Last Days in Seattle

I’m on my way back to South Dakota now–on a few-hour layover in the Denver airport.

The past couple of days have been wonderful–visiting farmers markets and museums, seeing the sights, cooking, and eating, eating, eating.  I also took a little time out to photograph my dear friend Matt–both in his studio and in his apartment.

Deciding which pieces go in the show...

Deciding which pieces go in the show...

Matt is a writer and a resin artist.  He’s also a fabulous dessert chef.

I got to eat two different types of the sorbet he makes while I was visiting–the first was straight blackberry from the berries we picked in the alley, the second a farmers market peach and alley blackberry with five-spice that was beyond incredible.  I hope we get to read about it on Cookrookery.

Reflective moment

Reflective moment

Here’s Matt again.  Isn’t he handsome? And he’s single, too, guys.  I’m just sayin’.

We only ate at one place twice (discounting the eating at home, which I’ll get to in a minute), and that was the little neighborhood hotspot Volunteer Park Cafe.  We ate there for breakfast on Friday and for lunch on Saturday.

The food was so good, the atmosphere so lively, and the service so friendly, I literally got misty-eyed.  I also ate a LOT.  We ordered family-style, which means we each ordered a dish, plus a third dish to try as well.  The second day we did that, AND we ordered a cup of soup to round it out.

The strata and quiche were excellent, the breakfast sandwich was rustic and hearty, the pulled pork sandwich was creamy and tangy awesomeness.  But the banana French toast?  Good God.  It completely blew me away.

I don’t regularly order sweet things because I don’t like how so many sweets are just and only that–sweet, but with no flavor.  The crispy brioche bread steeped in orange-scented custard, with candied pecans and slices of banana was just about the best breakfast I’ve ever eaten.

OK. OK.  But we did also eat at home–last night, and Friday night, after visiting the Madrona Farmers Market.

Me in Matt's kitchenWe picked up a smattering of good things at the market–the peaches that went into sorbet, plus a few different heirloom tomatoes to try, a red butterhead lettuce, a little fennel, a bunch of golden beets, a Ginger Gold apple, some shallots.  Most of the produce we bought was from Local Roots–friendly farmer-vendors who I’d seen at the Queen Anne market as well.

Beets and fennel beforeI roasted the beets and the fennel bulb with salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of brown sugar.  When they came out of the oven, I added some apple chunks as well.

Top: Oxheart, Right: Green Zebra, Bottom: Cosmonaut Volkov

Top: Oxheart, Right: Green Zebra, Bottom: Cosmonaut Volkov

Then I sliced up the heirloom tomatoes (well, three of them–the black plum I ate at the market).  Matt admitted to me he’d never done a tomato tasting this way before.  In fact, he admitted he didn’t even LIKE raw tomatoes as a kid.  Oh, my my (shaking my head).

The Oxheart had a good, standard tomato flavor with nice depth.  Cosmonaut Volkov was way to mild for my taste, and Green Zebra was so-so until we added a sprinkle of sea salt.  Then it came alive with tangy flavor.

I’d been hoping someone around my area would grow Green Zebra and let me try it, but that hadn’t happened.  Now I’m putting it on my list for next year’s tomato patch.  Yum!

We did some other fun stuff as well during those last few days besides cooking and eating, I swear.  And I took some more touristy images, too:

RIP Seattle Post-Intelligencer

RIP Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Red Dog and Space NeedleHow did that Space Needle get in there? I swear I wasn’t gonna shoot it…

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