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Topic: Providence Cicero

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August 7, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Pasta with Jam Sauce

Rachelle, Sarah and Tony of Team Falkor with me, tasting pasta with jam sauce.

Rachelle, Sarah and Tony of Team Falkor with me, tasting pasta with jam sauce.

According to E!Online, the internet has been inundated this week with “thousands of people around the world forming teams of 15 and performing weird, random and fun tasks in the name of breaking some Guinness World Records…and donating tens of thousands of dollars to the charity Random Acts.” You don’t have to tell me.

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Comments | More in Cooking | Topics: GISHWHES, Pasta with jam sauce, Providence Cicero

August 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Second Helpings: The Herbfarm

The Herbfarm’s chef Chris Weber and one of his creations: Smoked vegetable broth with Sun Gold tomato, zucchini, squash blossoms, ham and egg–all raised on the restaurant’s farm. Photo: Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times If any dish captures the essence of summer it’s the gorgeous one pictured above. As the opening number on The Herbfarm’s July…

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Comments | More in Restaurants | Topics: Cafe Juanita, Nancy Leson, Providence Cicero

July 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Girl Meets Dirt on Orcas Island

Gerry and Audra Lawlor at the Orcas Island Farmer's Market /  Photo: monicabennett.com

Gerry and Audra Lawlor at the Orcas Island Farmer’s Market / Photo: monicabennett.com

The network of chefs, growers and food artisans on Orcas Island is so intertwined that the night before I met Audra and Gerry Lawlor selling their line of Girl Meets Dirt Archipelago Preserves at the Orcas Island Farmer’s Market, I had already tasted one of their wares in an elegant Prosecco cocktail tinged with rhubarb and lavender at The Inn at Ship Bay.

Turns out, the inn’s commercial kitchen is where girl meets stove to craft her chunky, jam-like “spoon preserves” and the firmer, concentrated fruit purees Audra calls “cutting preserves,” modeled after Spanish membrillo, or quince paste.

Quince, in fact, is their bestselling flavor. It comes from Willowrose Bay on Guemes, another of the islands in the San Juan archipelago. Audra says she is adamant about sourcing fruit only from the San Juans; often they pick it themselves. With the exception of rhubarb, she exclusively uses orchard fruit, almost all heirlooms, “a nod to the San Juan’s, and in particular Orcas’s orchard keeping history.”

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Comments | Topics: Girl Meets Dirt, Orcas Island, Providence Cicero

July 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

The Charms of Chippy’s Fish & Drink

Chilled tomato soup with smoked mussels at Chippy’s. Photo: Providence CIcero If summer ever returns, I hope this glorious chilled tomato soup does too. During this month’s heat wave, it was a special at Chippy’s Fish & Drink, the new Ethan Stowell eatery next door to his Staple & Fancy Mercantile in Ballard. Topped with…

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Comments | Topics: Chippy's Fish & Drink, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Providence Cicero

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.”

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

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.

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

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:

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

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.

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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.

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

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