Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ode to BOKA

I have a couple of recipes that I want to write about, but first I have to tell you about the most amazing dinner I had last night. Have you ever had a meal during which every single dish you taste just blows you away? Even the table bread?

I can't remember this happening to me before last night.

My husband and I literally followed every first bite with the words, "oh my god, that's incredible". We started the night with the amuse bouche for the evening, a smooth pumpkin coconut soup with a coconut jalapeno relish. I was surprised since I wasn't expecting anything like this, and then we were informed that the recipe is featured in a cookbook BOKA is participating in - a project for charity that several local restaurants contributed to. Our server also told us that we would be receiving this cookbook as a gift if we wanted to register our credit card with the organization. Five percent of our bill would be donated to the chef's charity of choice, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance in Seattle.

As we paged through the cookbook and drooled over the recipes, we nibbled on a rather impressive table bread. Rustic, crusty, and airy, with a side of butter and what seemed to be a rich balsamic paste, perfectly acidic and sweet.

My husband ordered a cheese course too, though I hesitate to mention it because I don't recall what he got. Ayr? I think that's it. It came with rosemary crackers and a fig compote. Fortunately, he didn't mind sharing a bit with me.

By now I was feeling pretty pleased with the quality of food, the generosity of the restaurant, and the service. Our server was really down to earth and approachable, not sticky-sweet, aloof, or game-show-hosty. Everyone that came by our table seemed to be just as friendly and conversational.

Our main dishes managed to completely win us over.

He had the rib eye steak with crispy chanterelles, potato, creamy horseradish, and bacon vinaigrette while I had the halibut, baby artichokes, gold potato coins, lemon aioli, and tomato cardamom broth. The fact that the steak and halibut were cooked to perfection was enough to amaze us. How do they do this? I don't know, but I'm inspired to take some cooking classes now. The flavors were skillfully combined for each dish and we shared little bites of everything on our plates, with ohhhhs and ahhhhs for every one.

I managed to eat every single thing on my plate. This is something I hardly ever do but had absolutely no problem doing last night. History was made, folks.

After all of this, we opted for dessert - blueberry cheesecake with a tart lemon creme fraich that I could have sat there eating for the rest of the night. And then when our server brought our bill, he landed two warm, crispy, chocolate-dipped macaroons in front of us. I could have died, you guys. I really and truly did not want to leave the restaurant. I had to will myself to stand up and walk away from the table. It was inevitable, I know, but still kind of sad.

If you want to experience the little bit of heaven that I did last night, you can find it at BOKA Kitchen and Bar in downtown Seattle.

And if you're interested in checking out the cookbook we picked up, take a look at Celebrated Chefs for info on which restaurants are participating and how it works. You can bet we're going to be visiting most of them.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Vitamin D experiment

In the Pacific Northwest, vitamin D is a precious thing and something we typically need to supplement for most of the year. It's not so much that we get tons of rain here, but we do get plenty of gray. The sun makes the occasional cameo appearance in winter but it's hardly enough to keep our vitamin D levels perky.

I am one of the many that has had plunging levels of D for a while now but with one major drawback. I've reacted to every supplemental form of it that I could find - capsules, liquid, and added to cod liver oil. I can't even drink rice, hemp, or almond milk because they always add vitamin D to it.

When I do take it, it acts like a hormone gone wrong in my body, affecting my skin, my mood, and energy levels. While D is important to build strong bones, it is also considered by many now to actually be a hormone and not a vitamin at all. That was really evident to me once I saw how my own system was processing it (though incorrectly).

But recently my story has changed. I treated for vitamin D a few weeks ago with my NAET practitioner and then started taking it in the form of some very high-quality cod liver oil about a week after that treatment. I am happy to report that I am not reacting to it. I'm slowly ramping up my dosage and I'll be really excited to do a blood test in a few months to check my levels and see if they are improving. In the meantime, I'm going to pay attention to how I'm feeling and see if I notice a positive change from supplementing it. But the fact that I'm not reacting to it is truly impressive to me and a real marker that these NAET treatments are actually doing what they claim.