Guest Post by Karen Rosenzweig
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for fabulous flavors! Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Festivus or any other holiday, the signatures of the season are the special flavors worth waiting all year for.
So today, we present our Season’s Eatings, available at some of our favorite Seattle-area restaurants. We looked for unique presentations of our December favorite foods and traditional holiday drinks. We sped by the easy choices – donuts, cupcakes, cookies, lattes and the like – because we KNOW you already know where those goodies are! Here are few that you might not have heard of yet, but definitely don’t want to miss!
Why is it that we only eat gingerbread around the holidays? This rich, spicy treat should be savored all year round, in our opinion. Take a jaunt out to Woodinville for a tasty liquid/solid version of the gingerbread man at The Barking Frog, where their “Beer Flight” will send you to the moon - Guinness Gingerbread Cake, with Oatmeal Stout Ice Cream, topped with Stella Foam, Candied Cashews, Macerated Bananas, along with Gingerbread cheesecake.
In the South Lake Union area, you can go for a double dip of the gingery treat, first at Flying Fish, for the Honey Roasted Seckel Pear that is paired with Warm Gingerbread Pudding. If your blood sugar isn’t soaring by then, swing by Blue Moon Burgers for the Festivus Gingersnap shake – eerily reminiscent of the old favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor!
A truly polarizing flavor this time of year is fruitcake; seems everyone either loves it or hates it, but if you are a lover of the alchohol-soaked dried fruit treat, here are a couple options. First up is Mistral Kitchen, where pastry chef Lucy Damkoehler has whipped up some fruitcake ice cream complemented with gingerbread and rosemary meringue; I’m pretty sure none of you has ever tried that combo! And of course there is the annual tradition of Kathy Casey‘s Over 21 Real Fruit Cake made with Maker’s Mark.
As she promises, this is not your momma’s paperweight fruitcake – it’s chock full of real dried fruits, soaked in Maker’s Mark Bourbon, with loads of assorted nuts, all swimming in a spiced batter. Once those drunk babies come out of the oven, they are brushed with more bourbon and brown sugar – yes please and thank you! These D’Lish treats are limited availability, but a great time to get them is at Casey’s Holiday Extravaganza & Open House on Sat. Dec. 17.
You know we couldn’t forget the life of any holiday party, eggnog! Most of these treats are of the liquid variety, such as Suite 410‘s Craignog, a housemade concoction made daily and named after owner Craig DeBolt, or Rays Boathouse‘s Noggin’tini (left) crafted from 360 chocolate vodka, kahlua and chilled eggnog. And if you need to get out of Dodge, your best bet is a leisurely drive and scenic ferry trip up to Allium on Orcas Island, where Chef Lisa Nakamura will fill you up with Eggnog-laced French Toast w/Spiced Apples, Pure Maple Syrup.
In an independent study conducted recently on Facebook (LOL!), peppermint was the overwhelming choice as favorite holiday flavor. Seems everyone has a dessert twist on this traditional minty favorite, and besides our childhood favorite Frangos and the predictable candy canes, we chose a couple of chocolate temptresses to share. Over at Shoofly Pie in West Seattle, they’ve whipped up a delicious peppermint dark chocolate tart for the mocha fan in your house, while the snowball fans will gobble up Rays Boathouse”s White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake.
And then there are those holiday beverages that are lovable not only for their distinct and divine flavors that warm up wintery nights, but for their witty names. Two of our favorites come from ART Restaurant, where the Anise Navidad will tickle the licorice lovers amongst us, combining Sub Rosa taragon vodka, Pernod, cointreau, fresh grapefruit, and licorice. Or if you are feeling a little “bah humbug” at this time of the year, might we suggest The Grinch, crafted with Ciroc vodka, soho lychee liqueur, muddled fresh jalapenos, and a splash of soda.
A quick jaunt up to Capitol Hill and the Knee High Stocking Company will score you a pour of a Cup of Christmas Awesome! (right) This crowd pleaser made with Voyager Gin, chocolate stout ale, egg white, and nutmeg is crowned with a Creme de Menthe Christmas Tree!
Last but not least, for those feeling in an especially giving mood, it’s back to our old favorite – Ray’s – where they serve up the Mistletoe Treetini – VeeV acai spirit, Effen black cherry vodka, lime and cranberry . The beauty here is that for every Treetini served, a tree is planted and Veev makes a donation to rainforest preservation. Now that’s the holiday spirit!
What have we missed? We know many are partial to hot buttered rum, mince meat, cranberry, pomegranate and many other delicious flavors – tell us about it in the comments below. Happy Holidays and let the Seasons Eatings pub crawl begin!