Sweetness: Vancouver Island Adventure

 

The Entrance to the Soule Creek Lodge

I had a panic attack on the way to Soule Creek Lodge. The road to the lodge goes up a steep slope—one that, during the course of my trip research, literally every TripAdvisor review had mentioned. Most of the roads we’d taken on the 2 hour drive from Victoria to rural Vancouver Island gave the impression that they were created after man had waged a lengthy battle with Mother Nature, where Mother Nature had ceded just enough space for humans to painstakingly create narrow, snaking, two-lane roads. And the road to Soule Creek Lodge was no different. My then boyfriend (and now fiancé) would later tell me that he felt the wheels of our rental car slip beneath us on the uneven, gravel road as we inched our way to the top of the ridge where the lodge and assorted outbuildings are nestled together above the tree line. I was white knuckling the car’s console as we rounded the corner that dropped us in front of a cozy, cedar building turned lodge. A sign next to the screen door instructed us to ring the doorbell for service. The co-owner of the lodge, greeted us, bearing only a clipboard—no iPad or other electronic device to check us in. I was taken aback at first because it’s so rare to use pen and paper for anything in 2017. We were checked in and then given directions to our yurt, and continued the next leg of our adventure.

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Sweetness: Pie Bar

Way back in January, when I kicked off my lifestyle change, I knew the biggest battle for me would be bidding adieu to dessert. For the first month, I skipped all sweets entirely, and then, afterwards, I made them a special occasion type deal—I wouldn’t eat dessert through sheer force of habit, and only when I really, really wanted something and when that something was extra special.

That something special has presented itself in the form of Pie Bar. I Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetlearned about Pie Bar during my now regular nightly “Evening Magazine” viewing. The bar, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, is just what it sounds like; pie. And booze. Opened last May by twin sisters, Pie Bar serves as a tribute to the duo’s recently passed father. I don’t know their father, but the bar is a fitting tribute to anyone who appreciates pastry and delicious adult beverages.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe location itself is cozy (read: super small, but still comfortable), tucked away on the western slope of Capitol Hill, away from the maddening crowds of Broadway. Despite how filled the little room was, it was actually pretty quiet–easy to hear my friend’s dating stories and to discuss the pros and cons of Tinder. Décor is a mixture of rustic Pacific Northwest glory and classic glamour—I was entranced by a row of miniature crystal chandeliers that hung from the ceiling. The bar itself is 21 and up, but pie fans who aren’t of legal age, or those who just want a slice to go, can take advantage of a walk up window. Our first server was warm and friendly, and the pie? Well, that was spectacular.

The menu offers up a la carte pie, both sweet and savory, a full list of alcoholic beverages, Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetas well as the choice to pie/drink pairings. My friend chose strawberry rhubarb pie and the Old Fashioned, a chocolate stout beer served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, like an adult root beer float. I chose banana cream pie paired with a pecan pie martini–which was served with crumbled pie crust on the rim of the glass. Both choices were divine, and though it would be incredibly easy for two sweet drinks to kick you into a sugar coma, both were incredibly balanced—and the topping on my pie tasted like fancy Cool Whip.

And to make you feel even better about a healthy dose of alcohol and sugar, the restaurant is holding a fundraiser to benefit the victims of the recent landslide in Oso, Washington.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWhile my lifestyle change means I can’t indulge in coconut cream pie every day, it doesn’t mean I can’t have a little cheat day every now and then—especially when it involves pie and booze, and a slight hike to and from my new favorite sweet escape.

Pie Bar
1361 E. Olive Way
Seattle, Washington 98122
(206) 257-1459
Monday – Sunday: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Recipe for Inspiration: The Lazy Girl’s Peanut Butter Chicken

There are a couple of things about me that generally shock people once they truly get to know me:

1. I am an insanely picky eater. It’s shocking because when you look at me, it’s pretty obvious that I haven’t missed many meals. Though I can generally find things to eat on most menus without asking for special additions or removals (this is a pet peeve of mine), I don’t eat most dairy products (this includes cheese*, sour cream, eggs, cream cheese, etc.), deli meat, non-homemade noodles, hamburger meat that I haven’t watched the preparation of…this list goes on (I will eat any vegetable you put in front of me, though). My refrigerator is essentially a collection of tomato-based condiments.

2. Once I’m home, I am basically the laziest person on Earth. I once tried to order takeout from a Thai restaurant two blocks away. There’s a pizza place (okay, I like some cheese*. Only the kind that doesn’t smell like feet, though. So basically, mozzarella.) I really like–about six blocks from my apartment, and when I call, the dispatcher will repeat my address back to me and say “Is this for carryout, then?” and I’ll say “NOPE. DELIVERY.”  If it’s a weekend, and I don’t have plans to booze with friends, I generally only leave my apartment so that I can walk Mr. Nigel Barker.

This means that I occasionally have to get pretty creative with the limited selection of food that makes its way onto the vaunted shelves of my refrigerator, and that’s where my Peanut Butter Chicken was born. One weekend afternoon, many years ago, I was left with a bottle of Sriracha, some soy sauce packets, a half a jar of peanut butter, a half carton of rice, and some leftover grilled chicken. Out of a combination of sheer desperation and laziness, I mixed the PB with some Sriracha and Soy Sauce and discovered that it is the Holy Grail of Lazy Girl eating. I won’t lie, I’ve had times where I just heated up the mixture in a sauce pan and poured the PB sauce over some cooked rice and called it good (and it really, really was).

In the years since the culinary discovery of my lifetime, I’ve fancied the recipe up a little–adding a dash of sesame seed oil, and even advance prep time/marinating. I always have PB, soy sauce, and Sriracha, and even on days when I feel like I need someone to carry me from the bus stop to my front door after work, I can be prevailed upon to stop at the grocery store on my way home from work and pick up some chicken. This is an easy recipe and something you can make in advance or whip up after work.

You will need:

SRIRACHA
These are a few of my favorite things.

3 tbsp of your favorite peanut utter (I prefer Justin’s, or, if you’re feeling really fancy, the PB you make yourself at stores like Whole Foods–but nothing too sweet)
1 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp of Sriracha)
1 tsp of sesame seed oil

1/4 Cup of Water

Salt
Pepper
A clove of garlic, minced
Uncooked chicken of some sort (I usually use drumettes/party wings)

Optional:
Green Onions

Directions:

Wash/pat dry your chicken wings, place in a freezer bag, season with salt, pepper, and minced garlic clove. Set aside.

Mixture, without water
Mixture, without water

In a small bowl, combine PB, soy sauce, Sriracha, sesame seed oil. Mix until well combined.

Then slowly add water–depending on the type of PB you use, you

might not need the whole 1/4 cup, but I like to thin out the PB mixture to the consistency of a thick soup. Taste the marinade–it generally will not need more salt, but I almost always add more magic sauce, AKA Sriracha. Pour the marinade over your seasoned chicken wings, and smoosh (very scientific term) the bag around so that the marinade coats the

Mixture, with water
Mixture, with water

chicken. Seal the bag and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes, but the chicken will taste best after an over night soak in the PB mixture.

When you’re ready to cook: Preheat your oven to 400, arrange chicken wings on a baking sheet, bake for 40 minutes. They will be crispy and delicious. If I’m feeling fancy (which generally, I am not, but sometimes I invite other humans to my home to consume food with me and this will require me to attempt to make my food both delicious AND have visually appealing plating, which more often than not are mutually exclusive in my home), I garnish the wings with chopped green onions. Serve with rice and your favorite vegetable.

Bon Lazy Girl Appetit!

Peanut-y goodness.
Peanut-y goodness.