Ooh, my favorite!

Douglas Fir tea
December 10, 2012, 10:20 am
Filed under: Clean, Drinks, Green, Health, Seattle

Douglas Fir tea

This isn’t just a holiday tea, in fact Douglas Fir tips are usually harvested in the spring when they’re young and tender, but there’s something so undeniably festive about enjoying this tea now. If you geek out over the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree, then you’ll probably die from pure bliss when you get your hands on this stuff.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like a tree; instead it’s very light and clean with aromatics that smell like the sweet notes of a forest. Simply put, it’s one of the most lovely and comforting teas I have ever sipped. And since the tips are harvested from Pacific Northwest tress, every Seattleite should be drinking it.

Picture 4

Tea for two:

3 to 4 cups boiling water (depending on how concentrated you’d like it), two tea bags. Steep for 10 minutes.

Get it from the makers at Juniper Ridge. 20 unbleached tea bags per tin, $12.

Please, please, please…if you do one thing this season be sure to steep yourself a cup of this amazing tea.

Francois Pinon Vouvray
September 20, 2012, 12:47 pm
Filed under: Bubbly, Drinks, Yes please

As much as I love a nice cold glass of bubbly, and as often as I sneak it into lunches/dinner/just because, I really should be sharing my favorites here more often. I’m not a connoisseur in any way, but I do have strong opinions about what I like and why. So here we go…

This is my other favorite bubbly, next to the Rose d’Orfeuilles that I posted before. This is the François Pinon Vouvray Brut Petillant Non-Dose, but we just call it Vouvray. Tart, but not sour, this chenin blanc grape wine has a lovely minerality but also hints of citrus rind and honey. And perhaps my favorite feature, the beading (bubbles, effervescence, etc.) is off the charts amazing and endorphin-inducing. It is pure elegance.

This is an organically grown and harvested wine, but another really cool feature is that new plantings are selected from the farm and not from a nursery, so the genetic make-up of the vines remains consistent from year to year. Also, the Non-Dose means that there is no sugar added during fermentations or during bottling.

One really important thing to note I realized just last night when we did a little experiment. This particular wine is best served in a flute and NOT A COUPE! As much as I love my coupes, only the flute is able to maintain the elegant beading of this wine. With the wide surface area of the coupe the effervescence is lost and the taste profile changes so quickly. Trust me and stick to the flute.

I usually head down the hill and grab this from Bar Ferd’nand, but you can also buy online here. $23.



Agate slice trivets
August 23, 2012, 11:36 am
Filed under: Drinks, Entertaining, Home

I’ve never quite understood the whole coaster thing; perhaps because I eat dinner at my coffee table where there are no rules as to what can be placed atop, or because I love my linen cocktail napkins. So really what it comes down to is that I have never had a need for a coaster set. But then I saw these referred to as trivets and that was something I could understand. And what perfect timing as my guy and I were just talking about looking for a trivet. This is probably not what he had in mind but perhaps I can sneak a couple into the kitchen anyway. They range between 5-6″ so as a single it’s perfect for my teapot or his Chemex coffee, or for larger pieces a few of them might be needed. From Leif $20 each.


Berry soda
August 13, 2012, 10:50 am
Filed under: Drinks, Farmer's Market

Quick and easy berry soda

I’ve been going berry crazy at the farmer’s market the past few weekends, but with our extra warm weather they barely last the ride home. I needed a quick and dirty way to enjoy them after they were slightly past their prime– and by that I mean the very next day. You could boil them down, make a syrup, strain it, blah, blah, but I like the big bits of fresh berries and seeds. If you’re really not into the seeds you could strain them I suppose, but this really is a one jar kinda deal.

The touch of rose water adds a lightly fragrant note to the berries, but be careful not to add too much! Just a few drops is perfect. It’s worth having as a pantry staple, but if you don’t have it don’t worry, it’s not necessary.

1.  All you’ll need: ice, berries, honey, rose water, soda water

2.  Add the berries, spoonful of honey, and a few drops of rose water to a mason jar

3.  Muddle, add the ice and soda water. Sip.

Bangkok Firecracker Martini
June 6, 2012, 11:29 am
Filed under: Drinks, Recipes

 Our Bangkok Firecracker Martini

This is one of our most popular cocktails at the restaurant, and while I’ve shared some testing I’ve done with new liqueurs I figured it was time to share something that I know works. I’ve written this recipe down for dozens of customers, so I know it’s loved, but keep in mind that when I say that it works I mean that it will appeal to a very specific type of person. You’ve gotta love heat, and you’ve gotta love Thai Basil. If that sounds like you then this is your drink.

There’s no way to control the heat from the Thai chili’s as even at the restaurant the batches we get differ drastically from week to week. Aside from the heat level though, the Thai chili has a beautiful floral taste and when paired with the lemon and touch of simple syrup it makes for a surprisingly refreshing drink.


Bangkok Firecracker

makes 1 martini

– 2 Thai chili peppers (bird’s eye chili)

–  10-12 Thai Basil leaves

–  3 oz. Vodka (at the restaurant we use Citron, but a basic one works too)

–  1/2 lemon, juiced

–  Simple syrup to taste (start with about 2-3 tsp)

Muddle the Thai chili peppers and the Thai Basil, then add the simple syrup and lemon juice. Shake over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Note: The simple syrup isn’t meant to make this sweet, but really to balance the heat and the citrus. The great part is that you can add as much as you’d like so start with a few teaspoons and go up from there. You really can’t go wrong. Cheers!

Ginger Lemon Hot Toddy
May 30, 2012, 11:35 am
Filed under: Drinks, Recipes

Cold Buster: Lemon Ginger Hot Toddy

I’m dead sick. The worst kind of sick where your teeth ache and your eyes can’t open all the way. No matter how hard I try to look presentable it’s just not going to happen. So really, the only thing to do is booze it up.

Ok so, the truth is that I haven’t taken over-the-counter medicine in a few years, but really if you think about it, one of the active ingredients in Nyquil is alcohol (along with a ton of other crap you don’t really want). So here’s my version of a Hot Toddy that will soothe a sore a throat, ease a tough cough, and knock you out all while helping to kick the cold with the ginger, lemon, and local honey. So good for you!

Ginger Lemon Hot Toddy

–  1.5 oz whiskey

–  1 slice organic lemon

–  1 slice organic ginger

–  2 tsp local honey

–  hot, boiling water

Steep the lemon and ginger in the water for at least five minutes. Pour into a mug, add the shot of whiskey and honey. Stir. Drink up.

Note: I steep the lemon and ginger in my teapot and will refill with hot water a couple of times. It’s great to sip even without the whiskey. And since we’re focusing on helping our body heal, and ultimately steeping the ingredients in the boiling water, it’s best to use organic produce and local honey (not honey from China).

Rosé d’Orfeuilles Touraine
May 22, 2012, 6:35 am
Filed under: Bubbly, Drinks, Yes please

Domaine d’Orfeuilles Sparkling Touraine Rosé

I don’t much care for liquor, I’m not sure I’ve ever finished a beer, wine makes me sleepy…but oh how I love bubbles. Forget the pretentious stigma (it’s not about looks) it’s about effervescent bubbly bliss in a bottle, and for the perfect one I introduce you to Domaine d’Orfeuilles Sparkling Touraine Rosé.

My guy and I have had a blast tasting and profiling this, and here’s what we’ve got:

With divine hints of wild strawberry and freshly baked shortbread, this 100% Malbec wine sparkles with a dry, crisp taste and a perfect texture that tickles your mouth and nose. I mean, check out those sexy streams of bubbles. It’s a hand-crafted artisan wine that uses the traditional method of fermentation called méthode champenoise where the wine is aged (this one in a limestone cave called a tuffeau) for 2-3 years allowing the traditional second fermentation in the bottle to happen, ultimately creating a more complex wine.

Making the bubbles even more enjoyable are the vineyards sustainable farming methods while also working to transition to organic farming. I’d gladly pay 3x as much for this lovely bottle, but the bubble gods are shining down and luckily the price point is between $15 and $17.

No special occasion needed. Just pop a bottle and à la vôtre (cheers)!

Quick tip for serving: Try serving this particular rosé in a coupe glass rather than a flute. Considering the texture and quality of the bubbles I think it’s best served with more surface area allowing the bubbles to expand outward and not just up. And let’s be honest here, there’s just something magical about a coupe.

Domaine de Canton – Ginger Liqueur
April 30, 2012, 6:30 am
Filed under: Drinks, Food

Domaine de Canton as a champagne cocktail & margarita

Lately I’ve been deep in cocktail testing mode for the restaurant and have been reading about Domaine de Canton, a ginger infused liqueur distilled from cognac. I was super excited to start playing with it, and with the bottle as lovely as it is I figured I couldn’t really go wrong.

Of course, my first test was to try it with champagne. I chose a cuvee brut and added small amounts incrementally hoping to get a nice balance of the ginger with the dryness of the champagne. The problem here was that the sweetness curve rose much more dramatically than the ginger did, so it wasn’t really possible to get the ginger taste I wanted without making it too sweet. While it is aromatic and gingery, the fragrance is just not as exciting or as enticing as St. Germaine; which by the way, I have been referring to as Domaine de Canton’s cousin throughout this process.

Next I tried it as part of a vodka soda and still wasn’t able to get it to successfully take center stage. The sweetness overpowered any chance of true ginger intensity to come through.

Finally realizing it could best be used as a supporting ingredient I tried a margarita and used it in place of Triple Sec or Cointreau. I thought the salt would be a nice balance against the sweet and perhaps it would serve as a “secret-secondary ingredient”; something that you wouldn’t necessarily recognize but could identify as something special. The margarita application was the best so far, but it was still so far from the fresh gingery cocktail I’d been craving.

Here’s the thing:

–  It’s far too sweet. The texture has a viscous quality that is more slippery and syrupy; and aside from the initial fragrance, the first, last, and most predominant taste was sugar. Cloyingly so.

–  While there are hints of ginger in the aroma and taste (and not at all artificial, by the way) it completely lacks that ginger punch and spiciness that, as a ginger-lover, I dearly missed.

This is going to be one for many a mixologists arsenal, but I just can’t jump on the bandwagon. As much as I wanted to love it and share some killer recipes, the level of sweetness and lack of true ginger zing limits its applications.

In case you’re curious to give it a go, here’s how I made the margarita:
Ginger margarita

– Salt for rimming the glass

–  Ice

–  1 lime

– 1.5 oz. Tequila blanco (I used Don Julio)

–  .5 oz Domaine de Canton

– Float of soda water to top-off

  1. Slice the lime in half and from one of the halves slice one small wheel. Cut in half and set aside.
  2. Salt the rim of the glass by rubbing half of the lime and dipping into salt.
  3. Place the small pieces of lime in the bottom of the glass and add the Domaine de Canton. Muddle gently.
  4. Fill with ice.
  5. Add the Tequila, juice from the lime halves, and top with a small float of soda.

%d bloggers like this: