Tasting Seattle for the first time…

Hello, good morning, happy Monday and a big old bear hug of a welcome from me to you on the other side of the world! No, you’ve not read that sentence wrong…thanks to the time difference, while the majority of you gorgeous readers are slumbering away over the next 3 weeks, I have taken it upon myself in the selfless sort of manner you’re no doubt used to by now to sample the food, drink, flavours and trends of the West Coast of the United States.

Over the next few weeks, there will be posts about all things edible from the western seaboard of a country well known for its super sizes and super exciting advances in the culinary world. From food trucks to diners to mom-and-pop places to must visit restaurants, I’ll be sharing a little of America’s best known treats and well kept secrets and I hope you’ll let me know what you think and if there’s anything you think I should be looking out for along the way.

Oh and if there are any sceptics out there among you who doubt that the US has much in the way to be proud of when it comes to food, did you know that without the glorious triumvirate of North, Central & South America we wouldn’t have avocados, chilli peppers, chocolate, peanuts, potatoes or vanilla? For that, I think we can forgive them Pop Tarts, spray cheese in a can and a ‘healthy fruit smoothie’ containing more sugar than 8 pints of Ben & Jerry’s…

First stop on this whirlwind of all things delicious? Seattle. So what springs to mind when you think of the Emerald City?

Coffee?

Rain?

Grunge?

Let me assure you, there’s a whole lot more to it than these three wired, soggy and emotive things and one of them is Pike Place Market. Open since 1907 and welcoming in excess of 10m visitors per year, this market houses more than 500 residents in 8 different buildings and has a huge variety of fresh produce, baked goods, seasonal flowers, singing vendors and enough things to see and taste to keep the fussiest of tourists happy.

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Full on feasting at the altar of Chipotle…

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What do the Culinary Institute of American and the fast Mexican food chain Chipotle have in common? The first produced the man who produced the second.

Steve Ells started Chipotle in 1993 after attending the renowned US cooking school and completing a subsequent stint as a line cook in San Francisco, an area infamous for burritos especially in the Mission district and you know what? The more I learn about both Steve and his ethos, the more I like. For instance, did you know that they only have 5 items on the menu because Ells believes that ‘it’s important to keep the menu focused, because if you do just a few things, you can ensure that you do them better than anybody else.’

I. Love. That.

Seriously, in a world where growth often come at a cost, be it financial or ethical, isn’t this kind of a great thing to believe? That it’s better to be known for being the best at one or two, or in Steve’s case five things, rather than being just ok at thirty?

Or how about this for a fact with which to dazzle your peers – did you know that there are no freezers, microwaves or tin openers in any Chipotle kitchen? So wait, if you can’t freeze it, reheat it or get it from a can, where does it come from? It’s fresh! Woo hoo!

Now I’m not going to go all out and suggest that a burrito a day is the way forward (although my inner fatty is just taking a moment now to imagine how freaking fabulous that would be) because burritos are large. I mean seriously big. Often the size of your arm, sometimes the size of a 6 month old baby, with the potential to deliver 1000+ calories per portion it’s not like they’re pushing spinach or blueberries off their superfood podia BUT let’s remember that just as there are bad calories, there are also good and anything that has beans, onions, peppers, avocado, lean meat and brown rice in it can’t be all bad.

Plus, and don’t even get me started on personal accountability although it looks like it might be too late for that, aren’t we all big enough and ugly enough to take on board the facts and make a decision for ourselves? Yes, if you eat a burrito a day you will end up being very large, very uncomfortable and not someone to stand upwind of but that would be your choice. YOUR CHOICE. Y’know how Chris Rock said that guns don’t kill people, bullets do? That’s kind of how I feel about food. Everything in moderation people. Coca Cola and Krispy Kreme won’t kill you but ingesting excessive amounts of their most calorific, fate and sugar laden products might. What you put into your body is your choice and yes, it might be bad for you but it didn’t force its way in like Watson’s nightmare cake scene from the ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ now did it? Read More

Pairing the virtuous with the sinful…a lusciously layered quinoa and black bean bake…

There’s something quite satisfying about finding something new to try that’s delicious and good for you because let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen. Often the things we like are the things that if succumbed to on a regular basis will push us slowly towards diabetes, obesity or the potential for a motorised scooter. Often the things that are good for us are the things that if succumbed to on a regular basis will push us towards utter boredom, total frustration and complete starvation.

Not this time kids. Oh no. This amazing recipe from pinchofyum.com takes so many things that are good for us, incorporates them all together in one big pot and invites you to stick your face into its consummate delightfulness.

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