Friday, May 27, 2011

Won Ton Soup Winning!

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won ton soup

Tried something new at Pho Cyclo today, which was the Won Ton Soup:

Sesame oil flavored pork and shrimp wontons served with egg noodles and topped with scallions

If you do a quick search on my blog for Pho, you will see other nummy dishes I've consumed at this popular place.  When you have a winning combination like great fresh food, service, atmosphere and location, you can't help but to keep going back!
Pho Cyclo Café - Broadway
406 Broadway Avenue E
Seattle, WA 98102

Phone: 206-329-9256

Seattle's Best Bartender leaves Zig Zag Cafe

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Pretty big news in Seattle!  I've been served by Murray and he really was so great to watch and a real peach!  Glad to hear he's still going to be doing what he loves...he's so dapper, isn't he!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Skillet's got Skillz!

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the burger

Grass fed beef, arugula, bacon jam, cambozola, on a soft roll with hand cut french fries. What more do you want?? The food truck scene is pretty vibrant in the Northwest (more so in Portland), where you can find blocks and blocks of tasty food on wheeled vehicles).  Seattle has it's share, Skillet Street Food being one of the most popular, serving "modern American diner" fare.  That burger is certainly one of the best I've ever had!  I'll be chasing down that truck again pretty soon no doubt.  And that Bacon Jam...BACON JAM PEOPLE.  There's nothing like it, and describing it as heavenly is an understatement.  Order some today!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Super Moist Chocolate Cake

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Super Moist Chocolate Cake

From the Barefoot Contessa, this is by far one of the moistest cakes I've ever made and is from her husband's grandmother. One guy who had a piece at the birthday I brought it to, said he thought it was a brownie because it was so moist. And yes it is dense, but not in an overkill kind of's still super fluffy!  I think the key is really about not over-mixing the batter at the end, as well as the coffee which gives the chocolate flavor a super punch!  I am pretty sure this is going to be my go-to recipe for a good basic but unforgettable chocolate cake from now on.  My photo is actually from the day after we ate it, and it was still as moist as ever. For another coma-inducing chocolate cake recipe, also check out THIS ONE that I posted a few weeks back.

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans (I used a 9x13 pan). 
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35, until a cake tester (aka knife or toothpick) comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (I didn't have instant coffee, so I used 1/2 tsp coffee extract and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Can't get enough Macrina.

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I think I've posted a few times about Macrina Bakery in Belltown, Seattle, and I never get tired of going there because they keep making good food, phenomenal bread, and to-die-for pastries.  What can I tell ya!  The only thing I've ever not really cared for were their cupcakes; they were on the dry side.  But they know how to do a perfect crust and bread that will make you want to eat the whole loaf...and you will, even after scarfing down the most deliciously perfect lunch or brunch.  HELP, I'M A MACRINA ADDICT!

red pepper polenta and salad

This was a gorgeous lunch of delectably cheesy red pepper polenta, vegetable ragu, and salad.  I have never seen it on the menu before, so it was a real treat!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick lunch at The Essential Baking Company!

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Had this lovely salad the other week at Essential Baking Company in Fremont...I love salad with some good quality protein and a killer vinaigrette like this.  

my salad lunch!

This one was the "Essential Bread Salad" that had bread toasted in olive oil, with organic mixed greens, roasted fennel, kalamata olives, prosciutto and shaved parmesan, tossed in their house-made balsamic vinaigrette.  It was seriously sooo filling with all the croutons they had in there!  But even though I was pretty full at the end, I couldn't help myself and bought one of their deliciously flaky apricot thumb print cookies, YUM!  Any of their locations is always a treat.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Would your child choose a banana over junk food?

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Fruit plate

Would your child choose a banana over junk food? - Environment -

This was a neat story I thought I would share...just goes to show you how adaptable us humans are with some hard work and thinking for long term solutions! We are such a society of "instant" and "faster is better" that this would be a great challenge for anyone!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wedgwood Vegetarian so!

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Went to this new vegetarian Thai place on Broadway the other day called Wedgwood Vegetarian Thai II.  The atmosphere was really nice when you walked in and the waitress was very friendly.  The list of food below that we tried was pretty decent, but nothing to write home about...although the silver noodles I might go back for.  I think they really have to make sure they don't take any shortcuts (like too much cornstarch in the soup or not enough fake meat), as their veggies are really fresh and and this place has real potential considering it's really hard to find vegetarian thai food where they don't put fish sauce in everything.  The star system for spiciness could be improved, as 4 stars was barely spicy.  Luckily they had this cute little tray of hot sauces you could add.  I could also suggest to them that Christmas is over (way WAY over!), so they might want to take down the very dusty xmas balls that were hanging under each table lamp shade, hehe.  That was pretty funny.  Anyway, here's the rundown of what we ate:

Silver Noodles, yum!
Pad-Voon-Sen (Silver Noodles)  $8.95
Bean thread noodles stir-fried with tofu, egg, onions, tomato, celery, cabbage, garlic, carrots, cilantro, homemade sauce.
Quite tasty!  These super thin noodles were really fun to eat and had good salty & sweet flavor!

Hot Pot
Wedgwood Hot pot  $9.95
Soft tofu or (deep fried tofu)  mushrooms, veggie fish, veggie pork, With special sauce, boiled in the hot pot.
My husband ordered 4 stars, and it was barely I guess you have to say THAI HOT PLEASE!  Pretty tasty, but would have liked to see the veggie meats in more chunky pieces...everything was minced really finely.

Vegetarian Hot & Sour soup

Hot & Sour soup  $8.95
Fresh tofu, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, water chestnuts, egg, seaweed, dried lily flower.
The vegetables were very fresh, but unfortunately they put too much corn starch to make it more thick: a cardinal sin for me with soup.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Perfectly Refreshing Drink for Summer!

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Pimms and Ginger

I had my favorite drink this past weekend called a Pimm's and Ginger at Subeez in Vancouver, B.C. and I just had to find a recipe online for it.  Unfortunately they didn't put a nice slice of cucumber in it, but next time I'll ask if they would.  It has a perfect ZING of ginger to it, both sweet and tangy..sooo refreshing and light!  Note:  It is not to be confused with a Pimm's Cup.

  • 2 measures of Pimm's
  • 1 measure gin
  • 2 measures of ginger beer
  • 1 measure soda water
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 long, thin slice of cucumber
  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh juiced ginger
Place several leaves of mint in the glass, add the gin and muddle the mint. Add ice, then the rest of the ingredients and fresh juiced gingerroot to taste (a garlic press works, and a razor grater works well too). Garnish with the lemon, cucumber and more mint.
Note: if you can get good, strong, homemade ginger beer, you can make this drink without the fresh ginger and soda water … but it can be hard to find the good stuff.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Nice Morning Chuckle!

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Oh Ellen, you are so punny!

And something really hilarious that happened on the NYC subway! Lucky train riders!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Science of Taste Buds and Creme Eggs!

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Just thought I would share a cool article on some facts about taste buds and why our palettes might be predisposed to some flavors and not to others...really interesting!

There's a neat jelly bean experiment at the end too!

For added fun, here is a video on what to do with all the chocolate eggs you got at Easter!  OH FUN!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bakery Nouveau OH YEA!

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chocolate almond croissantchocolate almond croissant
croissantflakiest croissant

I was lucky enough a few weekends ago, to receive these pretty amazing croissants from a friend of mine who lives in West Seattle.  Yes, they absolutely taste as good as they look and done right with the extremely crispy flaky outside and soft light layers inside...MMM! I also had some hot cross buns that were pretty much the best I have ever tasted in my life.  They weren't the grocery kind I grew up with, that's for sure!

You can find these amazing treats and more at Bakery Nouveau!  It's definitely worth a special trip, but be prepared for a lineup on the weekends; they're that popular!
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