Don’t you worry, we’ve got it all right here. Watch as Ryan Foss eats 100 clams faster than the other four finalists. The afternoon was beautiful, the sun shining, the clams tasting delicious. There were plenty of samples to go around and Chef Kevin taught everyone in the crowd how to make the Atlas Clamwich while we waited for the finals to start. Major League Eater Erik “the Red” Denmark stopped by to say ‘hi’ toward the end and gave a thrill to all the aspiring eaters.

When asked how he felt at the end of the competition as he was handed his $100 prize, Mr. Foss grinned and said, “I’m happy as a clam!”

Ryan Foss, Atlas Foods Clam Eating Champion

Ryan Foss, Atlas Foods Clam Eating Champion

To market, to market. Joe’s is hitting the Farmer’s market this fall for our new menu, full of fall bounty and local products.

That there, in the front of your screen? A deep fried chunk of delicious Mt. Townsend Creamery’s award winning Seastack cheese. Served with a seasonal greens salad with hazelnuts and a cranberry vinaigrette, this is a great way to start off a meal. It was, along with the pepper roasted pork floating along in potato boats in a sea of paprika chive sauce, one of the staff favorites.

The entrees were equally delicious and equally full of local farmer’s market products. The roasted chicken comes made with Mt. Rainier’s Fireweed Honey, giving a delicious kick to this herbed delight. It comes with brussel sprouts and house made gnochhi. But the one that we all loved was definitely the mighty serving of brisket braised in black radish. It comes with an amazing collection of local vegetables including onions, garlic, baby carrots, red potatoes, fingerlings, green beans, Yakima tomatoes, sage and thyme. Whew. And all you wanted was the pic!

The menu will begin Wednesday, August 27th, so be ready and waiting for your all your local fall delights!

Sometimes ideas evolve and become a new idea, better than the original. When we first hatched the Harvest Menu, it was going to be all local. Unfortunately, the reality of that is we would have to raise prices and compromise some of the underlying philosophies of the Hi-Life–good food at affordable prices. So the menu, inspired by the ingredients that we were able to source locally, became a celebration of the bounty of delicious food that we have this time of year in the northwest. Whenever possible, local ingredients are used, but only to the point that everyone has the opportunity to eat the food.

Case in point, this delicious small plate of Poutine. A French-Canadian delicacy that is a palate pleasing fall dish inolves french fries, cheese curds and gravy. This here is our Hi-Life version using Seattle’s own Beecher’s Cheese curds. A snack for the patio or a stomach warmer for when the nights cool off, this is our local spin.

Next up was a dish that embraces all of what the Northwest is. Salmon cakes, fried up good and crispy are served over bok choy in a soy glaze. Local fish, Asian heritage, its all here in amazing little bites.

The Harvest menu will begin on Wednesday, August 13th, so get your locavore appetites roaring!

Veracruz is, General Manager Anthony told us, the largest port in Mexico. Knowing that it was easier to pick out the cross cultural flavors and their origins in the dishes that we tasted for the upcoming Veracruz menu at Coastal Kitchen. If you’re looking to try these dishes we’ll start serving them Wednesday July 30th at 5pm.

The appetizers were all huge hits with the staff, including the Marquitas, a plate of plantain chips with three different salsas. I’m pretty sure the favorite, though was the Queso Fundido, a Veracruz fondue served with bacon wrapped shrimp. The prettiest, though, goes to this dish, the Octopus Salad. The colors, like the flavors were bright and bold. You can’t see how tender the octopus was, but trust me, it tastes as good as it looks.

 

The entrees brought out by Chef Emily were equally inspired. My personal favorite was the Pebre de Pato, a perfectly roasted duck breast served with a pickled oyster mushroom sope. A sope is like a thick tortilla boat. My neighbor to the left however was astonished with the Huachinango a la Veracruz. A piece of skin on (delicious, crispy skin) snapper is served with a traditional Veracruz sauce including tomato, olives, raisins and capers. The staff as a whole all really liked the Carne de Emilia:

You can see the cilantro infused rice and the tortillas off to the left. The meat in the center is 10 hour roasted pork leg rubbed with our house made adobo. Up at the top is grilled and charred vegetables and even spicy peppers along side lime scented red cabbage. If you feel like making tacos out of it, there is a creamy cilantro sauce on the side that cools down the heat of the peppers. A great way to make a meal if you ask me.

The rest of the Veracruz menu will be on the website on the 30th, when we start serving it. I’ll see you there!

For the first time in the history of all our restaurants, we are looking south to Oregon for inspiration on a menu. With the rise of all the artisan cheese and meat purveyors as well as crops of great wine and spirits, it seemed like an obvious choice.

Besides, it means we get to serve neat dishes like this pretty little appetizer. Made with Willamette Farms Fontina, this is a fondue. Dip your crusty bread or apple slices. You can’t quite see the candle in the bottom heating the cheese, but it is pretty cool.

This, however, was the clear crowd favorite. Crostini, two ways. Two are heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese and basil, the other two are have sauteed morel, oyster and portabella mushroms, garlic, butter and topped with pecorino cheese. The arugula salad on this side was a perfect accompaniment, with the lemon juice in the dressing cutting through the rich cheese.

The entrees were equally impressive as Chef Natalie brought out the fish platter, chock full of amazing local seafood. Ling cod, Manila clams and shrimp cocktail salad are all perched on corn wheels and fried red potatos. This one’s like a beachside feast.

The real people pleaser came out with the dessert.

It might look like your average brownie, but this the one and only “Hemp Nut Brownie.” A big piece of fudgy brownie laced with hemp seeds topped with ‘stonerlicious’ ice cream. What, you might ask, is stonerlicious ice cream? It’s got fudge, caramel and peanut butter cups. Whew! The whole thing is topped with chocolate and more hemp seeds. This brownie, is, however, THC-Free says chef Natalie.

So you can see, our neighbors to the south have brought us some tasty foods. Look for the menu to start on July 23rd.

Yup, it is summer time, and that means the summer menus come crawling out, full of food that screams to be eaten out on the porch! Luckily the new chef over at Joe’s, Cindy, did a perfect job of creating that menu. Years ago, Cindy worked for Chow, then she left us to go to California, luckily she has returned and has learned the ways of summer sun food.

On a sadder note, the CHOW camera is sick right now and in the shop, so I’ll have to tell you about all the great food instead of showing you. We started out with the appetizers. The staff favorite was the Pupu Platter, which was loaded with a few traditional items with Joe’s twists: shrimp and kalua pig lumpia (like an egg roll) and incredible coconut crab fritters, but also some lighter tastes to balance it out for a summer sampler like the black goma asparagus. If you’re looking for a smaller appetizer both the watercress salad with pickled ginger and the tuna poke on sticky rice were well loved.

Moving on to the entrees, we were all astounded at the huge plate of Pilau Masala chicken wings. They were unbelievably good. They came with a side of taro fries, taro being a tuber from Hawaii, which have a slightly different texture than regular fries, but one that is surprisingly good–especially in the sweet chili dipping sauce.

I wish I could just list off everything we tried, but it would take us forever, and then you wouldn’t have any surprise when you got to Joe’s on June 4th to try the menu! I will tell the vegetarians out there that they are in for a treat with the Griddled Island Tofu Salad. Made with tofu from just across the water on Vashon, its marinated and served with a warm salad and vermicelli rice noodles. Simply Scrumptious!

Yup, we tasted Barcelona. I have to say, I would return. Seriously though, the Barcelona menu was fun, integrating the tradition of small plates here at the Hi-Life with the Spanish tradition of Tapas. Aside from the wonderful plates that we tried, one of the most fun things was the large family platter full of various Spanish nibbles.

In the upper right hand corner is marinated cabrales, a spanish blue chees, continuing clockwise there is a ramekin of roast olives, Catalan bread, which was rubbed with a tasty tomato based sauce. Underneath that, you see a Frisee Xato, a delicious salad with orange slices and a piquillo pepper vinaigrette, a flamenco egg, which tops a pile of roasted vegetables, a large wood roasted wild mushroom (yup, that is all one mushroom!), fruit and serrano ham (much like prosciutto), a bit of romesco, and some nuts. I’m only sharing this one dish with you because this pretty much somes up the Barcelona menu. The menu begins on May 21st and will be chock full of these type of little small plates, as well as you being able to order them as this full plate! I can’t wait to be back.