Category Archives: cheap eats

Seattle

Last November, I booked a flight to Seattle after seeing a great deal on JetBlue ($49 each way from LBC to SEA/TAC) and easily convinced my sister since it was MLK weekend that we both wanted an excuse to see the Emerald City. I hadn’t been to Seattle in a decade and she had never been, what the heck, let’s go! Check out some highlights from our trip.

The Seattle Public Library. Sigh. If only all public libraries were this cool. No wonder they’re voted one of the most book loving cities. I wasn’t thrilled with the exterior but the interior was so modern and inviting. Interestingly, an entire floor is completely painted in red. We also found this cool used bookstore in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Imagine a B&N-like bookstore where all the book are half off (and in great condition).

Seattle Public Library (the red floor)

We enjoyed some wine at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar in walking distance from the library. A beautiful, hip, yet intimate restaurant. Check out that winding staircase wine rack!

Purple Wine Bar and Cafe (loved their wine and spiral wine case)

fish market

What Seattle trip would be complete without a visit to Pike Place Market? So cool! I love the fish throwing dudes and the street performers but what I love most is the food! Hands down my favorite was Le Panier’s almond croissant and coffee (Seattle knows good coffee). Ah… the simple joys in life. It was so good, we went back the next day. I also really enjoyed Russian meat pastries and creamy mac & cheese at this place. I’m warning you; this place is carb heaven. We didn’t even have room for the donuts or other foods on a stick. I wanted to try fresh oysters but it was way too cold for this SoCal girl! I even bought wool hiking socks, yeah that cold.

honey

mac and cheese seattle

Beecher’s mac and cheese (taken by alice)

Seattle coffee is bar none! Latte from Panier.

$4 croissant was worth every penny.

We also enjoyed brunch at Portage Bay Cafe with their delicious whole wheat pancakes and toppings bar. What a cool idea!!!

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During brunch, it started snowing! I felt like a little kid mesmerized by snow in the city! For real!!! We just happened to be in Seattle during the first snowstorm of the winter. NICE 🙂 Except that all the buses, taxis were out of commission. We were standing out in the street, waiting for a bus to arrive as it’s snowing. Only 30 minutes later did we realize that the buses had stopped. Seattle is a bit hilly and so they fear driving in snowing conditions (and they take issue with using salt; well, at least prior due to environmental reasons).

snow!

We also enjoyed pizzas at Serious Pie and sushi at Umi Sake House in downtown. These folks know how to eat!!! Next time, I’ll visit Bainbridge island and tour the Theo Chocolate Factory. The Pacific Northwest is without a doubt breathtakingly beautiful and has some of the nicest people. Seriously, even the bus drivers were super nice and hospitable.

Adieu Seattle! Until we meet again.

on friendships and beets and carrots

I love catching up with an old friend after a lapse of contact. It’s like picking up where you left off and surprisingly, a lot can occur in one month. It didn’t dawn on me until we were chatting it up for an hour (for someone who doesn’t like talking on the phone).

Apparently, ingredients have conversations too, at least according to Chef Jose Andres. How so? He explains how the ingredients are talking to each other as he’s cooking up a delicious Spanish dish on his show, Made in Spain (did you catch the Iron Chef episode when he was juding the truffle dishes?). It’s quite endearing actually. So in my dish, the beets and carrots are good friends having a conversation in the frying pan, as one gets crispy and the other tender. Enjoy!

glazed baby beet and carrot salad with cumin dressing (adapted from F&W, July 2010)
serves 4
1 TB unsalted butter
2 TB olive oil
8 baby golden and chioggia beets, peeled and quartered
12 baby carrots
salt and pepper
2 tsp honey
3 TB white vinegar
½ tsp ground cumin
8 cups of baby spinach
½ cup of goat cheese, pea size pieces
4 TB of sliced almonds

1.    In a medium skillet on medium low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the beets and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring once or twice, until the beets are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
2.    Add the honey and 2 TB of vinegar and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly glazed, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the veggies to a bowl. Whisk the remaining 1 TB of vinegar with the cumin, then pour over veggies. Let cool slightly.
3.    Add the spinach and goat cheese to the veggies and toss. Sprinkle with almonds and serve right away.

fyi: I didn’t have goat cheese on hand, but in my past beet eating experience, the creamy/saltiness of the cheese balanced well with the sweetness of the beets. Don’t be like me and forget it as it makes a difference.

 

 

 

 

I found this in the freezer– a sweet corn ice cream bar. Chock it up to Korean food producers to make an ice cream bar made of corn. Koreans LOOOOOVVEE corn. They put it in Koreanized American dishes like coleslaw, potato salad, pizza… and I can’t think of any other examples. I’m sure it finds it’s way in other dishes. It’s sneaky that way.

Thai yellow curry

My first memories of eating curry was what my mom would make from the Japanese blocks of dried curry paste (that comes in that gold paper — doesn’t it remind you of a chocolate bar?). That sweet, thick, and peppery aroma would fill the entire house with its distinct smells. I wasn’t introduced to Thai style curry until college but once I tried it, I was hooked! It was creamy, sweet, more soupy than the kind I was used to eating growing up.

I found this simple recipe and thought I’d give it a shot – my first Thai dish and a success! Looking forward to making more later this week to put to use my leftover ingredients.  Being cost conscious, I calculated that it cost a little more than $5 to make this dish for 4 servings (really cheap!).   Side note: I was surprised that my local Fresh & Easy carries coconut milk (is it because I live in a heavily Asian American community, or has Thai cuisine become a mainstream people are buying Asian staples like coconut milk?).

Thai yellow curry (Adapted from avocado & bravado)
1 TB vegetable oil
1 onion, finely minced
1 chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
1 small Thai chile, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 thumb size piece of ginger, finely minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 large red potato (or 5 small red potatoes), cut into 1″ pieces
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 – 15 oz can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

1. Pour chickpeas into a colander. Scoop out 1/3 of the beans and mash them into a paste (with fork or some flat surface). Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and chili into stockpot and stir for about a minute. Add curry powder  and stir for another 30 minutes.
3. Add potatoes and carrots and make sure they’re well coated with curry powder. Stir in the chicken broth and coconut milk, chickpeas (both whole and mashed). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or when potatoes and carrots are tender (seems really watery when you first put in the liquids but it’ll thicken as the potatoes cook with the mashed chickpeas).
4. Season with salt and pepper accordingly.  Pour curry into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!