a few choice beverages

I’ve had a few exceptional beverages recently – and felt the need to share:

Essex – owned by the next door Delancey, this is the perfect spot for a drink while you wait for you table next door – or in my case recently, a late afternoon libation with a girlfriend to catch up.  They have several cocktails on tap (my Americano for example, above, left), and they make all sorts of tinctures, bitters and such to make very artful cocktails.

Milstead & Co. – a newish coffee spot n Fremont that takes its coffee seriously. They serve Intelligencia and Stumptown coffees, and pull a beautiful shot, with great milk art (with lots of alternative milks for you non-dairy folks).  They will also do regional varietial single-brew pots as well as spot-on cold-brewed iced-coffee.

Sambar – there is only one week left at tiny jewel of a bar in an off-the-beaten-path part of Ballard.  While I had some mixed feelings about the institution of a restaurant that Sambar is attached to – I still find it sad that they both have (or are about to) close.  I love the little side yard, and the incredible mixologist.  So, if you’ve never been and have a moment to get there before the end of the month,  I highly recommend it!


a new turn in the south

I vowed to have a summer of ‘not busy’ after the busy-ness of the first half of my year.  Instead, I’ve been spending more time outside, playing in the woods, catching up with friends, as well as on reading, live music, and wandering the city.  My favorite part, and maybe Shawn’s too, is the time I’ve been spending lingering in the kitchen.  We got some great cookbooks as wedding gifts, so I’ve had all sorts of new fun inspiration.

My current favorite is A New Turn in the South by Hugh Acheson – the chef behind 5 & 10, The National (both in Athens, GA) and Empire State South in Atlanta.  My stepmother may have given me this cookbook with a hint of irony (“there is nothing wrong with Southern cooking as is!”) but I like it exactly for the combination of seasonal fresh ingredients mixed with a fresh take on Southern-sourced recipes.  Everything I’ve tried thus far has been spot on – and holds up even when a few ingredient swaps have happened.  My favorites has been the Southern Cabanara – a twist on the Italian fave with the addition of collard greens.  Special note – it was officially my first cooking of meat! (Okay, so, cooking with cured meats – prosciutto – isn’t really getting into it too far – but a big step for a 24-year vegetarian).  The simple but lovely salmon with marinated veggies and salmoriglio sauce felt a tad bit more of the northwest, but a great quick and healthy weeknight recipe.  The key was the sauce – dressing up the dish with the lemon, anchovies and herbed olive oil.

Two other front runners from my cookbook stack has been Eat Good Food – from Bi-Rite in San Francisco and Ad Hoc at Home from Thomas Keller but no specific recipes to report quite yet.

And I will sign off with a favorite of the summer that came from Bon Appetit (which I just keep loving that magazine more and more these days!) – the Oregano Chile Chimchurri sauce in the August issue article about Uruguay.  I’ve put this parsley-olive oil based sauce on everything from pasta to grilled potatoes to veggie tacos at a campsite dinner (dinner above next to the Entiat River).  Here’s to more cooking!