Fish Markets of the World: A Photo Essay

Thank you to Blacklane for sponsoring this post. Scroll down for more info. The chaos of an early morning clamor for seafood is balm on my jet-lagged soul. The hours match up with my skewed body clock, giving me something to do besides count the flies on my hotel ceiling. Rows of freshly caught fish, stacked and ready to sell give me something besides empty roads to feast my eyes upon and the strange hours of fisherman and fishmongers mean the promise of a hearty meal at all hours. As I semi-professionally wander about the world, the fish market is often my first glimpse of a new … [Read more...]

Bang, Bang, Biang: Amazing Chinese Noodles

  Bang, bang. Biang. Do you hear that? It's the sound of of handmade noodles. They're knocking on your door, telling you to get off your lazy butt. That they're as easy to make as they are get at a restaurant—and that's only an option if you live in one of the few parts of the world where there is a Shaanxi restaurant. Biang. That's the sound of your jaw hitting the floor. Give me an hour, and I'll give you the best bowl of noodles you've ever made at home. The texture alone of these noodles sings a siren song from the province of Shaanxi, broad swaths of bouncy dough, a canvas … [Read more...]

Dumplings on a Seder Plate: The Closing of Green Village Restaurant

“You’ll tell them, right?” Wendy asked toward the end of the evening. She motioned toward the outside world, as if to remind us that there were still other people out there. We were the only guests in the tiny Chinese restaurant tonight. She looked out the window at another customer pulling at the locked door. “I don’t have the heart.” We nodded, reassuringly; we’d tell the world—the Internet—that Green Village was no more. Let people read what Wendy wouldn’t or couldn’t say to their face, what she shared with us tonight inside the restaurant: Green Village, the restaurant that had been her … [Read more...]

Huckleberry Pie Ice Cream

I don't love pie. There, I said it. It's out there now, hanging down like a dark cloud following a depressing cartoon character around. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike pie, I just don't find it to be the ecstasy-inducing, home-perfecting, be-all and end-all of the dessert world. I do love that other people love pie. Everyone should have a passion, and one for pie seems much healthier than one for, say, rabbit porn. Not that rabbit porn is my thing. This is not rabbit porn. This is where I went hiking. Huckleberry heaven. One of my favorite facts about the Northwest (AKA the best … [Read more...]

Love at First Sight: Yummy Mammy

Yummy Mammy is the Zooey Deschanel of Chinese restaurants. It's got her quirky looks and takes hints from the way she hides behind big glasses to fool people into thinking she's not so  hot. Digging in deeper, ignoring the garbage bag full of dried red peppers sitting on the hostess stand, I found my manic pixie dream girl restaurant. Yummy Mammy's name alone gives it points in the "most adorkable" competition: awkward to get off the tongue and giving no hint of the stellar Chinese food hidden within. Emulating Zooey's Jess, from New Girl, it's just different enough, without crossing … [Read more...]

The French Laundry on Yelp: A Zero Star Review

1/8/13   Okay, people, listen up. I went to the French Laundry, and obviously I’m the most qualified person to offer this review, even though there are fifty one-star reviews already on the site, because this is going to be the first person to give a ZERO star review! FIRST ONE HERE! Also, I actually went to the restaurant, so that puts me a leg up on more than half of those silly one-star people. I thought this place, was, like, super exclusive, or something? I was extremely angry that I got the exact day and time I wanted for my reservation (by following the instructions on … [Read more...]

A Salad for Salad Haters: Radicchio with Anchovy Dressing

Thanksgiving's over and holiday parties are getting started. With all that heavy food (not to mention the cocktails), even those who are not the biggest salad fans need to try to sneak in a vegetable or two. Not saying I hate salad personally, just that I'd rather eat stuffing than salad. I might rather eat stuffing than about anything, though. For those who share my preferences, this is the go-to salad. Strong flavors from the anchovy, the garlic, and the bitter radicchio punch you in the palate like a prizefighter. The wallop makes up for the fact that you're eating rabbit food. The … [Read more...]

The Philadelphia Sandwich Scene

Not too long after I got back from my trip to Philadelphia, I heard a story on NPR about Philly residents wearing sweatpants more than people in any other city. It explored a variety of reasons: climate, influence of Rocky, high proportion of college students, and so on. I know the real reason, though, I learned it through experience on my recent trip there. It is the only comfortable attire when you're consuming such amazing sandwiches in such high quantities. Coming in, with only a rudimentary knowledge of Philly cuisine, I expected it to be all cheesesteak all the time, but in fact, of … [Read more...]

Simple Summer Suppers: Broccoli and Bagna Cauda

Nobody ever believes me when I tell them the rain doesn't start until my birthday (October 7th). Summer ends at Labor Day, they insist. Nope, it's not true. As the center of the universe--or, my universe, anyway--summer doesn't end until I turn another year older. So until that happens, I will continue to make the kind of simple summer suppers that are easily eaten outdoors, even if it's getting dark at before dinner time. I'll let the green in my vegetables, the yellow in my egg yolks, the bright flavors in my olive oil, light up the night. One of the cardinal rules of a summer … [Read more...]

Xinjiang-Style Lamb Skewers

This post is for a contest being put on by the folks at the American Lamb Board. The prize is cool (cooking with a chef at an event) and I'd like to win, so please vote for me! Also, that means the lamb used here was given to me by the lamb folks. Thanks, lamb folks! Xinjiang lamb skewers are the best bar snack you've never had. Unless you've been to Beijing, in which case, they might just be the best bar snack you have had. It's been almost three years since I came back from Beijing, but the many tasty skewers I had have stuck with me. It was high time to recreate them at … [Read more...]