If there’s a better way of spending a warm June afternoon then sitting in the sun in a garden, drinking rosé and waiting for someone else to finish cooking paella, I don’t know what it is. Continue reading
We don’t normally drive over Snoqualmie Pass these days, but every once in a while we have a reason to head straight into Seattle from my folks’ house so we take I-90 over. The last time we did this we had the dog and some artwork and our instruments in the car, so we needed to find somewhere to stop for lunch where we could get some quick takeout. Thank god for cell phones. A little googling led us to pull off at a gas station in North Bend, where we obtained Trail Boss sandwiches from Rhodies Smokin’ BBQ. Who knew?
So how were the sandwiches? Not bad! While I’m not sure I’d put it on a par with Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, as one particularly enthusiastic online commenter suggested, the pulled pork was very good, the sauce was pleasantly spicy, the rolls were just the right combination of squishy and crispy, and they didn’t stint on the sandwich filling. I wouldn’t have objected to a few pickles, though.
Jon got coleslaw for his side, which he said was fine but a bit bland. He got mac salad for me (because he knows I always have to have mac salad when it’s an option), and it was positively Hawaiian – nearly equal parts macaroni and dressing, with minimal vegetables. I quite liked it.
The restaurant is hidden inside Ken’s Gas & Grocery, which is very convenient to get to from the freeway, and has several picnic tables and a small lawn for airing the dog. I would definitely stop here again.
What’s your favorite quick lunch stop on the I-90 corridor? Anywhere good in Issaquah?
When I made that big batch of harissa a couple of weeks ago, I gave some of it away but kept a small jar for myself, even though I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. We had already planned to make grilled shrimp tacos that week (back when we were still having an unseasonable spell of beautiful weather and could reasonably eat outside), and Jon had the brilliant idea of bathing them in harissa instead of our usual lemon-garlic butter after taking them off the grill. The primary flavors in the harissa are chile pepper, cumin and caraway, so it works perfectly in a Mexican food context.
We built the tacos on flour tortillas with the grilled spicy shrimp, guacamole, sour cream, and lots of nopalitos (pickled cactus strips). It was delicious and I probably ate too much sour cream.
We were lucky enough to spend last weekend at our friends’ house on Whidbey Island. The weather wasn’t perfect, but it was clear enough to see the mountains, and it only rained a little on our last day (this is basically ideal spring weather for this area). And there was a beach! Continue reading
Another extremely wonderful supper club event! This time our theme was “Rock the Casbah!” which guaranteed that all of us had The Clash stuck in heads the entire previous week. And we got to eat a lot of amazing Moroccan food.
The Tulip Festival street fair was this past weekend, which for many years has also meant our Annual Corn Dog and Pinot Grigio Wine Pairing Event. Unfortunately our friends no longer own a wine shop downtown, so we can’t pick up a hot, greasy corn dog at a street vendor and carry it through the crowded festival to the shop for our wine pairing. Instead we had a sit-down dinner party with storebought corn dogs (which it turns out you can eat a LOT more of than the greasy street fair kind), and I made macaroni salad and rhubarb custard pie to go with.
I don’t remember all the wines we tried this year, but the two (by far) best were an Italian bottle that was light, sweet and slightly effervescent, which held up well to the sweet corn dog coating, and a complex and astonishing 2007 Weingut Knoll Grüner Veltliner. Maybe it was cheating, since it wasn’t a Pinot, but dang, it was good.
For the pie, which was made with my first harvest of rhubarb for the year, and bright orange local eggs, we drank the last of some amazing tawny port. I would never have thought of the pairing, but it worked splendidly.
Not sure how everyone else did, but I only needed to take one Tums that night, which I thought was getting off easy.
It was Caribbean night at supper club. The day had started unpromisingly with a dense spring snowstorm, but by evening it was clear and almost warm. We ate and drank and admired the incredible view across Bellingham Bay.
Jon mixed up a batch of Hemingway Daiquiris. I like classic daiquiris, but these are even better: tart, refreshing, and with a nice depth from maraschino and fresh grapefruit juice (recipe at the bottom of the post). Cocktail umbrellas were a must. Continue reading
Last week for spring break we flew out to Kansas City for a family visit, so I had hoped to come home with a pile of food photos to share. Unfortunately a number of things came up that limited our excursions.
The low point culinarily was probably when I was standing in a hospital cafeteria that hadn’t opened yet for the evening, staring at the vending machine options and weighing the pros and cons of an expensive packet of peanut butter crackers or, frighteningly, a cheeseburger. Yes, a vending machine cheeseburger. No, I was too chicken to try it. I ate the crackers. Continue reading
For the March issue of Grow Northwest, I offered to write a cooking piece on Irish food. I cleverly sidestepped corned beef and cabbage and soda bread, and instead used it as an excuse to make a really fabulous Guinness-braised pot roast and a lovely batch of buttermilk colcannon. I also made cake.
From my research (and my parents’ experience), the real Irish version of Guinness cake is a fruity, spiced teatime sort of thing, rather than a sweet dessert. I remembered Jon making a chocolate Guinness ice cream from David Lebovitz’s ice cream book, and wanted to find a good recipe for chocolate stout cake – I eventually found it in Nigella Lawson’s Feast. And what a cake! We’ve made it twice now, and I think it’ll be in regular rotation in our house. It’s chocolatey but not too sweet, dense and moist, and keeps perfectly, wrapped on the counter, for up to a week. I think it might freeze well but so far we haven’t had enough leftover to try it. It’s very good eaten plain, but a dollop of cream cheese frosting is extremely nice. Continue reading
My review of Tweets came out in the Cascadia Weekly week before last. I had hoped to link to the article, but they never put it online. Fortunately you can read the original PDF here, and I thought I’d put up a few extra photos from my “research” trips.
To sum up: it took us a while to try Tweets, since it’s so close to our other favorite hangouts Slough Food and The Edison, but it’s now become our go-to breakfast outing. You order at the counter, pay in cash, then wander around with your coffee cup hoping a table will open up. There’s no guarantee you’ll find a spot, especially when the weather’s bad and there’s no outdoor seating, but people seem to be pretty good natured about shifting around to make room. Continue reading