Food Adventures in Seattle

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This past weekend, I visited one of my college roommates in Seattle. I had only been to the west coast once before (San Fransisco), so I was eager to spend time with my roomie and explore the Seattle food scene (see her weekend recap here).

Sarah was thoughtful enough to take me to sustainable restaurants including Local 360 (get the PB&J bon bons- just do it!), Homegrown, and my personal favorite, the Volunteer Park Cafe. We also hit up Tom Douglas’s Brave Horse Tavern and Bluebird Ice Cream.  Below are some of my favorite food adventures from the weekend…

Pike Place Market

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^^While Sarah ran into the office for a few hours, I leisurely explored Pike Place Market. It was even better than I expected, and believe me, I had high expectations!

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^^ Fresh flowers as far as the eye can see!

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^^Fruits and vegetables galore!

Queen Anne Community Garden

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^^Quite the hidden gem, and one of my favorite spots from the trip

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^^Check out the beautiful bloom on the artichoke!

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^^Wild blackberries were EVERYWHERE! Not just in the community garden, but growing all over city.

Theo Chocolate Tour

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^^ I LOVE field trips and food related tours! The Theo tour very much reminded me of the Taza Chocolate tour.

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^^ Fair trade, organic chocolate. My 4 favorite words 😉

Other highlights from the weekend included a jog around the waterfront, an outdoor movie at the Seattle Center (Le Mis) and of course, a given if you know Sarah, a themed party. Have you ever been to Seattle?

– Kelly

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Sustainable Aquaculture Interview with Fishmonger and Gastronomy Student Noel Bielaczyc

New Deal Fish Market

This week I met up with fishmonger and fellow Gastronomy student Noel Bielaczyc at his place of work, New Deal Fish Market (622 Cambridge St). Noel gave me the inside scoop on sustainable aquaculture, and also expanded my knowledge on the different varieties of fish available. Check out the interview below…

New Deal Fish Market

Kelly: How did you first get interested in seafood and aquaculture?

Noel: When I moved to Ann Arbor for college, I saw a fish market and I knew I wanted to work there. I love fishing and the water, so it’s a natural mix of interests.

K: Can you tell me a bit about organic seafood certification and how valuable that is?

N: I’m kind of skeptical about the organic seafood label. It only applies to farm raised fish and just means that plant portion of their feed (soybeans, corn, etc.) was organically raised. But fish like salmon are primarily carnivores, so how can you say that the fishmeal (wild anchovies, sardines, etc.) component of their diet is organic? This label only makes sense for fish that can be raised on an entirely vegetarian diet, like tilapia and catfish. Your best bet is to look for wild, domestic seafood.

K: Can fish be farmed sustainably, and if so, how would we know?

N: I have heard of a few cases of fish being farmed sustainably, but that is not the majority of the farmed fish on the market. It can be done well, but it’s not enough to feed the world.  Because salmon are carnivores, you must catch fish to grow fish, which leads to a net loss. [Salmon farms] are not really doing anything to increase supply.

K: How can consumers help support a sustainable aquaculture system?

N: If the only fish you eat are shrimp, cod, and salmon, you’re missing the point. If you want to be a responsible seafood consumer, you’ve got to branch out. Additionally, shellfish is some of the best stuff you can get. Shellfish aquaculture (like clams, mussels, or oysters) is almost like planting seeds, and it’s not nearly as intensive as salmon farming.

K: A February 2013 New York Times article reported that approximately 1/3 of the fish on the market are mislabeled. How can consumers avoid getting duped? Is there anything that should raise red flags?

N: You are most likely to run into that [deception] at a restaurant, because there’s less seafood expertise, the supply chain is longer, and there’s lots of pressure to control costs. If you are eating an $8.99 platter of scallops, snapper, and haddock, there’s a good chance it might not be what you think it is. [In order to avoid getting duped,] find a fish market you trust and fishmongers you can develop a relationship with. Over 80% of our seafood is imported, so one of the safest things you can do is buy domestic seafood whenever possible.

K: Do you know of any restaurants in Boston that source fish responsibly?

N: Bergamont gets their fish from us, and they do a really great job. East by Northeast buys from us as well. I’m sure Legal Seafoods is doing something right, but I’m not really sure what their practices are. Smaller, independent places are going to be your best bet.

K: Many home cooks are intimidated by the prospect of cooking fish. Any tips?

N: The most important thing to remember is that it’s actually quicker than cooking almost anything else. Let your fishmonger do the dirty work (scaling, gutting, filleting…)! My favorite way to eat fish in the summer is actually raw. Just throw together some dry scallops, good olive oil, onions, and grapefruit juice, and you’ve got yourself a beautiful crudo. If you are unsure about which fish can be eaten raw, you have to ask, and not all fish markets are like that.

New Deal Fish Market

Looking for the best catch in Boston? Then visit the team at New Deal Seafood! Noel helped me pick out some excellent Striped Bass from right here in Massachusetts. Do you have a favorite type of seafood to cook? Do tell!

– Kelly

SOWA Open Market

Looking for a lovely way to spend your weekend? The SOWA Open Market is running in the charming South End neighborhood of Boston on Sundays from 10am to 4pm, May through October. The SOWA (South of Washington) Open Market consists of an Art Market, a Farmers Market, and a round up of Boston’s best Food Trucks. I believe there is also an indoor antique market, but I haven’t ventured there yet.

Art Market

SOWA crafts market

Farmers Market

SOWA Farmers Market

SOWA farmers market

SOWA Farmers Market

In addition to fresh produce, the Farmers Market offered a seafood CSA through Cape Cod Fish Share, as well as a selection of pasture raised meat from Brookford Farm in New Hampshire.

Food Trucks

SOWA food trucks

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So far, some of my favorite healthy food truck bites are the Green Smoothie from Mother Juice, and the Crispy Turkey Crepe from Paris Creperie.

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For a full listing of the food trucks at SOWA, see here. Have you been to the SOWA Open Market? Who is your favorite SOWA vendor?

– Kelly

Food Adventures in Toronto

One of the best things about living in the Northeast is that there are so many unique cities within reach. This weekend I took advantage of the close proximity and met my dad in Toronto (less than a 90 minute flight) while he was there for a business conference.

St. Lawrence Market

The first thing on my Toronto must do list was to check out St. Lawrence Market. I originally read about St. Lawrence Market on the Design Sponge Toronto city guide (my go-to website for city guides when traveling). The vintage warehouse vibe and abundance of artisanal food purveyors somewhat reminded me of Chelsea Market in NYC. I was tempted to buy Canadian maple syrup, but I still have syrup leftover from my maple sugaring field trip in February. Maybe next time!

St. Lawrence Market

One of the optional activities for my dad’s conference was a Foodies on Foot walking tour around the upscale district of Yorkville. Much to the delight of his gastronomy student daughter, he signed us both up. I have been on walking food tours before, but never could I have envisioned the amount of food that we would accumulate in a quick 2 hour period. These were not tastings. These were full-on American sized servings. Six stops, four full portioned desserts, and one seated luncheon. And all of this came only 2 hours after (a thankfully light) lunch. Gulp. I’m sure you can see that predicament that I faced as a Dietitian. I wanted to enjoy the food, but I also wanted to be comfortable and healthy. My plan of attack went as follows: When I had the option to get the food to-go, I jumped on it. Otherwise, I would stick to tasting. Food tastes the same whether you have one bite or ten, and devouring four large desserts in 2 hours would not be enjoyable for anyone.

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  • The chocolate brownie cheesecake from Carole’s Cheesecake was rich and decadent without being overly sweet, a fine line for desserts to straddle. The selection rivaled that of The Cheesecake Factory, but in a quaint and homemade atmosphere. And thanks to the hotel mini fridge, I was able to give the dessert my full attention once my stomach was ready 🙂
  • The gelato at the end of the tour was creamy and authentic with an impressive selection of flavors, at least from what I remember of my study abroad experience two years ago. Can’t go wrong with Pistachio!
  • The Cookbook Store was a charming little shop selling books and magazines related to food and cooking, and was a welcome relief from the food fest.
  • And of course, no modern food tour would be complete without an obligatory nod to the cupcake trend (in this case, at Dlish).

Crepes a go go

Although the cheesecake was heavenly, my favorite stop on the tour was Crepes a GoGo. The energetic owner generously led us around the counter and while she demonstrated her craft. Although some creperies smother their product in an abundance of toppings, we were treated to simple crepes flavored only with cinnamon and sugar. They were thin, fluffy, and delicious, all at the same time, proving that simplicity is a true testament to a good recipe.

 

Healthy Panda Express

Lastly, because this post was extremely dessert heavy, here is another dose of healthy airport food (at Logan terminal A). Peppercorn shrimp + 2 servings of steamed veggies from Panda Express. Stuffed at the sight of it all? Some non-food highlights included the Royal Ontario Museum, the CN tower, a winning Blue Jays game, and a trip to Niagra Falls.

What are some of your Toronto favorites? How do you manage portion control when facing an overwhelming amount of food?

– Kelly

Gastronomy in New York City

On Friday my roommate and I took a day trip to New York City as an early birthday celebration. Although seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and holiday decorations was the main motivation for the trip, I also got to experience food and culture in the city.

Our Global Kitchen, NYC

The American Museum of Natural History has a special exhibit through August 12, 2013 called Our Global Kitchen. I first read about it on Marion Nestle’s blog last week, and was very excited that this exhibit would coincide with my trip! The exhibit was perfect to see after finishing my first semester in the BU Gastronomy program, but even my roommate was fascinated by the displays. The topics were very relevant to my Food Culture and Food Systems class, and included information on: the pro’s and con’s of biotechnology, the issue of world hunger, the external costs of meat consumption, monoculture vs. biodiversity, organics and integrated pest management, eating patterns from around the world, obesity and nutrition, food waste, the history of foodways, the science of cooking, and so much more! I highly recommend this exhibit, whether you are a gastronome or not. It is great information to help consumers make educated choices, and to learn about where our food comes from.

Our Global Kitchen, NYC

I also couldn’t help buying this cute T shirt!

Other Gastronomy related highlights included a grilled chicken curry sandwich with cranberry harissa chutney from Le Pain Quotidien in Central Park, as well as cupcakes from the Plaza Food Hall. Also, even though the majority of my NYC dining experiences aren’t at chain restaurants, the calorie counts on chain restaurant menus (such as Le Pain Quotidien) are great at helping make an informed purchase!

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Are any other foodies heading to NYC anytime soon? While I didn’t go during this trip, I highly recommend checking out the Chelsea Market (see below) and Eataly. Where are your favorite places to go in New York?

Chelsea Market

– Kelly