On this past Monday, Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House (in the Pearl District) had a “Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter Tasting Party”. This was a special addition to their menu that day from 5-8pm where they had a special “flights and small bites in celebration of the release of our next Class of ’88 Collaboration with Great Lakes Brewing Company. This Imperial Smoked Porter is delicious and you will love the porter flight we’ve set up just for this event. Pair Imperial Smoked Porter, Black Butte XXIV and Black Butte Porter with pub inspired specialty appetizers and you can’t go wrong. Cheers to Porters and we hope to see you down here!”
Class of ’88 Flights & Small Bites included a trio of pairs. This included
a pairing the Black Butte Porter with a crispy chipotle baby back rib;
Black Butte XXIV Nitro with beer nuts and Mt Townsend Campfire cheese (a jack cheese with alder and applewood smoke);
and the Class of ’88 Smoked Imperial Porter with a chocolate porter cube cake
This Class of ’88 Collaboration is their second release of the series for this year. A bit of backstory: the Class of ’88 series of brews is going to be released throughout 2013, and is Deschutes Brewery working with four other craft breweries also founded in 1988 (North Coast Brewing Co., Rogue Ales, Goose Island Beer Co., and Great Lakes Brewing Co.) to create a selection of commemorative beers to celebrate their shared 25th anniversary. Thus the Class of ’88!
The first beer was a trio of commemorative beers in the Barley Wine style at the end of March, brewed with Rogue and North Coast, and each of the three brewers traveled to each brewery to collaborate and each brewery then released their interpretation. Obviously this second one is a Smoked Imperial Porter style. Both are in draft and in limited edition 22-ounce bottles. Next on the list is a collaboration with Goose Island that is supposed to be a Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale- you can find out some more details here as reported by the New School blog. In fact, it was their review of this smoked imperial porter that solidified my decision to check out this flight, since I had previously had the 2 other beers.
The Deschutes Black Butte Porter is always a dependable beer- approachable, even if you are not a porter lover like myself. In this case, paired with the crispy chipotle baby back rib, it really became a soothing cleanser for the spicy tangy kick of the rib, providing relief like having a refreshing mango lassi sip while enjoying a curry, both cooling and complementing.
Next, the Black Butte XXIV on Nitro was smooth with a hint of sweetness, and while the sweet nuts raised the profile of with crumbly sugared sweetness and added nuttiness, the cheese was my favorite here by providing a buttery slight smoke slight pepper hint.
Finally, I am kicking myself for not even thinking to check to see if they had bottles of the Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter available. This smoky chocolate goodness balanced sweet and bitter with a woodfire smoke at the end, and that chocolate porter cube cake had me taking the tiniest of bites and licking frosting off my fingers over and over. I don’t often get dessert, and clearly I have been missing out here at the Deschutes Portland Public House. If you see this beer, GET IT!
This extensive background and experience of this couple really shows in the first half of the Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook, which actually focuses on the Garden rather than food recipes- you can interpret it really as the first half being a Garden “Cook”book, and then the second half is the Table, with the promised 120 recipes and traditional cookbook.
I have been an urbanite whose gardening skills never have been explored more than growing a few of my favorite herbs of basil, dill, thyme, and Thai chili peppers, annually, so you can take this review as someone who is a total newbie to gardening, much less farming produce or anything beyond a windowsill box.
The book starts from the ground up- literally. The first chapter helps you identify what kind of soil you have, teaches you the difference between types of soil and how to improve your soil. The next chapters expound into how to think about and then decide on the size and layout of your garden, how to rotate different crops in your garden whether it be through a single year across seasons or across years. They then present six options of different kind of garden themes varying from one that is focused on producing lots of quick and satisfying results in the smallest space (The Salad Garden) to a theme of dependable crops (The Hard Times Garden) or one that you don’t have to reseed every year because they are perennial or produce seeds (The Self Reliant Garden).
There is one chapter that goes into depth on each possible crop (grouped by family as they require similar care in growing). One example is spinach, talking about the differences between the taste of spinach through the season, giving advice on how to grow it, then harvest it, then store it, and finally various options to cook it- and they expand this to include almost 70 kinds of produce you might be considering to grow. This is probably going to be the chapter that I thumb through over and over as I encounter beautiful items in the farmers market, as I look up the produce and read suggestions on ways to cook and enjoy it. Although this chapter is technically in the Garden portion of the book with its advice on growing and harvesting, the information on storing and cooking it are definitely Table territory.
Each of these chapters is written with the voice that has clearly done everything that has been written and can provide tips. The voice is aware of both the science of how to make decisions based on the reality of various situations and talking through all of the data and information you might use to analyze and decide or more efficiently garden (such as offering advice on tools or watering techniques or weed control)- aka extremely practical- while also catering to the art of garden as an emotionally fulfilling enterprise by detailing the rich colors and textures and beauty of nature and feeling of productivity and satisfaction of feeding plants and them feeding us in return. At one point, the authors note how as each crop is ready you feel like the year is full of “little festivals” of produce.
In this first half of the book, pictures and illustrations abound, enticing you with beautiful photos of produce you too can grow, or step by step of saving tomato seeds, or various map layouts of gardens or charts for crop rotations. So I was a little disappointed there were not more photos in the second half for the recipes. There are definitely some beautiful whole page layouts of some of the recipes, but many recipes have no photo, or at most a small photo of one of the ingredients of the recipe but not the dish itself. I am definitely a visual person, and the recipes I tried ended up being ones that had accompanying photos of the finished dish.
Her recipes are simple (she calls her style “prosperous peasant”), featuring the freshness of the ingredients, all from scratch and the majority of the components which can come fresh from the garden… or in my case, purchased from the farmers market and someone else’s garden. Since asparagus has been looking so beautiful at the market that was one of the first recipes I picked out to try.
This recipe comes from Barbara Damrosch and her mother, and is named for the grated egg yolk that appears like goldenrod pollen. I chose to use two types of bread (paesano and seedy grain), but did not remove the crusts (and whoever styled the dish for the food photo did not either!). As an homage to what Barbara and Eliot stand for, I used everything from the Portland farmers market or Local Choice Market except the butter and black pepper.
4 ounces (1 cup) of shredded Gruyere cheese (or, since I didn’t find a local Gruyere, I used a Gruyere-like cheese, Adams Alpine from Cascadia Creamery)
40 medium size fresh asparagus spears
4 large or 8 small slices of whole grain bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Hard cook the eggs by placing the 4 eggs in a saucepan and adding enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to simmer over high heat, then immediately lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the hot water and fill the pan with cold water to cool the eggs for at least 5 minutes.
Peel the eggs and remove the yolk carefully so they remain whole. They should be firm enough to now grate. Coarsely chop the egg whites and set aside for the sauce.
Pour the cream into a medium size skillet and bring to slow simmer over medium heat, stir, stirring constantly, until it has thickened. Gradually add the grated cheese, stirring until it has melted and is smooth. Add the egg whites, and keep the sauce warm over low heat.
Toast the bread and then butter (optional), putting them on the plate you plan to serve with.
Trim the asparagus spears to about 5 inches in length, and steam until the asparagus is tender, 2-5 minutes. (Or, you can roast or grill the asparagus, whatever you’d like.) Distribute the asparagus spears over the pieces of toast, and then cover with the creamy sauce. Top with the grated egg yolk and some black pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
Barbara advises that depending on the season, you can easily substitute broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, leeks, garlic scapes, etc for the asparagus. For most of the recipes there is a “Try This Too” section that suggests some variations to try. She often also suggests other dishes to serve with to make a complete complementary meal. She suggested a salad and a dessert of fresh fruit for this, but I made her Green Gazpacho that celebrates the bounty of greens with green pepper, celery, scallions, jalapeno, parsley, cilantro, and chives. Barbara also notes that you might also try adding green tomatoes, or tomatillos, to this “chlorophyll explosion, refreshing and pungent”.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course, 6-8 as an appetizer):
1 medium to large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into small chunks (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
1-2 (I used 2) green jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 medium size cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (approximately 3/4-1 cup)
2 medium sized ribs celery, coarsely chopped (approximately 2/3 cup)
6 scallions (white and green parts), coarsely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
1 cup (packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves, or to taste
1 tablespoon agave syrup or 4 teaspoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I happened to use blood orange olive oil)
1/2 cup sour cream (you can also substitute tofu here)
1 tablespoon very finely chipped fresh chives
Combine the bell and jalapeno peppers, cucumber, celery, and scallions and stir briefly. Put half the mixture into a food processor with 1 cup water and pulse until the mixture is just pureed, about 30 seconds. Return this to a large bowl (I used one that was 2.5 quarts).
Repeat the above with the second half of prepped veggies + 1 cup water , but this time also adding the parsley, cilantro, agave syrup, lime and lemon juice, dash of salt and black pepper. Combine both purees in the large bowl, and add the olive oil and stir to mix. Taste and add salt or ground pepper as desired (this soup tastes best with enough salt to accent the flavors).
Refrigerate if not serving right away. When serving, pour the gazpacho into individual bowls or glasses. Top each serving with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sour cream and a pinch of chives.
Disclosure: This book was provided by Workman Publishing for me to review, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.
Don’t you love how beautiful chard is when it’s all leafy like a big fan, and then after you cut it how it’s like colorful streamers?
If you are interested in supporting local, urban farming, and sustainable farming practices, Blue House Greenhouse Farm has a seasonal farmstand every Tuesday afternoon at the SW corner of N Williams and N Cook- and Kusuma is often there with her fresh homemade baked breads or curries (such as sag paneer using the spinach from Blue House Greenhouse Farm), and they also have a subscription service (although it looks from the website it is currently full!) so check them out!
A photo post… the birth of fettuccine. This pasta recipe comes from F’s grandparents… It’s hand written on notebook paper that we keep in my recipe binder. Ok, that version does not have the Kitchenaid like you see here- we also have the hand crank pasta machine, which we still have in our cabinet just in case. Making pasta the old fashioned way is a workout!
Eat Mobile 2013 on April 27 was the sixth annual food cart festival event, a one price but then all you can sample (but to respect the individual cart owners, one taste per cart) event for charity, sponsored by Willamette Week and OMSI, among others (for instance, I totally covet the waxy chapstick that Yelp offers, and this is why I always lean towards Vitamin Water for flavored waters). With 50 carts participating, even a small bite from each is more than filling. The general admission tickets are a steal for such a meal at $20, but since they sell a few thousand tickets, you should expect the lines… or do as I always do every year, buy the $50 pre-tasting tickets for early entrance for an hour along with complimentary beverages from Pabst Blue Ribbon and Bota Box and move fast!
I always find this worthwhile, and have it marked on my calendar every year as a must do event. I have attended previously as evidenced by my previous blog posts in 2012, in 2011 (which also included opportunities to purchase tickets for a special Friday food cart tour and a Saturday food cart tour I also participated) in conjunction with Forktown Food Tours, and in 2010. As many of you know, I don’t own a car so rely on walking or public transit which means I don’t too far (aka across the river) for unknown food explorations, and working full time in Beaverton means I miss many food cart hours that cater to lunch (sorry the after drinking/dancing late night is too late for me!). So this event is always an exciting way to be introduced to what is out there in food carts for me.
My personal picks for favorites among the tastes I had this year included…
The beautiful taste and design of Cheese & Crack‘s adorable little setup that advertised their cart wares (Portland’s second cheese food cart!) during the festival in a rustic charming way, and their taste was mapped out expertly and presented gorgeously. Cheese & Crack’s taste was Castelvetrano olive mousse, Cana De Oveja cheese, pork terrine, and a chocolate filbert ganache with rock salt all served on a handmade special edition Rustic Butter Cracker. No surprise they won the Eat Mobile 2013 Style Award.
Judge’s Choice award winner La Sangucheria with their empanadas, fried fresh and worth waiting in line for. Though since I paid extra for the pre-tasting (totally worth it because if you come with the larger crowd you will inevitably spend a lot of time waiting in lines), the line was only maybe a handful of people, and later I returned and they had gotten into a better rhythm and had more laid out- though once the regular crowd of you know, thousands came in, there is no avoiding being in the weeds.
Hungry Heart Cupcakes, where I turned away from the obvious choice of the “Sweet n Salty” cupcakes with creamy peanut butter frosting and Carlton Farms applewood smoked bacon to reward myself with the incredible apple panna cotta with hard cider caramel and browned butter blondies. I was surprised they didn’t win people’s choice with their sweet but savory treats.
But I did understand why People’s Choice award winner Garcelon’s Soup & Grilled Cheese did get votes, as the spicy crab chowder was complex in flavor and was so comforting.
I liked the taste from Gamila, offering Moroccan American Cuisine, I appreciated the layering of all the flavors of sweet, salty, savory, even hints of sour, and the warm chicken with the cool sauces.
I appreciated Moberi and their super refreshing smoothies powered by bikes, and the aromas in the air that wafted from Bora Bora’s grilled chicken. I couldn’t find a website for Bora Bora so this Portland Food.org forum thread will have to suffice for you to find out more.
Another sweet temptation was Sugar Shop and their delectable goodies of salted caramel gooey stuffed brownies, molasses spiced cookies, and red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. Also, they had the cutest aprons!
I waited in line to finish all my tastes with ice cream scoops from Scoop and Fifty Licks. I can’t decide between you two, I love you both. At Fifty Licks I had the toasted milk ice cream, while at Scoop I had both the Salted Caramel and the Bourbon Buttered Pecan at Scoop. Sorry, you were too good to only have one taste.
Chez Dodo and a taste of Mauritian Paradise with this deconstructed samosa, Frank-N-Stein is rocking a little red cart, Gaufre Gourmet and their lil liege waffles you choice of a sweet or savory taste (seriously, check out their websites, it is the best I have seen for a Portland food cart, with food porntastic photos of all their menu items!).
Happy Flower Food Company offered cute little Hummingbird Cake with bananas, pineapple, pecans, cream cheese frosting, I was introduced to the interesting blend of crunch and Indian spices from Masala Pop, Hawaii was cheerfully represented by 808 Grinds and their 808 fried chicken, the Bunk Truck (the mobile truck version of Bunk Sandwiches) gave generous portions of the Cubano sandwich, Taco Pedaler managed making fresh tacos while also offering a chips and salsa bar, Gonzo was rocking some intense sauces with their chickpea fries, and Snoop helped pimp out So Cold Shaved Ice.
It was such an buffet of riches. During the evening, DJ DMoe Funk made waiting so much more fun by giving us music to dance in line or groove to. There was also a culinary stage with presentations of food demonstrations and food science sponsored by Whole Foods and OMSI but I needed to lie down to digest… well at least, after walking briskly back home (I also walked from home to OMSI/Eat Mobile… though I don’t think that burned nearly enough calories to counter what I sampled!)
If any of these pictures intrigues you, please go out and support your local entrepreneurs and visit these food carts! These local businesses work hard to participate in this event and everyday in their food cart (mobile or not), show them that you appreciated the exposure they had at Eat Mobile and give them your money and get some yummy food! You can look up any of these food carts at Food Carts Portland to see what food carts may be in your area and what their menus might offer, and look up reviews and more photos on Yelp Portland and reviews also at Willamette Week.
A few more meals in Seattle… I want to wrap this up and move back to reporting Food Adventures in Portland!
Here, options from the always reliable Serious Biscuit. Here, you see the Serious Biscuit Zach – fried chicken, tabasco black pepper gravy, bacon, egg sandwich and also the Serious Biscuit crispy hamhock, collard greens with smoked onions breakfast sandwich.
Another breakfast choice is Portage Bay Cafe with its local and sustainable food. There, my friend had the Verde Pork omelette with tomatillo-braised Carlton Farms pork, roasted jalapeño, queso fresco, salsa verde garnish. I had the incredible Migas, a flour tortilla stuffed with three chipotle-cumin scrambled eggs, Tillamook medium and sharp white cheddar, fresh basil, homemade salsa and sour cream. Served with fresh avocado salsa, and roasted potatoes, and I added the homemade chorizo sausage, it was so full of flavor that even though I told myself to only eat some and save myself for more meals later, I could not help but eat it all. The Verde Pork omelette was also good in a more subtle way with the braised pork, while mine was a wake up call with the chorizo sausage- your call.
For lunch one day, we took a short 15 minute walk from the office to Baguette Box, where I was introduced to the Baguette Box Crispy Drunken Chicken Sandwich (really just a very creative banh mi). Crispy sweet with a bit of tang and jalapeno bite savory goodness in each of those chicken bites, nestled in a doughy with the right amount of crunchy outside bread vehicle (though also offered in a salad version)! Not pictured- the truffle fries basket which we completely emptied.
I know. shocking, a post not on food! But, it does continue my Seattle series.
I finally had a chance to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle, just across from the Space Needle. I came here on Tuesday for a couple hours as I had to leave on the 6:30pm Bolt Bus so didn’t have the opportunity to see how the exhibit gets lit in the evening. It’s was a breathtakingly few hours though, as I admired the fragility and strength of glass, wondered at who in history was brave and creative enough to think to blow into molten sand, let the colors and organic shapes remind me of this world while also twisting and transporting me into another fantasy universe that was both surreal yet completely natural.
It is definitely more than an exhibit of just pretty glass of different shapes. It showcased a love of architecture and form, while merging structure with glass that seemed to defy structure in the way it melted and flowed, and then placing it in an environment in which lighting, shading, reflection, and nature be it the sky earth, greenery or water, became part of the art exhibit and not just the space around it. You could focus on the whole, or all the individual parts, each telling its own story. There was whimsy, and introspection, and as I learned, the love Dale Chihuly had for his childhood and his mother and her gardens, and years of admiring glass greenhouses finally come to fruition.
After the Seattle Bites Food tour mentioned in my last post, we stopped over at Bathtub Gin for a cocktail (ok, maybe I had 2 and we shared a third) before dinner. This was a destination recommended to someone by my friend, so I had no expectations given the lack of information on the website. But, I was so enamored of the speakeasy atmosphere in the boiler room in a previous life space, even if you have to walk down an alley (Gin Alley, but we saw no signs and just chanced that it was down the alley across from Spur Gastropub) and open a door with only a small plaque sign to find it. I mean, look at these beautifully crafted cocktails!
This is the St Peter’s Secret with Apricot brandy, hibiscus syrup, prosecco… followed by a shared Mimaloya, with Reposado tequila, Lustan fino sherry, allspice dram, pineapple juice, lime. Go ahead and admire the wall of beautiful alcohol in this library.
The Dealer’s Choice that the bar saw the bartender make for one table (which then resulted in an order from me and another party at this tiny bar that only fits 8, though there is more room downstairs with couches downstairs) included spicy rum and egg white and magic. It tastes even better than it looks.
After this the third member of this trio of ladies had arrived, so we made our way to The Whale Wins, which I only knew came from the same proprietors of the famous Walrus and the Carpenter. The menu here focuses on a lot of wood fired and local seasonal fresh ingredients that combines Northwest bounty with simple wood-oven roasted preparation but with creative, inspired combinations of those ingredients. They do a lot of plating at a large counterspace area in lieu of an open kitchen, and dishes are often served at room temperature. When first walking in from outside the space was very airy and full of light and straight lines reflecting the renovated warehouse space, but once through the doors you feel like you were sitting in someone’s large prep table in a kitchen of a country estate of Nigella Lawson.
Perhaps we ordered almost the half the items on the menu: 3 of the 6 vegetable plates, 2 of the 5 seafood plates, 3 of the 6 meat plates, and 3 of the 5 desserts. The menu says they encourage sharing, but the dishes are small. I helped drink half a glass of the bottle of wine, but with that Dealer’s Choice still lingering on tongue I had wanted to continue my cocktail adventures, so ordered the Shochu Think U Can Dance featured cocktail with shochu, yuzu, saler, and rosemary, very clean and refreshing. Several other cocktails sounded intriguing, such as the Finner with Jasmine Green Tea syrup with port, rum, pineapple and lemon, but I did have to go to work the next day.
The first dish to appear for us to share was the Local Roots Farm roasted carrots and fennel with harissa and yogurt and so we started out with a rocket launch of flavor.
I think I probably ate more than my 1/3 share of the Rabbit Terrine with Miner’s Lettuce and Shallot Aigre Deux, but I’m a huge fan of terrines and that shallot aigre deux was a wonderful complement. A little messier to share was the Matiz Sardines on toast with curried tomato paste and shaved fennel.
Even messier, crazy messy, but also crazy delicious that we were licking knuckles, was the Roasted Half Dungeness Crab with Harissa Butter. Perhaps I was last to get served from this plate so I just ate from the original plate with all that butter
Around this time the Local Roots Farm Roasted Turnips with lemon and marjoram, and I was torn between wanting these caramelized with hint of citrusy bites but needing to use silverware from the buttery madness of cracking and eating the crabs with my hands. The dilemma got even worse with the arrival of the Roasted Fava Beans with ricotta. Forget peeling to get to those individual beans if I can just eat them like this! All the vegetable plates are home runs here.
And then this incredible steak, the Painted Hills Filet Mignon Salt Roasted, sliced, and served at room temperature with sauce verte, potatoes, and fresh horseradish cream, arrived, and all three of us were quietly rolling our eyes. I tried to take small bites to savor it as long as possible, and saved it for my very last savory bite before dessert. All of us used our knives to wipe the horseradish away and just enjoy the smokiness of that meat. The last dish to arrive was the Mad Hatcher Roasted Half Chicken with parsnip and rutabaga puree, fried capers and preserved lemon. That puree was wipe your finger on the plate clean.
We wrapped up with 3 desserts, Lemon Shaker Tart with Creme Fraiche (the lemon and creme fraiche were excellent but there was something mealy and touch about the tart crust), the Spring Rhubarb Eton Mess (seriously it was a mess, the rhubarb is a bit much though I loved the crumbled meringue, it sounded better in its incarnation the week before that had berries, but I understand the use of whatever is at market), and the Butter Roasted Zucchini Bread with Creme Fraiche.
I am still thinking about how incredible this meal was, and I would return in a heartbeat to either/both Bathtub Gin and The Whale Wins.
The Seattle chronicles continues… Why just visit the market when you can taste your way through it? Not to mention, instead of just eyeing the various vendors, also learning some history along the way? Did I mention it was a food tour with lots of tastes?
After a quick refresh at our hotel, we walked over to the Seattle Art Museum, known as SAM locally, to start our Seattle Bites Food Tour of the Pike Place Market. We walked past SAM’s “The Hammering Man” on the Corner of 1st Ave and University St. (he hammers slowly every day except Labor day) to meet in front of the cafeteria where we were introduced to the guide and received our reusable bag, a map vaguely outlining some of our destinations, and a radio/earpiece so that we could always hear her no matter where we were as we were walking or how busy the market might get.
Our first bite was right there at Taste, the restaurant in SAM, with a taste of smoked salmon flatbread with crème fraîche and fine herbs. The Seattle Art Museum actually started out with a large collection of Asian art in the early 1900s, but then in the 1990s with the success of the King Tut exhibition, it expanded to the current downtown facility and the original location became the Seattle Asian Art Museum with which it still has links- you can visit both museums in the same week for the price of one admission ticket. About 5 years ago SAM also expanded to create the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park by waterfront park property to showcase outdoor sculptures for free. Taste Restaurant in the museum is close to Pike Place Market and sources ingredients from there, thus the tasting stop we had here.
Next, after a little history of how the Pike Place Market was founded over the price of onions marked up by wholesaler middlemen from ten cents to one dollar in just a year, and the outrage resulted in a City Councilman proposing a public market that would connect farmers directly with consumers. Customers would “Meet the Producer” directly. The first day the middlemen that tried to tell farmers it was a terrible idea and only 8 farmers showed up, who were then sold out in hours. So the next day, more farmers came, and thus it has been going ever since 1907, making it the oldest continuously run street market in the United States. Armed with that lesson, we then walked to the market and now understood the large sign with the Meet the Producer over the market.
Next, we visited Crepe de France where we used the utensils and napkins that had been packed in the reusable bag for us on Crepe de France’s Paris-inspired fruit Banana and Nutella crepe with whipped cream. Pike Place Market’s Crepe de France is actually owned by an Indonesian woman (who you can vaguely see to the right behind the counter, her back turned to us) who we thanked as a group with a loud “merci beaucoup”.
Next, we passed through Post Alley, passing by Britt’s Pickles on our way to Pike Place Market Creamery with its offering of dairy wonderland and the tale of Nancy Nipples the milkmaid (yes that’s her name!). We continued on then on to Pike Place Chowder in the portion of Pike Place Market that is called the The Sanitary Market, as live animals were banned in that area. Pike Place Chowder boasts “America’s Best Clam Chowder” after winning 3 years in a row after competing in Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport (even though in its history no restaurant outside New England had ever won!). They were told to take a break from competing for 10 years, but they are in the Great Chowder Cook-Off Hall-of-Fame. The sun came out in Seattle as we learned about the music and busking in the Pike Place Market area, and then we visited Corner Produce for some various fresh fruit samples, freshly sliced with a knife in the producer’s hand as we stood there on the street.
We turned back around towards the insides of the market to Saffron Spice for Mom-inspired chicken tikka masala from a classically French-trained South Indian chef, which was then washed down with fresh mango lassi fortified with more fresh fruit from the market.
As we continued our tour, we stopped at some of the tiles of the market floor, part of the renovation from the original wood, and admired some tiles that had numbers. These are part of a love letter from a man to his mathematician wife: her favorite prime numbers are what he placed on the Pike Place Market tiles he purchased from her. We learned also about Rachel the pig who helps collect a few thousand each year to help fund the various social services the Market also provides to the community. I also took some shots of some of the beautiful and colorful flowers of the market, and some of the hustle and lights of the market.
Next was a sampling of hand-crafted sausage by a German master butcher, Uli’s Famous Sausages was followed by a stop just next door to admire the enormous crabs and taste Salmon- Alderwood Smoked and Teriyaki Smoked Salmon jerky from Pure Food Fish Market.
We then walked through the craftsmen part of the Market, and finally, we wrapped up our tour after the Gum Wall with tasting oils and vinegars at Quintessential Gourmet, where the epitome of meet the producer was experienced as he gave us recipes and suggested various combinations of flavored oils and vinegars that blew our minds.
Coming next… the best meal in Seatle of the weekend, at The Whale Wins.
After our stop at the Crumpet Shop, we made our way to browse Melrose Market in the Capital Hill area (almost a straight walk up Pike Street and then a couple blocks over, about 15 minutes away walking), which is a small market full of various artisans shops all together in the open space of one large building.
Looking at the selections of fresh butchered meats at Rainshadow Meats really put me in the mood for steak. And lamb. And pork. And sausage. And mortadella. And pancetta.
I also stalked Sitka and Spruce- I so wanted to be sitting at that table right by that kitchen that seemed like I was eating right in someone’s home. You’ll see this repeated shortly at our dinner at the Whale Wins in a later post…
At Calf and the Kid, I bought two cheeses, but am even more excited about the fact that they had temporary cheese tattoos. Here are some of the selections of cheeses they offered and the fun descriptions they had (I’ve pulled out a few in bullets for those too lazy to click the photos to read):
Quadrello di Bufula: “Soft yet strong; husky yet full of panache; the Brawny Man of cheese”
Harbison: “This sinful delight of a cheese should be rated R”
Tarentaise: “Yep, I could take a bath in this cheese”
Pondhopper: “Sweet, floral, and bathed in a beer, just like a prom date you’ll never forget”
Montgomery’s Cheddar: “Darth Vader in cheddar form. Feel the force!”
Caveman Blue: “Smells like a skunk in a sweatsock, tastes like pure blue cheese heaven”
Gruyere 1655: “The Liberace of cheese; rich, fruity and smooth as velvet on a baby’s ass”
We reluctantly parted ways and headed towards Elysian Brewery. We had to wait 10 minutes or so before they opened, and held ourselves back to only getting a sampler of the current specialty beers, and one glass of the special beer that caught my eye, the Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale. They had other beers as well, but since they were their regular lineup we had some before, and figured we would be able to get them in the future if desired.
We then returned back to downtown to get ready for our Pike Place Market food tour, which is the next food post. At this point, including the last post, we have only been in Seattle for 4 hours… if it sounds like the tour I am giving my friend includes a lot of walking and a lot of looking at food this day at various eating or drinking destinations .. you are correct.