Seattle Dessert Wish List: January 2017

Back in June, here’s what I wished for in the Seattle dessert scene:

  • Icebox cakes
  • More proper sundae/parfait shops
  • More desserts on food trucks
  • Tiny everything
  • More creative flavors

What happened? Well, some of them. And I’ll take that.

More creative flavors are happening. Phorale is totally on a mission to put shaved Japanese KitKats on everything. And apparently really into horchata. I’m seeing more flavor combinations, more testing of ideas. (And I can’t forget Soi’s roti brunch awesomeness.)

More sundae shops are sort of happening. I want to see what happens with Frankie & Jo’s and The Central District Ice Cream Company. I’m super hopeful.

Below the fold, have my dessert wishes for 2017: Read more

Best food I ate in 2016

It’s 2017! Time to finally write up my top list of 2016 food.

I’ve been trying to write a list up for a bit now, and failing. You see, I’m a picky dessert eater, but I also love lots of desserts. Here’s a short list of some of the things I ate and loved in 2016 (it would be a lot longer if I thought about it more):

Eclair, Patisserie Madeline, Edinburgh. Holy freaking crud that eclair was a thing of beauty. (Also, more eclairs need to be topped with crispy chocolate. Just saying.) We may go back to Edinburgh just to eat it. No joke. Not like the lemon cremeux was anything to sneeze at, but that eclair was glorious.

Read more

East versus West: the best bubble tea in Bellevue versus Seattle

Seattle has a fair amount of bubble tea places. (Well, compared to five years ago. We’re still not at Vancouver levels.) But what’s the best place?

Personally, I have two – and one’s in Bellevue.

Okay, this is super subjective, because what makes for a good bubble tea? Honestly, whatever you like. Here’s what *I* like:

  • A moderate chew on the tapioca (and I’ll pretty much take any topping but coffee jelly)
  • 50-60% sugar in general, 75% for black sugar
  • The option to go as low as unsweetened when I feel like it
  • A clear tea flavor, with milky sweetness

Is there a ‘winner’? No. They’re both good, and I like them for different reasons. Young Tea doesn’t replace Drive Thru Boba, and vice versa. I’m mainly hoping you get to try them both and see what you think.

Read more

Eating the sights: Portland

A while back I went to Portland, but I never gave it a proper roundup post. So here it is! Yay!

Some notes on Portland:

  • Downtown is flat. This is going to confuse most Seattle visitors. It’s… flat! And vaguely walkable! You’re not going to get a huge workout going east two blocks! You’re going to want to walk everywhere just to say you walked it all.
  • Getting past downtown on foot is a haul. THOSE BRIDGES. If you’re leaving downtown, get a bus or Uber. Something. I was dealing with walking limitations at the time, and it was seriously a challenge to get just to Ranger Chocolate.
  • Food truck pods = ALL THE FOOD. A pod is more like a ring of small stands rather than a handful of trucks. You may lack seating space, but you won’t care because for once in your life there are 30+ options for a snack.
  • Coffee shops are often baking awesome stuff. I felt like I was getting as good baked goods as some of the bakeries just by wandering into coffee shops and seeing what looked tasty.
  • No one seemed to know that foxglove was poisonous. I saw a place with a foxglove bouquet right above the stand mixer. As a restoration ecologist I was super uncomfortable.

Here’s the good stuff, in alphabetical order: Read more

Vancouver: eating the sights

I finally got Chris to Vancouver – may it be the first trip of many! Vancouver is lovely, has a walkable downtown, and has desserts that fill some of the gaps we have in Seattle. (Mainly Chinese/Japanese/SEA desserts, but still. We’re barely covering things like shave ice and bubble waffles, so this was a giant waffle spree.)

First, some tips for Seattle peeps heading up to Vancouver:

  • There’s no Uber. Or Lyft. Seattle non-driving types are very used to having app-based taxi options. And, welp, there are none. We did use taxis, and weren’t super excited about the effort involved with trying to coordinate them.
  • But! It’s super walkable. So many little walking trails. And while we didn’t use the buses, the water taxi is a nice way to trek about the south shore of downtown.
  • Robson Street has all the bubble waffles. You’re welcome.
  • Dessert areas are even more clustered than Seattle. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I do suggest researching places you want to visit, then choosing your hotel if you’re going on a culinary trek. (We didn’t and somehow lucked out on being so close to all the bubble waffles. Next time I’ll plan that far more carefully.)

Now what you care about: the sweets. I hope you get to try some! Read more

Eating the sights: Scotland

Chris and I went to Scotland earlier this year with one real goal: eat the tasty things. And while this visit we only got to check out Edinburgh and Glasgow, we still managed to get a fair number of treats in.

Notes on Glasgow/Edinburgh:

  • It is so worth ignoring the reviews and seeing what looks good. Yes, reviews help, but we found the awesome Kember & Jones by accident. (Its reviews weren’t even popping up in my searches.)
  • A lot of stuff closes early in the winter. As in, the conservatories in the Glasgow Royal gardens close at 4 pm.
  • Weather definitely varies. I think we experienced the calmest visit ever, with only some light drizzling, but the wind chill is very, very real. Be prepared.
  • It is super easy to train hop between Glasgow and Edinburgh. So do it!
  • It’s not the most friendly walking if you’re dealing with limited mobility. I resprained my ankle in a too conveniently foot-sized ditch in Glasgow. If you’re dealing with limited mobility, the main/High streets are pretty good, but walking about can be steep/not under the greatest maintenance.

Want to know what we ate? Read on. Read more

Frozen cookie dough and galettes: eating the London Plane freezer

I know The London Plane gets tons of love online and on Instagram. I just rarely see any discussion of their freezer.

Sure, the whole place is a homage to pretty things that could go on Instagram. Pretty plates, pretty flowers, pretty croissants in pretty rows. And yet I still think the fridge section is where it’s at. It’s like they decided to sell all sorts of fancy wonderful things that fancy chefs and bakers might want for a party. Read more

How to get Tokara’s wagashi every day

Tokara is one of my favorite local confectioners. Her wagashi are so delicate! And so pretty! And since they’re seasonal, it always feels like a nod to the present.

Thing is, they’re kind of hard to get. Her shop’s only open one or two days a month – in fact, the last open house of the year is on December 18th. And it’s a bit complex to get an order in, since you need to call and reserve a box. (I wrote a blog post on how to get them because I was get asked so often about it.)

If you can’t get there on the 18th, fear not! Tokara doesn’t only sell direct. She has other places that sell her treats, and most get weekly deliveries. So where are they, and how can you get them? Read on. Read more

Beginner chocolate: the start of something delicious

So you’ve had Hersheys, Lindt, Ghirardelli. And while you know there’s more out there in chocolate, but dang, those $10-$14 bars? Where do you even start? What’s a beginner chocolate?

If you’re in Seattle, you go to the NW Chocolate Festival and taste everything. Since the Festival’s over (and/or you’re not in Seattle), have some chocolate brands to sink your teeth into. These are all brands that I regularly eat and/or make friends eat. Because I care.

I’m listing these bars in order of price, because that’s probably how you’re going to start buying. I do think the more expensive bars are worth trying eventually, but I also completely understand that a $10 bar can be scary for a budget. You go at your own pace.

Theo Chocolate

chocolate-2

Price per bar: $4-$6

Where to get in Seattle: Pretty much every grocery store in town, Theo retail shop

Why this brand: It’s cheap (I regularly find it on sale for $2/bar), it’s consistent, and they have a lot of inclusion bars and a decent range of percentages. And the factory store has tons of samples and is always trying something new. (Last time I was in the store they were testing out root beer chocolate.)

Bars to try: Sea salt 70%, Pure 70%, Pure 45% if you’re feeling nervous about dark chocolate. Read more

December 5-11 Event Megapost

Normally I post food events up on Twitter. It’s a thing I can’t really put on Instagram, and a bit ends up on my mailing list as well, so you get a bite of what’s going on around town. This week, though, even with pre-scheduling stuff (I’ve been sick for three weeks; you’d do that too) I’m running out of space. There’s simply too much going on to try and keep track of it all via tweets.

So here you go: an event megapost! Rejoice in all the random tasty desserts. There’s even a tofu pudding pop-up at the UW!

(If there’s an event I’ve missed that you think needs to be up on here, let me know! I’m one human wading through event pages.)

Monday, December 5

Read more