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Friday, June 27, 2008

Señor Moose

lunch at Senor Moose I

It took Tea moving to Seattle for me to find one of my favorite Mexican places in my own city.

After only a few weeks here, my friend kept raving about this little place, Señor Moose. Heavens knows I adore Mexican food, so I was compelled to go. However, I grew up on Tex Mex — giant platters of rice, beans, and burritos, covered with glurby melted cheese. Until I try a new restaurant, that's always what I'm expecting.

Thank goodness Señor Moose is much, much better than that expected disappointment. The food tastes homey and authentic, the kind of dishes that a Mexican mama might make in a back kitchen, with years of memory in her hands.

Check out their website and you'll read this:

"From moment one I have written down recipes, watched and made notes as I have talked to women in fondas (small homey restaurants) road side places, houses and markets, most often in the states of Michoacan, Jalisco and Nayarit as well as in Mexico City.

I have been fortunate to have had wonderful creative women helping me in the house who cooked with what there was that day, what was interesting at the market, food they prepared for their families from memory, recipes from mothers, grandmothers and aunts."

That's my kind of food, people.

What I love about Señor Moose — besides the sun-warmed sienna walls, the shelves of kitschy Mexican knick-knacks, and the fine company I always find there — is eating dishes entirely new to my Mexican cuisine sensibility. Have you ever eaten Filete Enchocolatado from Oaxaca? Let me quote from the menu: "Strips of skirt steak sautéed and finished with bitter chocolate, white wine and onion. Served with mashed potatoes and calabacitas guisadas." We never ate like this when I was growing up. Of course, for folks in Oaxaca, this is probably comfort food.

For the most part, it's fairly easy to eat gluten-free in a Mexican restaurant. But you still have to ask. Not everything at Señor Moose is gluten-free. The mole is traditional, and thus has some white bread in it. One of the dishes is flavored with beer. And because the chefs at Señor Moose are trying to make the most sensational tastes they can, they fry the tortilla chips fresh, in the same oil as other breaded items. That makes them off-limits to those of us who have to eat entirely gluten-free.

But you won't feel deprived. There is so much more to eat. And every time I have eaten at Señor Moose, the waitresses and chefs have been solicitous and careful for me. No one has ever made me feel like an outsider there for asking questions.

I just sit back and sigh over my food, feeling safe and well-fed.

Señor Moose Café
5242 NW Leary Ave
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 784-5568

Everyday 8am-3pm
Sunday-Thursday 5pm-9pm
Friday-Saturday 5pm-10pm


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Little Flower Sea Salt Caramels

Little Flower sea salt caramels

Every time I go to Los Angeles, Sharon and I traipse around the corner from her apartment within the first hour of my being there. We're headed to the Silverlake Cheese Store, of course. Perhaps we want some aged gouda, or a handful of olives, a wedge of soprasseta. Who knows what fancy will strike us?

But one purchase is certain. A bag of sea salt caramels, made by the Little Flower Candy Company.

Ay god, I love these. Chewy, with a faint sweetness, a tug like taffy on the teeth, and then a small wave of saltiness, like ocean water that pierces through pursed lips. I adore sweet and salt, and these candies hit that magic balance better than any one I've tasted.

It's worth a visit to Sharon just to eat some. Luckily for us, you can also order them online.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Sensitive Baker

breadsticks at the Sensitive Baker

Sharon and I shared the joy of sitting at The Sensitive Baker, the sweetest little gluten-free bakery in Los Angeles (well, Culver City, technically). I smiled for two hours straight, with the chance to meet so many of you. And as much as I focus first on the foods that are naturally gluten-free, I sank my teeth into warm gluten-free breadsticks, just out of the oven, and sighed with pleasure.

Everyone who came in looked happy, and everyone who left having eaten looked even happier.


Il Macchiolo pasta

Il Macchiolo, recommended by me

My favorite gluten-free pasta of all time is a rice pasta from Italy, called Il Macchiaiolo. Soft and pliable, with a long stretch shape to hold sauces, this is impeccable pasta. Made by artisans, Il Macchiaiolo has been brought into the US by the good folks at Ritrovo.

Ilyse and Ron bring beautiful foods from Italy — mostly organic and made in the tradition of grandfathers — to us lucky enough in the US to find them. And to my surprise and honor, they recently asked me if they could put a sticker on the packages of the rice pasta: Recommended by the Gluten-Free Girl. Of course.

This means that when I go to a grocery store here in Seattle, I reach for the rice pasta, and then stop. I laugh. This cracks me up. Recommended by me, bought by me.

Really, I do recommend it.


Superhero Designs necklaces


I don't really buy jewelry. I've tried twice to pierce my ears, and over time I always seem to let the holes grow in again. Over the years I've owned a series of big rings — the ones that make a statement with size and color on the right hand — and then put them away. About the only piece of jewelry I wear is my plain silver wedding band now.

And two necklaces by Andrea at Superhero Designs.

Last year, I fell in love with Andrea's sense of color and whimsy, her open-hearted writing on her blog, and the pictures of her baby son. This woman knows how to live, imperfectly, and out loud. After reading her posts for a time, and feeling a sense of communion, I ordered a necklace, for my wedding with the Chef.

I chose one called Grass and Sky. Blue sky is one of the symbols of our love, and we would be married in our backyard, on the grass (and eventually in bare feet). Nature and connection. It felt right.

When it arrived, that necklace felt even more right. Andrea had found a gorgeous glass stone, in the shape of a red heart. It dangled down from my throat. I fell in love.

And in the flurry and funny details going wrong the morning of the wedding, I forgot to put it on. Damn.

But I have worn it on every special occasion since. At book launch parties, and speaking engagements, and television appearances — and more important, private moments, like the first time we visited our obstetrician to see if everything was okay with our Little Bean.

So I figured that one necklace I adore, and knew I would be wearing for the rest of my life, was probably enough.

But then I saw that Andrea was making this bullseye necklace. That one had to be mine as well.

If you don't know why the bullseye means so much to me, read this post.

I have a feeling that this plain, silver necklace is what I will be wearing when our baby is born into the world.