Monday, July 31, 2017

Portland, OR Edition: Voodoo Doughnut

VooDoo DoughnutsWhile Seattle is fantastic, I was determined to take a train just down to Portland to get a taste of that city, too. Unfortunately, the train was canceled due to a mudslide, and we were bused to Portland.

VooDoo DoughnutsFirst stop: Voodoo Doughnut.

VooDoo DoughnutsVoodoo is a quirky, suggestive donut shop that's open 24 hours a day, with lines twisting and turning outside the sparkly brick building through pink gates.

VooDoo Doughnuts
A culinary example of just how weird Portland can be, these colorful 24/7 Old Town-Chinatown dessert dens are worth a stop even just to gawk at the huge corner-curling lines for extremely imaginative, often hilarious, pastries like the to-die-for bacon-maple bar and as-good-as-advertised signature Voodoo Doll; all in all, the "novelty" makes it a must-visit, especially for visitors.” (Zagat)
VooDoo Doughnuts
We took our place in line outside of the shop. The bright pink gates, the sparkly brick siding, the neon lighting and fencing all made me think we might be at a strip club. But, we weren't.

VooDoo DoughnutsAfter waiting for quite a while, we were finally inside and able to order. Cash only.

VooDoo DoughnutsThe donuts are all sort of gimmicky, with one called "Cock-N-Balls" and filled with Bavarian cream. There's "The Homer," with strawberry icing and round sprinkles. There's a "Marshall Mathers" dcake donut with mini m&ms.

VooDoo DoughnutsBut, I went for some classic ones -

VooDoo DoughnutsThe Voodoo doll is filled with raspberry jelly and topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake.

VooDoo DoughnutsThe Bacon Maple Bar has maple frosting and bacon.

VooDoo DoughnutsThe Maple Blazer Blunt is dusted with cinnamon sugar, the top is dipped in maple frosting and red sprinkle embers.


VooDoo DoughnutsSo, I think these were actually good. I know they're tourist-central, but a good jelly-filled donut is a good jelly-filled donut. I think the blunt and the maple bacon were a little lackluster. But the namesake voodoo is tasty.

VooDoo Doughnuts


Voodoo Doughnut in Portland Oregon, Eugene Oregon, Denver Colorado, Austin Texas, and now L.A. California, was the brain child of Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon who had been friends for a while. They always wanted to start a business together. Something that would fit into an extraordinary Portland Oregon business climate. Something fun, different, and one for the ages. 
Cat Daddy with his stunningly brilliant business sense, and Tres with his seemingly endless supply of connections, set forth to conquer Old Town, Portland Oregon, and the world with the Doughnut!! After a meeting with some Armenians and drumming masters, they were ready to set up shop in the “crotch” of Portland — Old Town. 
There was only one problem, neither Cat Daddy nor Tres had ever made a doughnut before! They set out for the sunny Los Angeles suburb of Pico Rivera, California, where they met up with some doughnut masters, and learned about doughnuts from the ground up. These old, grizzled doughnut veterans knew what they were doing and were barely willing to give up their trade secrets at first. 
But the charm and good looks of our Portland heroes eventually won over the doughnut masters, and the secrets were revealed to them. Learning when to throw the flour, proper handling of a rolling pin, the intricacies of an old fashion, the “flip,” and countless other tricks of the trade were now in the hands, minds, and notebooks of Cat Daddy and Tres. They returned to Portland regaling the locals with tales of Brad Pitt eating one of their early maple bars, a Chick Hearn memorial documented on Japanese Television, featuring Voodoo Doughnuts, and the wild, wild, times of California — artists, actors, washed up sports stars, old people, disillusioned tourists, and musicians. Ah California… Portland soon learned of these tricks and Voodoo Doughnut became the best tasting doughnuts in the world, chico!! 
After flying in some “Voodoo Oil” from down south, acquiring the nuts and bolts of their shop, the boys started tinkering around with their methods that soon became known locally, nationally, and worldwide. People have talked about Voodoo Doughnut in Tibet, on Easter Island, Japan has some stylish folks sporting the latest Voodoo underpants, and friends have shared a buttermilk bar in Tanzania. I’m sure some corners of the globe have yet to be penetrated. Stay tuned! (STORY)

VooDoo Doughnuts
























Grade: A
Voodoo Doughnut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Grafton Edition: Hometown Hot Dogs

Hometown Hot Dogs

Hometown Hot Dogs

Hometown Hot Dogs

Hometown Hot Dogs

Hometown Hot Dogs

Hometown Hot Dogs

Hometown Hot Dogs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Seattle, WA Edition: Sushi Kashiba

Sushi KashibaWe're wrapping up my Seattle trip. I know you're all really sad. But, I thought I'd end on my most extravagant meal there - maybe ever.

Sushi KashibaWe went to Sushi Kashiba. Sushi Kashiba is the most recent restaurant from Shiro Kashiba - a legend in Seattle.

Sushi Kashiba
To Chef Shiro Kashiba, it feels like it was just yesterday. But in 1970, Chef Shiro introduced the city of Seattle to sushi when he convinced his bosses at Maneki restaurant to build Seattle’s first sushi bar. Chef Shiro had just completed years of grueling apprenticeships at Yoshino Sushi in the Ginza district of Tokyo, training hard alongside his senior supervisor, the world renowned (and now cinematically famous) sushi maestro, Jiro Ono. But unlike his contemporaries, Chef Shiro had his eyes on America. Chef Shiro was convinced that he could import the Edo-mae style and “shun” philosophy of Tokyo to the extraordinary variety and delectable seafood offerings of the Pacific Northwest. He was right. After working at Maneki, Chef Shiro opened his first restaurant, Nikko, in the International District. In 1992, he sold Nikko to the Westin hotel chain and opened the new Nikko at the downtown hotel location. For Westin, Chef Shiro served as Executive Chef and helped open several properties throughout the Americas. After his first “retirement," Chef Shiro opened Shiro’s in Belltown in 1994. Shiro’s became a smash success and was one of the pioneering restaurants to usher in Belltown’s revival as a hot dining spot in downtown Seattle. In 2014, Chef Shiro sold his remaining stake of Shiro’s to the I Love Sushi group which operates it to this day. Nominated twice for the James Beard Award, Chef Shiro has cooked for Japanese Prime Ministers, masters of the arts, star athletes, industry tycoons, and has shared his knowledge and experience with local colleges and universities. Chef Shiro’s dishes have also been served in the First Class cabins of Japan Airlines and United Airlines. But what Chef Shiro enjoys most is preparing and explaining the intricacies and detail of the delicious item he has just served to the customer seated in front of him at the sushi bar.
Sushi KashibaFor the first time in my life, I splurged on the Omakase, which consists of many courses at the chef's choosing. It's expensive - into triple figures - but a memory in the making.

Sushi Kashiba
Omakase menus change daily based on what's in season, what's available, or maybe even who happens to be sitting next to you at dinner. As in life, every day is different, and no meal is exactly the same. An omakase dinner is expensive, but here, as it progresses, its value becomes incalculable. Several courses featured different varieties of the same fish, some from different parts of the world, all served next to each other on the same wooden board. Eating them in progression allows you to experience the range of flavors and possibilities that reside within a single family of fish (The Stranger).
Sushi Kashiba

The hard part is, I cannot tell you everything we ate. I know we had white tuna, blue fin, fatty tuna, scallops, prawns and a host of other things. Here's someone far better at sushi than I am. We started with that triple-item dish that had oyster and fish and a jelly thing.

Sushi KashibaThen, we moved to that hand roll, which I had never had before.

Sushi KashibaThen, a beautiful spectrum of nigiri. This was delicious and fresh.

Sushi Kashiba

Then, this bowl of egg custard.

Sushi KashibaThen, even more sushi and look at that prawn!

Sushi KashibaAnd, oh my god more.

Sushi KashibaPlus this little cake thing that was vaguely sweet to end on.



Sushi KashibaThis was so fun, so cool to experience and sooo much food.

Sushi KashibaNot sure I'll ever be able to afford this again, but it was cool to try all the different items, eat fish as fresh as it can be and learn what I liked and what I don't.

Sushi KashibaFor the most part, I liked everything. Some of the roe or sea urchin or things I haven't experienced quite as much took some time to get used to the texture.

Sushi KashibaBut, overall, a very cool experience well worth it to expand your boundaries.


Sushi Kashiba

Grade: A
Sushi Kashiba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Abolitionist Ale Works

Abolitionist

Abolitionist

Abolitionist

Abolitionist

Abolitionist

Abolitionist

Abolitionist

Abolitionist

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Seattle, WA Edition: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery

Hot CakesLava cake is never my first choice on a dessert menu. I think it's overdone, nothin special - and above all - I simply don't love chocolate cake. Just not my thing.

Hot CakesSo, I didn't have high expectations for Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery. But I had friends who recommended it, so I thought I'd check it out.

Hot CakesThis. Was. Life-Changing.
Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery crafts organic, classic American comfort desserts and other original and innovative confections. We were founded in 2008 by Autumn Martin with the dessert that gave us our name: Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar. The idea for the “take n bake molten chocolate cakes” came from a dessert Autumn created for a charity dinner. The cakes were so well-received, the guests practically fell out of their chairs and the orders started rolling in. Autumn was working as Head Chocolatier of Theo Chocolate at the time, but decided it would be fun to start a little side business. And so Hot Cakes was born. Autumn left her much-loved job at Theo Chocolate in 2009 and headed to Spain for a 4-month stint of organic farming and rock climbing. Upon her return home in 2010, she focused 100% of energy on slowly building up the Hot Cakes brand which is built on supporting local and organic farming through the creation of fine, innovative desserts.
Hot Cakes
We walked in, saw the super cute rustic-chic space and I looked over the menu. I actually looked at some of the other desserts - like a creme brulee or vanilla rhubarb bread pudding or a nutella brown butter milkshake (my gahhh). But, I was determined to try a molten chocolate cake.

Hot CakesThe S'mores stuck out to me - smoked chocolate cake, campfire caramel, homemade 'mallow and graham, vanilla ice cream. The woman working the counter made sure to warn me the cake is smokey and even gave me a chocolate morsel to try before I committed. It was excellent - and smoky sweet - so we continued on.

Hot CakesAfter about 20 minutes (they take a little extra to bake), I was delivered this plank of wood with three perfect elements - the ice cream with graham cracker sitting in a pool of caramel, a whole graham cracker, and this smoky lava cake with homemade marshmallow on top.

Hot CakesThis is out of this world. The cake is smoky and just a bit sweet, the homemade mallow is beyond good, the ice cream and homemade caramel are just phenomenal. The combination of sweet and smokey and creamy and crunchy - it was just magnificent. This is one of my favorite desserts I have ever eaten.

Hot CakesMy only complaint is that the photo booth inside ate my money and didn't give us photos :(



Grade: A
Hot Cakes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato