Saturday, April 20, 2013

A new place to Frolik in downtown Seattle

Thursday night, I was able to go to a pre-opening event for Frolik: Kitchen + Cocktails at the Red Lion Hotel on Fifth Avenue.  I'm not one to hang out in hotel restaurants in my hometown, but I could easily envision a future happy hour here - great eats, excellent cocktails and some fun things to while hanging out.

For this event, the restaurant had more of a party atmosphere with passed appetizers and a DJ and lots of blue light.  But it was great, because we were able to sample so much from their menu.

There are plenty of small plates to just pop in your mouth.  The bacon wrapped dates with their savory, sweet taste and grape, goat cheese and pistachio bon-bons and little dishes of warmed, marinated olives all made for great snacks.
Executive Chef Shailu Salian came up with many other delicious dishes, for all aspects of your palate.  Roast rainbow carrots with braised greens with a honey yogurt sauce and roasted brussels sprouts with almonds were superb vegetable dishes that appealed to my paleo-ish lifestyle, but there was a lot of cheating going on this night.

The tiramisu was wonderful, with a subtle coffee taste and the lady fingers were so light and airy I almost thought that they were accidentally omitted at first.  Bacon makes everything better and then when you add to that bourbon and popcorn, you get a grown up caramel popcorn, but not one that is cloyingly sweet.

I'm not a fan of lamb chops, but the lamb with peach chipotle jam was excellently prepared.  It had just the right amount of red in the middle, still moist and tender. But I still don't like lamb, its just me.

There were still some kinks. The smoked salmon deviled eggs didn't quite deliver. I'm a sucker for anything with smoked salmon, but these ones seemed like the salmon was forgotten.  The spicy melon popsicle was flavorful, but there was no spicy.  I'm sure those will be found in the kitchen and added to their rightful places. The kitchen seemed calm and collected for a first night and I'm sure that will carry over.

He gives a nod to the locals and have charcuterie from Salumi and oysters from Taylor Shellfish Farms.  It was great to try different oysters and really savor the nuances of their flavors. I've had oysters before, but never realized the variations.  The guys shucking oysters were quite knowledgeable and made it quite an experience.  The crab mac n cheese was a gooey treat, crunchy with bread crumbs on top, sweet with crab and buttery with Beecher's Cheese, with a hint of spice in the afterbite.

The cocktail menu has twists on the classic cocktails. I'm sure they can make a fruity drink, but chartreuse and maraschino are well represented in their drinks.  I'd never had a cocktail made with scotch, but the Scotch and Tell is a winner.  The smokiness of the scotch just gives it a wonderful taste that I've never had before.

On a warm sunny Seattle afternoon, the huge patio would be a great place to sit or play.  There is shuffle board, ping pong tables and a hug fire place. The heat lamps look like giant lamps and will take the edge off of the damp Seattle air, if its not so sunny.

Anybody can find something to eat, drink or enjoy at Frolik.  Happy Hour runs daily 4 - 10pm and starting in the summer, they'll be showing movies on the patio. I'll try to catch one this summer, with a Scotch and Tell in hand and popping bourbon bacon popcorn in my mouth!

The restaurant officially opened April 19th, so go check them out!
Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails
5th floor Red Lion Hotel
1415 Fifth Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98101
(206) 971-8000

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hip cooks at Hipcooks

This week I attended a cooking class at Hipcooks Seattle, courtesy of Goodness Knows snack squares, with a few bloggers and social media people from around Seattle.  As my blog has humble traffic and my Facebook feed is mostly filled with updates on my CrossFit workouts, I was pretty honored to be in that bunch.  Plus, I was the only guy in the class, so lunch with a bunch of ladies always works out.

I have to be honest, it started out with two faux pas on my part.  First, I messed up the calendar and put the wrong location down.  Instead of going someplace about 5 blocks from my work - walkable - we took a 15 minute drive, paid $4 to park and then drove back.  Luckily, we were ahead of schedule and were only a few minutes late to lunch.  Obviously, I was still flustered about the wrong location and when I was introduced to our host, Jenni Hogan, the first thing that came out of my mouth was "Hello. You're tall."  We've got a big flat panel TV and I've seen her do the traffic many times, but even on our big TV, she didn't seem model tall.  Evidently, she used to be a rower and she was wearing tall heels. And she's also probably the first big media personality that I've met.  I wonder if I would have been able to fit both feet in my mouth if I had been as lucky as Whit to interview Scarlett Johannsen (in my research for this post, I learned she canceled but Whit interviewed Samuel Jackson instead!).

We participated in Hipcooks Healthy, Fresh and Zingy class, making two red pepper soups and a seared tuna with fresh mango cucumber salsa.  I was a little concerned heading to a cooking class given my paleo-ish eating.  But with a name like Healthy, Fresh and Zingy I had little to worry about, although there is photographic evidence of me holding bread, gently rubbing it with heads of garlic.
I didn't eat any! Photo by @unitedstatesofmotherhood
The Hipcooks class was fun and about just cooking with your senses. No measuring, kind of a tough one for me, just doing it all by feel.  I do like a recipe as a starting point, but after I become familiar with it, I do it by feel.

I learned a few awesome things too.  When roast peppers, I usually cut them into slices before hand.  I lose the liquor, the juices from inside the pepper, so I'll be roasting peppers whole and then cutting them into slices/strips.  Our salsa had lime zest in it and we discussed using leftover zest to make citrus sugars which would make a nice hostess give or rimmer for a cocktail. I'd be interested in trying to make lemon pepper, as we've been eating a lot of chicken lately. I even learned how to pour two soups in a bowl and keep them separated and make a ying-yang look (sorry, no photos).

I wasn't the only one who was learning things - two of the ladies don't cook and they've got photographic evidence of them making some pretty good food now. And now, their friends want Kat to make it for them.
We chatted and snacked on Goodness Knows squares. They're pretty good, not paleo, but small enough that the amount of non-paleo things is pretty negligible.  A cheat with some grains and sugars, but all in all still a good snack.  Since there are four bites in a package, I could even cheat-snack and not feel too bad about it.  Its not like its a whole slice of bread.  I really like the Very Cranberry one (the only one I've tried so far), but my kids and wife like them a lot.  Goodness Knows snack bars will have a place in my messenger bag as emergency snack food. They're currently only available in Portland, Seattle and Denver, but if you pester them on twitter, I bet you could find out when they're coming to you!

After our snack, we went back to class and made a super easy strawberry sorbet. I've made sorbet before, but it involved sugar syrups and mashed berries and my ice cream maker.  This was just frozen strawberries, some vanilla bean paste and a blender!  Throw them all together, blend till smooth and enjoy! I think that this could even be made as a one person snack, say for when a kid comes home from school on a hot summer day (if we ever get those in the Pacific NorthWest).

It was a great break from work to cook and meet and network with some cool people.  I got to meet Kerri's new baby, who was quite possibly the quietest baby I've ever met.  Hopefully, with help from Kristin and my nagging, Heather will move her blog to Wordpress.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Things are going alright

This morning, a little after 5:30 am, I was driving down the road and I thought to myself, "Things are going alright."  It was a strange thought to jump in my head at that hour, as I'd been up for less than 15 minutes and was on my way to CrossFit.

My health is great, probably best its been in a decade and my energy levels are up, probably both due in part to CrossFit and eating Paleo.  I can do pull-ups, something 6 months ago I was not able to do. I competed in the CrossFit Open (a topic for a separate post) and was pleased with my performance.

Work has been busy, but rewarding. Today's reward was a rather large stage gate approving a rather large project with a rather large capital expense and it went without a hitch (other than the negative guy who appears to be trying to waylay the project - but I can take him).

I've had recently been in touch with several friends, some with updates, some asking for advice. One buddy had to switch jobs unexpectedly, but did so pretty quickly, which was good.  I was able to provide another friend some advice for a project he's working on.  I've got a job and I'm helping other people.  Little things, yes, but they contribute to my satisfaction.

My family is healthy.  My kids are happy and enjoying their spring break.  My wife is kicking butt at CrossFit.  We've got some productive carpools so she doesn't have to drive all the kids to all their swim practices all the time.

Yeah, things are going alright.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Paleo Preparations for the Upcoming Week

The slow cooker is stewing Stupid Easy Paleo's Moroccan Chicken with homemade Ras el Hanout spices from Clothes Make the Girl for dinner tonight.  Next week's Paleo blueberry muffins from PaleOMG are baking in the oven and the chicken is already grilled.  All that remains to prepare for tomorrow is gather my clothes to change into after 6AM CrossFit tomorrow morning.  I'm able to get out of the house in under 17 minutes and start my day.

Eating Paleo requires some planning in advance, especially when head straight from CrossFit to work in the morning. Deep down inside, I'm a planner and that advanced planning and preparation appeals to me. I don't mind that I'm going to eat blueberry muffins, avocado and grilled Thai seasoned chicken tenders all week for breakfast. I do miss that there won't be bacon in there this week, but that's part of the reason I made muffins.

Here's to a new week!  Eat clean.