Monthly Archives: March 2012

Where I’ve been, where I’ll be

One of the issues of trying to write while you’re in grad school is that everyone else wants you to write for them. Essays, group projects, thesis concepts, code. By the time you have a moment to yourself without looming deadlines, you’re ready to be a mindless zombie for a few hours – or days – rather than be creative. This bothers me. When I was younger, my mother used to tell me how she lost interest in reading for fun after doing her literature review. While I still love to read like mad, I absolutely hope that won’t happen to me with writing.
But really, two things hit me hard: a broken toe and finals.

The finals I expected. I mean, that’s part of school; the freaking out for two weeks in the relative period of your usual panic. The essays were challenging but fun, and I felt like I learned something in that time.

Breaking a toe, while minor, made my life far more complex. Suddenly not only could I not walk, but I couldn’t kneel, lift heavy things, or balance on one leg. Add to that a planting-intense final project, and I was not a happy camper.

And I still feel so delicate. I’m wearing a splint, so whenever the bandages are off I limp, or I’m confined to a wheelchair. I’m honestly amazed at how such a small injury is giving me so much grief. Dropping a bottle of conditioner on my bad toe didn’t help my opinion on things, either.

On top of that, my job life has changed a lot, both in and out of school, so I’ve been having to reevaluate what I want Ricochet Biscuit to be, and if I even have time to give it attention.

Ricochet is going to continue. I may have to decrease to 1-2 posts a week as I rush towards my thesis proposal, and it will increase again in the summer as I’ll get to be outside, exploring wetlands at dusk. But it will be different, for my life is different. It will be more nerdy, more analytical. There may or may not be regression charts involved. And that’s a good thing.

Simply put, it’s time to get back to baking.

I’m back!

I am so sorry for the lag. I had a computer die, and, with it, my edited photos. We’re salvaging what we can, but having it occur during finals didn’t help much at all. I’m about three drafts behind, and I will be writing/eating like mad for Dine Around Seattle.

I do expect to have lags/gaps during finals, especially coming up. Presenting a thesis proposal doesn’t leave time for eating out. That being said, I don’t normally have my tech gear all crashing at once. But it’s still frustrating.

Thank you so much for your patience, and I’ll have some wonderful experiments to present in the near future for all of you.

Commentary on the Mega-Tour

So, some comments after I survived all of this.

The Tom Douglas Mega-Tour is very, very feasible. It took about twelve hours from start to finish, and could have been spread out longer for night owls or people who can, say, fit in more naps/breaks.

That being said, if I was going to do it again or give advice to others, I’d probably do it over two days instead of one. That way I wouldn’t have left Cuoco nearly as stuffed, or felt rushed at Lola. But someone on a quest to duplicate it shouldn’t fear the list.

Read the menus. A lot. I planned the schedule based on Katie Okumura’s suggestions and by checking the menus to see what intrigued me the most. The lunch and dinner menus are varied enough for most of the restaurants that it’s worth double checking both. Expect to be surprised – I’m not sold on most of the Dahlia Lounge’s dinner items, but I love their lunch options. That being said, expect the menus to change based on daily and seasonal ability, so don’t be sold on only eating one particular thing. (An example: Palace Kitchen wasn’t serving chocolate pudding, which is on the menu online, the day I was in.)

Serious Biscuit and Seatown Seabar open hours before Ting Momo, which is the first to open for lunch, but that’s the main limiter for order.
Bringing friends who can join helps. That, or having access to someone who can take your leftovers as you go. I did like having others join in, because then I could share a plate rather than feel sad about only eating two bites, and it often meant I got to try more dishes. Bring someone with a huge appetite.
It is not for the culinarily adverse/sensitive. Sure, you can eat pretty safely overall, but Ting Momo’s dishes mainly involve yak and/or curry, and the pasta at Cuoco included rabbit. Serious Biscuit doesn’t have a single vegan option as far as I can tell. I would be more than a bit hesitant to bring really finicky friends along for the ride except if I chose very, very carefully.

Naps are good. There is a fair amount of walking combined with a lot of heavy eating, and I really needed that morning nap before Ting Momo.

Honestly, I wish I could have spent more time with the staff, as everyone was so visibly excited. I’ve been to Bravehorse since I survived and Kayle asked how I was the day after the event.

I feel like I understand the Tom Douglas group more than I did even eating at Palace Kitchen as a sort of regular. The restaurants have great food, but there are such amazing stories going on, and there’s so much that I learned that I can’t publish. But that’s the real trophy I earned by surviving, and I’m glad to be a little part of the TDR legacy.

That, and I need to bring Liana and Lauren cupcakes.

Tom Douglas Mega-Tour – the overdue finale

By the end of the evening, Chris and I were feeling pretty beat up, but excited. Cuoco and Palace Kitchen, who already held soft spots in my heart, were last.6:45-7:30 pm: Cuoco

And then, Cuoco was our glorious downfall.

We trekked down the flight of stairs from Brave Horse Tavern, and were seated at a lovely window spot so we could see the exciting view of Terry Avenue. We explained how we were doing and asked for something light. Small. Delicate, even. We settled on sharing the Agnolotti dal plin ($19); it looked safe enough.

Continue reading »

Mega-Tour, part III

(I want to keep the reviews going, so I’m posting things without pictures until my computer decides to behave. Expect an update tonight.)
3:30-4 pm: Etta’s

I had time to kill before Etta’s, so I went to my favorite and most dangerous store, World Spice Merchants. I ended up meeting Yoni there, who walked from the house to join me. Yoni picked up a few curries (read: the guys need to do a Ting Momo review next) and togarashi, then we walked back to Etta’s.

We ordered the grilled cheese sandwich, crab and grapefruit salad, brussels sprouts with fregola ragu, and some bread for the table. (Yoni ordered his sandwich half without caramelized onions.) The sandwich, while lacking their standard potato bread, was a thing of beauty, crispy and gooey in the way that good grilled cheese sandwiches aspire to be. I need to return here to salve my hope in grilled cheese sandwiches.

The crab salad didn’t convert me to crab delights, but Chelsea was awesome enough to point out what was the ‘good’ crab so I could compare bites. The delicate butter/lemon sauce lightness of the grapefruit worked great as a balance against the rich meat.

The brussels sprouts had a really nice hit of vinegar and lemon with spices that was a great play on texture with the fregola, but Yoni found it overpowering in larger portions. (I only had a few mouthfuls.)

Chelsea, our server, was really sweet, though she was totally having fun ribbing Yoni over not liking caramelized onions.

4:30-5 pm: Lola

Lola was sort of a calm in the storm. We ordered got lamb skewers, smashed potatoes, and more brussels sprouts. The lamb was lovely, meaty and crispy and succulent. Chris had joined in by this point, so we were comparing the caramelized ouzo onions to the lamb for some time. The brussels sprouts were not my favorite, the ras al hanout being savory in a way that didn’t work for me. The smashed potatoes were fluffy and crispy, but I was kind of on a carb overload.

Yoni had to leave, so Chris and I were off to Brave Horse Tavern.

6-6:30 pm: Brave Horse Tavern

Brave Horse is not a place I’d normally go to for dinner (I have since returned for a late lunch and enjoyed it). It’s loud, and my idea of going out for drinks usually involves a reservation for Needle & Thread and threatening to wear monocles. They have shuffleboard, a lot of beer, and more beer. Alcohol aside, I was super excited to try out their pretzels.

Kayle met us at the door, and not only identified me, but knew of Chris as “the Amazon boyfriend.” (TDR team, I am crazy curious about what was happening in this email chain.) She told us about her previous work in the TDR restaurants, mainly Palace Kitchen, and how thrilled she was to be working with all their amazing beers. It saddened me to tell her how I was voluntarily abstinent from alcohol, because she’s too awesome.

So, we ordered pretzels with the beer and cheese fondue, because I do like beer in my fondue.

Kayle came out a few minutes later with our food, two pretzels – and all the sauces. “I know you’re eating more at Cuoco, but I wanted you to try them.” I’m really glad she did – the sour cream and crispy onion was freaking awesome, a creamy/bacony/oniony blend of happiness.

Chris got a root beer, which I decided was a sweeter/milder root beer than I usually go for. I wished I could have traded Matt root beers. (I had the root beer again yesterday, and it had a far stronger kick. Still not as strong as the one from Serious Pie, but far closer to what I go for in a root beer. Maybe it was the end of the keg?)

And, of course, “It’s on Tommy D tonight.”