photo courtesy www.flickr.com/photos/suomynona/

With the end of the year fast approaching and this week's review of Chipotle already lighting up the internets with no help


Friday Food Porn: The Best of 2010, Part 1

photo courtesy www.flickr.com/photos/suomynona/

With the end of the year fast approaching and this week's review of Chipotle already lighting up the internets with no help required, we've decided to take a step back this Friday and start collecting the best of the best Food Porn of the past 52 weeks. In the following pages you will find beautiful and hunger-inducing snaps from a variety of photographers, all showcasing the bounty that Seattle area has to offer.

So sit back, relax, check that credit card balance, and start clicking...

Photo courtesy Peter Mumford

"The room itself--all hard angles, brushed steel, chrome, and polished black lacquer--ought to be as cold and intimidating as a horror-show surgical theatre. But it's not, due to the perfectly placed touches of natural wood and soft, brown leather; because of an artful curve in an unexpected place, a delicate play of light across wineglasses on an unclothed table. The food should be precise and constrained in a room like this, twisted and tortured to fit the severe whims of a man who would serve dinner across welded steel. But it's not; modernist gadgetry and border-hopping fusions aside, it comes off all the more rustic and plain for the juxtaposition of eating cauliflower soup or simple bowls of Manila clams and chorizo in a white-wine beurre blanc on the bridge of Captain Nemo's Nautilus. Service in a place like this ought to be formal and stiff. But instead it's rather casual and amusing.

Like later in the evening, when my waitress, instead of asking me how I liked my dessert, simply shot me a look from the other end of the bar, raised a questioning eyebrow, and, when I smiled, barked out 'I know, right!' and clapped her hands delightedly--a conversation had with the air."

From "A Mighty Wind," the review of Mistral Kitchen

photo by www.flickr.com/photos/suomynona/

You know you want this right now.

The burger is from Lunchbox Laboratory, and the snap is from our first Burger Porn slideshow, from way back in March of this year.

Photo courtesy Luke Probasco

This one--of a basket of fresh spring rolls from Green Leaf--comes from our collection of snaps from the 2010 Voracious Tasting food-stravaganza that took place in April. Check out the entire slideshow right here and relive the memories...

Photo courtesy Peter Mumford

"Huong Binh is not a pho shop; they serve one variety--pho ga--only on weekends. Not an inch of its menu is influenced by the modern, nouvelle French-Vietnamese style. There are no baguettes, no crisp crepes, no paté. The dumplings (banh bot loc) are made of tapioca, stuffed with ground shrimp and slivers of candy-sweet pork, then steamed to bubblegum chewiness and topped with dried ground shrimp. The banh beo chen is split into five tiny crepes, each served in an individual bowl, garnished with ground shrimp and scallions, and swimming in fish sauce with scallions.

The first time I saw one of these, I drank it down like a shot because I am an idiot. The second one I ate daintily with chopsticks and a spoon. Frankly, idiocy tasted better."

From "The Joy Duck Club," the review of Huong Binh. The entire slideshow can be found here.


Food is nourishment for our bodies, art nourishment for our souls. Put them together and you have "Kitchen Ink", a photo-documentary featuring some of Seattle's best (and best-inked) chefs. Photos by Renee McMahon.

Photo courtesy Peter Mumford

"Behind the sushi bar, the cooks are rolling--snapping plastic wrap off their stock of hamachi and octopus arms, their inserts full of spicy tuna and ikura and amberjack. They're shuffling plates like card sharps working a deck, flexing their fingers and clearing orders with the machine precision of guys accustomed to their work and comfortable in it. They don't sweat. They don't rush. They barely look at what they're doing. And they work as though standing under a waterfall of sound--cool heroin jazz dripping from hidden speakers and slowly filling the room the way the customers do: a little at a time, coming and going, blending in like extra elements in the air."

From "Cold Fish," the review of Chiso. More snaps available in the full slideshow right here.

Photo courtesy Peter Mumford

"'Order up in this motherfucker!'

That's the call that comes back from the overloaded, overworked, overstressed short-order cook working the slit trench of a line at Beth's Cafe during the Saturday-night bar rush. There is no kind bell, no white-jacketed expeditor enjoying a sweatless split-shift, no quiet, breathy, 'Service, please...'

There is just one man in a T-shirt, its bottom ringed with grease like cheap laurels, and jeans seasoned shiny and black, working the wheel completely alone--just hanging it out there on the edge of something, working to weird rhythms and music playing in his head alone. He is buried in checks, in egg orders and bacon sides and cakes stacked up and stretching 'til morning. He spins like a top--reaching and grabbing and turning and flipping and folding--and seems to have been gifted, maybe just for this moment, with more arms than the standard complement. A Shiva of toast and hotcakes. A midnight apparition that speaks deeply to anyone who has ever stood a shift on the hot side of any kitchen.

But when he calls for a pickup of the plates stacked precariously on what passes for his rail, on the countertop, on what I think is a bend of one of the ventilation ducts that suck all that grill char and smoke and sweet, waffle-scented air up and out into the Green Lake night, he says it almost sweetly, singing it in a high, clear, and mocking voice like music: 'O'duh upinthis mutha-fuckaaahhh...'"

Just a taste of "Like Moths To A Flame," the long-after-midnight review of Beth's Cafe. And the slideshow, of course, is here.

Photo courtesy Peter Mumford

"Forget, for a moment, where you are sitting. Forget the room--the perfect white-on-white blankness of the canvas, the accents of richly polished black wood, the carefully arranged flowers and tables laid with clean, spartan cool. Forget the crowds that surround you, the money being brought to bear by top-of-the-hill swells in their fancy shoes and watches that cost more than your first car. Try to forget what dinner here is going to cost you.

Forget the menu. Forget that the menu you see today is likely different, in subtle ways, than the menu you would've seen last weekend, and different, in significant ways, than what was being cooked last month. Forget the truffles. Forget the local this and heirloom that. Forget, if you can, the foie gras, sectioned in its own little space on the board--two different preparations of the stuff, a torchon with spiced pears and a seared piece cut from a whole lobe, served with an almond financière, touched with huckleberries, both lavished with singular and individual attention by cooks who understand the unique power and luxury of the swollen livers of ducks and geese.

Forget everything that came before this instant and everything that might come after, and, for just a moment, sit and watch the kitchen. And listen--really listen.

Can you hear that?


From "Crush Groove," the review of Crush. Slideshow here.

Photo courtesy Renee McMahon

"For the past three years, the wild lands north of Seattle have played host to the Burning Man of food: Burning Beast. Featuring many of Seattle's finest chefs, teams prepare an animal, vegetable and/or sea creature using earth, fire, steel and little else. In addition to actually burning beasts - from rabbit to goat to lamb - the event focuses on local and sustainable cooking. This year's sell out crowd looked pretty happy.

Except for the vegetarians."

From the photo spread on this year's Burning Beast--enough pictures to make even the most well-sated carnivore go mad with hunger and envy.

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