Aura at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler

Whistler is like a second home for me, I grew up flying down its slopes and was raised on the what little great food was available there in 1989. Not to sound too much like an old-timer, but when people ask me for a restaurant recommendation in Whistler, both the places I suggest have been open since the mid-80s, Sushi Village and the Rimrock. Now I have a third suggestion. Though I've been there a tiny fraction (okay, the once) of the times I've been to the others, I'm inspired and hopeful about the ambitious, innovative and yet totally fitting menu that Aura, at the new and already under new … [Read more...]

Alterna-Thanksgiving: Peking Turkey

Somehow, somewhere I got the idea that I needed to make a Peking Turkey for Thanksgiving this year. It was extravagant, cross-cultural, a project. It was perfect. Most people just looked at me sideways as I excitedly described my plan. I even found evidence that someone had done it before and was able to use their recipe to guide me. My parents left town for Thanksgiving, and left to my own devices, I took over their kitchen (nicer than mine--and there's a dishwasher), and created a feast with my friends. I was also lucky enough to have the amazing Valentina at Thanksgiving dinner, so she is … [Read more...]

Gin Class: Learning to love a new spirit, and a contest

"No" B said definitely on the phone when I asked if he wanted to attend a free gin class with me that night. I was taken aback by this sudden change of heart--usually he can be bribed anywhere with the thought of free booze. I had emailed him, but when he called I thought I'd bring it up. The phone rang again, seconds later after he had seen the email: "GIN class? I thought you said GYM class," I sighed in relief that my boyfriend had not been kidnapped by alcohol hating aliens. If you are a gin lover, you can stop reading right now. As I understand it, gin aficionados don't like … [Read more...]

Chanterelles with Rosemary: A Foraged Feast

Seattle has a reputation for constant rain. Natives such as myself know that isn't true--it only rains in fall, winter and spring, and even then, just a light drizzle. Regardless, we natives also know that the rain brings us treasures in the form of chanterelle mushrooms. As our short summer wound down last week, I watched the rains begin--along with the complaints from those who have moved here from cities with summers that go past labor day. As others complained of the wetness, my head danced with visions of the reward we Seattleites get for enduring the rain. Freshly foraged chanterelle … [Read more...]

L’Shana Tovah and Happy Shakshouka Season

A glass of wine, thick, crunchy bread and a pot full of shakshouka is all a girl needs to get through fall. I hadn't timed my serving of this Israeli (breakfast) stew to match with the Jewish new year, the holiday of Rosh Hashannah, but perhaps it was all on my mind, so I'll embrace the timing as I tell you the story of this delectable stew. Shakshouka is a soul warming dish, a centerpiece to a table around which strangers or family can gather and dip their bread together. One of those dishes that can call people to dine with aroma alone, as it wafts from the kitchen. The weather was … [Read more...]

Locanda Verde and Staple and Fancy: On Restaurant Design

The other day, as I sat in Staple and Fancy Mercantile and tried to pin point exactly what was so pleasant about where I was, it suddenly hit me: Like Locanda Verde in Manhattan, it seemed to be perfectly designed as a restaurant. Staple and Fancy is the latest addition to Ethan Stowell's restaurant empire in Seattle, while Locanda Verde is my favorite stop from an epic eating adventure I recently had in New York From the moment I stepped into Locanda Verde, I felt like it was the best designed restaurant into which I had ever stepped. Each design element (like, say, the random silver … [Read more...]

Simple Summer Salad: Radish

One of the great things I've learned by eating as an adult is that salad is a vague term, and it can be a great one. Growing up, salad meant one thing: Mixed greens and a bottle of Newman's Own Caesar Dressing. I know, compared to the evil salads that exist out there, it is not so bad. But for every dinner of my childhood, this sat out on the table and I came to hate it. I went through phases. Sometimes I thought I hated dressing (perhaps I only hated ones that came in bottles). Other times I thought I hated lettuce (though I think it was more the bitter radicchio). It only got worse when the … [Read more...]

An Event, A Thought on Cheese, A Product and A Recipe

There is a back log of things I want to post on and I'm just going to let them all go right here, for your enjoyment: a fun event this weekend, murmurs of what is being called a 'burrata crawl', a new product I love and the recipe for a dish that I've eaten for 4 straight meals. Farm to Table Food for Thought The Kitsap public library was kind enough to invite me out for this 'gourmet picnic' and I'm actually really excited about it. In addition to talks by a number of local food writers (Molly of Orangette, Shauna aka Gluten-Free Girl and Lorna Yee of Cookbook Chronicles), there will be food … [Read more...]

The One Person Pantry: 20 Essentials for Single Cooking

When I posted my love letter to cooking for one, my friend Misty asked an intriguing question: What foods/staples do you keep in your pantry to be able to make a variety of meals? Misty is an amazing person and a great lady to have a meal with and I should have known that a thoughtful question from her would quickly outgrow the comments section of this blog, and I would need to make it a full post! It was a hard decision, but I’ve narrowed it down to twenty items that I like to keep around. This is my list—it caters to my tastes, meaning it lacks spices that you might use every day that … [Read more...]

Taylor Shellfish Mussels and Bluebird Grains Farrotto for $4 Each

After an hour of stirring the brown lump of nothingness, it was the final five minutes that suddenly transformed it into a meal. What was plain and ugly became something so beautiful that I couldn't help but snap a quick photo before I set it on the table. And of course, once I had the picture, I had to share it. Because this dish? It's simple as shit. And simply delicious. And a fantastic value As we ate the meal, I couldn't help but think about the value of our farmers market. I had paid $8 for two pounds of mussels. About half of that fed the two of us for dinner. Which is $2 per person. … [Read more...]