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Archive for August, 2009

Seattle

I just spent a week in Seattle with a couple of dear friends and Z. Sadly, I was sick for all of it, and my friend L was sick for half of it, so I don’t have much to say, except a.) Seattle is beautiful and b.) the stomach flu sucks donkey balls.

Seattle is really, really beautiful. I was fortunate to be there during their summer, which is mild and sunny. We had a few amazing moments, like this one, at Duke’s Chowder House on Lake Union:

Lake Union

The next day we went to the Experience Music Project, Sci-Fi Museum, and the Space Needle, where we had lunch in the rotating restaurant. Z snapped these pics:

Space Needle

Mount Rainier

Waterboat from Space Needle

View from Space Needle

It was a good day, especially when I finally started perking up a bit. That evening we had dinner at Coho, and I had halibut for the first time, with couscous and tomatoes. The fish was so buttery and yummy, and it was the first meal I actually enjoyed in Seattle, so it was very special. Z had the mixed seafood grill, and L had these amazing caveman-sized porkchops with a savory bread pudding. We split creme brulee three ways which was a great ending to a simple but tasty meal.

Seattle just didn’t get any less beautiful. Every day was sunny and awesome. One day we went to Ballard to view the salmon ladder, as it was spawning season. On the way we stopped at Archie McPhee’s, which is a local novelty shop that makes a lot of it’s own merchandise. I got a unicorn vs. narwhal playset I’ve been coveting for years, and a brocoli vs. tofu playset (it doesn’t make sense unless you’re a dork). I also mastered the fez grimace:

Archie McPhee's

Thursday L was really ill so Z and I hung around Bellevue, where our hotel was located. In the evening we walked the half-mile circuit around Bellevue Downtown Park, which was so picturesque that both of us were waxing poetic about moving there and becoming Microsoft nerds who play volleyball.

Bellevue Downtown Park

The walking path curved around the center lawn, and was bordered by a man-made stream, which culminated in a waterfall and a pond. These two dogs were taking advantage of the path-stream and cooled off:

Goggies!

Our last morning we drove to Salish Lodge and had a delicious breakfast. On our way out we stopped at the Snoqualmie Falls observation deck and took in all the beauty.

Snoqualmie Falls

Me at Salish Lodge

I miss L and T already and am so grateful for their hospitality and their friendship. I hope to return to Seattle with my normal appetite and zest for adventure. They didn’t really get to see how much fun I can be, since half the trip I was like this:

Snoozin

See you soon, Seattle!

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Monkfish, brutti ma buoni

Monkfish is an ugly fish. The Venetians call it Angelfish or Angelshark, which is a corruption of its genus, anglerfish. It’s colloquially called “Poor Man’s lobster” because it is sweet with a dense, firm flesh. I’ve never had a mouthful of lobster tail (shocking, I know!), but monkfish I can now say I’ve had.

Z and I went to Chelsea Market, a wonder-building filled with lovely shops, including The Lobster Place. Inside the place smelled clean and briny and the floors were wet from being regularly washed down. This cleanness, which is such a contrast to the dank stink-holes I find in Indiana, filled me with much excitement- freshly caught fish! The fish, lobsters, mussels, clams and oysters were shining and beautiful; Z was giddy with the potential of stuffing his maw with tasty piscatorial delights. But what particularly caught my eye was a large, translucent, gleaming tail of monkfish. I had never tasted monkfish before, and at $13,50, I felt like it was due time to try it.

Monkfish filet

Z and I shopped for the rest of our ingredients at Buon Italia and Manhattan Fruit Exchange. Buon Italia is a great resource for the Italian cook, as they have many rare pastas, cheeses and meats, as well as roasted porchetta and hot pasta dishes, imported sundry and chocolates. At every turn I was gasping with delight- they have three lengths of buccatini, they have spaghetti alla chittara, they have 18-hour-old burrata flown in from Puglia, they have 36-month old Vecchio Rosso parmesan, they have speck!! I was almost vibrating from excitement. I turned to Z and said, “We’re not going out tonight, I am making a big feast for us.” We settled on burrata on a spicy arugala salad, monkfish braised in a Sicilian-style sauce then tossed with spaghetti all chittara, and tiramisu with hazelnut chocolate curls.

For the monkfish, I removed the thin outer membrane, cut it into 2″ chunks, and lightly floured and browned it. I then sauteed lots of garlic, pitted and slivered olives, a generous pinch of pepperonchini and anchovy fillets before deglazing with white wine and crushed tomatoes. Finally I returned the monkfish to braise while I boiled the chittara, which took a bit longer than regular pasta as it is dense and rough. Finally, I tossed it all together and served it with basil and vecchio rosso cheese.

Dinner

We both really enjoyed the meal. The burrata was milky, buttery and so fresh. The monkfish was sweet, delicately flavored and meaty. The chittara pasta was toothsome and the sauce clung voluptously to the hewn edges. And finally we both had a hefty square of tiramisu, which is always delicious.

Tiramisu

Les noms

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