The Hot Stove Society, Tom Douglas’ shiny, new, cooking school, opened late last summer. I’ve visited the space a few times but didn’t get in for a class until this past Friday. I’ve always enjoyed the classes and events they’ve held in the restaurants or at Palace Ballroom but this new facility is gorgeous and is a big step up!
There’s a great demo kitchen at the front of the room with fancy-pants cameras, big screens, a slightly rounded counter space which seats ten or so and all kinds of great cooking gear. The rest of the room is filled with rolling, butcher block workstations that can be moved and configured as needed. Rows of color-coordinated equipment and stacks of shiny pots and pans surround the room. I learned on Friday that Kitchenaid is a sponsor which explains all the pretty equipment. And, there’s a row of gas ranges along the back of the room.
My class on Friday was a combination of lecture, hands-on, and demo. I’d been hoping for a little more hands-on (all that equipment has had me dying to dig in) but this was a fun and interesting class.
Herschell Taghap, one of the primary instructors at the school, led the class. Rawle Jeffereds from Penn Cove Shellfish co-presented. I thought I knew quite a bit about oysters but learned several new things including why some oysters are darker colored than others. Beach-raised oysters have darker, harder shells than those raised in bags or cages. They also have a longer shelf-life and a more earthy taste. Those in bags or cages will have a more delicate, “cleaner” flavor. The differences are primarily attributed to exposure to light, air and tide motion. Beach-raised are exposed and tumbled twice a day at low-tide, while those in bags/cages remain under water their whole life. We also learned some shucking tricks and then got to practice – and eat our work!
We then moved into the demo (and sample) portion of the class. Herschell cooked up Hangtown Oyster Fry; Spaghetti with Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce; and Smoked Clam Dip with Gaufrettes (a waffle-ridged, potato chip). Herschell is a great presenter and instructor: a touch of humor; clear instructions; and good interaction with the class make a winning combination. If you follow any of the Tom Douglas social feeds that’s Herschell behind the scenes. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
I needed to bring something to a friend’s house for the Saturday Seahawks’ game (we won!). With a busy day and limited time to prep, the Smoked Clam Dip seemed to be just the thing – although I bought my chips and substituted Penn Cove Shellfish (canned) Smoked Mussels, to save time. The dip was a big hit – both in class and at the party.
I love this new facility and am looking forward to finding a class where I get to roll up my sleeves and do the work.
You can see more photos of the facility and class here.
Hot Stove Society
Located on the 2nd floor of Hotel Andra
2000 4th Ave
A few years ago, friends gifted me with a loaf of Pan d’Oro from Breadfarm. I wasn’t familiar with Pan d’Oro, also called Pandoro, but knew it’s cousin, Panettone very well. While there are some similarities, Pan d’Oro is a plain dough. It is golden-colored due to the high number of egg yolks in the dough (Pan d’Oro means golden bread), is and flavored with lemon zest or vanilla or some combination of the two, according to the recipes I found. The Breadfarm’s version uses vanilla. I was in love from the first bite.
There are various recipes for Pan d’Oro: Mario Batali has one that is pretty straightforward; but there are others that are much more complex. The bread is baked in a special 8-pointed star pan. The final product has a texture that is a cross between bread and a light cake. When served you slice across the loaf to reveal the star. It’s often served as a dessert with Chantilly cream, whipped Mascarpone, or drizzled with a thin powdered sugar glaze.
Just before Christmas I was in Bow, next door to Edison, home of The Breadfarm, so couldn’t resist purchasing a loaf. In fact, I bought two, one for my sister who was hosting the family celebration this year and one for me, along with a few other Breadfarm treats. If you haven’t been to this bakery make an effort to check it out sometime. Warning: they only accept cash and checks for payment so be prepared as you’ll want to load up once you see all they have to offer.
On Christmas morning I used my Pan d’Oro to make French toast. I loved the golden stars and the final product was a delicious, fragrant, rich breakfast. While the slices cooked I sprinkled cinnamon-sugar over them and then served them with warmed maple syrup and a side of thick-cut bacon – what a great holiday breakfast!
I could have titled this First Look, since this was my first stop at the newish Liam’s at University Village. But my quick visit for a glass of wine and an appetizer doesn’t qualify as a true First Look.
I stopped by late afternoon on a very cold Saturday. I was expecting to walk into warmth but the place was actually on the chilly side. The bar was pretty full – most seats along the bar were filled, as were all the tables in the bar area. I chose one of the open seats at the bar and was soon greeted by the bartender with a bottle of water (I love that so many places do this now) and three menus: beverage, dining, and Happy Hour.
The Happy Hour menu has a nice selection of options with a few beverage and food choices. Looking for a little nibble to accompany a glass of Happy Hour Red (a Cabernet) my eye landed on Marco Polo Gougerè, described as flavored with mixed peppercorns and smoked salt. I am a huge fan of gougère and never pass up an opportunity to try them, even though I prefer mine to most I’ve found in Seattle restaurants. And, even when done not-quite-right, they are a perfect light bite with wine. I placed my order and waited to see what would come from the kitchen.
They arrived. Great presentation, perfect small size (they are made anywhere from fist-sized to golf ball-sized) and perfectly golden. I was almost afraid to bite into them but there was no need for fear! Still hot from the oven, crispy exterior and airy interior, they were delicious! The salt and pepper combo was really good – a little spicy but not overly so. Maybe even better than mine. Maybe.
Can’t speak to anything else on the menu but the gougère are worth a visit.
Overall the prices here seem a little high to me so Happy Hour is a nice opportunity to try a few things from the menu. I also hope they get the inside temperature figured out. It really was on the chilly side, not pleasant for lingering.
2685 NE 46th Street
University Village, South Building
It’s taken me a long time to write about this place, which is a shame, because I love it and think you should, too! But after all the times been to Altstadt I only have beer photos to show for it. So I’m giving up on getting a good food photo to post and am going to share a couple of beer photos. This is a great place and although it’s often busy, I feel it’s still relatively unknown.
As you may have gathered from the name, Altstadt is all about German food and beer. They have a dozen beers on tap (mostly German) and another 20 or so available bottled or canned. There’s wine and a full bar, too, but I’ve been working on sampling all the beer on tap. Something great for those of us who don’t drink tons of beer, they offer a .3 liter size. For those of you who know what you like you can also choose ½ or 1 liter options. In fact, they seem to offer a 2 liter “boot of beer”. I don’t know the details but I’m sure you can figure it out if you’re interested.
The food is delicious. Hearty, tasty, traditional, with maybe a little twist. Everything is made in-house, even the mustard! The sausages are perfectly grilled; the sauerkraut has turned me into a cabbage lover; the spätzle (order it with the bacon!) is prepared like a delicious mac’ and cheese. One of my favorites is the leberwurst, served with dark bread and a selection of mustard. A great deal for $5, too!
You’ll fine Altstadt in Pioneer Square but it’s an easy walk from the Pike Place Market area or downtown. Do yourself a favor and check it out sometime soon.
209 1st Ave South
This was barely even a first look – a friend and I popped in for a short but sweet, happy hour a few days before they’d even had their grand opening. But I’m anxious to go back and give the place a better once over. Rigolotto is located at the base of the new Stack House apartments. The entry is off the courtyard on the back side of the building. Look for the sign on the sidewalk directing you to the entry.
It’s a huge place! We made our way down the stairs into a cozy seating area, which is the bar. Across the room, in the open kitchen, you can see the chefs and cooks busily working. The kitchen is a large L-shaped space. I was surprised there was no counter seating along the space – seems like a missed opportunity. There is, however, a large communal table in the same area. When I arrived there were a few people with laptops seated there but I couldn’t tell if they were employees or customers. It would be a nice workspace for mobile workers but I don’t think that’s the intent.
But on to the important stuff – the food and drink! I started with a Black Manhattan – a very delicious cocktail. My friend had the house prosecco, which we both thought was a little on the sweet side. We ordered two things from the bar menu, house-made sausages with peppers, and a stuffed pasta. The sausages were perhaps the best sausages I’ve ever had. And that is saying a lot! A really delicious combination of meats and spices, grilled until crispy on the outside but still juicy on the inside. The roasted peppers served alongside were also prepared perfectly.
I thought the pasta had good flavor but was a little under-cooked. I like pasta that’s al dente, but this was a little gummy. There’s promise there, though, so I’m not writing them off at this early date. In fact, I’d go back just for the sausages!
451 Avenue Yale Ave N.
(under the historical Stack House)
b/t Republican St & Harrison St
South Lake Union
A favorite weekend activity is to walk on the Bainbridge Island ferry; walk the few short blocks up to Winslow center; take a stroll through BIMA; wander through the shops on main street; then stop by Hitchcock Deli for lunch.
I was thrilled when I heard another Hitchcock would be opening in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Well, it’s open! I was running errands in the area today so I stopped in and picked up a sandwich to go. This location has a few more indoor seats than the original, and there’s outdoor seating in good weather. Still, I’m guessing that take-out will be the way to go, many days.
Today, I picked up their version of Bahn Mi. For the most part it’s fairly traditional, but they sneak in a little pate. I’m not complaining.
Besides sandwiches, daily soup, and a few salad or veggie sides they have charcuterie take-out.
6003 12th Avenue S
I volunteered to bring an appetizer for a dinner with friends last weekend. They recently returned from a three-week trip to Turkey so I opted for something that might remind them of their travels. This recipe is Turkish, but is reminiscent of dishes found in several countries along the Mediterranean Sea.
I both love and hate phyllo. It’s so incredibly thin and delicate that it can be a little challenging to work with. However, since most recipes call for layering several sheets and buttering each layer, you soon learn that you can repair any tears or broken pieces. And the results are always delicious!
Another advantage is many recipes that use phyllo call for baking, not frying, yet you get that crispy outer layer. That’s also an advantage when preparing them for company and it gives them staying power. I had several of these leftover and even after storing in the refrigerator for a few days they are still pretty crispy. It’s also easy to pop them in the oven for five or ten minutes to warm and re-crisp them.
Recipe adapted from From Tapas to Meze
- 12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 4 Tbsp grated (about 1/4 cup) or kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese,
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 ounces phyllo dough (about 20 sheets, 14 x 9 inches), thawed, if frozen
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, melted
For the filling, combine cheeses, egg, nutmeg, chives, dill, mint, parsley, pine nuts, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mash with a fork. Set aside.
For pastry, stack the phyllo sheets and with scissors, cut into 3 x 14-inch strips. Stack strips and cover with a slightly dampened towel. Preheat oven to 375° F.
Place one strip of phyllo on work surface. Brush lightly with butter. Place another strip on top and brush lightly with the butter. (Keep remaining strips covered.) Place heaping teaspoon of filling at one end, about 1 inch from the edge. Fold one corner over the filling to meet the opposite corner, forming a triangle. Lift triangle and continue to fold as you would a flag, until the whole strip is folded into a small, triangular parcel. Make sure there are no holes in the dough.
Brush top of triangle with butter; place on a buttered baking sheet. Repeat with remaining filling and phyllo.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Tip: The unbaked Borek can be prepared early in the day, placed on baking sheets, covered with plastic and refrigerated until you are ready to bake them. They may also be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in the freezer until you are ready to use them. Defrost before baking.
It’s hard to believe that Shiro’s Sushi has graced its quiet corner in Belltown for twenty years! The small space is not fancy; it’s a little crowded. There’s often a long line to get in; although they will take reservations. But once passed the hurdles of getting seated, the food and the care and the hospitality more than make up for any trouble.
Shiro Kashiba has a long history of educating Seattle on the beauty of raw fish. A few years ago he wrote a memoir detailing his experience. (For a nice summary of his experience see Nancy Leson’s article about the book.) He’s responsible for training many of our local sushi chefs. He’s been a James Beard nominee.
Several years ago he sold his restaurant to Yoshi Yokoyama, who also owns I love Sushi in Bellevue, but continued to work a few days a week. Now, Shiro has decided to complete his retirement. Although he hinted there may be a new project in store.
Wednesday, Shiro’s Sushi hosted a small event to celebrate their twentieth anniversary, Shiro-san’s retirement, and to introduce the chefs who will now carry on his traditions. The group of six has an impressive history, training and background. Jun Takai will lead the team. He’s been at Shiro’s since 2012. All the chefs have many years of experience with one, Toshio Matsudo, claiming 47 years as a sushi chef!
After the speeches we celebrated with fresh bluefin tuna, that we watched the chefs prepare from the whole fish. Shiro’s is in good hands.
You can see more photos from the event here.
2401 2nd Ave
I was sad to hear today of John Sarich’s passing. I’ve mentioned him a few times here on the blog but he actually played a much larger role in my Seattle food and wine experiences. I first experienced his work at his restaurant Adriatica, which was an amazing dining experience from the location to the food. I took classes from him a few times, or attended events at Ste Michelle, as well as other places, where he was cooking or advising. Besides being incredibly talented, I always thought he was a very nice person. Genuine, kind, thoughtful. He was happy to talk to anyone and everyone and at many events that was a pretty large group. He will be missed here in the Seattle area, and around the world, both within and outside of the culinary community.
I’m not entirely sure what made me decide to make this recipe because I’ve never ordered a pumpkin spice latte, or PSL as they are commonly known, at Starbucks or any coffee shop. Maybe it’s because the name made me think there’d be pumpkin flavoring in the coffee (yuck!) but when I saw the recipe I realized it’s pumpkin spice, not pumpkin and spice. Did that make sense?
So I decided to give it a try. I did a couple of things slightly differently then the recipe specifies. First, I infused the milk the day before and stored it in the fridge. I generally make my coffee as a little break in my work day so wanted to be able to pull this together fairly quickly. I only frothed half the milk and didn’t even use it all. I like my coffee drinks to emphasize the coffee more than the milk. But that’s just personal preference. I know Starbucks adds whip cream to the drink. This recipe doesn’t call for it and I normally skip the whip cream, but that might be something you’d like to add.
Since I’ve never ordered a “professional” version of this drink I have no idea how close it comes to what you’d get in a coffee shop, however, I thought it was really good! Now I get why people look forward to them. Perfect for a slightly chilly morning.
DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte
Makes one latte.
- 1 cup 2% milk (you can substitute whole or 1% milk)
- 1 tablespoon demerara (raw cane) sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 allspice berries
- 3 whole cloves
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 2 shots espresso
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick, allspice berries, whole cloves and 1/8 teaspoon of the nutmeg. Bring to a simmer then turn off the heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the whole spices and discard.
Heat the spice-infused milk over medium-low heat until hot, then use a milk frother to foam the milk (alternatively, you can transfer the milk to a blender and blend until foamy).
Pour the hot espresso into a mug and top with the hot milk, pouring the milk over the back of a spoon into the mug to hold back the foam. Then spoon the foam on top and garnish with the remaining nutmeg and the ground cinnamon.
You can find the original recipe here.