Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"sweet potato scramble" or "crap in a pan"?

When you go through the fridge some lazy sunday morning, and chuck everything you find there in to a pan, is that cooking? It is if you call it "sweet potato scramble".

sweet potato scramble
sweet potato scramble

Actually, no. It looks gross. It was gross. I felt gross afterward. Rakka was right, it was "crap in a pan".

I should, maybe, think these things through a little better.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tup Tim Thai

As a vegetarian I liked Thai food in general, but not Tup Tim Thai. Now that I'm off the wagon, Tup Tim Thai is fantastic. It's not that they don't have tofu, but you have to ask for it special. At least you used to... hmm, maybe the menu has changed. It's on there now, but they only have a token 9 vegetarian options. The meatier dishes are pretty much all good though.

Now, it's crunch time at work, so I'm just going to let today's pictures speak for themselves.

tod mun plah (fish cakes) at Tup Tim Thai
Tod Mun Plah (fish cakes)
fish, curry paste and green beans deep fried and served with HOT cucumber sauce

Yep, that was really good. slightly fishy, but not too fishy.

tom kah gai (soup) at Tup Tim Thai
Tom Kah gai
hot and sour soup with chicken, coconut milk, mushrooms, lemon grass, lime leaf and chili paste

I like this soup a lot.

larb gai at Tup Tim Thai
Larb gai
chicken in spicy lime sauce, onions and lettuce

This was my first experience with larb gai. I was very happy with it. Especially after I figured out that you can use the lettuce to wrap up the other stuff.

Tup Tim Thai exterior

Ok. I lied. More words: The service is really good here, at least when they're not too crowded (and I never go places that are too crowded, not when I have a choice. Misanthrope, remember?). I haven't had a drink refilled so frequently since I was a boy visiting the Pham family. They, as asian politeness dictates, never letting the glass get empty; me, as western politeness dictates, trying to finish everything. It was like a battle fought over Slice. Anyway, TTT keeps your glass at least half full at all times. Don't fight it.

Tup Tim Thai on Urbanspoon
[where:118 W Mercer St, Seattle, WA 98119]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pike Place Chinese Cuisine

Pike Place market is crazy busy on weekends, and I hate crowds. It's a good thing Pike Place Chinese Cuisine is there to provide a refuge for the misanthropes. And also quite passable Chinese food. And pretty fantastic views. I mean, check this out. Nice right?

view from Pike Place Chinese Cuisine
That's a view that I enjoy, um, viewing

And it really is, often, much quieter than the surrounding market. Except when it's not. But when it is... Oh, when it is!

And the food's pretty good too. Seattle has very little Chinese food that even counts as decent, especially outside of the ID. I really like the hot and sour soup, so I'll show you a picture of that.

hot and sour soup at Pike Place Chinese Cuisine
It's actually spicy!

I'm not going to tell you that PPCC is in any way authentic Chinese food. But it is authentic American-Chinese food. It's really it's own genre (but I'm not bothering with extra tags, so neagh).

chicken curry at Pike Place Chinese Cuisine
Nothing says 'Chinese food' like 'curry'. err...

All the food has that great corn-starch thickness that one has come to expect from American-Chinese food. It's all a bunch of bits next to a pile of rice. But despite the surface similarities, everything really does have a distinct, tasty flavor.

garlic chicken at Pike Place Chinese Cuisine
Garlic and chicken make a good combo

It's really small, and right downstairs from the fish place on the right (where the flowers and bric-a-brac starts, you know the place). They also have takeout, but I don't really know why you'd go and not look out the window.

take out window at Pike Place Chinese Cuisine
Cool window, but I'd like a table.

Pike Place Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon
[where: 1533 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101]

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cocoa Banana is dead, long live Cocoa Banana!

Cocoa Banana is a little smoothie place with a big salad bar. It's closing this month, to reopen around the corner (next to Bakeman's). I stopped in to the original version yesterday for possibly the last time.

Cocoa Banana Salad (close up)
Lovely, lovely salad

I got the salad.

cocoa banana big ol' salad
probably a little too much salad

I have to admit, I love salad bars. And they have a ton of good of stuff. Result: I tend to go a bit overboard. It's only $5.15 a pound or something. The tax pushed me over ten bucks. Oops. Oh well, it's salad, it's healthy.

Cocoa Banana Salad Bar
it's a really long salad bar

Well you probably could get an unhealthy salad there. Skip all the veg, go right to the fried tofu and ham, cover it with some creamy dressing and you've got a heart stopper. Me, I like the sugar snap peas and raw tofu. Yum. I hope the new store has room for this much salad.

Cocoa Banana on Urbanspoon
[where: 611 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

holy crap! I'm a published food(mobile) photographer

Hey, check this out. My Wienermobile picture got published. Who would have thought? Not me.

Manthatcooks, who is both a flickr friend and editor of Spice Magazine, got in touch with me about it last month. And here it is.

weinermobile picture in spice magazine

Spice is an Australian mag, so I've never had much access to it. Now I have a subscription. Thanks Manthatcooks!

Spice Magazine Winter 2008 Cover
My photo appears in the Winter 2008 issue
(southern winter is now!)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

crushing on amazon fresh

Up to today, common esculents has been exclusively about restaurants. But that's just silly. Eating cheap starts at home, what? And the most important part of home cooking is getting the food in to the house. Which brings us to Amazon Fresh.

Amazon Fresh Truck
They even have cool looking trucks

It might seem a little strange for me, an able bodied dude, to be having groceries delivered, but I do it all the time. There are good reasons, like:

  1. no car means shopping in person happens in small, frequent batches
  2. grocery stores aren't fun to be in in general, and the local Safeway is extra bad (it makes me stabby)
  3. having a bunch of cats means huge bags of food and litter (see point one)
See, it really does make sense. Now it's just a question of who is going to deliver.

After much trial and error, Amazon Fresh has proven itself to be the most pleasant grocery delivery service in town. The main competitors are Safeway.com and Spud.com.

Did you notice how much I like Safeway.com? I didn't even link to them. Because they suck. It starts with the website being clunky and hard to use. They package just about every single item in a separate plastic bag (a kidney punch for lady earth). The worst bit is the fact that they allow you to order stuff that they don't have in stock. You order a weeks worth of food and when it gets there you're short one thing for each meal. If I still have to go grocery shopping, then what's the point?

Spud, on the other hand, I like a lot. I like that it's all organic, and as local as possible. It even tells you how far away the stuff you want was made. It tallies it all up and gives you bonus points for buying locally. All good stuff.

There are points where it loses out. You can't schedule delivery. They tell you what day of the week they're doing your zip code, but not what time of day. If you're an urban dweller with no car, necessitating delivery, chances are you live in a big building with locked doors. So that's one day a week that you have to be home waiting for your groceries to show.

The other thing with Spud is that they're all organic and local. I know I listed this as an advantage, but it does mean I can't get cat food that my cats will actually eat. And while I love the idea of Seventh Generation I don't wipe with sandpaper. End of story.

I admit I'm being selfish about these, and not the uber-enviro guy that got me interested in Spud in the first place. I feel a bit guilty about it. Which is maybe the last thing about Spud that gets to me. It makes me feel guilty.

Amazon Fresh FTW
Amazon Fresh wins on all these things, except the distance calculator thing from Spud. Their website is a relative joy to use. They have the power of their inventory tracking system to make sure they have the items that they are selling to you. You can schedule a delivery to be within an 1 hour window, and it's free over 50 bucks (Safeway is 2 hours and $10). They don't go crazy with the bags. We get all of our groceries from there now.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Longhorn Outpost barbecue

I still like whistler better...*

longhorn barbecue turkey with hot sauce
Yep. That's some turkey. and vaguely hot sauce

Longhorn Barbecue Outpost is very near work. Which, to be honest, is probably the best reason to go. Unless you want to smell like wood smoke for the rest of the day (really, who doesn't?).

The smoke works though. My bus lets me off right outside. It's a kind of curse; on smokey days I'm ready for lunch at 8:45 in the morning. It also makes the turkey really really tasty. Everybody seems pretty happy with the redder choices as well.

My main beef with the place, other than the fact that it makes my puns extra bad, is it's overly cheesey, tourist grubbing style. Normally I take a pervese pleasure in these sorts of things, but Longhorn just doesn't click with me. Probably because I had to utter the phrase "I would like a Big Un" in front of my coworkers.

longhorn barbecue turkey sandwich with potato salad
It is a pretty good sized meal for $7.95 (before tax).
But it's called a "Big Un".

As I say, the turkey is good and smokey. The hot sauce isn't hot thought. I get the spicy, I assume the mild is just ketchup.

Recently, one of my coworkers wanted to find out what a nine dollar chili dog was all about. The counter dude claimed it was the best thing on the menu. I didn't get a full report, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't hungry afterward.

longhorn barbecue chili dog
This hot mess is a chili dog. That's a lot of look.

Just call it a big bowl of chili. That's pretty much what it amounted to.

Anyway, if you're in π2 and you want some meat, Longhorn is a place for you.

*Sorry for that. I couldn't help myself.

Longhorn Barbecue Outpost on Urbanspoon
[where: 103 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104]

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Noah's Bagels

The bagels are good at Noah's. The closest thing to a real bagel I've found in town. The service was friendly but not particularly on the ball. Instead of getting some fancy bagel sandwich we got some of the pre-made type. It seemed like the best way.

Noah's Bagel with Spinach and Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese and spinach baked right on.
What will they think of next? (pizza bagels? really?)

Watching the staff while waiting in line made me a little nervous about ordering anything complicated. It seemed like it was taking them quite a lot of time to slap cheese and eggs on bagels. Judging from the comments on urbanspoon, I was right.

Noah's Bagels on Urbanspoon
[where: 220 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102] [map]