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eG Foodblog: Ling & HhLodesign - The cool kids at Belltown Lofts


hhlodesign
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No, don't get up, I'll check myself into a nursing home.

:laugh: Need a Roomie?

:laugh:

I meant to ask you, Rachel, if there is a difference between grits and polenta, and if yes, do I qualify for GRITS girl status, with my Red Velvet cake the other night? :raz:

(Not saying that I made the gorgonzola polenta course, of course...uhm....yeeeaah.) :unsure::smile:

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And these are conventionally grown, right? No special treatment?

Yes, I believe they are conventionally grown. The produce at this particular market stand is quite expensive (but the quality is there), in my opinion, but Henry is friends with the guys there.

Tomorrow is "Organic Wednesdays" at Pike Place, and I'm going to take a look there, as neither of us have been. I wonder if it's like a farmer's market?

Edited by Ling (log)
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The gorgonzola polenta kind of fell apart in the pan (it was fried in duck fat, and the Iron Chef had used too much liquid in his/her polenta before chilling it in the fridge.)

I must say that it is a lot harder to try to cook two separate menus from start to finish in Henry's small kitchen than it is to cook one, multi-course menu together. We do the latter all the time, and although the kitchen still gets really messy, the pace is a lot less frenetic.

See you soon! And keep the votes coming!

Thanks for explaining that the crisp polenta was actually just fried polenta. Ahhhh! Then there's another factor to consider beyond the three mentioned in scoring: to what extent does one see a progression of themes within the unfolding of the meal? The Stilton biscuit gives way to the Gorgonzola polenta, both serving as textural contrasts to softer elements. My mind's tongue still would prefer the elimination of the blue cheeses (which I love BTW), but I am glad you got a perfect 10 on one dish, Lorna! What I like is the fact that the crisp/soft elements recur in the tart, filling and ice cream, which I am pleased to see, lacks blue veins. However, the green mint bows to the avocado cream's curtsy. Again, very clever orchestration. Well thought out, indeed!

(BTW: extended discourse devoted to one of Henry's dishes would serve the cause of mystery! :raz: )

I'm no Rachel, but Whole Foods stopped calling the ground corn it sells "polenta" and now calls it "grits." I don't know if it's due to Tarafication of food culture, the fadification of Italian food, or if it's symptomatic of a desire to turn inward during a period of international uncertainty.

PS. It's great to learn you two cook side by side regularly. Plenty of couples can't.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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On Organic Wednesdays, there'll be a bunch of smallish organic stands lined up on the bricks on Pike Place, starting at Pine Street and going north. It's definitely more farmers market-ish than the high stands that sell produce every other day, as in you'll see only stuff that's seasonal, local and organic. Still, it's nothing like the real farmers markets in other parts of the city, like in the U-District on Saturday, or Ballard on Sunday (both highly recommended if you haven't been).

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Yes, I believe they are conventionally grown. The produce at this particular market stand is quite expensive (but the quality is there), in my opinion, but Henry is friends with the guys there.

Tomorrow is "Organic Wednesdays" at Pike Place, and I'm going to take a look there, as neither of us have been. I wonder if it's like a farmer's market?

Okay, then this wasn't Pike Place.

I'm friends with the general manager of Philly's answer to Pike Place Market, the Reading Terminal Market. It too is a big tourist draw--I think I read recently that the RTM is the second most popular tourist destination in the city after the Liberty Bell--but market management regards tourists as a secondary market; the market's bread and butter are the Philadelphians who patronize it regularly.

Market management has conducted surveys to gauge what their customers and potential customers think about the place vs. the competition (and RTM management, but not necessarily all the vendors, sees the place as competing against both regular supermarkets and specialty chains like Whole Foods). They find that shoppers give the market high marks for quality and value in produce (where the RTM beats just about everyone else in town); in other areas, shoppers love the quality but think the prices are on the high side.

I'd be interested to see whether Pike Place gears and prices its offerings more towards vistors or Seattleites. I would imagine it's the latter. BTW, Henry, did I tell you that last month, our office went through a motivational workshop where we watched Fish!?

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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Here's a peach I poached and peeled. Isn't it gorgeous? I was eating peaches, ice-cream and pork all afternoon. I ate more food in the last 8 hours than some people eat in 2 days, I bet.  :blink:

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Ling, can't you get arrested for pornography like that? TOO beautiful, and your talent for lighting is supurb! :wub:

Edited by judiu (log)

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Oh yeah--I'm too lazy to read back up-thread, but I recall a couple of folks wondering about Chef #1's dessert in terms of whether curry, mint, and sweet would play well together. So happens that just yesterday I lunched at a recently-opened Indian buffet restaurant in my neighborhood, where I sampled several different curries of differing flavor profiles along with a classic spicy mint chutney. So I'm here to report that mint and curry, with sweet notes, do play together quite nicely. :smile:

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actually, from what i understand, grits (or the corn/hominy used to make grits) are treated with lye before being dried and ground...i don't think polenta is treated the same way.  anyone else?

The sad reality is that common grits (i.e., Quaker Grits) are not made from hominy. It's nothing more than coarse white cornmeal. You have to get the fancy stuff if you want hominy.

--

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Okay, then this wasn't Pike Place.

This stand IS in the market, I do agree that their quality is great and the folks who work the stand are really nice- but it is a bit over priced on certain items. A lot of stands will round down though if you are buying quite a lot.

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Okay, then this wasn't Pike Place.

This stand IS in the market, I do agree that their quality is great and the folks who work the stand are really nice- but it is a bit over priced on certain items. A lot of stands will round down though if you are buying quite a lot.

Thanks for setting me straight.

But tell me--would they round down this much?

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 peach "foie gras" did it for me.

IC#2 9.5

IC#1 9

Please tell us how the peach worked in contrast to the flavor of the corn soup. I'd also like to know what you cooked the peaches in, is that butter? I'd like to recreate this dish at some point-it looks great.

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Oh yeah--I'm too lazy to read back up-thread, but I recall a couple of folks wondering about Chef #1's dessert in terms of whether curry, mint, and sweet would play well together. So happens that just yesterday I lunched at a recently-opened Indian buffet restaurant in my neighborhood, where I sampled several different curries of differing flavor profiles along with a classic spicy mint chutney. So I'm here to report that mint and curry, with sweet notes, do play together quite nicely. :smile:

I believe that this was the reasoning of the chef who created this dish. He/she took inspiration from curries, peach chutneys, and creamy mint raita.

(edited to remove trash-talking)

Edited by Ling (log)
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We just got back from lunch. Originally, we were going to go to Columbia City bakery but they were closed, so we went to Grand Central bakery (Seattle's first artisinal bakery). Henry is going to post the pictures soon, but I thought I'd pose the question of where we should go for dinner.

Should we...

1) have authentic Mexican at La Carta de Oaxaca

2) go to my favourite (thus far) moderately-priced Seattle restaurant, Harvest Vine (They serve tapas.)

3) go to Henry's typical first-date restaurant :laugh: ...Lark (I have not been to Lark, since Henry says he went all-out on our first date to try to impress me.) :wink:

Edited by Ling (log)
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#1: 8

#2: 7

As others have mentioned, #2 seemed more creative but #1 had greater overall impact.

Bryan and I are in agreement. I really did like the layout and presentation with #2 but the curried caramel tartlet is interesting and beautiful.

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Lark has a bizarre menu

Its not done alphabetically or in the order one might want to eat either...I dunno maybe its just me seeing the cheese listed first I though I had double clicked and went to the end of the menu by accident.

Oh Mexican if its good by all means

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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If you haven't already been, I vote for La Carta de Oaxaca. The food is restfully unpretentious, unrefined, manages to be fresh and delicious, and the buzz is contagious. It'll be totally different from the rest of the week, especially in that your tab will be under $50.

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For entirely selfish reasons, i vote for Le Carta de Oaxaca. It's the only one of the three I haven't been to and I'd love to see a photoblog. Plus, what Abra said about being completely different from all the other stuff this week.

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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! :shock:

Elemental @ gasworks

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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So for lunch, we were going to get some bread at Columbia City bakery, but didn't note before we left that they aren't open on Tuesdays.

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I am walking up to Columbia City bakery, only to be confronted with...

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RATS! :sad:

Here are some of the other places you can find in Columbia City...

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(We looked at the menu here and it looks good--classic American diner food, done well, I'm guessing.)

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One of the better pizza places in the city

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I suggested Essential (my second favourite baguette in the city), but Henry suggested we hit up Grand Central since I've never been there.

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The line was pretty long.

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Their baked goods looked fantastic.

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(to be cont'd)

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Back to Iron Chef for a minute...

Iron Chef #1: 8

first: 9. Beautiful colors, textures and presentation, but I'm a little scared of the Stilton/avacado combination, although in my mind each would work well with the peaches.

second: 7. I really like the idea of braising in peach lambic, and i think that the gorgonzola is a great flavor complement. Points lost on presentation though, it's too circular and piled, and I can't really tell where the polenta ends and the ribs begin.

third: 8. Love the trio of peach, curry and mint. Don't love the presentation. Too much ice cream, and the caramel swoosh seems to be trying to hard to pull everything together.

Iron Chef #2: 7 1/3

first: 8. Love it. To me though, the peach looks more like a scallop than foie, or would if it were round. I bet the soup is crazy delicious, especially if it was inspired by any of the fresh summer soups at Union. I'd wish for a little more color here though.

second: 7. Applause for going comfort rather than nouveau on the main, and for all of the veggies in there. Agreeing with some others though, this guy looks a little lonely on the plate. (Did you each take your own pictures? Maybe the plating is better than how it looks in the picture, but I just can't tell.)

third: 7. I bet this is tasty, but it seems more like a palate cleanser than a dessert. And as a "deconstructed" bellini, I guess I'd want the peaches to be more whole than pureed.

-----

So #1 wins by my count, but just barely. Also the first menu seemed a little more cohesive to me, the second jumped from fancy to comfort to nouveau, which while each piece is probably very good, doesn't really work for me as a menu.

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More photos from the Grand Central Baking Co.

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Guess who was holding the camera? :laugh:

We ordered a plain croissant

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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.

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a clubhouse sandwich

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The sandwich was very nice. Juicy chicken, crispy bacon, ripe tomatoes, and (of course) fresh baked bread.

and a petite baguette

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The crust to crumb ratio on the baguette was just right.

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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.

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