Food Travelogue: Seattle/Tacoma

Pike’s Place Market

Alec and I recently visited Seattle and Tacoma for a tour of a few colleges. I have always loved the area, in fact it’s where Matt & I honeymooned. The culture and people feel a lot like Minnesota–friendly, outdoorsy and full of an appreciation for art and sense of place.

We had less than 48 hours so we didn’t do much other than visiting the campuses in Tacoma and downtown Seattle. I was quite surprised by how different the two cities are–again, it felt like Minneapolis vs St. Paul. Tacoma is definitely a “big” town that feels small. Lots of local stores, independently owned, beautiful art throughout the city (a glass museum that I wished we’d had time to visit). Of course, gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier and Puget Sound. Alec was annoyed by the number of times I said “Look another rainbow!” It does rain A LOT, but at least it’s not snow 😉

The area is known for its coffee and beer, and actually a growing winemaking and craft distilling (whiskey primarily) community. I hope I get to go back soon for more grownup sampling. We stuck to coffee and what goes great with coffee? Breakfast foods! Some food highlights:

  • Breakfast biscuits with spicy remoulade at Biscuit Bitch (who could resist a name like that!)
  • Chocolate sandcastle donut, a chocolate cinnamon sugar combo. I’d go back to try salted caramel.
  • Bacon cheddar waffle at Red Elm Cafe in Tacoma. The 2 sisters who recently opened this charming spot were so friendly I wanted to hang out all day.

I’m very grateful Alec gives me excuses to travel and eat! 😊

Gina’s caramel french toast

It’s good to have talented artist friends! I first met Gina Sekelsky 20 years ago when she created our wedding invitation. Since then, she’s done all of our holiday cards, baby announcements and personal stationery. She makes the world beautiful (check out her Etsy shop, lettergirl). 

She’s also multi-talented! We love her overnight french toast, it’s easy and looks fancy, just the thing to impress brunch guests. It perfectly captures her elegant but simple style. I love that some of the pieces get crunchy on one side and others stay soft. A compromise for those who prefer one texture over the other. I used french bread but whatever you have on hand works.

Just look at this gorgeous handwriting (hers, mine is illegible!):

And all of our holiday cards displayed make me smile:

Spring cleaning 

The war on the bunnies begins again in our yard. I have more determination this year: There’s new landscaping at stake. 

I can accept being outfoxed by squirrels, but bunnies? That’s pathetic. I’m upping my arsenal and let’s just I have found one friend who admits cooking them in a crockpot. I truly would prefer a peace accord–Suggestions welcome!

The one positive is that this definitely signals an end to winter (fingers crossed!) These long months of cold and gray are hard on me, even with trips to Vegas and Kauai mixed in. I’m ready!

The changing seasons inspired me to purge some things from my life that were holding me back and the creativity is beginning to flow again.

Soon we’ll have more fresh produce to choose from and the few months of abundance to make that effortless. I’m planting more than a dozen herbs and drooling at the thought of herb-marinated tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. 

I’m going to try planting some French lavender for a blank spot in the landscaping, hoping the scent fills the new patio area. I’ll be buying it all at the Friends School plant sale at the State Fairgrounds, which truly is an experience (Think: Black Friday for plants; people with wagons getting competitive with their finds). 

My mom recently visited Leatherwood Vinegary and brought back a sample pack. The black currant is really nice–not too sweet and it’ll be great for salads, perhaps something with a grilled stone fruit and punchy goat cheese. I’m looking forward to some true “spring mix” to use it on. Who knew there was such a thing as a vinegar tincture expert? 

And for Easter dinner, I stretched my wings a bit to make this pink cake–dense chocolate with raspberry buttercream. The frosting was fantastic!! Skip the from-scratch chocolate cake and use a box mix, and take a lesson from winter: don’t give up on the frosting….keep beating it, eventually you will prevail. Ps Thanks to my niece for the cake “deco-raisins”.

To sunny days! And bunny-free gardens.

Pony poops

This is what dinner should have looked like–a hearty, healthy black bean burger.

But instead ours looked more like pony poop bordering on diarrhea. Not appetizing. 

We eat with our eyes and this was an unmitigated disaster because I didn’t drain the canned beans thoroughly enough and should have added more breadcrumbs. I had added extra liquid in the form of lime juice and Cholula to pep it up, just apparently not the right wet:dry ratio! I even tried freezing the patties to firm them up, but alas, they spread in the pan like a big steamy pile.

I hate dry black bean burgers (that really do look and taste like pony poop), so I’m not giving up and when I get it right will share beautiful pictures 😉

The frozen version. Tip: plastic wrap on runny black beans doesn’t work.