Tag Archives: Festivals

Corned Beef and St. Patrick’s Day

It will probably surprise no one that I consider myself a food traditionalist. I like my Chicago Style Pizza to be deep dish, I believe the best Italian restaurants are in Italy, and I think that one should respect the traditions that surround sushi. Pompous? I’ll begrudgingly cop to that.

That said, if you are planning to cook Corned beef on St. Patrick’s day this Thursday, you’ll be participating in an Irish-American tradition, rather than an Irish one. For St. Patty’s day, the big thing in Ireland is apparently Whiskey Cake, and Corned Beef is typically saved for Sunday dinners.

But what is corned beef? Simply beef that is cured or pickled in brine. The term “corn” originally meant grain, as in a small particle of something, and thus the “corn” in “corned beef” refers to the corns of salt.

If you wish to make your own corned beef, I suggest starting here.

Vietnemese New Year

I was able to make it to the Tết Festival down at the Seattle Center today. Out in front they were making grilled Bun Thit Nuong (Vietnamese rice noodles with pork and vegetables). Lord have Mercy were they tasty. Topped with a bit of Chili Sauce and a decent dollop of fish sauce splashed on top, this dish has me wondering just how much I am missing when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine.

Yeah, its basically a grilled kabob. You have a problem with that? I don’t. Especially since they marinate the pork in lime juice and chili paste. We are talking SPicy with a capital “SPuh”.

I did get to watch the cooking demonstration as well, which consisted of marinated shrimp on a large George Foreman Grill. I’ll let you decide for yourself what that means.

Back to the tent selling the Vietnamese food. They were also selling Bun Cha Gio (Egg Rolls with Noodles), Thit Nuong (BBQ Pork without the noodles) and Sau Dau Nanh (Soy Bean Milk). Alas, I missed out on the soy bean milk.

The Tết festival tomorrow with another cooking demonstration and other events. It’s located at the Fischer pavilion at the Seattle Center.

Seattle Tết Festival 2005

One of the great thing about Seattle is its diverse ethnic community. One of the benefits of said community is that we here in the Emerald City get to celebrate the new year all over again.

At the Seattle Center this weekend is one such festival, the 2005 Tết Festival. The Vietnamese community is celebrating their New Year as well as Hương Sắc Mùa Xuân (the Spring Essence). The Typical “new year” celebration is not a celebration of the turning of the calendar (as we do here in the Western World), but a combination of a festival of the winter new moon in the Lunar Calendar as well as a festival marking the communion of man with nature.

According to the Tết in Seattle website, the 3 day celebration is a time when “one takes extra care not to show anger and not to be rude to people. The most nagging mother-in-law will make peace with her daughter-in-law; a quarreling couple will smile pleasantly at each other; (and) the new world should be the best of worlds.”

Now I’m all for peace and quiet…it certainly has its time and place. But for me, this festival is all about the food.

There are two cooking demos this year, but alas, I will only be able to make one of them.

  • Saturday, Feb. 5th, 2:30-3:30PM, our “Chefs” will feature the making of “Tôm Cari Nướng Vỉ Cuốn Sà-lách” – “Grilled Curry Shrimp in Lettuce Wrap” and “Chè Ba Màu” – “Tri-color Beans” dessert.
  • Sunday, Feb. 6th, 11:30AM-12:30PM, features “Bún Thịt Nướng – “Grilled Pork Noodle” and Chè Ba Màu – “Tri-color Beans” dessert.

So if your in Seattle this weekend, and looking for something to do, head down to the Seattle Center and check this out.

3rd Annual Sake & Sushi Festival

I just wanted to give a brief prayer to the food gods and goddesses, who have deemed it appropriate to hold a Sake and Sushi festival a mere half mile from my apartment.

Don’t sign me up for anything on Nov 9th, I’ll be busy supporting the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce…by eating!

If interested, Ticket Prices as as follows:
Individual tickets are $50 per person.
Full Service Table for ten: $2,000

For more information contact Linda Asami at (206) 320-1010 or Linda@jachamber.com

The Fair

On e-gullet yesterday, I came across a conversation asking for advice on what to eat while at the Puyallup Fair. The consensus was pretty clear: Don’t eat there.

People, people, calm down. It’s called a Fair for a reason. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. It’s just, y’know, fair.

That can easily apply to the foods there as well. The trick into eating fair food is summed up by three words: Lower your expectations. Personally, it’s the one time I allow myself to eat horrible food. I mean where else on earth do you have a collection of restaurants and food vendors that offer elephant ears, Cascade Burgers, hot scones, funnel cakes, BBQ and a multitude of other food varieties, most of which are deep fried?

Is there great food to be had at the fair? Well, no. But you can still have fun. Our group, for example, went searching for the elusive deep fried snickers bar.

However, there is bad food at the fair. I know that I’m going against 80 years of Puyallup tradition, but the Fair Scones are nothing more than biscuits disguised as scones. When you can taste the baking powder in the mix, you know you’ve hit a low in pastry history.

On the great side, I was able to pick up an incredible jelly at one of farm vendor stand. Micks peppourri had several tastes availble to sample. And I was impressed enough to pick up a jar of Cabernet wine jelly, which I hope to use as a glaze on some lamb.

But then there was the deep fried snickers bar.


Fremont Oktoberfest

While we’re shilling for local Seattle Food Events, I shouldn’t dare forget the Fremont Oktoberfest. Because it deals with one of my favorite food groups, the Beer group (represented on the Food Pyramid as the puddle beneath the pyramid), it will be a definite ‘must-attend’ event.

There are 34 different breweries participating, including the Elysian Brewing Co., the Pike Brewery, and the infamous Red Hook Ale Brewery (home of my infamous run-in with the Unruly Mob). Also attending is Pilsner Urquell, the oldest makers of pilsners.

But just as important as beer is the Food! I expect sausages and keilbassis throughout the festival. There will be several food vendors offering a variety of great food, not ot mention that Fremont has an abundance of restaurants to choose from as well. So I’m gonna be in Fremont sometime over the Sept. 17th weekend. And I’m going to make sure that I’ve instituted my fitness plan in order for me to have a Bavarian Cream Pie.

German and Italian within two weeks of each other. It’s close to bliss.

Down and Out at the Low and Slow

On Sunday I found myself driving my Mini Cooper to the SPILSAPBBQSC (The acronym that I have given to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Low & Slow Pro BBQ State Championship). To say that it was a disappointment is an understatement on par with saying that “Kraft food products are evil”. The extent on how sad and unfortunate this event is will never be known unless you go there yourself.
If you are the type of masochist who gets off on sitting in Emergency Rooms, signing up for College Courses or waiting for the Boston Red Sox to win a world series, then the SPILSAPBBQSC is for you. Let me explain the type of sadism that the promoters of this event inflicted on the mass audience:

  • There were a dozen or so competitors for the title of Washington State BBQ Champion. But none of them could sell their products, and none of them could provide free samples of their product until after the judges had sampled their wares.

    Due to this, only one or two of the competitors were providing samples of their products at any given time.

  • If you wanted BBQ, you couldn’t get any BBQ from the competitors. So there was one food vendor who was allowed to serve BBQ to the general public.
  • As for other non-bbq food vendors? There were none. That’s right. This was a food event that attracted hundreds of customers, and there was only ONE food vendor. See the picture to your left? That was the line to the food vendor. The food vendor is that tent with the red awning waaaaaay in the back. So if you wanted food, you had to wait 45 minutes in line.
  • There was no beer being served…At a BBQ event…What the hell were they thinking?
    Oh sure, there was a beer garden. But it was no where near the event. It was 200 yards way at an arts and crafts festival. And it was a sad, sad place indeed.
  • It rained…And yes, I blame that on the organizers as well.

And they wonder why the big BBQ events don’t take the SPILSAPBBQSC seriously. In the part of the nation that has provided BBQ salmon, and grilling on cedar planks, there’s quite simply no excuse for how terrible this event was. Both Ballard’s Seafood Festival and Edmond’s ‘Taste of Edmonds’ were far superior in execution.