“I need doughnuts,” my co-worker Paige whispered urgently.
I nodded. I understood that this was a serious matter and that it needed to be resolved quickly. But how? I considered our options. They all involved leaving the office and either driving or taking a cab.
Could there be another solution?
Geo, one half of Seattle hip hop duo Blue Scholars, is a fierce lyricist and tireless community activist. The man can also cook.
He and his wife, Chera, have started holding monthly pop up dinners called “Food & Sh*t” at Inay’s Asian Pacific Cuisine. The menus feature inventive riffs on traditional Filipino dishes and other dishes that reflect Geo’s background and his family’s personal tastes.
Other than my mom’s, the sisig lumpia served as an appetizer at the dinner in September may be the best lumpia I’ve ever had. Sisig is a Filipino dish made from pig’s head and liver, or as Anthony Bourdain described it, “the strangely addictive, sizzling melange of hacked up pork face…oh, sweet symphony of pig parts.”
My friend Helen, who is vegan, and I like to joke that Filipino food—the food that I grew up eating—is the least vegan cuisine out there. It’s meat with a side of meat and some rice.
However, Helen remained curious about Filipino food and is a perseverant cook. She surprised me by making her own karioka, which is essentially a set of Filipino doughnuts on a stick. It turns out that karioka is vegan.
That piqued my interest, and I started wondering if there were other vegan Filipino foods. One day Helen and I were chatting on Twitter about a recipe by Astig Vegan for vegan lumpia, one of the quintessential Filipino foods.
I was surprised to find that lumpia wrappers are vegan. I had been sure that there they were made with eggs, but they aren’t. This revelation opened up a world of possibilities.
When I traveled to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Interactive conference, I definitely had a lot of barbecue, but I also was fortunate to eat at Uchiko, the Japanese restaurant where Top Chef Season 9 winner, Paul Qui, is executive chef.
The restaurant, of course, was completely booked weeks before I arrived in Austin. I thought maybe I could score a seat in the bar during happy hour if I got there early enough. My conference roommate, Dominique, was game to try. While she was on the Uchiko website getting directions to the restaurant, on a whim, Dominique checked online availability of reservations that night. She found a 5:30 pm slot was open and booked it immediately. Score!
For my husband’s birthday this year, I surprised him with an Angry Birds cake, made by our friend Amelia Franada, who owns Sweet Teeth Custom Cakes & Pastries in Renton, Washington.
I’m constantly impressed by Amelia’s artistry and versatility. She can make everything from a kick ass ninja cake to elegant French macaroons. I also love her creative spins on traditional Filipino desserts.
Go ahead, “like” her on Facebook and visit her booth at the Renton Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays. You won’t regret it!
Filed under So right, Sweet
Photo by Patricia Heal
A few weeks ago, my friend Lynn made chocolate stout layer cake for dessert for Thursday night dinner at Ellen’s. I must admit that I was skeptical. Sure, I know that certain stout beers have a dark chocolate flavor, so a pairing of beer and chocolate isn’t that out there. But still, I was afraid that the malt flavor would overwhelm the chocolate in a cake.
Boy, was I wrong.
The cake Lynn made was easily one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had. (And I have eaten a lot of cake.) It was rich but not too dense and the beer perfectly accentuated the chocolate. Too often frosting is an afterthought, but this time it was an essential element of the cake.
Also, this cake was incredibly moist. So moist that I saved a piece from Thursday night dinner, and when I ate it on Sunday (yes, three days later), it was still as moist as when it was first made!
If you’re looking to be the star of the next potluck you attend or to curry favor with your favorite chocolate lover, look no further than this cake. Click here now to get the amazing recipe.
If you work in downtown Seattle, chances are you’ve eaten in the subterranean cafeteria known as Bakeman’s. It’s known for its turkey sandwiches, fast service, low prices, total lack of ambiance and the cranky proprietor, Jason Wang, aka “The Sandwich Nazi.”
If you come into Bakeman’s, you better know what you want to order, and you better order it quickly. Otherwise Jason will call you out. Many people don’t like Jason’s gruff demeanor and says that he yells at people too much. One review I read claimed that Jason verbally abuses people. Puh-lease. Jason just says what everybody in line is thinking. “Hey, hurry up. Don’t you know what you want yet? People are waiting. I’ve only got 30 minutes for lunch!”
I recently went to Bakeman’s during lunch rush, got my food and when I made it to the cash register, I discovered that I didn’t have enough cash to pay. (Bakeman’s only takes cash or checks.) I fully expected Jason to upbraid me. Instead, he just said, “Pay me next time” and shooed me away. I came back later that day to give him money, and he seemed amazed–and true to form, a little annoyed–that I had returned.
The turkey sandwiches at Bakeman’s are delicious. I liked mine mixed, on wheat, just cranberry. (White and dark meat on wheat with cranberry sauce for those who don’t know the lingo.) But I enjoy the daily specials even more. They are often a real surprise and range from classics like meatloaf and mashed potatoes to more exotic fare like kalua pork and cabbage. And at $6.75, they are a great value.
I recently enjoyed roasted chicken breast with Israeli couscous at Bakeman’s. The chicken was moist and flavorful and the couscous was well seasoned. I would have never expected to see an upscale ingredient like Israeli couscous at a chipped-Formica-counter kind of place like Bakeman’s, but that’s why I love the place!
Chicken breast with Israeli couscous
I didn’t need to watch Juno to know that having breakfast for dinner kicks butt.
My Thursday night dinner crew shares the sentiment, and in June, we had a potato and leek frittata, waffles, bacon, sausage, fruit salad and mimosas in honor of our friend Jill’s birthday.
Who needs cake when you've got a birthday frittata?
Tara brought her circus waffle maker, which produces waffles in the shape of a lion, elephant, circus tent and clown (shudder).
All together now: mmmm...bacon.
A balanced breakfast.
Hugs and kisses to Jean Bentley at PopWatch for unearthing this hilarious vintage McDonald’s commerical for the shamrock shake.
Filed under So right, Sweet