What would you say if one of your very favorite bloggers wrote to you saying, "I'm in town. Want to go to lunch?"
Umm.....let me think......YES!
That was my enthusiastic answer when the fabulous Jaden of Steamy Kitchen fame said that she was in town on her book tour.
I've had a blog crush on Jaden ever since I first stumbled on her blog. Her posts had me laughing out loud - her infectious personality just sprang out of the written words, beautiful pictures, and smooth, professional videos. So, naturally it was an automatic YES to the chance to hang out with her.
We met at the scenic Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. It's one of the tourist must-see stops in Seattle. Amazing fresh produce and fish (the lobster tails in that picture are 2 lbs each!) and beautiful crafts fill the market stalls. We wandered through, oohing and aaahing, until our tummies told us it was time to think about lunch.
Here I must pause to let you in on a secret. I'm from the Seattle area, but I don't live in Seattle. If you write to me asking where a great place to eat is, I really can't help you with that. I rarely go into Seattle - all the one-way streets and lack of parking spaces discourage me. So when Jaden asked where we should eat, I drew a blank.
Fortunately, she has an iPhone and Twitters. She sent out a call for help and within minutes we had a handful of recommendations all pointing us to Matt's in the Market. And with good reason - the place is fabulous! You have to know it's there and know how to find it, and then be prepared to wait, but it's worth it.
After we were seated Jaden sweet-talked our serving into asking the chef if we could just have tastes of lots of things from the menu. Soon we had soup and plates with adorable miniatures of the menu items set before us. Jaden asked if she could have the recipe for an amazing dip and the executive chef, Chester Gerl, came out to personally give her the hand-written recipe and then gave her the history of the restaurant, his role in the restaurant, and where all the food came from.
We were ready to be done when we were asked if we didn't want to try the seafood? Well, you can hardly come to Seattle and not have seafood! So we were served bowls of buttery broth with manilla clams, mussels, scallops, and shrimp with the heads and eyeballs still attached. When I confessed to Jaden that I found food with faces a bit terrifying, she happily solved that problem by eating it for me.
At this point we were so full of good food we could hardly move. So when the server brought us a tray with samplings of 3 different dessert and ice cream pairings we said, "thank you, no." Right. We managed to stuff in bites of the mini pumpkin cake with golden raisins, a sorbet we guessed as being squash flavored, brownie topped with peanut butter ice cream and a berry sauce, and bread pudding with cherries topped by vanilla bean ice cream and a maple sauce.
Better than the food, though, was the conversation. I loved hearing about Jaden's new book (available now, makes a perfect Christmas present for yourself or a friend), her career, and her family. Her boys are about the cutest things going and she's a wonderful mother to them.
So, no recipe to share with you today. Just the giddy excitement of a day in the company of one of the nicest, funniest, most genuine food bloggers I know. I hope you get the chance to meet her, too!