May 31 - End of May BBQ

Grill fodder.

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I love to barbecue. I live for it. Well, sort of. To the point where whenever anyone around me mentions the b-word, I start dreaming about marinating meats and charring vegetables.

A neighborhood friend was hosting a barbecue, giving me a great opportunity to feed people and show off my marinating skills. Two of my favorite things.
Meat of kings - about to get charred to perfection.

I picked up a rack of ribs at my local meat mart, and did an overnight marinade involving the following:

2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 onion, diced
tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
tsp powdered mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp AP flour

Cut ribs into desired portions, place in shallow pan. Cover with marinade and refrigerate, turning at least four times. Let marinate at least four hours or overnight.

Maillard reaction in full effect!

The ribs were the first thing to enjoy the heat of the grill. Thanks to the efforts of the boys in attendance, they were cooked to perfection in no time at all.

Commence to bone-chewing.

Damn, they were tasty. Super moist and flavorful, and nicely charred outside with a bit of crunch on the ends. Lovely.

Raw stuff. cooked stuff. defrosted stuff.

But that wasn't all! The kitchen was a war zone of bbq preparation - mixing ground beef for burgers, seasoning chicken for grilling, and cooking eggs and potatoes for the greatest potato salad I have ever eaten (and have yet to get the recipe for! boo!).
What preppin' looks like.

Prepping and cooking for a barbecue are as much fun as eating, in my book. I love getting together with people, cracking open a refreshing beverage, and preparing tasty outdoor foods the way our parents used to. If that's not summer, what is?


And getting everything on the grill is great! Zach took care of manning the meat station, which I was grateful for. For some reason my meat-charring skills fall somewhat short. I can grill fish and vegetables, but when it comes to meats, I'm worthless. Sigh.

After a good roastin'.

But speaking of vegetables, my other contribution to the party turned out awesome! Cuban corn is my very favorite thing to grill - It's so summery and delicious, and I can pretend it's healthy!

Cuban Grilled Corn

  • corn in husks, silks removed
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely grated queso blanco
  • lime, cut into quarters

In a large saucepan filled with salted boiling water, cook corn in husks for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine chili powder, paprika and salt.

On a medium grill or in a broiler, grill corn just until char marks are visible on husks. Remove and let cool. Pull back husks and rub corn with butter and sprinkle with cheese and paprika mixture. Serve with lime wedges.

Cheese - it makes everything better.

They were super tasty. Something about applying fire to corn makes it magical.

Sly fox.

We gnawed on corn indoors while it rained briefly (sigh. Seattle). Luckily, it was short lived and we were able get outside where the party belonged.

Kickin' it Seattle style.

Outside! Everybody chilled, drank, and got a little rained on as we waited for the burgers and chicken to come off the grill.

Load em up, boys.

Awesome. After filling ourselves with grilled meat, potato salad, and various snacks, I think it's fair to declare the barbecue a rained in success.


And this is what it looks like when a kitty sleeps on top of the beer cooler. Aww.


May 31 - Sushi, West Seattle

Da-dum. . . da-dum. . . da-dum. . . chopstick attack!!

So Carlo zoomed quickly through Seattle on his way back out of town, and I of course sprung on the opportunity to go out for more food. Food!

Sushi off the starboard deck!

Sushi was the decided course of action, so we went for a quick bite at Hana, on Broadway. Yay! I ordered the Hana special. It comes in a boat. A boat!! Man I love that. Why doesn't more food come in vehicles? I would totally eat a burger out of a racecar. Or spaghetti out of a helicopter!

So the boat housed a california roll, some tuna, whitefish, salmon, and shrimp nigiri. That's a boat I can get on board with. Get it? Get it??

Bite size?

Carlo had a shrimp tempura roll. I don't really get tempura rolls. To me, sushi is freshness and fishness all wrapped up in rice and seaweed. Frying it sort of negates the point, but those sorts of rolls are crazy popular around here. And it went over pretty well with Carlo.
I hear you haz a coffee.

On their way out of town, Carlo and his friend Aimee wanted to pick up some caffeine for the road. I could think of no better place to fuel their addiction than Espresso Vivace. The god of coffee drinks.

Picture pretty!

Made more nifty by their habit of swirling the steamed milk on top of the coffeeness into cute shapes - like hearts! Awww!


After Carlo left town, I had plans to accompany Maverick to West Seattle. It's a far-off land that holds little appeal for me, but I've been told I need to familiarize myself with the area to truly appreciate its charm. You know what I found out?

The only thing I can think to us it in is sno cones.

West Seattle has butter extract. W.T.F. How did they do that? How do you extract butter. . . from butter? I mean, I know how vanilla extract works. As far as I can figure, that wouldn't work with butter. Plus, it's clear. I mean, would the essential butteryness of butter be clear? Hmm. It both intrigued and terrified me.

Assembly line?

While poking around the non-extract goods of Husky Deli, we watched the delidents prepare our sandwich. Looking at this now, I'm not sure why they need so many people to sandwich. I guess there's a lot more to sandwich making than I knew. Ah, the mysteries of life.

Toasty>not toasty.

I suppose I'm glad that they take so much care with the art of the sandwich, because they were delicious. Something about chicken pesto cheese melty crunchy goodness. . . . it was all very good. I wish crunchy and cheesy and melty incorporated themselves more into my day to day life. What a life that would be!

Ice cream: the happy maker.

And how does one top off such a carunch of a lunch? With ice creams!! I'd only been hearing about Husky Deli's ice creams for months and months, so needless to say, the anticipation was killing me. Just a little bit more than not having ice cream usually kills me.

Maverick was drawn in by the temptress Kona Koka Rum. I don't know what that entails, but the nibble I had was awfully tasty. And Rummy!


I went with the blackberry cheesecake. All I will say about it is that looking at this picture is bringing back the memory of how good it was and I'm fighting the Pavlovian response.

Are those kids exiled from Oz?

Hey, check out more West Seattle wall art! And I couldn't figure out why the Wizard of Oz would be so prominently featured, but then it struck me: Seattle is the Emerald City. Get it? They went to the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz! Now if only I understood why Seattle is called the Emerald City. Mysteries all over. . .

May 29 - Folklife, fondue

Time to play "get your friends soaked in the fountain!"

Hey! Remember Folklife? It was only a few weeks ago. . .

So I went. Even after there was a stupid shooting the first night. Which was kind of funny (no one was fatally injured) because I didn't actually notice that anything was different. I maybe saw a few more police officers around, but honestly things were pretty much the same as I remember from last year. A lot of hippies, a lot of jam bands, a lot of scarf dancing and hula hooping.

All of the stages were pretty much the same. Full of hippies.

If anything, there were even more people out this year than last. The weather was shockingly gorgeous, especially considering the weather man was telling us it would rain all weekend and we'd be knee deep in mud, cursing the day we'd decided to inhabit the soggy Pacific Northwest.

In your face, weatherguy!!

He's playing a washboard! A WASHBOARD!!

In between enjoying good-times country bands and traveling juggling troupes, I partook in the best reason to hit an outdoor festival. That is of course, festfood.

Fest food!!

I was intrigued by the representation of Southern style cuisine in booths around the music and dancing. While I was a bit disappointed by the absence of alligator on anyone's menu board, I did allow my interest to be piqued by gumbo.

Mmmm. Gumbo.

I'd never had gumbo before, but it tasted so familiar I can't believe I hadn't. It's kind of like a stir fry dish with the rice already included. I wish I had taken a picture of the booth where we got this, but I have no recollection of the business name or anything. Just that their gumbo was tasty with a good kick of spice.

All of my teeth fell out after drinking this.

And they had sweet tea! I've been meaning to try it for a while, and this was the perfect setting. A note to sweet tea noobs - it is sweet. They're not kidding about that. I nearly went into sugar shock after drinking the entire mega cup pretty much by myself.

What? Gluttony is part of fest-fooding.

Fresh from the kettle!

Also an integral part of fest-fooding: Kettle Corn!! Man I love that stuff. Who decided it would be a good idea to put both sugar and salt on popcorn? I would like to shake that man's hand. I have a feeling it was Arnold Palmer. That guy seems to have a lot of great hybrid-food based ideas.

Folklife was a nice beginning to our Memorial Day weekend. I kind of forgot that it was a real holiday until we were walking through International District on Monday and saw this:

Where do I get an outfit like that?

I didn't know what it was. There were military-looking guys talking about something in very monotone voices, and pretty girls standing around in incredibly ostentatious headgear. What kind of feathers are those? They're huge! I'd be terrified of any bird sporting feathers like that.

Let's get misty!

I thought it was funny that it was sort of warm out and some woman kept running around misting all the girls with a squirt bottle. Nothing says Memorial Day like dampened girls in costume.

And fondue!

Asparagus chunklets. Delicious.

I'd been wanting to put together a fondue party for a while, and after receiving the devil's fondue pot as a gift from my mother, I figured that was a great excuse. I had a ton of fresh, fat asparagus (yay for asparagus season!!) so I cut it up and blanched it for the dipping. I also had oven-roasted sweet potatoes, seasoned with Kosher salt and rosemary, and I cubed some onion rye bread from Dahlia Bakery.

I used Alton Brown's fondue recipe to break in my virgin fondue pot.

1 clove garlic, halved
1 (12-ounce) bottle hard apple cider
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon brandy
Pinch kosher salt
5 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere, grated
5 ounces (2 cups) Smoked Gouda, rind removed, grated
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Several grinds fresh ground black pepper

Rub inside of fondue pot or heavy small saucepan with garlic. Pour cider into pot. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the brandy and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, grate the cheese and toss well with the cornstarch in a large bowl. When the cider just begins to simmer, gradually add the cheese a handful at a time, allowing each addition to melt completely before adding the next. Continue adding cheese and stirring until all cheese is incorporated, about 3 minutes. If mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low. The mixture is ready when creamy and easily coats the back of a spoon. Stir in curry powder and pepper. If cheese seems stringy, add some or all of the remaining lemon juice. Move fondue pot to alcohol warmer, and keep stirring during service. A variety of breads, from pumpernickel to rye to bagel chunks can be skewered and dipped as can cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms and potatoes. (Soften all vegetables by blanching briefly in boiling water then chilling.) Crisp fruits such as apples make great fondue fodder, as do cooked meats and sausages. Even soft pretzels make for good dipping. If any fondue is left over, cover with ice water and refrigerate, pour off water and reheat over low heat.

Look! Whities with chopsticks!

The fondue went off pretty well. The cheese didn't hold up the texture quite as well as I would have liked, but it tasted great. I really liked the array of things I prepared for fondue-ing (I also included some fuji apples and bartlett pears). Yes, we were using chopsticks to dip. I may have misplaced my set of fondue forks. These things happen.

I will leave you with a couple of critters I saw that week.

No fighting the Red Baron today.

Beagle!! I love beagles. I think they're adorable. This one was chilling out on someone's balcony. He didn't seem like he was very enthusiastic about things, but it was really sunny out. Sunshine tends to make me feel kinda drunk and groggy too. We don't see it very often these days.

Cheeky little devil.

Raccoon! I'm pretty sure he was scheming. He was chilling out in a tree house next to my friend's place. I caught him spying on us as we chatted on his front steps. Clearly this little guy was up to no good. See how he mocked us with with adorable tiny pink tongue!!


May 25 - Picnic, breakfast, and rock shows

My, what a lovely place to queue.

The picture above is the reason I am no longer interested in SIFF. I went to one of the films last year and spent way too much time standing around the block from the theatre. And this is with pre-purchased tickets. More like Seattle International Standing-in-Line Festival. HA!

So instead of waiting around for hours to see a maybe brilliant movie, I opted to have a lovely picnic in the park to take advantage of the (now sorely missed) beautiful springtime weather.


Since my friend Carlo was visiting from the West coast, I thought perhaps I'd take him to the god of sandwiches to experience some sense-obliterating delicious.

After picking up our bag of golden tastiness from Paseo, we walked a few blocks to picnic on the grass outside of the Woodland Park Zoo. As much as I longed to go into the zoo and point at all the animals, the lovely weather has a tendency to bring out the rugrat-toting families, so we kept it to the front lawn.

There's a metaphor for life in here somewhere.

As expected, I heard very little in the way of conversation from Carlo as he nommed down his Cuban press sandwich. This is standard operating procedure - I know people don't expect words to come out of my mouth when it's filled with slow-roasted pork and caramelized onions.

I love chomp photos.

Moos and I enjoyed our sandwiches similarly.

Looking at these pictures is seriously depressing me, considering the cosmic shame that's been raining down upon our heads here in the Pacific Northwest of late. Oh, how I miss May. . . As soon as the weather stops hating me you can bet I'll be taking a book and a tasty beverage to the nearest park to take advantage.

Don't worry, we disposed of it properly.

Since Carlo was just passing through town on his way to the Great White North, we saw him off the next day with breakfast at the newly renamed Table 219. It used to be El Greco, but I think they did something and wanted people to take notice. I kind of miss the old name, because it made me think of that weird Spanish painter guy.

No longer Greco. Or in Spanish.

Luckily, they're still serving El Greco's sweet-ass brunch menu. Man I love brunch. And I'm not sure why, because I always get the breakfasty food rather than the breakfast/lunch hybrid foods. I guess it's because I can continue to do so until 3:00 in the afternoon.

The feta scramble called my name from the menu, and it ended up being a hot mess of cheese, tomatoes, and eggs all brutalized into a breakfast mass of delicious. I'm also a fan of their breakfast seasoned potatoes, but I could pretty much add potatoes to any meal and consider it an improvement.

Eggs in scrambled formation!

The eggs also come in the slightly more refined omelette format. I've never really understood the salsa/sour cream on eggs phenomenon, but I guess it has its place in the breakfast world. Or so I'm told.

Eggs in omelette formation!

It became clear to me as our meal progressed that I made a mistake in not getting the pancakes du jour, which this jour happened to be banana/chocolate chip. Kickass. They were light, fluffy, and freaking delicious - or so I noticed from the bites that I stole from Moos's plate. Mmmm. . . pancakes! The chickeny sausage was weird, but I always get weirded out by poultry in sausage form. It's a strange concept for me to grasp.

Eggs in upstaged-by-pancakes formation!

Since I am recently unemployed, I've been putting off getting a Pro Flickr account. This means that I have a ton of concert photos I've taken that are getting posted nowhere, which is sad for me. And the world. So I'm going to put some here. Check it!

On May 23rd, I got to check out a couple of bands at Nectar -

Walter Meego - they opened up the show, and were a surprise winner that night. I had no idea they were going to be there, and they pretty much kicked ass. Their music is great, but their live show goes way beyond what I had expected after having heard a couple of songs on the KEXP. I'd definitely suggest checking them out, if you're in the position to do so.

It was raining circular ghosts.

The Presets: As they were the headlining band for the evening, I was pretty jazzed about getting to see them rock out. I'd heard amazing things from people who'd seen them live before, and I was ready to shake a tailfeather. Unfortunately, by the time they went on I was pretty tipsy and kind of danced out, but I was mostly won over by their stage show. The drummer/keyboard guy was awesome, by the way.

The green wire! No, wait, the red one!!

My very favorite Seattle-area musician had a show at The Comet on the 28th, so I put aside my issues with the place and went.

Baby Panda: Paul, the lovely/amazing frontman, has toyed with the live format of the band a little bit. He had dropped the full band in favor of a two guitar approach, with the occasional backing track provided by an mp3 device. It was a little different, but Paul's vocals shine in pretty much any situation.

He sings quietly to my heart.

Counselor: I actually really liked their sound. It was more straightforward rock stuff, and I can't for the life of me find them on the interwebs, so my description ends there. And with saying that I loved the lead singer's tattoos.

What's the drummer doing??

The Uprights: I was ready to love this band after I'd seen their adorable publicity photos on their website. So cute. And they were really good! Sadly, I couldn't stay for their entire set, but you can bet I'll go out of my way to see them the next time they're playing around town.

So cute!!

Hopefully I'll find myself with more money soon, so I can give some to Flickr and get a real place to post my concert photos. Sigh.