Girls on Food

Goodies

SIFT: Crave-Worthy Cupcakes

My sister discovered this lil’ cupcake joint when she made
the decision to go this route for her wedding. Like any savvy bride she
immediately booked free tastings at every spot within a 100-mile radius and,
thousands of calories later, the clear choice was Sift.



Sift
siftcupcakes.com    

 

 
Locations in San Francisco, Cotati, Santa Rosa and Napa PLUS a traveling food truck
A win on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” gained them some major bake-cred, and after tasting the winning flavors I can attest it’s very well deserved.

 

 

In general, I’m not really a cupcake fan. The whole cupcake craze brought about a flood of shops that put out cute little creations in fun flavors that just did not taste great, and were tragically dry. Not the case with Sift! They have a creative, ever-changing menu and the cake is so moist and flavorful you won’t see a bunch of cake bottoms filling their trashcans (classic cupcake move!).
The first time I tried them I “shared” five. And then I went home and ate a whole one. Don’t judge. 🙂 Here are my favorites…

 

Battle Royale 
almond cake w/blueberry tequila filling, acai berry cream cheese frosting
This is by far their most interesting flavor, and it’s one of the three responsible for their “Cupcake Wars” win. To me, this is what cupcakes are all about – going wild with the flavors, and nailing the execution. People are more adventurous with their selections when they don’t have to commit to a whole cake and this is the perfect choice to break you out of your comfort zone. Plus, tequila!
Snickerdoodle 
vanilla cake w/cinnamon cream cheese frosting
I was actually surprised I liked this as much as I did. It’s pretty simple for my taste, as are snickerdoodle cookies for that matter. The flavor is just right on though. This is a crowd pleaser as well, several good reviews on this one.
Berry Good Cheesecake
vanilla cake on top of a graham cracker crust, filled with raspberry jam, topped with cream cheese frosting
I love cheesecake and this tastes freakishly close to the real thing. I love the graham cracker crust as well. Another crowd pleaser.
Stud Muffin
brown sugar beer cake, salted caramel frosting, topped with cayenne dusted bacon
Of course I love this one. What’s not to love?! All the flavors taste amazing together but the best surprise is the beer cake. I could eat that by itself all day long. How often can you say that about a cupcake?
If you don’t live near the Bay Area they will ship their popular delights! It’s pretty pricy (add $29/dozen) but they discount when you buy a dozen. It’s a definite splurge but I’m a big fan of treating yourself, especially with baked goods! If you’re worried about the freshness in shipping I personally just drove five dozen cupcakes two hours to bring them to work the next day and everyone flipped out over the day old ‘cakes. Two days later, (surprisingly) same reaction!

Squeal Like a Pig: The Swinery

The Swinery 
3207 California Ave SW
(between Hanford St & Hinds St)
Seattle, WA 98116
Keeping this short and sweet.
One of my favorite West Seattle spots. The Swinery is a porcine butcher shop that also serves hot sandwiches.


Every kind of pork cut is here, friendly service and they have DRY soda, Seattle company. I love to order a Lavender soda with my sandwiches.

The Swinery BLT – Fried pork belly, lettuce, tomato with chicken pate mayo on a house baked bun. This is one of the best things you’ll ever eat. I could bathe in the pate mayo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<a href=”https://www.zomato.com/seattle/the-swinery-west-seattle&#8221; title=”” target=”_blank”><img alt=”Click to add a blog post for The Swinery on Zomato” src=”https://www.zomato.com/logo/16727411/minilogo&#8221; style=”border:none;width:104px;height:15px;padding:0px;” /></a>

Leavenworth, WA: The Bavarian Town of Samples

I needed to get out of Seattle for a little N&R (noshing and relaxation) so I decided to hop on a bus and visit Leavenworth, WA. Leavenworth is modeled after Bavarian towns and is located in Eastern Washington.
No joking, polka music plays EVERYWHERE!
Right when you step onto Front Street, you feel like you’re in a Disney film. It’s a stretch filled with restaurants, unique gifts shops and a cute Nutcracker museum. The best thing about Leavenworth is that most of the places give free samples to the tourists. Not the tiny free samples one would get at Costco, they offer as many samples as you’d like.
The Gingerbread Factory
828 Commercial St
Leavenworth, WA 98826
I wandered off of Front street and onto a less crowded one. I came across a real life gingerbread house. I was worried a scary old lady would be bake me into a cookie if entered but to my surprise I was offered to try a hearty sample of their trademark gingerbread man and their maple walnut cookies. The cookies are better than homemade here they had a fluffiness I doubt I’d be able to recreate.
The interior looks like a Barbie Dream House.

 

The buttercream frosting topped sugar cookies were also amazing.
The Cheesemonger’s Shop
819 Front St
Leavenworth, WA 98826
Heads up: Look hot when you come in, there’s a few cute teenage boys that work here. They’re friendly and want you to try lots of free cheese. What could be better?
This little shop has an extensive collection of cheese, sausages, beer and wine. So me it’s basically heaven. You do have to request samples here but you can try any of the cheese you wish.
I walked out with Koko’s Coconut-infused Gouda, which pairs beautifully with a stout or porter beer. I bought Truffle Tremor, which is goat brie with black truffle, I’ve topped my heirloom tomato salads with it. It’s not an overwhelming truffle flavor which is nice. I also bought a local honey lavender chevre for a dessert option.
The Oil & Vinegar Cellar 
633 Front St
Ste F
Leavenworth, WA 98826
This was my favorite sample spot of all. There are several oil and vinegars for sampling with bread and they encourage you to try all of them. To make things worse, they offer $5 off each 3 bottles purchased. I could easily go broke here.
 I walked out with an English Toffee balsamic reduction, a Fig balsamic reduction, a Lemon Lavender white vinegar, Key Lime oil (the best!), Garlic Mushroom oil and a Rosemary oil. I haven’t had anything like the Key Lime oil before, I’m still kind of not sure what to do with it so if the readers have any suggestions, please leave a comment and let me know 🙂
The Flavor Express
220 9th St
Leavenworth, WA 98826
This is actually a fudge shop and that’s not really my thing. While looking around I discovered she had a sea salt sample table so I decided to go crazy and get my sodium fix.
At this sample table, tomatoes are on toothpicks and you dip it in the sea salts. Yes, I tried all of them and walked out with Black Truffle Sea Salt.
Leavenworth Sausage Garten by cured
636 Front St
Leavenworth, WA 98826
There weren’t free samples but this was my favorite meal. This is Currywurst sausage topped with fresh sauerkraut, curry ketchup and cajun creole mustard on the side. It was so flavorful it didn’t really need condiments. The beer is Whistling Pig Hefeweizen. This is a patio restaurant, great for people watching and has a great view of the mountain range.
Alveterzane!

Sac Food Trucks: Wicked ‘Wich & California Love

As mentioned before, I’m on a mission to try out every Sac Food Truck! I’m quite enjoying this decision so far and have two more to report on…

Wicked ‘Wich –
Sandwiches & Burgers
@wichonwheels for locations
Their claim to food truck fame is their massive sandwiches
that are stuffed with fries. It’s not exactly something I’d normally seek out but I’m very pleased that I went for it.
They also serve burgers. Most seemed like your standard fare but their Duck Burger was intriguing – ground duck patty, cheddar skirt, caper BBQ sauce and slaw. If it’s still on the menu, I’ll try this next.
My Order:
Pulled Pork Banh Mi w/Pickled Papaya & Carrot, Fresh Cut Fries &
Vietnamese Carmel Sauce

 

 

I was rather surprised I liked this as much as I did. I was on the fence about the fries and the bun is pretty large for my taste. (I’m a thin-crust-over-deep-dish kind of girl when it comes to carbohydrate ratios in meals.) I ended up tossing a pretty hefty amount of the bread but other than that, I loved it! The pork was perfect and the fries added to it without being overwhelming. (The stack is much smaller than the picture on the truck.) The papaya and carrot slaw was the best part though, with the fresh jalapenos on top. My mouth was on fire and my un-glossed lips were bright red from all the burning by the end… but still, it was worth it.

California Love Truck
– Eclectic
@CaliLoveTruck for locations
This truck doesn’t really seem to have a theme. You’ll see
our orders below are quite varied and the one thing we didn’t end up ordering
was the Meatball Sandwich with Jack Cheese & Marinara. A very strange mix…
 Friends’ Order:
Pork Belly Sandwich w/Fried Egg, Arugula & Garlic Mayo
 Two friends ordered this dish. Pork belly’s usually my go-to (actually pork anything) but I decided to go against the grain. I didn’t try it but here’s their review: both thought it could use more arugula, that it would be amazing for breakfast, and that it was delicious.
 Shared Order:
Carnitas Fries – Seasoned Fries, Carnitas, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Chipotle Mayo
Slaw
 If you’re into this type of menu item you should really just order this, we were all in agreement that it was a very weird side dish with our other sandwiches. It was good, pork was tender, but this is really just one of those dishes that you order late at night after many hours spent drinking.
 My Order:
Chicken & Waffles Slider w/Bacon, Hot Sauce Mayo &
Maple Syrup
I kind of love the idea of this slider, seems very food truck-ish to me. Not exactly something that would land on a restaurant menu. I liked it, didn’t love it. I should qualify that by saying that I’ve never ordered regular chicken and waffles before so I really have very little idea what would make it good or bad compared to “the real thing.” The fried chicken was fantastic, bacon’s always good, spicy aioli with the sweet maple syrup –
who could complain about that? The waffle was too dense for my taste and I thought it might be crispy, but no. The fried chicken was good enough to make up for it though.
Four down, fifteen or so trucks to go…
Here’s the link again for location updates if you want to set your own mission:

New Food Mag Favorite: donna hay magazine

A recent trip to Barnes & Noble, killing time waiting
for a movie to start, led to the discovery of my favorite cookbook author’s
magazine! It’s been around for ages but somehow it’s escaped me until now, so
possibly you too. Here’s why it’s great…

Donna Hay’s cookbooks feature (relatively) simple, creative
dishes with incredible pictures of every single one. My biggest pet peeve with
cookbooks is the low picture-to-recipe ratios. How are you supposed to be inspired
to cook a dish without a picture? Her bi-monthly magazine is a slightly smaller
version packed with recipes and gorgeous food photography for a third of the
cost!
In college I worked at a bookstore and spent hours thumbing through
cookbooks when I was bored (sorry boss) and there were very few that broke the
25% mark on trial-worthy recipes, my second pet peeve. They’re usually either
too unrealistic for the home cook, too specific (who’s really going to try 40
pasta recipes?), or too boring and uninspired. Cooking magazines tend to be
even worse. That is not the case here. There’s a great mix of different types of realistic recipes that are sophisticated but simple enough that they’re not intimidating.
The recipe-to-fluff ratio is also incredibly high. It’s a straightforward, seasonal recipe booklet with
short articles about foodie-centric topics like wine and cooking gadgets. The
pages aren’t taken up with topics that you might
be interested in like beauty tips and crafty how-tos. It cuts to the chase. Personally, I
see food mags like guys see Playboy – we don’t read them for the articles.
Like most things in life though, there is a slight catch.
It’s an Australian magazine so you have to do conversions for the measurements,
or get a kitchen scale. It’s quick and easy to do it online or even with iPhone
apps though, and completely worth it!
Check it out online – they have an iPad app where you can
watch videos for some recipes and you can get a digital subscription, though I
prefer the print version.
Tonight I made her Maple & Ginger Cheesecake (fantastic), the Crumbed Eggs with Garlic Kale Toasts & Caneles de Bordeaux are next!

Sac Food Trucks: Krush Burger & Mama Kim on the go

My new goal is to eat my way through the Sac Food Truck
scene. I’m rather surprised it took this long for me to try them out actually. I’ll post my favorites here. So far, we’re two for two…

Krush Burger –
Sliders, Fries, Tots
@KrushBurger for locations
To be honest, they had me at the sweet potato tots. They’re my weakness. And these were delightful, especially with the ancho honey dipping sauce.
I ordered the 2 Pack – the “Cowbell” & the “Ninja.” The Cowbell was delicious but I kind of expected it to be – bacon, fried onions, gouda – it’s kind of a slam dunk. Still, it was very tasty. The Ninja was fantastic though!  Sweet and hot, with the soft fresh bun and crunchy slaw – this is what you should order.
COWBELL (on right): Bacon, Crispy Onion Stack, Smoked Gouda, House BBQ
Sauce
NINJA (on left): Marinated Korean Short Ribs, Asian Slaw, Radish
Sprouts, Crispy Scallions, Sriracha Aioli
Mama Kim on the go – Sandwiches,
Salads, Soup (The Healthy Truck)
@MamaKimCooks for locations
The falafal flatbread sandwich was tempting and the housemade cheddar biscuits they use for their turkey sandwich looked pretty amazing but I went with the fish tacos.
 Fresh Fish Tacos w/Slaw, Pico, Chipotle Aioli & Queso
Sweet Potato Chips

It’s pretty hard not to choose fish tacos when they’re on the menu, but that might be because I’m from California. The tacos did not disappoint though, fresh and a tad spicy with the chipotle aioli. A perfect summer lunch. The sweet potato chips were a bit of a strange accompaniment, but it worked! I also tried their heirloom tomato soup, which was light and refreshing. If they sold it by the gallon I’d probably wipe them out.

——————–
Looking for a food truck near you? They all tweet their locations but this website updates the locations of 21 trucks daily so it’s a quick way to see who’s parked nearby so you can decide what you’re in the mood for!

An Afternoon in Ballard: The Walrus and the Carpenter and D’Ambrosio Gelato

Although I’ve lived in Seattle (West Seattle to be exact) for about 6 months now, I still feel like a tourist. I only recently saw the infamous “Gum wall” in Pike Place and I still haven’t been to the Woodland Park Zoo or had a cocktail at Knee High Stocking Co. I’m trying to kick my “bucket list” so this is the start of that.

The Walrus and the Carpenter 
4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, Wa 98107
(206) 395-9227
Daily: 4pm – Late
Price Range: $$$ ($30-50 per person)

wal 1
 I tried to not read too many reviews on this place because I wanted to go in with my own blank slate. My mother read about it online and decided we should get there very early. Good choice, Mom. We got there at 3:30 PM (they open at 4 for happy hour) and there was already a line of people leering at the staff.
wal 2
The space itself is very quaint and seating is very intimate. The staff brought us to a table and since we didn’t want to bump elbows with anyone else, we decided to take a seat at the bar. Awesome choice, I got to watch hipster oyster schucking! I love the white on white interior, it’s somewhere in between shabby chic and beach theme.
wal 4
This was not my order 🙁
wal 5The cocktail list was extensive. I ordered a Mustache Ride (get on it!) which was bourbon, cynar, all spice liqueur, maple and lemon. It was perfect blend of sugar and spice and the marinated cherry on top was… well… the cherry on top.
We cut to the chase and got a plate of each available oyster. Each oyster…hmmm… how do you really describe an oyster? It’s like a refreshing burst of the ocean that caresses you tongue. That’s the best I’ve got. The Treasure Cove Oyster from Case Inlet, WA in particular was the most “sea like” one of the bunch. I get why they’re an aphrodisiac, now if only Mom wasn’t my date…
wal 6
After the oysters we moved onto the butter lettuce, so we wouldn’t feel like total fat kids. It was crisp, topped with a lightly melted slice of morbier cheese with hints of black truffle.
wal 7
As if fresh oysters weren’t enough for me, I had to try them fried. The fried oysters are heavenly here. The outside is perfectly crisp, without scratching the top your mouth. The inside is soft and buttery but still maintains a sense of refreshment to it. The cilantro aioli was also the perfect match for a dip, I even had some leftover for my bread.
Fried Oysters with Porch Swing cocktail and bread
wal 9
The innards. Heaven.
 wal 8
Speck. I saw this listed on the menu and honestly had no clue what it was (I’m not a chef or an expert) but we decided to order it anyways.wal 10
Glad we did. It was sliced smokey prosciutto with preserved pumpkin, ricotta cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar reduction and topped with mint. This was like all good types of flavors in one: salty, sweet, fresh and creamy. I want to copy this at home so bad but the preserved pumpkin aspect of it makes it seem too timely. I guess I’ll just have to keep coming back.
wal 11
The finale was the smoked trout, topped with a pickled red onion and rests on a bed of creme fraiche with lentils and walnuts. This dish may look diminutive, but it’s so rich, two people can share it. The smoked trout is the best I’ve ever had and the creme fraiche blend with so chewy and flavorful. I don’t even like uncooked red onion and this won me over.
We wanted to stay for dessert but we decided to take a walk around Ballard, which is a very cute neighborhood. There are lots of bars, plenty of shopping and sadly a lot of construction right now. Makes it tough to shop when you’re worried about not having a hard hat. We walked a couple of blocks to:

D’Ambrosio Gelato
5339 Ballard Ave NW
(between Vernon Pl & N 22nd Ave)
Seattle, WA 98107
Hours: Mon-Thu 12 pm – 11 pm
Fri-Sat 12 pm – 12 am
Sun 10 am – 11 pm
Price range: $ (1-10 per person)

D'ambrosio 1
I am missing an Instagram image of the sign 🙁

I haven’t had cantaloupe gelato since my mother used to
take me to the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas. It’s one of those food items I put on a pedestal and assumed nothing could live up to it. D’Ambrosio had it as an option, so I had to try it.

D'ambrosio 2
I tried a sample of it and was instantly taken back to being 18 and not able to gamble in Vegas. It was fragrant, but not too sweet and watery. So good. I got that with a scoop of the salted caramel gelato which is also pure awesome. Perfectly salty and sweet. The interior to this place is very Euro-hip, it was very quiet on a sunny day, I think the construction scares people away.I’d come back here for sure though.

The Walrus and the Carpenter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato