After watching hundreds of Food Network shows that have the message of “Being a chef and owning a restaurant is grueling, time consuming, poor paying, thankless work and is an especially terrible career path if you have absolutely no restaurant experience,” my subconscious still fantasizes about quitting everything, becoming a chef, and opening my own restaurant.
At dinner the other night, after a couple beers:
Boyfriend: Okay, random question time.
Boyfriend: If you could be teleported to any restaurant in the world, where you could have dinner, and you would be teleported immediately back, where would you go?
Me: Hmmm, this is a tough one.
Boyfriend: So you don’t have to worry about travel to or within that country.
Me: Do I have to actually be able to get into this place? Or can I like, teleport into French Laundry and they’re required to feed the person who just appeared?
Boyfriend: …Let’s say you have enough time to make reservations, but you still have to be able to get the reservations and afford the meal.
Me: Okay, so not French Laundry. ………..Honestly, probably some seaside restaurant in Italy.
Boyfriend: Not somewhere in Asia? Or the Middle East?
Me: I’m not really sure if I want to go to the Middle East…
Boyfriend: Okay, just what food would you want to eat? Let’s also say you have a magic forcefield that makes you look like a male.
Me: I like how I can suspend disbelief for teleportation, but sexism? Nope.
All I can say is thank goodness I found a man gets a laugh out of my overthinking.
Where would you go? Same rules as above apply, including magic forcefields to make you have the most privilege possible in the local area.
And now, the sweets!
Okay, a regular ol’ croissant isn’t exactly a sweet, but I had to include it somewhere. I consumed so many of these for breakfast throughout the street. They were just from random bakeries within a block of our apartment, but they were the best croissants I’ve ever had.
Mmmm, chocolate croissant.
From the famous Berthillon ice cream shop. I had chocolate and salted caramel butter, Sean had chocolate and raspberry. All of the flavors were some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
Famous Ladurée macaroons. Salted caramel butter, chocolate, raspberry, and pistachio. A little expensive, but all were delicious.
Pistachio tart topped with raspberries that were glued on with honey. Soooo goooood.
Molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Okay, it’s not very french, but it was delicious.
Crepe with homemade caramel and vanilla ice cream. It was kind of a hot mess, but soooo good.
That’s all this time. I wish I could have tried more French desserts, but we just didn’t have the room. We were always stuffed from our main meals. I don’t know why people talk about portion sizes being so much bigger in the US…the French portions we got were just as big!
Because really, the food was my favorite part of Paris.
Our last meal was at Robert et Louise in Marias, and it perfectly sums up how amazing the food was. We came back to this place twice because this was probably the best meal I’ve ever had in my life.
For an appetizer, classic escargot. Managed to get it out of the shell without flinging anything across the room. I don’t know why people hate on escargot – it’s a mollusc just like mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, squid, and octopud…and it was equally delicious as all of those things. The bread in the background was the best baguette we had in Paris.
Confit de canard. The duck was so flavorful, the skin was perfectly crispy and delicious, the potatoes were some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s the only meal I repeated. Unf. We decided this is the Platonic form of duck.
Sean had the lamb shank. Also delicious (though nothing can top that duck to me).
We only repeated one other restaurant, Comptoir de la Gastronomie near Les Halles.
Sean needed to have the most perfect cassoulet both times.
The first time I had La Salad Gourmande, which was topped with foie gras, a duck leg, smoked duck, duck gizzards (which I didn’t realize at the time…but were delicious), tomato, and an egg. Holy crap was that amazing.
The second time I had veal with a morel risotto in a veal juice reduction. Sweet jesus was that risotto good. The only bad part was that I didn’t get a bathtub sized serving of it.
One of my other favorite dishes was at Louise Café near the Louvre:
Ratatouille with poached eggs on top. Hit the spot. Sean had some delicious coq a vin, though the picture is kind of crummy.
Squid with rice pilaf in some delicious lemony sauce. Had this at Au Père Louis in Odéon, which had a great atmosphere and really nice servers.
We got a little sick of French food near the end (inconceivable, I know). We decided to try the “World’s Best Fallafel” at L’As du Fallafel…but accidentally went to the wrong fallafel place right next door, Chez Hanna. I got confused because our guidebook mentioned Chez Hanna, so the name looked familiar (damn you, Rick Steves!).
It was still the best fallafel I ever had. Makes me wonder what the other ones taste like…
We decided to splurge and do one really fancy dinner. And when I mean really fancy, I mean 3 Euro symbols on Yelp. Still can’t quite afford those Michelin star restaurants. We headed to Le Reminet near Notre Dame. We were so ridiculously out of our element with the fanciness it wasn’t even funny (okay, it was pretty funny).
The appetizer we had was mindblowingly delicious and was honestly the highlight of the meal. The bottom was three stripes of chicken, foie gras, and pidgeon, topped with a pastry filled with…something that was fucking awesome. Honestly I suspect it was gizzards, but I don’t have a clue. Whatever it was, the whole thing melted in your mouth.
After the appetizer a large spider somehow managed to climb into Sean’s wine, to my absolute horror. The worst part was when the waiter picked up his glass to get him a new one, we realized the spider was still alive. Gah. Good thing it wasn’t in my glass, or I probably would have had a heart attack and chucked the glass across the street.
Pork chops in some fancy-ass foam with porcini mushroom polenta and roast apples. Honestly the polenta was the best part…so rich.
Veal with roast green tomato and mixed veggies, with a yummy mustard sauce. Honestly I was kind of disappointed with this one, despite how beautiful it looked. The veal was super dry except for the center. Highlight for Sean was when I cut into the tomato and it jizzed a perfect stream of juice onto my nice dress.
Despite all the fancy meals in restaurants, one of my favorite was our picnic at Pont Nuef (Point Nine) on Ile de la Cité, the island that’s home to Notre Dame. We dubbed it Drunk Island (or Point Nine Blood Alcohol Level) because the area around the water was filled with picnickers drinking tons of booze. The cops just waved as they drove by on a boat. I love Europe.
EDIT: Tarian says: ““Pont Neuf” translates to “New Bridge”. Complicating this, “neuf” is also the word for “nine”, and there’s two words for “new” in French: “nouveau” and “neuf”.” Well, shows what little French I know…aka none. I basically memorized some key phrases before going, but that was all.
Our spread: a bottle of red and rosé wine, two fresh baguettes, a pile of assorted cheese (my favorite was the brie), prosciutto, strawberries, foie gras (Sean was obsessed by this point…), apricot jam, and nutella. As a side note…why the fuck had I never tried nutella before? Chocolate hazelnut deliciousness that I can spread on everything?! Why did no one tell me?!?!
The money shot. And that’s pretty much what our breakfast looked like every morning:
…I am now going to sink into a deep depression knowing that the food back here in the US just can’t compare.
If I had a kryptonite, it would be Molly Moon’s ice cream:
This particular pint is a seasonal batch called Sasquatch. Theo chocolate ice cream with chunks of dark chocolate and caramel coated granola. Holy fuckballs is it good. They aren’t serving it anymore but you can still buy pints. I may or may not have gone and bought three to hoard up.
This is post 44 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.
My boyfriend was just barefoot and topless in the kitchen cooking me this delicious dinner:
Now all I have to do is figure out how to make him pregnant.
This is post 35 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.
I built up enough post buffer that I was actually able to go out and get lunch! Sean and I went to Dot’s Delicatessen, which I can safely say is my favorite place to eat in Seattle.
Look at my adorable…eating establishment?
Every one of their sandwiches is mindblowingly delicious. The first time I had the BLT, Sean got a little jealous of the noises I was making. It’s just that good. Today I had their cheesesteak special, which was a delicious mess:
Most of their stuff isn’t quite that messy, but that’s what I was craving today. Sean got something a little prettier, a chicken-pasta-pesto-bacon soup that he said was delicious:
Mmmm, food porn.
This is post 19 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.
My friend Mark has been visiting me in Seattle since Saturday afternoon. Mark and I have one of those weird sibling-like friendships that has lasted forever: we met in first grade and proceeded to go to the same elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. But honestly I’m a kind of mediocre tour guide in Seattle. My regular activities involve sitting on the internet, watching Netflix, and playing video games… so suffice to say, I don’t really know how to find entertainment in the city.
But the one thing I do know is where the good food is. So my main contribution to his trip has been dragging him to delicious lunches and dinners. That also means I’ve been in a perpetual food coma since Saturday, and will continue to be in one until I drive him to the airport Thursday afternoon.
Because my food addled brain cannot conceive of any other topic to write about, I’ll share where we’ve been eating. If you’re ever in Seattle, I highly recommend these places. We have hit up or are planning on hitting up:
- The Honey Hole
Location: Capitol Hill
Description: Do you want a delicious sandwich and great local beer? Yes, yes you do.
- The Unicorn
Location: Capitol Hill
Description: My favorite bar. I like to describe it as a bar designed by a 5 year old on LSD. The trippy decor is great, but the mixed drinks are great too. I devoured my Mango Drop the other night. And the Unicorn Jizz is legitimately good, and not just because I have the sense of humor of said 5 year old who designed the bar. Also, ridiculous unicorn hats:
Description: Five dollar chocolate martini happy hour every day? Sign me up.
- Some random hot dog stand
Location: Anywhere there are bars
Description: If you need to satiate your drunken munchies, there’s nothing better than a Seattle dog: hot dog, cream cheese, and grilled onion on a toasted bun.
- Jai Thai
Location: Fremont (NOT the shitty one in Capitol Hill)
Description: There are a bajillion Thai places in Seattle, and a million that are awesome. Jai Thai is one of those. I’m sure you can name a better one, but Jai Thai is reasonably priced, has a diverse and consistently awesome menu, nails their Thai Iced Coffee, and is conveniently near by boyfriend’s place.
Description: A Flemish cafe with 64 beers on tap, over 300 bottles of beer, and over 60 scotches. I don’t need to say anything more, but their fries are to die for too.
- The Pine Box
Location: Capitol Hill
Description: A mortuary that’s been converted into a pub, complete with booths constructed from church pews. It just opened and is a project from the same people behind Brouwer’s, and you can tell. Great beer selection, a randal that infuses a different beer every day with something delicious like coffee beans or cocoa nibs, and awesome pizza.
- Beecher’s Cheese
Location: Pike Place Market
Description: To paraphrase Mark’s reaction: “I don’t even really like cheese, but holy fuck.” Try the mac and cheese and the fresh cheese curds in olive oil and herbs. Those cheese curds are so fresh they were grass 24 hours ago. So goooood.
- La Carta de Oaxaca
Description: People complain that there’s no such thing as good Mexican food in Seattle, and I used to agree. Then I found La Carta. Holy fuck. This isn’t just good for Seattle, it’s good for anywhere. If you don’t try their mole, you’re missing out.
- Molly Moon’s
Description: Quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s a close race between Molly Moon’s and Jeni’s in Columbus, OH, and I just can’t decide. My favorite flavors are the Balsamic Strawberry and the Salty Caramel, though the Theo Chocolate is probably the best chocolate ice cream I’ve had the opportunity to taste. And trust me, I’ve tried a lot of ice cream.
Description: I’m not a huge sushi person, but wow. The picture says it all:
- Dot’s Delicatessen
Description: This is honestly my favorite place on the list. I’ve tried dozens of different sandwiches at Dot’s, and every one is tied for “Best Sandwich I’ve Ever Had.” I never knew meat on bread could taste so divine. If you live in Seattle and aren’t a vegetarian, you need to go to Dot’s right. Now. I couldn’t decide on a single photo, so just go here and keep scrolling down.
Location: Fremont, Ballard
Description: This previously held the title of “Best Sandwich I’ve Ever Had” before Dot’s opened up across the street. But their Cuban Roast is still a damn delicious sandwich. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.
Description: Alright, I actually haven’t eaten here before, but it was universally recommended to me when I asked “Where’s a good somewhat fancy seafood place?” And after drooling over their menu, I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow. Apparently it also has a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound.This place ended up being pretty disappointingly average and way overpriced.
- Portage Bay Cafe
Description: Do you want a fancy brunch? Then you want this place. Everything is delicious. The french toast, the crab cakes eggs Benedict, the unlimited fresh berry topping bar…dear god
And those are just the places that I can fit into Mark’s schedule. I’d also highly recommend Marination Station (Hawaiian-Korean fusion tacos), Cantinetta (mindblowing Italian), the pupusas at Guanaco’s Tacos Pupuseria…
tl;dr I will have consumed 98474387368 calories this week. Guess who’s going to hit the gym on overdrive next week…
If I haven’t given you enough evidence of how awesome my sister-in-law Erin is, she took me to Coney Island for a burlesque show. Not just any burlesque show… but Colonel Cornstar’s Cuntry Fair. Complete with a heavy petting zoo.Yes, a farm themed burlesque show. You know it had to be awesome.
But the cherry on top was the celebrity sighting we had there. We were standing in line waiting to get in when someone walked by who looked oddly familiar. I thought maybe I was seeing things, since 1) he was way more stubbly looking than usual and 2) we had just talked about seeing celebrities not an hour before, so maybe I just had celebrities on the brain. I peered at him as he was buying a drink two feet away, and eventually poked Erin, and she confirmed.
It was Ted Allen of Chopped, Food Detectives, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy! I’m a Food Network fan and he’s my favorite persona (well, tied with Alton Brown), not to mention my favorite one from the Fab Five. He was there with his boyfriend and a couple of friends. I definitely flailed with glee. By pure luck I ended up sitting about two seats away from him.
The show itself was hilarious and awesome. I loved the pig who was covered in balloons, popped them with her tail, and then jumped in a bucket of “mud.” Ted Allen appeared to really get a kick out of the I Want Candy bit:
As the night went on, the skits became more bizarre and less farm themed. They included:
- A conservative homophobic uber Christian coming out looking like Hester Prynne, stripping down as she has a crisis of faith, and then pulling fifteen feet of rainbow rope out of her vagina. If you think I’m making this up, there’s a NSFW video here.
- A “white trash” girl screwed herself with one of those long skinny spiral lollipops. Yes, literally. I have no idea why or what that had to do with the rest of the show, but it definitely got a reaction out of the audience.
- The inspiration for all of my future nightmares. She came out wearing a terrifying clown mask and 6 inch heels, and threw squirt guns into the audience while holding a sign that said “Shoot the Freak.”
Here she is:And here’s Ted Allen shooting the freak:Unfortunately he was always busy with his friends or getting a picture taken with the naked Pig Girl, so I didn’t get a chance to butt in and awkwardly ask for a photo. I didn’t realize until later that he was also a Purdue alumni – I could have had a good intro! Ah well. The experience alone was worth it. I mean, how many people get to say they watched a burlesque show with Ted Allen?
(Videos via Year in Dance, the blog of the dancer with the magical rainbow rope hiding vagina)
I’m currently watching Chopped on Food Network. I love FN because I like to cook and it’s basically food porn, and I love Chopped because people always have to be super creative with the bizarre ingredients they give them.
But my first thought when this episode started was “Wow, all the competitors are women!”
There have been tons of episodes with all men, and never once have I thought “Wow, all the competitors are men!” Why? Because we’re used to having women be underrepresented in most fields, including as professional chefs.
Just something to chew over.
…Yes that horrible pun was intentional.
Friends send me strange sex-related articles all the time. I probably should be concerned what this says about my interests and personality, but I’m more intrigued by the articles themselves. I always think to myself, “Wow, nothing can be stranger than this.” I’m usually wrong.
Latest example: The cutting edge in cookbooks, Natural Harvest: A collection of semen-based recipes.
“Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties. Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic. Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants. Despite all of these positive qualities, semen remains neglected as a food. This book hopes to change that. Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen. Semen is an exciting ingredient that can give every dish you make an interesting twist. If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients – you will love this cook book!”
…I think I suddenly became a vegetarian.