city ingredients


We recently indulged ourselves in a Big City hunting and gathering trip, stocking up on supplies not commonly found in our neck of the woods. Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry from the Spanish Table, Sichuan preserved vegetable from Ping’s (finally identified by learning the Chinese words for it, cha choy), gochujang, curry leaves, Indian bitter melon, sea beans (also called samphire or glasswort) and noodles from Uwajimaya, and Toulouse sausage from the Paris Grocery. The bitter melon molded within a day and had to be composted (darn it), so the night which had been slated for curry suddenly had to be re-planned.

The main dish I came up with was simple – farfalle pasta tossed with garlic, chile, white beans and the sausage, which I seared in a skillet and cut into rounds. For the sea beans I took a flavor concept from the Zuni Cookbook, sauteeing them in butter and finishing them with a splash of sherry vinegar. Sea beans are so salty no other seasoning was needed, and the vinegar was a perfect complement. I think this was my favorite way of eating sea beans so far.

sea beans

a bite at Ravish

drinks at Ravish

Earlier this week we went to an AMAZING performance by guitarist Charlie Hunter at Jazz Alley in Seattle (Seriously. Amazing. Really!). Afterwards we had plans to have dinner with friends at the Palace Kitchen, but figured we’d better get a bite to eat ahead of time so as not to be completely knocked for a loop by Jazz Alley’s rather strong cocktails. We decided to try Ravish, a little place on Eastlake that a friend of ours had been highly recommending for some time.

(This was also my chance to really try out the camera on my fancy new phone instead of hauling along my old point-and-shoot that I usually use in restaurants – it was very exciting)

beer shadow

The place was cute, but not too cute, if you know what I mean. It looked like a cafe attached to a rather chic garden store, with bright green furniture and antique seltzer bottles and typewriters for decoration. It was quiet when we went in, except for a contingent of focused-looking young men gathered at the bar, but rapidly filled up with blond professional women meeting for wine after work.

Three Strikes

We decided to take advantage of their happy hour deals, which seemed very generous. I had a pint of Stone IPA (they ran out of Racer 5 just minutes before we got there) and Jon tried a house cocktail called Three Strikes, with rye, lemon juice, cherry heering and sage syrup. Many of the cocktails seemed a little extra fruity or spritzy to me, as if they were trying to lure in Cosmopolitan drinkers who might be ready to move on to more complex flavors.


An order of beef satay was not disappointing. The meat was very tender, as though it had been marinated in citrus juice for several hours, and had plenty of flavor all by itself. A coconut-orange dipping sauce was a surprisingly good match. We got three fat skewers with the order, which seemed like a very good deal.

beet salad

We had thought of stopping there, but then ordered a beet salad after seeing one go by. It was nicely built, with a good assortment of bitter greens, sweet roasted beets, crunchy candied walnuts, and Rogue Creamery blue cheese, and was plenty for two people to share.

I was impressed – this is a really nice place to come after work or before a show. Maybe one of these days we’ll have a chance to explore the menu a little more thoroughly.

weekend edition

vinho verde

Last weekend was a true taste of summer: sunny, seventies, and mosquitoes. We finally got our patio free of the encrustation of junk (ladders, plant pots, rocks, dishes, ancient bags of fertilizer) and sat outside for dinner for the first time this year. We went to the local farmer’s market and bought asparagus and sweet baby turnips. We made nuoc cham and ate it on Vietnamese spring rolls and Korean pancakes. I pulled rhubarb in the garden and made buttermilk muffins. We drank white wine with a hint of fizz. And we had brunch at Revel. It was a good weekend.

rhubarb muffins

salmon cakes

High Plains Drifterbaby turnip

grilled shrimp in nuoc cham

spring roll fixings

spring roll

kalbi burger

pork belly galette

the deck at RevelRevel

amer picon

Brooklyn cocktail

Oliver’s Twist, a cocktail bar on Phinney Ridge in Seattle, was one of the places that helped kick off our cocktail obsession – it was the very first place that we ever tasted a Corpse Reviver #2, considered one of the great “gateway” cocktails. That was several years ago, and yet we hadn’t been back. Mostly because the place is always crammed full of hip young things, but still. I guess we got distracted by Liberty and Barrio. Anyway. We finally made it back there last week, and the first thing I saw as we settled ourselves at the bar was a slightly weathered looking bottle of Amer Picon.

Amer Picon

A French bitter liqueur, this stuff is not easy to find these days. It used to be available in the states, and many classic cocktails call for it. But now I hear the only way to get it is to buy it in France, or find a bartender or other cocktail geek with a personal stash and attempt to buy it off of them (good luck). One of our favorite drinks, the Brooklyn, is technically supposed to be made with Picon, but we’ve always used Amaro Nonino as a make-do, and I’d never tried the cocktail made to its original recipe. So when I saw that bottle, my first thought was to ask the bartender for a Brooklyn.

His first reaction was to say “I really should hide that bottle” – but then he not only made me a Brooklyn, he also gave me a sip of the Picon so I could experience its taste undiluted. I would have loved to try it side by side with other amari, but it seemed most like Averna to us – lots of caramel and orange, but not too sweet. The cocktail was perfectly balanced and delicious, but didn’t taste extremely different than our adapted version. It was, however, nicely built and quite large. And excellent with truffled popcorn.

If we ever have the opportunity to get a bottle of Picon, we definitely will, but I’m reassured to know that the cocktails we make at home are acceptably close. And I can always go back to Oliver’s Twist for a reminder, at least until that bottle runs out.



We visited Revel for the first time just four days after it opened in mid-December. We fell in love. We went again last Monday, and fell even harder.

kneading pasta

Brought to us by chefs Rachel and Seif of Joule (two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet), Revel is a more casual, Korean street food sort of place. The main feature of the restaurant is the huge wood bar that serves as a work counter for the staff and a table for the guests. On our first visit we sat at the bar and had the cooks all wandering by giving us the hairy eyeball to see if we liked the food. Which we did. Oh, yes we did.

shrimp & bean salad

There are salads, savory pancakes, and dumplings…

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the temple of porcine love

Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Porcine Love

Only twelve hours ago, we didn’t know this place existed.

Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Porcine Love

We had decided to run down to Seattle for the afternoon and pick up some necessary framing materials. I had recently received an email from Seattle Metropolitan featuring good lunch spots, so I pulled that up to look over while we were getting our stuff together. The Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Porcine Love immediately made itself known as the place we needed to have lunch. Today.

Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Porcine Love

As it turns out, this place is a recent adjunct to the quite fabulous little butcher/charcuterie shop The Swinery. It’s rather like the old Pok Pok in Portland, back when it was just a takeout stand in someone’s driveway. You order your sandwich, eat it on a bench in the narrow courtyard, and pay for it in the shop (where, if you’re like us, you will instantly succumb to the lure of gorgeous charcuterie as well). They’re doing it as a bit of a trial run, to see how it goes.

Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Porcine Love

How was the food, you ask? Hmmm. Jon got the Swinery Burger with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese, cooked medium rare. I got the Carolina pulled pork sandwich, which was so rich and smoky it didn’t need sauce (except for mayo, which I can’t live without). Both were fabulous. I was especially impressed with the bun, which was soft enough to squish down over the meat but didn’t dissolve into mush, and had been nicely toasted. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to try the BLT or the tallow fries.

Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Porcine Love

West Seattle isn’t on our usual route, so I’d just like to put a call out to anyone in the area – check this place out! Give them enough business to consider making it permanent. The world needs more really great burgers and pulled pork sandwiches. Not to mention duck chorizo.

Art of the Pie

Art of the Pie

I tend to think I make a pretty good pie. Last Easter I made a strawberry rhubarb pie that vanished within seconds, and the Easter before that the blackberry pie I baked caused grown women to wander around the house moaning softly with delight. Every Christmas I bake sweet potato pie with bourbon (one of my personal favorites), and my Missouri-born husband thinks I make the best pecan pie he’s ever had. That said, however, when Kate McDermott contacted me about taking one of her Art of the Pie classes, you can bet I didn’t turn her down. For every prize winner I’ve turned out, there’s also been a sodden mess somewhere along the line, and I’ve always been curious which things are truly important in pie baking, as opposed to simply customary. In other words, how does it all really work?

So last Sunday, on a muggy afternoon in downtown Seattle, I joined five other women (including my friend Patricia of the blog Cook Local – see her post on the class here), to learn more of the mysteries of pie. Kate sets aside four hours for these classes, which turns out to be about perfect. We sat down at 3, and by 7 we were all walking out with hot pies.

Art of the Pie

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return to Stumbling Goat

Stumbling Goat

The Stumbling Goat has been one of our favorite restaurants in Seattle for a while, yet oddly enough one that we don’t go to very often. We did try to visit last year, right when the place happened to be changing hands and getting renovated by the new owner, and were stymied. We finally made it there last week, stopping in before going to see Compañia Nacional de Danza at the Meany.

I was a bit worried, since I liked the restaurant so well before, but I think the changes are very positive. The heavy red curtains are gone, and the main dining room and bar area are now much lighter and airier. The food is still focused on local seasonal specialties, the service is admirable, and the drinks list is well thought out. Even though we showed up with no reservation, we were given a very nice table by the window instead of stuffed into a corner (unlike some places…).

Stumbling Goat

We began, as we so often do, with cocktails. Jon tried a rum drink (he’s been spending a lot of time over at RumDood lately, doing important research) called a Kraken, and loved it. It was sweet and spicy and comforting, served simply in a tall cocktail glass with no garnish.

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Brouwer's Cafe

Do you like beer and fries? How about mussels? Or single malt Scotch? If any of the above catch your eye, Brouwer’s is the place you’ve been dreaming of.

Brouwer's Cafe

Located in an unlikely building that looks like a cross between a castle and a warehouse (and feels that way on the inside, too), Brouwer’s is a Belgian-inspired bar and restaurant in the Center of the Universe (otherwise known as Fremont to you non-Seattleites). We’ve gone many times (as have my parents) and are constantly blown away by the length of the beer list, the quality of the fries, and the astonishing tastiness of the merguez lamb burger.

Brouwer's Cafe

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Joule Urban BBQ


At long last, we finally made it down to one of Joule’s Urban Barbecue days. Given how much we love Joule, it was just a matter of time.


Joule’s owner-chefs, Seif and Rachel, began this series last summer, where every Sunday they’re open from noon until 8 pm, with live music and a different food theme. Normally the food here is a fun riff on Korean cuisine with French influences, but the Urban BBQ gives them a chance to play with all sorts of different menus. Last week the theme was “New England Crab Boil,” which didn’t really appeal to us, but last night the theme was Tunisia. We made a special effort to be in town for this one.

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