Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

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Chanukah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day this year, which means double the culinary fun!  Check out this article in the Daily News for some tasty ideas.  Make sure that everything is kosher folks!

Thanksgiving Feast

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hong Kong and Tokyo Food Porn!

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Holy moly it's been eons since I've updated.  That's what happens when the summer hits! I've been meaning to post my food pictures from my jaunt to Hong Kong and Tokyo back in late April, so now I finally have a moment.

My first stop was Hong Kong, where I stayed with a friend I hadn't seen in 10 years.  It was a wonderful reunion, and I felt I got a good taste of what her day to day life was like in HK, along with a few touristy outings.  The icing on the cake?  Or should I say the "dumpling in the soup", I finally found the Shanghai soup dumplings (or "juicy buns" as we called them) I had as a kid growing up in Vancouver, B.C..  I mean, I know there's famous Din Tai Fung, and those are pretty close.  But the exact type of dumpling I remember as a child we found at Liu Yuan Pavilion in Wan Chai, and I almost cried when I slurped my first bite of that juicy pork dumpling.  I WANT TO EAT THEM EVERYDAY!  I didn't even pull out my camera the entire meal, because I wanted to be in the moment savoring every last bite of our special meal.  I felt like my camera could never capture what I was experiencing.  We had some other dishes as well, but honestly I can't remember what they were.  I was in Dumpling Heaven.  There was another place I went to a couple of times called Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bau in Times Square.  Great food, and you could watch them hand pull noodles through a glass enclosed kitchen, and their dumplings were very tasty.    Honestly I could eat that style of cooking every day.  I also traveled about an hour and a half outside of Hong Kong to try and grab some of those noodles from Ping Kee Noodles in Tai Po that Anthony Bourdain featured in his early Hong Kong episode...but alas, he had already sold out by 10:30am!  There were many curious people there wondering why I was aimlessly wandering around the food court, but through some very broken English, and my broken Cantonese, this one vendor offered me the best wonton soup I think I ever had. SCORE!  Made my trip out there totally worth it.

In Tokyo, my diet seemed to be less fatty and pork-centric.  Lots of veggies, tofu, rice, fish, etc. WONDERFUL!  And I was there to see a friend I hadn't seen in 30 YEARS. Yes you heard me right. That is a looooong time to be pen pals isn't it??  We met in Vancouver, B.C. when we were 8 years old and her family lived for a few years there.  We became BFF's, but sadly she had to leave back to Japan.  We kept in touch at first the old fashioned way through snail mail correspondence, and then in later years through email. Seeing her after such a long time was incredible...almost like no time had past, and we were chatting and giggling like childhood friends once more.  What a surreal and beautiful experience!  We saw many neighborhoods, temples, shrines, museums, her sister's family and of course had many delicious meals.

So here's all my food porn from my 2 week trip!  ENJOY!
Hong Kong:
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Hong Kong Trip 2013
Best wonton noodle soup!


Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013
Tokyo Trip 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Carmelita Restaurant Closing!

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Carmelita For Happy Hour!

By far my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Seattle, is closing. *big frown face!
Here's what they said:


Yes, that's right! Goodbye, 
But... not... quite... yet...

We'll be closing Carmelita's doors for the last time on September 29th, 2013. But wait! We're going to have some fun first, and we hope you'll join us!!

Certainly many of you thought Carmelita would be around forever, as did we. But times change, and no matter how much you love what you're doing there gets to be a point when you know it's time to pursue something else. For Michael and me that time has come. As sad as we are to bid you all adieu, we're excited for the next few months. We want to exit with the same enthusiasm we had when we opened. We want to end this long and successful run with gratitude to everyone who has supported us along the way. We want to go out with a bang! And we need YOU to get this party started!

Over the next several months we'll be sending out regular emails with details for celebrations. To receive these emails, you can sign up on our website In the meantime, we encourage all of you to check Carmelita's Facebook page. That way you can receive up to the moment announcements of special events and offers. Time is limited - do it now - you don't want to miss anything!

Though we can't answer all the questions you might have, we'll give it a try.


Why are you closing?

Well, it's just time. We've been open since December 1, 1996. That's almost 17 years! That's a long time in the restaurant biz, especially for a mom-and-pop operation.

Who is buying Carmelita?

The buyers are successful, local entrepreneurs,
who are committed to the Phinney Ridge neighborhood! It is a partnership of Chris Navarra (Prost, The Ridge, Martinos), Chris Gerke (Nickerson Saloon, The Ridge, Martinos) and Shannon Wilkinson (Little Water Cantina).

Will Carmelita be gone for good?

Yes, I'm afraid so. Carmelita was our dream; after all we named the restaurant after Michael's mom! It's been a personal pursuit and it's difficult to impossible to have someone else take that over.

Will the buyers of Carmelita keep it vegetarian?

We know that Chris, Chris & Shannon, will be collaborating to open a neighborhood friendly restaurant with a new concept that isn't vegetarian focused. Though undoubtedly there will be abundant choices that will be appealing to all! In the years since Carmelita opened, there has been a growing number of quality restaurants that are offering many well thought out and expertly prepared vegetarian choices. We look forward to see what this new partnership will present!

Is the economy partly to blame for Carmelita closing?

Unquestionably, yes. The "Great Recession" hit us hard as it did many small businesses and individuals. It's been a challenge to bounce back. Consultants have suggested "reinventing" to include meat or raising our prices. Neither of those options seemed like the right decision. The truth is that the cost of everything (food, alcohol, labor, utilities, insurance, etc.) has gone up so substantially that, even in the best of times, the margins are very small for a single-store operation.

I have a gift certificate; can I still use it?

Of course! But you'll need to use it before September 29th. After that it will be rendered invalid. Our policy will remain in place regarding gift certificates not being redeemable for cash.

What will happen next?

Good question! Immediately our plan is to celebrate and have a great summer! Celebrate what, you may ask? Carmelita! All of our happy years! Our fantastic staff present and past! And YOU, the best patrons ever!! We hope you'll join us!

Then what will you do?

Go forth to a new adventure, I guess. (No, not another restaurant) We'll hold the memories close and always be thankful for such a great run!!


Kathryn, Michael & Chef Jon...and all the staff at Carmelita...Cheryl, Dee, Kate, Erin, Keenan, Amanda, Ariel, Adalberto, Zach, Tomas, Neftali, Jose, Ben and Jesus

Thanks for your continued patronage!!

And here's my Carmelita foodporn Set on Flickr!

Oh how I will miss you!!!  Thank you for all the wonderful food, great service, ambiance and libations!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm Back!

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I know, I know, I've been slacking on my blog!  Life's been pretty busy and after a 2 week trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo and I've finally had a moment to write a little update.  I went overseas to see some old friends, one of whom I hadn't seen in 30 years!  And yes of course I ate my weight in pork soup dumplings, noodles, and fish!  I am going to try and post some of my trip's "food porn" later tonight.

In the meantime, I wanted to gush about a sweetener I found that is probably going to change the way I bake and sweeten my drinks or food.  Not to mention help me deal with the fact that I have an insatiable sweet tooth, and with diabetes in my family genes, I really have to watch my sugar intake.  Sugar can be the leading cause of more health problems and disease than even fats!  So anyway, this product is called Wholesome Sweeteners Zero, and is derived from "Erythritol, a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is found in our bodies, as well as in many fruits, vegetables and even certain fermented foods."  On it's own it tastes pretty much like sugar, maybe not as sweet, but you use it like you would regular sugar and can bake with a 1:1 ratio.  AND IT HAS NO AFTERTASTE unlike that other sweetener that most of us are familiar with, which I can't stand!  I found this package at one of our local PCC markets, but you can find a location that carries it by clicking THIS.

I baked some cupcakes last night with it and they turned out so well.  I can't wait to make some for people whom I know can't have sugar!

Organic Zero Wholesome Sweetener

UPDATE:  Okay, so there is one thing that has a slight aftertaste, and that is when making with pancakes.  But it's not the Splenda-type aftertaste, it's just something you can't put your foot on...kind of minty...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Indeed, the Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe!

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Okay so I think I found the best pumpkin loaf recipe which I played with a tad bit from The Streaming Gourmet blog.  Wow talk about a moist cake!  Somehow I just remember my loaves coming out dry in the past (maybe I overcooked them), but not this recipe.  I used a bundt cake pan instead of 2 loaf pans, and it worked out great (I just left a smidgen of the batter behind so it wasn't overflowing, and baked for a couple minutes longer).  I also didn't quite have enough butter, so I made up the rest with Canola oil, which could have also added to the airiness and moistness of it.  I decided not to add nuts, as they're optional, but I might add chocolate chips next time!

pumpkin bundt cake

Ultimate Pumpkin Bread

Author: Amy Wilson


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, really soft, half melted really
3 large eggs
1 16 oz can of pure pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray two medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attached, dump in the sugar. Take the butter and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, so that it is half melted. Dump it into the sugar. Add the eggs. Cream these three ingredients together on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and combine well.
4. In three batches, add the dry ingredients and mix gently until each batch is just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch.
5. Pour half of the batter into a one of the prepared pans. Fold the pecans into the remaining batter and then pour it into the other prepared pan. Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean the top is golden.

Yields 2 loaves.
*If using a bundt pan like I did, pour evenly into the mold and spread the top with a spatula to smooth it out.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Sushi Place You've Never Heard of.

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Well, maybe you've heard of this place.  Probably one of the best sushi experiences I've ever had in Seattle, Mori Sushi in Greenwood is a place you might just drive by and never know was there, or look at it and say to yourself "who would eat there??"...melt in your mouth fish, super fresh, and a friendly owner who will make you something special if you don't want to order off the menu.  Such an outstanding restaurant, that it's disappointing that the outside is so uninviting (and the inside needs some updating and elbow grease)...but seriously, just go in... it will not disappoint.  I have been to so many hole in the walls that don't necessarily have the most comfortable decor, but the food is delicious.  That's what this place is.   I mean, I haven't had sushi this fresh in a very long time, it's like BUTTAH. Honestly, I think all they need to do is get rid of this dark strip of window that makes it look like they're hiding something, and maybe a few flower pots outside, and I think more people would come in there!  Anyway, enjoy this sushi-porn and get there after work on a Friday or Saturday and saddle up to the bar for the freshest catch! 

seaweed salad

Mori Sushi

Mori Sushi

sushi of various sorts!
Mori Sushi


Mori Sushi

Pièce de résistance: 
Shiro Maguro (White Tuna), with a garnish of shredded daikon and rice wine vinegar.
Mori Sushi

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day!

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Time to post my "Pi Pie" again, for March 14th designated as Pi Day!  Get it?  3:14 = pi.

If you plan on making a pie, you're most likely going to want to make a killer crust.  Well I have a recipe from my mother in law, that is seriously the best and literally a "no fail crust."  You can even be afraid that you'll over work the dough, BUT YOU WON'T!  And it will STILL be flaky and delicious!  I don't know how it happens, but it does.

The best apple pie crust ever.  Made with vodka!

Here is the recipe:


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ezell's Famous Chicken joins food truck flock!

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Hot off the press today, Ezell's Famous Chicken joins food truck flock!  The first truck is expected to be ready in April, with a limited menu focusing on - what? FRIED CHICKEN OF COURSE!

Funny thing is, everyone raves about the chicken (including Oprah who says it's her fave), and the ONE time I had it, it was cold and pretty flavorless.  I also don't eat fried food really, so I'll have to bring someone that can order it and I can sneak a bite.  You know, FOR RESEARCH.

Anyway, I think it's a great idea to spread the fried chicken love around the city and great for it's long time fans!

Picture from

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Happy Hour @ The Armory!

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A friend passed on this link to me about a new happy hour going on every 3rd Thursday at The Armory in Seattle Center!

Looks like a stellar deal, and you get so many choices! In case you haven't been to what was Seattle Center's food court, and is now the revamped Armory, you should check it out.

Vendors include:
Bean Sprouts Cafe & Cooking School
Bigfood BBQ
Ceres Roasting
Confectional, The
Eltana Wood-Fired Bagels
MOD Pizza
Plum Market
Quincy's. Burgers, Seafood, Beer
Seattle Fudge
Skillet : Counter
Starbucks Coffee

Photo By: Eater Seattle

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Wishes!

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This day is whatever you make it to be. For some, it's to celebrate love, for others it's to mourn the loss of a loved one. Perhaps it's even your birthday, or you couldn't care less. The true definition is Saint Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote "from your Valentine" as a farewell to her. For me, it's just another day to remind myself how lucky I am to have people that love and care for me in my life. If you have someone in your life that is special, no matter if you're married or not, send a little love their's good for you.

Be Mine - Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2013

314 Pie is Amazing!

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Okay so last week I mentioned there being a food truck "rodeo" near our work with a handful of them posting up in an empty lot with their deliciousness.  I had a hell of a time choosing between these:
Seattle Biscuit Company

The rain had just started to fall and I was without an umbrella, which means the potential of my naturally curly hair rebelling from the confines of my head into Frizz-dome, was going to be a reality if I didn't hurry up and decide.  So wandering from place to place reading their menus, I finally went with 314Pie because it was simple, comfort-sounding, and the line seemed a lot faster.  No wonder, because they had their pies already made and staying heated in their truck!  Not only that, to pay was super easy because they have one of those swipe thingies that attach to an iPad for easy credit card transactions. I got their classic chicken pot pie, which is probably a good test of flavor, although not classically "Australian" which is their main theme.  It was AMAZING.  The stew inside wasn't overwrought with cream, but instead had a thickness and heartiness that made me feel like I was tasting some old grandma's secret recipe!  Definitely not your ordinary pie. I really hope I find them again or I'll have to scout them out specifically on their website. Don't miss out on trying these guys out if you run into them!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Food Truck Rodeo!

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F5 is having a Food Truck Rodeo TODAY in the parking lot north of the 501 building on Elliott Ave. W, from 10:30am-1:00pm.  Trucks will be:

And Street Treats

Asian Pull Pork Sandwich

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lara's Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup!

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Adapted from my mom's recipe I grew up with, this is somewhat of a staple in our household especially when we are nursing the many flu's and colds around this time of year.  Or for something just simple and easy to make!  This version is definitely a base for whatever other flavors you might incorporate, I just happen to love this one.  I have made it more "middle eastern" by adding spices like cumin, cardamom, and nutmeg.  Or I've changed the herb profile from thyme to rosemary. It's really your choice!  My friend Janet did a wonderful variation using chili peppers, lemongrass, and lime leaves - WOW! You can also make this "un-vegan" by using chicken stock and/or adding cream at the end and a nob of butter.

I decided to also post this recipe in photos, since it's so easy so please enjoy!

You'll need:

- 2lbs carrots (I just used those organic 1lb bags to make it easy, but feel free to peel & cut fresh ones!)
- ginger
- garlic
- 1 small onion or 1/2 large onion
- veggie stock (I usually buy 2 of those large 32oz. cartons)
- one large orange
- fresh thyme
- olive oil
- salt
- pepper
- blender or food processor


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