Seattle's 'pot pigs' go high on hog
Never mind the potbelly pigs. How about pot in the pigs? That's what Seattle butcher shop BB Ranch is experimenting with, in a "high on the hog" story from Seattle Metropolitan on pigs raised on weed-laced feed.
Owner William von Schneidau (formerly of Bill the Butcher) told reporter Cassandra Sawyer that the animals from Snohomish's Bucking Boar Farm ate feed spiked with cast-off, now-legal, marijuana roots, stems, and leaves from a medical marijuana facility. The heady experiment was meant as a "co-operative act of sustainable farming," according to a video advertising a March "Pot Pig" dinner where the pigs were reputedly eaten. The point was to add fiber and flavor to the animals; the four pigs invoved, apparently, gained more weight than the norm (and were mellower too?)
The story has gone viral worldwide, with NPR calling the stoner swine mostly a publicity stunt, but also noting that "creative reuse of a local waste product is part of a larger trend of small farmers looking for new, free sources of livestock feed, especially since prices for corn and soy have been on the rise." A Modern Farmer article said the "of-the-minute novelty" is "simply the latest iteration of (von Schneidau's) longtime passion — drawing connections between an animal’s diet and its meat...Pot is the most recent of his off-template pig food, which has included spent vodka stillage, microbrew grains, and cantaloupes."
Bucking Boar's Facebook page notes that "In light of recent events...
Plans are in the works to grow more of the sought after hogs!" Until then, those curious about other edible implications of Washington voters legalizing marijuana can check out our 2012 article on the complications that still exist for actual "medibles," or read the latest issue of Edible Seattle, which features recipes using "this centuries old culinary herb, some of which are intended to provide the user with noticeable effects, while others simply make use of cannabis in the same manner we might use thyme or marjoram." There are recipes there for brownies, but not, at this point, for bacon.
Seattle bars getting Moscow Mule mugged
Some local watering holes may need to install metal detectors for those on the way out of the bar. Or at the very least relegate the new hire to copper-mug patrol duty. Or maybe train their doormen in the fine art of sniffing out copperware being spirited away, hidden in purses and trench coats.
Maybe a Moscow Mule user fee is in order.
I’m only half-joking because the theft of those lovely tankards is getting absurd. Seattle-area cocktail spots have lost as much as $1,000 worth of these vintage mugs.
If you are such a saint that you don’t frequent bars, let me explain. The Moscow Mule is one of the best-selling vodka cocktails (vodka, ginger beer, lime) in the Seattle area, and it’s often served in a traditional, shiny copper vessel (a rather expensive one). You can check out the history of that mug and the cocktail here. Patrons love ordering this refreshing drink, especially during the summer, and many, it seems, pocket the mug as a souvenir. Andrew Friedman, co-owner of Liberty on Capitol Hill estimates his bar loses up to five a week.
Along the hip, bar-hopping strip of 12th Avenue, Tavern Law is down to two mugs. So this speak-easy bar now serves the Moscow Mule cocktail in a Collins glass unless customers request the special mug.
Nearby, the cocktail den Canon started 20 months ago with 30 vintage mugs and also has just two left. The policy now is you can only get your Moscow Mule in the vintage mug if you sit at the bar, where the bartenders can keep an eye on it.
At Ba Bar, bartenders make about 50 Moscow Mules on a busy night. (It's one of the best deals in the city. $5 on Sunday and Monday.) So many mugs have been stolen that the bar now posts this: “$35 extra if the mule mug ends up in your pocket or hand bag.”
In Belltown the bar Rob Roy has lost so many mugs that the bar owner sells it for $20. Still, folks steal them. Now, if you order the Moscow Mule, the Rob Roy staff requests you leave a credit card. You get your credit card back when they get their mug back.
Tom Douglas teams with Obliteride: More for the cure
Just when you think Seattle chefs are doing all they can to help find a cure for cancer, Tom Douglas announces he's teamed up with Fred Hutch to "cook cancer's butt" during this summer's new fundraising bike event, Obliteride (read my pal Nicole Brodeur's tale of its genesis, here). Tom's catering the kick-off party at Gas Works Park, to be held for a cast of thousands Friday, August 9. Register to ride for the cause here and you'll get two free tickets to that salmon shindig.
- Tomboy, hoping to obliterate cancer by helping out at Obliteride.
Seattle chefs, 'Top Chef' Master Rick Bayless kick in for cancer
For the past five years, I've played "kitchen liaison" (or kitchen Lee-ee-son, as I like to say) at the Fred Hutch Premier Chefs Dinner and fundraising auction. I did it again last Sunday, hanging out with some of my favorite chefs, watching as they showed up at Sodo Park by Herban Feast and in a few short hours produced a multi-course meal for 300 generous donors, helping raise a whopping $775,000 for cancer research.
[In case you were wondering, that's Skillet's Josh Henderson with his back to the camera. Recognize the rest of those folks? That's some bigtime talent there.]
Among the donors was Top Chef Master and keynote speaker Rick Bayless, who upped the ante on live auction number 7: dinner for two at his Chicago restaurant Topolobampo (plus first-class airfare and hotel accommodations, among other goodies). But wait, there's more! -- he said, stepping up to the plate (and the mike) as hands shot in the air while he added to the package: a behind-the-scenes restaurant tour! appetizers first at his private residence! add four more guests for a party of six!
Fierce bidding ensued, making Rick's the No. 1 auction item of the night, raising $35,000.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen . . .
I kept busy introducing the culinary talent, course-by-course, via live video-feed. Like me -- and the chefs who've come before them -- they were volunteering their efforts because like you, we know a lot of people who fight cancer every day, others who've beat it, and some who've died from it.
But we also work this event because it's great fun.
The best part? I get to pick up pieces of juicy gossip, and hear things that crack me up. Like?
Well, like last year, when I told keynote speaker Ruth Reichl I'd recently scored a copy of her first cookbook (the hippie-fied now-out-of-print and eminently collectible "mmmmm: a Feastiary") for $80 at Seattle's Book Larder. She laughed, then told me she can still kick herself for not taking her mother's advice and saving a case of those old paperbacks she'd stored way-back-when -- and later jettisoned. "Those would have made me a fortune today!"
This year, I busted a gut when chef Greg Atkinson -- standing right next to Daisley Gordon -- told me that his Bainbridge Island restaurant is "the real Restaurant Marché" (which is better than busting an ankle, which I did a few years ago, on Mother's Day, forcing me to work this gig a week later in a boot-cast).
And when Daisley pulled out his phone to show me a video of his unbelievable roast chicken being stuffed and trussed at his Marché in Pike Place Market, I thought, "Man! I should have included that one in my recent roast chicken roundup." The one where I sang the praises of Jim Drohman's roast chicken-for-two.
After that story came out, said Jim (who was here offering up hors d'oeuvres with Cafe Juanita's Holly Smith and RN74's Phil Lehmann), those chickens were flying. With no walk-in storage at Le Pichet, he said, they had to make some special fridge-runs to Cafe Presse to keep up with the constant call for the birds, hot-sellers at both of his restaurants.
At the Hutch event, I also get the lowdown on restaurants not yet open, like Eric Donnelly's RockCreek, a sustainable seafood house slated for a July debut, right next door to Scott Staples' Uneeda Burger, in Fremont. And speaking of fish, and Fremont, I had a chance to tell Rachel Yang (whose cold smoked escolar went over big) how crazy I am for the Chinese-accented monkey bread she's serving at brunch at Revel. (Seriously, you've got to try it.)
I also got to talk face-to-face -- for the first time -- with great guys like Mike Robertshaw (late of Local 360, now set to cook N'awlins specialties at Mike Lewis' as-yet-unopened Restaurant Roux, in Fremont). And Hitchcock's Brendon McGill, who recently won the People's Choice Best New Chef award from Food & Wine, and had to run over to La Bete to borrow a 10-gallon stockpot for his stinging nettle and oyster soup at the last minute ("I thought the restaurant supply store would be open on Sunday!").
I also introduced myself to Belgium-born Jelle Vandenbroucke, from ART at the Four Seasons, practicing his name over-and-over for the camera: "Van-den-BROKE-ah, Van-den-BROKE-ah." "Hey! You're the chef at ART?" I asked. "What's up with the fabulous Kerry Sear?" Turns out Kerry's still hard at it -- as the hotel's director of food and beverage.
Try as I might, I could not get award-winning chef Jason Stratton, the man behind Capitol Hill's Spinasse and Artusi, to fess up and tell me where he's planting his new Spanish restaurant and bar, Aragona, set to open near Pike Place Market by early autumn. (Any guesses? The comments box awaits!) But when it does, the lovely Carrie Mashaney will be there, wearing the title chef de cuisine. "Right?" she said, poking Stratton in the ribs.
Premier Chef board members Russell Lowell and Robin Leventhal were on hand as well, making sure things went smoothly -- and indeed, they did. ("There's cold beer in the cooler!" shouted Russell, before heading back to his Bothell barn). After an evening at this event, I always feel lucky to work with such a great team of chefs, restaurateurs and wine folk who are doing what they can to give it up for cancer research. Robin agrees, for a very personal reason:
"On the one hand I am lucky, I have a low-grade form of lymphoma," she says of the cancer diagnosed years ago. "On the other hand I have a treatable, but not curable form of cancer. This means that every few years I am undergoing some form of 'maintenance' to combat its hold on my body. Because of that, I am dedicated to the Hutch for their amazing cutting-edge research to find better treatments, and hopefully, one day a cure for cancer."
Seasonal farmers markets opening
In the Northwest, vegetables always seem to run a few weeks behind, with produce lovers having to be content with lingering weeks of flowering kale and braising greens until we can buy our fill of asparagus and rhubarb.
Finally, though, spring has arrived. Farmers market tables are multiplying by the week, with new producers and fresh goods cropping up — and, the biggest sign of all, more markets opening for the 2013 season.
New seasonal markets this year include the Pike Place Market Express farmers market in Pioneer Square (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays in Occidental Park, starting June 19).
The Lake City Farmers Market, one of my favorites for its relaxed feel by a library and playground, will have expanded hours, running from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, starting June 20, as well as adding more prepared food vendors for picnicking in the park. The extended five-hour run — I’d like to see that become a trend! — was meant to capture “the local family and senior shoppers who enjoy showing up early and also capture the commuter crowd going home at the end of the workday,” said Chris Curtis, director of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance, in an email.
The most intoxicating news of the season: A pilot wine- and beer-tasting program tested at 10 farmers markets statewide last year was made permanent and expanded by the Legislature. Under the new bill, effective July 28, up to three wine or beer sellers per qualifying market will be allowed to offer samples.
Interesting new vendors abound at nearly every market, including Seattle Urban Honey and the delectable cheeses of Kurtwood Farms coming to the University District market in June (the year-round market, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.)
Likewise, the West Seattle market is year-round, and open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Honest Biscuit and Rachel’s Ginger Beer will join vendors at the Columbia City market, San Juan Island Sea Salt is one of the new tables at the Broadway market, and Tabby Cat Pickling will come to the Lake City and Phinney markets, among a host of other new appearances.
There are at least six new farms at the Madrona market (3 to 7 p.m. Fridays), according to Zachary Lyons of the Seattle Farmers Market Association. Those will include two additional dairies, Seattle Tilth’s farm incubator program, and “a new farm project by Phong Cha, patriarch of the Hmong farming community, who is developing a farm that will focus on growing culturally relevant Asian varieties of vegetables and herbs,” Lyons said in an email.
The Wallingford market (3:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, starting next Wednesday, with chefs allowed in at 3 p.m.) will also have two new dairies, Lyons said, plus “Seattle Tilth’s Youth Garden Project and Children’s Garden, a certified organic Hmong farm run by Chai Cha, Phong Cha’s son. Children’s raises a wide variety of vegetables, including the hard-to-find Chinese Spinach — the most beautiful vegetable on earth, for my money — and it has become one of the year-round anchor farms at Ballard Farmers Market.”
The Queen Anne market, starting June 6 from 3 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, features a large rotating gathering of food trucks (organizers think it’s the largest weekly gathering in the city), notably scheduled to include Renee Erickson’s new Narwhal truck.
Columbia City’s popular market is operating Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. (chefs can squeeze in early at 2 p.m.), while the Farmboat “floating farmers market” aboard the Virginia V at Lake Union Park will run 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays. Madrona operates from 3 to 7 p.m. Fridays, and the Broadway Farmers Market runs Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For upcoming opening days, the Phinney market will run from 3 to 7 p.m. Fridays starting June 7, and the public is welcome at the farmers market at Virginia Mason Medical Center on First Hill, which runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays starting May 31. The Magnolia market will follow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays starting June 1. Pike Place Express will open its City Hall Plaza branch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays starting June 18, and its South Lake Union branch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays starting June 20. Granddaddy Pike Place Market itself has a seasonal farmers market from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays-Sundays starting June 21.
A good list of farmers markets throughout King County is online at Puget Sound Fresh.