Restaurant Review: Local 360

I am not going to make a ton of friends by reviewing Local 360, because frankly, I have not enjoyed either of the meals I have consumed at this place. Local 360 is a relatively well known Seattle Restaurant for its farm to table attitude and its gluten free options. I feel like I should like it, for all that it represents and the hype that it generates. For heavens-sake up until mid 2014 a former Top Chef contestant ran the kitchen; Robin Leventhal. It wasn’t until July that Brian Cartenuto took over and I haven’t had a meal there since her departure.

My problem is that Local 360, with all its hype in the Seattle Food community, puts out bland food. Its not terrible food by any means, you can tell technique is there: its just almost decidedly under seasoned. Yes, 360 is serving almost entirely local produce and food. Yes, they offer the much loved “fancy foodie” tasting menu. Yes, you almost always need a reservation. But, that doesn’t mean it’s good. It just means its farm to table.

I have had two meals at 360, one breakfast, the other dinner. My dinner involved an piece of pork with under rendered fat. Now, I understand that pork is typically fatty; I cook a mean pork shoulder… long and slow. The fat should melt in your mouth, it should not be super chewy. While the sides to my pork were tasty, they suffered the typical lack of seasoning that I also experienced during my breakfast. I ordered a Farmer’s Breakfast with over easy eggs. The eggs were delicious, as would except local eggs to be. Here’s the thing though; I can cook myself a perfectly tasty local over easy egg and I do so on a regular basis. The biscuit on the other hand was dry and didn’t bring anything exciting to the plate. The potatoes had barely any seasoning and I felt myself loading on salt and pepper to make them more appealing. Alas they were slightly under-cooked as well, nothing could really save them.

 

Now the lastly, what really killed any desire of returning was the sort of service we received. I have experienced service like this in plenty of higher end restaurants but I am usually able to put my foot down with the waiter. The service was slow and the server seemed less then enthusiastic with us. They weren’t overly busy at either time and our table didn’t ask for much. They just seemed to have this really unpleasant air about them, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Was it that the restaurant “better than the rest” attitude has just started to wear on them? They did seem a tad overzealous about the origins of the food and less about the actually dishes. Though I often got the feeling that people that ate at 360 said they enjoyed their food just because they assumed they should. I mean its farm to table, sustainably conscious cooking, I should love it right? Only problem is, there are plenty farm to table and sustainably conscious restaurants in Seattle that don’t serve “just okay” food. A lot of restaurants in Seattle also serve local produce, meat and dairy but just don’t promote it all over their menus.

I am not an anti-farm to table foodie, I adore the idea, I really do. The problem is when restaurants think the products they get to make the food is all the matters. Which is weird right?  I mean of course that matters BUT you still need to cook it well and season it for it to be good. They stop making amazing food when they are more concerned with telling us where it comes from. I really like knowing where my food comes from, don’t get me wrong, but it could use more salt.

2.5knives

Product Review: Ballard Extracts Vanilla [Dutch Baby Recipe]

Good Vanilla is hard to come by, no honestly, especially when it comes to extracts. A good porition of cheap Vanilla extracts and essences are made from Vanillin and not Vanilla. Vanillin, is often a by-product of whole Vanilla beans but some of it is produced from the bark of trees or is completely artificial. While it is often totally fine to use, and isn’t “bad” for you, it doesn’t get that pure Vanilla flavor that I think a lot baking or sweet recipes need.

Recently, while searching around Etsy I found a local company, Ballard Extracts, who produces plenty of tasty looking extracts, created with baking in mind. They were kind enough to hand deliver one of their extracts, Pure Handmade Vanilla, for me to try out. photo 3Their product listings boast organic sourced ingredients; extracts made from organic wheat alcohol using a cold extraction process. You may think of cold extraction more so when you think of cold press Olive Oil. Wikipedia states the following about the cold extraction process; being beneficial to the quality of the product:

“When high temperatures are applied the more volatile aromas are lost and the rate of oxidation is increased, producing therefore lower quality oils. In addition, the chemical content of the polyphenols, antioxidants, and vitamins present in the oil is reduced by higher temperatures.”

This is true for any cold extraction process and not just the cold extraction of oil. This process means that you are getting cleaner, crisper flavors when you purchase extracts from Ballard Extracts. I mean that, you get what you pay for with their Pure Handmade Vanilla Extract. Its naturally sweet, with a nice earthiness that you expect from high quality Vanilla. You know that really really good Vanilla gelato you had with those specks of Vanilla? Well… it tastes like that, pure Vanilla goodness. This Vanilla deserves to be highlighted, so I sat and pondered, what could I make that would showcase this wonderful Vanilla. Well, Dutch Babies of course!

Vanilla Dutch Babies

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2 tablespoons butter separated for your pans
1 tablespoon of melted butter for the batter
2 3/8 ounces all-purpose flour, about a heaping 1/2 cup
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of Pure Handmade Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk or Half&Half – room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 pie pans for baking (glass is preferred)

Options for Toppings
– Confectioners Sugar
– Lemon Wedges
– Warm Pure Maple Syrup
– Whipped Cream
– Fresh Fruit Compote

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, place your pans in the oven after the preheat has finished, place a tablespoon of butter in each pan. After the butter has melted and the pans have heated, carefully take a paper-towel or silicone basting brush and evenly disrupted the melted butter.

2) Let your other melted butter cool slightly after melting. While waiting mix your vanilla and sugar into a paste like consistency. This will evenly distribute the vanilla flavor throughout the batter and infused the sugar with its flavor as well. Set aside.

3) Put the flour, vanilla sugar paste mixture, salt, milk, eggs and remaining tablespoon of melted butter into a food processor, blender (honestly I prefer a mixing bowl and my immersion blender for this) and blend for about a minute or less. You want the batter to be thin, and don’t worry if there are a couple small chunks.

4) Take batter and pour it evenly into the preheated and butter pans. For 15-25 mins bake the batter on the center rack of your oven. You want the ‘pancakes’ to puff up and get golden brown around the edges.

5) Cut into even ‘pie’ slices and top with the topping of your choice. I preferred confectioners sugar for this, to let the Vanilla shine.

Transparency Disclosure: Ballard Extracts was kind enough to provide these products for review. This review does not reflect the thoughts and opinions of Ballard Extracts and are my own.

Craft – Covered Can Holders [Beginner]

In the battle of becoming organized on a budget, I have lost many a time. You wander the aisles of Storable’s, The Container Store and even Target; behold the vast expensive variety of organization products. You never knew that a tiny pencil holder made out of thick cardboard and paper could cost $5.99. But have no fear, with the know how you can have a cute pen holder or mascara cup in minutes.

Covered Can Holders

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You will need:

– A clean cut can opener (see below)
– Food Can (standard size)
– Contact Paper (solid color or sporadic patterned)
– Exacto Knife
– Cutting Mat
– Ruler
– Marker/Pen

1) When you are using your canned food, cut the top of the can clean off, this will leave no harsh edges when you use a clean cut can opener. After the lid is off remove the label, there may be some glue residue, don’t worry about it, it will get covered.

2) Clean the can by either soaking in warm soapy water over night after a simple rinse OR rinse the can and sanitize it in the dishwasher.

3) Once your can is clean and dry, if you are using a standard size can you can simply measure out a 4″ by 10″ piece of Contact Paper, cut using the Exacto Knife with the ruler as a straight edge.

Note: When looking for Contact Paper for this project you will want to avoid patterns that resemble stripes or are too geometric. It will be harder to get the look seamless using these types of patterns. If you are using a different size can measure the height of the can, subtract .25 or less from the height. For the circumference, use a piece of yarn or string to measure around, the length of this string plus .5″ to a full inch will be the length you will cut your paper.

5) Don’t worry about getting it perfect on the first try, the nice thing about contact paper is its reposition able, just work slowly and check for noticeable unevenness. When you have finished applying the paper you are done. Get organized!

Get your clean cut can opener here: Good Cook Classic Safe Cut Can Opener

You Should Start Using – Elk

So, to anyone that knows me, it is no surprise that I love game meat. My two favorite things to eat are Venison and Duck. However, it was a surprise to me, that Elk meat differs so greatly from Venison. To me it sounds like they would be similar in taste and texture, but I was wrong, so very wrong. Upon this realization I decide it would be best to bring in a far more expert opinion then my own.

Enter Sabrina, my Mescalero Apache, fix it with a damn craftsman-wrench friend. Sabrina cooks traditional Indian food and a pretty regular basis. For heaven’s sake, the woman still hunts for most of her meat. I figured it would be best to default to her, for all you Elk related know how.

Q: What do you want to look for when you are buying Elk?  –

A: There’s obviously a large difference between buying elk and hunting elk. When you hunt it, you know what to look for in your cow or bull. The health of the fur coat, how old they are, what their diet was like this year based on where your hunting ground is.

The thing about buying elk locally is that the majority of elk has been raised on pasture based farms instead of wild. That makes ensuring you get healthy, tender meat harder. You have to take into account how much grain, silage or concentrate those animals were fed and when, were growth promoting hormones used in production,ect. IF it was hunted and you’re getting it from a backwoods or immediate source; how do you know your elk isn’t going to be too gamey? Were they hunted for food tenderness instead of trophy quality?

Well – unless you hunt it – you don’t know any of those things.

Look for dark red almost wine colored meat. Ground elk will generally have even a darker hue like a port wine.

If it’s flank or steak it will be more like a rose but it should still be darker than beef. It should be smooth, with very little fat around the tendons, all the silver skin (the white connective tissue) should be removed. Think of someone who doesn’t know how to de-bone a fish and leaving the flesh all torn up. That’s the opposite of what you want. If they skinned it correctly it should be smooth.

Q: How does it differ from Venison?

Technically all elk, deer, caribou, antelope, moose – is all venison. BUT, Elk tastes different than deer in that it’s bolder with a mild sage or juniper flavor depending on the animals diet. It’s not as gamey because the animals hunting time is later in the beginning of the year so they’ve generally fattened up a bit (that being said it’s still a 97/3% ratio). If it does taste like deer meat that’s because the hunter didn’t properly get it cooled and skinned as fast as possible. Leaving it hot or leaving the hide on too long will cause its taste to become pungent.

 Q: Where do you recommend to source Elk from if you don’t hunt or aren’t able to?

A: Well if you Google it or go to the Ballard Market (local to us in Seattle), I guarantee  you’ll be disappointed in the quality or pay 1/8 of your 401k to some horrendous “buy exotic meats” butcher that charges by the lb. If it’s in the Seattle Met for a foodie taste ed op: don’t buy it. It’s going to be way overpriced, and geared toward hipsters that don’t know a dove from a duck call.

Your best bet is to:

  1. Go to your local farmers market, find the beef butcher and ask him if he knows anyone or has any. Go early on in the morning, get his best flank or tri-tip and that’ll get you more information.
  2. Bob the butcher at 4861 Rainier Ave South – you can order a week ahead once you know what steaks or fillets you want. They readily have frozen ground elk.

 Q: How do you recommend cooking Elk, what is the best method?

Brined Bitches. Brined.

Do yourself a favor and make a brined hash for breakfast out of elk meat and eat appropriately: as a carnivore.

Brined Elk Hash Recipe

Hash:
4-5 lbs hooved animal shoulder
Yukon gold potatoes
Yellow onion
Garlic
Parsley
Eggs

Brine:
½ cup sugar
2 c salt
3 tsp pink salt
Pickling spice

  • Make the brine: Add salt, sugar, pink salt and pickling spice to a large pot of water. Boil it to dissolve the salt and sugar then chill it in the refrigerator.
  • Submerge the shoulder in the brine, weighting it down with a plate or heavy object and let it sit for 4-5 days in the fridge.
  • After its done, rinse the meat
  • You can slow cook the shoulder in the oven or in a crockpot for 5-6 hours OR place in a pressure cooker at 10 lbs of pressure for 45 minutes until tender.
  • In the meantime boil the potatoes until tender then chop the onion, garlic, and potatoes for the hash.
  • When the corned elk is finished, chop it up and break it into pieces
  • Saute the onion and garlic in a pan until translucent
  • Add in potatoes, cook until they’re brown or to your liking.
  • Add in elk, parsley and salt/pepper until crispy
  • Serve with a sunny side-up egg
  • Enjoy the fact that you made yourself a correct god damned breakfast.

Note: Sabrina says, if you sub Venison for Elk: “It won’t taste as good, but sure.”

Get Pink Salt to Brine Here:Sherpa Pink Gourmet Himalayan Salt (5lb Bag Extra-Fine Grain)

 

Drink Review: The Starbucks Flat White

Starbucks has has some missteps in the past couple of years and its trying really hard to get an edge in the market again. A wild Flat White appears, Starbucks goes “huh”, and quickly appropriates it for its customers.

Now, I am not going to lie to you, gingerbread lattes and PSL’s are standard in my Winter diet. WAIT, don’t click off the site and disown me just yet. I know, having worked very briefly making ‘real coffee’ drinks, that these are anything but. The Flat White is trying to change all that; Starbucks is trying to round out its espresso menu and appear to be serious about coffee again.

So… what’s a Flat White? Well, its a very popular coffee drink in the Australian Market. Not quite a latte, not quite a cappuccino, not quite a macchiato. An odd mix of all three maybe? As explained by Hugh Jackman (yes, the actor) “A latte with a little less milk and more espresso.” (Wong, 2015). The Starbucks Flat White ends up being a creamy delight, if done right.

The taste is, well, it tastes like a strong latte. The only downfall is that its Starbucks coffee, which I typically don’t drink straight unless I know the Barista. The problem is, if you get a bad Barista, you get a bad Flat White. You get burnt grounds, and Flat Whites should be sweet. Even Starbuck says this on their site, they say their Flat Whites are produced with ristretto shot. “A ristretto shot delivers a sweeter, more intense coffee flavor” (Starbucks, 2015). What the heck is a ristretto? Well, coffee fiends don’t even seem to agree on this, but Tim Jensen of Roasters Notes explains it well in this video:

Coffee Shots: Espresso vs Doppio vs Ristretto from Tim Jensen on Vimeo.

When it comes down to it, both Flat Whites I have had have been good, but not life changing. If you don’t have a good local coffee shop, this will be your best bet, if you want an honest coffee drink in the morning.

 

Citations of Sources 

Starbucks introduces the Flat White to customers in the US and Canada | Starbucks Newsroom. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2015, from http://news.starbucks.com/news/starbucks-flat-white-espresso-beverage

Starbucks introduces the Flat White to customers in the US and Canada | Starbucks Newsroom. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2015, from http://news.starbucks.com/news/starbucks-flat-white-espresso-beverage

Jensen, T. (2014, January 1). Coffee Shots: Espresso vs Doppio vs Ristretto. Retrieved January 26, 2015, from http://vimeo.com/76570347

 

You Should Start Using – Smoked Paprika

My husband was vegetarian for quite a while, and continued to be vegetarian until about 1 1/2 year ago. While I still ate meat, often I made entrees several times a week that were purely vegetarian. As I got more skillful on creating deep flavors in veggie dishes, we started making them weeknight standards, even after he started eating meat. One of the things I found created an intensely, nearly meaty flavor was smoked paprika.

Smoked paprika isn’t your ordinary paprika, you know the kind you dust over deviled eggs. Your standard store brand paprika is very mild, sort of bland even, and is more suitable to impart color to a dish or use as a garnish. Then you have sweet, bittersweet, hot, and other varieties of paprika. These paprika classifications are traditionally Spanish, as is smoked paprika. Though you can find Israeli, California and other regions producing these types of paprika. Then there is Hungarian Paprika which has its own sets of classifications/grades, ranging from sharp,  sweet, half-sweet, delicate, etc.

So, typically smoked paprika is Spanish, which makes sense. Spanish food tends to have a nice smokey flavor profile, especially in its paellas. The nice thing about smoked paprika is it, itself, can come in other flavor profiles, sweet or hot. I typically use sweet smoked paprika and that is what you will most likely find, out and about.  The Capsicum annuum peppers are dried slowly over an oak burning fire for several weeks. This results in a very smoky flavor that is build-able and not overwhelming.

I use smoked paprika in all my pork rubs and barbecue sauces when I make them from scratch. When I am cooking veggie entrees, I use it to flavor roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and more. Roasting with smoked paprika imparts a lot of flavor and pumps up the color of the veggies themselves. The addition of it in Black Bean Soup and Potato Soup also, adds a welcome flavor profile, oaky and sweet. Finally, my absolute favorite, is adding it to baked Mac and Cheese with a little nutmeg.

Explore using smoked paprika in your dishes: Chiquilin Smoked Paprika Tin 2.64oz

 

 

Restaurant Review: Brunch at Roux

When Roux opened up in my neighborhood I was elated to say the least. Fremont is getting some great new restaurants despite losing a few in the past year. Roux’s opening was followed by many in the Seattle Food Scene. The owner, Matt Lewis, was running a foodie pop up for years before opening Roux. This restaurant shows him planting some very important roots in the area. Originally, from New Orleans, it was no surprise the Lewis was opening a restaurant with a southern/creole based menu. Now, I am not talking about their main menu in this article, you’ll have to come back for that at a later date. This is about brunch, the serious social mealtime of the weekend.

Roux’s brunch was much needed in the area too, with the recent loss of Hunger, Fremont needed a semi-serious brunch stop, to take its place. Lewis delivers, with comforting food and exceptional service. Roux’s brunch menu offers some standards with southern twists. You have your basic plate of eggs, meat and toast with the addition of grits, aptly named “The Cure”.  You also have malted waffles, biscuits and gravy,  huevous rancheros, beignets, nuttella pancakes and a great benedict selection (and that is just naming a few).

My husband and I attended brunch at Roux and were greeted by a smiley hostess. She was nicely dressed for a brunch shift, which was a pleasant surprise. Roux’s interior is light, causal and somewhat playful during the daytime. We were seated near the bar, which has a wonderful chalkboard cocktail menu. The unique thing about this menu, is that all the recipes are featured as well, just adding to the whimsy. The bartender came over quickly to get our drink order. While I wish there was more juice or other options on the morning drink menu, I really did like some of their morning cocktail options. They were more creative with their brunch drinks then most. Offering twists on mimosas as well as on a Michelada.

I ordered beignets for the table, a country ham benedict for myself, and my husband ordered The Cure. The beignets came out quickly, delivered my Lewis himself greeting us with a “Good Morning”. The beignets were perfect, slightly tangy, custard-like, simply topped, well heaped with powder sugar. You get a generous helping of large beignets for a few dollars, if you felt like it, you could just order them for yourself. You would have a sweet and delicious breakfast, perfect for dunking in a cup of coffee.

Our main courses came shortly after we devoured the beignets. We both received the creole spiced home-fries with our plates, and they were absolutely scrumptious. Golden brown and heavily seasoned, which is so very refreshing. My biggest beef with home-fries is under-seasoned ones, often entirely bland with limp onions and peppers. These didn’t come intermixed with veggies, just pure potato goodness. My husbands plated came with a helping of grits, which I have to say, were some of the best grits I have ever had. Creamy and velvet, almost cheesy? Not sure, if Lewis puts cheese in his grits, or if he just obtained the perfect texture.

Now my benedict, I am a bit of a benedict lover, just so you know. It is my brunch dish of choice, I rarely order something else. My country ham benedict was tasty for sure, but in my opinion, suffered a minor flaw. Now, I am not upset that Lewis subbed cornbread for an english muffin. I was actually really happy with the addition of the cornbread, it added a nice textured contrast to the eggs without needing a knife to cut through it. It was light, not overly salty nor was it overly sweet. I have a feeling that cornbread would make any southern grandma happy. Once tiny issue, the small helping hollandaise on my plate.

Okay, so achieving perfect balance in a benedict is not easy, I am well aware of this fact. Here’s the thing though, this hollandaise was like a hug for my tongue. The Roux has a hollandaise that may just top my list. I wanted more and I felt like I was searching for it, praying for it to just appear. The eggs weren’t covered with it, it was more like they covered half an egg in ‘daise.

While, I am a picky benedict eater, I rather enjoyed my brunch at Roux. The experience was was refined yet, causal. The service and the atmosphere of Roux is going to make it one of the prime show-off brunch spots. The place you take the in-laws or your best girlfriend for her birthday, that kind of  brunch spot. Taking someone here will show you have discerning but whimsical taste. You should, by all means, brunch here and soon. Roux has a very good chance of becoming a reservation only brunch spot in the near future.

 4knives

Best Burger In Seattle – Part Three [Blue Moon Burgers]

Alicia! Where have you been?

I know internet, calm down. I have been busy! I was working on launching a new site for a nerdy blog that I co-founded. The site just went live a few days ago, so you can check it out here: thenerdemp.com.

Okay, shameless plug over, lets talk about burgers!!!

Blue Moon Burgers – You put what on that patty?

Entering either of the Blue Moon locations that I have visited hasn’t been anything special. Out of all of the burger joints that I have been to this one really flatlines in the atmosphere department. I don’t really need amazing atmosphere to eat a burger but I want a little bit of something. These establishments just kind of fall flat on the interior space, bland and boring. Though I would argue that the minute you sink your teeth into one of their burgers that all ceases to matter.

BlueMoonBurger

I have visited a Blue Moon Burger twice and I have ordered the same burger. I meant to try something else, honest, but that Hangover burger. Oh my god, the Hangover burger. I have very few salivary reactions when I reminisce about certain foods; this burger has made that list. This magical burger is pretty close to perfect for me. You get their patty which is juicy and fatty on their signature brioche bun. This patty is topped with their special sauce, a fried egg, swiss cheese, thick cut bacon and fries. I know, calm down, it will be alright. This burger doesn’t need anything else, heck it comes with the fries on it. Don’t you dare put ketchup on this baby, you’d ruin it.

Now here is where I deviate from my praise and speak of the downsides. I would like this burger to be cooked medium/medium well, that would greatly improve it. Both times I have had it, its been juicy, but juicy for a well done burger. The brioche bun is buttery and tasty, but I feel like with the weight and richness of the rest of the burger it could benefit from a heartier bun. Perhaps their ciabatta?

So far I have reviewed Red Mill, Blue Moon and Dicks. Thus far the Hangover burger at Blue Moon is topping the list for the best burger in Seattle. I still have time though, and many more burgers to try, before I finally name my best burger!

The Best Burgers In Seattle – Part One [Dick’s Drive In]

Something I learned pretty quickly when I first moved out to Seattle is that there is no shortage of burgers, good and bad. It seems like something that Seattleites secretly crave at all hours of the day and night. The lines outside of Dicks and the amount of burger shop chains out here should be proof enough of this theory. One of my pet projects, as long as I live here, is to try all the various burgers this city has to offer. I figured as long as I was doing this I should share my thoughts, as I quest for the best burgers in Seattle.

Dicks Drive In – A Seattle Staple 

Dick's_Drive-In_Wallingford_at_night_03_-_colormapped

“My” Dicks Drive In – The First Dicks in the Wallingford Neighborhood

Plenty of people harp on Dicks, I honestly don’t know why. Dick’s is honest about what it is, more honest then most restaurants. It serves burgers, fries and shakes. That’s about it. There are no frills and no substitutions. Don’t even try to ask for a burger without ketchup and mustard, you’ll just hold up the line. There is always a line at Dicks, I don’t think I have walked straight up to a counter more then twice in the three years I have lived here.

You have your Special/Deluxe and your regular burger. There is a price difference and a totally different flavor profile to both. Want a completely no frills, fast, tasty burger? Get yourself a Dicks cheeseburger; a patty, cheese, bun, ketchup and mustard. The bun is steamed and squishy, the patty is local beef with that nice flattop flavor. Want a Seattle original? Then you must try the Special or the Deluxe. The only difference is the Deluxe has cheese and an extra patty.  The Deluxe is the burger for me half the time; two 1/8 pound patties, cheese, mayo, shredded lettuce and pickled relish all on that perfect steamed bun.

dicks-drive-in-1

The Amazing Deluxe Burger

The best thing about Dicks is that you get an all out Deluxe for $2.70 and a regular cheeseburger for $1.50. My husband and I frequent Dicks, visiting once a month often eating for a whooping total of $11.40 and we are very full at the end of it. We get fresh local cheeseburger on the cheap. The only thing we don’t really like about Dicks is the fries, they are tasty just too soggy and short for my tastes. I do highly suggest it to anyone who visits Seattle but with two important things to remember:

– You can’t sub anything on the menu, or ‘hold’ anything off your burger

– If you want ketchup for your fries you have to pay for it, 5 cents gets to a little tub of it.

Which to me is fair enough when their tasty burgers are so cheap! Better then McD’s or Wendy’s any day of the week, worth a try if you are in the market for a $2.00 burger.

Update: I will be reviewing all the burger joints I frequent and give my thoughts as I go. At the end I hope to name my “Best Burger”!

 

Originally Posted Feb 2nd 2014 0n aliciaeesh.wordpress.com

Morning Coffee – The Best Brew

Living in Seattle if you don’t like coffe you are a tad alienated from the population. There is coffee EVERYWHERE and I don’t just mean on street corner cafes. I don’t just mean the battle of the Tully’s, Starbucks, Seattle’s Best (which I guess is owned by Starbucks now), etc. I mean that I pass by a video rental place going to University District the serves coffee. I used to work at a desert shop during the evening that had a espresso machine, which I guess isn’t too odd. People sometimes came there just for my lattes Sunday mornings. I had a tendency to put almost an inch of caramel in the caramel lattes, what… your watching your waist? Whoops…

So while I am not a Barista in the truer sense of the term. I have met a lot of Seattle Barista’s that are cut throat, this is their career and they compete to be the best. I do have my favorite places to go get coffee and my favorite coffee suppliers and drinks. I also have perfected my favorite way to brew my own cup! Without further ado, let’s jump in:

1. Best Overall Coffe – Cafe Vita in Fremont, Seattle

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This a location of this coffee empire is really close to my newest apartment, so it is made all the better by the fact that I can walk there. They roast their own, in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. They only thing I don’t like about they, which really isn’t their fault at all, is that on weekends my neighborhood is packed with cars and people trying to get a cup. I guess that means other people like it just as much.

2. Best Place to get more with your Coffee – B&O Espresso  in Ballard, Seattle

Just go and get a Milky Way (Coffe, Ghiradelli cocoa, house made caramel & whipped cream) and a Ham & Gruyere crepe. Tell them Alicia sent you, tell them extra homemade whip = happiness. You’ll thank me.

3. Best Coffee Drink – The Latte @ Anchored Ship Coffee Bar in Ballard, Seattle

This one was hard, there are alot of places I love but I thought long and hard. What really sets this latte apart is that it doesn’t feel like it needs any sugar at all. Yes I add sugar to coffee but only if the brew is really harsh and overly bitter. They really know how to pull a shot here!

4. Best Coffee at Home – French Press using Cafe Vita’s BRAZIL RANCHO SAO BENEDITO blend

Alright, like I said, I am not an expert but here is how I brew my coffee at home… this works really well for me! I use a tiny little Bodum press and it works really well, I need to buy a bigger one, I  am starting to need more coffee in the morning. I use the word “need” loosely of course.

Also I adore these two pieces of equipment, I find them necessary to get the right cuppa. My Black and Decker Smart Grind and Programable Electric Kettle. The B&D Smart Grind take 3-4 presses to get the right coarse grind for me! Its pretty sweet. Two heaping tablespoons of beans is right per cup. The blend from Cafe Vita is floral and sweet, its great for that morning cup.

The B&D Programable Electric Kettle is also super awesome. Its programmed for things like coffee, a general herbal tea setting, boiling, etc. You can also pick the exact temperature  you want the water for super tea lovers that want that right brew on their leaves (like my husband!).

Coffee can be intimidating in Seattle, but don’t let it be! Stay away from the chains, welcome the tiny coffee houses and you will get some of the best coffee of your life in this town.

Originally posted on aliciaeesh.wordpress.com on Jan 28th 2014