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Monday, June 27, 2011

Random Foods

A compilation of food I've made/tried over the past couple weeks. But nothing worth writing a while entry about.

Random dinner at home. I didn't have any yakisoba noodles so I tried making a stir fry with angel hair pasta. Sounds weird but it actually wasn't too bad. The angel hair pasta was light and kind of just reminded me of a warm pasta salad. I just topped the noodles with smoked sausage, caramelized onions, green onions, and a sweet soy sauce. Oh and I made some corn with butter and green onions just because I had it laying around and it needed to be eaten!

This giant serving of bread pudding was definitely great to share. Found it at Paragon in Queen Anne. Jenn and Wes really like it. But I didn't. I mean it wasn't just wasn't Matt's...that place I swear has ruined bread pudding for me everywhere. I felt that the Paragon's bread pudding could use more sauce. It wasn't dry, I just wanted more caramel sauce. It was just a preference thing I suppose.

During a random impromptu road trip to Richland, WA - we stopped at Tagaris Winery. This is the vegetarian lasagna. In the background is the house red wine which was quite tasty. What was distinctive about this lasagna was the noodles. They were pretty thick and heavy - I wonder if they make them fresh there. The house Riesling was pretty exceptional. It tasted more like apple juice to me. :)

This prime rib dip sandwich from a place in Richland (sorry i can't remember the name) sounded great but was a bit disappointing. I couldn't tell if it was from the lack of sleep I got from the night before or laying in the sun all morning or the strange service we received (our server actually laughed when Rachel asked for coffee...not sure why) - but it was a strange overpriced experience. Sorry I am blanking on the name. When I figure it out I'll write again.

I'm feel rather blah so instead of rambling I'm just going to stop now.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Funny Pike Place story

So my friend Margi works for this fancy advertising agency. One of their clients is Pike Place Market. One day she showed them this:

Then they asked me to be a model for Farm Days. I literally could not stop laughing when I heard this. Modeling is not my thing and I'm terrible at it. But I did it for Margi because I like her and it's not like it would cost me anything. Plus it did sound kind of neat.

So after our shoot, the illustrator made this:
I thought it looked pretty neat as a first sketch. And then here is the final version:
Apparently they went with a "subtle smile" instead and I am still all smiley in my eyes so hence why it actually doesn't look like me at all. But....if you're walking along Pike, you can see it hanging it up like this:

Yup yup...that's me...haha. I haven't seen it yet but hope to soon. It's a pretty funny story.

*EDIT* Found the flag!

*All images used in this post is copyrighted to Copacino + Fujikado LLC except for the first one of me with the pumpkin and the last one of the flag. My mom took that one. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Dan Bugge! (owner of Matt's in the Market)

I swear I’ll stop rambling about Matt’s in the Market soon… :) but this story just had to be shared. I am just going to go ahead and apologize in advance that there probably is more detail here than you need, but I really like to tell stories. :)

So, I recently shared my first blog entry about Matt’s via facebook, and they in turned shared it with all of their fans on facebook. I about peed my pants when I saw that. It was extremely exciting and flattering. Sometimes I feel like I’m writing to no one and I was very honored that Matt’s reposted my entry.

The mysterious person behind their facebook even followed up with me to see what I had for lunch and I shared my lunch entry with them. This time it was not reposted but I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be anyway. I figured at this point they probably think I’m am that crazy fan that won’t leave them alone.

But today, after a long day at work I came home to this:
I wish you could’ve seen my face. My jaw literally dropped and I was thinking, “Seriously?!?!” Again, I thought I would pee my pants with excitement. I couldn’t believe it. I felt extremely honored and humbled to even be invited to such a neat event. Meeting Dan would totally make my day, week, month, etc. I also felt like I was slightly intruding but then I thought well maybe he is a nice person and more like me where I think the more the merrier. I wasn’t sure what the format would be, and while I normally don’t mind wining and dining alone, I wanted to share the experience with someone. Jenn couldn’t make it, but I was really happy that I could bring a good friend of mine, Ashley, to dinner with me. A couple hours later, we were walking upstairs to Matt’s and there was a sign that said “Matt’s in the Market will be closed at 8 p.m. tonight for a private event”. I’m not going to lie, I felt oober cool to be going upstairs anyway because I was invited! Walking in was slightly awkward, since I knew nobody there would know who I was and probably wonder why I was there. Someone greeted us though and when I told them that I was invited he asked me for the “secret password”. Being the awkward person that I am I nervously responded with a “I don’t know…my name? I didn’t know there was a password?” He laughed and said, “There’s no password, just hang on a sec.” And then he showed us to the drinks area and said, “Help yourself to some drinks!”

And we did. The wine was of course fantastic (way better than 2 buck chuck!), although I can’t tell you what I had..something white, and something that looked delish. Ashley tried a few others. Meanwhile we tried to guess which one Dan was…we settled on this one guy because he was talking to everyone there, but I later found out he was Dan’s lawyer! Haha. Eventually the "headchetta" taco bar was ready. We grabbed a table and waited till most people got their food. I just felt like it would be rude of me not to let other people who actually know Dan to go first. While we were waiting, a woman named Chou chi (I am SO SORRY if I completely butchered your name) came to introduce herself to me. She was the face behind the Matt’s facebook person. Well one of them, according to her. I thanked her for inviting me to the dinner and she said “Well I figured you would really enjoy this. And this really was a last minute thing we put together.” She even thanked me for coming! I was like, “No way! Thank YOU for inviting me!” She pointed out Dan to me and urged me to get some tacos. Eventually we got up to get some. And what a beautiful spread it was. I’m pretty sure I could’ve eaten that entire bowl of guacamole. It was so fresh and zesty. Everything looked sooooo good! These photos aren’t the best but I didn’t want to be the creeper with the giant camera so I didn’t really try to get the settings quite right the first time. One day I’ll learn how to use my camera properly.The pork was just beyond incredible. Juicy and tender and every other splendid description. Braised pork shoulder, pork belly cochinta pibil style, and headchetta galore...I think there was some kind of fish..not sure what that was. But the tacos were amaziiiiing. Having tacos looking over Pike Place Market and watching the last bit of the sun go down with the ferries is quite the experience. What a beautiful place to have such a great restaurant.

I debated for a while when I should say Happy Birthday to Dan. He was busy with many people and I didn’t really want to interrupt him. Eventually he went to get a glass of wine and no one was around so I walked up to him to say hi. He turned and laughed because he said he was on his way over to say hi to me! So he came by and sat with Ashley and I and we just chit chatted it up. In a nutshell he told us his life story and it was such a great experience. I learned so much about him, if I was still a reporter, it would’ve made a great mini feature article. To me, dinner was GREAT. But what really made my night was the conversation we shared with Dan.

What an incredibly warm-hearted, easy going, and genuine person. Before our conversation I really liked Matt’s and would gladly recommend it to anyone. After our conversation, I LOVE Matt’s. Just knowing the person behind the scenes that genuinely loves his restaurant and more importantly, the people he serves is incredibly touching. And if you haven’t picked up on it, I am a big fan of character, quirks, and passion when it comes to restaurants (or anything in life for that matter). I believe each place should have a story to share and that the experience a diner has should add to their story and character. What’s funny is that prior to meeting Dan, I remembered seeing him running around greeting people at the door and helping his staff both times I had been to the restaurant. I think that itself says something about him. When the owner is working with his staff and on site and able to interact with everyone, I think that makes a major difference. I bet working for him would be a blast! No wonder everyone I’ve interacted with there is so great.

We talked about many things in the short time we spent with him. I felt like we could probably sit there and talk for hours over some great wine. I learned that Dan actually used to work at the fish throwing place just across the way from Matt’s for 10 years before he bought Matt’s. He said he always knew he wanted to own his own bar/restaurant and after having lunch every day at Matt’s, he bought it in 2006. “I felt like having lunch there every day was basically like a down payment.” Was one of my favorite quotes from him. My other favorite part of our conversation was when he talked about how much he loves to be a host and interact with people and be able to share the restaurant with them. The humbleness of his story when he bought Matt’s was really endearing as well. We talked about how he expanded the restaurant and how perfect the location was. The quintessential place for dining in Seattle. I couldn’t agree more. The fantastic food, service, atmosphere followed with being right above Pike Place Market and the view really is a unique experience. I believe he said when he took over and reopened the place, it just so happened to be the same day as his birthday and within a week of when the original Matt opened Matt’s in the Market.

In the end when we parted ways, Dan gave each of us a hug which I was really happy about because I am such a hugging person. I’m definitely one of those people who would be walking around with those “Free Hug” signs. What a stunning experience and great way to celebrate someone’s birthday. I decided that I am definitely going to have to plan on having dinner at Matt’s for one of my birthday events (I celebrate my birthday for a week with a series of events). Sorry Salumi’s! But I’m pretty sure the bread pudding is reason enough for me to come for my birthday…now if it wasn’t so far away….

So thank you Matt’s in the Market and Dan for sharing such a wonderful experience with me! I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed the food and everyone there. I wish I could repay the favor somehow, and I think I thought of a unique gift so I’ll definitely swing by with it sometime. I was still walking on air this morning after telling my coworkers what happened. It was a GREAT way to start off my week!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My First Copper River Salmon BBQ

So after I heard copper river salmon was going for cheap (I read it was $6.99 at QFC), I really wanted to cook some up of my own. Right when that thought popped into my head, my friend Zachary told me he and his buddy were going to grill up some copper river salmon the next night. So what did I do? Invited myself along. Mostly because it would be an excuse to try to cook this delicious fish and I always love cooking with other people.

I looked up a few recipies and some marinades sounded pretty tasty, but I wanted to keep the marinade simple since the fish is already so flavorful. I tend to go for the sweeter salmon marinades, so I settled on this random recipe I found:

Copper river salmon and marinade
2 T soy sauce
2 T maple syrup
2 cloves minced garlic
2 T vegetable oil
3 salmon fillets, approximately 3/4″ thick; skin’s okay because it’ll come off during cooking.

Mix marinade. Place the salmon, meat side down, in the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes.

On a preheated grill, medium heat, cook the salmon meat side down for five minutes. (What you’re trying for is a seared top.)

Flip over and continue cooking until the inside is done to your liking.

So off to QFC we went, turns out it was the Sockeye Copper River Salmon that was $6.99 a pound. Well I wanted the King, which was a bit more...but we were splitting it with quite a few people so we just went with it and chose some simple cheap sides. 4.75 pounds and $90 later we had a fish.

The marinade was quick and easy to prepare. After 30 minutes I was ready to grill! We thought about slicing the fish up but we thought it would just be awesome to be able to grill the whole fish. However, once I got to the grill, I realized probably cutting the fish up would've been a good idea for grilling purposes. I wanted to sear the top, but I was afraid the fish would start to fall apart when I wanted to flip it. I'm not much of a griller (that's what men are for - but for some reason of the four fellas there, only Zach was helping me man the grill and he knew just about as much as I did). So I took the safe route and just cooked it skin side down. Screwing up a $90 fish for four guys I've never cooked for before sounded scary.

So off we went! The salmon was taking a while to cook (I don't think the grill was hot enough), but we thought slow cooking it would be a better choice than overcooking it.

Should've tried searing it but oh well. Enjoying the view of being surrounded by skyscrapers and the Space Needle was pretty fun - even if it was a typical late summer blustery June evening.

The salmon was definitely cooked thoroughly...and while I prefer it just slightly cooked on the inside...both Zach and I wanted to make sure that we didn't serve completely raw salmon. Anywho - it was good enough for the guys and I thought it was just ok. Well - it was good. I'm just not sure if it was $20/lb good. But then again, I'm not a chef so maybe I should learn how to cook first.

It was still a great experience and I'm looking forward to trying another recipe for this.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lunch at Matt's in the Market!

Dinner was so fabulous I had to come for lunch. Jenn and I are might start making this a monthly treat...although there are quite a few other places we would like to try. So after a crazy stressful work week, I was definitely looking forward to a Friday off. And what better way to start your Friday than with stuffing yourself silly at Matt's?

I am a huge mimosa fan...I find it pretty difficult to turn down a mimosa no matter what time of day. It was how I started every "morning" in New Orleans and the thought of sweet fruity bubbles always gets me excited. We sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender a bit and said they served two kinds of mimosas (an orange one and one with cranberry apple juice). Being that we felt you could get an orange mimosa anywhere we went for the latter. It was not as bubbly as I'm used to but yummy just the same.
We started with the chips and dip...basically homemade potato chips and a dip that is so delicious and creamy, it makes you want to not think about what is in it. The bartender told us anyway. Something along the lines of cream cheese, bacon, scallions, sour cream, parmesean, grana cheese (never heard of it but it was tasty in it!). But yeah fat city.

Jenn ordered the Ragda. Potato-grabonzo bean cakes, roasted egglant puree, papdum and cucumber yogurt. In non fancy terms: pan-friend falafels. The cakes had a really strong curry flavor to them. Personally I wasn't a huge fan of the strong flavor with the super soft texture. It reminded me of a reduced curry paste. However, Jenn loved it!

I ordered the Lamb Burger. It was topped with goat cheese, bacon, herb aioli, onion jam on brioche served with a garbanzo-sultana salad. The burger was great but not exceptional. However I think the shining item was the salad. It was light and fresh with a sweet vinegar mint taste. It almost reminded me of a very sweet less fishy vietnamese fish sauce but not as smelly. The fresh mint was a great touch and smelled great. I think that is what reminded me of the vietnamese thing.

At this point we ordered our second mimosa, this time we went for the "regular" orange one. Except this orange mimosa was nothing less than spectacular. Incredibly unique in taste and served with a slice of orange confit that was simmered in simple syrup for hours and hours. It was so tender you could just eat the rind. It was great.

And even after all that, I of course had to top it all off with the bread pudding. That bread pudding is seriously just the definition of "Food-gasm". Every bite is so incredible and I wanted to savor it but then I didn't want the salted caramel ice cream to melt!

As we were eating I noticed there was a large percentage of people that ordered the cobb salad. I wish I had known they were going to used deviled eggs because I would've probably got that! The special that day was beef tounge tacos which also looked heavenly...but once again - a great time at Matt's. The food was quite reasonably priced for fine dining lunch (Average $11-$14 an entree) so I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a nicer longer lunch. Like those things all those people in the private sector get to do for free. (ok - not ranting about working in public service) I'll need to take a break from this place for now though because there are so many other places to try!

Coming up next: My first copper river salmon bbq experience.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Copper River Salmon is CHEAP!

Soooo remember how I made that comment about Copper River Salmon being cheap at Matt's in the Market? Well I read an article today that explains why. In a nutshell - apparently there is an overflow of salmon so far this season sooooo what used to be $20-$40 a pound is now selling for $5 a pound. No one knows if the cheap price will last for long so if you haven't tried any would be the time! I'm thinking of getting some and cooking something fabulous soon...