Category Archives: General

JuneBaby Is All That

Sundays are fried chicken night at JuneBaby.

Sundays are fried chicken night at JuneBaby.

 

SEATTLE, WA — It was named the “Best New Restaurant” of 2018 by the James Beard Awards. It is owned by the “Best Chef Northwest” of 2018, as bestowed by the same. And it is worth every single accolade.

JuneBaby is even worth waiting in line for 90 minutes to snag two seats at the crowded, shoulder-to-shoulder bar, as I managed to do a week ago, paying my own tab at the end.

Chef Edouardo Jordan is the first African-American to win that coveted national title. A Florida native, Jordan has some serious cooking chops, having spent time at the French Laundry in Yountville, the Herbfarm in Washington state, and Per Se and Lincoln, both in New York.

He opened Salare, just a block away from JuneBaby, in 2015, which also won acclaim for its globally-inspired fare inspired by all the places he’s worked and lived.

Winner of two James Beard Awards.

Winner of two James Beard Awards.

JuneBaby, which opened in 2017, is his love note to Southern cooking, particularly the dishes his mother made him while he was growing up. He uses local ingredients, including many heirloom ones, to execute soulful, rustic fare with refined technique. The portions are generous, and the prices relatively moderate for all that you get.

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Diana Henry’s Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake

Yes, this is the way this chocolate and olive oil cake is supposed to look.

Yes, this is the way this chocolate and olive oil cake is supposed to look.

 

I think of this as the Frank Gehry of cakes.

It’s all angular pieces that jut this way and that. It seems to not make sense or be of this world. But the longer you gaze at it, the more you appreciate its quirky distinctiveness.

Just wait until you taste it, too.

“Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake” is a recipe by the incomparable Diana Henry, the London-based columnist, broadcaster and author who has a true gift when it comes to food writing, making you see, smell and taste an ingredient or dish in its totality just from the words she pens on a page.

The recipe is from her newest cookbook, “How To Eat A Peach” (Hatchette), of which I received a review copy.

How To Eat A Peach

It’s a compilation of her favorite dishes in her menu notebook that she’s jotted down entries in since she was 16. These are the dishes she most wants to cook for friends, family and herself. They include such scrumptious fare as “Sea Bass Crudo with Radishes & Nasturtiums,” “Autumn Vegetables with Hazlenut, Roast Bell Pepper & Anchovy Relish” and “Arroz Nego with Romesco Sauce.”

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A Taste of Nikkei Cuisine at Kaiyo

Grilled octopus at the new Kaiyo in San Francisco.

Grilled octopus at the new Kaiyo in San Francisco.

 

Just what is Nikkei cuisine? It’s the cross-cultural deliciousness that results when Japanese immigrants meld their traditional cooking with that of their new adopted land.

Kaiyo, which opened in September in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, takes influence from the journey of Japanese immigrants in Peru. That’s why ceviche and tiradito are as prominent on the menu as nigiri and spicy miso lobster soup.

Chef Michelle Matthews, formerly of Whitechapel in San Francisco, the restaurant’s sister establishment, heads the kitchen here.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. The narrow, hip restaurant is dominated by a long, marble bar backlighted in blue. On the other wall of the dining room is a dramatic 35-foot-long living moss wall by Planted Design that you can’t help but want to put a finger on to touch it.

The front doors can be opened up completely, blurring the indoors with the outdoors.

The front doors can be opened up completely, blurring the indoors with the outdoors.

The restaurant has been open less than a month, but already was packed on the Saturday night I was there.

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All Hail: Syrian Kale and Carrot Salad with Shattered Dates

Not your typical kale salad by any means.

Not your typical kale salad by any means.

 

Can you stand just one more kale salad recipe?

Oh come on, sure you can.

You know your love of this leafy green hasn’t waned even if you don’t want to admit it publicly.

Just embrace it. After all, in our society, how many times do we actually value something that’s crinkly and wrinkly, right? Ever more reason to never let go of this green beauty.

Especially when it’s showcased with a spectrum of flavor, texture and downright scrumptiousness in “Syrian Kale and Carrot Salad with Shattered Dates.”

This easy recipe is from “Seattle Cooks” (Figure 1), of which I received a review copy. Seattle food writer Julien Perry spotlights 40 of the city’s top restaurants with recipes and profile stories.

Seattle Cooks

Enjoy everything from “Fava Santorini” from Chef Zoi Antonitsas of Little Fish to “Shrimp and Shittake Pot Stickers with Riesling Dip” from Chefs Tom Douglas and Brock Johnson of Dahlia Lounge, and “Kalua Pork Belly with Korean Chimichurri” by Chef Rachel Yang of Revel.

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Norwegian Sweet Buns with Cardamom

A basket of warm, pillowy cardamom-chocolate buns.

A basket of warm, pillowy cardamom-chocolate buns.

 

Saffron and vanilla are among the world’s most expensive spices. That’s a given.

But can you guess what the third most pricey one is?

Yes, cardamom.

Like the other two, it owes its hefty price tag to the fact that it has to be harvested by hand.

Thankfully, a little goes a long way, so you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy it.

While it’s used in a lot of savory dishes, especially in Indian cuisine, I especially love it in baked goods. Its flavor — sort of like sweet cinnamon and ginger crossed with citrus and mint.

North Wild Kitchen

So it’s no wonder that “Sweet Buns with Cardamom” jumped out at me immediately in the new cookbook, “North Wild Kitchen: Home Cooking From the Heart of Norway” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy. It is by Nevada Berg, who created the blog of the same name, which was named by Saveur magazine as “2016 Blog of the Year.”

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