April 4th 3.0: mkt.

April 4th 3.0: mkt.

Ethan Stowell is beloved, down to earth kind of guy.  He owns 9 restaurants and 1 pizzeria all in Seattle.  He will be opening 3 more this year.  Yes, he is beloved and down to earth kind of guy, but he is also crazy.

He is crazy about food.  He is crazy about connection and relationships between food and people who eat his food.  Most of his restaurants are intimate settings.  Some have community table and some only seat 30 people or so.  Kitchens are not hidden, usually open.  Today is April 4th and it is a special day for me.  Archie was successful not to disclose where he was taking me this last Saturday night until we were almost there.

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Here is mkt.in Meridian neighborhood near Green Lake in Seattle.  When I opened the door, first thing you see is an small and open kitchen with 5-seat counter.  Very close to people sitting next to you.  We were seated right in front of Alvin. Perfect.  I was able to see what he was cooking and how he prepares the meal.  His expression and his voice.  I was feeling his and his crew’s energy flowing through this intimate restaurant.  They use Pacific Northwest Ingredients.  Alvin puts lots of care and just right amount of Jaconsen Salt and care.  American fare without any pretentiousness.  Great balance of boldness and sensitivities.

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My favorite restaurants always have great balance of 3-pillars, chef, service crew, food.   This place has food and chef covered.  OK, service crew.  Awesome.  Seth was our crew who tended to our  table and he was so much fun, cracking jokes, laughing with us, fist-bumping us, and cursing appropriately (yes, we curse a lot).  He is one of those people you actually want to eat dinner and share a bottle of red wine with.

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I am happy to say I found another excellent Seattle eatery that I want to go back many times more.  My April 4th was fulfilled with joy.

60-degree weather:  Il Corvo, Pioneer Square, Seattle

60-degree weather:  Il Corvo, Pioneer Square, Seattle

This place seats 38 people.  You share your table with strangers.  It only opens 4 hours a day from 11am.  It’s jam packed and you feel like canned anchovy.  They only serve 3 kinds of pasta with a few kinds of appetizers. No desserts, no after lunch coffee.  The line gets long at 11:10am.  They have rules how you eat there.  Be in line for a while, order at this tiny counter, find your table, bus your table, exit.  You get tempted to find your table first then be in line.  No, you don’t do that here.

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It’s mid 60’s today and sunny in Seattle.  It was just perfect to get out.  My co-worker and I hopped on to the “lunch shuttle” from our office building to Pioneer Square and headed to Il Corvo.  We got there 11:10am and there already was a line.  We waited in about 15 minutes or so and we were out of there by 11:55am.  Inside of the restaurant is rustic and welcoming.  Reclaimed wood tables and old wooden floor and vintage pasta machines as interior décor.  Totally my kind of place.  I had torchiette (short pasta) with house made pancetta, sugar snap peas, and parmesan cheese.  Savory, sweet, slightly tangy, delicious.  Perfect amount as well.

Thanks to the gorgeous weather and my co-worker Yumi to make me get out.  I feel like I had a real quick trip to Italy during my lunch hour.

Not Too Odd (actually quite nice): Oddfellows Cafe + Bar

Not Too Odd (actually quite nice):  Oddfellows Cafe + Bar

Rustic, funky, vintagey, hip and eclectic. All of it.

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This place is one of a few cafes where you want to spend for hours.  One of those places you get immediately comfortable and hanging out with hip crowd.  Oddfellows Café is located inside of Oddfellows building, built in 1908 (my house is built in the same year!).  This café still has original old wooden floors, bricks and windows and offers rustic and environmentally sustainable fare.

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Please sit for hours when you visit here.  You will enjoy music, handcrafted espresso drinks, dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and lots of charm.  This is one of places I proudly can say “very Seattle” – rustic, funky, vintagey, hip and eclectic

Musician, Author or Rocky?: No, she is Emily Crawford Dann

Musician, Author or Rocky?:  No, she is Emily Crawford Dann

Have you ever been disappointed in a second album of a particular musician who released a phenomenal 1st record?  I have many times.  How about writers?  His/her 1st book was so damn good and you can’t stand the second book?  Or the movie “Rocky,” which I don’t think I need to explain.

Emily Crawford Dann is not a musician or author who produces a disappointing 2nd creation or Rocky.  She is a law school graduate, bright, very sincere, calm, fun, knowledgeable, thoughtful and beautiful.  This is a story about her and her restaurant, The Corson Building.  http://www.thecorsonbuilding.com/

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One night in February 2012, somewhere around 9:30pm, he and I were driving through Georgetown on Corson Avenue in Seattle after checking out a couple of venues that we considered having a party with a small group of close friends and family.  We were looking for something quaint, classy, vintagie and yet fun.  We were not quite excited about both places and were tired, and so headed home.  We stopped at red light.  I looked out to the window and I saw this quaint, classy and vintagie place tucked away on Corson Ave, and I let him know.  As soon as he saw that place, he flipped a U-turn and got out of the car.   We hesitantly opened the gate and looked inside the building.  We could see someone in the back of the building so we approached the back door and poked our heads in.  It was a gorgeous, organized and stunning kitchen.  Pots and pans hanged from the ceiling. Utensils and kitchen tools were on one side and plates on the other.  And unmatched silverwares!  I fell in love with that kitchen with just a glance.  Then this soft-spoken, elegant looking women, with a gorgeous smile and apron said, “Do you want to take a look inside?  Come on in”. As soon as I heard her voice and encountered her graceful manner, I decided this place was it.  It must have been the same for him because I remember him saying, “We don’t need to look further.”

the back of The Corson Building

Last night, we went to a “Seafood Chowder” dinner at this place.  I repeat, she is not a musician, author who produces disappointing 2nd creation or Rocky.  We’ve been to her restaurant countless times and she and her creations never disappoint.

When we had a dinner party in October 2012, the only request I had for Emily was no carrots (because I do not like carrot so much).  I had so much trust in her and I didn’t request anything else because I wanted to have HER food, not our modified version.  Of course, she delivered beautifully.

Emily is Seattle’s treasure.  She loves ingredients and has a strong emotional connection to food and those who enjoy food.  In fact, every time I taste what she makes, my heart starts aching.  She uses a mix of many kinds of spices but it never loses its original flavor of ingredients.  Her food makes you want to use all of your feelings, emotions and senses.

If you ever have a chance to visit Seattle, this is the place that should be first on your list.

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What is Hama Hama?: PNW Treasure

What is Hama Hama?: PNW Treasure

2-year residency in Atlanta, Georgia was quite tough for me.  It was challenging to find fresh and organic produce (maybe I was not looking hard enough?) and seafood!  Oh seafood…you have no idea how much I missed the fish market in Seattle when I was in ATL.  They are available there of course, but there is no denying that northern ocean water produces finer seafood, especially shellfish.

This small vendor at the farmers market that I mentioned a couple times before in my blog offers seasonal shellfish.  This past Saturday, they had 2 kinds of clams (one of them is called Happy Clam!) and a variety of oysters.  The name of the vendor is “Hama Hama Oysters and they grow Hama Hama oysters at their farm.  Isn’t that such a fun sound, Hama Hama?  I just want to repeat saying that.

http://hamahamaoysters.com/

I purchased one jar packed with 7 x medium size Hama Hama from granddaughter of the founder of this oyster farm in Lilliwaup, Washington near Olympic National Forrest.  It was shucked and packed that morning and I was there 9:30 in the morning, which tells me the oysters are incredibly fresh.  I didn’t want to add too many condiments because I wanted to taste the intense sea water and umami-packed sweet flavors spreading through my mouth (I was already salivating when purchasing them).

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Straight up Hama Hama Oysters without lot of seasonings

1)      Rinse gently

2)      Place them in cast iron pot

3)      Drizzle olive oil and add a bit of sea salt and splash or dry white wine

4)      Put the lid on and cook about 5 min (no need to touch, just let your pot do its job)

5)      Add little bit of fresh lemon

6)      Yay!

Accompaniment was lightly steamed leek with butter and salt.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Hama Hama.  This is your magic word of winter (or all year around).  Hama Hama, Hama Hama….

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