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Local Plate: Crazy Good Carnitas…

28 Feb

…but that’s about it  at La Cocina del Puerco.

We all know that old saying about “x and y go together like peas and carrots,” but there are things that don’t go together with peas and carrots, right? Either I’m crazy (totally possible, I know), or the folks at La Cocina del Puerco in Bellevue (10246 Main St) are taking the Mexico City style to a dangerously obnoxious level. Steer clear of Grandma’s frozen veggie mix in 70% of the dishes, and pick up some of the best darn taquitos this side of the Columbia.

La Cocina del Puerco_2.JPG

Caliente Carniats+cold surroundings=tasty meal you eat as fast as possible

Down in old town Bellevue, right on Main Street between the posh boutiques and upscale dinner locales sits this seasoned, cafeteria style Mexican joint.

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And the winner isssssssss…….

25 Oct

Congratulations to Mike Montesi!!!!! Winner of my Blog Birthday Giveaway!

Mike is the proud new owner of the 5.5 Quart, Hard Anodized, Covered Casserole dish from Rachael Ray

If you didn’t win this giveaway, DON’T FRET!  You still have time left to enter the other giveaway that ends tonight at midnight!

Come back tomorrow to see if you won the hot blue lasagna dish!

(Mike, I’ll email you to get you your prize!!!!)

Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s a GIVEAWAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

18 Oct

Okay, everyone sing me Happy Birthday for the blog. Ready?

Good job!  On that I present to you a little giveaway to celebrate. Now, usually people RECEIVE presents on their birthday instead of GIVE them, but I’m feeling generous (and I want you guys to have something to look forward to) so, here it goes:

Thanks to the fine folks over at and The Meyer Corporation, we are giving away a 5.5 Quart, Hard Anodized, Covered Casserole dish from Rachael Ray.

I have never used this so I have no idea if you’ll like it, but if you are the lucky winner, you agree (by entering) to use it and leave an honest review on the page, okay?

Want to enter? Here’s how:

In the spirit of celebrating my blog’s first birthday, post a comment to this blog post telling us your favorite birthday cake, birthday party or birthday present memory from your childhood.  That’s it!  You have from October 18th at 12:00pm Pacific Time to October 24th at 11:59pm Pacific time to enter. One entry per person.

All valid entries will be entered into a random drawing on Monday, October 25th and the winner will be notified on the blog! (Or via email if they leave it in their comment)

Happy Birthday to me-blog and good luck, kitchen kittens!

Happy (belated) Birthday, me blog!

15 Oct

(This is just one of the beautiful and amazeBalls cakes my friend Marc makes at his cakery in NYC, City Cakes!)

I can’t believe I missed it, UGH! My first blog birthday came and went, and honestly, I did think about it last week and this week, but I forgot to check.  Oct. 12th, 2009 was my first post.

I won’t get all sentimental on you, but I will GIVE SOME SWEET STUFF AWAY!

Yes, you’re saying, “Siiri, last time you said it was a giveaway you totally flaked on us.” Sorry, you’re right. But this time I won’t!  Starting Monday, come by to enter a giveaway for my 1st birthday. And THEN come back on Tuesday to enter ANOTHER giveaway to celebrate my first column in Seattle Weekly as their new official Eastside contributor!

I won’t tell you more yet, you’ll have to wait till next week to hear the details and get linked to my first column. Lots of fun stuff going on over here. So, stay warm by the first fire you have of this Fall, carve those pumpkins (I will too, so hopefully some pictures will materialize) and I’ll see you foos on Monday!

Happy weekend and happy bloggyityBloggerson birthday to me!

Welcome to Seattle Summer: still cloudy with a chance of Thai Tom

28 Jun

This weekend was VERY eventful – that is to say it was literally full of events.On Friday night, I met up with some of my all time favorite girlfriends from my days at Reed. We hit up Smith on Cap Hill, a restaurant and bar with a taxidermy complex that isn’t for the faint of heart. I heard from the group that the drinks were good, and I had water since I was partaking in the Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon the next morning.

Lame cell phone camera, I know. Sorry…left my camera at work.

I did however order the Mac n Cheese, which was nothing to write home about, and actually a little disappointing.  There was very little cheese involved and although it had a nice spice to it, that was the only nice thing about it. A waste of $9, although the dishes other people got at the table next to us smelled and looked really good! I would go back. I would not order the Mac n Cheese.

We also had a local celebrity citing (or would that be ‘sighting’? I dunno!), as Dan Savage was sitting at the table behind us. Cool!  Good eye, Bandy!

Then on Saturday, I woke up at 3:30am (no, that’s not a mis-type) and made myself a piping hot bowl of energy-packed oatmeal complete with raisins, walnuts, flax seed, wheat germ and a touch of cream to get my body ready for the 1/2 marathon.  What an experience!  I’m too cheap to buy the pictures that the race company took, so just use your imagination.  It was a great experience, I won’t soon forget. I’m still hobbling around but recovering for sure.

Saturday night was a wash, I was totally down for the count, and I indulged in my dirty secret food pleasure: Pizza Hut deep dish pizza. I know, I know, it’s awful and REALLY bad for you. But I haven’t had it in years, and they deliver, and I couldn’t walk. And I jogged/walked 13.1 miles that day, so I don’t really feel bad about it.

So, fast forward to Sunday afternoon, where I met up with my girlfriends again (plus two of their super nice boyfriends – well done, ladies!) for a stroll around Gas Works park and a late lunch.

We hit up Thai Tom in the University District. It was JUST what the doctor ordered! (Well, to be fair, probably not, but it was what I ordered… basically the same thing, right? RIGHT!)

I wanted noodles, so I went with the standard: Phad Thai.


So glad I did, because the 2 stars was just enough to get my eyes watering a bit, and the Thai Iced Tea was the perfect cooling combo.  Those guys know their Thai. The music was good, the food was great and the company was irreplaceable!

Here’s the crew, Hester in front, then Kat, Bandy, Zigs (can’t see her) and Scott.

So filling and wonderful!  Then we moved on to get a refreshing dessert, and wanted something in walking distance, so of course I suggested my favorite Bubble Tea joint, Pochi!

Everyone got really different things which was great because we all got to sample the various treats.  Here you see the spoils:

Let me break this down for you:

Front right: Scott and Zigs shared a taro fro yo (aka Frozen Yogurt) with Banana and Mango (fresh).

Back right: Hester got Hong Kong style milk tea with traditional tapioca Bobas (she’s so cool….that’s very hard core for Bubble Tea!)

Back left: Kat and Bandy shared a Red Bean milk tea with Rainbow jellies (Bandy didn’t like the consistency of the Jellies so much, but loved the red bean flavor of the milk tea. I agree it was tasty!)

Front and center: I went with a Pina Colada milk smoothie with Strawberry jellies. So good, but I forgot how filling it is and how cold. Next time, I’ll switch back to milk tea, and mayyyyyyyyyybe a fro yo. WHAT?!

More food adventures to come later this week, and thanks to the suggestion from my friend, Kim, I will be posting more videos and pictures where I’m in the shot, rather than just the food! Thanks for the idea, Kim, and Happy Monday everyone!

Great dining out quick tips for the summer

27 May

I was logged into MyRegence this morning, which is the online component for people like me that have Regence Blue Shield for health insurance, and I came across a great little article I wanted to share.

7 Tips to Eat Out for Less
Learn how you can dine out for less money — while still making healthy choices.
by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN

Finding good-for-you food and good value isn’t always easy when dining out these days. Too often, the less you spend for a meal, the more calories you’ll end up buying — and consuming. For instance ordering nachos, a big burrito and a sweet tea might cost you six or seven dollars — and about half-a-day’s worth of calories. This might seem like a good deal at first. But you probably won’t feel that great about it afterwards.But it is possible to get good value while making healthy choices. Here are some strategies:

  1. Pre-plan: You can find menus for many restaurants online. Many chains often post nutrition facts on specific menu items as well. Research Web sites and user comments before you go out to eat whenever possible.
  2. Don’t leave home too hungry: People tend to order more food when their stomachs are growling. Eating something light an hour or so before a meal will help curb your hunger. A piece of fruit, sliced veggies, a small bowl of cereal or a glass of low-fat milk are all good options.
  3. Go for the appetizers: Order up one or two as a meal as long as they’re not fried or drenched in cheese or butter. Try meat-free appetizers that feature fresh vegetables, whole grains or local seafood.
  4. Share with friends: Splitting dishes with friends saves you cash — and calories. Most restaurants offer portions large enough that one entrée and a small side are more than enough for two. When you share with larger groups you can get more flavors into the mix. Just be sure your friends are open to healthier menu options!
  5. Drink smart: Ordering beverages can make your bill climb in a hurry. Especially alcohol. If you order tap water (maybe with a slice of lemon or lime), you’re paying nothing, adding zero calories, and maybe filling yourself up so you don’t overeat. Smart call!
  6. Have a strategy for dessert: When you skip dessert you’re saving money — and usually excess calories. If you do feel the need for a sweet finish, consider something fruit-based. If you make a more indulgent choice, share it with a friend. Or cut it in half when it gets to the table and save the rest for later.
  7. Look for bargains: Last but not least, become a bargain shopper. Many restaurants offer deals during off-peak hours or on mid-week days. Early bird dinner specials can offer significant savings. This is good time to get a group together for a meal.


Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University.

GIVEAWAY!: Did you hear the one about Starbucks?!

25 May

We Love You Fridays

So in case you haven’t heard, or don’t live in Seattle (which would suck if you’re reading this and live in, like, Florida….but sorry, you get lots of sun – give us SOMETHING, okay?!), you’ll want to know the following piece of RAD information:

(and I quote): Every Friday from May 21 to June 18, stop by a participating Seattle-area Starbucks after 2 p.m. and get free tickets to a special event while supplies last. There’s no purchase necessary! (Though we hope that won’t stop you from picking up a favorite drink.)

a tasty latte I recently had at a local coffee shop

Now, I’ll be serious for a minute and say I don’t care what the event is, it’s going to be good, so just GO to Starbucks on Fridays at 2pm and get WHATEVER they’re giving you, but in case you’re picky, here’s a list as it stands now:

May 28 – Seattle International Film Festival

June 4 – Seattle Art Museum

June 11 – Seattle Aquarium

June 18 – BURN THE FLOOR at The Paramount

So, GO, DRINK (coffee), and ENJOY the Seattle summer!

Side Kick: Add a little fun to your Friday with – “Sangria Fridays!”

24 May

Yes, it’s super cheesy. and?  What did you expect?

I decided we (by we I mean my co-workers) could use a little pick-me-up towards the end of last week. I wanted to do something fun on Friday, but it turned out more people were available on Thursday, so even though I’m calling this Sangria Fridays, it was on a Thursday.  Don’t get confused.

I wanted a really easy recipe, so I searched for “quick Sangria recipe.”  Of course I found what I wanted on, love that site!  I thought about Sangria after my mom mentioned it the other day. She had seen Rachael Ray do a recipe and was asking me about a spirit ingredient that started with a “C”, I couldn’t think of what it was, but it did made me want to have some!

Here’s what I ended up using:

Not exactly sure what “game” this is referring to, and furthermore, not sure what men would be caught dead drinking sangria on game day….doesn’t matter. It was great, and super easy! (you could totally memorize this and therefore, skip using a recipe for future game days!)

In case you don’t want to click through, here’s the recipe:

2 cups lemon juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brandy
4 cups red wine
4 cups club soda
ice cubes, for serving

1.Combine the lemon juice, orange juice, and sugar in a pitcher.
Stir until sugar has dissolved completely.
Add the brandy, red wine, and club soda.
Serve in glasses with ice.

I sugared the rim and added a white peach slice to the edge. I also floated orange slices in the large bowl but they were too large to fit in our slender glasses.

Enjoy!  Or should I say “ole!”

Please Come In and Share your Dumpster Dish: Biscotti – the new cassarole

29 Apr

I’m not responsible for the title sucking. My brain is fried, I’m being worked into mental oblivion right now, so the fact that I’m even posting is a shocker to me.

Since I had such ‘great success’ (Borat voice) with the Mr. Bandy Udon post yesterday, I thought I’d through you all one more Bandy Bone this week. (I like that, and I’ll continue to use that little quip, thankyouverymuch!)

Jeff had created a great post a few months back I had wanted to post, but never got around to it.

It’s about biscotti, which I think is the undercover cassarole of the baking world. You can literally put anything you want into a biscotti and it’s still good. You can make them sweet or savory, dipped or ‘virgin’.  I have a good, versatile recipe somewhere that has like 5 or less ingredients in it. When I get my cookbooks unpacked at the new place, I’ll find it and share with you! I know it’s a recipe, but honestly it’s only a few ingredients and once you make it a couple times, you can do it from memory!

So without further ado, here’s Jeff’s post on Honey-Lavender Biscotti

This was my first attempt at biscotti, so I of course turned to my Baking Illustrated cookbook. Turns out I really like big chunks of almonds/hazelnuts/etc. in my biscotti, so these guys weren’t my favorite. Interesting to be sure, but the flavor is very subtle. I think that they would have been much more interesting with a more assertive honey, like a spicy clover honey. The run-of-the-mill honey I used just faded into the background. I have to say, however, that the aroma that filled my apartment while these were baking was out of this world — creamy, buttery tones with heady citrus and lavender notes floating overhead. Words don’t suffice.

I used the lessons I learned in making these for the chocolate almond biscotti below, specifically the tricks with the wax paper and keeping my hands good and floured. The “cylinders” I was able to form with this dough were hideous. Still, a good learning experience, and like I said, the aroma. Wow.

2 1/4 c (11 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c (4 2/3 oz) sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp minced zest from 1 orange
1 Tbsp dried lavender blossoms

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl, set aside.

Whisk the sugar and eggs in a large bowl to a light lemon color; stir in the honey, vanilla, orange zest, and lavender. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the egg mixture, then fold in until just combined.

Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a work surface covered with floured wax paper or parchment paper. With floured hands, pat it into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 12 to 15 inches long. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Cut the parchment paper and, using the paper as a sling, roll the dough into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Place in the oven and bake about 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until firm to the touch. Transfer to a cutting board, let cool for 5 minutes, then cut on an angle into slices one-half-inch thick. Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their cut sides, and return them to the oven. Bake another 15 minutes, turning over each cookie halfway through, until they are crisp and golden brown on each side. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.

Thanks again Jeff, for a fantastic share!

Please Come In: Mr. Bandy does Udon with Shiitake Mushrooms and Kale in Miso Broth

28 Apr

From my friend, Mr. Bandy, I bring you a rainy day recipe.  Thank you, kind sir!  (check out Jeff’s blog: Hex Conduction Hour)

I’m just getting over being sick for a full month, and when I’m sick I crave Japanese food. I wish I had found this recipe when I was just coming down with the plague. It’s cheap, comforting, easy, and incredibly satisfying. It’s also arguably the healthiest thing I’ve ever made in the kitchen.


This recipe comes from the venerable Veganomicon and features red miso, which magically enhances any broth-y entree.

Since I live alone, I bought all the ingredients, prepped the onions and mushrooms, set half of them aside, and cooked a half recipe two days in a row. Fresh udon noodles should be available at any halfway-fancy grocery store – in fact, I’ve never seen dried udon noodles, so fresh noodles may be easier to find. I also at least doubled the amount of fresh ginger in this recipe, but your ginger threshold may not be as high as mine.



1/2 lb fresh or dried udon noodles
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, rinsed, stems trimmed, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
2 Tbsp mirin (optional)
2 cups water
3 Tbsp miso (preferably red, if using light add another Tbsp)
4 c chopped kale
2 tsp soy sauce


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the udon per the directions. Fresh udon will take about 2 min. Drain, rinse with cool water, and set aside.
  2. Saute the onion and mushrooms in the oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for another minute.
    Add the mirin, water, soy sauce, and miso, and bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and add the kale.
  5. Toss with tongs until kale has wilted, about a minute.
  6. Add the noodles, toss again, and serve.

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