Oysters in Seattle

June 30th, 2011 by adam

While traveling to Seattle for a few days, I stopped by Elliott’s Oyster House for – well you guessed it – oysters.  Elliott’s is located in downtown Seattle, on the Puget Sound waterfront.  Upon entering, I was greeted by 15+ types of beautifually displayed oysters behind the rar bar with two full time shuckers.  Since I was solo, I decided the best place to sit was a the bar to see the action.  While I probably could have eaten dozens, I restrained myself to a half dozen, chatting with one of the shuckers about his favorites and ordering a variety.  I also ordered a local beer – Manny’s Pale Ale – to pair with the oysters and a bowl of oyster stew to top it all off.  So which were my favorites?  They were all good, but the Hama Hama were my fav – they were briny and delicious.  That’s how I like mine anyway.  I also saw a LOT of orders for  Penn Coves and Fanny Bays.  I’ll have to try those next time.  The soup was excellent and filling.  After a bit more conversation with the shuckers, I was on my way.

Thanks to my friend from Seattle for the recommendation.  It was awesome!

Elliott's on the Puget Sound Waterfront in Downtown Seattle

The list of my raw oysters

An Eagle oyster waiting to be eaten

Elliott's Oyster House on Urbanspoon


What dishes do I want to learn to cook?

June 12th, 2011 by adam

How would you answer this question?  Stop reading now and put your answer in the comments.

Ok, now let’s get to my answer.  I too have often flipped through cook books , magazines, and the internet finding pictures and recipes that look great.  But are they great?  Do the flavors actually work?  Does the recipe make sense?  I’ve recently started keeping a list of these ideas to assist with planning our meals for the week or for ad-hoc meal ideas.  However, I’ve recently added a new method to my arsenal - making a list of things that I eat and really enjoy but don’t know how to cook.  For example, I recently had a really awesome lobster rool from DC’s own Lobester Truck.  I added it to the “To Cook” list.  And a few weeks later, after some research, Val and I made some delicious lobster rolls (and a few more times over the next week).  Hope this idea helps inspire things for you to cook as well.


Am I a Foodie?

June 12th, 2011 by adam

I’ve been catching up on process my photos and realized quite a few of them are related to food – that is buying, cooking, and eating food and visiting food related businesses – restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets.  To assist with organizing photos for blog posts, I tag these types of photos related to food with a keyword tag.  So I thought it would be interesting to determine what percentage of all my photos are related to food.

So it turns out, between January 2010 and June 2011, 30% of all the photos I take has something to do with food – for the time span measured that’s 1661 photos.

Throw Away and Replace Those Old Spices…

March 30th, 2011 by adam

I have read many many times that spices over 6 months old should be replaced because their power and effectiveness diminish over time.  So how may people actually go out and replace their entire spice cabinet every 6 months?  Or what would it cost to do so?

While I always feel bad about keeping my spices for way too long, I just don’t need an entire jar of ground mustard or nutmeg very often.  And there’s the cost – the prospect of replacing all of my spices just seems expensive.  But what would it really cost?  Well, I decided to actually figure it out.  My approach was to identify the spices in my spice drawer , estimate the quantity I actually used in the past 6 months, and price the cost of obtaining new spices from Penzeys - a spice company with both an internet / mail order and retail presence in Washington (Rockville, MD to be exact).

Spice Size Cost
allspice ground 1/4 c jar 2.69
ancho chili powder 1/4 c jar 2.59
basil flakes 4oz bag 5.59
bay leaf 1oz bag 2.99
cayenne pepper ground 1/2 c jar 4.29
celery salt 1/4 c jar 2.59
chili powder 1/2 lb bag 8.69
hot chili powder 1/4 lb bag 4.89
cinnamon 1/4 c jar 3.25
coriander ground 1/4 c jar 2.05
cumin powder 1/4 lb bag 4.45
garlic powder 1/2 lb bag 5.59
ginger ground 1/4 c jar 2.65
juniper berries 1/4 c jar 2.19
kosher salt
marjoram 1/2 c jar 2.89
mustard ground 1/2 c jar 3.05
nutmeg 1/4 c jar 2.89
onion powder 1/2 lb bag 4.85
oregano flakes 1/2 c jar 3.09
paprika powder 1/2 lb bag 7.89
parsley flakes 1/2 c jar 2.79
poppy seed 1/4 c jar 2.39
red pepper flakes 1/4 c jar 2.49
sage 1/4 c jar 1.79
seasoned salt 1/2 c jar 1.89
sesame seed 1/4 c jar 2.09
thyme 1/2 c jar 3.59
white pepper ground 1/4 c jar 2.89



Less then $100!  That somewhat surprised me.  For starters, I’m mostly purchased my spices in the grocery store until the last year or so when I switched to Penzeys – so my concept of prices are probably somewhat inflated.  So for less then $200 a year, I can replace my dried herbs and spices every 6 months.  What’s even better is that when purchasing from Penzeys, I can purchase in bottles or bags (which are cheaper), so I could potentially save even more money by buying refill spices and using existing jars.  I assume that wouldn’t be an issue for most spices assuming they don’t turn rancid with time.  Also, Penzeys has multiple varieties of many of their spices with detailed descriptions of sources and attributes.

So will I be replacing my spices every 6 months?  I will probably do it at least once.  And I’ll probably do a taste test between the new and old spices to see if I can tell the difference!  As Thomas Keller says in Ad Hoc at Home “smell and taste [the spices] so you’ll be able to recognize, in their cooking, what freshness means”.


Taste of The World

February 27th, 2011 by adam

Save the date.  Taste of The World in Fenton Village is coming to Silver Spring, MD on May 15, 2011 from 2pm – 5pm.  Details are still sparse, but I assume we’ll be seeing participation from the diverse restaurants in the real “downtown” Silver Spring area (not Downtown Silver Spring).

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