Our friends Jed and Lara hosted us in Denver last weekend. The trip has become something of an October tradition in the last few years. I’d chalk it up to the everlasting sunshine in Denver and the coincidence with the beginning of the rainy season in Seattle, but really, it’s been life events. Lara and I have known each other about 12 years and we worked together for a good batch of them. The first year I flew out for Lara’s baby shower and returned a year later to meet A in person. This year, A is up and around and walking. We rolled into town with no real plan, the only requirement being a pitstop at GoLite for Wolf. If you don’t know GoLite, it’s good outdoor/ workout /Winter gear on the cheap.
Like the best weekends, there was plenty of hangout time punctuated with good food – morning, noon and night. It’s enough to make this girl want to move to Denver.
The last few summers we’ve made an annual trip up to Tofino, situated on the edge of Vancouver Island, about a 4 hour drive from Victoria, BC. It’s a great surf spot for Wolf, it’s got great hiking and beaches and a concentration of restaurants in Tofino-town. The timing of this year’s trip didn’t let us (well, at least me) sign off completely, so it ended up being a working vacation. Still great to get away. As it turns out, even after several visits there are plenty of new discoveries still to be made in Tofino.
What do you eat after Tom Douglas’ Culinary Camp, a five-day eating extravaganza that started with foie gras and caviar and ended with Chinese barbecued pork, chicken and sausage? On Friday, my total consumption was: coffee, half a peach, a graham cracker with peanut butter, a package of Top Ramen, a small kale salad and a corn tortilla quesadilla. It was a far cry from the previous day, which started with an array of Bavarian meats, soft pretzels and beer. Read more
As you drive north on the 5 through the Central Valley, the interstate is dotted with fast food joints and truck stops and the occasional restaurant advertising “Chinese-American” food. In all the times I’ve done that drive, we have never stopped and I always sort of assumed that they were covering their bases, that Chinese-American food meant they served both chow mein and say, hamburgers.
My first experiences with Chinese-American food were either in a strip mall or in a cramped restaurant with yellowing walls in downtown LA. The order was always the same whether we were unpacking a brown sack of red and white take-out boxes or gathered around a big Lazy Susan for a post-funeral eat your feelings. As an only child you reach an age in life where it seems like there is a lot of Chinese food happening. I sometimes worry that the second round isn’t too many years away.
Hold on, the headline says pig roast. Why am I looking at soup? Because a pig roast, while delicious, is ugly gorgeous. As the sunny season winds down at Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Washington, this soup is one of the things I’ve been looking forward to all summer. Pappa al pomodoro. You know this soup? Tomatoes, hand crushed. Garlic, basil, cayenne, olive oil, balsamic, sherry vinegar, bread. Served at room temp, it is the essence of summer. At Sunday night’s Pig Roast, pappa al pomodoro was a pre-dinner summer sipper.
This is perhaps the one Cafe Juanita recipe that gets shared the most, but I’ve never actually made it. Why? It’s a destination dish. I’ll just say, it’s worked out really well that we got married in late summer. If I plan it right, I can have it at the restaurant. If you can’t, the recipe is here. So what about that pig roast?