Sunday, September 19, 2010

Foodbuzz Challenge #1: I am Cameo Hear me Roar!

My blog is not about swapping granola bar recipes or handy tips on cutting mango, though they are useful and blog worthy subjects.  My blog is more personal. Without seeming too overly narcissistic, it’s about me, and my life in food.
In the last few months I have shot and styled three cookbooks, cooked a whole deer on the beach in a remote town in Alaska, tipped cocktail glasses at Tales of the Cocktail, in New Orleans with the best bartenders and booze makers in the world, gave a seminar on creativity, spent the weekend on a farm cooking with Seattle’s best chefs at ‘Burning Beast’, harvested honey from our backyard hive, butterflied and cooked my first whole pig at a luau, ate for 12 straight hours in Vancouver Canada as part of ‘dimsumcouver’, flew to Chicago to participate in the Chicago Art Departments annual  fund raiser as a living piece of an art installation in a food truck constructed of cardboard serving Asian inspired hot dogs.   

This evening I'll be at a party at Rick Bayless’ house,  next week I am going to figure how to work less and start my own restaurant… or at least figure out how to get money for such an endeavor.   My life is never boring. It’s slightly exhausting, overly stimulating, and often a downright mess, and me? I am snarky, smart, quick-witted opinionated and always up for an adventure.   I love food, eating, cooking, canning freezing, pickling boozing, killing, tasting and sharing. And apparently after reading this paragraph I also enjoy making lists.
I kept journals throughout adolescence, stories of woe and despair, and forlorned love.  Hearts and arrows, doodles of flowers, a fellows name scrawled a hundred times.  This went on for years, Jr. High, High School, well into college and the ‘real world’.  I lugged them bound and gagged in an old suitcase; stories, poetry, lists; drug induced observations, drunken lyrics illegibly sprawled, and scraps of paper. The best of my scribblings turned into songs I would sing at open mic night until even I was like, "damn girl, your depressing!" then I stopped. I stopped writing.  When the writing stopped the singing stopped, then there was only heat.
It was about the time I became seriously involved with food, every tingle, tart, salty, soft, crunchy, succulent morsel of it. I traveled and ate and set sail on the high seas, I put myself through culinary school and jumped into a car with three hundred dollars to my name and headed to Chicago where I snagged a job at the increasingly successful Frontera Grill.  Smitten like a school girl, I scoured cookbooks and magazines; I read less great works and forgot to turn poetry into songs.  My journals were replaced by a little black recipe book, worn at the edges and permanently formed to my posterior in the back of my hounds tooth uniform.
 Now I turn my food into words and my words into food. My writing illustrates the great things about my life experiences rather than sullen musings of a depressed and self depreciating woman.  Writing has given me a sense of self worth, and sparked a new passion in cooking, that can so easily be lost if you are not fully dedicated to your craft.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dexter is done!

the pig roast.

the pigs name is Dexter!

don't worry I sliced his cheek and took a blood sample.

happy bacon day!

Dexter says... eat me I'm delicious! I freaking butterfied a pig!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the pig is here!!! the pig is here!!

feeling a little bit like dexter right now.

I'll have a little Staple but make sure its Fancy!

I have a huge crush on Ethan Stowell.  I hope his wife doesn't mind, I have a crush on her too.  They are the power couple for my generation; a little bit rock star, a little bit urban farmer, a whole lot of 'I don't give a #&;$* about image' and a big ol' chunk of unpretentious deliciousness.  The kind of business ethic I admire and all around fun people to hang with.
  I came back to Seattle with admittedly flighty expectations.  After six years in Chicago, immersed in one of the most diverse dining towns in the world and rubbing elbows with the Top Guns Academy of superstar chefs, I was disappointed by with the lack luster fare. In the land of milk and honey, or at least seafood, wine farm and pasture, I expected more.  My mistake was that I was 6 years behind the times, completely ignorant of the pot bubbling right under my nose.  Seattle is filled with great new restaurants, exciting and sophisticated Chefs, inventive and ingenious ideas, (albeit still searching for a great tortilla) on par with Chicago, New York, and LA and among those the Stowell empire is leading it's own charge. 
Reminiscent of my one of my favorite Chicago chefs, Paul Kahn of Blackbird, Avec, and Publican: Ethan and Paul are insanely passionate about food, and more concerned with it's integrity than dressing it up all  'perdy like' and farming it off to you for a premium.  It's not flawless, but it's sincere and most always a sort of 'accessible special' I appriciate when spending my hard earned  'benjamins'.
 As Ballard becomes a legitimate dining destination (for the record there are and were a lot of great places to eat here before all the fanfare), Walrus and the Carpenter and Staple and Fancy emit a sort of "it takes a village" attitude to upscale(ish) dining.  Occupying the same space, essentially wooing the same customer base without pretension and delivering to us exceptional dining experiences.    
I could wax pornographic about my dinner if you like but the menu is fluid and what may be the dish of a lifetime today will surely be gone tomorrow. Execution is key and attention to seasoning is evident.
We dined opening night, and I'd be kissing ass if I said it was perfect, but man did we eat! It was one of those nights where you realize mid meal you might not be making that student loan payment your whittling away at, but you don't care because the wine and the pasta and the creamy pork liver pate is an education in good taste that is worth more than the 20% interest Sallie Mae is going to tack onto that never dwindling bill.  

By the time I got home after over four hours of eating I was admittedly wasted... not as you might expect from cocktails or wine,  but completely disoriented by the delivery of plate after plate of deliciousness, mingled with the clink tink of wine glasses, the pleasant conversation and air of excitement, and the warm night air hovering just above the smell of garlic and meat.  Intoxicated by ambiance... as well it should be.
Get the Chef's tasting, be adventurous, share, dine and laugh with your friends, and leave the small stuff to the rest of the world.
Ethan and Angela a big sloppy kiss on the lips to both of you.

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