Friday, September 3, 2010
The Crumpet Shop
1503 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
Located within the Pike Place Market, this quaint little shop was one of the highlights of my Seattle trip, and therefore, deserving of its own post. I'd never had crumpets prior to this visit, but I had read and drooled over Gastronomer's post on them when she went to Seattle. She loved them so much that she came back and promptly purchased some crumpet rings to make her own crumpets.
I realize of course that crumpets are not synonymous with Seattle, but some Seattleites were smart enough to open a crumpet shop serving good crumpets in Seattle, something that should exist in every city.
For those of you who've never had a crumpet, I would describe them as a cross between a pancake and an American English muffin. When you bite into the crumpet, the inside looks like a pancake with its little airholes within the batter. It tastes similar to a pancake, but is chewier, firmer and denser, and slightly salty. It is treated very much the way we treat our English muffins: can be eaten like a sandwich, topped with eggs and ham, spread with jam, etc.
The shop is quite small, but has a smattering of seats throughout, as well as some seats outdoors. No matter what time of day, this place seems to be packed. The staff is really friendly and always willing to describe what a crumpet is. You can watch the crumpets being made from the outside window as well.
On our first visit, we chose to order one sweet and one savory crumpet. You can watch as the employees make the crumpets after you order them.
We sampled a pesto, tomato and mozzarella cheese one. I'm a huge fan of anything pesto, so I liked this. The crumpet was toasted so it was nice and crunchy. The pesto, tomato and cheese went nicely with the crumpet. BF absolutely adored this one.
Our next one was a sweet one: topped with ricotta cheese, honey and slices of almonds. I've recently had a thing for honey and love things with honey. So of course, this was perfect for me. The ricotta cheese helped to counter the sweetness of the honey and everything worked well together. I was surprised at how well the crumpet batter worked with both savory and sweet toppings.
BF found this one a little too sweet and preferred the pesto one.
We had arrived here for a quick snack before our Pike Place eating tour, so we didn't want to eat too much. But after devouring our two crumpets, we wanted more. BF especially wanted another one. One thing we learned on this trip is that walking really works up an appetite. One of the nice things about Seattle is that the bus travels anywhere downtown for free. But we chose to walk to most of our destinations as it let us see more and the walk wasn't too bad. We soon discovered that we were able to consume quite a bit more food than we usually can.
So we chose a third crumpet, this one topped with pesto infused eggs. Again, it tasted delicious.
We loved The Crumpet shop so much that we came back our last morning in Seattle to pick up some crumpets to go (they sell packages of them to go, but only if they have enough), and to eat a few more final crumpets.
We again ordered the pesto tomato crumpet.
We also tried the ricotta and boysenberry preserves crumpet.
We left quite happy with our last meal. I munched on the bag of crumpets we got to go. They tasted good even plain, though I prefer them toasted and with some sort of spread.
Friday, September 3, 2010
I love vanilla bean desserts. And I love seeing the little specks of vanilla bean, especially in vanilla ice cream. But vanilla beans are expensive. So I normally don't bake with them, instead opting to use vanilla extract. Then I found out about vanilla bean paste, which is a blend of the two, and contains real vanilla beans, so that when you use it, you will have little flecks of vanilla bean in your desserts. The taste of the vanilla bean paste is stronger than vanilla extract too.
I purchased my vanilla bean paste from amazon. I purchased the.LorAnn Extracts Natural Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste.
You use the vanilla bean paste the same as you would use vanilla extract, and use the same measurements.
After my vanilla bean paste arrived, I thought about what I wanted to bake. I wanted something that would show off the flecks. Week of menus has made a vanilla bean mochi cake. I didn't use the same mochi recipe, instead I stuck to the mochi cake recipe I usually use, but I got the idea of vanilla bean mochi from her.
I love the little specks which show when you cut the mochi into squares. The vanilla flavor comes out wonderfully with this paste. I can't want to make more vanilla bean desserts.
Vanilla Bean Mochi
1 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. baking powder
16 oz. box Mochiko flour
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
Preheat over to 350 F. Cream the butter with sugar.
2. Beat in the evaporated milk to the butter/sugar mixture.
3. Beat eggs into the mixture.
4. Beat in the rice flour, baking powder and vanilla bean paste.
5. Pour batter into a 9x 13 inch pan.
6. Bake for about 1 hour, until an inserted toothpick comes out
7. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Pho Cow Cali Express
9170 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126
In my search for a new go to Vietnamese pho spot, several people recommended I try Pho Cow Cali Express. After looking it up, I am surprised I didn’t try this place sooner. It’s quite highly rated and popular on yelp.
So this weekend, off we went to try Pho Cow. When we got there, there was a waiting list. This was the first time I’d been to a pho place with a wait. Luckily, the wait was only a few minutes, and soon we were seated.
Everyone pretty much stuck to their standard order.
We also ordered some eggrolls. The eggrolls came out pretty as a picture. Each eggroll was fried a nice golden color. The eggrolls here are a bit longer than the ones I get at most places. They use the chinese wrapper, which I know isn’t authentic, but I like it anyway. The filling was just right. Not too salty. Not too bland. Out of all the pho places I’ve tried the last few months, these were my favorite eggrolls.
We all ordered some variation of the pho, so the pictures would look pretty much the same, so I only took a few.
The garnishes included the saw leaf herb, which I love using.
One thing I noticed about the pho here is that there was a lot of meat. Usually, I only get a few pieces of the rare steak, but I got quite a bit here. The broth was pretty flavorful too. The only bad thing was the tripe, which was so hard, it was barely edible.
Overall, I really enjoyed this place. I can see why it is so popular. I wish they hadn’t overcooked the tripe, but this has been the best pho place I’ve had in a while. It may become my new go-to spot, but there are a few others I need to check out first.
After I paid, I saw on that with my receipt I could get a frozen yogurt next door for .25/oz. I am always up for a new frozen yogurt place. I loved how cute the character/mascot was for Yogurt Swirl. It looks a bit like a hamster character.
This place had a lot of my favorite flavors including green tea, taro, and coconut. They also had my multi colored mochi bites.