Archive for the ‘Eating Out’ Category

One Night Only: Chef Mark Fuller and Georgetown Brewing

October 18, 2012

Launched earlier this summer, the One Night Only Project, brainchild of Julien Perry and Melissa Peterman, takes the supper club dinner party concept to a new level: participating chefs create a special menu, available for one night only, for around 40 guests. Each chef is paired with a winery, brewery, or mixologist to create pairings for the food, and the dinners are held in offbeat locations which can include event spaces or private homes.

The stand-alone nature of ONO events allows for some very creative themed pairings: past dinners have included Josh Henderson of Skillet stepping away from diner food for a night to prepare a meal of upscale seasonal favorites paired with wines from Efeste and Manuel Alfau of Blind Pig Bistro and  La Bodega preparing a Dominican pig roast paired with rum cocktails by Rob Roy’s Anu Apte on the patio at Bottlehouse, Madrona’s awesome wine shop-tasting bar.

Manny Chao of Georgetown Brewing and Marjorie Chang Fuller of Ma’ono discussing the menu and beer pairings.

When we heard that the latest ONO dinner would feature Chef Mark Fuller of West Seattle’s Ma’ono (formerly Spring Hill) cooking up a six course Mexican feast paired with beers from Manny Chao of Georgetown Brewing Company, we knew this would be an evening not to be missed.  We were right!!

First Course: smoked clam salsa on a porky crouton, with a tequila aperol cordial

The dinner was held at VUDE (Velvet Underground Dining Experience), a very cool private event space and dining club in South Lake Union owned by the Seattle-based proprietor of Argentina’s Hand of God Wines. The candlelit South American vibe of the room – paintings of Eva Peron and matadors, dark wood tables, and swaths of brick red paint on the walls – along with the mellow tunes spun by Andrew Means provided the perfect atmosphere for Fuller’s inspired menu, which paired perfectly with Chao’s beers. What’s better than great Mexican food and beer, right?

While every course was delicious, the standout courses for me came early in the evening. A rich and satisfying pork meatball soup with slices of smoky sausage, preserved tomatoes, and avocado was paired with Georgetown’s Belgian Ale for a light palate refresher to cut through the rich fattiness of the sausage and meatballs; and the undeniable star of the night, Fuller’s crispy pork shoulder tacos, served simply on corn tortillas with  chopped onion and cilantro, a drizzle of smoked tomatillo sour cream, and a crumble of housemade brined cheese. The tacos were served family style on a platter that would have defeated our table even if we hadn’t already consumed huge bowls of soup, and paired with Manny’s namesake crisp and malty Pale Ale.

Second course: pork and rice meatball soup with sausage, avocado, and preserved tomato broth

Third course: crispy pork shoulder tacos with housemade cheese, tomatillo sour cream, onion and cilantro. The showstopper of the evening.

One of our fellow guests opined that these were the best tacos he’d ever eaten in Seattle, and I’d have to agree they they definitely beat anything I’ve had in a restaurant here in town. We stuffed ourselves and consequently were not able to appreciate the final three courses – grilled skirt steak with pickled peppers, corn cakes stuffed with lard-fried beans, and a cucumber shrimp salad; Beecher’s jack cheese tamales with chocolate mole sauce; and dulce de leche rice pudding with Corn Pops (yes, breakfast cereal!) and horchata – nearly as much as they deserved. And trust me, everything Fuller and his team of cook-helpers prepared deserved a lot of appreciation.

Chef Mark Fuller (second from left) and his team hard at work

Hostesses with the mostest: ONO Project founders Melissa Peterman and Julien Perry

In the end, we could eat no more, and literally rolled ourselves back out onto the street, clutching the stylish canvas Ma’ono tote bags and growlers of Manny’s IPA that served as takeaway gifts and hoping against hope that Mark Fuller will someday open a Mexican taco joint somewhere in town – preferably in our neighborhood.

The next One Night Only dinner will be held November 3rd with Chef Eric Hellner of the Metropolitan Grill – who I can attest smokes some of the best ribs this side of the Mississippi – and the Met’s Master Sommelier Thomas Price. I highly recommend you check out this or any ONO event. Information and tickets here

Advertisements

Breakfast at the Brave Horse Tavern

October 13, 2012

The Elvis Pretzly sandwich at the Brave Horse – peanut butter, banana, and bacon.

I visit Tom Douglas’s Brave Horse Tavern in South Lake Union for lunch a lot: it’s close to my office, offers service that can be quick or more leisurely depending on your needs, and the upscale pub food menu of pretzels, burgers, and beer is fun, filling, and inexpensive by neighborhood standards. It’s the perfect clubhouse, and it’s always packed and lively.

Not content to rest on their laurels, the team at the Brave Horse have been expanding their offerings lately. On a recent lunch visit, a platter of tender grilled beef skewers, braised greens, spicy smashed potatoes, and lemony feta spread was a bright mix of exotic and comforting flavors, and a variety of pretzel sandwiches with toppings including pork schnitzel and house-smoked ham, are tasty alternatives to a burger.

In another burst of creativity, the Brave Horse folks recently introduced a weekday breakfast menu to complement their weekend brunch program. One morning last week, I met my friend Robyn, who works in marketing for Tom Douglas Restaurants, to try out some of the new offerings.

Pretzel French toast sticks (front) and breakfast sandwich

Chewy, salty German-style pretzels are a star of the Brave Horse menu, and breakfast is no exception. One of my favorites from the Brave Horse brunch menu, a peanut butter, honey, and bacon pretzel sandwich known on the weekends as the “Elvis Pretzly,” is also available on the weekday menu ($7). I couldn’t resist ordering one, although the cream cheese and marinated Prosser Farm green tomatoes ($5) and braised kale and fried egg ($6) pretzelwichs sounded great too.

From there, we dug into a Cheesehead breakfast skillet of scrambled eggs, cheese curds, housemade bratwurst, and crispy potatoes ($8), a Texas Toast egg sandwich with scrambled egg, pimento cheddar, and bacon ($7), and pretzel French toast sticks with mascarpone and maple syrup ($6). Everything was fresh, delicious, flavorful and filling. The star of the show, again pretzel-based, was the French toast: toothsome and custardy, with just enough saltiness from the pretzel crust to balance perfectly with the sweet syrup and creamy mascarpone.

Bacon, egg, and pimento cheddar cheese on Texas Toast from the Dahlia Bakery

I was also impressed by the breakfast sandwich, which was elevated above the ordinary by the addition of cheddar pimento cheese cooked into, rather than smeared on top of, the egg, and thick cut bacon. Breakfast sandwiches start at $4 for a basic egg on toast, with optional add ons including cheeses, caramelized onions, braised kale, bacon, or house cured ham, which I would highly recommend.

For those looking for freshly made, locally sourced, fast and inexpensive breakfast in South Lake Union (Amazonians, I’m talking to you!), the Brave Horse can’t be beat. I look forward to heading back there soon.

Photo credits: Robyn Wolfe

24 Hours in Portland, Part Two: Brunch at Beast

March 6, 2012

Brunch menu at Beast

I usually try to keep these “24 Hours” entries to one post, but we had so many fun adventures during our trip to Portland, and brunch at Beast is such a special experience, that I thought this trip warranted two.

We first visited Beast about three years ago, and now it’s a tradition for us to eat Sunday brunch there whenever we are in Portland. Yes, rock star chef Naomi Pomeroy is justifiably sort of famous, and yes, the place has gotten tons of great press in the years it’s been open, and that is part of what led us to our first visit.

But why do we keep coming back? We like that it’s a little bit off the beaten path. It’s cozy, and I love watching the cooks plate each course on the massive butcher block in the center of the dining room. There’s a fun atmosphere among the communal tables. And most of all, the food is wonderful.

First course: Plum clafoutis with whipped cream and maple bacon

Over the years we’ve been visiting Beast for brunch, the menu has followed a reliable and delicious pattern, starting with a sweet custard, bread putting, or, this time, clafoutis topped with what I think of as one of the restaurant’s signatures: maple-glazed bacon that tastes like sweet salty candy.

Next up is a hash, filled with seasonal local veggies, braised meat, and topped with a perfect poached egg. On this trip, pork belly, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and parsnips were topped with a  truffle hollandaise sauce, which was just divine: so rich, yet so light and not at all cloying.

Second Course: Beast Hash with truffled hollandaise sauce

After these two decadent courses, it’s nice to take a minute, sip a mimosa, and enjoy a little bit lighter treat: the prettiest cheese and course from the Cheese Bar, formerly known as Steve’s Cheese, which I used to like to go visit when it was a counter in the back of the Square Deal Wine Company in NW Portland. I was a big fan of the creamy sheep’s milk cheese, which had the consistency of brie with a bit more zing and paired nicely with the tangy Sauvignon Blanc vinaigrette on the winter greens salad.

Third Course: cheese and salad

Brunch at Beast finishes with a flourish – always in my experience a rich, often chocolaty treat that fulfills every childhood fantasy of eating dessert with every meal. On this visit it was a simply prepared and plated square of chocolate truffle cake, dense and fudgy, delightful with the last sip of coffee, the sugar enough to push you up and away from the table and out into Sunday afternoon.

Fourth course: Chocolate truffle cake

Funnily enough, we’ve never actually had dinner at Beast, and now that the place is moving in August we might have to make a plan for evening dining in the new digs. It will be hard to beat Sunday brunch there, though, which is just what you would want it to be: comforting, filling, delicious, fresh, served with good cheer amongst new friends. It’s not an every weekend spot, but an occasional and memorable treat.

24 Hours in Portland: Part One

February 22, 2012

Porland, Oregon: one of my favorite cities. The home of Powell’s, the famed “City of Books,” it’s also a City of Coffee, City of Parks, and City of Food, with restaurants, butchers, bakeries, and bars serving up every kind of delicious delicacy the mind (and the stomach) can desire.

Pearl District, Portland

A few times a year, we roll down I-5 to get our fill of book browsing, urban wandering, eating and drinking in the City of Roses. On this trip, we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day a little early with a quick overnight stay, no agenda, and a rough plan to try to hit as many new spots and old favorites as our time and appetites would allow.

Our first stop after rolling into town was an early lunch at Pok Pok, James Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker’s original outpost of Thai street food. I’d been wanting to eat here for ages. Prepared for a crowd (Portlanders seem to enjoy waiting in line even more than Seattleites),we timed our drive to arrive right as the doors opened and were rewarded with a two-top near the bar in the tiny main dining room.

After settling in with refreshing, fruit-infused drinking vinegars, we ordered several specialties of the house including Kai Yaang,  game hen stuffed with lemongrass and spices and roasted over one of the restaurant’s charcoal-fueled outdoor rotisseries; green Papaya Pok Pok salad; spicy fish sauce-glazed chicken wings; and coconut milk-basted pork loin skewers served with peanut sauce and, interestingly, hunks of grilled bread.

We were not disappointed. The green papaya salad was crisp, crunchy, sweet, salty, and spicy at once, a perfect pairing for the fragrant and mild game hen. And those chicken wings . . . it’s easy to see why they are among Ricker’s most famed and beloved menu items. Marinated in fish sauce and sugar, then caramelized to a peppery, lip-burning crunch. A plate of those and a cold Singha beer could be the happy ending to many great nights.

Bubbly and chocolate cookies at the Hotel Deluxe

After lunch we headed across town to check in to the Hotel Deluxe, our favorite home base while in town. Located in an old hotel building in spitting distance of both the Pearl District and Nob Hill, the Deluxe exemplifies mid-century glamour. From the oversized black and white portraits of  classic movie stars in every hallway to the incredibly helpful, violet-clad front desk staff, from the plushly elegant lobby to the chiff0n-draped rooms, a stay at the Deluxe feels like a journey to a more civilized time.

On this visit, we took the pampering a step further and booked the “My Chocolate Valentine” package, which included, among other sweet treats, a gift certificate for a hot chocolate tasting at Cacao, a very cool little chocolate shop on the edge of the Pearl District.  We tried a trio of rich, frothy drinking chocolates – cinnamon, dark chocolate, and a smoky spicy dark chocolate – and browsed the chocolate offerings sourced from around the world before heading back out into the cold sunny day.

Drinking chocolate trio at Cacao

Portland’s Pearl District is a great place to amble away an afternoon. After checking out cards and stationary from local artists at Oblation Papers & Press and picking up some spices at Penzey’s, we headed a few blocks north to Tanner Springs Park, one of the network of open spaces developed along with the Pearl – originally the site of a wetlands and lake, and later tanneries and warehouses – in the 1990s.

Walkways through the marsh at Tanner Springs Park

The park features a large marsh area, which serves as a habitat for waterfowl and native plants and is crisscrossed by raised walkways, benches for contemplation, and public art. The entire square block park is surrounded by the modern highrise condos of the present-day Pearl District, creating a unique urban oasis and a great place for a chat, picnic, or stroll.

An urban oasis at Tanner Springs Park

Of course, no visit to Portland, no matter how short, would be complete without a lengthy visit to Powell‘s, one of America’s greatest bookstores.  Stepping through those doors, into the throng of people of all ages clutching stacks of books, renews my faith in us as a society of readers every time.

On this visit, we ventured for the first time to the top floor Rare Books Room, home to treasures including several books from the personal library of Anne Rice (including a copy of “The Last Temptation of Christ” complete with snarky margin notes) and a ten-volume, white leather and gold-leaf bound set of L. Ron Hubbard’s “Mission Earth” series, housed in its own white laquer bookcase with glass doors.

Overwhelmed, we decided it was time for a drink, and headed back down the block to the bar at  Oven & Shaker, where bartender “Cool Hand” Luke poured us the hot spot’s two most popular cocktails. The Pineapple Trainwreck, a tropical storm of rum, ginger, pineapple, and bitters, perked me right up, while the combination of rye whiskey, lemon, ginger syrup and soda in The Presbyterian worked wonders on Carl.

Pineapple Trainwreck at Oven and Shaker

From there, we strolled downtown and had a quick Alpine-scented cocktail at Gruner before heading back to the Deluxe to finish off the night at my favorite bar in Portland, The Driftwood Room.

Nestled away in off the hotel lobby, the dark and cozy Driftwood Room harkens back to the days of the Rat Pack and “Mad Men,” and I always feel like I should enter wearing a cocktail dress and long gloves.  The curving bar is the perfect place to nurse one of the Room’s signature champagne cocktails or Manhattans, and the intimate back tables are ideal spots for a late night rendezvous. In the past, I’ve really enjoyed (and re-created at home) the Portland ’85, a blend of locally produced Clear Creek pear brandy and Pear liqueur topped with bubbly, as well as the Springtime in Paris, a heady tipple of sparkling wine, St. Germain, and rhubarb bitters. On this visit, our favorite bartender Mike, who has taken care of us on every visit since we began coming to the Deluxe and the Driftwood Room three years ago, tried us on two new drinks. The Frieda Kahlo showcases barrel-aged bitters and cassis in a tequila, orange, and grapefruit juice concoction, and tasted of sunny drives across the Southwest desert in spring. My favorite, though, was a special cocktail created for the Portland International Film Festival, which was being held that week in town. The rosy-hued Roman Holiday, a mix of hibiscus tea-infused simple syrup, Campari, and grapefruit juice topped with sparkling wine, was as fresh and exciting as its name implied, and a perfect way to end a long and enjoyable winter day in the City of Roses. Stay tuned for Part Two: Brunch at Beast!

Fried Chicken at Spring Hill

August 1, 2011

Much has been written about Spring Hill‘s acclaimed Monday night fried chicken dinners, at which a group of four could nosh down on a feast of fried chicken and a variety of sides, and then stumble out holding their sides, for just about $25 each.

Sadly for us finger lickers, the restaurant discontinued the Monday night tradition this summer (you can still get an excellent meal there any night of the week). Luckily, they gave plenty of notice, and in late February our friend Gina was able to secure a table for one of the last chicken dinners in early June. (Really!)

Fried chicken, spaetzle, blasted brocoli, and mashed potatoes at Spring Hill, shortly before the carnage began.

You may be thinking to yourself – isn’t 25 bucks a little steep for some chicken and potatoes? Well, friends, this was no ordinary chicken and potatoes. The platter carrying two chickens’ worth of pieces, fried to crunchy perfection, glistened in the fading sunlight from near our table in the front window. Surrounded by platters of mashed potatoes and gravy, herbed spaetzle, blasted garlicky broccoli, refreshing cucumber salad, and moist jalapeno cornbread with honey butter, it was a feast fit for the King himself.

“You’ll never be able to finish the whole platter, there’s always tons of leftovers,” laughed owner Marjorie as she stopped to see how we were doing. We took it as a challenge, and I think even Elvis would have been impressed at the wreckage of our table once we finally called it quits. A few lonely pieces of chicken, a swipe of creamy potatoes, some cornbread crumbs.

We may have seen the last of Spring Hill’s fried chicken, but I’m looking forward to seeing what new and delicious replacements Mark and Marjorie come up with next.

48 Hours in Washington, DC with Chef Kerry

May 22, 2011

One of the benefits of traveling a lot for my day job is that occasionally I get to spend a few hours – or even a day or two – exploring a new city. Over Easter weekend, I got the chance to spend a few days in our nation’s capital with my favorite foodie travel buddy, Head Chef Kerry.

It was a cold, rainy afternoon when we met up at the Dupont Circle Hotel, a nifty and apparently newly refurbished boutique hotel right off of Dupont Circle that Kerry had gotten a great deal on through SniqueAway. Our corner room was not huge but nicely furnished and comfortable, and the location near the Metro and in walking distance from the restaurants and bars of both Dupont and Logan Circles made it a great home base.

We immediately headed off through the rain to our first stop, The Willard Hotel, for afternoon tea in the hotel’s Peacock Alley. A dowager empress of a hotel, full of marble, low light, and the quiet murmur of harps, the Willard is an ideal spot for a civilized spot of tea and accompanying tea sandwiches, scones with lemon curd and jam, and mini pastries.

After sipping our tea like ladies and polishing off the sandwiches (my favorite was a smoked turkey salad on wheat), we headed out by foot towards the National Mall and the Smithsonian Museum of American History, where Julia Child’s Cambridge kitchen is preserved under glass. On the way, we were passed by the presidential motorcade, a nice “mostly only in DC” moment.

That night, we headed to dinner at Birch & Barley in Logan Circle, walking distance from our hotel. It was here that I realized how much the food scene has progressed in DC in the years since my last visit. Housed in a narrow two-story building on 14th Street (the upstairs is a beer-focused bar, Churchkey), the restaurant is a stark yet cozy spot with a Northern European feel, devoted to showcasing a huge collection of artisan beers and the foods that go with them.  It also has a great, Germany and Alsace-leaning wine list.

We started off with seared foie gras and crispy polenta with mushrooms and taleggio, both of which were rich, flavorful, and full of texture. The bread basket with house-made pretzel rolls and cornbread were delicious as well, but I managed to save room for a delicious fresh tagliatelle with braised rabbit, baby carrots, and homemade ricotta. The pasta was chewy and light as air, a perfect base for delicate pieces of pulled rabbit, sweet bits of carrot, and the creaminess of the ricotta. It was a great meal and I look forward to going back.

Saturday morning was sunny and warm so we ambled down to the Old Ebbitt Grill for brunch before tackling the Spy Museum. A DC classic, the Grill is famous for its oyster bar and the clubby green booths in which everyone from lobbyists to senators to celebrities have dined. I had the country brunch, a plate of grits, eggs, and glazed Virginia ham shanks. Because of where we were, we also got some oysters – I introduced Chef K to little Kusshis from British Columbia, and to compare we got some similarly sized Virginicas from Virginia – briny and delicious, especially with champagne.

After a long walk in the sunshine to work off some of those grits, we met up with the lovely Ms. T at the next spot on our food itinerary, Chef Jose Andres’ Cafe Atlantico. Dizzy with the sunshine, we ordered margaritas and decided to splurge on the restaurant’s Chef’s Tasting Menu, featuring several courses representing the menu’s theme of “Nuevo Latino” cuisine, including  a rich, earthy foie gras soup, braised pork belly with mofongo, grilled cobia fish with parsnips and pineapple, and a pineapple colada cake with housemade sorbet.

Although not mind-blowing, the food was innovative and tasty, and I was sorry to hear that Cafe Atlantico will be closing in June to make way for an Andres-run theme restaurant tying into an upcoming National Archives exhibition. Hopefully a new location for this interesting spot will be found soon.

Our final morning in DC was Easter Sunday. Enticed by the lure of all-you-can-drink Mimosas, we took a chance on a spot neither of us had heard much about, Policy, also located on 14th St. near Howard University.  The slick, wonkish name didn’t quite match the hip, black and red interior, but the small plates menu offered eclectic treats such as crab eggs benedict, corned beef hash, beignets, mini-croissant BLTs, and fresh fruit muffins.

Everything was priced to order widely and share, which we did. Sweet, salty, and paired with multiple Mimosas, it was the perfect decadent end to a decadent weekend of wining and dining. Thank goodness DC is a walking city.

Cheese and Charcuterie at Oddfellows

June 7, 2009

lola and gals 042

Met up with the girls at one of Cap Hill’s newer hot spots, Oddfellows, for drinks and snacks on the hottest night of the of the year so far. As you can see, the space – located in the old Oddfellows Hall on Tenth between Pike and Pine – is open and airy, with high ceilings and huge windows that made it feel pleasant even though it was hot outside and packed inside with a mixed crowd of Hill hipsters, young families, and neighbors looking for a cold beer before braving the line at Molly Moon’s around the corner.

We had a lot to catch up on (see below), so our focus was mostly on procuring cold beers and a cool breeze, but we also enjoyed the house cheese plate – wedges of Point Reyes blue, triple creme brie, and parmesan, with almonds, dried fruit, and lavender honey – and the charcuterie board, which was chock-full of mortadella, salumi, and prosciutto, along with some delicious stone-ground mustard and olives.

lola and gals 037

lola and gals 038

Ms. Jen enjoying some salty cured meats.

The snacks and ice-cold pilsners were just right for the hot day and a much-needed and anticipated dish session with three great friends I don’t see nearly enough. I look forward to getting back to Oddfellows – possibly for brunch sometime soon – although I doubt my visit can replicate the excitement of Shanon’s news!

lola and gals 039

Congratulations Shan and Steve!

Ten Thoughts from Tom Douglas

April 21, 2009

While catching up on my reading of the fun, educational, and drool-inducing blog at tomdouglas.com, I came across this article Tom recently did for Restaurant Hospitality magazine. Even if Tom wasn’t a kick-butt chef, awesome advocate for Pacific Northwest cuisine and the city of Seattle, modest humanitarian, creator of the world’s finest coconut cream pie, and all-around awesome guy, you’d have to love a guy who claims that “if there was no duck, I’d have no reason to live.” Enjoy!

 

10 Thoughts from Tom Douglas

reprinted without permission from Restaurant Hospitality

  1. One thing you don’t know about me is that I’m the only heterosexual who knows all the words to Broadway show tunes.
  2. I’m most proud of my daughter, Loretta, and being married 25 luscious years to my wife, Jackie.
  3. One of my most memorable meals was at L’amis Louie in Paris. I ate the front half of a beautiful spring lamb.
  4. If there was no duck, I’d have no reason to live.
  5. My go-to drink is Dewar’s and water.
  6. If I were on death row my last meal would be a whole Chinese barbecue duck with green onion pancakes, Chinese broccoli (gai lan), ginger-steamed rice and hoisin chili sauce.
  7. The thing I hate most about this business is credit card fees, which are a ripoff. We do the work, they make the money.
  8. If I could change one thing about me it would be to drop my golf handicap from 18 to scratch.
  9. My idea of a perfect day is work, dim sum at 11 a.m., golf at noon, work 4-8, dinner with Jackie on the sunny side of the house and some wine.
  10. If I wasn’t a restaurant operator, I’d love to be a project coordinator building the tallest building in the world.

Hot Pot

February 15, 2009

Took advantage of the cold weather to enjoy a Sunday Hot Pot with the Liangs at Sichuanese Cuisine in the International District.

Hot Pot is sort of like the Chinese version of fondue, or shabu shabu, or anything else that involves cooking your own food in a pot of hot liquid on the table. It’s broth based, and generally the cooking bowl is divided to hold both spicy and non-spicy broths.  Once you fish out all of the meat and veggies you’ve cooked and eaten them, you can drink the now-soupy and very flavorful broth.

hot-pot-017

Our Hot Pot, bubbling away.

Having eaten Hot Pot exactly two other times in my life – at a hole in the wall in Greenwood and, more deliciously, in Beijing – I’m no expert, but this one did not disappoint, with a good variety of offerings for the pot including lamb, beef, “beef honeycomb” (tripe), tofu, rice noodles, brocoli, and bok choy. The broth was spicy and gingery without being overwhelming, and it’s always fun to throw stuff in the pot, then fish it out and eat with fermented bean sauce and soy.

hot-pot-015

Mia, awaiting spicy lamb.

The other highlight of a Hot Pot visit when I go with the Liangs is “flower fish” or tofu fish, a stew of white fish and tofu in a spicy Sichuan sauce that is one of the most delicious and deadly spicy comfort foods I’ve ever encountered.  I really think I could eat this almost daily, except for the potentially permanent numbing of my taste buds that could ensue.

hot-pot-018

Heavenly tofu fish. Yes, all the red stuff is pepper.

hot-pot-020

Ku also approves of tofu fish.

There’s something very satisfying about communal cooking and eating like this, the slowed process of waiting, watching, and chatting while  the pot bubbles away, and eating in courses according to what cooks the fastest: the meat, then veggies, then the noodles and broth. It’s a great way to spend a winter afternoon!

Pies N Pints

December 19, 2008

One of my favorite local places for good comfort food on a cold wintry night is Pies & Pints in Ravenna. True to its name, this a cozy spot for beers and meat pies of all sorts. It’s also a decent place for pool, bluegrass, and german pretzel bites if you’re into the sort of things. Adrian, Mia and I braved the impending Seattle Blizzard to indulge. I enjoyed a steak and mushroom pie with mashed potatoes and gravy, while Adrian had a chicken marsala pie and Mia dug into some black bean macaroni and cheese. As usual, it was all delicious and good fortification for the trek home through the cold.

seattle-snow-0012

Mia enjoying meat pie.

seattle-snow-003

Pie n spuds. mmmm.