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! 😊



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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:

Strawberry rhubarb swirl scones

  

Rhubarb is weird. It’s stringy, pungently sour and funny colored, I mean is magenta rhubarb sweeter than green? 

My mother-in-law was thrilled to unload a couple pounds of the stuff on me, and gosh darnit I got nostalgic remembering childhood desserts that appeared singularly in Spring. Someone always had rhubarb to give away. 

In fact, I ran into a woman at the grocery store who was distraught that she had to actually break down and buy it. She remembered fondly her grandmother’s rhubarb custard pie, but like many a hearty Minnesotan she couldn’t give me ingredients, she just “knew” how to do it. Hmmmmm. Evasively Suspicious. 

(For those of you unfamiliar with just how seriously we take our baked goods here, I have one thing to say: Minnesota State Fair ala Marjorie Johnson.)

In today’s vernacular what my dairy farm grandmother did in using what she had on hand is called “locally in season”. This recipe was inspired by that thinking.

The boys were skeptical that any amount of sugar would make mushy stringy celery taste good. Mixing it with strawberries and cream won them over. 

Maybe that’s cheating just a bit, but Grandma would have approved, and the cream certainly would have come straight from the  barn.

Strawberry rhubarb swirl scones

Make the swirl first by mixing 1c chopped strawberries with 1c rhubarb, 1/3c sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Simmer til soft over low heat (about 10 min), mash until smooth. Cool. You can also use this as a topping for pound cake, ice cream, etc. 

Combine by hand:

  • 4c flour
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt

Add in 2 2/3c heavy cream and 1/2tsp almond extract. Do not overmix, dough should barely hold together. Swirl in strawberry rhubarb mixture. Form into mounds (makes 12 hearty portions). Bake at 425 for 12 min–use parchment or these may stick to your cookie sheet.

    Orange French Toast

    Oranges in the backyard of our SoCal vacation rental inspired this easy breakfast. While fresh juice helps, so does good crusty day-old bread. Goes well with a mimosa poolside too! 🙂

    Orange French Toast

    • 2lb crusty Italian bread, sliced into 1″ thick pieces
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 1/2cups milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • Zest and juice of one orange
    • 1/4c sugar

    Mix ingredients and coat bread, soak bread for approximately 30 min. (Depending on how big the loaf or how dry the bread, you’ll need to adjust milk/egg ratio). The bread should be wet but not soggy. Saute in butter 2-3 min per side. Serve with fruit, butter and syrup.

      

    Chocolate makes everything better

    I am seriously tired of zucchini. And I mean, I really do generally like it.  But after several weeks of eating it every week, I was thrilled to find this recipe to ahem, cover up some of that green vegetable taste. I have made these Chocolate Zucchini Muffins twice now. The first batch was met with suspicion. The second was requested. And the full dozen was gone the same day.

    The recipe has quite a few ingredients, but most things you should have in your cupboard (I used the Silk vanilla soy creamer and mini chocolate chips seemed to work better). This recipe reinforces a life truth: Chocolate makes everything better.

    Photo Aug 25, 8 49 58 AM