Curious Appetite

Beer

Italian Craft Beer- 5 bottles to try…for Eater!

Craft treats at Beerhouse Club in Florence, Italy. Photo Credit: Sam Engel

As you may have noticed if you are a follower/reader, I have been writing for awesome publications such as Eater. A most recent one includes a quick run-down on the craft beer scene in Italy and some of the most interesting bottles in production.

Read up on the full story here for eater.com Continue Reading

Street food with Malay Flavor: Kedai Makan Seattle

Pastry filled hand held lamb pockets

Brace yourself, Seattle. I think I found the one hole-in-the wall that is not a one-hit-wonder. The street food that really involves something besides pretentious “sliders” and “authentic” tacos.  Let me preface this post with the fact that I have never been to Asia. I am nothing close to an expert in tasting exotic Asian foods. However, have faith in my palate and critical eye to suggest to you what I think is the most heavenly street food that 8 dollars can buy in Seattle, and that is: Malaysian-style food at Kedai Makan. Continue Reading

2 weeks back, 13 restaurants in Seattle down

Actually, not even 2 weeks. Should I be proud of this? Yes. Yes, because it has shown to me how amazing food in Seattle is and how easy it is to find it. To be honest, this should not be a normal week in eating out for anyone. Not only for your pocketbook, but for your health! I suspect the main culprit for this extensive list is due to lots of catching up with old friends and such- after all I have been living abroad. Plus it was my birthday last week:)

We are truly lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest- oh the bounty!

Like any food blogger it was my duty to YOU to hit the ground running (and surprisingly enough, I am not 12 kilos heavier- I think walking these killer hills of Seattle are helping to buffer these indulgences) Continue Reading

Guten appetite- in Germany!

In route to Italy, I first landed in Munich and Berlin- both new cities for miss curious! Germany was shocking in so many ways in terms of efficiency, accessibility and style of living (in comparison to Italy). I know not one lick of German, and there was little time to learn key phrases before I left. Life before leaving was like trying to escape bowels of fire while trying to keep my body in one piece. It seems that many Germans speak English and I felt I’ve done my duty as a traveler by learning at least one, albeit somewhat useless, European language. I was also visiting friends who speak German so I felt like I could get a bit lazy. I will say, on one day that a friend was at work and there was a desperate jet-lag inspired need to find a coffee shop which I expected to be on every corner like in Italy, why I expected that I don’t know. Rather, you should expect to find a Bierstube on every corner. Anyways, so like a complete child walking around streets, which I can’t read or pronounce, looking for a coffee shop. So what did I do? I stumbled into an Italian resto and asked the guy, in Italian, where one could find a coffee. He put me in the right direction but also very confused I imagine, that some random foreigner with an American accent is asking him directions. So I guess Italian is not all that useless outside of Italy:)

In Germany, I got to enjoy some dirt cheap beer that you can walk in the streets freely with, fantastic hendel (roast chicken), fresh warm PRETZEL, Bavarian yogurt, falafel + doner and my then obsession: WIENER ART! Okay, so I am pretty childish. I was obsessed with the word “fahrt” and “wiener” which are on signs everywhere in Germany because “Fahrt” means journey, way, via, pathway, etc. And Wiener…I don’t know all I know is that it’s a type of Schnitzel. And it’s not a hot dog- but rather like a veal cutlet. So I tried to take shots of any signs I caught with those words so I could create a “bloggage.” A food I did not enjoy was beef phở bò at a Vietnamese resto. It was not as cheap as in the states (considering the currency) and it was salty, void and empty of ingredients. Jagged thin short slices of chewy beef and cilantro that was just thrown in with some spaghetti noodles. My pals got some sort of coconut milk based curry noodle dish that seemed worthy, but I felt duped and naive to have expected consistency in beef phở in Germany coming from Seattle where phở’ is pretty damn good. Something to note about eating in Europe is that you have to ask for tap water explicitly to avoid getting charged for bottle water. So here I asked for tap water and they brought out water practically in shot glasses. When we asked for more, like 2 seconds later, they said the policy was one per customer. Jerks. I totally am trying to overcome the whole American customer service/entitlement thing since that doesn’t exist anywhere else, but I find it truly rude when people get cheap and stingy providing basic human necessities like water and using the bathroom- especially if you are a paying guest! Arg! Anyway, another thing I noticed in Germany is that they love Italian food. I was boycotting Italian food as long as I could since I knew I was moving there and in Italy the restos mostly serve – you guessed it: Italian. So it was actually pretty hard to avoid Italian food in Germany, but I still managed to get some German/Italian fusion pizza at a sweet place in Berlin. Also worth noting, Germany is famous for it’s white wines- especially Riesling. And I was lucky to find a wine on tap shop that not only had several German whites but also of course Italian reds for like 3 euros a liter! This shop,called Vom Fass, also had several barrels of whiskey on tap straight from the ageing barrel as well as dozens of flavored liquors! Oh man, I wish they had something like this in Italy! (or the U.S. for that matter!)

Enjoy the sights from Monaco and Berliner- baby!

Okay, enough with the wiener shots- here’s some food porn 🙂

schnitzel wiener art + frites and a Hefe!

Halben hendel (half roasted chicken) and fresh pretzel +more beer in one of Munich’s many beer gardens (cost? like 6 euros each!)

A night of Mexican food- actually more descent that I expected!

and more beer of course- Dunkel, danke!

Whiskey and wine on tap!

Pizza- German style with sausage, herbs and mushroom cream

Oh, food trucks you say, America? Well check this out! A fresh fish stand!

11 euro smorgasbord brunch BUFFET!! SCORE, Berlin!

CHEESE!

CREPE! (chocolate pudding in the backdrop!)

Columbia City Alehouse: The Tuna Melt.

On June 7th, 2011, The Stranger (a Seattle weekly-like free publication but supposedly more alternative)  published its weekly food feature called “The Great Tuna Melt investigation.” At glance, I thought “did they run out of time for the food column deadline or just ran out of good ideas?” But then I read it, as they reviewed…oh say 10 or so restaurants and it was actually quite entertaining and found it rang so true. True meaning that they slammed a place for screwing up mashed up canned tuna by drowning it in mayonnaise thus essentially making a slimy slippery fatty salt-lick “messwich” and then proceeded to call them out for being over priced. It was what I thought all along when it came down to ordering a tuna melt in a pub or any other food joint. Last time I ordered one out was (as a joke) at a Marie Calender’s (also a joke) and believe me I think I needed a cow’s stomach to burn up that mound of crap.  But all that changed once that article in The Stranger came out. I took a new consideration to the tuna melt. I mean, afterall, if you can’t expect a place to do a tuna melt right, how could you trust them with a burger?

So today, after a long strenuous escape into the mountains, I decided I deserved a decadent pub burger. I was deliberating between a southern fried chicken sandwich with a spicy collard greens pesto AND aioli or the staple BURGER. Then I saw the tuna melt, the same tuna melt that got a raving review in The Stranger’s great investigation. I asked the barman: what would he choose were he in my hungry yet curious shoes (kickingly swinging from the barstool) and he said definitely the tuna melt. That sealed the deal, I wanted to taste what that reviewer tasted.  And it went a lil’ like this:

The albacore was bathed almost like a bubble bath in the mayonnaise, like it just got a makeover and a spaday. And you could actually chew up the tuna, as if there were REAL chunks of fish from the ocean. And there were little specks of green chile that seemed more like spicy chopped pickles. In a good way.

All this was grilled perfectly with a deliciously melted sharp pepperjack cheese sandwiched in crispy toasty buttery sourdough, just like mom used to make. If your mom was fancy enough to have a sandwich griller, that is. Looking back at the review David Schmader wrote on CCA’s tuna melt, he sort of crticized the bread for acting as a “bland framing crouton for the green-chili-and-albacore explosion within.” And I thought that the crispy grilled buttery (what homemade croutons do resemble I suppose) sourdough slices complimented the heck out of the “explosion” within. What more did David want? I guess you can never please a food critic. 🙂

Moral of the story is that Columbia City is pretty darn awesome with lots of undiscovered jewels (Like Columbia City Bakery?!?! I had a Bacon Date Cheddar scone just the other day that I thought I was going to faint over.) and you should one: go to Columbia City Alehouse for a delightfully crafted microbrew and a tuna melt and then pledge to make the tuna melt your gateway bite into any new (for you) brewpub, gastropub, or sandwich shop.

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