Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Seattle Afternoon and The Brave Horse Tavern

If you are a foodie in Seattle you are likely to have been to a Tom Douglas restaurant or two.

We are serious Tom Douglas fans; visited many of his restaurants, watched several appearances he's had on Iron Chef, Martha Stewart and various TV guest spots and own his famous Seattle Kitchen cookbook.

If you are not familiar with Tom here is a video spot he was on during Easter.

In Seattle he is a restaurant god of sorts I suppose.

Well G had attended a conference in Seattle last weekend and noticed the plethora of new restaurants popping up in the South Lake Union area of town. And he noticed Tom had several in the area. We were intrigued and invited my sister & Mike to join us for an afternoon in Seattle to check out at least one of his new places.

Immediately upon arriving we parked right by his Dahlia Works, Serious Pie & Soul Wine. Sadly all three were closed on this Sunday afternoon.

But we walked around the corner to find our intended Tom Douglas destination; Brave Horse Tavern.

G had researched the menu and thought it was a must visit.

We went upstairs to enter the tavern and entered into a modern but rustic "saloon" type of ambiance. Upscale cowboy bar might be a fairly accurate description. Regardless of the perfect descriptive words we liked what we saw and especially liked what we smelled.

We got settled, ordered some beverages of the adult variety

and two fresh baked pretzels with 3 different smears; a smoked peanut butter & bacon, pimento cheese and my favorite the crispy bacon with sour cream and chive.

The pretzels were piping hot and delicious. These may replace my other fav Tom Douglas treat; his homemade doughnuts served at Lola. The pretzels with dip were perfect with our beer and held us over while we waited for our main course sandwiches.

G had the Deep Fried Turkey Breast

Mike had the Beef Burger w/ Poblano Chile

Tracy had the Pastrami

And I had the grilled albacore tuna

They all came with these super delish fresh fresh fries.
We each really enjoyed our meals. This is a place we'll definitely visit again and again.

After our very filling meal we decided to head over to the Fremont area to check out the Sunday Market and maybe grab a margarita or two.

We parked right in front of Theo Chocolate so a quick trip inside was a given for us all.

We sampled a few tastes of chocolate including a dark chocolate with coconut that was tasty. And of course we each walked away with a few chocolate treats to go.

Salted caramels and bark were in our to go bag.

We then hit the Fremont Sunday Market just as most of the vendors were packing up for the day .

 But G had time to admire and try to figure out how we can get one of these pizza ovens for our backyard.

And then the bacon vendor was found. G indulged in a 4 pack of bbq bacon and chipotle bacon bags. Tracy walked away with the chocolate covered bacon. (Didn't personally like the chocolate covered bacon at all.)

On that note it was time for margarita at the El Camino. One of G & I's favorite places for margaritas.

It was a nice afternoon full of great food and fun in Seattle. We can admittedly say we have yet to try a Tom Douglas restaurant we haven't loved.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Staycation Mojitos & Jalapeno Burgers

Since we didn't go away for the weekend like usual G thought we needed a couple of "Staycation Mojitos" to enjoy on the patio while we made our Jalapeno burgers.

Nothing tastes more like Summer in a glass than a good mojito.

We've tried lots of mojito recipes and pretty much we love them all. Most recipes call to make a simple syrup which creates a very sweet mojito. We both enjoy more of a lime impact with our mojitos so we've found this adaptation works and also takes a little less time than making a simple syrup.

For 2 mojitos I chop some mint, add the juice of 2 limes add 2 shots of white rum and shake with ice. Pour the mixture into 2 glasses with ice and top with diet 7up. Yum.

Perfect drink for the patio.

The sun was surprisingly out mocking the Seattle weatherforcasters after all. We decided we needed to take advantage of the sun and warmth as much as we can and have our own little staycation cookout with a campfire and smores and the whole shebang.

We were both hungry for a burger and had been thinking jalapeno burgers would hit the spot.

We first roasted garlic, onion and jalapeno on the grill

Once they were grilled

we added them to the mocajete where we grinded them into a paste.

I sliced some pickled jalapeno as well, cubed some pepperjack cheese

We added it all to beef with onion powder, jalapeno salt and pepper.

We then formed some burgers ready to be grilled.

While  G cooked the burgers on the grill

I put some fries in the oven and opened a bottle of Charles Smith Rose'. We are really liking this wine it is perfectly paired with burgers.

We served our burgers on french rolls with tomato, the grilled onion and red leave lettuce.

The burgers were scrumptious if we do say so ourselves. Yum. The only thing we want to do next time is create an avocado mayo of some sort.

Next keeping with our Staycation cooked G built us a patio fire. It got a bit big at a few points prompting our neighbor to come out to make sure we weren't burning down the neighborhood.

While he tinkered with the fire I gathered some smores goodies together. We went with Dove dark chocolate pieces on G's request.

We waited for it to get dark

and smores were made

Another YUM!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

For the first time in at least seven years we decided to not go away for Memorial Day weekend. No wine tasting in Oregon or the Tri Cities. No camping in warmth of Eastern Washington. No weekend in Winthrop in the beautiful Cascade mountain range. Just home to relax, rest and do whatever we decide to do or not do. It's pretty much not like us really.

But how could you not enjoy just being home. When this.....

has finally turned to this....

and this

 is finally in bloom with this...

Yes. it's finally nice to just sit enjoy the time and labor we put into making our plot in North Tacoma our home. (on today's to do list is to pull those pesky ferns from the rock wall they just keep coming back.)

I love our over 40 year old lilac trees

 that allow me to go outside into the back yard and bring some springtime inside our home.

I love the smell of lilac; sweet, fresh and wonderful.
I hope this Memorial Day weekend finds you doing whatever it is that relaxes and rejuvenates your soul.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Supper Club was "Stuffed"

G & I were the hosts of our May Supper Club this past weekend. We have always enjoyed hosting supper club. For one thing it gives the required motivation to thoroughly clean our house we often need this motivation to do deep cleaning. And second I love to set a table for dinner.

But really the thing we love the most when we host supper club is challenging ourselves with finding a "just the right theme." For some reason this go round nothing was jumping out at us until last weekend when were lounging around watching an episode of "Guys Big Bite" of which the theme was "Stuffed." The recipe for stuffed mussels was what really got us excited. As the host though we knew we'd have to find a different main course than the mussels but we liked the idea. So we sent out theme to the other couples; every dish is to be "stuffed" in some manner. Everybody stepped up to the stuffed challenge brilliantly.

Our main course was a recipe found on Foodnetwork by Emeril for Crabmeat-Stuffed Flounder Roulades with Green Bean Almandine(recipe linked). Some adaptations were made to this one. We used Dover Sole in place of flounder. And I decided to do a stuffing with a combination of crab and shrimp meat.

The first step was to make Emeril's famous "Essence" seasoning mixture. You know the one, the one that gives his recipes that "BAM" effect.

So we put together the seasonings and flavored the combo of shrimp & crab with the "essence' before wrapping it and putting in the fridge until we were ready for it.

Next I minced a lovely colorful combination of peppers and mixed them with celery and onion.
The veggie combo is cooked with some butter and then cooled and added with mayo, beaten egg, Worcestershire, hot sauce and lemon juice until you get this amazingly yummy seafood stuffing.
Next we sprinkled the sole with the essence and put a good portion of stuffing on each piece of fish before wrapping the sole around it.
Now we were ready to put our dish in the fridge until our guests arrive and we are finished with appetizers and ready to cook the stuffed sole.
Couples arrived in waves as usual. Everyone with their stuffed course in hand. And we were in for a treat with each dish. (for future suppper club gatherings I should probably write down the actual name eveyone's recipes but for now it's just based on memory so if I don't get it just right I apologize to our fellow supper clubians.)
First was Robin's Goat Cheese stuffed Dates with Pancetta
Next was Chris & Jeff's Stuffed Mushrooms
I had some extra seafood stuffing so I jazzed it up with a bit of additional cream cheese and stuffed a few small peppers for an added appetizer.
This group loves appetizers in general and they were all devoured pretty quickly this time as usual.
It was on to dinner with a quick welcoming toast at the table
 before serving the Crab & Shrimp Stuffed Sole on top of Green Bean Almandine (thanks to Lisa for reminding me at the last minute to add the parsley garnish to the top. That's a usual memory lapse I'm famous for at the end.)
We served the sole with Lisa & Derek's side dish of Ricotta & Pancetta stuffed peppers.
It really was so wonderful everyone enjoyed the stuffed food and in turn we stuffed ourselves well as usual.
After some coffee was pressed it was on to Jenni & Arnie's dessert: Chocolate Cupcakes stuffed with a Granache filling and topped with meringue. So good, dense and chocolaty. The perfect ending.
Really every dish was awesome. I loved the ricotta stuffed peppers there were so flavorful and the perfect mouthful was tasted in each bite.
We only have 1 more Supper Club gathering before we take our Summer hiatus through September. But we do always enjoy our gatherings and we are proud to have been part of this long running tradition that we've all created together.