Thursday, February 20, 2014

Swinery Meats

Swinery Meats is a very small space that seats about 6 people at a long bar.  They offer a small selection of sandwiches, and 1 bacon dog. In addition, to some good eats, they have a great selection of various cuts of meats, cured meats, and bacon. The Swinery serves all organic meat, according to their website all of the animals come from within 300 miles.

I heard about the Swinery from some co-workers, and they were raving about the BLT - crispy pork belly, fresh greens, tomatoes, house made chicken liver pate mayo on a Macrina bakery bun.  How I had not heard of this sooner?!  My girlfriend and and I did not waste anytime, and made the trek over to West Seattle.  We must have a BLT!

When we arrived, we reviewed the small menu board on the wall, just in case we might be swayed to try something other than the BLT.  Although all the sandwiches looked great, I came for the BLT.  We placed our order with the kind lady behind the counter, our order was taken downstairs, and within 15 minutes our BLT and fries arrived through the front door.

Now before I took a bite of the BLT, I was kind of already thinking this sandwhich is going to be over the top.  Between the pork belly and chicken liver, i just thought it would be too heavy or maybe too salty.  However, it was nether of those.  There was a good slice of pork belly that was nice and crispy, and the chicken liver pate mayo just gave it that right amount of creaminess.  I do think the veggies were a nice touch and perhaps was good way not to make it so overwhelming.  You also can never go wrong with a Macrina bun.  All and all it was a great sandwich.  I would not eat this everyday, but I will have one again.

The next time I visit I would like to try one of the pulled pork sandwiches as well as the bacon dog.

Even though I was pretty full, there was just enough room to taste some cured meat, which they have quite a selection.  I ended up purchasing the Sopresetta and the Salami de Cacao.  The Salami Cacao is made with coco beans. Someone has combined two of my favorite things???  Chocolate and meat???  Of course I will try and buy some of this.  You can just taste a little of the coco, but has a nice balanced flavor.

So if you are in West Sealltle and looking for good and meaty to eat, well Swinery meats is the place to go!

The Swinery on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Blind Pig

I have been to the Blind Pig in Eastlake multiple times, and I have never been disappointed. The Blind Pig is an American Bistro that uses seasonal ingredients, and is not all about the pig. It has well rounded menu that can appeal to everyone.  They also offer a tasting menu that ranges between $40 - $50 depending on what is on the menu.  On my last visit it was $50 per person.  The tasting gives you a taste of the entire menu, which can be 8-10 plates, that starts with the lighter side side and works up the heartier side of the menu.

If you visit the Blind Pig fairly regularly, like it seems I have done lately, you will notice some of the same things on the menu; however the dish will be prepared differently than the time before.  To me this so interesting from the perspective you get to see the creativity that is going on in the back of the house, and you get see the various ways a specific dish can be prepared.  

One of these dishes is Scallop Crudo.  Last nights preparation was with Asian pears, fried quinoa, and chili. The preparation was light and bright, and the fried quinoa gave it some crunch and texture.   Compared to the preparation from my last visit which was pear, buckwheat, keylime, and gochujang.  This was opposite from other preparation in where it was a little heavier and the pop was the heat of the gochujang.  Both dishes were very tasty in different ways, but always one of my favorite dishes.

Some other dishes from the tasting menu that were some of my favorites:
Kimchee Pancake, octopus and gochujang - this is something I can say I never have had before.  The pancake was crunchy, the octopus was just perfectly done with just a little bit of olive oil over it.  The gochujang just gave it that little bit of spice and flavor it needed to complete the dish.

Bavette Steak with potatoes, cauliflower, and charred eggplant. The steak is usually always on the menu, but the preparation varies. This is not a piece of meat you normally see on a menu, except maybe for steak and frites.  The steak is always prepared perfectly and always full of flavor.  If you are not going to do the tasting, then this something that is a must have.

Pork Collar Steak with corona beans, and collard greens.  I am from Oklahoma, and this dish reminds me of home.  It has a nice smoky flavor and the collard green compliment the flavor of the meat.  Both my friend and I could have done another plate or two of this dish.

If you have enough room for dessert, they only offer 2 desserts.  I always get the chocolate mousse drizzled with olive oil and topped with sea salt and spices.  It is a very rich and decadent dessert.  I never can eat the entire dessert.  However, it just tops off a fabulous tasting with just the right amount of sweetness.

So add the Blind Pig to your bucket list of places to eat, and call and make a reservation.  Otherwise you will not be eating until 9pm.  When you visit kick in for the Kitchen Booze, which will provide a tasty libation for the great kitchen staff that made you the fabulous meal.

Blind Pig Bistro on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chinese New Year

I have a friend in Seattle that is from Malaysia.  Every year she makes the long haul back to Malaysia to celebrate CNY with her family. When I first heard this, I wondered why would you go back for CNY, isn't it just a  new year celebration?  As I hear more from her about the food, traditions, etc that is involved in CNY, I start to understand why she does it.  It is like if you did not show up your family's traditional family gathering with a casserole in hand and wearing some tacky Christmas sweater, you just might be disowned from the family.

So even tho she makes the long journey to celebrate this yearly event with her family, and spends time cooking while she is there, she still manages to come back home and continue the celebration with her American friends.  If she is wanting to have people over while still jet lagged, and serve them traditional CNY foods, then who am I to stop her.  My belly is hungry, and I am always willing to try new foods.  So here we go.  This is what I ate for CNY 2014:

Murukku - now these were very tasty.  It is like eating a bag of potato chips with a little bit if a spice, and you just can't eat one
Prawn roll  - these by far not my favorite.  They were a little too salty and too fishy tasting for my taste 
Love Letters/Kuih Kapit  - A nice simple, a little sweet, very crumbly (lucky I had a dog near by to vacuum up the crumbs for me) tasty little treat after some of the savory snacks.
Yusheng -  this salad does not look like much, but it is so tasty and filling.  It is apparently to have a really good shredder to make the salad.  We had raw salmon and jelly fish to add to the salad.  I have never had raw jelly fish.  It doesn't look very appetizing, but it actually is not too bad.  It does not have much taste, but has a bit of a crunch.  This is why it is added to the salad. The salad is mixed together by everyone at the table.  The higher you toss the salad the better your luck will be for the year.

So go seek out friends from Asia that love to cook these traditional meals or find a restaurant that might cook up some traditional CNY fare. 

When putting the yu sheng on the table offers New Year greetings.
恭喜发财 (Gong Xi Fa Cai) meaning “Congratulations for your wealth” 万事如意 (Wan Shi Ru Yi) meaning “May all your wishes be fulfilled”
The fish is added, symbolising abundance and excess through the year. 年年有余 (Nian Nian You Yu) meaning “Abundance through the year”, as the word "fish" in Mandarin also sounds like "Abundance".
The pomelo or lime is added to the fish, adding luck and auspicious value. 大吉大利 Da Ji Da Li meaning “Good luck and smooth sailing”
Pepper is then dashed over in the hope of attracting more money and valuables. 招财进宝 Zhao Cai Jin Bao meaning “Attract wealth and treasures”
Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to flow in from all directions. 一本万利 Yi Ben Wan Li meaning “Make 10,000 times of profit with your capital” 财源广进 Cai Yuan Guang Jin meaning “Numerous sources of wealth”
Carrots are added indicating blessings of good luck. 鸿运当头 Hong Yun Dang Tou meaning “Good luck is approaching”. Carrot (红萝卜) is used as the first character 鸿 also sound like the Chinese character for red.
Then the shredded green radish is placed symbolising eternal youth. 青春常驻 Qing Chun Chang Zhu meaning “Forever young”. Green radish is used as the first character 青 also sound like the Chinese character for green.
After which the shredded white radish is added - prosperity in business and promotion at work. 风生水起 Feng Sheng Shui Qi meaning “Progress at a fast pace” 步步高升 Bu Bu Gao Sheng meaning “Reaching higher level with each step”
The condiments are finally added.
First, peanut crumbs are dusted on the dish, symbolizing a household filled with gold and silver. 金银满屋 Jin Yin Man Wu meaning “Household filled with gold and silver”
Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolising a flourishing business. 生意兴隆 Sheng Yi Xing Long meaning “Prosperity for the business”
Yu Sheng sauce, usually plum sauce, is generously drizzled over everything. 甜甜蜜蜜 Tian Tian Mi Mi Meaning “May life always be sweet”[16]
Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold. 满地黄金 Man Di Huang Jin meaning “Floor full of gold”