Food and Drink

21
May 2015
The La Varenne Basics, Revived

Once upon a time there was this book: It was, for many years, among the kit of references and tools that students and stagiaires were given upon arrival at La Varenne cooking school in France.  In it are the foundational basic recipes that we would be drawing from over the coming months, recipes that would become nearly rote from the frequency at which we reproduced them. But for reference, reminders, and ...

12
May 2015
Inn at Langley: Bucolic Modernism

Whidbey Island is one among many beloved destinations for folks in the Puget Sound area, popular for day-trip escapes from the city, second homes and get-away weekends with friends. Walking the beaches, visiting lighthouses, biking country roads, kayaking, fishing, whale watching, catching crab....that's what we tend to associate with a trip to Whidbey. And you fuel up on big piles of island-raised steamed mussels, a pint of local beer, ...

15
Jan 2015
Torrone with Almonds

It's a funny thing, coming home with a suitcase full of treasures from a delightful adventure abroad. The less common the destination and the more distinctive the treats acquired, the more nerve-wracking it can be to decide when will be the ideal/perfect/best moment to enjoy them. From this fall's explorations in Portugal and the northwest corner of Spain, I came home with a couple dozen tins of exquisite seafood (sardines, tuna, octopus), for instance, much of it from this amazing ...

12
Jan 2015
Oysters for The Ark

So, first some news. Things have gotten pretty briny around my house, and that's not just because the Puget Sound is a brief stroll from here. I hadn't anticipated that my 2014 would wrap up fully engrossed in oysters, but that's how it played out. By complete coincidence, two Seattle publishers reached out to me about oyster-related projects. The first, an article for Seattle Magazine, appeared in the December issue and covers both the current boom in oyster bars ...

17
Sep 2014
Sipping at Feast

If hotel prices in Portland this weekend are any indication, this year's Feast Portland is a pretty big draw. Taking over the city, maybe. I'm going to be doing some hotel-hopping, chasing around the best deals I could find. I was on the phone with a fellow at one of the event's host hotels a couple of weeks ago and even he expressed a ...

03
Jul 2014
Road Trip: Wenatchee

When my beloved 1992 Jetta was hit with some minor but worthy-of-being-deemed-'totaled' damage a couple of years ago, I got myself a new VW that invariably came with tons more automatic doodads and general smarts than my old car had. Even just getting a cup-holder and no longer hand-cranking the windows up and down was a huge advance. I hadn't quite expected the car to actively nudge me with notes on ...

30
Jun 2014
Simple Slaw

I've come to accept that I'm a bit of an oddball regarding the degree to which I have an anti-sweet tooth. I played up that fact in the introduction to Salty Snacks, noting that I've long had what I thought of as a salty-tooth where everyone else seemed to have a sweet tooth. And ...

23
May 2014
Salmon Season Special Offer

Between gin, snacks and salmon, it's kind of hard to know which of those favorite topics I touch on more often here. But with the traditional mid May launch of Copper River salmon season just passed, it's little surprise salmon is on top of mind right now. It's something like the swallows back to Capistrano, an event that signifies the general launch of key commercial salmon fishing season ...

15
May 2014

Lots and Lots of Gin

Lots and Lots of Gin

What a terrible state of affairs: a gin backlog! To clarify, it's a backlog of reflections on gin rather than bottles of the stuff itself. I wish the latter were true too. I've been a fan of gin for a good while now and went through a peak gin phase a few years back while prepping for a panel about gin for the 2007 International Association of Culinary Professionals conference and working on a couple articles ...

13
May 2014
Rosemary Toasted Walnuts with Tart Cherries

It's great when life confirms for you now and then that you are, indeed, hanging out with the right people: folks with similar outlooks on life, priorities in line with your own. I've had some recent examples of that this past week based on conversations about the weather. In someone else's circle, that might mean talk of relishing longer, warmer afternoons for a game of golf, or perhaps chatter turns to ...