November 30, 2006

Blogging for a purpose: A Menu for Hope III

Here's a reason why blogging is cool. Food bloggers are collaborating for the third annual "A Menu for Hope" fundraiser. This year, the money raised will be donated to the United Nations World Food Programme.

As the food aid arm of the UN, WFP uses its food to meet emergency needs and support economic & social development. The Agency also provides the logistics support necessary to get food aid to the right people at the right time and in the right place. WFP works to put hunger at the centre of the international agenda, promoting policies, strategies and operations that directly benefit the poor and hungry.

For more info, check out Pim's announcement here. Once the event gets underway (December 11-22), I'll post more information.

Please participate!

November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006, Asian-American style...

assorted charcuterie

seared ahi tuna
sesame seeds, nori flakes, wasabi

crispy salmon
soba wafer, soy-sake "gastrique"

pan-roased pork tenderloin
baked yam, roasted baby squash, pomegranate, coffee reduction

endive, goat cheese, pomegranate

taiwanese sticky rice
shiitake mushrooms, pork, dried shallots, dried shrimp

seafood pasta
angel hair, scallop, shrimp, crab, asparagus

"90-minute" diestel free-range, hormone-free roast turkey
thyme, rosemary

mashed potatoes
roasted garlic puree, olive oil

A.D.D. stuffing
carrot, celery, onion, dried cranberries, golden raisins, cashews, bakesale betty pear-ginger scone (!!!), sweet corn

caramelized sweet onion gravy

homemade cranberry sauce

pumpkin pie

apple pie

fruit tart

assorted dessert tray

I love thanksgiving... of course, it's a great time to get together with family and friends, enjoy some good food, and reflect on the many blessings in our lives.

We ended up with a pretty hefty menu for this year's feast, and like every year, the dishes were evocative of the diversity of food options that have become traditional or comforting for us. The overall options might seem a bit discordant with one another (seared ahi tuna and cranberry sauce???), but that's one of the great things about growing up as an Asian-American... you get to have the best food of both worlds during Thanksgiving. Turkey is a tradition as much as my mom's killer sticky rice.

This is the way we roll on turkey day.

November 18, 2006

an idyllic vineyard supper at Medlock Ames

figs wrapped with proscuitto, sage

gravlax crepe roll with whipped cream cheese and dill mustard

baby potatoes stuffed with caviar, sour cream and chives

* * *

baby greens with avocado, valencia oranges, chinese peanuts and shallot vinaigrette

fresh pasta with tomato, herbs and truffle oil

niman ranch braised beef cheeks with watercress, tomato confit and horseradish

local cheeses - adante acapella with pesto and fig jam, bellweather jersey with sour cherry jam, st. george with honey, black pepper and brioche, mt. tam triple cream

bell mountain apple strudel with whipped cream

* * *

2004 chardonnay
2005 chardonnay
2003 merlot
2003 cabernet sauvignon
2006 fermentation "dessert" wine

Man, things have been so busy... I'm really falling behind in my posts. This one is long overdue.

Every once in a while, you get the opportunity to do something that's just plain FUN. No catches, no reservations... just an all-around great time. A couple of weeks back, my pal Vijay and I had a chance to visit Medlock Ames, an up and coming new winery in North Healdsburg for a club members' dinner event, and had a killer time.

We were warmly greeted with a glass of the 2004 Bell Mountain Chardonnay, which evoked simple and refreshingly distinct flavors of tart apples and floral undertones balanced against a moderate backdrop of rounded buttery oak... a nice crowd pleaser.
We took a quick tour of the winery's operations, with winemaker Ames Morrison demonstrating the new hydraulic press used for the punch-down of the cabernet grapes. One of the nicest things about Medlock Ames is the pure enthusiasm for the process and the product shared by the folks running the winery. You could sense that Ames genuinely wanted us to get a deeper glimpse into what it took to make the wines -- not often that people are willing to take the time and teach you about their craft.
We sampled some of the cabernet juice right out of the tanks (totally outrageous... the sugar levels and flavor intensity is off the charts before fermentation), then headed out on a tractor-pulled hay ride out for dinner in the vineyard. We roamed around the vineyard, each of us picking our own grapes and crushing them in a small plastic bag. Ames used the juice to show us how his refractometer measures brix... another really cool insight!
It was a spectacular setting -- a festive group of about 20 people enjoying the last fleeting moments of great autumn weather, getting to know one another and relaxing with the fantastic hospitality of the Medlock Ames team. I honestly can't recall a winery with such a clearly displayed genuine commitment to its product and customers.
Another reason to like Medlock Ames is their relatively aggressive pursuit of sustainable agriculture and biodynamic farming. With a flock of sheep and a llama on staff, they've already struck a very nice balance of establishing their vineyard while preserving a significant amount of open space on the property. Really an admirable undertaking, considering the overall costs of running this sort of operation (and the seemingly relentless pressure to overdevelop every parcel of land in Northern California).
Medlock Ames ( is out in Healdsburg. Give them a call and stop by... it's a bit out of the way, but totally worth it. You'll taste some very nice wines and meet some fantastic people.
  • 2005 chardonnay: More tart, crisp and acidic than the 2004. Interesting, light minerality. Fantastic with food. I hope this is the direction they're taking with future vintages.

  • 2003 merlot: Deep and lush plum and cherry flavors, but with an underlying earthy complexity to it, which may come from the addition of a small amount of a secondary grape like cab franc? I can't recall. At any rate, definitely not one-dimensional, this merlot has plenty of nuances to ponder. Really nice.

  • 2003 cabernet sauvignon: Seemed to be a toned-down version of their first cabernet vintage... a bit more finesse, but still quite powerful. I'm looking forward to the evolution of future vintages of their cabernet.

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November 15, 2006

Touring through the Seattle food scene: A work in progress

Last updated
November 11, 2007

Current favorites
Neighborhood restaurant: Restaurant Zoë / Sitka & Spruce
Sushi: Nishino
Unique experience: Elemental@gasworks
House-made pasta: Tavolata
Gem: Lark
Pub: Paddy Coyne's
Pizza: Tutta Bella
Winery: Boudreaux Cellars

The scale
~ not my thing
• pretty good, but no hurry to go back
•• really good… I want to be a regular
••• holy cow!!!

Baguette Box [04.2007] ~
Black Bottle [02.2007] •1/2
Brasa [03.2007] •
Cafe Presse [07.2007] ••
Celtic Bayou [05.2007] ~
Crab Pot [07.2007] •
Cremant [07.2007] •1/2
Crow [03.2007] •1/2
Crush [08.2007] •1/2
Earth and Ocean [01.2007] ~
Elemental@Gasworks [01.2007] ••
Eva [09.2007] •
Feierbend [07.2007] •1/2
Fish Cafe [10.2007] ~
Fu Man Dumpling House [11.2007] •1/2
House of Hong [12.2006] ~
I Love Sushi (Bellevue) [02.2007] •
Jack’s Tapas [04.2007] •
J.J. Mahoney's [06.2007] • (love that parking lot patio...)
Kisaku [09.2007] •
La Carta de Oaxaca [03.2007] •1/2
Lark [12.2006] ••
Le Pichet [11.2006] ••
Lemongrass Restaurant [07.2007] •1/2
Macrina Bakery [11.2006] •
Marazul [2.2007] ~
Matador [08.2007] •
Moxie [05.2007] ~
Nishino [12.2006] ••1/2
Noble Court [06.2007] •
Paddy Coyne’s [03.2007] ••
Pagliacci Pizza [08.2007] •
Porcella Urban Market [03.2007] ••
Purple Wine Bar, Kirkland [12.2006] ~
Purple Wine Bar, Seattle [11.2006] •
Quinn's [10.2007] ••
Racha Thai [01.2007] •
Red Mill Burgers (Interbay) [05.2007] •
Red Mill Burgers (Phinney) [09.2007] ••
Restaurant Zoë [09.2007] ••1/2
Saito’s [03.2007] ~
Salumi [12.2006] ••
Samurai Noodle [08.2007] ••
Serious Pie [12.2006] •
Seven Stars Pepper [5.2007] •
Shiro's [11.2006] •
Siam on Lake Union [04.2007] ~
Sitka & Spruce [04.2007] ••1/2
Southlake Grill [04.2007] •
Tamarind Tree [10.2007] 1/2
Taqueria Guadalajara [06.2007] •1/2
Tavolata [05.2007] •1/2
Tilth [11.2006] ••
Third Floor Fish Cafe [10.2007] ~
Tutta Bella [09.2007] ••1/2
Union [12.2006] ••
Uptown China Restaurant [08.2007] ~
Veraci [07.2007] ••
Via Tribunali [07.2007] •
Voila Bistrot [02.2007] •1/2

Café Besalu [01.2007] •••
Daily Dozen Doughnut Company [03.2007] ••
Essential Baking Company [03.2007] •1/2
Fresh Flours [07.2007] ~
Hiroki [09.2007] ••
Le Fournil [12.2006] ~
Le Panier [03.2007] •
Mighty-O Donuts [09.2007] •
Top Pot Doughnuts [03.2007] •

November 9, 2006

Funny comment of the day

I read this today on New York Magazine's website... it's from an interview with one of Savoy's veteran waiters, Cody Landis -- made me laugh out loud:

What about the foodies?

It's difficult to deal with people who eat with their heads. Foodies are a funny breed — they remind me of the kids in high school who weren't the jocks or the popular kids; all the sudden they found a way to connect with their physical being, and they go at it with full force. I make fun of those people — sometimes to their faces.