I had heard good things about Cafe Wylde. I always try to keep my ears open when a new restaurant comes to Everett, but somehow from opening, to when I first ate there, I had forgot the cuisine. I knew it was healthy, and healthy is good... So when my family found themselves at a loss for where to go to lunch, and my stomach was tired of butter, mayonnaise, and beef, I suggested just this spot. And they trusted me without a question.
We sat down, and I immediately loved the vibe. Very bright, open, lots of white and gold, geometric art, and a Himalayan Salt Lamp on top of the fridge. Millennial Love!
Yup, you read the menu right. It's a Vegan restaurant! This is not a problem for me, I've gone through years of being a Vegetarian throughout two phases of my life. I frequently eat a vegan diet during Lent, and we make vegan dishes at home regularly because it's so beneficial for the environment. That said, I knew my husband was hungry, and vegan dishes are off the menu when he's hungry. I looked at him, his eyes were squinty. I looked at our son. He seemed unimpressed. Our daughter seemed unfazed and was looking at the bakery case full of vegan delights. I slowly, carefully said "we can go somewhere else..." With equal care, my husband replied, "This is fine."
The menu includes a wide variety of smoothies, juices, and coffee drinks. My daughter got the Ruby Red because she loves grapefruit, and she was curious about the durian. Durian is a notoriously smelly fruit that people either love or hate. She ended up not liking her beverage, so I finished it, but my coffee came with cream in an adorable copper cup. Love!
My son loved the jackfruit burrito, which came with a decent sized and delicious salad. There is jackfruit in many of their dishes. My husband got the Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich, and seemed pleased. We all agreed that jackfruit does not taste like meat, but has a great texture. Of course, I think it's weird that you would give up meat, and expect your fruits and vegetables to taste like meat. Let it go. Let the meat go.
You can see my dish at the top of this post. I got the Bukhan Bowl, which was plenty of food. It's Korean BBQ jackfruit with quinoa, avocado, and Tamari mushrooms.
Meat has always been easy for me to set aside, but I have a hard time passing on dairy products. Especially cheese, oh how I love cheese! Cafe Wylde's salad dressings, coconut cream for coffee, and their cheesecake totally fooled and satisfied my desire for dairy.
After how my daughter drooled over the dessert case, dessert was a must. Isn't that a scrumptious slice! It was creamy, and light, and had the perfect amount of strawberry flavor. They regularly rotate their cheesecake flavors. I kind of want to buy a whole one, and make a YouTube video out of it... At any rate, we were thoroughly impressed, full, satisfied, but without the heavy sometimes sick feeling you get when eating out. Maybe that's just me. If you're in the area, you should definitely try it out. A true pleasure for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike.
Are you Team Cheez Whiz or Team Provolone? This is the kind of question you're going to need to ask yourself before stepping foot into SU-Bees in South Everett. My husband was horrified when I ordered my cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz, but I had to. Firstly, I've only ever tried one with provolone before. Secondly, I only just found out in the last 12 months that a traditional cheesesteak is served with Cheez Whiz. How did I attend college for four years, just an hour away from Philly, and not know this?
SU-Bees is hidden away in an unassuming strip mall right by the Target and Trader Joes on Everett Mall Way. There was also a tasty looking cookie shop and a restaurant totally devoted to tamales. So, you may just want to spend the day in this complex, eating and napping in your car in between meals.
Guys! I don't even know where to begin. The service was great. It's a cute, cozy little shop with a warm color palette and multiple flat screens so you can watch the game, or whatever you're into. The sandwiches were cheesy and drippy. The meat was cooked perfectly. The bread has a nice chew to it. The prices were reasonable, and did I mention the Pizza Fries!?!
I love loaded fries. I love them about as much as I love it when a restaurant puts pulled pork, or pastrami, or buffalo chicken on top of my beef burger. It's unnecessary, unhealthy, and totally indulgent. I almost always have to order chili cheese fries or poutine if they are an option. SU-Bees has pizza fries, and they are exactly what you'd think, delicious crispy fries smothered in mozzarella, marinara, and oregano. The only thing I would change would be an addition of pepperoni slices, but I'm a bit extra.
Yes, it's still Christmas. The wisemen won't show up until January 6th, and my decorations will remain up until then, and becuase it's still Christmas, I feel I can still share with you the recipe for the green chile enchiladas I made on Christmas day. If you've ever had the pleasure of talking to a New Mexican about food, you know that we talk about green chile the way that Bubba talks about shrimp, and green chile enchiladas are a staple. I've made and eaten them many many times over my 36 years, but this year I went a little rogue and made my own recipe. I introduce to you, Chicken Bacon Green Chile Enchiladas! I'm also going to do you a solid and just leave the recpie below, so you don't have to scroll through 7 pages of stories about my husband, kids, and dogs. I hate that. You're welcome!
Chicken Bacon Green Chile Enchiladas
9 Strips Of Bacon
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 13oz (Thawed) Autumn Roast Bueno Green Chile
1 10.5 oz. Can Of Cream Of Chicken
10.5 oz. Of Milk
16-18 Corn Tortillas
2 Cups Of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
*Optional - Green Onion For Garnish
1. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with butter or oil. Set aside.
2. Cook your bacon in a medium-sized frying pan on medium-low until desired crispiness (I usually do this in batches of three pieces at a time) . Leave bacon fat in pan, and cool cooked bacon on a paper-towel lined plate.
3. Saute chicken thighs in bacon fat, approximately 10 minutes on each side, again on medium low. Set aside cooked chicked to cool on a paper-towel lined plate. *Salt and pepper to taste.*
4. Pre-heat oven to 350*, and remove any excess bacon fat you may have, leaving approximately 2 tbsp in the pan.
5. Saute one diced onion until golden-brown, or carmelized if you prefer a richer flavor, approximately 5 minutes. *Salt and pepper to taste*
6. Add your thawed green chile and simmer with onion for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add can of cream of chicken, fill can with milk and add that to your pan as well. Simmer the onion, chile, soup, mik mixture for approximately 10 minutes until it thickens. While that cools a bit, and thickens more, dice the chicken thighs.
8. Start layering - tortillas, chicken, sauce, and shredded chesse. Typically makes about three layers, with a fourth covering layer of just tortillas and the last 1/2 of shredded cheese.
9. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for remaining 15 minutes.
10. Garnish with green onion if desired, and serve!
Thanksgiving - My Way
It's that time. Time to plan your menu. Time to buy your turkey and thaw it, if you buy frozen. Actually, if you bought one 10lbs or more, you're officially too late. You need 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds. Any hoo, I'm super grateful today that I saved my photos from last Thanksgiving. You're welcome! Pictured below is a gorgeous bacon wrapped turkey. I got the idea from my brother Scott, who makes this turkey almost every year.
I'll attach a recipe here for good measure, but essentially all you need are the basic placemat weaving skills you learned in elementary school. I have seen that other cooks have created very elaborate bacon weaving techniques, but I basically just made a sweet, sweet bacon blanket to tuck my turkey into. I would recommend a tighter weave to eliminate issues with shrinkage. You can see above that there are spaces between the bacon, which is less than desirable.
Once you've successfully blanketed the turkey, you want to pack it in with a good coating of brown sugar, for flavor and caramelization. Would I do it again? Probably not. It fact, I'm going to be super lazy this year, and put my turkey in a roasting bag, so I don't even need to baste it. That said, the turkey last year was delicious. If you love bacon you should try it. The trade off is that the bacon becomes the skin, so you do have a nice crispy layer, but if you like crispy turkey skin, you’re gonna have to do without.
Next to turkey, my favorite dish is the dressing. It’s dressing, not stuffing, because A) the turkey takes longer to cook with stuffing, and B) if you've read anything about it, you know that there's a high risk of food contamination with stuffing. Dressing it is!
Growing up, my least favorite Thanksgiving food was the dressing/stuffing. It was soggy bread, with mushrooms and too much celery. I'm sure other people enjoyed it, but I do not like a traditional dressing. So, when I started cooking as an adult, I made it my mission to first perfect mashed potatoes. I have. There is nothing better than Alton Brown's Garlic Mash. The guy is annoying as all get out, but if you're looking to perfect a particular food, there is no one better. Once I had done that, I needed to find a dressing I could tolerate. My stepmother once made a sausage and chestnut dressing that I could stomach, so when I saw this recipe I gave it try, and it's been my tried an true for the past 5 Thanksgivings. Kale yes! The Food Network is absolutely wonderful. I don't even know why people make cookbooks now that we have the interwebs.
Last year we rounded out our plates with pea salad, and green bean casserole (cause sometimes you just have to), but this year we'll be making stir-fried brussel sprouts because it's important to try new things. It's also not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. I typically follow my Mom's recipe, which I'm not sharing, but this year I pre-ordered from Snohomish Pie Co. So, you'll have to wait for Instagram pics. Most importantly, I hope you get to spend this Thursday with people you love. I know I'm going to, and that's what really makes the food special.
When The Taco Bar Is 21+... Pizza!
It's been well over a month since July 4th. Some of you may be wondering where my post about Coney Island is at. In truth, I've tried to write it a few times. I really wanted to share, but there is a deep set resistance in the pit of my stomach. I'm not sure where it stems from, but I fear that the more I share, the more I lose. It may be selfish, but I want to keep everything I saw, smelled, heard, touched, and tasted all to myself. Some how, I think sharing with you all will diminish the memory, will cause it to fade like a copy you keep re-copying at work because everyone is too lazy to print a fresh sheet.
My advice? If you're really curious, I encourage you to try a contest. You can find all the Nathan's qualifiers here. If you can't stand the thought of it, I would recommend searching other blogs. The internet is a big wide wonderful world, and I'm certainly not original, nor are my experiences. The great thing is, if you're a new reader (aka: Not My Mom) then you probably don't care. So, let's dive into some pizza!
My family and I recently returned from a road trip to Wyoming. A very long road trip. 13 and a half hours to be exact, and that's without stops. On our way back, I promised a nice sit-down lunch in Spokane. Our first priority was gas. So, once we pulled off of Division and made that happen, we were looking for food. Everyone agreed on Mexican, so I directed up to Borracho Tacos & Tequileria. Sadly, we had already paid for parking and were told that they were a 21+ establishment. We had our 11 year-old daughter with us. They recommended the pizza joint next door, Boombox Pizza, owned by the same people.
Thankfully, this meant we had the entire restaurant to ourselves at 1pm on a Monday. My daughter loves a meat loaded pie, so that's what she ordered. We got an add-on of the spicy wings for the hubby (I tried one, delish). I was trying to fast after my last burger challenge in Jackson, WY, but I saw something that caught my eye. They had a loaded Bloody Mary. It came complete with deli meat, pickled veggies, and a huge stick of pepperoni bended over to hold the slice of pizza upright. I love a good Bloody Mary. You could probably put Little Caesar’s on my drink and I'd still eat it, but NO! They may me a fresh slice of delicious pepperoni pizza. The cost? $17... but it's technically a drink with a complete meal, and they donate $1 every time to the Spokane Humane Society. In essence, my pleasure was a moral imperative. Long story short, everything was tasty time, no joke. The server was lovely, the line chefs came out to check on us, the food was suburb. I will definitely be back.
I'm Going to Coney!
This picture is driving me crazy. The trophy is backwards. Ugh! Other than that minor detail, I've been on a week long high. This is the very first trophy I've earned in my 35 years, and I've taken to obnoxiously referring to myself as an "athlete." At this point, I think everyone that knows me is tired of hearing about hot dogs, but I really don't give a bun. Why, because with a little bit of hard work, and sheer luck, I won the Vallejo, CA Nathan's Hot Dog Qualifier. Not just that, but you can see in my last post that I got to meet the great Kobayashi. Guess who I got to meet in California?
That's right, I met the man who beat Kobayashi, and is the current champ of competitive eating (according to Major League Eating), Joey Chestnut! He kindly took this picture with me, and even offered some unsolicited eating advice, which I greatly appreciated. He, of course, was not competing. Being from Vallejo, he showed up to exhibition, and as he put it, "It's good practice." Eating at the table with Joey is almost laughable. He ate 72 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. To put that in perspective, the leading male competitor, Steven Hendry, ate 28.
Here I am, with Steve, and legendary Emcee Sam Barclay. Interesting bit about Sam, I showed really early to check-in for the contest, and he was happy to discuss all the details of the contest with me prior, including whether I could bring my diet coke on stage or not. He said it was very unusual that I would use diet coke. I get it, the carbonation seems like a bad idea, but it helps me burp, and that makes more room. Sam also shared with me that I would be competing with Mary Bowers. I knew this from Twitter, but the piece I didn't know till Sam told me, was that we were the only women competing that day. This was good news for me. Mary is a fan favorite, but I knew from practice that I could eat more hot dogs than she ever had on stage. Mary is known for her sense of style, and I immediately recognized her when she arrived. Sadly, I didn't get to meet her, she was pretty focused on listening to whatever was playing on her headphones, and getting into the zone.
Oh! I almost forgot a crucial piece to this post. I got to meet Max Carnage! He's an eater from Oregon, and the reason I even registered for this qualifier. He was so encouraging, and we've been messaging back and forth for over a month. He really pushed me to regularly train. His messages motivated me to train when I really didn't want to, because I couldn't bear to tell him that I hadn't. He also gave me a lot of great details about what the qualifier would be like. Funny thing about Max Carnage, Sam told me he hates it when eaters use grape flavoring in their water because of the standard announcer white shirt. I told Max Carnage this; he smiled and said, "that's why I do it."
Ok, so actual details, I won with 14.5 hot dogs and buns. It's not amazing. Miki Sudo has eaten 41, but I am the leading female rookie of the year, which is kind of cool. I beat Mary Bowers. I feel slightly bad about this because I know she had been to at least one qualifier this year, and lost, and she's a staple in the Major League Eating world. She also sent out an apology tweet to her fans, and I know Steve Hendry's wife is a Mary supporter, because she was yelling encouragement at her the entire 10 minutes. I feel a bit awkward about this, but I did force my husband and kids to drive 14 hours one-way, and then back again so I could eat hot dogs. At that point I was in it to win it, and Mary ate 12 hot dogs! That's her personal best.
I'm so excited for the 4th. I'm grateful for my super supportive family, and I'm grateful to Wayne Algenio and Max Carnage for their tips and tricks.
My hubby took this video live. It freezes up a bit in the beginning. You can skip to about 10-11 minutes to avoid this torture.
A Recap of my May
So, I didn't win, but I went into that competition on a high, because I actually signed up for another competition days before. It was a bit spur-of-the-moment, but I competed in a jalapeno eating contest on Cinco De Mayo, at Tacos Guayamas block party in Greenlake. I won! I won my first food contest. I was supposed to get a luchador mask as a prize, but the wrestlers were over an hour and a half late, and we needed to go. People have asked me how I felt afterwards, and I can report back that after my first margarita, I was fine.
Two days after the taco contest, I got to meet Takeru Kobayashi. I only just started entering food contests, and met the Greatest Food Competitor of all time in the same week. No biggie. He was super sweet, and appreciative of the cheesy gift I brought him. Turns out he collects magnets, and now we follow each other on Instagram (see picture above). Also, I watched him eat 30 tacos in 1 minute! So yeah, I may have lost to Steve this time, but I still feel like I'm winning the month of May. Who knows, this first weekend of June may feature doughnuts and hot dogs...
This Is What I've Been Up Too...
I've been wanting to write this for a while now, but have been held back by fear. Fear of judgement from people I know, and by people I don't. My husband says that's exactly why I should write this. He thinks you'll be more interested in what I have to say if I'm uncomfortable and vulnerable.
You can see from my Bio that I'm super proud of that fact that I completed the 12 egg omelette at Beth's Cafe. when I share that information with someone new, I almost always get the same response, "Why would you do that?" I don't have a good answer. Why do people climb Mt. Everest? I think they do it because it's there. Personally, I think many of the activities we do as human being are questionable at best. We have more free time on our hands due to a variety of technological advances, and an increased division of labor. For me this provides some extra free time (not so much now with my commute), and I find day-to-day life incredibly banal, so the add-ins are what make it fun.
Following the 12 egg omelette, I did a spicy wing challenge at Wing Dome in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. I have a t-shirt now, and you can find my picture on the wall (with so many others). The last food challenge I did was The Farm at Jersey's in Shoreline. I also have a t-shirt for that. They only came in XL, so it now belongs to my husband.
Years later, following a two year plus YouTube rabbit hole, I am training for my first food competition with other eaters. And that's not all...
Yup, I'm not just making videos of me and my kids cooking now. I have videos of me just straight up eating. I don't know what to tell you - it brings me joy. You can check them out. They're pretty cringy, and I've learned about a whole sub-culture that wants the eater to show their belly before and after. Spoiler Alert - I don't do that (for free).
I mentioned earlier that I'm going to be eating in my first real competition. It's a street taco challenge. I need to eat as many as I can in 20 minutes. I already visited the restaurant, and checked with the owner on tortilla size and type of meat. Right now I have a little something simmering in the crock pot so I can test my skills in 10 minutes. I also have a coach that I met online at the beginning of the year. He's coached some of the best.
Long story short, I'll be there for the Live In Everett competition at Mazatlan on May 8th at 6pm. Wish me the best!
Eagles Buffet - A Tour
My love of all-you-can-eat buffets started when I was around 8 years-old. I have fond memories of going to Old Country Buffet almost every weekend when my mom was in dental school. I also remember eating M&Ms while she dissected a cadaver. The 90s were a different time for kids, but I digress... I've tried the same restaurant as an adult, and really wish I hadn't. Those memories should have stayed locked in my childhood. It's kind of like re-watching a show you really loved as a kid, and then scratching your head as to why you ever held the show up, just to watch it fall from it's pedestal and break into a thousand pieces. Sorry, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"
My taste buds have outgrown the under-seasoned heaps of Old Country mashed potatoes and mac n' cheese that I used to slop onto my plate, but I still love a buffet. I love the variety, and the price, and the ability to eat as many pates as I want, while the servers whisk away all evidence of my guilt. It's lovely. We're lucky enough to live next to a Casino with a pretty glorious buffet spread. If you can wade the 100 something yards, through a sea of smoke, from the front door to the restaurant, then you're in. I'm talking about the Eagles Buffet at Tulalip. You can see pictured above, the prime rib with some horseradish, mashed potatoes, broccoli, macaroni and cheese, and some house-made kimchi to round out the plate. Yes, I still get mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, but now it's fancy (ish). With the introductions out of the way, let me introduce you to last night's plates.
This is how I start my buffet dining experience, with a salad, but not just any salad. I like to put everything on there. My Father-In-Law does the same thing, so we've started calling it the "Prettyman Salad." I make a bed of whatever greens I want, in this case spinach, and then pile it with all the savory things I want. I actually got a compliment from the lady behind me in line last night. She was a tad jealous. Then I smother the whole thing in dressing, typically bleu cheese, and sometimes add Sriracha for added flavor.
2nd course is my adult go to, prime rib, with some horsey sauce. I have a little bit of sweet potato tater tots, some grilled veggies, and a chocolate and beer braised beef rib. The prime rib was delicious and butter soft, as usual. The tater tots were a bit mushy, grilled veggies were crisp and delicious, and the rib was tender, but a bit bitter from the chocolate and whatever chile they used to spice it. Overall, a good 2nd plate.
At this point I usually head for the Mongolian Grill station, but I didn't. Big mistake. Instead I went to the "Chinese Food" bar, in quotes because it's Americanized. No shockers there, but it was also extremely salty. To the point that I didn't really enjoy my 3rd course. I got the following: pork egg-roll, veggie egg-roll, pork dumpling, chicken dumpling, kung pao beef, stir-fried veggies, and some noodles (plus soy sauce, which I quickly stopped using). Talk about a salt bomb in my mouth! Next time it's back to the Mongolian Grill with me.
I had to counteract the last plate with a final dessert course. I really wanted a brownie sundae, but brownies were nowhere to be found. So, I got a scoop of the Killer Whale ice cream (similar to moose tracks if you know what that is, and I topped it with a frosted chocolate cupcake. I overheard my son asking my husband, "How does she eat so much." To which he answered, "Have you met your mother?" Yes, all of those years competing with my step-father for who could eat the most plates of food has led me to this place in my life. Thankfully, I don't eat like this everyday. Thankfully, sometimes I do.
This coming Sunday is an incredibly exciting day for many Americans. Personally, I don't watch football all that often. I loved watching my friends play in high school. I also really enjoy attending live sporting events, but I'm just not a big enough fan to justify the cost to watch our local Seahawks play in person, and I'd rather watch movies most Sundays. All that said, I most likely will watch the game this Sunday. Why? Food is the answer. Super Bowl Sunday is not solely about football, it's also about dip, chips, wings, pigs-in-a-blanket, and so many more artery-clogging foods that I typically only enjoy on that one special day. I'll even watch the game until my children start complaining about how bored they are. It should be good times, but I do have one request for all my friends making goodies this weekend. Please, please, please stop using the word "crack" in your recipe titles (unless it's a descriptions of the cracks in the food, or a cooking method).
It's really not cute. I know you mean well. You just want everyone to know how delicious your recipe is. It's so delicious it's addicting... like crack... Except it's not, and frankly using the term seems insensitive and a bit privileged from my point of view. I know it's hard to see, because you've probably never been close to someone that had a crack addiction (I haven't either), but let me put it into perspective.
Not so cute is it? Wanna serve these to your party guests? Wanna share this recipe on Pinterest? I didn't think so.
Is it getting clearer? Also, don't you love that Photoshop work? I did it myself. You're welcome. We could keep going with this. There could be Cocaine Fudge, or Cirrhosis of the Liver Sangria. It's gross. Your recipe is not a drug, and plenty of people have actual food addictions. So, please stop with the "crack" recipes, and don't even get me started on this...
I can count on one hand the foods I dislike, and I'll typically even eat those. Typically frugal, but I'll pay top dollar for an amazing/unique dining experience. Never passed up a free meal, which has led me to become the #36 ranked eater in Major League Eating. July 4th, 2020 will be my third time competing in the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest at Coney Island. I've been on ESPN. That's right people, I'm an athlete.