjoyable evenings I've had. I'm sure my friends would concur.

We all sat down for a shot and a beer at the end of the night.

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Left to right: William, Charles, Patrick, me, Thomas, and Rene.

What a night! My friends even pitched in and bought my dinner. Thanks everyone!

I think a fitting way to end this entry is with a quote by Ludwig Meis van der Rohe every bit as appropriate in cooking as it is in architecture.

"God is in the details!"

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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Mizducky, I'm not sure how long ago you were last here, but you might find Uwajimaya to be unrecognizable.  They moved to a new, huge store maybe 5 years ago, just a block from the old place, but the new one is slicker 'n a smelt and has apartments upstairs.  That's my dream urban location, living upstairs from Uwajimaya.

The new Uwajimaya campus had been open about a year or so when I left Seattle, and you better believe I was in there a lot before I left. :biggrin:

Here are some previews of Foodblogs coming your way this spring:

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"But there's no eating allowed on the train!"

heheheheheh ... guessing this blogger's identity is gonna be pretty easy ... :laugh:

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