|Getting my Szechwan-on with tasty food from Spiced - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Okay, okay, enough maudlin Auld Lang Syne! Get to the good stuff, which is eating amazing food that you don't even have to cook! The best meals are the ones you don't have to cook -- no dishes, no fuss, just pure enjoyment. And and I'm not talking fancy, fussy, expensive restaurants! A couple of my favorite places that I've enjoyed through 2012 and will continue to enjoy in the new year are Spiced in Bellevue and Spicy Talk in Redmond. Szechuan food is so popular in this area and there are a lot of great places, these are just two of many that happen to be along my regular errand routes. I crave the spicy stir fried lamb at Spiced -- intense spices, almost a mix of Mediterranean and Indian, that works well with the heavier lamb taste, and so tender. Their green onion pancakes are wonderful as well. I tend to get my orders to go, so I haven't explored many of their soups, nor their impressive chilled/pickled options, but that's on my list of to-do's in the new year. When I hit Spicy Talk, I'm pretty much a slave to three dishes: their fish in spicy gravy (melt in your mouth good), dan dan mein (hand shaved noodles in a peanut soup/broth), and their crispy-amazing chong qing chicken. The chicken is popular at most Szechuan style places -- basically spicy fried chicken -- but I like the little dry-fried bite-sized pieces mixed with green beans at Spicy Talk.
|Trying to recreate spicy chicken goodness at home - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
I can make my own version of dan dan noodles at home, but it's not as good as the hand-shaven noodles in that marvelous peanut soup/stew broth at Spicy Talk. Again, another reason to just call in an order and Treat Yo Self to something that someone else has made. But that leads me to something to consider for this brand-spankin' new year: shopping with reckless abandon at the local Asian grocer and test driving some new new ingredients.
|Inspired by restaurant food, but don't be afraid to shop like crazy at the Asian grocer - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Crazy "Everything" Noodles - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Most times, having a wide range of ingredients to play with is an encouraging way to go through extra vegetables you've got languishing in the fridge. Right now I'm living Kale City, but it goes great in a stir fry with other vegetables, some chicken and black bean paste. I was using a lot of fermented black beans over the late summer months when Japanese eggplant was in season, because I love nothing more than spicy eggplant in an earthy, chili-heavy sauce.
|Veggies, noodles, throw it all together and see what happens - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Don't fear the Fermented - black bean paste is your friend - Photos by Wasabi Prime|