Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One More Warning and You're Fired!

Once in a while the standards here at The Hunger drop below par. That's when the bigwig suits from corporate decide to make a surprise visit with clipboards and frowns in hand (they frown with their hands, it's very awkward). We all scramble to turn our "Eat Shit and Die" t-shirts inside out and switch The Cramps over to Peter, Paul, and Mary over on the ole' 8-track pod (or whatever the kids are calling it these days). It's all smiles for the next 30 minutes. No matter how hard it hurts we unnaturally grin showing as much teeth as inhumanly possible and cheerfully yell in unison "Hello, welcome to The Hunger friend!" Yet no matter how hard we try there is always someone screwing everything up. "Dammit Violet! Why did you wear a ponytail today? You know they have a strict anti-ponytail policy! We hate you. Jerk."

Okay, truth be told. I'm the only employee here at The Hunger Corp. But I do like to keep myself in line. I just can't have myself slacking about and giving us (me) a bad reputation. I mean, what if someone goes onto the Yelp and writes about my poor customer service. I know what it would say too. "Although The Hunger has tasty looking food every once in a while I was severely turned off by the viciously frowning lady wearing a foul t-shirt and side ponytail." -0 stars. We just can't have that kind of thing. So here's one thing I can guarantee. From now on in more smiles, less ponytails, and less name calling specifically directed at you. 

Speaking of quality control, here are the rejects that never made it from my mouth to your eyes (eeeww). Delicious as they were they either fell through the cracks or photographed like a plate of oozing sores. Enjoy. xoxo

 Ham Steak and Eggs with Red-Eye Gravy: Tasty as hell but it kinda looks like barf on a plate. I sure like fresh cracked pepper. Yummm!!!

Double Smoked Pork Loin with Roasted Red Beets: This one just fell through the cracks of time somewhere. Tasty and not too terrifying to look at. I bought the amazing pork loin from the boys up at A&J Meats (one of my favorite meaty shops). Brown and red. Very brown and red.

Crispy Shrimp Po-Boy: Cornmeal fried shrimps are delicious. I had already done a post a while back on shrimp po-boys so I kicked this one to the curb (even though this one actually looks tastier).

Squid Ink Pasta in Brown Garlic Butter with Spicy Italian Sausage: Super delicious. I don't know why I didn't cut up the sausage. It looks all pornographic just glistening around the corner. 

Cajun Chicken Alfredo: Spicy and creamy and tasty but the photo looks a little bit Prison Chow Digest to me. Not that that's a bad thing. 

Grilled Pork Chop with Stewed Pinto Beans and Collard Greens: I have too many posts about pork chops. Yes, I love me a good pork chop but I don't want to be known around these parts as the Pork Chop Princess. I mean, you can call me that if you want. No really, call me that. Call me and say it all growly like. PS - I love celery. 

Sopressata & Fontina Stuffed Chicken Breast with Israeli Couscous and Sauteed Kale: An oldie but a goodie. Not much to look at but juicy and tender on the inside. I like to stuff things into chicken. Is that weird? I don't think so.

Salmon Stuffed Portobella Mushroom with Spinach Salad: Last but not least is this savory beauty. It won't grace the cover of Saveur anytime soon unless they ever do an issue of brown foods of 1972. I think it could happen. Never judge a book by it's cover. The cover may have a super oiled up, unattractive looking vampire drooling blood all un-sexy like but then you get into the meat of the book and realize that you just read the best Ukrainian vampire porn novel you have ever read. That's what this brown lumpy dish is like.

So that's it friends and foes. Thank you for you patronage here at The Hunger. Just remember, if we can't make you drool all over yourself than we're doing something wrong. xoxo 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aint No Party Like a Bahn Mi Party.

Pork bahn mi from Seattle Deli. Yum.

Whenever you read one of those 'This city is known for this food' articles in whatever stuffy newspaper or rich people culture rag, Seattle always gets the ubiquitous salmon reference. We are known for salmon. That is all. Writers don't even need to visit to know what we're about. Salmon, Tom Douglas, Pike Place Market, Ride the Ducks. The end, consider my research finished. I say screw that noise. Okay, yeah. We are proud of our salmon. It's a nice fish and can be very delicious but we are so much more than that.

People like lists. Hell, I'm a virgo. I fucking love lists. What I don't like is the American obsession of always having to be number one. We're #1, we're #1 we're #1! We're the best and you suck it! I hate that kind of bragging and boasting. I like food lists that say "You are all very nice and delicious in your own different ways." That's more my cup of tea. If I don't like a place I'm just not going to waste my time writing about it. There's enough negativity in the world. Plus, food is so subjective. Your favorite cup of tea may taste like piss to me.

So anyways, I've decided to do my best to delve deeper into the delicious and sometimes seedy underworld of snacks here in this city of salmon and grunge. After 15+ years of living here I still have a lot to discover. In the words of the famously charming delinquent Ferris Bueller "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Me and K are ready for some bahn mi action. Taking pictures of sandwiches is serious business.

The Bahn Mi expedition. Part 1

K and I got all death-dolled up and headed to the International District (or the ID if you're hip) for some Vietnamese sandwich (bahn mi) action. Never heard of a bahn mi? Wiki that shit. Anywho, it was a hotter than Hades kind of day but we had work to do. These sandwiches weren't going to eat themselves.

I'm like a shiny, sandwich eating ninja. That guy wants his bubble tea stat!

The first stop was the infamous Seattle Deli. Seattle deli was packed with sandwich eaters. Lots of customers. They have tons of sandwiches and other options for snacks and even have a hot food buffet. So much to choose from.

Sandwich #1. The Classic Pork. It was Unctuous with juicy, smokey pork and had the perfect balance of picked daikon and carrot, jalapenos, cilantro, and a tiny bit of mayo. The French bread used at Seattle deli is perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Sandwich #2. The Xanxiu. This sandwich was equally delicious with a mix of Chinese BBQ pork and Vietnamese cold cuts. Lots of jalapenos which I love. Salty, spicy, and slightly sweet it gave the classic a run for it's money. Yum.

I used my Bebe fashion club card to cut the sandwiches in half because I'm classy like that. K takes notes.

The second stop on our adventure was Saigon Deli. Right across the street from Seattle Deli. Saigon deli was slightly less packed but full of delicious treats. Fresh Vietnamese shrimp rolls, big green and blue jello-y looking things. I wanted it all. The ladies behind the counter eyed us with suspicion until we ordered our sandwiches. Nothing brings people closer together than a sandwich.

Saigon Deli tofu bahn mi. Yum. My big hair almost ruined the nice Saigon Deli sign photo. Damn you tease comb! 

Sandwich #3. The Tofu. Saigon deli's bread is was little bit more dense but still pretty perfect. Crunchy and soft. The tofu bahn mi had big chunks of fried tofu smothered in a spicy sweet tomato sauce kind of like banana ketchup. Plus the pickled daikon and carrot. Super yummy.

Sandwich #4. The Meatball. I love me some Vietnamese meatballs. I always get them in my pho. The balls were juicy and porky tastiness. They were doused in the same yummy red sauce that the tofu was. They almost tasted like Swedish meatballs (which I also love). Two thumbs up.

The last stop on our sandwich hunt was The New Saigon Deli. Right around the corner from Saigon Deli. They have nothing to do with each other except for sharing the name (mostly). By the time we arrived at New Saigon the lunch swarms had pretty much disappeared. Greeted by two with frowns by two little Vietnamese girls we ordered a few sandwiches and some Pineapple bubble tea minus the bubbles. Once again, after sandwiches were ordered everyone was all smiles. A bit less frills and ambiance at New Saigon but delicious all the same.

New Saigon Deli! "What's this green sticky stuff?" K wonders.

Sandwich #5. The Ham Combination with Paté. The bread at New Saigon is a little bit harder and crispier than the other two but I liked it a lot. The cold cuts were salty and tasty. Not very spicy but super flavorful. I love Vietnamese paté. Yummy porky spread. So good.

Sandwich #6. The Chicken. The shredded chicken was a little dry but super tasty. By the time we got to this sandwich we were just about to explode. This was a super tasty sandwich but we had run out of something to drink and at the brink of bahn mi overkill.

Once we nabbed all of our sandwiches we went over to Kobe Terrace park. As we ate our sandwiches we also realized that it was crack corner and hooker central. We witnessed many drug deals and blow jobs behind the bushes. So much free entertainment. Dinner and a show. 

K and and probably a crackhead lurking in the bushes. Bubble tea! Tastier than crack!

So there you go. Bahn Mi Fest 2012. We had a great time eating way too many sandwiches and wished it would never end. At least until the crack whore started to yell creepy things. Oh ID, I love you. xoxo

Monday, August 6, 2012

Birthday Beef.

Ribeye au Poivre with Heirloom Sun Gold Salad

So a few weeks ago it was my cute lil' wife's birthday. She craved seafood but her special day landed on a Sunday and the idea of eating three to four day old fish was less than ideal. Nobody likes the taste of smelly old decaying flounder. Her next favorite thing; steak. A big juicy slab-o-meat. All dark and crusty on the outside and pink and juicy on the inside (keep your mind out of the gutter you nasty bargain bin, dollar store porn freaks). Okay, I just grossed myself out. Anyways, I'm not a huge steak eater. I can go all cave girl once in a while when I crave a hunk of cow but I'd much rather have a burger over a steak most of the time. 

When I was little the few times my parents took us out for steaks I'd order a plate of shrimps. I was that girl. The shrimp girl at the steakhouse. I do remember one time though when I had my first bite of a properly cooked, butter injected steak off my dad's plate (I think it was at an Outback steakhouse when they first became aces (that's Aussie slang for hot shit). I would come away from there from the Land of the Meat Down Under thinking "hey mate, maybe I do love steak" until the next time working class cuts of steak were killed to death on our backyard grill. My ten year old brain came to terms with the fact that fancy steaks and tasty lobsters were rich people food (or very special occasion food) and hamburgers and pre-cooked, frozen shrimps were working class people food. Sure there's a little grey area to be found in there but at the time I searched for answers and truth.

My cat Clara loves laying under garbage. She also loves steak.

Now that I'm all grown up (yeah right) and a chef and whatnot I can cook a bad-ass steak at home. I love me some of the cheap cut meats but they just need a little more love. Plus if you can, it's nice to occasionally plunk down a wad of cash for some fanciness. For K's birthday I picked up some beautiful, local ribeyes. I sat them on the counter for an hour to come to room temperature. I put a cast iron skillet on the stove and cranked the burner to high. I lightly rubbed the steaks with some canola oil and seasoned both sides more than liberally with kosher salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper. Once the pan was screaming hot I placed the steaks down on the pan. Two and a half minutes later I flipped them (using tongs) and let them cook on the other side for two and a half minutes more. After 5 minutes of totally cooking time I pulled the steaks off and let them sit on a cutting board for 15 minutes. Do not even dare cut into the steaks prior to that resting time. That would be a serious meat crime and all of the meat juice would leak out of your steak leaving you dried up, expensive garbage.

So while the steaks were resting I turned the heat down a little and poured a little sherry and a bit of crushed black peppercorn into the pan. I scraped up some of the tasty steak fond (the dark crusty bit stuck to the pan). As the sherry reduced a tiny bit I poured in a little veal demi-glace and fresh chopped thyme. Over medium high heat I let the sauce thicken for about 4 minutes. Once the sauce thickened I added a bit of butter to finish the sauce. The steaks were so huge we only had a half a steak each. Served up with a heirloom sun gold tomatoes and a organic mixed greens salad.

Banana split!

After dinner I made K a banana split topped with homemade balsamic strawberry compote and dark chocolate sauce. Yum!