Like riding a bike

If you haven’t noticed, the blog has laid dormant for the past few months. When we last talked, Food 52 had announced their Piglet. And it was decided in dubious fashion. Much has happened in the world of food and pop culture since that last post and I’ve been slippin’.

During this time, I was busy with all of the things that real life brings about. Not enough time to work on the Going for Seconds blog and share thoughts, rants, insights, and information. I fell short of providing fun content to the readers and it’s now my goal to provide fresh reads as long as people still like reading about it.

But talk is cheap and now I need to get back to writing about food with a cheeky smile and a raised eyebrow. To get back to having some fun with food, wine, restaurants, and information. To get back on the bike and see if it’s as natural as I remember.


Jollibee and Chowking coming to Seattle!

If Filipinos are led by their stomachs, then my belly and the rest of me will be finding its way to Southcenter often. Why? Because Jollibee and Chowking are opening up at the new mega-grocery store/eatery, Seafood City Supermarket, coming to the Westfield Southcenter in Tukwila later this summer.

The murmur that Seafood City would be coming along with Jollibee and Chowking (their Manila website) started on their Facebook page this past winter. As soon as I learned that this new grocery destination would have two of my Filipino fast food faves, I was already anticipating going to Tukwila for some Chickenjoy from Jollibee and Halo Halo from Chowking.

I know what you’re thinking; fast food? Wha? Yeah, it’s a little different from my normal food leanings, but for Filipinos local and from afar, this news is exciting. The Filipino population in the Seattle metropolitan area is large and hungry! We love to eat and having the opportunity to have some food that reminds many of home is always welcome.

In the case of Jollibee they’ll have the standards that have made them in the Philippines a quick eatery. Chickenjoy (a plate of fried chicken), Yumburger (their hamburger), Palabok (a Filipino noodle dish that is an amalgamation of flavors and textures), and a bunch of breakfast options. Yup, I’m looking forward to going and dragging my friends along with for the eating. It may remind you of McDonald’s, but would you see Ronald do this?

As for Chowking (which is actually a subsidiary of Jollibee), I am absolutely excited to have their Halo Halo a short drive away. I’ve shared my love for Halo Halo before, and when I eat at Chowking in the Philippines, it’s one of my favorite things to do while I’m there. It is fast food, but something about their combination is divine. Word off the street is that they have a special formula for their ice. This is the key to good Halo Halo. (ed. note – apparently they’ve already opened!)

Seafood City is opening up next week on July 22. Their Facebook page has been dropping all sorts of information and my friend Nancy Leson is planning on visiting Seafood City soon. The market will have all sorts of different eateries and a grocery store that purports to serve unique food, but I’ll most look forward to going to a couple of places that remind me of eating in Manila. (I’m crossing my fingers that their transition to Seattle is as good as what I have had in the islands.) And for this food loving Filipino, that’s a good thing. I think the thousands of other Filipino and Filipinas in the area would agree. See you in Seafood City in the near future.

UPDATE – Jollibee is opening Thursday September 16!

Seafood City Seattle
1368 Southcenter Mall, #100
Tukwila, WA 98188

The first dish I ever called my own

Late last week, my friend the Gluten-Free Girl tweeted this innocuous little question. What followed was a food storm of memories where folks talked about the first meals they ever made, the first dish that stands out in their mind, and the evolution of this first dish from childhood to adulthood. As the tweets came rolling in, the Gluten-Free Girl then asked us to write a post about this memory to share amongst others. Here I am – delving into my memory bank thinking about the dishes that I remember most.

Like many others, “blue box mac ‘n cheese” is definitely a front runner. I always remembered making this when I was younger. And it was so easy. The blue box, for better or worse, is the template for many on what mac ‘n cheese should taste like. This wasn’t my first food dish, but it was definitely one that was a big part of my culinary growth. Although when ‘cooking’ at 10 years old, culinary growth wasn’t my life objective; I mostly wanted to know when Transformers would be on. My first dish that I remember making was this – instant ramen.

Yup, the first dish I remember making on my own was ramen. But it wasn’t just boiling water and throwing the noodles into a pot. You see, I learned how to make my own version of ramen by watching my brother and dad. While my mom was a great cook, she worked a ton and we often made food on our own. So my dad was great with reheating and buying stuff from the local deli. But with instant ramen he’d add cut up vienna sausages (!). My brother would drop in an egg, because he loved egg flower soup and thought this would be similar.

So I took my cues from them and did my own doctoring. I would follow the lead of my dad and see what protein leftovers we might have; shredded chicken, Chinese sausage, steak, I may have added bacon bits once; all of these worked. And I definitely added an egg, it made the broth silkier and gave it more body. My variation also involved tossing in some vegetables. Bear in mind, this only meant adding some green onions. When all was said and done, I’d add a scoop of rice to my bowl and spoon over the broth and noodles. Yes, you read that right; I added even more starch to a starchy dish. What can I say; I love rice. Add it all up and I had a meal that I loved and could say was my own.

There you have it; my first food dish. As I thought about this post, it did create a lot of nostalgia and reminded me of why I loved food. Food is delicious, but when we make our own, it’s ours. This sense of accomplishment is what makes it so comforting and empowering. I was maybe 9 or 10 at the time, but I had the notion of wanting to eat good food. Yes, it was part store bought, but that was just a jumping off point to make something greater than the sum of its parts.

Lastly, thanks Shauna for creating this action amongst food lovers to share what we first remembered when we stepped into a kitchen and first began this magical thing we call cooking.

Photo from Honolulu Star Bulletin

The impressive excessiveness of Williams-Sonoma

I wrote this post, mostly, to get something off my chest, but to also express an appreciation. Every so often, the Williams-Sonoma catalog graces itself in my mailbox. Though I haven’t patterned the timing for when it comes, I look forward to receiving this little food magazine for a couple of reasons: (1) it’s loaded with fun and interesting tidbits of information, and (2) it has some of the most preposterous kitchen items.

  • Fun, food information:

The pages of each catalog are littered with little drops of info that I never knew I wanted to know. In fact, I first learned about grilled chocolate sandwiches in an issue of Williams-Sonoma. They also have an exclusive deal with Thomas Keller to sell his kit detailing how to make Ad Hoc’s fried chicken at home (though it is sold out and no longer available).

As of late, what I have really enjoyed in their recent catalog are their highlights on about a dozen chefs around the country. These chefs are on their career upswing of creativity and style and the catalog gave quick hits of info on each of the chefs, their perspectives, and a recipe to boot. From Gabriel Rucker of Portland’s Le Pigeon, to John Besh of August (amongst others) in New Orleans, to Michelle Bernstein of Miami’s Michy’s. I’ve enjoyed reading about all these folks and now I have a few more restaurants to add to my list.

  • The utterly ridiculous kitchen tools:

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Wine Tasting with Stephen Tanzer 2.0


In late-July I had the fortunate opportunity to drink some of the best wines from Washington with one of the best wine critics in the industry; that’s right, the second year in a row to have an evening of drinking wine with Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellars.

I went to this event last year and loved every minute of it. Last summer it was at the brilliant Art of the Table and I remembered all of those details vividly. The wine, the food, the conversations; at the time, my wine knowledge was just starting to come into its own. I was like a giddy kid on his first day of college; excited to get started with this next chapter, but humbled enough to know I had plenty to learn.

Fast forward a year later, and I know a bit more, but there is still so much I can glean. That’s why I was just as excited for this year’s tasting with Steve. The event was at Tom Douglas’ Palace Ballroom, a bit more spacious and a few more people were able to attend. One of the cool things at this year’s tasting was that four winemakers were invited to the event; Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery, Mike Januik of Januik Winery, Ben Smith of Cadence Winery, and Andrew Rich of Andrew Rich Wines. I thought this was really cool because they were able to share their expertise, insight, and stories as their wines were poured.

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Eating and Tweeting, Part Two

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been the most diligent of food bloggers. I’ve got topics in mind (which I’ll delve into in the coming days), but just haven’t gotten over the hump. There was factor in my world that moved me away from blogging, and it’s a topic I’ve already covered; Twitter is pretty addicting. And awesome.

When I wrote about Twitter before, it was more of a primer into the really cool people that have a pretty distinct voice in the world of food. That is still the case, but as I spent more time with the site, the more I realized that it had a vibrant and social aspect of it that I didn’t expect. Twitter has deepened my appreciation of food, but it’s also made me raise the bar into what I know and what I don’t know.

The sense of community and support within the Seattle food scene is alive and prevalent in the world of Twitter. I’ve touched on the fact that I love the local blogging community, but now that I’ve delved into the world of Twitter, the relationships and networking have been empowering and amazing. From cool events, newsbriefs, restaurant gossip, my respect and awareness of the food game has grown by leaps and bounds. For that I can thank Twitter. I love the fact that Twitter is this on-going conversation whose fabric is woven amongst so many different people.

When I tell friends about Twitter, most don’t get it, much like how people didn’t get ‘Facebook’. But the thing about the world of Twitter is that it’s a vibrant stream of cool, fun, irreverent, and informal information. There is a ton of latitude within those guidelines and it’s interesting to see how each person plays within that framework. The always-great Rebekah Denn even touched on the way that Twitter has elevated the local food scene.

If you’ve been apprehensive, don’t be! It’s a great information source and you’ll start to think that Facebook is so 2007. Enjoy Twitter and the world of food that lives on it. In fact, Mashable (a great social media resource) recently posted about the food people on Twitter with distinct and unique voices. Check it out and start following these folks. Heck, Serious Eats wrote about food bloggers on Twitter last fall, another place to listen in on the food conversation. I’ll see you Twitter soon, I’m @proncis.

Celebrating National Doughnut Day in Seattle

When I was in high school my diet pretty much consisted of milk, cookies, and donuts. How I was able to clock in at 165 for those years is still a scientific miracle. If you were to look back at foods that you could identify with at points of your life, my teenage years would include donuts, college = teriyaki, post-college = unbelievable amounts of beer. And pizza. The last few years? Still to be determined. Donuts brought me to where I am today and they are part of my food DNA. Which is why I’m excited to find out that next Friday is National Doughnut Day.

It took the good folks at Seattlest to bring to my attention that Tangletown’s own Mighty-O will be celebrating National Doughnut Day by giving out free mini donuts. (Doughnuts and donuts are the same thing; the shorter version is pretty much colloquial; both are fine. Stop being uptight, no one likes a grammar nerd.) Of course, this is cool and free food is the best kind.

I love donuts and it’s awesome that Seattle has two of the finest purveyors of donuts around; Mighty-O and Top Pot. What’s great is that each is very different.

Mighty-O exclusively plays in the cake donut world. Dense, yet still light, and satisfying. They also are very proud at being organic, vegan, and using natural ingredients. Noble indeed. If I had a favorite Mighty-O flavor it would be the Vanilla Cake Cinnamon Sugar. Simple, delicate, and awesome.

Top Pot is different because they play in the entire world of donut goodness. Cake, fried, they do all the good stuff. With several locations around town, you won’t have to search very far for your donut fix. I like a lot of their stuff. When I feel overly ambitious, I’ll go for the Boston Cream Pie; a calorie-laden treat consisting of a chocolate-topped, custard-filled yeast donut. Delicious. But my de facto favorite is their Apple Fritter. I first had it at a Starbucks (back when I still went to SBUX, I think my last visit was in ’04), and they offered to heat it up. A warm donut? Of course! Back to the high school connection, I would always microwave my maple bars before school. About 13 seconds to heat up and soften the maple and you have a warm doughy delight. But back to the Apple Fritter – heated up a touch, it’s gooey, pliable, and delicious. Plus, it has apple, so it’s healthy.

Enjoy National Doughnut Day! It always falls on the first Friday of June, so be sure to swing by your local doughnut/donut shop. In fact, get a dozen to bring them into the office. You’ll be the hero for the day and make the workday that much more enjoyable.