Seattle, the Emerald City

We were welcomed to the Emerald City in the Evergreen State with cool, soft grey skies that gave way to peeks of pale sunshine.

Dana and I were in Seattle for BlogHer Food ’12.  It was an opportunity to learn and re-connect with blogger friends.  Quite honestly, we both needed a break from all of the sadness of the last few weeks and this trip to Seattle provided a much-needed break.

I promised myself that I would not show multiple pictures of folks mostly hidden behind microphones in this post.  So, I’ll just say that there were many inspiring speeches and interesting lessons learned and wonderful sponsors…thank you.  Also, I’d like to give a big shout out to The Fairmont Olympic Hotel…they really made us feel at home, special, pampered and very well fed…I’m going to dream about that smoked salmon!

What I thought you might enjoy hearing about was our experience of the Seattle food scene and their famous Pike Place Market.

Last week in Chicago I met fellow blogger and author, Janine MacLachlan (Rustic Kitchen, Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland), who suggested we go to Alki Beach which would give us an great view of the city and a chance to taste a simple, local favorite, Spud.  Janine said that they made the best fish and chips. Spud advertises itself as the oldest fast food restaurant in Seattle.  I have to say, it was very fast and very delicious.

We chose to go with the classic fish and chips, featuring double batter dipped (really) fresh cod…the crust crackled with crispness and fish nestled inside was flaky and tender.  It was served with thick, savory, pickle-filled tartar sauce and homemade infused vinegars (our favorite was the garlic).

We didn’t want to fill up though, because in a few hours we had a reservation at Cascina Spinasse recommended by Seattle native, Michael Natkin, whose blog and latest book is Herbivoracious.  Spinasse is an unpretentious restaurant  filled with wood plank tables and rustic Italian food.  Since we had shared our lunch, we arrived hungry.  We couldn’t resist the asparagi e prosciutto cotto, roasted and chilled asparagus with boiled Italian ham, crushed egg and herbs.  It was a delightful, well-balanced dish that was light and perfect for a spring night.

We were told by Michael that we had to order the Tajarin, which is freshly made egg pasta that comes with either ragu or butter and sage.  We hungrily ate the perfectly prepared pasta with butter and sage and went on to enjoy the costollette di agnello, which are breaded lamb chop cutlets with fresh fava beans.  OK, at this point we’re pretty full, but there’s always room for dessert, right?

We ended with a delightful panna cotta with cherries… we shared,  so it was fairly guilt free.

On Saturday we were off to the Pike Place Market.

There, we were drawn to the large crowd that had grown around the Pike Place Fish Market.  Be careful if you go (and maybe even duck when you place an order)… they throw your catch over the counter to be wrapped while shouting and repeating the order…”one small salmon, one small salmon, one small salmon.”  If you’re nice enough to leave a tip, they shout “we gotta tip, we gotta tip, we gotta tip,” to the delight of the crowd.

This is a company with a great sense of humor.  We had to indulge in the “fat” dungeness crab cocktail that was on ice and ready to go.  It was ocean fresh and oh-so sweet…it really didn’t need any cocktail sauce.

Of course there were veggies, some exotic and some familiar.

Handmade bouquets were everywhere…I was drawn to these California poppies, so simple, so perfect.

Outside the street performers entertained the children with all kinds of music and magic.

We had to see the original Starbucks, but the line was so long we didn’t have time to go in and indulge…so we stayed outside and enjoyed one of the best street bands.

The fun and quirky,  Millionaires Club.

You just can’t go to Seattle and not eat oysters (well, if you like them, that is).  We were steered to one of Seattle oldest at the end of Pier 56, Elliot’s.

There, we indulged in some varieties that we were not familiar with, Penn Cove and Deer Creek, but we had to have some of our favorite, Kusshi oysters.

They had a crisp, local Pinot Blanc from Foris Winery that was the perfect partner.

Ah…at last!  These really might have been the freshest oysters that I have ever eaten.  We understand that there is a new oyster spot in Ballard named The Walrus and the Carpenter…that’s on our list for next time.

We were sorry our trip had to end.

Thank you Seattle for a wonderful visit!

Taking it day by day…

Thank you all for the gracious notes that you left at this sorrowful time. I want you to know just how much they were appreciated.   You are my internet friends and family and I hold you all dear in my heart!  Even though so many of us have never met and probably never will, we have forged a friendship and a bond through this blog.

Today is Jack’s  birthday…he would have been 86.  He always would celebrate with the first cherries of the season…a custom started by his mother many years ago.  So today, I’m going to buy cherries and serve them in honor of Jack.

Last year in happier times,  I wrote about a Simple Roasted Cherry Dessert Topping.  In case you missed it, here is a link to to that post.

 

A Passing

Dear Friends,

I made a promise with myself when I started my blog that I would post every Sunday…this Sunday I will be breaking this promise, but for good reason. Yesterday, my dear father-in-law unexpectedly passed away.  This Sunday all of the family will gather and remember our wonderful Jack and hold each other very close.

I hope to be back in touch with you soon, till then, please hold your family close as well.

 

And the winner is…

Sandy!

Congrats, Sandy! I can’t tell you enough how much I adore this book…hope you love it as much as I do!

Thank you all for sharing your favorite Sunday supper memories. You guys obviously feel as strongly about Sunday supper as I do… it was really such a pleasure reading your stories.

Sandy, if you could please contact me through the contact form on the blog with your address, I’ll send the book your way!

Thanks again to everyone who participated! And exciting news for all…there will be 2 more giveaways for the book over the next few months so please check back frequently for more chances to win!!

 

 

 

Classic Champagne Cocktail Recipe – Cheers to all Moms!

My mother never went out of the house without lipstick, yet she was not a “girly girl” either.  This always presented a special challenge on Mother’s Day.  She really didn’t like flowers…or candy…or perfume.  So every year I faced a dilemma, but somehow I always found something she was thrilled with (or at least she pretended to be thrilled, like all good mamas do).

Every since I was allowed to turn on the gas burner, I could charm my mom with dinner, so that’s what my Mother’s Day gift became…a  simple card and a lovingly prepared meal. I’m sure that my eager, first attempts weren’t noteworthy, but that was OK by her.  I remember sitting at home reading cookbooks as if they were a required reading assignment to find just the right recipe that would make her smile. Then rummaging around in the pantry to see if we had most/some of the ingredients.  We lived on a tight budget, so nothing too extravagant was going to work.  Sitting on the top shelf would be flour, sugar and modest group of spices…there was always a something to be made out of that.  Below the shelves was a vegetable bin and I would find potatoes and onions peeking out…add a bit of meat and a carrot or two and you had a roast or a stew.  Since my mother worked every day, a slow cooked meal was one of the best gifts in the world.   I have to say…it still is, isn’t it?

Oh, I know that it’s easier to ask mom to brunch and have her join the legions of other moms being scooted around to various restaurants.  After all, there’s no work involved…just a reservation to be made and a car ride.  I know that many of you have crazy, hectic schedules and it’s probably your Mother’s Day as well.  But for those of you that might have time, think about inviting your mom over for a heartfelt, “spent all day on it” Sunday supper, which is just what my family is going to be doing for me today.  I so wish that my mother was still with us because she dearly loved this tradition.

Have I mentioned how much I like champagne…especially for special occasions?  Well, my family knows this, and one of my favorite things to start a celebration with is a champagne cocktail.  So that’s how we are going to start my special Mother’s Day Sunday supper.  Thought I’d pass along this classic recipe.

Print

Classic Champagne Cocktail

Yield: 1 serving

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

A festive drink, perfect for holidays!

Ingredients:

1 glass of champagne (I like to use a Brut champagne)
1 sugar cube
10 dashs (approximate) Angostura aromatic bitters (can be found in most grocery stores)
1 Lemon curl

Directions:

Peel as many curls off of an organic lemon as you are going to need. Saturate the sugar cubes with Angostura bitters. Place one saturated cube in bottom each champagne flute. Add champagne and lemon curl. Cheers!

Cheers!

Happy Mother’s Day!