Seattle Spots You Don’t Want to Miss

I spent 3 1/2 days in Seattle and 2 1/2 of those days were to attend the International Food Blogger’s Conference (IFBC). This left little time to eat out, but I did manage to squeeze in two new places and make return visits to two others.

The IFBC was filled with evening activities, so I was only able to eat out for dinner my first night. We ate at a sushi restaurant called Tsukushinbo located in the International District. Luckily we had reservations for our party of three so we didn’t have to wait.  

The sushi was fresh and reasonably priced. There was nothing fancy about this place. It was more of a neighborhood type restaurant. My favorite items were the Ora King Salmon sashimi and the uni, sea urchin. This New Zealand salmon was smooth and buttery. The uni tasted like it was fresh out of salt water, but ironically it came from Santa Barbara which I know produces some of the best uni.  

Here’s a collage of the dishes we shared. 
 The other place I tried for the first time is Humble Pie located on the outskirts of the International District. I would call Humble Pie a pizza shack.   
 You order at the window and can eat either in the partially enclosed space or completely outdoors. We ordered the pizza with sopressata, mushroom, kalamata olives, mozarella, and tomato sauce. It ranks pretty high in the thin crust wood fire oven pizza category in my book.  
 I had an hour and a half break for lunch from the conference on one day so I walked over to the famous Pike Place Market. I stood in line at Beecher’s, a cheese shop that also sells a few specialty items like mac and cheese, sandwiches, and soups. I think of them as the Cowgirl Creamery of Seattle. I previously had indulged in their “world’s best mac and cheese.” I wouldn’t call it the world’s best. I decided this time to get their grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. It was a great combination and hit the spot on this somewhat gloomy Seattle day. My tip for the soup is to either skip the croutons or ask for them on the side.

 
The number one thing that comes to mind when I hear the word Seattle is not rain or the Seahawks. It is the donuts from Dahlia’s Bakery. Ok, the second thing is the coconut cream pie. But I seriously cannot get enough of these freshly made to order pillows of goodness. They come hot out of the fryer and are doused in sugar before you get to add the mascarpone cheese and homemade jam. Yum! Go ahead and also order the coconut cream pie.  It’s good to have the ying and the yang.

 
Seattle is a great food city and such a perfect location for the IFBC.

IFBC: Field Trip to Miele

I have been writing my food blog for over five years and decided it was about time that I attend the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) which was held this weekend in Seattle, Washington. I committed to write three blog posts having to do with the conference in order to save some money on the registration fees.  

This post is about my very first activity at the conference. It was an optional excursion that was sponsored by Miele. My first choice of excursions was actually sold out and I chose Miele because they are the makers of my prized vacuum cleaner that I love.   Twenty-one of us hopped on a bus and was taken to the beautiful Miele showroom in Bellevue. There we were greeted with smiles and champagne. We were divided into five groups to cook five different recipes using the hi-tech Miele appliances.
Here were the dishes we made:

Greek Salad

 Pasta Fagioli
 Sliders
 BBQ Pork Buns
 Paella
 It was really fun to cook and then eat with others that have a similar passion for food. In hindsight, I realized that the attendees that I networked with the most by the end of the weekend were at this excursion. It was this interactive event which was the ice breaker. I was glad I signed up for this pre-conference event.  

F.O.B. Kitchen: A Filipino Pop Up

F.O.B. Kitchen has been popping up in a couple of locations in the Mission District of San Francisco. I crossed the Bay Bridge yesterday to have brunch at this pop up. F.O.B. Kitchen serves quality Filipino food. My understanding is that they do regular dinner service on Wednesdays and have had a few of these weekend brunches.    

  
Yesterday’s brunch location was at a bar called Cease and Desist. My friend and I were ready to eat. I had run four miles and she completed a long bike ride. We shared several items. We ordered the hot buttered bun, aka pan de sal which came with a house-made strawberry jam. What’s not to like about a warm buttered bun? The jam was not too sweet and offered a hint of tartness that I enjoyed.  
The meat lumpia at F.O.B. kitchen were filled with ground pork and water chestnuts. They were complimented with a Thai chili sauce. The lumpia came out hot and crispy and was a great starter. They also offer a vegetarian eggroll, but we didn’t go that route.
 The Tapsilog plate included thinly sliced marinated grass-fed beef, garlic fried rice, a sunny side egg, purple cabbage slaw, and fresh pineapple. The marinade on the beef had nice flavors, but the meat was missing a juiciness. Everything else on the plate was spot on.  
The Torta Talong is a charred eggplant omelette topped with shallots and tomatoes served with the same items as the other plate. It came with Jufran, a banana ketchup. I have a memory of eating this dish before many years ago, but this one was pretty awesome. Rarely do I think a vegetarian plate is better than a meat dish. This is one of those cases.  
 The dessert that was being served was a sweet lumpia filled with banana and nectarine. It came with macapuno, or coconut ice cream. This warm glazed crisp dessert had great texture and the flavors melded together perfectly.  
 You can interpret F.O.B. to mean what you want. I’m confident the F is for fresh because I clearly saw and tasted the freshness in all the dishes. This kitchen uses organic ingredients whenever possible. I might call it Fresh off Bon Vivant! Make sure you stay connected to F.O.B. Kitchen so you can hear about where they’ll be popping next!

Jack’s in Jack London Square

As we near the end of summer, it’s best to take advantage of the perfect weather we have in Oakland. I love to eat outside and my favorite place to do that is in Jack London Square. When it’s warm, you may also be looking to eat something on the lighter side. Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House fits the bill. Jack’s offers fresh, quality, and sustainable seafood. Eating here actually makes me feel like I am on vacation.

Jacks offers oysters on the half shell. Their daily featured oysters are $2.50 a piece, but during 3-6pm, it’s $1.50 a piece. With a mignonette sauce and a squeeze of lemon, raw oysters can be delightful.  I’ll take a dozen oysters, please. A nice beverage to wash those oysters down with is a rosé. 
 Another fresh offering from Jack’s is their peel and eat gulf prawns with cocktail sauce. These are large and meaty with a natural sweetness.
 I heard and saw so many pictures of the octopus at Jack’s that the last time I visited, I had to order it. The charred octopus with squash, rainbow carrot, potato, and pimento is a beautiful sight. You need a steak knife to get through this delicious chewy creature. The charring of the octopus not only puts a nice color on it, but it adds a great grill flavor.
 For dessert, I highly recommend their croissant bread pudding. It is a warm dessert with a crispy flakey texture mixed with a creamy custard and topped with ice cream. It’s absolutely scrumptious!  

  
Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House is a fun place where you can enjoy the scenery and have a small snack or enjoy a larger meal.  Reservations can be made at Opentable.