Monthly Archives: December 2009

Choose your own (alcoholic) adventure

My friend Lynn and I recently had dinner in the bar at Lola in downtown Seattle. When the bartender, Ian, asked us what we wanted to drink, Lynn said she wanted something that was like an Irish coffee but better. More like a hot chocolate.

Ian said he would make up a new drink as long as we came up with a name for it. The mixologist went to work, and the result was a warm and cozy drink that was also spicy and creamy. I liked that you could tell that it had alcohol in it, but the liquor didn’t overpower all other flavors. We christened the new concoction “Lynn’s Clove and Cocoa.” Here’s what goes into the drink:

Half an ounce of tuaca, followed by 3/4 ounce creme de cacao.

Half an ounce of falernum, which I had never heard of, but apparently, I’ve drunk a lot of it because of my love of tiki drinks. Lola makes their own falernum for its bar. (Hence the handwritten, masking tape label on the bottle.)

Next come five dashes of chocolate bitters and then you top everything off with some steamed milk.

Ian wrote down the recipe on the back of a coaster and put it in his drink recipe file. (Who knew bartenders had such a thing? But I guess it makes sense.)

So if you happen to be at Lola on a Sunday or Monday when Ian is working, order a clove and cocoa. Tell him Lynn sent you.

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“Bakery meets bliss”

For months, my friend Bev has urged me to try the twice baked almond croissant at Bakery Nouveau, but for some reason I never got around to it until I was at the bakery a few weeks ago to buy dessert for Thursday night dinner: Polish edition.

When I took a bite of the twice baked almond croissant, I instantly regretted not having one much, much sooner. (Bev, you were so right!) The croissant is crisp and flaky, but doesn’t break into a million tiny pieces when you eat it. The almond flavor rings true and is not overly sweet.

If you’re having a Christmas breakfast, I highly recommend you add some twice baked almond croissants to your menu. And if you need a last-minute gift for your favorite pastry addict, the bakery also sells twice bake almond croissant t-shirts. Bakery Nouveau is open until 6:00 p.m. December 24. Don’t make the same mistake I did–get there soon!

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Filed under Reviews, Sweet

7-Eleven’s mysterious food promotion

I’m pumped to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and don’t need further encouragement to go to the theater to see the flick. But apparently Warner Brothers thinks that a cross-promotion with 7-Eleven taquitos will drive attendance? Only a master sleuth could solve this riddle.

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Filed under Savory, So wrong

Thursday night dinner: Polish edition

The Thursday night girls had so much at the inaugural Polish holiday dinner at Lynn’s house last year, that we decided to do it once again in 2009 (and possibly make it an annual tradition). As you can see in the photo above, that means we had plenty of pierogi, kielbasa and haluski.

Lynn got herself an early Christmas present and bought some new Wusthof knives, which she used to cut the cabbage for the haluski. (Congrats, Lynn, you have real knives and now are officially an adult.)

Because we needed veggies, Tara brought some homemade pickled carrots and cauliflower.

And Mahnaz stirfried some green beans, which added lovely color to our plates.

I brought an assortment of desserts from Bakery Noveau in West Seattle: pear tarts, praline cake and chocolate cake.

Since Jill’s in-laws were in town, we thought she couldn’t make it, but she was able to stop by and pose by the Christmas tree.

Michelle brought us all slipper socks, which we all wore by the virtual fireplace as we sang along to “Last Christmas” by Wham!

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Is that peanut butter on my face?!

I commute to work by bus, and most days it’s a pretty uneventful ride. However, this morning on the bus my cheek was feeling a bit itchy, and when I went to scratch it, my finger landed in a big blob of peanut butter. My first thought was, yuck! Then I wondered how long I had been walking around with peanut butter on my face. I mentally retraced my steps. I had an English muffin with peanut butter for breakfast, got my things together for work, headed out the door, walked to the bus stop, boarded the bus. I didn’t discover the peanut butter until about 15 minutes into the ride. That means I might have been out and about with peanut butter on my face for almost half an hour. Embarrassing!

I wish somebody on the bus would have told me about the peanut butter, but then I considered whether I would actually do that. Would you tell a stranger if he or she had embarrassing food residue on their body or in their teeth?

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And then there were three

Top Chef contestant Jennifer Carroll

Since Jen didn't make it to the finale, who am I going to root for now?

The season 6 Top Chef finale is tonight, and I am really bummed that Jen isn’t in the running to win it all.

Jen wasn’t any of the female reality show archetypes: bitch, ditz or slut. She was a strong competitor but by no means perfect. In fact, I think I liked her because she showed vulenrability. Jen genuinely seemed herself on Top Chef, which is a hard feat to pull off when you’re on a reality show. I even got a little teary myself when she started crying during her exit interview. Hey, you gotta feel for a woman who drives a 2000 Chevy Cavalier.

So who is going to win it all: Kevin, Michael or Bryan? Even without Jen, it’s a strong group of chefs and any of them deserve the Top Chef title.

I wish the Voltaggio brothers had a chance to go head-to-head or maybe cook together as a team on the show. I wonder how that would go. I predict that the elder Bryan will best Michael and Kevin, but perhaps the brothers V will cancel each other out and Kevin will be victorious.

After tonight, I’ll be looking forward to Top Chef: Just Desserts. Bring on the pastry chefs!

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Fig out

I’m getting ready to bundle up and go to Westlake Center in downtown Seattle for the Great Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling Competition. Despite its name, this event really has nothing to do with food, but it does help generate donations for the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank.

More than 40 caroling teams including high school choirs, company teams and neighborhood groups will be performing, and the audience votes for their favorites. The top teams then compete in a sing-off for a panel of distinguished judges.

I went to Figgy Pudding for the first time last year, and I had a blast. It’s a fun and festive event with a little something for everyone.

If you love the holidays, you should definitely head downtown tonight. Pre-Figgy entertainment starts at 5:30 p.m. with cast members from the 5th Avenue Theatre’s “White Christmas,” and the caroling is from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder Drum Line performs 7:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. And then the main stage show to determine Figgy supremacy is 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

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