Blade Runner 2049 & Biscuit Bitch-A Perfectly Seattle Combo

How do you top seeing Blade Runner 2049 on a 70mm wide screen on opening weekend?  Well, after this dazzling movie you hop on over a few blocks after the flick and hit up Biscuit Bitch for an AMAZING basket of bliss.  Damn. Perfect. Saturday.

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First, Seattle Cinerama (owned by Paul Allen) is THE best place to see movies, possessing surround sound, comfy seats and a 70MM wide screen.  Seating 500+ on opening weekend, the chocolate popcorn and alcohol were flowing as the sold out 11 a.m. crowd buzzed with excitement pre-movie in the lobby.  It’s highly unusual for crowds these days not to look incessantly at their phones during a film or get up to go for bathroom/food runs but nobody moved the whole 160 minutes of this flick, glued to their seats not knowing what the hell was coming next.  A retro Merry Melodies cartoon featuring Michigan J. Frog  amused the 20-something and predominantly  male audience after the previews.  They probably had never seen such a thing before in their young lives.

Not to stereotype male Seattle tech nerds but this movie seemed to be squarely made for their lane with lots of naked females, high tech everything and violence galore.  Still, amazingly, I enjoyed it though it was definitely NOT in my normal preferred genre of light comedy, but even I could respect the complexity of this flick.  And Ryan Gosling’s adorableness.  Just saying, he is too CUTE and boy can he kick ass!

No spoilers but let’s just say the whiskey-loving dog got a good laugh and Harrison Ford still rocks.  How is it Harrison has gotten older and yet I never age?  Hmmm…   Ryan Gosling played his complex character well and if this film doesn’t win all the lighting awards, I would be surprised.  Stunning.  This future world was just harsh in all aspects and, while the women dominated the power roles, they were seriously evil bitches and this civilization had a whole lot of prostitutes and gigantic naked holograms.  No one needs to see ta ta’s that large looming over them or is just me?  Disturbing.   Prior to Trump, I couldn’t imagine such a bleak world but unfortunately now I can.  With just one tweet, we too could be looking at forgotten cities condemned forever after being nuked.  While not an uplifting film, it was well done.  Go see it!  While we’re all still alive.

So after contemplating a world where the rain never stops and there are no trees or flowers, what’s a girl to do?  Hit up some biscuits, bitch!  Starting out small and now with 3 locations in Seattle, Biscuit Bitch was just as good as the reviews make it out to be.

Luckily, the Belltown location didn’t have a line by the time we dropped by, close to their 3 p.m. closing after our movie, so we walked right up and got us a “Hot Mess Bitch” meal to share.  Cradled in a paper boat, the layers of biscuit, gravy, cheese, eggs over easy, garlic grits, grilled Louisiana hot link and jalapenos were plenty big enough for 2 to split for $11.70.  Holy Smokes!  It was hot and messy and DELICIOUS.  Their motto is “trailer park to table” and they keep the menu simple and focused on biscuits.  Smart.

Love their smiling staff, the cool tunes being played, bitchin’ logo and the upbeat décor.    I’ll be back.  Hope everyone’s Saturday was just as fun as ours has been.  Now, it’s time for Seahawks football!

 

Boise Bday Booze Tour

What could be better than spending quality time with my lovely daughter Hannah exploring Boise’s best bars and sipping tasty cocktails?  Maybe adding in some tasty nibbles along the way so that we can sample more spirits?  Having Thom as our designated driver? What a perfect afternoon!

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Hannah knows her momma well and surprised me with a thoughtful birthday present that we could enjoy together.  After your kids grow up and leave the nest, you quickly find out that any time you are able to be together is precious and to be savored like a fine wine or aged whiskey.  Luckily, she gets me and gave me not only time with her but tasty hooch.  LOVE. THIS. GIRL

Her birthday card made me cry and I am not a crier like Thom-just saying.  “You are the absolute best mom and Nai Nai!”  Nothing beats that.  Ever.  I’m going to laminate this card and pull it out every time I’m having a challenging day.  “Let’s go scout some bars & restaurants so you can have some new fave places when you live here full time.”  She wants to spend time with her momma?  Be still my heart.  I’m not sure when we’ll be able to make that dream of living in Boise full time real but I’m working on it.

So, off we went this past week on the Boise Booze + Bites Happy Hour Tour hosted by Indulge Boise Food Tours.  I like their tag line, “Eat Well.  Indulge Often.”  Okay, I can embrace that wisdom.  Our friendly tour guide, Lauren, told us about their company which started in 2016 when the owner decided to get off the corporate track working for the WNBA and settled back in her hometown of Boise.  Thom and I have taken advantage of walking tours and cooking classes all over the world in our travels.  Not only do you meet cool people but you learn stuff too.  We like them.

On this tour, I learned all about my daughter’s first drinking escapade (at a much younger age than previously disclosed), her favorite booze (beer-New Belgium Rogue) and her favorite food (Thai or sushi).  Lauren prompted discussion at every venue we visited with probing conversation-starting questions.  Even with family members, this can be fun and eye opening.  Hannah’s choice of the one place she would live if she could?  DC.  She spent a summer interning for Congressman Minnick while she was in college and it was political heaven for her even with multiple roommates (including cockroaches).  Me-NYC.  No place like it in the world.  Fav meal and drink for me? I would choose a Caprese Salad  with a nice Cab.

We explored new places like Flatbread Neapolitan Pizza tucked away on the second floor in an office building overlooking the downtown core.  I would probably never have gone to this place but the flatbread, washed down with a tart Raspberry Lemon Drop, was delicious so we’ll be back.  Hannah’s drinks during our tour had a summer garden theme either by accident or design:  Sage Cucumber at Flatbread and Lemongrass Sage with a Lemongrass straw at Press & Pony.

Mai Tai’s house cocktail, Mai Thai Old Way with dark rum, rhum agricole, dry curacao, orgeat, fresh line and mint, was a refreshing way to wash down some veggie spring rolls.  The atmosphere here is beautiful with overhead glass sculptures and water features.  Lauren said their Happy Hour is legendary and embraced by Boise locals.  I’ve had lunch there before but was impressed with their Happy Hour cocktail list, which I hope to sample in the future.

Now, I have started my own “Best of Boise Old Fashioned” contest to justify my tasting of the classic cocktail wherever we go.  So, I sampled The Mode and Press & Pony on this tour.  No contest.   Press & Pony, an intimate speakeasy with serious bartenders, won by a large margin.  The Mode’s Old Fashioned was okay but lacked the nuances of the one at Press & Pony.  There, Eric took my challenge seriously and laid down a cocktail I could enjoy with my Boise Fry Co. veggie burger (black bean and quinoa) and red potato fries.

Indulge Boise offer several types of tours:  Historic Downtown Boise Food & Cultural Tour, Capital City Sunday Brunch and private tours.  Check them out here if you are visiting Boise or are a local who just wants to have fun.  Cheers!

 

Ode to Bacon in Boise

Bacon. In Boise on Father’s Day, there was no better place to be for brunch.  Bacon is not only a unique concept in that the menu is all about the pig but the whole structure of the serving experience is very different.  Shots of bacon anyone?  Everyone?

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As you enter Bacon in downtown Boise, you can pick from outdoor patio seating or indoor tables with massive wood chairs or a leather seating area by the bar.  What’s so interesting is that while it looks like a sit down restaurant experience, you actually line up in the back by the kitchen and select your food, pay for it and then take a # to your table to wait for it to be served.  Want water?  Help yourself from the water jugs.  Need more coffee?  Yep, serve yourself.  This service style frees up the friendly and plentiful wait staff to concentrate on customer service, checking in on each table several times, delivering food and turning those tables over quickly for more bacon lovers.  It works.  Really well.

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Want a mimosa to wash down all that bacon?  Belly up to the bar and order/pay yourself.  Of course, I decided on a screwdriver and was shot down by the bartender because it was before 10 a.m. on a Sunday and Idaho has a draconian liquor law prohibiting hard alcohol sales that early.  What???  Is that a sign that I shouldn’t be drinking that early perhaps?  While I laughed with the other bar patrons as they waited for their Bloody Mary’s to be available (served with bacon garnish), finally the locked panels covering the alcohol got ripped off and the booze was flowing once more.  Cheers!

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But back to the bacon selections, we started with the shooter selection featuring these options to taste:  Berryhill, Spicy Hot, Kurobuta, Maple Rosemary and Candied.  Of course, I liked the Candied because I have a sweet tooth but, just as there is no bad wine or bad pie, there is no bad bacon so we all happily munched away trying all the varieties.

Of course, then more bacon came with my grit bowl.  I enjoyed a huge sea of creamy grits with poached eggs floating amongst the green onion bits with a side of bacon and a fluffy hot biscuit.  Heaven!  Bacon is only open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.  In the evenings, they flip the Bacon sign to become Berryhill & Co., a different restaurant owned by same folks but with different food offerings.  Next time in Boise, we’ll have to check it out!

Eating & drinking in Lisbon

Pastel de nata.  Pastel de Belem.  Whatever name you want to call it, in Portugal this is the national treasure and really all you need to know about Portugal food.  It is the food of the Gods.  Flaky crust, warm egg custard interior with torched sugar top that oozes creamy goodness as you bite into the lusciousness.  Seriously, I am in love with a tart. I’ve already searched for where I can find it back home in Seattle and am considering how to smuggle home a few (or a backpack full) to tide me over.  Full.  On.  Obsession.

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Yes, the seafood is pretty good here too.  Thom had a grilled sea bass at the Fado place near our arbnb that was quite tasty.  BTW, Fado is seriously promoted here.  You can walk almost any curvy ancient cobblestone street here and find a Fado bar where the music starts about 9 p.m.  We ordered right before the singing started.  Big mistake-no food service while the singing is going on.  Thank goodness the singers were really loud so their soulful tunes covered the sounds of our stomachs rumbling loudly in hunger.  Finally around 10 p.m., the singing stopped and the food flooded out to the hungry patrons.  Fado was nice but since it is sung in Portugese (duh!) and I couldn’t understand the sad words, it was a one night and done for us to enjoy.

Acting on a recommendation by my cousin Eve, we went to the Anthony Boudain-approved seafood joint, Cervejaria Ramiro.  Far away from the main square and tourist area, we walked through Lisbon’s Chinatown and into the best food ever.   We thought by going “early” at 7 p.m. it would not be so busy as most people eat late here after they enjoy their afternoon siesta and go back to work for awhile.  Nope.  Even at 7 p.m. there was a line forming and the #’s were being given out to wait until you could be seated.

After a short wait though, we were directed upstairs from the main floor craziness.  The iPad with the menu was quickly discussed with the friendly wait staff that wanted us to order everything on the menu.  Having checked out the reviews, I knew to go with the garlic shrimp, garlic bread and steak sandwich for Thom.  With no choice to go with a single glass of wine, I had to order the “small” bottle.  Once again, cheap and delicious, I couldn’t finish the wine before we left.  So much wine, so little time!  Soaking up the juices with the bread, the garlic shrimp was divine.  Thom was making yummy sounds as he enjoyed the steak sandwich and stole a few of my shrimp.  Seriously, we could eat this every day and be very, very happy.  Total bill for two with wine was under 25 euros.  Thanks, Eve, for the tip!

Last night we just cooked in our teeny, tiny kitchen.  We found that every train station has a grocery so on our way back from Evora we picked up eggs, bread, etc. for a quick breakfast dinner (with wine of course!).  I still can’t understand how anyone can eat the huge slabs of salted cod you find in all groceries.  Must be an acquired taste.  The food is very inexpensive here in groceries and restaurants.

 

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Tower of salted cod at the grocery store.

 

Coffee is not a big deal here.  Most people drink espresso in cafes.  We didn’t even have a coffee maker of any type provided in our arbnb.  We found a cheap coffee press at Flying Tiger for 8 euros that we’ll leave for the next guest.  Cheaper to do that than buy coffee out every day.  We found one Starbucks at the train station but that was it for national coffee chain stores.  Tea is not big here either though we did have a hot water kettle provided in the apartment.  Next time I’ll bring more Starbucks instant coffee to tide us over as you just never know.

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For lunches, toasties are big here, as in grilled cheese and grilled ham/cheese.  We’ve had several of these and for about 2 euros each, provide a quick and hot lunch.  Tarts and toasties-that’s seems to be my standard diet here with cheap and tasty wine to wash it all down.  The sangria is amazing with so much fruit and spices that it is a tango on your tongue.  Even the food carts get into the vino action.  We found “wine with a view” on the waterfront in Belem, cork bar and all.  A perfect way to end a day in sunny Portugal!

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Eating Challenges in India

I ate fish on a plane.  Not wise.  After spending a week in India only drinking bottled water and eating Cliff bars, I was so hungry I tempted fate and took a bite of the offered meal on my Emirates flight out of India.    After 2 bites, common sense took over and I put down the fork.  Facing 2 long flights to get to Munich from Hyderabad, I couldn’t afford to be sick so all eating airplane food had to cease.  Too risky.  But with an aching back, I did order up an OJ with a side of whiskey to loosen up my muscles.  Starving but wise I am and 5 pounds lighter too.WP_20170320_18_14_30_Pro (2)

Life on the road with a weak stomach is a challenge.  First, I have to pack enough food to last me and scads of Imodium.  Cliff bars are heavy thus the aching back from my backpack full of snacks.  Then, you have to get used to explaining to everyone inviting you to eat that you just can’t partake and try not to share too many medical details but just enough to get them to stop pushing food on you even though they are just trying to be hospitable.  Socially it’s awkward at best to tag along with those of strong stomachs as they go to the “hot” restaurants and sample the local cuisine and you can’t join in.  I have to keep explaining that it all looks delicious so as not to offend our hosts.  But, no thank you, if I eat the lamb curry and lentils, I’ll die. 

Unfortunately, one of our team members did partake and felt like dying for at least a day.  She tempted fate and lost.  Checking on her and sending up Gatorade and antacids, we all knew it could happen to any of us.  Nothing worse than being on the road and getting ill.  No one to hold your head as you puke your guts out or get the hotel doctor for a house call.  Luckily, she recovered in time to fly home.

Okay, besides Cliff bars I did happen to sample wine in every city including a nice Chateau St. Michelle Syrah in Delhi.  I certainly eyed the morning breakfast buffets at the hotels as they were over-the-top with offerings from all around the world.  Thom would have gorged himself had he accompanied me.  He likes a good buffet.   One day I did go down and got a plain waffle.  Very boring but it was hot and delicious.

The work cafeterias offered a wide variety of options daily from Indian cuisine to Subway.  Since the locals eat with their hands, there are washing stations for easy clean up.  Ice cream is a big hit too and necessary to cleanse the palate after a hot and spicy meal.  The coffee cart was interesting with delicious (I’m told) boiled sugar cane sweetened drinks served in small clay pots (biodegradable).  The barista was kind enough to just give me one of the little cups to take home as a souvenir.

Now I’m off to Germany where I will try not to gain back the 5 pounds when I grab a pretzel or two. 

Homemade Hooch. What?

Watch out world, I’m making my own liqueur now! Over the past few months,  I’ve created a cocktail cart, done my due diligence to research key cocktails (hard work but somebody had to do it) and now I’m moving on to creating delicious, nutritious and fruity hooch.  There’s no way for me to avoid my passion for politics in this crazy presidential year, so I’m going to need LOTS of alcohol so, very wisely, I thought why not make it myself?WP_20160612_15_46_26_Rich (2)

With a sale on cherries that are happily now in season and a recipe from my friend Dawn’s blog, I was ready to muddle and mix up some cherry liqueur.  Of course, pitting 6 cups of cherries is no small feat so on went the latex gloves as I ripped apart the gorgeous cherries while enjoying the beautiful Seattle day on our patio overlooking Elliott Bay.  Needing only one cinnamon stick, I choose not to buy the $10 jar of sticks at the grocery because, really, when will I need another?  I am nothing but cheap so we decided to check out Metropolitan Market’s bulk spice section and, sure enough, for only .14 cents, I got the one cinnamon stick I needed.  SCORE!  I already had the brandy and vodka on the cocktail cart, not being used regularly and, quite frankly, covered in dust.  What can I say?  My focus has been on  whiskey and trying to create the perfect Old Fashioned and I’m oh so close, so my other booze has been feeling a little bit left out.  Not any more!

After the pitting session, which my sidekick Thom chose not to participate in and rather just picked out the best cherries to taste, I was off to muddle.  Even after quite the aggressive muddling session, I was only able to produce a tiny amount of juice that went into a separate jar for a week while the smashed cherries got the cheerful duty of absorbing the brandy and vodka.  After storing in a non-sunny place with a shake here and there over the next week, the boozed-up cherry pieces will finally be reunited with the juice that will be boiled with water and sugar to create syrup.  The final leg of the journey requires the mixture to rest for another week before straining out the final product, my very own cherry liqueur.

Then, watch out, it’s drinking time!  Since I’m not much of a “shot” girl, I did a little research in my handy cocktail guide and created the “I’m with Her” cocktail to drink throughout the political season.  I will be saving the straight shots for the debates and take a shot every time Trump says, “Win bigly” or “Big, beautiful wall”.  Trust me, it will help.  Can’t hurt.

So, here’s my proposed “I’m With Her” cocktail to celebrate our first female president-to-be.  It will be a fruit-infused celebration in your mouth with enough kick to get you through the sure-to-be crazy upcoming political season.  Now that I think about it, this cherry liqueur will come in handy to house in a flask (still need to get one of these!) when I stand out in the freezing cold at the inauguration of our first female president.  Can’t wait! No, I’m not taking her victory for granted and I will do everything in my power to support her but I can’t imagine the alternative without going crazy so I’ll just be hopeful.  And drink.  A lot.

I’m With Her Cocktail

1parts homemade Cherry Liqueur

1parts vodka

4 parts orange juice (I would say “fresh squeezed” like the cocktail books like to say but let’s face it, who has that sitting around in their fridge when the need for a cocktail strikes??

Dash of lime juice or bitters-whichever you have just for variety

Prep-chill the glass.  Mix-shake the ingredients with ice vigorously enough to skip the gym.  Strain into a glass, the prettier, the better.  Garnish.  ALOT.  Fresh fruit or maraschino cherries or a sugar rim or umbrella decoration.  Just pick whatever is fun for you.  This is a celebration damn it!   Enjoy.  Cheers!

Many thanks to Dawn who shared this great recipe for cherry liqueur on her blog,  First Look, Then Cook.  Check out her great food recipes too.  She may even inspire me to cook!

Cherry Liqueur

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Bing cherries, pitted
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken

Preparation

Put the pitted cherries at the bottom of a sealable glass jar and muddle them with a wooden spoon or muddler to release some juice. Drain the juice into a separate container and set aside. Then add the brandy, vodka, and cinnamon stick to the muddled cherries. Seal and shake the jar. Let steep for one week at room temperature away from direct sun, shaking every few days.

Combine the reserved cherry juice, sugar, and water in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool. Once the syrup is cooled, add it to the steeping jar, seal, and shake. Then let it steep for an additional 2 to 5 days. Strain through fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth into glass jar or bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

 

Fried Dough & Vino=Happy Saturday

Malasada French Toast..dripping with bacon infused salted toffee syrup.  Holy. Moly.  Brunch at Super Six in Columbia City was just the ticket for a rainy Seattle day sugar high.  Thom opted for the Hawaiian Loco Moco–a big ol’ bowl filled with rice, brown gravy, beef patty and topped with two fried eggs.  Or, as it should be called, the Widow Maker.  Today was an anomaly in our usually healthy diet and boy was it tasty!  The owner was giving out hot Malasada donuts on our way out.  We didn’t want to be rude so we accepted them with a smile.  Now that’s world class customer service-free donuts!

After seeking out the Green Eileen store that sells returns/seconds of the really well-made Eileen Fisher line at a huge discount (score!), we meandered down Rainier Avenue and checked out this cool neighborhood just south of Seattle.  This is where the hipsters live in more affordable digs.  On the main drag is the Columbia City Theater that we’ve been to and enjoyed the intimate concert atmosphere.  We’re so excited to see our new fav, Foy Vance, there in September.  This Irish lad will, I predict, explode as a superstar with his new album and tour.  Ed Sheeran just signed him as his first artist on his new label so he will have good direction.  Who doesn’t love that adorable ginger Ed?

But, back to our wonderful day exploring south Seattle in the Sexy Beast, top up unfortunately due to rain/cold.  Still, we enjoyed the ride very much in our cozy BMW cockpit.  After the yummy brunch, we slid on over to the edge of Boeing Field where Charles Smith of Walla Walla winery fame has his new tasting room.  After sugar-laden carbs, bring on the vino!   Jet City was packed with wine affectionados tasting and communing.  I chose the $10 tasting flight of 8 wines that are more modestly priced ($70 and under per bottle) vs. the $20 tasting flight of more expensive wines.  I have a hard time recognizing the value of a $70+ bottle of wine over a $20 bottle-all wine is good to me (even two buck chuck from Trader Joes) so my palate must not be too discerning.

Now, I’ve been happily drinking their Boom Boom syrah for years so it felt good to branch out and sample some other Charles Smith originals.  Thom, my designated driver, made fun of the interesting ad copy extolling the virtues of each wine on the tasting sheet including somewhat dubious details of the soil that created these wines including the usual fruits but also:  pipe tobacco, fresh bread, lemon curd, crushed granite, and dried hanging meat    Yeah.  Right. Who cares though because by the end of the 8 tastes, I was ready to buy a few bottles for home consumption and head on home to take a nap.  Ahhh….Saturdays are wonderful!