Monthly Archives: August 2009

Cake Wrecks coming to Seattle!

Jen Yates, the brilliantly hilarious mind behind Cake Wrecks, will appear at Third Place Books September 26 at 6:30 p.m. Jen will be promoting her new Cake Wrecks book. There will be cake for all (of course) and a fun contest. Bring the Wreckplica of your choice…on a cupcake. Click here for all the details.

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“But it’s breakfast for supper. Your favorite, Paulie.”

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?

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).

Tara brought her circus waffle maker, which produces waffles in the shape of a lion, elephant, circus tent and clown (shudder).

Decisions, decisions

Decisions, decisions.

All together now: mmmm...bacon.

All together now: mmmm...bacon.

A balanced breakfast.

A balanced breakfast.

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Filed under Savory, So right, Sweet, Thursday night dinners

Oh Mioposto

The best pizza I’ve ever had came from a shop in the Venice train station. It was a slice of margherita pizza with basil, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and a thin but perfectly crisp crust.

That was six years ago, and as I recently told my friend Mary, who was with me on that trip, I still dream about that pizza.

We were sharing lunch at Mioposto, an Italian pizzeria and cafe located in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood.

Like the pizza of my dreams, the pies at Mioposto have a cracker-thin crust and focus on getting the most flavor out of choice ingredients. Mary and I had the Pinnochio with salami, hot Italian sausage, pepperoni, salsa di pomodori, mozzarella, mixed olives and fresh tomatoes.


And we also tried the Pizza Del Giardino with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, garlicky mixed olives, fontina, mozzarella and salsa di pomodori.


We paired our pizza with the delicious Della Casa salad, which had carmelized onions in a vinaigrette.


I’ll still pine for that perfect slice in Venice, but it’s nice to know that good Italian fare is not so far away.


Filed under Reviews, Savory



I snagged these totally awesome ninja glasses earlier this month at the Urban Craft Uprising, which showcases the work of independent crafters, artists and designers. I’ve given the glasses as wedding gifts and housewarming presents, and they never fail to delight.

Val Lord of Sweet & Cool Design sandblasted each glass by hand and has a bunch of other designs available through her Etsy store. She also does custom orders.

I’ll drink to that.

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Figs, pigs and lions

My friend Tara and her husband H. recently purchased their first home, and they graciously hosted this past Thursday’s Girl’s Night dinner at their new digs.

We started the night with some cheese, figs and meat treats from Salumi. I bought them at the Metropolitan Market in West Seattle, which has a robust selection of Italian cured meats. We tried four varieties: sopressata, mole salami, mollinari hot salami and finnochiona salami.


We had pan-seared pork loin for our main course and an interesting side dish–roasted baby carrots with black olives and garlic.


I didn’t think I would enjoy these three flavors together, but the sweetness of the carrots and saltiness of the olives complemented each other, and the garlic wasn’t overpowering.

In remembrance of the “lion of the Senate,” Ted Kennedy, Lynn made a commemorative cocktail. It consisted of light rum, bitters, lemon juice, grenadine and powdered sugar. According to the recipe, it was called the “White Lion,” which was very confusing because the drink is actually pink.


Mahnaz made a pudding dessert with bananas and vanilla wafers from Trader Joe’s, which she claims are far superior to the classic NILLA Wafers. I call for a blind taste test! And plenty of milk.


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Filed under Alcohol, Savory, Sweet, Thursday night dinners

Bluebird is no fly-by-night operation

Since I’m training for a half marathon, probably the last thing I should be eating is snickerdoodle ice cream. But there I was last night at Bluebird Homemade Ice Cream & Tea Room enjoying a scoop. I had also gotten a kids-size scoop of chocolate pudding ice cream for my son, and he did eat much of it, but let’s be honest–it was really for me!

Bluebird is located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in an area that is also home to Molly Moon’s and Old School Frozen Custard. That’s a lot of frozen dairy for essentially a four-block radius, but each shop has its unique character and treats.

Bluebird definitely has the best space. There’s ample seating, and all of the furniture has a story. Much of it is made from reclaimed materials. In addition to ice cream, it serves sandwiches, pastries and a wide variety of teas.

The snickerdoodle ice cream was way too sweet for me, but I really enjoyed the chocolate pudding ice cream. It was velvety smooth and had a deep cocoa flavor.

Definitely worth going an extra mile for.


Filed under Ice cream, Reviews, Sweet

Olive 8 ALMOST makes you forget you’re eating hotel food

Photo by Sarah Albano

Photo by Sarah Albano

If there is a part of hell reserved for food lovers, I’m sure that it is a hotel ballroom where the damned must eat endless supplies of rubbery chicken breasts, dried-out beef, gummy pasta and mushy vegetables.

So I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy the dinner at my friends’ wedding reception at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle. Olive 8 is sleek and modern and the food aspires to be that way too.

The starter salad was grilled crimini mushrooms with mizuna lettuce and crumbled bleu cheese. I liked the flavors in the salad, but unfortunately, someone in the kitchen had a heavy hand with the bleu cheese, which overwhelmed everything.

The salad was served with rosemary bread, which was warm and soft–a nice departure from the rock hard dinner rolls found in most hotel ballrooms.

Guests had three main courses to choose from: Alaskan black cod, braised beef short rib, or leek and ricotta croquettes with mushroom ragout. Entrees came with jasmine rice and asparagus.

I had the fish, my husband had the beef and my friend Aileen had the croquettes. I was very impressed with my dish because the cod was cooked perfectly. It was moist and perfectly flaked when I put a fork to it. I also appreciated that the preparation was fairly simple so that the cod could shine. My asparagus was tender-crisp and hallelujah–the rice was cooked properly! Too many times when dining out, I’ve been expecting sticky rice and get some kind of soggy rice pilaf impostor instead. Props to Olive 8 for getting the rice right for the mostly Filipino guests at this wedding reception.

The beef shortrib looked great on the plate, but when I asked my husband what he thought of it, I got noncommittal mumble in reply. Not a good sign. When I tasted it, I was again impressed. The hotel kitchen had kept the meat moist and tender. However, the meat was woefully underseasoned and could have used some sauce. I’ve heard judges on Top Chef and Chopped go on and on about how a dish could have used a sauce, and I’ve never really known what they meant. When I had the Olive 8 shortrib, I finally got it. A sauce would have added some much-needed flavor and personality to the shortrib. And the shortrib would not merely be moist–it would have been succulent. On its own, it was just a piece of meat that was luckily not overcooked.

I got just a bite of the leek and ricotta croquettes, and I thought they were pretty tasty. It was nice to have a vegetarian entree with some imagination.

Olive 8’s food wasn’t perfect but represents a welcome change from the usual hotel fare.

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Filed under Reviews, Savory