Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wedding Food & Planning a Wedding Menu

You get up out of your seat in a beautiful ballroom, full of smiles and feeling happy.You just enjoyed a heartfelt, emotionally uplifting and amusing wedding ceremony and you walk towards the bar wanting a cocktail and feeling a bit peckish. After some mingling with the bride's great-aunt Mildred and a few hellos to some friends, you get excited as a buttoned-up server approaches you with the last few bits of hors d'oeuvres on a silver platter. It's a piece of dried up toast with a smear of tomatoes on it, trying to pass as bruschetta. That is, if bruschetta bread has the consistency of a giant crouton topped with raw garlic and mushy tasteless tomatoes. You flag down another server who seems to actively be dodging people and scramble of a piece of overcooked shrimp wrapped in limp, lifeless, greasy bacon. After you've guzzled a few gin and tonics, you sit down to a Caesar salad swimming in dressing and pre-shredded parmesan, followed by a sad, dried piece of chicken. It's on a white plate that is divided into thirds; a third of the plate is adorned with a dried lumpy heap of parmesan mashed potatoes, another third has some soggy roasted carrots and then the sad chicken breast sits on the remaining third with a sad drizzle of grayish mushroom sauce. After a few bites washed down generously by two buck Chuck, you realize that you don't want to finish your plate but your stomach is still rumbling with the pangs of hunger. A meager slice of wedding cake won't help you either.

Let's face it. We want wedding food to be awesome but rarely is it ever super delicious. The bride and groom have just spent $150 on you to have the adult-equivalent of cafeteria food served on fine china. As numerous banquet episodes of Top Chef have shown, it takes a lot of skill to be able to produce 200 identical dishes at the same time. What is even more difficult is that the dishes need to be tasty as well as generally crowd-pleasing which generally steers caterers away from the avant garde. The lucky people who have smaller weddings with fewer people and in unique venues can often splurge on really delicious and well-crafted food. However, most mature and larger venues do not even provide you a choice of a caterer and you are stuck with whatever in-house caterer you happen to be stuck with. That chef may have experience in a Michelin-starred restaurant and artfully designs wonderful plates... or she may have failed at a couple of hotel catering gigs. It's hard to know.

Nick and I got married. Ta da! I thought it might be appropriate to discuss wedding food first since a billion and a half of friends of mine just got engaged within the last few weeks. (Maybe eight or nine friends, not a billion and a half).

Yes, those are Jello shots.
First of all, our wedding was absolutely the happiest day of our lives. We felt so loved and gushy that it was difficult not to walk around with a huge grin on our faces, slightly amazed that the day was even happening.

Second of all, we were pleasantly surprised about the food. It was good. Infinitely better than the lukewarm mush we dealt with at our tasting and our friends mentioned how much they adored certain elements of the food. If we could have our pick, we would have had Revel cater, but we had such a great time regardless and the food was pretty tasty. But here is our advice on how it all goes down...


Wedding food won't be the most amazing meal you or your guests will have. But it can be good.

  1. Match the attitude or theme of the wedding. What this means is, do not have a black tie affair but then only serve people chips and salsa. I have been to extremely elegant weddings where people decide to cheap out on the food. Do not do this. It's rude to your guests. If you are having an evening wedding, people assume that they will be fed a meal, and not have to dance the evening away only to be provided cheese and crackers (yep, it happened to me). You are budgeting incorrectly if you cannot afford to feed people appropriately with the kind of wedding you want to have. It's absolutely fine to be casual with food! I've been to great weddings that have been potlucks and barbecues and one with pizza! Just make sure that it's relevant to the time of day for your wedding and the overall ambiance of your wedding. 
  2. Don't be a snob. Most catering menus are pretty normal but if you happen to have an adventurous caterer, make sure your guests can enjoy your food. Maybe save the escargot for another time.
  3. BUT don't be afraid to have the menu represent you. Ensure the food is accessible but also a reflection of you two as a couple, if at all possible. Is he a cowboy from Texas? Is she the daughter of a New England fisherman? Absolutely appropriate if you want brisket, ribs, clam chowder and little Maine blueberry cobblers. I've had friends who do a wonderful job of adding touches that are memorable and honor the couple. Southwestern egg rolls like the kind they make at Chili's as a tray-passed appetizer? Amazing! The groom was a notorious Chili's-lover so this was cute and relevant. We talked to caterers and most of them are eager to go off menu here and there to add personal touches since it's fun for them too.
  4. Feature seasonally-appropriate and location-appropriate food. Seasonal ingredients always taste better, even if your caterer isn't from a Michelin-starred restaurant. It can also be fun to play with themes.  Think about having a hot chocolate bar for guests for a winter wonderland wedding, heirloom tomato salads for a summery outdoor wedding or pasta tossed with asparagus and morels for the spring. People travel to the Pacific Northwest for salmon so we made sure we featured sustainably-caught salmon at our wedding. Why not Carolina pulled pork for a Charleston wedding or shrimp and grits and gumbo for a New Orleans wedding? However, just be sure to not go completely out of a caterer's comfort zone. A friend of ours wanted a very specific ethnic wedding dish served at their wedding but the caterer refused to allow outside food and catering to handle it, stating that they would look up recipes for Chinese suckling pig and Peking duck. Thankfully, my friend declined their offer because he feared the results of allowing a farmhouse caterer to attempt to make some of the most treasured Chinese dishes.
  5. Be mindful of how food is served. For example, if you don't have cocktail tables or seats out during cocktail hour, make sure that guests can enjoy their food with one hand. This allows your guests to stand holding a skewer with one hand and have a drink in the other. A lot of caterers should be able to help you with this request; you can have a caprese salad on a stick or sliced up on a plate depending upon your setting. It's completely up to you and your style to see if you want to do buffets or plated dinners for formal dinners. Just consider details like having plenty of extra plates available for seconds and multiple lines for larger parties when having a buffet. Ask the caterer or venue to supply heavy napkins and wet wipes if you have finger-licking food like fried chicken or barbecued ribs.
    My cousins enjoying deluxes & fries
  6. A little thoughtfulness can surprise and delight people. Little surprises can make guests feel special and don't require a huge budget to do so. Nick and I brought in Dicks burgers, shakes and fries at the end of the evening so people could enjoy some late night munchies as they danced the evening away. The late night food was a definite crowd pleaser but only cost $300-$400. One of our pals had their close families and friends provide the dessert bar. It was adorably personal to see cupcakes baked with frosting bunnies decorated on top (as an homage to the groom's pet rabbit), aunt so-and-so's homemade lemon bars, grandma's famous cookies and lovingly decorated homemade cakes. We were all able to have multiple bites for dessert but enjoyed it more knowing that it was made out of love for the couple. My matron of honor and her husband had onion rings and sliders at the end of their wedding which helped absorb the whiskey we had all imbibed. 
  7. Speak up at your tasting. A tasting allows you to check out your meal options ahead of time and be happy with your choices. Don't be afraid to provide constructive feedback and ask for other options if you don't like the food. We were not happy with the way some of our appetizers were served and seasoned so we asked for other options. The food snob in us thought we wanted ahi tuna (see #2) until we realized that their version lacked flavor and polish in the way it was served so we opted for crab cakes instead. Crab cakes feel like the 1980's version of fancy but gosh, they were tasty! We also provided feedback on a Pepto Bismol-colored sauce that did not look appetizing on the plate which was remedied at our wedding. Don't be afraid to speak up.
  8. EAT at your wedding. It is easy to get wrapped up in the events of the day and spend all of our time greeting people, smiling, taking photos and doing things. Just remember that it's difficult to be smiling, gorgeous/handsome and to dance the night away if you get peckish or downright hangry. Get a great breakfast, nosh on almonds and stuff like Kind bars throughout the day and enjoy some of your dinner, even if you can't finish the entire plate. Both my coordinator and matron of honor stashed granola bars here and there so we had things to nibble on all day long. After the ceremony, Nick and I signed our paperwork and had the venue bring the appetizers (and special Jello shots) so we could enjoy some food in peace before venturing out to the craziness of cocktail hour. Ask your caterer to box some extra food and cake for you to enjoy later as well - just in case you're still hungry in the middle of the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

Dicks. Eh?

Ultimately, a wedding isn't about the food or the flowers or the venue or the decorations. A wedding is a celebration of people, a union of two families and friends, a sharing of love and the beginning of a new family. Despite an unfortunate abundance of dry chicken, overcooked salmon, tough pieces of filet and sandpapery crackers, there should be an overwhelming amount of joy, dancing, laughing, hugging and merriment. People remember how fun a wedding is and the joy it brings - not always the food. Sometimes it's a good reminder for you to not get bogged down into wedding details and just enjoy the fact that you're getting married! Nick and I enjoyed our evening but the food wasn't nearly as important as everything else. Our enjoyment of the culinary arts is what helped bring us together but isn't the only thing that matters in our lives.

Photos courtesy of Kristen Honeycutt, the most bomb-diggity photographer ever.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Smoothie Cleanse - Results

So after those three weeks of suffering, how did our smoothie cleanse go?

The first week as indicated by our previous blog was by far the most difficult. It was tough not getting hungry and being tired. Packing smoothies and snacks was sort of a chore but it meant we were no longer spending a lot of time cooking dinner. Mentally, I felt a little obsessed with food.

Once we incorporated one solid meal, everything was much easier. It's actually pretty easy to have two smoothie meals with one solid meal with snacks in between. We weren't tired and were only hungry sometimes. We've kept up by having at least one smoothie a day which is a really easy and it is an efficient way of getting additional fruits and veggies in. Also, we often have smoothies for dinner because it encourages us to eat bigger and more complete lunches and then have a light dinner via smoothie in the evening. An added bonus is that it is extremely convenient since we are not spending time cooking and meal planning. Our grocery bill is reasonable and we do not eat a lot of junk food since we mostly stock up on healthy snacks, veggies, fruit, Greek yogurt, kale and other smoothie accoutrements.

I highly recommend having a day of smoothies after an indulgent weekend - for example, my bachelorette party weekend and Nick's bachelor party drunk fest the week after. Trust me - nothing is as refreshing as a mango, pineapple and kale smoothie after a couple of days of alcohol, sugar, pizza and chips.

What were our results? I initially lost around 4-5 pounds after the holidays when we started our smoothie cleanse and my total weight loss now is around 6-7 pounds. Of course, I have been working out more as well and gaining a lot of muscle so it amounts to gradual but noticeable results. Nick's total weight loss has been around the 4-5 pound range.

We're down to the home stretch so we have been hitting up the smoothies again. Wish us luck!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Smoothie Reset Diet? We're Trying It!

Neon green smoothie dinner. Tasty.
I can't get behind cleanses and fad diets. They are too restricting and do nothing for you in the long-term. Plus, Nick and I are horrible people when we're hungry and can't deal with starvation in any form. Not like that works anyhow...

However, my pal Jenny told me about an easy and flexible five day "cleanse" or body reset diet that wasn't insane. It's from Harley Pasternak, who is a celebrity trainer but offers a reasonable way to get a kick start to your healthy eating habits over 15 days. It's simple to follow and does not seem to have the crazy fad diet effect like yo-yo diets and cabbage soup diets can create where you swing from being incredibly famished and binge once your diet has concluded. Juicing can be delicious but it takes away a lot of the most nutritious parts of fruit or veggies and leaves water and sugar. With smoothies, you get the whole part of fruits and vegetables including all of the fiber.

We're not going to follow it exactly but instead break it down in five-day increments with a couple of loose days due to family being in town and wedding cake tasting which is an evil, delicious necessity.

How it works

You start off your first five days replacing your three meals a day with smoothies. You also eat two small snacks during the day. Each smoothie meal and snack needs to encompass a combination of fiber, protein and healthy fat. You get to eat throughout the day and you can drink plenty of zero or low calorie drinks like tea, black coffee, water, Vitamin Water Zero, etc. After that, over the next five days, you'll replace one of your smoothie meals with a healthy non-smoothie meal and then incorporate traditional healthy meals so you're down to one smoothie a day by the end.

This reset diet does require some prepping like making breakfast smoothies the night before if you don't have time in the morning, packing lunch smoothies and snacks but you don't really have to spend time cooking or preparing complex meals the first week. The book contains simple recipes for healthy meals later which can be prepped or prepared in advance; however you can create your own healthy meals once you understand the strategy he provides for creating healthy smoothie or food recipes.

So what did Nick and I have the first day?
  • We started out the day with a white smoothie - basically a smoothie of white-colored fruit. Our first meal was a riff of the "Apple Pie Smoothie": a smoothie made of soy milk, nonfat Greek yogurt, apple, banana, a little almond butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • For a midday snack, I packed us some smoked salmon, a dab of Greek yogurt spinach dip and cucumber sticks.
  • I packed us thermoses of "Peanut Butter and Jelly" smoothies which is one of our favorites. It has banana, frozen strawberries, peanut butter, soy milk and some Greek yogurt - although you can use some protein powder instead of the yogurt. This encompasses a red smoothie which has red fruit like berries which are packed with fiber and antioxidants.
  • In the afternoon, I noshed on red bean chips while I had made for Nick a savory snack of nitrite-free pastrami slices and lots of pickles.
  • We enjoyed a tropical green smoothie for dinner: tons of spinach blended with a banana, mango, coconut water, nonfat Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of chia seeds.
You can find out specifics of the diet in this article. You can also get the book, which I downloaded to my Kindle to easily refer to recipes.

Week 1: How did it go so far?
  • First of all, we feel lighter. We are definitely eating more fruits and vegetables than we typically do since we're having healthy things at each meal. I usually don't eat very much fruit at all but my mother would be thrilled to know I'm having apples, pears, and tons of berries instead of just bananas.
  • Nick and I don't get hungry during the day. The smoothies and snacks kept us satisfied. It was a little difficult varying the smoothies and snacks although I got pretty creative with different snack options and there are some good, packaged, healthy snack options like some of the Kind Bars or Cruncha-Mame crunchy peas.
  • You have to measure our your portions. Nick wants to eat bigger snacks but snacks need to be around 200 calories for him and around 150 calories for me. This means he gets generous portions of crudité with hummus but only a small bit of high fiber, whole grain Kashi cereal and milk for another snack. Boys usually do not follow the appropriate portion of cereal; they tend to want to eat giant, hungry-man bowls.
  • We are ravenous in the late evening. Nighttime seems to be a struggle with us as we get hungry for something a little more substantial around 8-9pm. Most of the time we drink some tea or maybe have a few carrot sticks or nuts if we're ravenous but we've resigned to mostly heading to bed a little on the hungry side.
  • I ran out of energy towards the end of the week. I was struggling to stay awake in the early evening on Thursday even with a decent amount of sleep and took a long nap Friday evening at 6:30pm! I wasn't necessarily hungry but I was exhausted. My fatigue was greater than the usual tiredness I would have from a long week at work or one poor night's sleep and I'm not sure I can attribute it to anything other than the diet.
  • Our taste buds were reset! We had a couple of cake tasting appointments after a week of healthy eating and everything tasted too sweet. Each bite of cake or dessert was almost overly sweet for our adjusted taste buds and we didn't feel our best after consuming so much sugar.
At this point, we are thrilled to be able to incorporate solid meals along with our smoothies. We're going to try to stick to this reset diet as best as we can and see where it takes us.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's a New Year! And We Have a Wedding to Slim Down For

Have you watched TV after January first? You are bombarded with countless commercials every time you turn on the TV; there are endless annoying ads featuring weight loss supplements, fit people jogging on treadmills to sell a new kind of gym membership, liposuction clinic deals and Jessica Simpson campaigning for Weight Watchers now that she's finally not pregnant again.

Ugh. New year resolutions are often filled with empty promises and weight loss is often the least successful of them all.

We've discussed eating healthy before on this blog, like when I shared how awesome zucchini noodles are. Nick and I are actually pretty healthy eaters; we get plenty of vegetables and kale, eat stuff like quinoa, wild-caught salmon and try not to keep junky snack food around like chips, cookies or ice cream. But we love food so much that we do tend to try new restaurants all of the time, partake in some eggs benedict at a cute brunch spot and order pizza or Thai food after an exhausting day at work. We're not unhealthy eaters but the inner fat kid in us is never afraid to indulge, which is fine for staying healthy or maintaining your weight. It's just not realistic for weight loss. And that has been our downfall, especially now since the wedding is closer than ever and we feel the pressure to dial up the slim down efforts rather than do the occasional workout or being complacent with the sporadic Molly Moons run.

Nick and I are going to make a concerted effort to try to lose weight for the wedding which will include much healthier eating, restricted calories and regular exercise. We can resume our normal eating habits afterwards. We're sharing our experiences, recipes and steps with you just to see how it will work out - and we would like you all to keep us accountable. Nothing we will do is dramatic; I am not a fan of the cycle of fasts and lemon juice cleanses that we encounter only to gain twice as much weight back again. Perhaps what we learn will help you or inspire you or simply amuse you.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Warm-Your-Belly Drinks

Starbucks has the red cups out, people are wrapping themselves up in non-hipsterish scarves and we've finally had our first winter storm in the area. We're officially in snuggle season as we finish our reserves of Halloween candy, get out the down jackets, turn on the heaters and begin to nest. I like to stand about three inches directly in front of the fireplace during the autumn and winter. You can find me there toasting my butt most of the day when I'm at home rather than just wrapped in a blanket on the couch. In fact, I am there now.

As you are prepared to wrap yourselves in wool and shut yourselves in for the season, cozy up to a warm beverage that's different from your normal latte or Swiss Miss hot chocolate packet routine. Ditch the powder and drink something real that warms your belly. Here's a list of my picks along with simple recipes. The first few are sans alcohol and the rest of the recipes are cocktail-rific:

Spiced Cider
This is incredibly easy to make and your house will smell like autumn. Making it yourself on your stovetop is oodles and oodles more fabulous than those icky sugary spiced cider packets. Hit up a local farmer's market for fresh cider and you'll thank me.

Vietnamese Coffee
You can drink it iced during the summer and hot during the winter. It's perfect. It's how I started drinking coffee in the first place. This recipe is for a perfect, step-by-step fancy version; just simply skip adding ice. Otherwise, all you need to do is flavor your espresso with sweetened condensed milk.

I mean real tea. Loose leaf tea like the hippies drink. When's the last time you took a few minutes to heat water in a teapot and steep tea that doesn't come in little paper packets stapled to a cute little paper tag? Did you even know you're supposed to heat water to different temperatures for different teas? Buy some fine tea - like jasmine tea, some vanilla rooibos, or some really good earl grey like you're Captain Jean Luc Picard and make it correctly like it's a ritual. You'll relax and thank me later.

Mexican Hot Chocolate
Ever since we tried this chili, cinnamon, chocolate stuff, our hearts have gone pitter patter. The recipe I listed is pretty involved but if you want to cheat, I highly recommend the Theo chocolate drinking chocolate. The chili warms your tummy from the inside out.

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
WHAT? Yes, you can drink the equivalent of a Reese's peanut butter cup. No, you can't microwave a peanut butter cup with some milk for the same thing. However, you can be an extra fatty by topping a cup with some whipped cream and crumbled peanut butter cup. You're welcome.

Hot buttered rum (or lemonade)
Hot buttered rum is one of my favorite cold-weather drinks of all time. It's satisfyingly rich, not too sweet and warms your belly with rum! For a non alcoholic version, add some fresh lemon juice instead of rum and it's a hot buttered lemonade. But seriously, who doesn't want rum? Substitute brandy or whiskey if you're out of spiced rum. If you want the premade batter, Harvey's is the best and not because it has a demented-looking bunny on the package.

Mulled Wine
Black Walnut Manhattan
It's just winter's sangria, right? Bring some to a party instead of the usual obligatory bottle of wine and your friends will love you.

Tom and Jerry
This is not drinking a cartoon cat and mouse but if you happened to have a Tom & Jerry mug, you could be super hipsterish when you drink this fabulous cocktail.

Hot Toddy
A hot toddy is for folks who prefer whiskey and think a hot buttered rum is too rich and sweet. This warm drink is brighter and zippier than a hot buttered rum.

Black Walnut Manhattan
A Manhattan seems like a winter-appropriate cocktail but a dash of black walnut liqueur adds an autumn or winter earthiness improving upon the standard.

Winter is Coming
Nick's favorite drink of all time was enjoyed at Art of the Table in Wallingford for a SRW many moons ago. Tons of "Winter is Coming" drinks abound but this one takes the cake. We only have a dark, grainy photo of the description but it contains rye, Fernet, Cocchi Di Torino (a vermouth with a moscato base), lemon & chili bitters. Report back if you get the proportions right.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ultimate Noms: Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie

COOKIE!!! Ahnomnomnomnom!

This cookie is courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar. It has the same sort of sweet, crunchy, salty blend of flavors as the infamous Crack Pie. This is one of those cookies that will become your next obsession and they are even better when you microwave them for a few seconds to heat them up before noshing. This will be you, munching on the cookies:

 An important component of the cookie to make first is the cornflake crunch. Let me tell you, this stuff is like crack - or at least what I imagine the addictiveness of crack to be. It's a tasty salty/sugary/buttery snack unto itself. I've eaten so much of it on hand and had to stop myself for fear of not having enough to bake the cookies.

The recipe is here. Important recipe notes:
  • Do make a ton of cornflake crunch in advance but beware its addictiveness. Mix lots and lots of this and have some on hand for extra snacking.
  • Beating the egg and vanilla along with the butter and sugar for 7-8 minutes is an important step. You can even beat the butter and sugar for longer than that.
  • Do not flatten the cookie dough rounds like the recipe says. You really do need to separate the cookies on the baking sheet by 2-3 inches or so. They might be nice flattened mounds when they go in the oven, but they spread generously while baking.
  • It says to refrigerate the cookies on parchment sheets for at least an hour before baking. I highly recommend keeping them in the icebox for an hour or two or perhaps overnight. The very first batch we made spread like crazy and burned slightly after only baking in the oven for 10 minutes which is half the suggested baking time. If you're baking and swapping out cookie sheets in and out of the oven, put the sheets back in the fridge or freezer before you put the raw dough rounds on to bake. If you put the cookies on warm or still-hot cookie sheets, they will spread or burn.
  • I find that using an 1/4 cup measure for the dough is a better cookie size than 1/3 cup. You get more cookies and can bake 9 cookies per sheet.
  • After 7-8 minutes, keep the oven light on and keep your eye on the oven. I don't care what the recipe says; none of our cookie batches have taken 18-20 minutes to bake at 375 degrees. They are temperamental. They take between 10 to 14 minutes to bake if you use the 1/3 cup measure and 8-10 if you use the 1/4 cup measure. If you don't bake them enough, they will crumble and fall apart. Bake them too much and they will be a little too hard.
The dough itself is pretty irresistible as well.  

The cookies spread a lot while baking. This batch is probably a tad on the overdone side. This cookie is tough to bake correctly!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wait... What Happened to Restaurant Week?

Pretty much what you're going to eat
It's Seattle Restaurant Week. So why haven't you seen tweets, photos and Facebook updates about Nick and I gorging ourselves on fancy bits and pieces? Why hadn't you received a giant Excel spreadsheet with spots and dates to sign up for a new restaurant you've been dying to try? WHYYYY?

Nick and I have been going to SRW and writing about it twice a year ever since we started dating (except when we ate our way through Vietnam). Each time, we had gone to at least four or five different spots, sometimes more. But we mutually decided to skip it this time around and instead explore some new restaurants the old-fashioned way - by paying the regular price. So why have we decided to eschew the popular event this time around?
  1. Nothing new to see here. There weren't a lot of new restaurants to try on the list. Nick and I use SRW as an opportunity to try new places or revisit a spot we haven't been to in a while. Many of the new restaurants listed were from familiar chefs like Maria Hine's Italian spot, Agrodolce. We've already frequented Tilth and Golden Beetle. We've already reveled in the sake slushy from Tanakasan.
  2. You're not even trying. With the exception of a few notable places like Poppy or Art of the Table, many of the restaurants sort of phone it in. A lot of the SRW menus are almost the same across the board and restaurants often feel forced to participate in this two-week event. So they offer a bisque, an apple fennel salad or a beet salad with pumpkin seeds or a roulade of some sort as a first course, usually a roast chicken or lamb, a seasonal pasta or risotto along with a seared cod or trout as course number two and pretty uninspired crème brulee, a chocolate cake, or a seasonal crisp and house-made gelato as the dessert. Remember our complaint about the spaghetti o's sauce from Cicchetti? It's banquet food for the most part. It may be executed well, but it's nothing to write home about. Guess what you're having to eat at our wedding? It's not like we can knock your socks off at that either.
  3. Service sucks sometimes. Once you mention you are there for restaurant week, many times you get lackluster service because servers think you are not "real diners". Again, this isn't true across the board and we've enjoyed lovely service at some of the best places but many places are overbooked and understaffed so guess who's going to be a tad cranky or absent?
  4. I could have bought two GTA V's with that money. It's not really that inexpensive. Plus, you are packing in the calories. Every time we go to restaurant week, we feel the need to eat like kings. We share bottles of wine or delicious cocktails with our friends and clean our plates. Multiply that by 4-7 times over two weeks and you realized you overindulged way too many times. When Nick and I go out for a nice dinner, we'll typically share an appetizer (if at all) and each have an entrée. We both tend not to drink during the week. That means (sans tax and tip), we'll have spent $8 + $16 + $18 = $42. If we happened to each have a glass of wine say me a glass of bubbles and Nick a house cab, then it's now $8 + 16 + $18 + $6 + $9 = $57. However, make it restaurant week and we go hog wild. Let's say I'm driving home so I'll have a fabulous cocktail. Nick will have two. We aren't having a rum and coke or an IPA because their seasonal cocktails are probably amazing, like Art of the Table's Winter is Coming which was Nick's favorite SRW cocktail of all time. This is now $28 +28 + $10 + $12 + $12 = $90. Let's talk tax and tip now. For a normal date night, we have 10% tax and a 20% tip which means $57 is now $74.1. For SRW, $90 becomes $117. That's nearly a $43 difference and is about a third more expensive than a typical night out when we both drink. It's twice as expensive as the nights out when we don't drink. Plus, I'm not a dieter or anything but it's a huge difference when you split an appetizer or a dessert with friends or another person than when you're eating all of the food by yourself.
  5. We are lazy busy. It's a lot of work to do research, make a ton of reservations and wrangle a gaggle of pals. We have a wedding to plan and things to do this time around.
If you are going to Seattle Restaurant Week this autumn, let me suggest trying to get a table at some of our favorites who never let us down for SRW:
Or take an opportunity to go against the grain and try a new restaurant that isn't doing SRW. More on that later...