Monday, August 12, 2013

Food in Seattle and Portland!

This summer, Rem and I traveled out west to visit Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon!  We did lots of sightseeing, walking, hiking, and ate wonderful food!  I could go on and on about all of the amazing things we did, and even have about 1,200 pictures to share (I can't wait to start scrapbooking this trip!), but in keeping with the theme of this blog, I'm going to focus on the food.  Being so close to the water, we made sure to eat lots of fresh, local seafood.  With all of the options available to us, I was even able to seek out many paleo/gluten-free friendly restaurants.  In Seattle, we rented an apartment with a full kitchen so we were able to do our own grocery shopping and prepare a lot of our own meals in the apartment.  It was so important to us to be able to do this, because I don't think either of our bodies could have handled eating out EVERY meal.  That being said, we also splurged a little at some well-known local joints that we could just not pass up!  

We stayed about a block from the famous Pike Place Market, Seattle's original farmer's market that was founded in 1907.  We walked around the market every day we were in Seattle.  It's just incredibly how much fresh, local food the market has.  There are also many artists who sell their work, and tons of beautiful, fresh flowers.  On a tour of the market, we learned about the history of the market and the fact a portion of the vendor fees goes towards supporting 4 different market foundations: a preschool, a clinic, a senior center, and a food bank.  How cool is that!  I would love to be able to shop there every day...  

A view of one small portion of the market.

Fresh fish at Pike Place Market!

We bought a whole, 5 lb. salmon at Pike Place!  We cooked this on our second night in Seattle.  Made a foil pouch for it, rubbed the salmon with a bit of coconut oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and placed some thinly sliced lemons on top.  Enclosed the salmon in the foil pouch and baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  

On the side: Fresh green beans and mushrooms from Pike Place, with coconut oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Baked at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.  

Our salmon, fresh from the oven.  This was the best fish I've ever eaten!  It literally melted in your mouth and was so fresh and flavorful.  
Mussels in a tomato and white wine broth at the Ballard Seafood Festival.  Rem also had alligator on a stick, but we forgot to take a picture!  
I had seen this restaurant recommended on the blog Nom Nom Paleo and had wanted to try it out, so when a local CrossFitter recommended it as one of her favorite restaurants in the area, that sealed the deal!  All of the food served here comes from within a 360 mile radius of the restaurant.  I was impressed by their commitment to sustainability and local food, as well as indications of the menu of which items are gluten-free!  The food here was absolutely incredible.  I would definitely go back for the food.  I wouldn't recommend going there if you're in a rush, however, because the service was very slow.  Oh well, we had nowhere else to be so we just dealt with it and enjoyed the food!

Super creamy deviled eggs!

Rootbeer glazed pork belly with baked beans.  All I can say is... wow!  Neither Rem or I had ever tried pork belly, and this one blew us away.  The top layer of fat was crispy and caramelized, followed by the melt in your mouth, smoky and sweet pork underneath.  I need to try to replicate this at home...

Rem got the Lamb with a Panzanella (bread) and stone fruit (peaches and cherries) salad.  I don't usually like lamb, but this one was to die for.  Tender and not too gamey.  Perfectly cooked.  

Rem wasn't a huge fan of this side dish but I was obsessed... Roasted whole head of cauliflower with flora cheese, hazelnuts, and arugula.  I don't normally eat cheese but I just couldn't pass this up.  The combination of sweet roasted cauliflower, creamy, melted, salty cheese and crunchy hazelnuts was just perfect!  

Sauteed greens with garlic.  Not the star of the show, but very good.  

Mussels with bay leaf, white wine, and fennel pollen.  Look at his portion size.  Holy mussels!

For dessert: "Turtle" caramel apple.  We passed by the window of the Rocky Mountain Candy Factory about 10 times earlier in the day, and the caramel apple were just calling our names.  We couldn't resist getting one after dinner!  Caramel, pecans, and dark chocolate... so good.  

Rem's leftover (supplemented by groceries from Whole Foods) breakfast: Salmon, eggs, sweet potato hash with green beans, zucchini and peppers.  

My leftover breakfast: Salmon, cauliflower with flora cheese and hazelnuts, greens with garlic. 

A journal in our apartment was filled with recommendations and musings from other tenants who stayed there.  Every single person recommended a Pike Place Market bakery called Piroshky Piroshky, saying it had the best pastries they had ever tried and it was a MUST do in Seattle.  Well, after much debate about how wrecked I would be after eating a gluten-filled treat, actually standing outside the bakery and taking in the aroma of those pastries made my decision easy.  Sometimes you just decide that "it's worth it."  Although the decision of what to try was tough, our decision to share the Cinnamon Cardamom Braid turned out to be an excellent one!  The whole pastry- the WHOLE THING- had the texture of the inside of a cinnamon roll.. gooey, melty, warm, cinnamony...     

If you want to try a variety of restaurants and variety of dishes in a new city, check out the Happy Hours!  Appetizers are usually discounted, so you can get more bang for your buck!  On our 4th day is Seattle, out first stop was Elliott's Oyster house, which had 75 cent oysters!  Rem LOVES oysters, and I had never tried them, so we headed down to the water front to see what Elliott's was all about.  

We sat at the bar and got to watch the chefs shuck oysters!  Rem got to enjoy his fill of oysters because, well, let's just say I tried my first- and last- oyster that day!  It tasted like straight ocean water.  Apparently this is not a taste I enjoy.  

Our next happy hour stop was Japonessa, a sushi restaurant recommended by our Pike Place Market tour guide.  Conveniently, it was located 1 block from our apartment.  

Rem got the sushi!

I tried the ceviche: raw scallops, shrimp, and octopus with red onion, tomatoes, and lemon juice, served over crispy taro root chips.  Loved this dish!  

After leaving Seattle, we set off to hike in Central Washington and the Columbia River Gorge.  This time of year you can find fresh berry stands ALL OVER Washington and Oregon.  We stopped at one that had the biggest blueberries I've ever seen!  They were amazing!

After hiking for a few days, our next stop was Portland, Oregon.  As I researched prior to our trip, I had discovered a Paleo Food Cart in Portland called "Cultured Caveman," so we made a point to find it while we were there.  The food was delicious, and it felt good knowing we were eating something without an added preservatives or foods that would negatively effect our bodies.  

Mini Meatballs with Heart and Liver, served with Broccoli and Brussels Sprout Mash.  Very satisfying!  

Brazilian Pulled Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash.  Rem enjoyed this one a lot!

Gingered Carrot Kale Salad.  Fresh and light.  Great summer side dish!

Enjoying our paleo eats on a park bench.  
Yes, right after eating our paleo lunch we headed to the most non-paleo place you could imagine: Voodoo Doughnut.  One more place that we simply could not pass up.  It seemed to us like a "must do" while in Portland.

I guess that's what everyone else thought too... we waited in line for 40 minutes!  

No, this was not a healthy choice.  Yes, it was worth it!

"Triple chocolate penetration doughnut: chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and coco-puffs!"  Rem's choice.  The verdict: very tasty, but the coco-puffs were overkill.  

"McMinnville Cream doughnut: raised yeast doughnut filled with Bavarian cream with maple frosting on top and two eyeballs and a mustache."  My choice.  The verdict: I cannot put into words how good this was.  In a past life, maple glazed doughnuts were my favorite and anything with cream filling was a no-brainer.  I channeled my inner "fat kid" as I savored this...  Turns out when you don't eat sugar or gluten (or at least in my case), treats with sugar and gluten are very overwhelming to the taste buds.  So luckily, a few bites was enough to satisfy!
Another restaurant I had researched before coming to Portland was "Dick's Kitchen."  I was attracted by the grass-fed beef, but literally everything we tried was wonderful.  I cannot recommend this place enough!

Venison lentil chili.  

Naked grass-fed burger served with coleslaw.

A variety of house made dipping sauces: ketchup, bbq sauce, chipotle mayonnaise, roasted garlic mayonnaise, thai vinaigrette.

Baked sweet potato fries.  Amazing, especially dipped in our sauces!

Yummy veggie salad with grilled chicken.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Peach Cobbler (no gluten, no sugar)

I'm slightly obsessed with small bowls and spoons.  I love eating out of them and with them, and I especially love baking in these "cocottes"!  They're tiny crocks that hold about 1 1/2 cups.  I haven't made anything in them for a while now, but last night I seized the opportunity to make some mini desserts!  Our produce share from our CSA this week included fresh, ripe, organic peaches!  So yummy!  Well it's hard to eat that many fresh peaches before they go bad, so I asked Rem what kind of "baked good" sounded good with peaches.  Peach cobbler was his answer!  Fast forward to 1 1/2 hours later, and the house was filled with the wonderful smell of fresh peaches baking.  

I made this recipe in 4 small crocks, but you could also use ramekins.  Or, you could double the recipe and bake it in a 8x8 baking dish or a pie dish.  You could also use another type of fruit, such as apples, pears, or berries.  This recipe is already gluten and sugar-free, but you could also make it dairy-free by using coconut oil and coconut milk instead of grass fed butter and milk.  I hope you enjoy this comforting cobbler as much as we did!

Peach Cobbler

Adapted from Paleo Comfort Foods

6 ripe, organic peaches, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 c coconut flour
90 g pecans, finely chopped (if you don't have a food scale, measure out about 1 cup of whole pecans, then finely chop them)
1 tsp baking powder
1 T cinnamon
1/4 c melted, grass fed butter (you could also use coconut oil- I actually used about 1/8 cup butter and 1/8 c coconut oil because I didn't have enough butter)
1/4 c whole, grass fed milk OR 1/4 c coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. First, melt your butter or coconut oil.  Use a bit of it to grease 4 mini crocks or ramekins (dishes that hold about 1 1/2 cups).  Let it cool a bit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  
2. Peel and dice your peaches, then divide them evenly into the crocks.  
3. Chop pecans.
4. Combine pecans, coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  
5. Pour melted butter into dry mixture, then add the milk and vanilla.  Stir the entire mixture together.  It seems thin at first but thickens up quickly!  You will end up with a thick mixture that you can scoop onto the peaches.
6.  Divide the topping evenly among the crocks, spreading it smooth on top of the peaches.
7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 
8.  Eat warm!  Save any leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.