Ben Thanh: Vietnamese Beyond the Menu

A blue neon sign astutely states "Lau De" in the window of Ben Thanh, tucked in the armpit of the MLK/Rainier intersection. Literally, this area, with beautiful, imposing and classic Franklin High School to one side and the, bright, modern light rail to the other, looks like a forlorn place. But if you know that 'Lau De' of which the sign speaks, you look a little closer. Traditional Vietnamese goat hot pot, to a person like me, anyway, holds much intrigue. I first came to Ben Thanh in search of a quick meal, low expectations, on a time limit, it was there. While I was vaguely aware that … [Read more...]

Small Wonders of Summer, Part 2: Anchovies

"I'll be on Capitol Hill later, I'll drop them off" My anchovy guy said to me. Who was my anchovy guy? Well, his name is John, and he goes by "CoastalRovers" on twitter. That was about the sum of my knowledge when I gave him the address. Sure enough, he showed up shortly there after with a trunk full of fresh fishies (and god knows what all else). "Big or small?" He asked me. With no knowledge of fresh anchovies, pulled that day from the ocean, I guessed big. I handed over my $6 and watched him fill up my giant tupperware. Then he threw in many extra small ones, for good measure. It was a … [Read more...]

Kitfo Caprese: Cultures Combined

To understand how I dreamed up such a ridiculous thing as combining Kitfo, an Ethiopian raw steak dish and Caprese salad, the Italian classic, you must understand the level of sleep deprivation I had. A serious eating trip to Vancouver had been completed the previous day and was over 16 hours door to door, including many miles walked and more (delicious) meals than you could shake a stick at. Are you there with me yet? In this tired, half-functional state I decided to go grocery shopping. And not just anywhere, but at the high-falutin Met Market. It wasn't cheap, folks. But why would it be … [Read more...]

A Free Dinner at the Herbfarm

How do you get all this free stuff? I'm always asked, and for once I had an answer that didn't exclude the general public. I answered a Twitter Tweet. Yup, a tweet out in the public domain, nothing having anything to do with me being a blogger. Simply it had to do with me being the first one to call in and say "hey, I'd love the free dinner that you just offered on Twitter!" You might say it would be hard to consider a free dinner in a review, but since my only dinner at another restaurant of this caliber in Seattle (Rovers) was also free, I feel prepared to make the comparison. And this? It … [Read more...]

Karama: An Exersice in Ethnic Eating

Being whiter than Weird Al, I often find satisfying my cravings for eats from random ethnicities to be a bit of an exercise in patience and rolling with the punches, though often with delicious rewards. Karama, a new self-described "East-African, Somali, Italian, Mediterranean and American" food restaurant was no different. Usually I will avoid any restaurant that claims to do that many different cuisines, but upon reading the menu and seeing what they offered, I instead rang up my friend M, who lived in Tanzania, and informed her of my findings. We made a date and headed down with our … [Read more...]

Breaking Out the Deep Fryer: Razor Clams

As the recently minted owner of a deep fryer, I felt there was only one thing I could do with my little babies when I came home from clamming with a full limit of razor clams. The clamming itself required getting up early, a long drive, some hard physical labor and not falling asleep on the drive home. The cooking itself required taming the squirmy beasts long enought to clean out their innards--which sometimes had (safe!) worms or crabs hanging out in them. Yeah, it still makes my tummy turn. I squealed. But then, then it gets to be more fun. Definitely check out my partner in crime, … [Read more...]

Hunger Challenge Day 4: Risk Taking

The first thing I noticed in shopping for this challenge was that I took less risk in shopping. Normally I pull anything of the shelf and figure out what to do with it later. With the limited amount of money, I was more careful. I'm not really sure why, as I've never run into an issue with experimentation, but it was a reaction to the challenge. Yet as I prepared my dinner for Thursday (I did so Wednesday evening) I took a risk and made a new dish. Knowing that I had a soccer game at 7pm on Thursday, I prepared dinner Wednesday night. With a fridge full of leftover roasted chicken and a ton … [Read more...]

Day 2 of the Hunger Action Challenge: Impulse Shopping

Worst Budget Shopper EVER: I bought rib-eye steaks. Okay, I'll be honest, they weren't that expensive and I didn't go over my budget, but it just felt ridiculous. Also I'd been sent to the store for tofu. And came home with steak. I might be the only girl whose boyfriend would complain in this situation "but I'd been looking forward to a nice meal of tofu and vegetables!" I'm dating freaking Vince the vegetarian here! With a day like today's in Seattle, there was no question that we wanted to bust out the grill, so I was off to the store for tofu. I took a little wander by the meat … [Read more...]

Hunger Action Challenge Day 1: Delicious, Can we do it again?

My first day on the $12 a day budget thing went pretty well, despite a few snafus. Last night, I came home and made mayonnaise, but I wasn't feeling very well, and wasn't paying attention, and so this task, something I'd done a million times before, I sort of screwed up. Definitely still usable, just a little runnier than my usual mayo. It will be showing up all over the place. My illness continued into today, so my appetite wasn't really up, so I'm going to tell you what B ate as his share. This morning I woke up and made my favorite lentil recipe, a quadruple batch, which might have been … [Read more...]

Holy Sh*t Pork Cheeks

Holy Shit Pork Cheeks, as in "Holy shit B, if you aren't home in 10 minutes, I'm eating these all myself" He only got the 10 minutes because that was the amount of time I was going to have to spend photographing this. I got home and took the lid off the crockpot these were in all day and tried to lift out a cheek to taste and photograph and got my first realization of how amazing these would be--I literally couldn't get one out whole, because they were so tender that they just fell apart. Into the delicious, porky broth below. This dish is certain to become a regular around here--for starters … [Read more...]