Follow us:

All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

Author archives

You are currently viewing all posts written by Providence Cicero. Seattle Times restaurant critic and co-host of "Let's Eat" airing at 4 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.

July 18, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Orcas Island’s farmer-chef

Jay Blackinton on the front porch of Hogstone's Wood Oven on Orcas Island. Photo: The Seattle Times

Jay Blackinton on the front porch of Hogstone’s Wood Oven on Orcas Island. Photo: Maddie Meyer/The Seattle Times

More than a few disaffected youths have found fulfillment through hard work and a lot of them end up in restaurant kitchens. Jay Blackinton’s path to the kitchen at Hogstone’s Wood Oven, the Orcas Island restaurant he co-owns with John Steward, founder of Maple Rock Farm, took him first through the fields.

I met Blackinton when I had dinner at Hogstone on a recent eating tour of Orcas Island, chronicled this coming Sunday in The Seattle Time’s travel section. The 26-year-old’s fingers are inked below the knuckles with letters that read “So it goes” when he puts his fists together, remnants of an early infatuation with Kurt Vonnegut. His emails sign off with the 19th century socialist epigram: “The plough is a better backbone than the factory.”

More

Comments | Topics: Hogstone's Wood Oven, Maple Rock Farm, Orcas Island

June 17, 2014 at 3:08 PM

A manly cooking primer from Steven Raichlen

Guy food: Skillet Rib Steak from Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen

Guy food: Skillet Rib Steak from Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen

Who better to pen a he-man kitchen how-to than prolific grillmaster Steven Raichlen, the author of 30 cookbooks including “Planet Barbecue!” and the host of “Primal Grill” and “Barbecue University” on PBS.

Raichlen will be in Seattle on Monday, June 23, promoting “Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys,” at a special dinner event, demo and book signing at RN74 Restaurant downtown.  (Call 206-456-7474 or email dcalle@rn74.com to reserve your seat.)

The hefty, illustrated Workman paperback promises “culinary literacy for men.” Writing with dry humor and a straightforward style, Raichlen comes across as a wise and knowing high school coach, friendly but firm, making it clear when rules are rules (safe food-handling procedures) and when you can bend them (Crazy Salad).

More

Comments | More in Cooking, Upcoming Events | Topics: Man Made Meals, RN74, Steven Raichlen

June 9, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Meet the new burger at The Old Sage

New on the menu at The Old Sage, a hickory and mesquite-smoked burger with root chips. Photo courtesy: The Old Sage

New on the menu at The Old Sage, a hickory and mesquite-smoked burger with root chips. Photo courtesy: The Old Sage

Up until now there hasn’t been a burger on the menu at The Old Sage, Dana Tough and Brian McCracken’s ten-month-old, smoke-fueled restaurant and bar on Capitol Hill. A bar without a burger? That’s like no S’mores at a campfire.

A burger builds trust. “A burger speaks to everyone, as opposed to say, lavender smoked pork cheeks,” said McCracken and Tough, speaking on the phone in tandem, as they tend to do. “You get someone to trust you on that level and they come in again and try other things.”

Sure, they could have copied either of the very fine burgers at their other joints–Tavern Law or Spur. But that would be so un-McCracken-and-Tough. Instead they built a new one, from the bun up.

More

Comments | More in Food and Restaurant News, Restaurants | Topics: Brian McCracken, Dana Tough, hamburgers

June 6, 2014 at 11:55 AM

The Demise of Dot’s

Just days ago I lunched on superb grilled sausages and a perfect porchetta sandwich at Dot’s Charcuterie & Bistrot (né Dot’s Delicatessen) in Fremont —little knowing it would be my last chance to do so. Just hours ago, chef Miles James and his business partner Robin Short announced on Facebook that Dot’s will serve its last dinner tonight. No word on why.

Dot's Charcuterie & Bistrot in Fremont is closing tonight.

Dot’s Charcuterie & Bistrot in Fremont announced it is closing tonight.

The closing is abrupt to say the least. At lunch I overheard

More

Comments | More in Food and Restaurant News, Restaurants | Topics: Anna Wallace, Dot's Charcuterie & BIstrot, Miles James

May 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Chefs tell all: How you can become a restaurant VIP

David Chang, whose Momofuku restaurant realm extends from New York to Toronto to Sydney, Australia, has never been known for his softer side. His reputation for shock talk rivals that of Anthony Bourdain. In the May issue of GQ Magazine, the much-lauded, 36-year-old Korean-American chef offered unvarnished advice to diners who aspire to most-favored-customer status in restaurants.

“Would you like priority seating at busy, popular restaurants… servers to remember what you like and don’t… the choicest cuts of meat, the most pristine fish, extra courses on the house?” Chang writes. “Then you want to become a regular—or what we in the business call a PX table, for person extraordinaire. Ultimately, the experience you’re after is ‘soigné.’ That’s chef-speak for culinary perfection from your first drink to your last dessert.”

What are Chang’s tips for soigné-seeking PX wannabes?

“Avoid eating on weekends, when it’s a zoo. The best diners eat Sundays through Thursdays, earlier or later in the evening, so the staff remembers you better…

“Don’t be a (slang for male body part deleted here)….When you become a PX table at one spot, you soon become a known commodity at many others. And if you’re a (male body part) somewhere, they’ll remember you everywhere. Also, don’t do drugs in the bathroom.”

“Order like you know what’s going on…If you request well-done meat and you’re not pregnant, you have no concept of flavor. (Sorry, this is how we think.) If you send a dish back because you think something is ‘off,’ you’re probably wrong. (And the kitchen will hate you for it.) Above all, try dishes from outside of your comfort zone — those are probably the ones the cooks are most proud of.”

How does this advice resonate with Seattle chefs? Read on:

More

Comments | Topics: Charles Walpole, David Chang, Derek Ronspies

April 29, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Round up some pals and ride on over to the food truck rodeo

Photo: Mobile Food Rodeo

Photo: Mobile Food Rodeo

Seattle’s Mobile Food Rodeo returns this weekend with a truly moveable feast spanning two days and two neighborhoods. The revelry begins in the International District on Saturday May 3 (5-11 p.m.) and moves to Fremont Sunday, May 4 (11 a.m.-7 p.m.) Some 60 food trucks are slated to participate.

“We believe that this is where you will discover the next Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell, talented future chef-preneurs who have great food concepts and are looking to kick start their culinary career with curbside cuisine,” says event founder and organizer Ryan Reiter, whose family started the Fremont Sunday Market and Ballard Farmers Market.

More

Comments

April 8, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Biting Back: The Sloppy Cicero at Miller’s Guild

The Sloppy Cicero at Miller's Guild

The Sloppy Cicero at Miller’s Guild

Last May, a couple of La Mancha goats born at Mountain Lodge Farm in Eatonville were named “Providence” and “Cicero.” Not sure how the little fellows (or their mother, Cinnamon) felt about those exotic monikers–bestowed by the farm’s effervescent owner, Sherwin Ferguson — but I was tickled by the tribute.

To my list of namesakes, I can now add the “Sloppy Cicero,” a sandwich that recently appeared on the lunch menu at Jason Wilson’s restaurant Miller’s Guild in the wake of my 2.5-star review.

More

Comments | Topics: Miller's Guild, Providence Cicero, Sloppy Cicero

January 27, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Women Stars of Food & Wine? Seattle has them in abundance

Ericka Burke of Volunteer Park Cafe is one of the "Women Stars of Food & Wine" Photo by Ernie Sapiro Photography

Ericka Burke of Volunteer Park Cafe is one of the “Women Stars of Food & Wine”
Photo by Ernie Sapiro Photography

I know it’s hard for anyone in this town to think beyond a certain date with destiny this Sunday, but, hey, what are you doing the Sunday after the Super Bowl?

February 9th is the date for “Women Stars of Food & Wine,” an afternoon soiree showcasing dozens of Northwest women chefs, winemakers and sommeliers at the newly remodeled Columbia Tower Club. Fittingly, the event supports the Women’s Funding Alliance, a group that invests in organizations “working to promote progressive change and social justice for women and girls.”

News of this foraging of female talent coincided with reading Julia Moskin’s piece, “A Change in the Kitchen,” last week in The New York Times about the ascendancy of women in New York’s top kitchens. Moskin writes:

“A leading kitchen run by a woman is no longer newsworthy. But it is not quite commonplace, either; the tag “female chef” is still applied to Anita Lo, Barbara Lynch, April Bloomfield, Dominique Crenn (the first woman in North America to have a restaurant with two Michelin stars) and dozens of others. Certainly the most visible chefs are men, a fact made clear in November by a Time Magazine spread that showcased its choice of the world’s most influential chefs, with not a woman among them.”

Thinking back over the 20 years I’ve been covering the Seattle restaurant scene, it struck me that our city has been ahead of the curve when it comes to women heading kitchens: Monique Barbeau, Emily Moore, Kathy Casey, Chris Keff, Tamara Murphy, Holly Smith, Maria Hines, Renee Erickson and Rachel Yang are a just a few prominent names that come to mind. I contacted some of them to get their thoughts.

More

Comments | Topics: "Women Stars of Food & Wine", Providence Cicero, Seattle Uncorked

January 25, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Got Super Bowl tix? What about a dinner rez?

The dining room at Estela, NYC

The dining room at Estela, NYC

Most of us Hawks fans will be watching the Super Bowl right here at home. For the fortunate few who score tickets, getting dinner reservations in New York City might be even harder.

Tables at Manhattan’s most celebrated restaurants are tough to secure on an average weekend. If places like Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Daniel, Del Posto or Per Se are on your wish list, you’d better know someone who knows someone, otherwise you can fuggedaboudit.

Not to worry though.  The “city that never sleeps” has thousands of places to eat. For those who are equal parts football fan and foodie, I offer,  in no particular order, a few personal favorites, where game-goers might be able to snag a last minute reservation or even dare to show up without one. Consider it a mere slice of what the Big Apple has to offer.

Estela—Fine cocktails and boldly conceived small plates from Uruguayan-born chef Ignacio Mattos.

Hearth—Marco Canora’s soulful, contemporary take on Italian cuisine is matched by Paul Grieco’s astonishingly broad beverage list.

Annisa—Anita Lo’s spectacular Asian-inflected food suits this serene West Village dining room.

More

Comments | Topics: New York City dining, Providence Cicero

Next Page »