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09/06/04 - Seattle Notes

We were in Seattle yesterday, but we weren't going to the Huskies game or Bumbershoot. We sort of avoid stuff like that. Instead, we checked out Uwajimaya on 6th and Weller. This is the anchor store for the International District and includes a good Pacific Rim (and Pacific Middle, since it includes Hawaiian food) food court, a great fish store, a book store and it even has apartments upstairs. We were checking out stuff for our upcoming luau, so we bought some fresh gold label nori for the ahi tuna sushi, poked at the taro leaves wrapped in bundles and waved a few bunches of ti leaves about.

The real find though was in the pig department. If you were ever a Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel the Whatever fan, you may remember that the good guys often needed a reliable supply of blood to feed to friendly or captive vampires. Whenever we pass the blood distribution center on 68th and Amsterdam Avenue in New York City, we always think of this problem of feeding vampires. Only in New York City would they have a vampire friendly blood bank that delivers. How convenient can it get? If that new prima donna or best selling author has unusual culinary needs, all you have to do is call for take out. (Do they stuff menus under your door?)

Since Buffy and Angel were set in California, they couldn't just pick up the phone and order blood. They tended to use pig blood. This just gets us to the problem of getting pig blood, and that gets us to Uwajimaya where they sell it frozen. More importantly, they sell pig skin and sweet little pig's feet. It is surprisingly hard to buy pig skin. Even if you have your own pig slaughtered, the skin and feet are usually wholesaled or trashed since they requires a lot of processing to make them kitchen friendly.

So, if you do want to make a proper cassoulet, you can get pig skin and pig's feet at Savenors in Boston, Faicco's in New York City or at Uwajimaya in Seattle. A French housewife would be right at home.

We also made our pilgrimage to The Spanish Table at the bottom of Pike's Market and bought some really good paella rice. Did you know that paella rice is drier that Arborio rice used in risotto? We didn't, but now we do. In a sort of conservation of pig's blood rule, The Spanish Table was out of morcilla, black pig's blood sausage.

Then we tried out Tom Douglas's new restaurant, Lola. Lola has great Greek food, with kebabs and spreads, lamb and octopus, and all through it a bit of Tom Douglas's trademark Northwestern style. Why not salmon kebabs? Why not a real lamb burger with pickled green peppers? Go for the roasted potatoes alone.

Keywords: seattle, food, restaurants, fish, luau, new york city, salmon