Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Seattle Travelogue Part Two: What I Put In My Face

(Part One Here.)

I am one of those people who really reads menus, every inch of them. I agonize over what to order. If you tell me you went out to dinner, I will ask you what you had, and I will need details. So, basically, I'm telling you non-foodie people to bear with me as I am about to recount, in ingredient-level detail, all the delicious food I consumed during my four-day Seattle gorge-a-thon.

Blogger Confab with Tasty Tasty Food
First up: a wonderful meet-up with Angie, Lisa, Nora, Stacy, and Stephanie at Oliver's Twist for drinks and small plates. Besides the sparkling conversation, we enjoyed popcorn cooked in garlic truffle oil, thin slices of Salumi salami (man, do those Batalis know their way around a pig or what?) with orange jam and long, crispy grissini, and my favorite: blue cheese-bacon stuffed dates with Marcona almonds and warm tomato vinaigrette. It bears repeating: blue cheese-bacon stuffed dates with Marcona almond and warm tomato vinaigrette. I would show you a picture, but I was too busy stuffing them in my mouth, Lucy-style. So, so good, each one the perfect bite of sweet and salty and acidic and rich. If anyone has a good stuffed date recipe, let me know. And if anyone with a recipe is willing to make a plate and bring them over by noon, again: let me know.

Elliot Bay: Pumpkin seed loaf with black coffee
The next morning, during my solo book store outing, I ordered a big slice of pumpkin seed bread and a cup of black coffee in the Elliot Bay Cafe. Truthfully: the pumpkin bread felt a bit too healthy for a proper gorge-a-thon. It was full of seeds and nuts and probably flax seed oil and agave nectar. No bacon anywhere.

lunch alone
I ate lunch alone, sitting outside at a little metal bistro table near Pioneer Square, taking in the breeze and slight sea-salty humidity.

Vegetable Curry Peanut Soup
It was curried vegetable peanut soup and warm bread, washed down with an illicit Diet Coke.

purple wine bar
That night, my aunt took me out for dinner at purple cafe and wine bar.

I enjoyed a tasty white wine flight and have since decided that I want "intriguing hints of herbaceousness and minerality" inscribed on my headstone. Beloved wife, mother, and daughter with intriguing hints of herbaceousness and minerality, may she rest in peace, amen.

Cheese Board
Cheese flight. Can't remember the cheeses (likely due to the wine flight), but I do remember the almonds and fig jam and thinly sliced apples and flatbread crackers.

Lemon Parmesean Risotto
The cheese course was chased with lemon Parmesan risotto and big salads for health.

Vinho Verde = Win
This is a bottle of Broadbent Vinho Verde. If you're looking for a bright, gulp-able, very slightly effervescence summer wine for under $10 a bottle, meet your new best friend. I could not love this wine any more.

birthday brulee
My birthday creme brulee and...

Sea Salt Chocolate Caramels
...sea salt chocolate-covered caramels to finish.

Cupcake Royale
On Friday morning, I met the lovely, lovable Nora of Whopping Cornbread and her sweet boy (who happens to be only one month younger than Jimmy) for a cupcake at West Seattle's Cupcake Royale.

Cupcake Royale
My cupcake (chocolate with strawberry icing.)

Her cutie pie (vanilla with chocolate icing).

Bubba Cakes
He seriously put that bad boy down in two minutes flat.

Later that day, my aunt and I took in a light-ish lunch at Tom Douglas's pizza joint, Serious Pie. It is a tiny little place with a slender menu of about ten seasonal pies.

Serious Pie: Potato pizza with rosemary and parm
We tried two: the Yukon Gold potoato, rosemary, and olive oil and...

Serious Pie: Neopolitan with buffalo mozz
...a simple Neapolitan with Buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes. Crispy, light, straight-forward. We visited the famous Dahlia Bakery afterward and I tried a wee, thimble-sized version of the coconut cream pie. And, once again, no picture. Please see the Lucy comment above.

cucumber melon margarita on the rocks
On to evening cocktails and nibbles at Boka Kitchen & Bar. This is a melon cucumber margarita on the rocks. It was delicious and cool and tasted like liquid summer and I had several. I would very much like one right now, even though it is 9:00 A.M. as I write this. What? It contains fruit AND vegetables, OK?

pulled-beef sliders with horseradish creme on a homemade biscuit
On to the food, including pulled lamb sliders with horseradish creme on a homemade biscuit. Oh, baby.

This is sashimi ahi, cubed and tossed with avocado, ponzu vinaigrette, and ginger and served with fresh taro chips and sprouts. Though most certainly health food, it is undeniably delicious and slightly dangerous with the mercury and all and thus has a rightful place in the gorge-a-thon march of culinary hedonism.

Crab cakes skewered with sugarcane
And speaking of hedonism, these are Dungeness crab cake with lemongrass aïoli, served on sugar cane sticks. I ate all of these, people, just as I usually do in a coastal town where the crab is fresh and abundant. And, lo, later that night, while sitting in a movie (SisterhoodOfTheTravelingPants2, OK?andI'mgoingtotypeitquicklyandinatinyfontdon'tjudge) I began to feel slightly ill. And later, in the middle of the night, I was significantly ill. And the next morning, when I was finally coming around, it dawned on me: I think crab makes me sick. And also: Duh. This happens nearly every time I gorge on crab, but I'm always on vacation and eating out and I just assume all the fast living has caught up with me but, no, I fear it is the crab.

The really sick part? I cannot promise I won't do it again. (Eat crab, that is. Because I probably don't need to see SisterhoodOfTheTravelingPants2 again, ever.) And even with the dodgy stomach bit at the end, it was a wonderful culinary vacation for a woman whose life frequently, shamefully involves cuisine like this.

(Dalmatian Plantation pictures to follow, I promise. Thanks for the birthday wishes for the little miss!)


justjuli said...

I am sitting here salivating over your recent vacation. Yum! I am a big foodie - but probably will never describe meals so thoroughly in a blog. Mostly because I, too, am busy shoving my face.

As a lover of all things wine-related, I am inspired by your headstone suggestion. I will have to keep that in mind next time I'm enjoying something "full bodied" or "vibrant".
Or like Meg Ryan in French Kiss: "A Bold wine with a hint of sophistication and lacking in pretention"

iloveupstate.com said...

I think we must have similar tastes cause I loved every dish you picked.

Now, I gotta go get me some tuna, risotto and pumpkin bread STAT.

Veronica @Toddled Dredge said...

Oooooh, that looks good. And since I'm nine months pregnant, the drinks look best of all.

Claire B. said...

Wow, it looks like you thoroughly enjoyed Seattle, up to the violently ill part.

Still sorry I missed out on the meet up at Oliver Twist! Triple damn. Stoopid car that wouldn't have made the 90-mile trip without crapping out on the freeway!

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Gorgeous photos, as usual. I married a food snob. NOT GOOD FOR THE WAIST-LINE!

(Although, neither is pregnancy.)


MamaBird said...

Awww, I should have known you were a closet foodie. The bacon love shoulda been the tip off. Sorry about the crab lust-womit. Sounds like you had a fabulous time....

Jackie Tx said...

This made me espically hungary. My hubby does the cooking and insists that I do like ribs. Well I dont, ok calm down that only means more for you. I dont like to chew and chew and chew only to find I am still chewing and nothing is disolving or happening its still the same hard hunk of rubber I have been trying to consume. So he makes rib meat and trys to pass it as other. BUAH its not anything other than ick. I would love to get a cup cake from the royal!!

~m said...

I'm so huuuunnnnngry now.

going to kitchen to stuff face

(altho not with such delicate de-lites, to be sure. i'll be face-stuffing in quantity not quality)

Yay for the yummy!

Amy the Mom said...

Oh the carbs, the luscious carbs!

As I am currently depriving myself of the demon sugar, I am literally salivating over your photos.

Also-I wouldn't give up crab either in spite of the GI side effects.

standing still said...

Slurp. Drool. Jealous. The end.

csquaredplus3 said...

Beautiful photographs of food. So when are you publishing your cook book? You foodie you.

Currently full on pastrami, champagne cheese, wheat thins, and a Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir (courtesy of Louis Latour).

Thank you for letting us live vicariously through you...

Angie said...

Dear god - you have no idea how my mouth is watering over those cupcakes and that melon-cuke marguerita:)

There is nothing like food to make your travels wonderful.

Jennifer Powell said...

WOW, awesome! As a wannabie foodie I was ENTHRALLED by your post. Thanks for sharing. As for the movie...I read the book (The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood if you are wondering), so I'm probably in worse shape then you having had to sit through a longer period of time reading instead of watching. *sigh* Such is life.

Nora Bee said...

Hey, I know that baby! What a cutie!
And some seriously good food, dude. Maybe I can convert you to my no-exoskeleton rule and help you avert the midnight ills.

Stacy (mama-om) said...

OMIGOD! I live in this town and I am seriously missing out on some delicious food.

Now I've got the midnight munchies. :)

bluemountainsmary said...

I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop the drool falling out.

And the Pewsey Vale Riesling? Not a bad drop!

the (new) cheap chick said...

Wow. I thought I was a foodie, but I've never been able to remember my vacation food and drink in so much detail. That's truly amazing. And a tiny bit terrifying. But in a good way, I promise.

Jenn said...

The pictures were great,all that food looked good enough to lick the screen, no not me !

reneedesigns said...

Oh man. I want to try it all. But I'll settle for a cupcake and that margarita right now.

dkuroiwa said...

Oh my...oh My...OH MY!!!
Absolutely wonderful!!
After reading all this in one sitting, I do believe I gained a few pounds and my ass is now about to ooze off the chair!!
So glad you had such a good time!!

knitalot3 said...

Yum! As the peanut butter and jelly gourmet that I am, I have to ask... Was the tuna on that salad cooked?

I think too much crab is just too rich for some of us. I get sick too if I eat more than a leg or two. Crab cakes, definately.

Thanks for sharing your trip and your food.

I'm Julie said...

Oh my lord, it all looks so delicious, I nearly licked my computer screen.

I once had a similar appetizer and it was REALLY simple to make. Pit dates, stuff with cheese (I used a good parmesan, but anything you like will do) wrap with good quality bacon or prosciutto, bake until pig meat is crisp. Eat and die happy. Very easy, and a big hit at parties. GREAT with champagne.

I warned you!!

Sweet Pepita said...

ooo and you can stuff dates with marzipan for dessert. But that's ALL sweet. Your trip looks delicious! agghh. I need a vacation.

All Adither said...

That popcorn was pretty badass. And I'm SO getting one of those Rebels. Your pictures are amazing.

Undomestic Diva said...

Holy shit, I can't cook worth a damn and think a frozen dinner is the high life, but hot damn! you've made me want to be a better person... in the kitchen... where someone else is cooking.

Heather said...

You were right down in my stomping grounds (I work in Pioneer Square). OMG Salumi, seriously, it's the bomb. The lines for lunch are insane.
And Purple, how I love thee! Those sea salt caramels make me want to slap someone. In a good way.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Seriously salivating.

I'm going to start describing my kids like you did--I have one white with strawberry frosting, 1 white with brown frosting, and 2 white with vanilla frosting!

Sharon said...

Please mail some of the Blue cheese-bacon stuffed dates with Marcona almond and warm tomato vinaigrette immediately to me. And also take me with you next time. It wouldn't be a problem to swing by Spokane on your way to Seattle, right???

Irene said...

I have a gastric band, so I will never be able to order seriously good food like that, but I sure enjoy reading about it in the smallest details and I love it when people thoroughly enjoy all the different kinds of exotic flavors that are available to them. I also always want to know what people hat to eat when they have gone out for dinner and want a detailed account of it. Nobody knows why I am so curious. I live vicariously. I am full bodied and vibrant too.

Moxy Jane said...

I read this post with a FULL stomach and I'm still salivating and feeling just a wee bit ready to find me some of that sea-salt chocolate covered caramels! And gulp-able wine is always a winner!

Thanks for the tour, and I'm sorry the crab did not suit you...although, you don't sound too repentant!

My favorite parts were when you mentioned sitting alone, dining alone...oh, that sounds SO heavenly!

Sojourner said...

Incredible food and wine photos, Mel! Lovely descriptions, made me hungry. Would do the same if given the opportunity. My partner is a bit cheap and our vacation to Colorado found me eating cheap food and resenting her for it. I told her I wouldn't do that on vacation again.

stephanie (bad mom) said...

You have convinced me that I must MUST make time to actually cook actual good food for my family; it has been one of my "going to someday" goals but now I will do it, by BeanPaste.

Crab cakes on a stick might well be my first dish. Followed by the wine that makes me herbaceous.

justjuli said...

PS: There's something for you on my blog today. :) Happy Tuesday!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Can I go on vacation with you?

Or maybe you could just come on vacation with me and take pictures? I swear I would decorate my kitchen with your photos. They are art.

Stu said...

Thanks for meeting up with Stephanie, she had a great time.

That wine bar looks great. I'll have to go next time we are up in Seattle.


sheila said...

Oh. Ah. Oh Ah. Oh. Ah. I don't know what else to say, except that my mouth is open and I would like all that food piled into it. It sounded incredible. Really really edible. Who cares WHERE you were.