Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CHOCOLATE TASTING AT QUEEN ANNE'S CHOCOLOPOLIS WITH Google Places!

I love meeting new people and love hearing what types of foods they like around Seattle. That is why I am a frequent attendee of Google Places events. What is Google Places? First off, down load the app. (It looks like a red ball with a black dot in the middle.) Second, rate and review your FAVORITE restaurants, bars, bakeries, and attractions. Third, attend Google Places events! They are held at local restaurants, bars, and foodie places. Not only are there (usually free!) samples, but great local and up-to-date information about food and business.

When I saw Google Places were hosting an event at Chocolopolis, I emailed my RSVP to Charles Koh, the host and community manager. Chocolopolis is located in Queen Anne and carries more than 200 chocolate bars from all over the world! Being a chocolate lover, I felt like I stepped into heaven once I set foot in the store.

Not only did we sample some amazing chocolate, we recieved a brief lecture on chocolate and chocolate making. Compared to mass produce chocolate, Chocolopolis' chocolate will sure to blow your mind and wow your taste buds.

I bought a 100% cacoa bar. Basically, an unsweetened, very bitter chocolate. What did I think? Yes, it was bitter, yet smooth and refined. It smelled like chocolate and warm tones. It tasted even better with a Malbec!

Now, go check out Chocoloplis for GREAT artisian chocolate. (http://www.chocolopolis.com/index.php) Go check out Google Places (twitter: @GoogleSeattle) and rate and review: http://www.google.com/places/.

Happy Baking!
-SC

Saturday, August 20, 2011

TOP 3 WEDDING-FOOD TRENDS!

It's August, the sun is shining, and love is in the air! Wedding season is in full bloom. Not only do I have personal experience being in 5 gorgeous weddings, I talked to brides and grooms on a constant basis about wedding cakes, for Sweetness, and cookware, for Meyer Cookware at macys home store in Bellevue Sqaure. I feel like my work-life is always surrounded by young, love birds looking for a great and stylish wedding cake and decent, long-lasting cookware.

It is 2010, and weddings are now a "business" versus a casual party, 20 years ago. And what is the best part of a wedding? The (free!) food and (free!) drinks. It is a happy celebration party and having great food really puts "the cherry on top."

From talking to people and seeing weddings blossom, I noticed food trends within the business. There are three main trends are spreading and becoming more popular.

1) CUPCAKES: Yes, I am being bias! But, cupcakes are a wonderful way to give each guest their "own" little treat instead of a slice of a wedding cake nobody is going to eat. Having mini cupcakes and a cake at your wedding is a HIT!

2) EDIBLE GUEST FLAVOR: My beautiful cousin, Kristina, just got married and as wedding favors, she and her family made mini wedding cakes "cookies." They added such a personal touch to the event and everyone truly enjoyed their hard work.

3) ETHNIC FOODS: Dried out chicken breast? Soggy veggies? Over-dressed salad? The typical American fare is no longer being served at weddings. More brides and grooms are choosing THEIR favorite global cuisine, such as thai, sushi, or Indian. Since the Pacific Northwest is such a melting pot for cultures, it is becoming more and more trendy to see ethnic cuisines being served at weddings.

The wedding business can only grow UP from today's standards. I love seeing new food, colors, and little special favors at every wedding I see, hear or attend. Let me know which new wedding trend is your favorite!

Happy Baking!
-SC

Saturday, August 13, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: Alison Clancy compares the Seattle food scene to her native Boston!


My newest addition to my blog: I am having guest bloggers contribute a food-related blog post! I love meeting new people at networking events, parties, and even yoga class. I can't wait for you to read more about food from a special blogger every month.

My first guest blogger is Alison Clancy. I met Alison, through a mutual friend, and we hit it off from the start! We both love fun nights out, social media, good food, and good drinks. She is an online marketing manager for Liquid Planner (http://www.liquidplanner.com/), native to Boston, new to Seattle, and overall, a very SWEET person! She also blogs for Girl Power Hour, a fun, fashion-forward, and exciting female-only networking event business. (Check her out: http://girlpowerhour.com/author/Alison-Clancy/) Alison writes her favorite food places in Seattle AND Boston.


When Kimm first asked me to write a guest post for her, my first reaction was something along the lines of, “Aw, crap.” You see, I don’t like to cook. I’ll do it if I have to, but usually only for myself and maybe for anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in my kitchen. And I certainly try to avoid baking at all costs (I leave that kind of thing to people who are actually talented, like Miss Kimm herself). But eating? Eating I can do. I am a professional eater. I even do it every day. Also, I’m also very good at drinking, just in case you wanted to know.

Having been born and raised in Boston, the Seattle food scene has been kind to me since I moved here six months ago. A lot of people ask me how the two cities are different, a subject I could talk about for days, but the real question is: how do the food scenes compare? There’s a few things I could say. Like, how there aren’t any teriyaki places in Beantown. Seattle has the best Thai and Vietnamese places, but Boston is the obvious winner when it comes to lobster rolls and chowdah.

But hey, I’m not here to start a food war, which is why I’ve decided to name my favorite foodie related places in both Seattle AND Boston. So whether you’re a born and bread New Englander or for you, there’s no place like the Emerald City, I hope you can find a new place to try for dinner and drinks tonight:

Best Sushi
- Seattle: Ototo Sushi (Queen Anne) or Nijo Sushi Bar and Grill (Downtown)
- Boston: Symphony Sushi (Northeastern University) or Fugakyu (Brookline)

Favorite Bartenders
- Seattle: The Zoo (Eastlake)
- Boston: Flann O’Briens (Mission Hill)

Best Burger
- Seattle: Red Mill Burgers (Phinney Ridge)
- Boston: Back Bay Social Club (Back Bay)

Favorite Tequila Bar
- Seattle: Bandolero (Wallingford) or Matador (Ballard)
- Boston: Lolita’s (Back Bay)

Favorite Place In Town
- Seattle: Toulouse (Queen Anne)
- Boston: The Beehive (South End) or Grafton Street (Harvard Square)

Disagree with my choices? Let me know what you think should win for the Best in the West (and the East)!

Thanks for the post Alison!
-SC

Monday, August 8, 2011

TO SPRAY, OR NOT TO SPRAY...

In today's food world, everyone is concerned about eating great tasting food AND staying lean and healthy. More and more healthier options are appearing in restaurants, bars, and grocery stores. People are taking time and cooking their own food and making sure they know EXACTLY what is going into their bodies.

One healthy tip I always recommend to healthy cooks and foodies: USE NON-STICK pans! (Versus stainless steel pans; with stainless steel pans, you will need to use more cooking fat than a non-stick pan.) Why? You have to use very little or zero fat when cooking. Of course, if you do to choose to fat, use a real fat like extra virgin olive oil or pure butter. But, people are concerned with food stick to their cookware and using aresol sprays, like PAM brand, in their cooking. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, every use aresol sprays in your cookware! Why? The aresol KILLS non-stick pan and your non-stick surface will fade away and start to chip and scratch. Thus, your gorgeous, new non-stick pan is useless. Remember, if you want your food NOT to stick to your cook/bakeware, just use some real oil/butter or buy non-stick cookware. Another option is to purchase an oil mister (found in cooking stores) and fill it with your favorite oil instead!

What are those aresol sprays made out of anyway? Answer: "Cooking spray is a spray form of an oil as a lubricant, lecithin as an emulsifier, and a propellant such as food-grade alcohol, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide or propane." And, you want to put that into your body and food? Most good quality non-stick cook/bakeware will NOT require any type of greasing. If you do, I like to use a paper towel, rubbed with real butter, and "grease" the baking pan with it.

Remember, eat, cook, and bake with real food!
Happy Baking!
-SC