Guest writers needed!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2008 by jaciburton

I am looking for a couple of guest writers on the topic of travel/food/cooking in Seattle.  Before we leave the Emerald City in search of less rainy climates, I welcome writer to share their food experiences in Seattle. 

The articles should be under 2000 words, include pictures and be in word format.  I hope I don’t have to say that they should also be well written.  I can’t pay for your article but I will include a link to your blog or website.

Send your submission to atlarge.reporter@gmail.com.  I also reserve the right to edit your submission.

Fremont Farmer’s Market in Seattle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 19, 2008 by jaciburton

The Sunday Market in The Fremont district of Seattle is amazing!  There is so much to see.  Although it won’t be open during the market, the Fremont Outdoor Cinema was my first. I fell in love with outdoor cinema at this point.  I love that in the summer you come to a parking lot and watch a film being shown on a blank wall.  This is how all film should be viewed.  This is at the west end of the market.  The market then extends for a long stretch of 34th Street along the ship canal.  The market is full of booths vending produce and other food items, music, art and fun galore.  It is very difficult to leave without you arms weighed down by the treasures found here. 

I alway leave with what amounts to someone’s flower garden.  I can’t help it.  The Flowers are so beautiful.  I usually have to go to the car to unload at least once.  The market is open year round rain or shine, but what vendors are there depends on the weather and closeness to holidays.  It is usually always worth the trip unless there is a storm.

www.fremontmarket.com/fremont/

After you’ve finished shopping, stop in at the Red Door Alehouse.  The food is pretty basic and much like every other brewhouse or american food restaurant.  But there are a couple of exceptions.  The Fremont Salad is made with mixed greens, Granny Smith apples, seasoned walnuts, bleu cheese and a sherry vinaigrette.  Yummy.

The Grilled Ahi Tuna Sandwich is also yummy.  It has a lemon dill butter that is delectable.  For more info  www.reddoorseattle.com

Cupcake Royale – Seattle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 18, 2008 by jaciburton

A couple of years ago, Americans discovered the fun of cupcakesas a dessert or snack. No longer just for elementary school functions, these little bits of heaven have gone mainstream. So it was not surprising to find a little shop solely dedicated to the art of cupcakes in West Seattle. The sweet frangrance meets you at the door when you enter the shop. Mix with that the heady aroma of good coffee and you’re on your way to orgasm in the first few seconds.
They start with two basic cake flavors, vanilla and chocolate, but also have Carrot Cake and Red Velvet. Since Red Velvet is one of my favorite cakes if made properly, that was my first choice, I also got the Carrot Cake, the vanilla Lavender Cupcake and the chocolate Peppermint Party.
I was a little disappointed with the texture of the chocolate cake base. It was a bit too dry and lacking real chocolate flavor. But the icing was delicious. I loved that it wasn’t overly sweet and had just the right amount of peppermint.
The carrot cake was also a litte dry for my taste but the flavor was excellent. Again the icing was wonderful.
My favorites were the Red Velvet and the Lavender. The vanilla cake is more moist than the chocolate and was fluff and light. The Red Velvet was not too sweet and not too dry, in a word, perfection.
Cupcake Royale is a little better at icing than they are at cake but they do a pretty good job overall. I do wish they had more cake flavors though.
Cupcake Royale
4556 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
They also have locations in Ballard and Madrona

The photo above is NOT of a Cupcake Royale cupcake but was provided by M. Connors and Morguefile.com

White Girl with a Fat Ass!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 18, 2008 by jaciburton

I have a gooey girl crush on the blogger of White Girl with a Fat Ass. I came across the blog the other day and can’t stop checking in. I LOVE it. She is so funny. I just love the idea that the purpose of the blog is to raise $1523 for hunger relief while she loses weight. She has raised $555 as of today and has promised to display her naked fat ass on the blog, large or small, when she has reached her money goal.

I love everything about the blog. www.jellykean.wordpress.com

It’s NEVER okay to stiff your food server

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 18, 2008 by jaciburton

When was the last time you went to a restaurant and were happy enough about the experience to leave the obligatory 15% tip? What percentage of the blame for anything that went wrong could be placed on your server’s shoulders? Probably, not much. And if you really think about it, how much of it belonged to you? Did you come into the restaurant in a bad mood, then blame the server for everything? Was it the food that was bad? Did you only consider the performance of the server when determining the tip?

Pretend you’re a food server. Let’s go through a typical day:

Your shift starts at 4:00pm. You are required to be there at 3:45pm, but are not paid until your scheduled time. During that pre-shift 15 minutes, you are required to bus your tables since the bussers don’t start until 5pm. The lunch servers didn’t bus the tables before they went home, leaving that job to you. Once your shift begins, you clock in to get a colossal $2.13 per hour. Your employer assumes that you will get tips and makes certain that you will not make more than minimum wage by paying you what amounts to slave wages.

The manager seats a table in your section and doesn’t notify you. You are in the walk-in getting lemons to cut for drink garnishes. So you don’t realize they’re there. By the time you see them, they’ve been there 5 minutes. You rush to the table. They’re already angry, because five minutes is too long to wait for a someone to take yuor drink order. You take drink orders, which include special requests for lime instead of lemon in the water, and no ice in the iced tea. You work in a Mexican restaurant, so the customers get chips and salsa but they haven’t been given any. You run to get everything, knowing already that there is very little hope of getting a tip, but since you live on them, you do your best to make the customers happy.

You place the orders for the four dinners and corresponding drinks. One of the other servers thinks you are their personal servant because they have seniority and wants you to deliver their drinks for them even though you don’t have the time. In addition, the restaurant has implemented a new computer program and the abbreviations don’t make any sense. You get three of the orders right and one wrong.

You deliver the drinks, chips and salsa, only to be told that the water tastes like fish. This is odd since there is no fish on the menu. You take it away to get more while the hostess seats two more tables in your section. They are supposed to rotate so that no one gets overwhelmed and so that the customers aren’t neglected but the hostess is too busy flirting with the bartender to remember who was next. One of the new tables is a group of four very beautiful young women. You are yelled at in the kitchen because one of the male servers has a standing order with the hostess that ALL beautiful single women are to be seated in HIS section. You deliver the new glass of water.

You get the food and drink orders from the new tables. One wants a special version of one of the dishes, which means that you have to type in the instructions to the kitchen. After you place the orders, you check on the first table’s entrees. One of them is wrong. Two of the three cooks are talking on their wireless headsets. The other is listening to very loud music on headphones. None of them hear you when you tell them you need a rush on the replacement meal. You have to bang on the stainless steel counter to get their attention. They are pissed that they have to re-do it. You take the other three plates out, explain that the other dish will be right out and go to the bar for your drink orders. They have seated a fourth table for you.

The drinks are served and the replacement meal is ready, which you serve immediately. The customer asks for ranch dressing, honey mustard and ketchup, plus a dish of tomatoes. You go back to the kitchen. Your other orders are not only not ready but the expediter keeps moving your ticket back on the table three because the cooks have no idea how to make what you ordered even though you wrote out detailed instructions. You take out the orders for the second table plus the extra condiments for table one and tell table three you’ll be right back with their order. You take orders from table 4. They are friends of the manager. They want to see her.

You go to the kitchen, tell the manager she has visitors at your table. Table three’s orders are still not ready. You ask the cook what the deal is, they get pissed and move your order back. You deliver the drinks for table 4. Table one wants to order dessert. But they want to talk to a manager about the fact that they had to wait so long. You stop at table 4 where your manager is flirting with her friends and tell her table one would like to see her. She comes to the kitchen a few minutes later to say we are comping the desserts for table one. You ask her to find out about table three’s order. She really doesn’t care because her friends are waiting. It takes another 15 minutes before the order is ready, but they’ve burned it. It has to be re-made. You get the manager to talk to the customers, she comps their meals. Table one gets their check and leaves a 3% tip. Table two leaves a 10% tip, table three leaves no tip and a note that blames you for the bad food.
Table four gets their meal for free, because your manager never charges her friends to eat there, but leaves you ten dollars.

This repeats itself 3-4 times per night. You are ‘cut’ at 8:15pm. You are forced to do ‘side-work’ at the same rate of pay after your serving shift. For an hour, you roll silverware into napkins, refill salt and pepper and clean trays. You’ve just made $10.84 in salary for the shift. You made a total of $38 in tips. Since you sold $53 in alcoholic drinks, you owe the bartender $5.30 in tips. But everyone knows you have to round up. You are told every day that if you don’t tip the bartender, your drinks will be made last or not at all. So you tip $6. There were 5 bussers on during the shift. You are required to tip at least $1 for each busser. Since there were 16 servers on the floor tonight, the bussers are making $16 in tips each plus they are being paid minimum wage. You are leaving with $27 in tips. You are then required to claim your tips when you clock out. You MUST claim 10% of your total sales for the night. You sold $280.97. You have to claim with the IRS that you made $28, but you’re going home with $27.

Overall, for a 5 hour and fifteen minute shift you made $37.84 in salary and tips. This works out to $7.20an hour. You get yelled at daily, you are blamed for bad food that you didn’t cook and you are exhausted and stinky by the end of the night. If you’re lucky, one table each night will leave you a 15% tip. $38 a shift, 5 shifts a week, means that you are supporting yourself on a job that makes $760 per month. Before taxes. Not to mention that you don’t get insurance or paid vacation. You aren’t even given a shift meal.

Not all restaurants are like the one described above, some pay minimum wage plus tips. Some give you a shift meal and even a shift drink. But, sadly, there are more of the bad than the good. Once you’ve been a food server, you never again consider NOT leaving a tip. That is tantamount to cruelty. Plus it is very bad manners. Hopefully, now that you’ve read this, you won’t leave a restaurant after stiffing your server, even if you haven’t ever served food yourself.

Ummmm….What?!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 18, 2008 by jaciburton

Food and dieting go hand in hand. I write about nutrition and dieting along with writing about food. But I have been saving something that I just have to get off my chest about diets. Or I should say, a particular diet.

About ten years ago there was a diet pill being advertised on t.v. called Xenical. I am not certain how it even got past the FDA since the side effects were so off-putting that I can’t imagine a single person buying the pills, let alone using them long enough to see if they work.

The side effects were announced on air, but I have a feeling that people weren’t listening because it stopped me in my tracks.

Let’s look at them:

an urgent need to go to the bathroom, an increased number of bowel movements – Okay, these two aren’t too bad and you could live with them depending on how severe they were

oily spotting – please tell me that will be on my face

an oily discharge – ummm. From where?

oily or fatty stools, or orange or brown colored oil in your stool - Oh gross!

gas with discharge – You mean I’ll be blowin’ oil all over my shorts?!?!

sudden unexpected bowel movements – What?!? Are you kidding me?

So picture this: You are in a meeting at work, at a movie or on a date and you have a ‘sudden unexpected bowel movement’ or even a gassy, oily discharge. This is not going to end well. No matter how you look at it, dropping a load in your pants in a public place cannot be viewed as a positive move forward in your career or relationship. Should this happen to you, I advise finding another job, never returning to that theater and not expecting to see that date again.

The reason that I am writing about this is because, amazingly, this weight loss pill is still on the market. If you are still wanting to buy this diet delight, their website is http://www.codepinkfw.org/. I can’t imagine anyone being desperate enough to be willing to pay for pills that are destined to be a constant humilation.

Just my opinion, of course.

Cucina! Cucina!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 18, 2008 by jaciburton

I LOVE this restaurant! I worked there for a short time and it was very clean and sanitary and the food is excellent.

When Mexican restaurants seat you, they automatically serve chips and salsa. Cucina! Cucina! serves warm flatbread and roasted garlic for spreading. It is heavenly. So you’re already all warm and melty and ready for the rest of the meal. I suggest a Red Hook ESB on draft since Red Hook Brewery is very local and delicious!

For your main course, skip the Signature Entrees and go for the pasta. I especially like the Lobster Ravioli. They are handmade and very tasty. Or maybe the Chicken Linguine with Goat Cheese. But all the pastas are pretty good.

The Salads are equally wonderful but my favorite is the Shrimp and Avacado Salad. And, whatever you do, don’t skip the dessert. Or skip the rest and go ONLY for the dessert. They are rich and large and certainly enough for a meal. I can’t get enough of the Tiramisu Pick Me Up but the Gelato Ice Cream Pie, the Cheesecakes and the Apple Pie are also worth the visit.

Click here for free recipes for their Lentil and Italian Sausage Soup and Chopped Salad. Yum!

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