Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and delicious food!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

RECIPE: Fresh Cranberry Sauce

 Like I have mentioned before, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's all about food, family and friends. If there's one thing I love, it's food! Of course I love my family and friends too! So every year, one of my favorite side dishes to make for Thanksgiving dinner is fresh cranberry sauce. Plus it's very easy to make! I like to make it the night before and let it settle in the fridge overnight. I hope you enjoy the recipe.


12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1 cup white sugar


In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar and orange juice over medium heat. Stir in the cranberries and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes). Remove the cranberries from heat and place the sauce in a bowl. The cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools. Enjoy!

I hope you all have a fun and delicious Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

HOLIDAY: Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's all about family, friends, food, and of course football! Oh, and giving thanks for all that we have. There is nothing better than stuffing your face with a great turkey dinner, devouring a couple pieces of pie, downing a few too many glasses of wine, and then taking a nice, long tryptophan-induced nap before watching the Seattle Seahawks defeat the San Francisco 49ers! That is what I call the perfect Thanksgiving Day!

Are you the lucky one hosting a Thanksgiving dinner this year? Or are you invited to your friend's or family's house for dinner? Either way, I scoured the internet to find some great recipes to help make this year's Thanksgiving dinner a delicious feast!

Perfect Roast Turkey - By Ina Garten from Food Network
Roast Turkey with Cornbread Dressing - By LouElla Hill from Saveur
Dry-Brined Turkey - By Russ Parsons from FOOD52

Chorizo and Collard Green Dressing - By Patrick and Gina Neely from Food Network
Essential Thanksgiving Herbed Stuffing - By Kelsey Nixon from the Cooking Channel
Wild Mushroom Whole Wheat Stuffing with Tarragon - By Barbara Lynch from Food and Wine

Sweet Potato Casserole - By Southern Living from
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes - By Martha Stewart from
Yukon Gold Potato and Wild Mushroom Gratin - By Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier from Bon Appetit

Cranberry Sauce
Simple Cranberry Sauce - By Betty Crocker from
Cranberry Apple Chutney - By Martha Stewart from
Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce - By Aaron McCargo Jr. from Food Network

The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe - By Sally from Sally'
Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie - By Andrea Albin from
Dutch Apple Pie with Oatmeal Streusel - By Ginny from

I hope some of those recipes help! Have a great Thanksgiving! I hope it's filled with good company, delicious food, and a Seahawks win!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TRAVEL: Chow Down Seattle Visits Peru!

Machu Picchu, Peru
A little over a month ago I traveled to South America with two of my good friends. The first country we visited was Peru. We had a short flight from Seattle to LAX. Then we had a long flight to Lima, Peru. After getting our luggage, we checked in to our next flight to Cusco, Peru. We weren't done yet. We then had a private car take us to Urubamba, where we spent two nights. Urubamba is located an hour from Cusco and is the largest town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is about an hour and a half from Machu Picchu.

We stayed at Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa. It's a beautiful resort with a great restaurant. The rooms and the amenities were amazing! The night before our trip to Machu Picchu we had a great dinner at Hawa, the resort's restaurant. They use organic ingredients from neighboring farmers. The chefs prepare traditional Incan fare with a contemporary spin. I started my dinner with a glass of Peruvian wine from Tabernero Winery, Gran Tinto Fina Reserva. We were given a complimentary amuse bouche of sushi. It was delicious!

Sushi Amuse Bouche
For my dinner, I ordered chicken cooked vacuum packed, smoked with Muna and fine herbs, served with butternut squash puree, caramelized baby vegetables and Muna sauce. Everything about this meal was delicious!

Chicken with vegetables and Muna sauce

For dessert, I order a dish with chocolate cake, ice cream and caramel sauce. It tasted amazing!

Caramel sauce, ice cream and chocolate cake

We were also treated to some complimentary Peruvian cookies.

Peruvian Cookies
Below is a picture of the beautiful Hawa Restaurant at Tambo del Inka. The huge fireplace is the centerpiece of the restaurant, along with the amazing wood beams that mimic the shape of a tree. The service at Hawa was outstanding.

Hawa Restaurant at Tambo del Inka

Beef Tenderloin with Rice and Fries
For dinner the second night, I had the Beef Tenderloin with Rice and Fries. This was my favorite of the two dinners. The beef was tender and delicious, and the sauce was perfect to dip the fries into.

Peruvian Chocolates
We were treated to some complimentary Peruvian Chocolates that resembles the Andes Mountains. They too were delicious!

After two great nights in Urubamba, we traveled to Cusco for one night. Cusco is located in southeastern Peru and it is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. It was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire. One thing you do have to watch out for when visiting Cusco is altitude sickness. The city's elevation is at 11,200 feet. I definitely felt the elevation as it was hard to breath at times. One thing Cusco does have is great food! We stayed at the Palacio del Inka, another Luxury Collection Hotel. It was a beautiful hotel. We had dinner at the Inti Raymi Restaurant. They are well known for using local Andean ingredients that include Quinoa to a vast array of potatoes and vegetables from the Sacred Valley.

Dining Room at Inti Raymi Restaurant
We were seated in a small dining room in part of the restaurant that only contained four tables. The hotel is built on old Inca ruins over 500 years old.

Alpaca Tartar
We were treated to a complimentary Alpaca Tartar with mushrooms and vegetables. I was hesitant to try raw Alpaca meat, especially since Alpaca are cure furry animals, but it honestly was delicious.

Tagliatelle with Beef Sauteed, Creole Style
My main entree was Tagliatelle with Beef Sauteed, Creole Style. It was served with cooked tomatoes and onions. This was truly a delicious dish! The beef was seasoned perfectly.

Needless to say, I loved my meal.

Assortment of Peruvian Chocolates
We again were treated to some complimentary Peruvian Chocolates. They just love giving away their chocolates!

Various vegetables from Peru.
Various vegetables from Peru.
Peruvians are very proud of their food. Next to our dining room was another larger dining area that had two large tables displaying native Peruvian foods. On display were various types of potatoes, Quinoa, Lima beans, Caigua (a vegetable with a cucumber taste), corn and rice. One thing that I didn't know is that the potato is native to Peru. I have to also mention that the service at the Inti Raymi Restaurant was amazing! I could eat here every night!


The flags of Peru and Cusco.
Peruvian Bakery in Cusco.
Ricuras Bakery
I highly recommend visiting Peru to take in Machu Picchu and all of the natural beauty of the Andes Mountains. The food is amazing and the people are very friendly and welcoming.

Next week I will write about our stay in Santiago, Chile and the food we experienced there. Stay tuned!

FOOD EVENT: Dine Around Seattle

We're very fortunate to live in a city with great restaurants. The food scene has exploded over the past several years. Last month was Seattle Restaurant Week and now in the month of November, it's the bi-annual dining event Dine Around Seattle! Participating restaurants off a 3-course prix-fixe dinner menu including appetizer, entree and dessert for only $33! 3-course lunches are offered at some restaurants for only $18! Just like Seattle Restaurant Week, Dine Around Seattle offers the opportunity to try out restaurants at a great price. Dine Around Seattle gives you an entire month to head out and try as many restaurants as you can. So make a list, loosen your belt and get eating!

Dine Around Seattle takes place November 2nd - 30th, Sundays through Thursdays, excluding Sunday Brunch and Holidays.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

FOOD EVENT: Seattle Restaurant Week

Yes, it's called "Seattle Restaurant Week", but lucky for us it's two weeks long! Seattle Restaurant Week gives everyone a chance to try out some new restaurants for a great price. You get three courses for only $30! Check out the Seattle Restaurant Week website for a listing of over 160 restaurants who are participating. Now make your game plan, and get out there and EAT!! Cheers!

Monday, August 18, 2014

FOOD EVENT RECAP: Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market

Friday night The Pike Place Market Foundation hosted the Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market. It is one of the largest events of the year to raise money for the Market Foundation. The Sunset Supper featured some of the best Chefs, restaurants, wineries, distilleries and breweries the Seattle area has to offer! It doesn't get any better in Seattle than savoring great food and drinks throughout a warm, summer evening at one of the city's most popular landmarks!

Even before the event started, there was already a long line of people waiting to enter the Market so they could start enjoying the great food and drinks that awaited them.

The Sunset Supper featured a lot of great Chefs including Seattle's own Thierry Rautureau, The Chef in the Hat! Thierry is well-known for his two popular restaurants, Luc and Loulay. Thierry has appeared on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters", and is also the co-host of "Seattle Kitchen" on KIRO Radio. Thierry is one of my favorite Chefs. He always takes delight in preparing delicious food he knows people will enjoy.

Throughout the evening, I had the pleasure of sampling a lot of great food, wines and liquor. Below is a slide show of some of the amazing food and drinks offered by the vendors at the Sunset Supper.


From the start of the event, the Market was full of energy with attendees sampling the delicious offerings from all the vendors.

Not only was everyone treated to great food and drinks, but the live entertainment was great too! The band played through the evening entertaining the crowd as they danced through the night.

The Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market would not be complete without a beautiful sunset! Earlier in the day, it almost looked as if the weather would not cooperate, but it turned out to be a beautiful evening.

Future expansion plans for Pike Place Market
Proceeds from the Sunset Support go to The Pike Place Market Foundation, which is the heart of the Market. The Foundation helps the Market we all love remain a thriving, caring community. The Foundation was established in 1982. It is a non-profit organization which supports housing and services for low-income neighbors.  They provide a food bank to feed the hungry; a preschool available to low-income families; a medical clinic offering care for homeless, low-income, and elderly clients; and Heritage House that offers assisted living to seniors.

The Market is planning to expand Westward! The viaduct will be coming down soon, and the Market will be expanding West to offer space for more vendors and access to the waterfront. This is a very ambitious project, but the benefits to the Market, downtown and the waterfront will be huge. The Waterfront Entrance to Pike Place Market will expand upon the heart of what The Market Foundation does in the community. You can help the Market realize its dream by making a donation today!

Even Rachel the Piggy Bank was all dressed up for the Sunset Supper!

The Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market was truly a great evening of food, drinks and entertainment. The event allowed some of the best Chefs, restaurants, wineries, distilleries and breweries to highlight what they have to offer. It was also a great event to raise awareness of The Market Foundation and what it does to keep the Market a thriving and caring community. This was by far the best food event I have attended this year, and I look forward to attending next year! Be sure to check out The Market Foundation's website to get the latest news on their future events, and to learn more about what the Market has to offer.

Monday, August 11, 2014

FOOD REVIEW: Manhattan

Over the weekend I paid a visit to Manhattan on Capitol Hill for dinner with some friends. Manhattan is located on 12th Avenue between Madison and Pike. As the name implies, the food is inspired by the east coast.

Manhattan has a craft cocktail bar that serves classic drinks as well as their own signature cocktails. I ordered a Salted Caramel Apple cocktail that was very tasty! It's vodka, apple liqueur, lime juice with a sweet and salty caramel rim. This cocktail was like drinking dessert! I loved the caramel around the rim of the glass, and it was the perfect combo to the taste of the apple and lime. The cherry in the glass was perfect contrast to the beautiful color of the cocktail. I also tried the Manhattan(2). It is a twist on the classic with rye, punt e mes (Italian Vermouth), peychaud's (bitters), orange bitter and served with an orange twist. Strong, but tasty!

Manhattan offers a good selection of food on their menu, from seared scallops, to fried chicken, to filet mignon. I went with the Grilled Duck Breast. This was served with grits, brown butter and sage, seasonal vegetables (carrots, asparagus, squash), and red wine sauce. The duck breast was beautifully served pre-sliced on an island of grits surrounded by red wine sauce. The duck was cooked perfectly. The skin was nice and crispy and beautifully scored. It was tender and juicy, and the perfect bite included the duck with some grits dipped in the red wine sauce! There was even some thought placed in the presentation of the seasonal vegetables. Cut to nice bite-sized portions and perfectly prepared.

As you can see from my empty plate, I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner!

 I really like the interior of Manhattan. We were seated in one of the booths located along the wall opposite the bar. There are tables through the middle of the restaurant, as well as tables with bench and chair seating near the front of the restaurant. The big orange wall behind the bar glows in the back light, as the rest of the restaurant is lit with different alternating vintage looking chandeliers. The decor is definitely chic, but comfy. On my next visit, I would love to just sit at the bar and try some of their other signature cocktails and some more of their delicious food.

Manhattan has two tufted walls with the others covered in patterned and textured wallpaper. The entrance to the restrooms is draped off with dramatic, heavy curtains.

Manhattan is also taking part in the Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market on August 15th. Check out my previous post about the Supper, or go to The Pike Place Market Foundation website for more info.

Manhattan on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 10, 2014

FOOD EVENT: Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market

19th Annual Sunset Supper
Friday, August 15th @ 7:30pm

If there is one food event that you must attend this year, it is the Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market! Seattle is well known for many of its iconic landmarks, but the most visited and vibrant landmark is undoubtedly Pike Place Market! Tourists and locals alike love to visit the Market to take in all of the great food, produce and crafts the vendors have to offer. I know that when I have family and friends visit Seattle, the first place I take them is the Market. There is so much to see and take in when you walk through the historic Market. From the amazing seafood, to the fresh, local produce, the beautiful flowers, and the wonderful art and crafts, Pike Place Market has something for everyone!

Pike Place Market is continually voted one of the best public markets in the country. We truly are very fortunate to have such a great market community here in Seattle that has such a deep, rich history. Many restaurants throughout Seattle rely on the market for their amazing seafood and produce.

Pike Place Market isn't just a collection of amazing vendors, it is a community. At the heart of that community is The Pike Place Market Foundation. The Market Foundation helps their low-income neighbors who work, learn and live in and around the Market. They provide a food bank to feed the hungry; a preschool available to low-income families; a medical clinic offering care for homeless, low-income, and elderly clients; and Heritage House that offers assisted living to seniors.

To help the market remain a thriving, caring community, Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market gives people the opportunity to spend a special evening at the Market where you can savor some of the region's best restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries. You can meet local chefs and winemakers as you enjoy a warm, summer evening at Pike Place Market. The event is always a highlight of the year for the Market, and it also offers live music! Proceeds benefit The Pike Place Market Foundation.

Don't miss out on one of the most anticipated events of the year! Purchase your ticket today, and prepare to take in the wonderful wines, delicious foods, and the amazing atmosphere of the Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market!

For complete information on the Sunset Supper and to purchase tickets, please visit The Pike Place Market Foundation website.

Here's a taste of what to expect at the Sunset Supper at Pike Place Market:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

FOOD EVENT: National Farmer's Market Week August 3rd - 9th

Seattle's Pike Place Public Market
This week is National Farmer's Market Week! It doesn't get much better than visiting your local Farmer's Market and selecting some fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. There has been a resurgence over the past decade in Farmer's Markets across the country. More and more people are realizing they want fresh, local and organic foods for themselves and their families. If you haven't visited your local Farmer's Market, treat yourself and take a visit! We are fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest where we have a bounty of great farmers and Farmer's Markets. To find a Farmer's Market near you, check out Puget Sound Fresh. They have a listing of all the great markets in our area. You can also check out Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets website for a listing of markets in the city. Now get out and enjoy!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

DRINKS: Classic Bloody Mary

My attempt at the Classic Bloody Mary.

One of my favorite drinks is the Classic Bloody Mary. It's not breakfast or brunch without one! But the great thing about a Bloody Mary is that you can have them at any time of the day. At least I do! Whenever I go out to a new restaurant for Brunch, I try to always order a Blood Mary. I want to see just how good each place can craft their drink. Now of course the number one thing I look for in a Bloody Mary is the taste, but I also like to see how each restaurant or bar garnishes their Bloody Marys. For me, the more garnish they can cram on top of my Bloody Mary, the better!

So, even though I already had a Bloody Mary today for Brunch, I wanted to take a stab at making my own Bloody Mary at home. I went with a Classic Bloody Mary recipe. I found the recipe at Liquor.com, but I changed one of the ingredients and added a little bit more of their suggested amounts. This is a very easy drink to make. The fun part is trying to decide what garnish to use on your drink.

Classic Bloody Mary Ingredients
1 Lemon
1 Lime
2 oz Premium Vodka of your choice
4 oz Tomato Juice
3 dashes of Tapatio Hot Sauce (you can also use Tabasco Sauce)
2 tsp Prepared Horseradish
3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 pinches Celery Salt
2 pinches freshly ground Black Pepper
2 pinches Smoked Paprika

First, you want to sprinkle some of the Celery Salt onto a plate. Next, rub a lemon or lime wedge along the rim of the glass to get it wet. Then roll the outer edge of the glass in the Celery Salt to get it well coated. Set the glass aside.

Second, take a cocktail shaker and squeeze one lemon and one lime wedge into the shaker, and then drop both wedges into the shaker. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Gently shake the ingredients. Fill your pint glass with ice and strain your drink from the shaker into the glass.

Lastly, garnish your Bloody Mary with your garnish of choice and enjoy! For my garnish I used a celery stalk, a cherry tomato, Mezzetta Garlic Stuffed Olive, Mezzetta Imported Golden Greek Peperoncini, Old South Pickled Asparagus, and a wedge of lemon and lime.

Here is a list of some common and not-so-common garnish items courtesy of Demitri's:

Baby Corn
Basil Sprig
Beef Jerky
Carrot Stick
Cherry Tomato
Cheese Cube
Chili Peppers
Cilantro Sprig
Cocktail Onion
Cucumber Spear
Dill Sprig
Edible Flowers
Grapefruit Wedge
Hearts of Palm
Lemon Wedge
Lime Wedge
Olives - stuffed with blue cheese, Peppers or Garlic
Parsley Sprig
Pepperoni Stick
Peppers - pickled or fresh
Pickle Spear
Pickled Asparagus
Rosemary Sprig
Skewered Steak Bites
Smoked Oysters or Mussels
Thyme Sprig

If you create your own Bloody Mary, take a picture of it and post it to my Facebook page. I would love to see your creations! Cheers!

Monday, July 28, 2014

TRAVEL: New Orleans

Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's
A little while ago I went to New Orleans with some friends for the weekend. I love New Orleans. It's one of my favorite cities. I love the history, the architecture, the food, and their drinks! I can do without the humidity, but that just makes the drinks taste that much more refreshing. It was my best friend's birthday, so we started the celebration by having some drinks at one of our favorite spots, Pat O'Brien's. My favorite drink at Pat O'Brien's is their Hurricane. It tastes just like fruit punch and they go down easy. Almost too easy.

Pat O'Brien's Rainbow and Planters Punch
Some other drinks we had at Pat O'Brien's were the Rainbow and Planters Punch. The Rainbow is a colorful drink of Grenadine, Vodka, Blue CuraƧao and Pat O’Brien’s® Sweet & Sour Mix. Pat O'Brien's has a large selection of other great drinks that will quench any thirst on a hot summer evening.

Creole Trio at Desire Bistro and Oyster Bar

For dinner we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Desire Bistro and Oyster Bar at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. I couldn't decide on just one dish, so I ordered the Creole Trio. It's a combination platter of gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice with smoked sausage. It all tasted great!

Andouille Hash at Vacherie
 After a good night of great food and drinks, we had breakfast at Vacherie on Toulouse Street at the corner of Dauphine. I ordered the Andouille Hash. It comes with local Andouille sausage, diced potatoes, diced onions, red peppers, green onions, topped with poached eggs and Hollandaise. I ordered a fresh biscuit on the side. I love Andouille sausage, and this hash tasted like authentic New Orleans.

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde
You can't visit New Orleans without stopping by the famous Cafe Du Monde. You have to try their Beignets. They are square French-style doughnuts. They can be ordered plain, or as most do, covered with heaps of powdered sugar. Be prepared to have your face and most of your clothes covered in powdered sugar! The original Cafe Du Monde coffee stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Pimm's Cup at Cafe Amelie
Another one of our favorite places in New Orleans is Cafe Amelie. It is located in the historic 150-year-old Princess of Monaco Courtyard and Carriage House on Royal Street. It has a beautiful courtyard for dining, and a great bar that serves a delicious Pimm's Cup. Like the Hurricane, a Pimm's Cup is very refreshing on a hot summer day.

Bloody Mary at Touche Bar
After breakfast, we strolled around the French Quarter and popped into the Touche Bar for a Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary was tasty with just the right amount of spice. It was the perfect drink before heading back to the airport to catch our flight back to Seattle. If you haven't been to New Orleans, I highly recommend it. The city is rich in history and has a long history of great food. I hope to visit back again to try even more great food!