Champagne and what?

When a monk named Dom Perignon was making wine in 1693 and couldn’t get rid of the bubbles he reportedly tasted it and exclaimed “Come Quickly, I am drinking the stars!” he probably wouldn’t have imagined that 300 years later on a continent that hadn’t been discovered yet it would be poured as a pairing to fried chicken.

Yep, that’s not a typo.  Champagne and fried chicken.  An odd but yet delicious pairing with the chicken crust matched with bubbles.  Delicious.  So this has become a favorite indulgence and thanks to the addition of a Sous Vide stick from Sansaire and our growing collection of fantastic grower champagnes from Somm Select (they offer some amazing wines, new every day and well worth checking out) it’s become even easier to make an amazing feast.

Why Sous Vide?  Well I’m lazy, ok not really but I do like cooking off all the chicken in advance and Sous Vide is a great method for that.  Just season and bag up the chicken, drop it in a water bath for a few hours and go about your day.  Then when it comes time to fry all you’re really doing is re-heating the chicken and setting the crust.  This makes it easy to cook off a large batch of chicken quickly and consistently without having to worry about undercooking.

There are no shortage of recipes available for Sous Vide chicken or fried chicken but not as many that deal with Sous Vide Fried Chicken so I did some hunting around through the internet and our collection of cookbooks and came up with a method combining a few different recipes.

I really like Thomas Kellers Ad Hoc cookbook and many of the meat recipes involve brining in advance of cooking.  His fried chicken recipe is no different BUT I was in a hurry in this instance and didn’t have time to brine the chicken in advance so I tried to infuse some of the flavors from his chicken brine into the chicken during the sous vide cooking.  In this case I added sage, rosemary, lemon and some thyme into each bag of 3-4 pieces of chicken.  I seasoned fairly heavily, and in the end, result it worked pretty well, not as good as the brine but the chicken had some nice citrus and herbal undertones.

For the breading, I used a combination of flour with some onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and baking soda.  The chicken was already cooked so it was just a matter of dredging the chicken in the flour, then a dunk in buttermilk, then flour again before a quick fry of around 2.5 to 3 minutes at around 350 degrees.

Served warm with some great champagne and there you have it.  A delicious meal and fantastic yet unexpected wine pairing.

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Spanish Table class

It may seem like the only place we go anymore is The Pantry, and you may be right – but everything we’ve done there is so good!  so, we keep going back – last night was Spanish Table and it definitely met our expectations.

grilled green onions dipped in garlic Hazelnut romesco – this dish was fun to make because we got to go outside and use the big grill, enjoying our appetizer in the frsh air with a glass of wine thanks to the well-timed sunbreak.

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honey and red wine-braised chorizo with manchego and crusty bread – and easy yummy upgrade to the usual bread & cheese platter.  This will definitely join the rotation for summer.

roasted rice with rabbit, chickpeas, and grilled lemons – fresh off his lam butchery class, BK dismantled one of the rabbits for class.

and cinnamon-cream cheese crème Catalan-similar to flan, but with some cream cheese to add some extra body, and using maple syrup to make it easy.

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Ceviche class

For BK’s birthday we booked a Ceviche class over at the Pantry with M & JJ and it did not disappoint.   The class was well-organized and every recipe seems like one we could easily recreate at home – perfect timing for summer in Seattle!

First, we mixed up the Ceviche Verde so it could sit and “cook” while we worked on everything else – this one was made with Yellowtail and is traditionally served with saltine crackers.

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Then we started pulling together pieces for all the others –

Aguachile de Callo de Hacha (aka scallops)

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Tostadas de Atun

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and Hearts of Palm Ceviche (vegetarian)

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I really liked all them fairly equally – the hearts of Palm version makes a nice appetizer/summer side dish.  The scallop one was light, the Ceviche Verde was so fresh, and the tostadas were yummy with the avocado, chipotle mayo and fried leeks.  Can’t wait to try all these at home!

grilled cheese, yes please!

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Happy times at work today when BK peered out a window and spotted the Monte Cristo Mobile Melts truck in our courtyard!  (Especially given the fact I hadn’t made a lunch today and BK’s lunch plans had cancelled!)  We quickly trotted outside for this special treat.

I got the #1 Classic Cheddar with a twist:  grafton cheddar, new moon jack & gruyere, macrina brioche served w/ spiced blueberry au jus:

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BK got the Full Monte Cristo with an egg: monte cristo “cheese blend”, canadian bacon, wagner’s cinnamon swirl bread, batter dipped and griddled, buttered, powered sugared & fresh squeezed lime topped – no jam:

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Both were yummy and a nice break from the norm.  BK also got their pickle combo and we shared some cheese curds.  Yum!

Sirvana

A few weeks ago we noticed Paul McCartney was coming to town.  We obviously both like Beatles, and while I also love his duets with Michael Jackson, we’re pretty weak on our Wings familiarity.  But the more we thought about it, the more it seemed like a show we should go to – I mean, he’s 70.  The likelihood of Sir Paul touring much more, especially to Seattle, seems pretty thin so we decided to look for cheap seats and count it as a bucket list event.  BK succeeded and found us tix for $50 each, so a fun friday day night was in effect!

We parked downtown, and walked over to the Market hoping to check out the new RGB Soda shop but it wasn’t quite open yet.  Ready to quench my thirst, we got a quick beer at Pike Brewing while looking for a dinner option (I went with the Dry Wit):

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Using our smart phones, we secured a reservation at Steelhead Diner just up the street, which is always delish:

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DUNGENESS CRAB & BAY SHRIMP TATER TOTS with Tiger Sauce & Celery Leaf Salad

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KASU MARINATED OREGON BLACK COD with Shiitake Mushrooms, Baby Bok Choy & Carrot ~ Ginger Salad

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SAUTÉED OREGON PETRALE SOLE with Preserved Lemon, Caper & Parsley Meuniere Sauce

And then it was off to the concert!  This was the first show they had done at Safeco Field and it should – getting folks into seats on the field level too a long time so the show started 45 minutes late.  It was a beautiful night out and even though we were up at the top, it was a great spot to be – Sir Paul performed for 2.5 hours and in the encore we were even treated to a Nirvana reunion!   http://seattletimes.com/html/picturethis/2021431339_paulmccartneyplayssafecofield.html

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Ballard Date Night

Since BK was leaving for a couple weeks I planned a little date night on Tuesday before he left.  I decided it was finally time to check out a newer spots in Ballard we had yet to try, Bitterroot and Hot Cakes.

First up was Bitterroot BBQ.  This isn’t your average BBQ joint – its small, clean, modern.  The BBQ is Northwest whatever that means, all was yummy.  We started out with a couple Boulevard Wheat Ales and an order of Jalapeno hush puppies.  The hush puppies were big & round, not very peppery.  on the table were four sauce choices – my faves were the sweet and the tangy mustard ones.

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For dinner we shared an order of Mac & Cheese with pulled pork and carmelized onions; and a chicken sandwich.  the Mac & Cheese is a great deal – $10 for a huge serving.  The sandwich was served on a salty pretzel roll, mmm.

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For dessert we then headed up a couple blocks to Hot Cakes where we shared a Dar Decadence molten cake and a Dark & Storm Boozy Shake.  The cake was super dark chocolate but the salted caramel got lost on the bottom of the plate.  the boozy shake was good, but a little pricey.

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Fun night out, both spots I would return to.  And on a side note, I spent Wednesday night (first night of bachelorette-hood) catching up with Emily at Lloyd Martin on QA – definitely a cute joint as well.

 

Look who’s been married 40 years!

Tom & Bette, congrats!

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to celebrate we all took them out to Cafe Juanita which I was excited to finally try.  There were a couple weird moments when they restaurant was out of items because they were closing for a few days (like baby lettuce – really?  there’s a Met Market up the street…), but overall I enjoyed everything I had.

To start we each got a cocktail that came with a savory bite – The girls all got the Prosecco with Parmigiano Reggiano:

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BK got The Velluto with Castelvetrano Olives:

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For appetizers, we shared the scallop special; Grilled Octopus with Fennel, Smoked Bone Marrow, Green Sauce and Chickpea Purée; and Spot Prawn and lardo Bruschetta with Butternut Squash Crema which was my favorite – though I do love octopus as well:

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For first courses, most got the fancy caesar since they were put of butter lettuces:

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Mark got risotto and I got the special soup which had little parmesan raviolis that melted in my mouth.   mmm:

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For mains, all the girls got Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Lacinato Kale, Candied Pumpkin and Pomegranate:

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BK got Fermin Iberico Pressa di Palota with Parsnip Crema, Brussels Sprouts, Moscato Pickled Apple:

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and though we were all getting full, of course we got desserts! 

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2 down, 63 to go?

I know, amazing right? to celebrate our 2nd anniversary we took the day off of work and lived the good life with coupons! First stop was Brave Horse tavern for 2-for-1 breakfast. I finally tried one of their pretzel-wiches which was pretty yummy.

Next stop was Motion Board shop to pick up a couple paddle sboard with our groupon and head to Greenlake – we’re starting to get better at this. I only fell in once – BK did awesome.

 After cleaning up at home, we then headed downtown and checked into the Alexis using our corporate rate, and we got upgraded to a huge suite – nice!  Our bathroom had a couch in it – and stairs up to the tub:

BK had also arranged for some flowers, aww shucks – and because the concierge had gone to the market to pick them up, I ended up with not one bouquet, but 4!  Flowers on the desk, flowers, by the bed, flowers in the bathroom, flowers on the table!

 

Capped off the evening with dinner at Met Grill thanks to some gift cards. We brought our bottle of wine from Lake Chelan that we bought last anniversary and enjoyed a delectable dinner:

cheers!

 

Belltown Food Tour

a couple weeks ago BK & I had a fun friday night date exploring on a Belltown Food Tour which my parents had given us for Christmas.  It was a nice night out to walk around and the group was fun – six locals (which surprised me), plus our guide, Jill.   First stop was Local 360, the only spot I had already been too (but is one of my faves).  We kicked things off with oysters (a screaming deal during happy hour, only a $1 each) and carrot ginger.   BK & I each got a cocktail as well – mine was called Woodlands Honey Bee, which was sweet & refreshing on a sunny afternoon.

Next stop was Rob Roy, a popular prohibition style bar where we enjoyed Gunpowder punch – with actual gunpowder in it!

Third stop was a special treat – early entrance into Shiro’s for a couple pieces of sushi before they open to the public.  Shiro apprenticed under Jiro for those that have seen the recent movie.  And if you have seen it, remember the guy that had to make all the eggs?   He is now apprenticing under Shiro – He was working behind the counter as we arrived.

4th stop was Branzino, a nice surprise to find.   I had heard good things and look forward to going back.  BK had pasta bolognese, while I had ling cod – both were yummy.

Final stop was Spur gastropub, another spot I had been wanting to try.   This was technically teh dessert stop and they served a great peach sorbet with some crunchy bits and foam.  We got another cocktail here, and then also tried the smoked salmon crostini at teh recommendation of our guide – an amazing small bite piece.  Still a bit hungry, BK also got sliders while I enjoyed goat cheese gnudi – both were delicious.

Fun night playing tourist in our own town!