Restaurant round up (Seattle)

I haven’t felt much like cooking (or writing) this week. I’m not sure anyone would have noticed if I didn’t, but I’m trying to be consistent. Since I was short on inspiration, I decided it might be a good week for a list of my favorite restaurants in Seattle.

You may recall one of my earlier posts bemoaning the difficulty of finding good food in this city, but once I was put on the right track, I figured out pretty quickly that there were some pretty fantastic places to eat.

I find myself going back to these places again and again. Some of them are close to work or home, so it makes some sense. If you happen to notice that this is a little heavy on the Caribbean side, I know you’ll forgive me for falling in to my comfort zone.

So here’s my top ten, listed in no particular order:

1. Pam’s Kitchen (Trinidadian): The curried chicken with the paratha is my personal favorite, but the staff will probably try to talk you in to something else (all of it fantastic). If you’re luck enough to show up when they have the pumpkin, make sure to get a side of that as well.
2. Paseo (Cuban): They have main dishes here, but I go for the sandwiches. There’s always a pretty long line, so try to go during the week, and go early enough that they won’t have sold out.
3. Mojitos (Caribbean/Latin American): The location is small, but the staff is nice, and the food and mojitos are excellent.
4. Serious Pie (Pizza): I mostly frown on pizza in Seattle, but this place is actually pretty good! It’s not NY style, but my taste buds still say yes.
5. Toulouse Petit (Cajun): I haven’t had anything here that’s bad, but if you can go for brunch or dessert, I highly recommend both (although not at the same time).
6. The Great Northwest Soup Company (American): There are a lot of great restaurants in South Lake Union, but I eat here on almost a daily basis. The lines during lunch are long, but if you can stand it, the food is worth it.
7. Bizarro (Italian): This is an odd little restaurant. I’m not sure I love all the food, but the lasagna is good, and the tiramisu is amazing.
8. Saba Café (Ethiopian): This place has the advantage of also being open super late.
9. Seastar (Seafood): It’s on the pricier side, but if you can swing in for their lunch special, you can get the great food and stay in a budget.
10. Naam Thai Cuisine (Thai): They have a lunch special that’s pretty…well, special.

There are plenty of other cuisines and places that I love that aren’t on this list, but I figured I had to stop somewhere.

What are some of your favorite places?

Saying Goodbye

My heart is breaking again today with the loss of another dear friend. I wish I could convey how much she meant to me, but the words for such greatness escape me.

I will always appreciate Vinita for being one of my first friends in a new place, for taking me in as if I were family, and for making Seattle feel more like home. I know I’m not alone when I say I wish we’d had more time. The world is a sadder place without her, but I take comfort in the hope that I will see her again. Perhaps one day I will be brave enough to write about the good memories, how much she made everyone around her feel comfortable, about the happiness that was always a part of her presence, but today I can’t do anything else but miss her. For all of her family and friends, I know the loss is hard to bear, but it’s great to know that we are there to support and comfort each other.

The post and recipe below were written by my sister. I was going to post this in a couple of weeks, but I wasn’t up for writing anything new myself, and so I’m posting it now. Perhaps it will provide warmth and comfort to someone.

Divas and Chocolate Thunders

So, when the snow has decided that it’s going to come down on you with a vengeance and trapping you inside, what’s better than wrapping yourself up in a nice warm blanket with a good book or movie and a nice cup of hot cocoa? (Well, maybe some alcohol, but we are not going there today.)

I have always loved the wonderful aroma and flavor of Haitian hot chocolate. I remember family vacations with friends, and waking up to that smell. Now, I’m not a morning person, but you did not want to be last in line for that cup of deliciousness. Oh, and no one could make it better than my friend, but I have attempted to replicate the flavor. Your senses will thank you for the enlightenment.

Haitian Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons dark chocolate morsels
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups water
6 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick

Directions:
1. In a small pot, melt the chocolate over medium-low heat
2. Stir in all the other ingredients until well mixed.
3. Allow the mixture to warm (about 5-10 minutes) and serve hot.

Baby, it’s cold outside

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We got a little snow yesterday! My dog Ruby had the chance to experience snow for the first time, and she loved it as much as I do. My friends in NY would probably give me the evil eye for saying this, but I miss snow. We sometimes get a little bit in Seattle, and I enjoy every 1/2 inch of it. I know, I know, there is something about too much of a good thing, so I won’t blame all of those who’ve had more than their fair share of snow this year for thinking this is a ridiculous statement. But before you attempt to throw something at me, just here me out.

I fully admit to having a strong desire to hibernate in the winter. Snow always seems to make things quieter and prettier (at least at first), and (other than playing in it for a little while), it’s a great excuse to stay inside and curl up with a good book and a blanket. It’s also a really good excuse for me to make some of my favorite cold weather recipes. For me, cooking is easier in the winter mostly because I’m okay with being inside cooking, but also because it’s colder so working up a sweat in the kitchen is far more comfortable than it is with high summer heat and humidity. I have my favorite summer foods and traditions too, but winter is for warmth and comfort.

Of course, Haiti has a tropical climate, so these dishes do get eaten in warm weather. However, I prefer some things in the winter, and there are a couple of soups and drinks that make my list as winter comfort foods. I think I’ve mentioned my mom’s pumpkin soup before, but I’m not quite ready to share a recipe on that one yet. Some of my other personal favorites are Bouyon (beef stew) and hot chocolate, both of which will be making an appearance on this blog in the next few weeks.

I know it’s the middle of winter, and most of you are way past over it, but hopefully the recipes will give you some new reasons to appreciate the cold.

 

Cheesy Cornbread

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Not sure if anyone noticed, but it’s been a while since my last post. I had originally planned on creating a post with my Super Bowl party menu and providing a recipe for cornbread, but I had to say goodbye to a very dear friend. She was a great person who was dearly loved by all who knew her and will truly be missed. I was thankfully able to go home and experience the love and support of my family and friends. It renewed my appreciation for how wonderful these people really are, and I hope I was able to provide some support back as well. I considered posting something at the time, but my heart just wasn’t in it.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks, but life keeps moving on, and I think I’m finally ready to put up a new post. The Super Bowl has come and gone (yay, Hawks!), but I think the cornbread recipe is still worth posting. For the first time, I’m posting a recipe that isn’t mine. I’m actually not sure where this originated, but it was passed on to me by a friend. It’s so good that I haven’t made any modifications to it at all (which is rare), and I think it’s a great side to serve with chili (both of which would have been part of my party menu). Although this version is very American, cornbread is another favorite of Haitians (there’s even a blog that I follow that pays tribute to this), so it always feels like it fits right in.

Next week will bring me back to my Haitian recipes (and perhaps a longer post), but for this week, back to an American favorite.

Cornbread Casserole

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 can corn kernels
1 can creamed corn
1 box Jiffy Corn Mix
8 ounces sour cream
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Mix all the ingredients and pour into a two quart baking dish (lightly greased.
3. Bake for 45-60 minutes (be sure to do the toothpick test  to test for doneness).