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"Not one to be held back by my lack of discretionary funds, I embarked on my own chocolate tour throughout Seattle - the "Poor Woman's

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Greatest Hits and What You Missed: Chocolate, Liquor, Loafers and The Dangerous Misuse of Power Tools

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"Not one to be held back by my lack of discretionary funds, I embarked on my own chocolate tour throughout Seattle - the "Poor Woman's Chocolate Indulgence Tour", if you will. Along with a photographer sidekick, Victoria Holt, I blazed a trail through the collection of chocolate shops surrounding the Pike Place Market."

Just a taste of "A Poor Woman's Chocolate Tour of Seattle," in which Sam Kettering eats chocolate. A LOT of chocolate.

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"Last week, in honor of Repeal Day, USA Today put together a (rather over-specific) list of 10 great, classic AND American cocktail lounges, courtesy of booze writer and cocktail historian David Wondrich, author of Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl.

So what, in the opinion of Mr. Wondrich, qualifies a bar as both a "great" and "classic" American cocktail lounge? Well, to read his descriptions, apparently custom ice, fake mustaches and a building with a history as a speakeasy and/or bootlegging operation. Also, strong drinks heavy on the bitters seem to help. And of the 10 joints nationwide that Wondrich picked, Seattle's own Rob Roy was number 6."

From "Rob Roy Makes USA Today's List of '10 Great Classic American Cocktail Lounges'"

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"If you think you've heard the story of Seattle's best dive bar, the Rimrock Steakhouse, being put up for sale before, it's because you have. So incensed was owner Connie Dunn at the passage of the indoor smoking ban, that she quietly put the bar on the market--quiet as a whisper, it turns out, as Dunn's efforts to sell the bar back then were, by her own admission, half-hearted at best. But now the former Wedgwood Broiler cocktail waitress says, "I'm tired and think it's time to retire." So her restaurant-lounge-cock rock mecca is really on the market this time."

From "The Rimrock is For Sale, For Real This Time," a report on the second time this legendary joint has been put on the block

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"This turned out to be one of the more dangerous machines I've ever built. The goal was to make a cotton candy machine out of parts I had lying around. The finished product was an aggressive, 1/2 horsepower, 4000°F beast of a machine that lasted long enough to prove itself before dying of awesomeness.

If you want to build a cotton candy machine at home, all you need is..."

...machinery, sugar and a death-wish, as detailed in "DIY Cotton Candy Machine From a Blender and a Tin Can," from the Seattle Food Geek.

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"Booze, much like produce, isn't quite right outside it's normal "season." Eating strawberries in November or pumpkins in June, just feels - and usually tastes - wrong. It's the same with booze. No one drinks egg nog in May. And Gin and tonics just don't taste as good on a snowy evening as they do on a hot summer night. I attribute this to SAD, seasonally affected drinking. When done right, seasonally affected drinking works great. In wintertime, that means heading into the ski lodge for a cold, nutty, full-bodied winter ale. Or perhaps building a fire, turning on a basketball game and twisting the cap off a high-octane, hoppy beer."

We listed the "Top 5 Winter Beers From The Pacific Northwest" this week. Think you know what they are?

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"When it comes to the holidays there are generally two camps of eaters: traditionalists and freaks adventurers. And now more than ever, people are really thinking outside the roasting pan, coming up with new ways to make their bird stand out from the Butterball crowd. We're not saying we condone all the nut job ideas, but we would have liked to be in the room when Clark cut open the following list of weird things to stuff in a turkey."

We named "7 Weird Ways to Stuff A Turkey" this week. One of them was "Bea Arthur." Go check it out.

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"Limited stock, last-minute menu changes, working doubles and doing it on no sleep? These are things that chefs actually have to deal with all the time. And in terms of TV, stress + sleep deprivation + high stakes = good drama. There was screaming. There were fits of pissy bitching over how to make a breakfast of nothing but meat (duh...). Someone decided it was perfectly appropriate to serve gazpacho and gnocchi to 11-year-olds for breakfast. One of the chefs (Jamie Lauren) notched a finger and had to be medevac'd out so she could get all of two stitches. And in the end, Carroll's team (the meat team) ended up at the judge's table, getting scolded for barely even being able to make bacon right.

At which point, Jennifer Carroll--bless her foul-mouthed and lovely little heart--just flat lost her mind."

We lamented the loss of Jennifer Carroll on Top Chef All Stars in "On Top Chef, Jen Carroll, Rochester and Angry, Angry Women"

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"A dinner party is, first and foremost, about the food. Therefore, the menu is an important consideration. What would your guests like to eat? What would make them feel most happy, welcomed and at home? What foods would best be served at the type of party you are having? These are all things that the good host or hostess thinks about.

These days, though, all of these questions have been superseded by one, more important one: what can you afford to serve all these degenerates? Here are a few suggestions:

If you open a can of those Chef Boyardee ravioli and stab them onto toothpicks, they count as appetizers.

Pate de foie gras is too expensive. Try to use the fattened livers of less pricey animals--like pigeons or pet store guinea pigs.

Soup stock can be made by boiling the tassels from all those loafers you no longer have to wear now that you're working the drive-thru window at the local Burger King.

Consider some of the less common species of the animal kingdom. Just because people don't usually eat sea otter doesn't mean they aren't edible. And most zoos these days have shockingly lax security.

An attractive salad can be constructed from shredded back issues of Metropolitan Home or Architectural Digest.

The important thing here is to have plenty of liquor on hand. Get your guests drunk enough and they'll eat pretty much anything. Better still, they probably won't remember your Cream of Nothing soup the next day."

Just one of our suggestions from "6 Dinner Party Tips for Surviving These Tough Times," another installment from our ongoing series, "Food Pairing for the Modern Sophisticate"

 
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