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All You Can Eat

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Topic: Stuff I ate

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August 6, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Can o’ worms: Eat “right” or else? I don’t think so.

I love it when readers get riled up, as some did after I gave the big nod to pancakes in a can. Some of you agreed that the organic pancake-mix Batter Blaster is not only a blast — but a must-have on summer camping trips. Some took me to task for promoting it. Others voiced concern that Seattle’s recycling laws may render the product (with its “recyclable” plastic cap and steel can pressurized not by aerosol, but by the CO2 in the batter) unwelcome here in the most emerald of cities. I’m still working on getting answers to that one from the City of Seattle and the brass at Batter Blaster — who FedEx’d two cans to the recycling gurus yesterday. Verdict pending.

Meantime, I need to talk to you about something that riles me up: the pervasive attitude that educated consumers must be 100 percent clean and green in the kitchen. If not, suggest the righteous, we don’t deserve to breathe the air we share with Alice Waters and Michael Pollan — esteemed by our Slow Food nation for what they’ve brought to the table. Nor are we doing our part for our children, ourselves and our planet. P.S.? B.S.


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July 29, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Ice? Nice. Frozen fruit’s a real refresher, too. Your ideas?

Keeping a well-stocked freezer is an imperative this week, and having recently cleaned out ours, I’m here to prove it’s now stocked with the bare necessities.

Miller time? Not yet, but that spumoni’s looking pretty good right about now.

My friends, however, are apparently concerned about the state of my near-empty freezer, and feel it’s their duty to do something about it. My pal Missy (“Melissa A. Trainer” to those who know her by-line and her blog, Hooks for Cooks) shot me an e-mail this morning suggesting I might want to take her advice and hook up with a refresher that requires no cooking — if you don’t count the simple process of making simple syrup: fresh fruit popsicles.

Great idea! And as it happens, I’ve got a quart of blueberries waiting for some attention, so maybe I’ll tweak that recipe and give it a go later today. If I can summon up the energy.


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July 28, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Here’s what I crave when it’s hot out. You?

Last night, after a day’s worth of sweating over a hot keyboard, there was only one thing on my mind: South Korea’s summertime sensation, mool naeng myun — cold soba noodles in an icy beef broth with pickled cucumbers, hard-cooked eggs, sweet Asian pear and daikon radish. So I made a beeline for Kaya, my new favorite Korean restaurant, across from Aurora Village on Highway 99 in Shoreline.

“Bet they’re moving a lot of soondoobu today,” I told my friend Clint, who came along for the ride. I was joking. I mean, who’d want a bowl of hot stew on a day like yesterday, or today for that matter? The joke was on me of course, because the place was packed with brow-swiping diners eating a variety of hot spicy stews and firing up the tabletop grills for barbecue. That said, I noticed the pregnant lady sitting across from me (bless ‘er, in this heat!) was on the same page as I was: the one that said, “I’ll have the mool naeng myun, please — with extra ice.”

Ohhhhhh, what a relief it is!


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July 8, 2009 at 8:59 AM

Got leftovers? I’ll share mine, if you share yours

“The Question of Leftovers Is Ever Fresh” according to today’s New York Times. I won’t disagree. The story, focusing on our eating habits and collective food collections, is a tale of leftover largess well worth reading. Highlights include a Frenchwoman’s penchant for serving (and serving, and serving) lentils, the custody rights of a neighbor’s gift of Costco-bought cheese, and songstress Patti LaBelle’s cast-iron grip on her Tupperware collection — as well as other leftover-food for thought.

Unlike my best friend, who regularly rummages in her fridge in search of a leftovers-lunch or fixings for what she calls “fuzzy-food night,” I am not big on do-overs — unless it’s Chinese takeout, which I’ll eat hot or cold, sitting down or standing at the sink, chopsticks in hand. But I proudly admit to saving the schmutzy schmaltz from a roast chicken’s roasting pan to use as a “leftover” sauce tossed with pasta, and simmering the bird’s spent carcass to make broth — best eaten with a handful of fresh Chinese egg noodles boiled for the occasion.

OK, I admit it: this “before” (Sunday night) and “after” (Wednesday morning) situation below looks mighty promising. I’m envisioning cold lamb roast, sliced, with a little TJ’s spicy tomato chutney, stuffed in a kaiser roll:


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July 6, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Remember me? Man, that vacation was fun.

When it comes to vacations, that was one of the best I’ve had in a very long time. “Long time” is the operative word. Having three weeks off allowed me to both vacate (to Orcas Island) spend time with family and friends (at my home and elsewhere), and ready the house for the remodel (slated to start this week). Among the many highlights of the vacation was lots of good food, of course. Some of it was so good it made me feel like dancing. Clearly, I wasn’t alone:

Taking it to the street — the Solstice Parade on Orcas Island


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June 4, 2009 at 2:31 PM

I scream about ice cream and (yippee!) frozen custard. You?

If you’re as old as me and my radio-sidekick Dick Stein, you can recall running after the Good Humor man in search of frozen-food-fun — as we discussed this week on KPLU’s Food for Thought. But you may have noticed there’s been a run on high-quality ice creameries and gelaterias in these parts, an explosion of farmers market ice cream carts everywhere and the introduction of frozen custard shops even better than the ones I recall from my youth. That so many of these sweeteries make a point of using local and organic products only adds to their infinite allure.

Speaking of which: I’ve yet to introduce my half-pint to the joys of frozen custard, the legendary stuff of Midwestern childhoods, now available at two Seattle venues — thanks to this week’s debut of Old School Frozen Custard on Capitol Hill. (Show up on Saturday from 3-10 p.m. and they’ll sport you a free cone!) After a trip to Peaks Frozen Custard on Tuesday, I promised to take Nate there first. I consider it payback, seeing as he recently introduced me to this adorable half-pint, Cle Franklin:

Half Pint Homemade Ice Cream’s Cle Franklin scoops ice cream at local farmers markets


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March 25, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Who needs oatmeal? Uh, me. And that’s no Jamba jive

In my last post, I posed the query “Who needs oatmeal?”: an interesting question for someone like me, who famously doesn’t “do” breakfast. Yesterday, after a visit to Swedish Medical Center (“Perfect!” said the happy radiologist, after looking at my x-rays), I realized something. “Perfect,” despite what she said, far from describes my body. Granted, as illness and disease strikes closer to home among family and friends, I recognize that I’ve been blessed with (relative) good health. That being said, I can’t help but ask: What’s this business with my left knee? — which has started doing some strange outta-whack-joint thing that has me yelping momentarily then screaming, “Get me a glucosomine-cocktail, stat!”

It could be middle age. But it’s more likely the fact that I’m toting around a body that’s bearing-up under many years of hefty caloric intake and a predisposition for high-fat cheeses. I need to eat better. And if there’s one thing I’ve heard over and over again when it comes to eating “right” it’s this: eat a good breakfast. And by “good breakfast” I don’t think they’re talking about leftover Chinese food. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is a nutritious choice. What’s more, it’s filling, so I’m far less likely to reach for leftover moo shu pork or imported triple-cream cheese come 10 a.m. — four or five hours after I’ve awakened, gotten down to work and had nothing but coffee to keep my body going.


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February 4, 2009 at 8:41 AM

Reuben-ask: She wants a “great” sandwich. Where to go?

Kathy Thorsen sounds like my kind of Eater. One who posed a question I’d like you to help answer: “I’m controlling kind-of-high blood pressure with low sodium, lots of exercise and `meditation,’ and have decided my reward should be an occasional splurge on a great Reuben sandwich — my choice over Chocolate Decadence any day. Do you have any recommendations?”

I’m with Kathy: I’ll take a decadent, well-stacked Reuben over Chocolate Decadence any day of the week. And on any day of the week I can get my hands on a prize that looks exactly like this, made from a hunk of beef “corned” in Brooklyn and sliced before my eyes in Pike Place Market at I Love New York Deli, the kiosk next to Daily Dozen Donuts:


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January 26, 2009 at 10:57 AM

Bagels, lox, schmear: the bicoastal version

Good morning!

And a grand one it is. Here’s why: one of the last things I did before leaving NYC yesterday was have brunch at Barney Greengrass. Then I stopped at H&H Bagels and stocked up on hot, fresh, just out-of-the-oven rounds and schlepped them on the plane (along with a loaf of “real” rye bread and a huge kasha knish from Barney G’s). When I toasted a bagel for Nate before school this morning, I said, “Enjoy it! And pay attention because that is what a bagel is supposed to taste like.” Then, a few minutes ago I toasted one for myself. Eating a great bagel at home is a thrill, but I’ve got to be honest: it’s not the same as eating one at Barney Greengrass, where they’ll hook you up with belly lox and a schmaltzy piece of kippered salmon with all the trimmings:


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December 26, 2008 at 1:00 AM

All I Could Eat, and then some: A Year of Great Eating

So?” everyone wants to know. “How is it, now that you’re no longer a restaurant critic? Don’t you miss going out to all those restaurants?” I’ve heard that a lot since I’ve ceded the lead critic’s position to Providence Cicero — whose Best Bites appear in today’s Ticket. My answer to that constant query: “Not on your life!” I’m still getting out to the hot new restaurants, and returning far more frequently to old favorites. As the voice behind All You Can Eat, I’m happy to say I’m no longer tied to a weekly dining-out schedule or a professional fork-lifter’s critical agenda. Instead, I get to share my thoughts on eating, feeding and reading and call it “work.”

It’s a wonderful life, indeed. One that finds me writing monthly roundups — spotlighting everything from great burger joints to old-school Chinese restaurants; talking about food with my pal Dick Stein each week on KPLU; and showing-and-telling you what’s cooking at home after frequent forays to area supermarkets, farmers markets, specialty markets or into my own kitchen garden. I even get to yak about what I’ve eaten when I’m out of town on business or pleasure. Yeah, yeah: not everything I ate was wonderful (remember those spicy “Larvets“?) But much was, including the big, overstuffed banh mi from Yeh Yeh’s, as well as many other gustatory delights, including these:


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