Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fullybooked picks her favorite items for 2013

This is again the same time of the year - a nice blend of full bodied wine glasses, nutmeg on eggnog treats, gingerbread cookies, red ribbons and Christmas trees. My "favorite things" list for the end of the year is now ready. Some will make perfect gifts, others are just good at any time. The list does not fit all the wonderful items I discovered this year. Let's say it's just only the beginning of an ongoing culinary exploration. 

Happy Holidays and Have Fun!

Book and Movies

For the sophisticated globetrotter: The Fruit Hunters

Adam Leith Gollner’s book is a celebration for biodiversity and takes readers from Miami to Hawaii and from Seychelles to Cameroon. In an admirable around the world adventure in search for the uncommon, forbidden, sticky and exotic fruits that are not largely available in the kitchens of the Western world, the book explains why some fruits are mass produced and why others are ignored. 

Director Yung Chang made a colorful movie out of the book. Viewers will be fascinated with the lead characters - the inventors, the smugglers and the epicures - and puzzled with obsessed fruit hunters but after this movie they will honor a reinvented relationship with fruit.

For the party goerTiny Food Party

It is a must-read for a fun and bite-sized treats. Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park's book will teach you the art of making canapés.  You will be amazed with the originality of world cuisine recipes  like Kimchi Deviled Eggs, Arepas and Bolinhos de Bacalhau. For dessert, go for the Candied Bacon Churros or simply Eclairs and say cheers with a glass (or two) of Raspberry Champagne Cocktail.

For your retro you:  Seattle Chocolates holiday pack

Three  chocolate bars with a retro, Mad Men-style design come together in this celebratory pack of Christmas Cookie, Hot Buttered Rum and Candy Cane Crunch bars tied with a seasonal bow.

For your inner Top Chef

You may not be on the world-known television set to film, but you can always buy Top Chef 20 Piece Flatware Set. This stylish set of 20 pieces is made with 100% forged stainless steel and has 18% chromium for durability. They are also fun to hold! Get it for yourself or as a surprise gift. 

For the onion cutter

It was about time. We finally have some Onion Glasses. Just put them on and stop crying the days you peel the onions. Forget about all the techniques you have been told before. Available in a number of colors too.

For your little ones (but also for the child hidden in you) 

 The Doodle Lunch Placemats will make lunchtime fun with your little one but also an educational session. Turn letter A into an alligator and Z into a zebra. It’s easy to use and tear-off. You can also get them for Breakfast and Dinner.

For the snacker

And this is me. I can eat savory snacks throughout the day and I like all brands and most flavors. This year I pick the new brand Hardbite from Canada as my favorite. With a nice range of flavors including Jalapeno and Schezwan Peppercorn, bites won't be too hard after all. 

For this season’s Bubbles

 Chandon Holiday Limited Edition 2013 Blanc de Noirs. Just pure pleasure! It is unfortunate that this bottle ends very fast....

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bocelli's Sparkling Rosé

Bocelli's Sparkling Brut Rosé Wine is pleasant, easy to drink and has the perfect color. Excellent as an aperitif but also with finger food and canapés, it may well be a nice selection to your festive cellar.

Enjoy and say cheers to Andrea!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

20something event at Fremont Studios

It was another soldout event with music, new vintage wines and dishes from Seattle restaurants. Designed as an introduction of  20-somethings to the premium wines of Washington State and organized by the Wine Commission and the Visit Seattle, this event featured over 58 wineries pouring favorite wines, 16 local restaurants serving delicious bites and music by DJ Tina T.

Smoked duck breast with Seductive's Vintage Port Syrup, poached figs on steamed fingerling potato

Preparing the Ducknuts

Participants did not have to taste wine the traditional way; representatives of wineries walked around in the venue holding two bottles and poured wine within the crowd. There were buckets to spit on tables and the wine was flowing effortlessly. A different experience for the not so young as well!

Whole Foods menu

I had my favorites like the 2011 Three Witches Red Rhone Blend from AniChe Cellars, the Gilbert 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, and the 2010 Syrah from L' Ecole 41 winery. Food was appetizing and interestingly presented. I voted as the best of the night the "Ducknut" from Hook and Plow, a mini donut stuffed with duck terrine with a little bit of jam of top, a pure delight. Amazing was the Albacore tuna tostada from Poquitos restaurant and the Kentucky Bourbon Ice Cream from Snoqualmie Ice Cream.

Apple and bacon jam served on apple slices

Guests were encouraged to use their twitter accounts all night long and could see their tweets on large screens in the room. A great event that kept people coming in. Congrats to the organizers!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Metropolitan Market sets the Thanksgiving table

Chocolate Salami
It may seem early for Thanksgiving but Metropolitan's food experts have already made their plans for this nationwide festive day. I was lucky enough to get a preview of their creative plans and my photos -including some black and white for a different feeling - will tell you the story. Please, indulge with me

Whatever the cheese is, make sure you pair it with an amazing jelly or marmalade like the Seville Orange & Whiskey

An amazing addition to your cheese or even meat for the day!

Stilton will pair wonderfully with  figs

Thanksgiving with a Mad Men feel

Both pies in color and black and white

Don't forget the wine

And finally, the bird!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Ballard Farmers Market

On a sunny fall Sunday, visiting the Ballard Sunday Farmers Market is a pleasant activity. This lively market is one of Seattle's largest markets and offers a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit, baked delicacies and the locally made cider. The highlight of the day was the poutine samples, the well-known Canadian comfort food made with French fries, gravy, herbs and cheese -courtesy of Skillet Street Food truck.

Take a peek at my colorful photos that will better tell you the market's story!

Ballard Farmers Market, open Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm, year-round

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Spam Musubi

I finally had the well-known Hawaiian delicacy - the Spam Musubi at the Island Grill, in Portland. A rather small rice blend with a slice of grilled spam wrapped in nori dried seaweed. Very similar to Japanese Onigiri but of course the distinctive difference is the Spam. The owner of the food stand advised me to pair it with a decent dose of Sriracha, an advice that I followed. The result was a tasty, afternoon snack for a day that I missed lunch.

Next time I will get two of those. They are unique and delicious!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Capitol Hill Food Tour

The tour, organized by Seattle's Food Tours, started at Bar Cotto at 4:30pm. Michael, the food tour shepherd was chatting with the top guest chef  Shiro Kashiba when I entered this Parma-style salumeria. I joined in and laid back with a glass of Italian Lambrusco getting ready to kick of a 3-hour culinary adventure. Three other participants joined the group and our team was ready to try the first plates. We were offered cured meats that paired perfectly with this sparkling red and more plates arrived, those of tortas frittas. 

We left on time and just minutes later we were at Artusi, a famous bar for its spirits and cocktails, a creation of chef Jason Stratton. We had a refreshing salad, a combination of arugula, nectarines, radish and lardo, a cured fat. Those who dared, shared a few cocktails but I passed. I am sure I will return to the cute "locale" soon.

The next stop was  Momiji Sushi Resturant & Bar. It was time for  sushi  and the butterflied rolls made with tuna, spicy crab meat and avocado arrived soon together with edamame snacks and sake.  This wonderfully designed restaurant is a small oasis in the middle of Capitol Hill, a space not only for food but also for a well-deserved break from a busy day.

While walking on the streets of Capitol Hill Michael -the food tour guide- talked about historic dates describing corners, signature buildings and well-known personalities who lived in the area. Soon enough, we arrived at the Tin Table, situated within the Oddfellows Hall. This historic space was energetic and welcoming. The owner Hallie Kuperman gave us a tour (so we experienced "the tour within a tour" concept) and we saw the Century Ballroom next to the restaurant. The main dish of eggplant ravioli with grated parmesan was pure comfort and easily eaten together with the house made cocktail. 

The last stop was at the D' Ambrosio Gelateria for dessert. After a lot of thinking, I opted for the Salted Caramel and Fig flavor, a creamy, full-bodied gelato that was the perfect ending to the tour. It was a memorable evening with laughs and flavors that I enjoyed thoroughly. I will be back to Food Tours for more!

The "Group"

Monday, September 30, 2013

Storyville has its own story in Seattle

In black and white because stories at Storyville have their own say

Storyville, the new coffee shop at the Corner Market building opens on October 1st officially but the lucky guests experienced the comfy coffee shop a few days before. This buzz-y yet relaxing space with views on the Pike Place Market and Puget Sound offers a variety of drinks, pastries and savory snacks. My soy cappuccino was perfectly balanced with the adequate amount of milk and coffee and the cheese & ham croissant was an excellent addition to the afternoon cravings.

I am sure I will return soon with my tablet. The only downsize may be this unique cafe is ideal for people watching and less writing.

Try it yourself. Storyville, 94 Pike St, Seattle, opens on October 1st, from 7 AM to 8 PM every day.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

IFBC- Urbanspoon Dinner at RN74

Urbanspoon's dinner at RN74 was exclusive, fun and endless....and here are a few pictures to share. Not the best but at least you will get the idea. 

Maitake Mushroom Tempura

Painted Hills Cote De Boeuf- Delicious!

Neah Bay Salmon

Dungeness Grab Spaghetti

Crunchy Chocolate Profiteroles - the best dessert ever!

Croustillant -Olive Oil Cake, Lemon Curd Sherbet, Huckleberry Compote

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Live Blogging from IFBC

I am currently attending the Bordeaux Wine tasting and writing workshop at the IFBC with Sam Klingberg and Ward Kadel. As we all know, Bordeaux Wines are world known for their quality and their highly priced bottles.

The session kicked off with a Crémant de Bordeaux, a fresh bubbly that is light and easy to drink.

We continued with the L' Orangerie de Carignan 2011, a clear, citrus-y Sémillon grape wine with strong aromas and earthy flavors. The Château Carignan Prima 2009 was next. This 100% Merlot, has strong blackberry aromas, is earthy and full bodied. Le Château Graville Lacoste 2012 comes with peach aromas and pairs well with salmon and creamy dishes. The wine is a blend of 75% Sémillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc.

Château Guillou 2010 from Montagne Saint-Émilion  is a blend of 75% Merlot and a 25% Cabernet Franc. This darker red is earthy and smooth and pairs with spicy foods.

We moved to the most famous AOC of Bordeaux, the Château La Tour De Bessan Margaux 2009, a blend of 46% Merlot and 54% of Cabernet Sauvignon. This exceptional wine that can age for thirty year, is powerful and ideal for sophisticated dinners.

Finally, we tasted the Château Haut-Mayne Sauternes 2010, an easy to drink dessert wine with strong butterscotch flavors and sweet taste.

Bordeaux Wines can often be a rather rare choice from American diners but they worth a try. So next time at a wine store, grab a Margaux and give it a go.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Live Blogging from IFBC

Live from the International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle. We are in the process of opening, photographing, tasting and blogging about grocery items with Amazon Grocery.

The Junobar from Bumblebar is gluten free, non-GMO and high in fiber. I am chewing the Peanut Butter Cookie bar - it tastes healthy and is a great snack for adults and kids alike.

The Stretch Island Fruit with its all-natural Summer Strawberry fruit strip is definitely healthy and a great idea for kids who don't like fruit but personally I'd go for the real fruit.

Brookside Chocolate brings their Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry, a unique blend of healthy ingredients. Tasty but if you look carefully, the product contains corn syrup.

Navitas Naturals introduces Dragon Fruit, the tropical superfruit that is high in magnesium, iron and dietary fiber. The product in non-GMO, raw, vegan and USDA. I love it!

The Manuka Doctor from New Zealand brings its Manuka Honey, an antioxidant and antibacterial honey that is raw and kosher. I grabbed the spoon and have a taste and I approve. The honey is three times more expensive as any other honey but it is worth it.

YumEarth Organics fruit snacks are 100% vegan, gluten free, organic and free from everything. They are made from real fruit, are amazing and I am addicted.

More products are on the table like the Zico water, the Chia drink and the Fever-Tree Ginger Beer. I am exhausted with tastings already but I have a busy weekend waiting! It should be fun!