We are in love with a Tacoma soup counter called Infinite Soups. It’s such good food, it’s hard not to lick the last traces of soup from the container. I imagine their soup is the perfect lunch for the downtown Tacoma worker. Since we don’t live or work close enough, we use every visit to Tacoma as an excuse to pick up some soup.
Since there is no seating, we use any dry day in Tacoma as an excuse for a soup picnic. Luckily, Wright Park is just up the street.
They post their daily soup picks on Facebook (in creamy and non-creamy options that contain meat as well as vegetarian and vegan). There are so many choices it can be hard to choose, but they are generous with the samples.
We have never sampled a flavor we didn’t like.
potato green chile
Wright Park has been around since 1890.
It’s full of some of our favorite trees.
Late fall means naked trees showing off their woody skeletons, or in this case revealing giant seed pods, perhaps?
No 19th century park is complete without lions.
strawberry rum ball & valhalla brownie
And if you need dessert, Corina Bakery is just around the corner.
I love nothing more than cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving meal with the works. That won’t be happening this year, though. The 911 center doesn’t close on holidays, so I will be working my usual 10 hour shift. It’s okay, I love holiday pay, and even though we won’t make it up north to visit the extended family, I will be home early enough to make a few dishes and join some friends for dinner.
Here’s what we’ll be making:
We’ll be the only vegetarians in attendance, so we’re bringing our own Tofurky. We like the simple roast, without the extras. It’s much better with homemade gravy.
Here’s an old picture of my homemade vegan gravy. This recipe has evolved over the years, and I might just have a few tricks up my sleeve. True story: the day Jess and I met I cooked my vegan biscuits and gravy. It’s on my list to write a recipe zine next year that includes this recipe.
Photo via Real Simple
Of course we will also need to bring meat-free stuffing. Last year we tried Real Simple’s Cheddar and Jalapeño Stuffing, and I suspect we’ll be making every year going forward. Italian bread, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, and lager beer – need I say more?
Photo via BHG
I’m dying to try this recipe for Creamy Green Beans with Crispy Shallots from Better Homes and Gardens. Due to time limitations, we’ll be going for the all-American green bean casserole from the recipe on the french fried onion can. I’m hoping we can try the crispy shallot recipe sometime over the holidays. I love a good green bean casserole. It has to be even better from scratch, right?
Photo via Epicurious
And of course I have to bring some pecan pie. I’ll probably be making three of these, one for work and two for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m going to try this recipe from Epicurious, although I’m omitting the orange zest. I already messed up one dessert with orange zest earlier this year.
A few Thanksgiving links
Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving full of incredible food. Now I better get to the store before they sell out of pecans!
I didn’t exactly plan on showing you several shots of the same squash, but somehow I just really enjoyed this series of Levi & our biggest Blue Hubbard. Most of our squashes are just cute little things, so this guy looks like a monstrosity. Apparently these suckers can be up to 40 pounds. Ours is a modest 13-pounder.
Leave it to Lenora to steal the show.
We have mentioned how much we love Cupcake Royale, and you know we’re crazy about pumpkin. So when you combine the two, we suddenly find an irresistible reason to drive to Seattle. Behold! Pumpkin cardamom cupcakes!
Pumpkin goes well with all the spices you find in pumpkin pie, but it wasn’t just cinnamon, allspice and clove. The cardamom elevates this cupcake to another level. I’ve eaten a lot of pumpkin-flavored baked goods, and this was an especially tender and delicious morsel.
Oh, but that’s not all. Cupcake Royale must have been struck by a lightning bolt of genius recently. They have a tiramisu cupcake that can be ordered affogato. The traditional affogato is a scoop of vanilla ice cream with espresso poured over it. We’ve been affogato fans for quite some time. However, Cupcake Royale takes a delicious tiramisu cupcake and drowns it in espresso.
From the moment I heard about the cupcake affogato, I thought it sounded like a good idea. It’s hard to explain how much of a very, very good idea this is. The cupcake soaks up the espresso like a ladyfinger. The icing is mascarpone mixed with Stumptown coffee – a great companion for the coffee-soaked cake. So, basically, there’s nothing about this cupcake that isn’t awesome.
These cupcakes make me want to wear a plaid scarf and my favorite legwarmers while I walk through a big pile of autumn leaves.
Every October we head over to nearby Lattin’s Country Cider Mill. There’s a pumpkin patch, an apple slingshot, tractor-pulled wagon rides, and all the adorable farm animals you can handle. The real reason we go (and the teenager still comes with us): fresh from the fryer apple fritters.
This year and last we ended up going on the weekend, which means a lot of patience and determination are required. People for miles around know about these fritters. First you wait in a long, slow line to pay for the fritters. Then you get a number and have to wait with a crowd of people until yours are ready and your number is called. We figured out a couple years ago how to pass the time: apple cider slushies!
Apple cider goodness in slushy form. Genius.
Levi & Jess saved their appetites and got smalls. I went for the large. No regrets!
The other way to pass time while waiting for your fritters is to watch them being made. It is mesmerizing. They have them already prepped, and then lower entire trays directly into the fryer. Then they stay nearby with what look like giant chopsticks to flip them over when the first side is golden brown. Once they are pulled out they dump them off the tray and literally pour a pitcher of glaze over them.
The glaze melts before your eyes and the gleaming apple fritters are ready to go. Once we have our bag of fritters in hand, we make a beeline to the nearest spot to sit outside and eat them while they are still nice and warm.
Levi took the first bite and declared that not only were they worth the wait, they would be worth 10 times that wait. Then he did the math and we decided maybe they wouldn’t be worth that long a wait, but they most certainly were worth the 30 or 40 minutes we waited and then some.
Warm and gooey sweetness with bits of fresh apple. There is nothing quite like it.
I have no idea how Levi made himself this short but I appreciated it.
There is so much to see and do. I’m so glad we were able to fit this into our busy weekend. A few more highlights:
Goodbye tomatoes. Hello squash!
Somehow our plant only produced one of these gorgeous sweet meat squashes. So what in the world should we make with it?
Confession: neither of us liked squash as kids. The older I get, the more I like squash. These days there are a handful of squash varieties I absolutely love. I suspect that list is going to grow. So now that we have squash on the brain, how about a little SQUASH LINK LIST:
Finally, the weekend is here! Let’s make something. Here’s a list of the recipes catching our attention this week.
Holy crap, it’s a Smoretini
(photo via Creative Culinary)
This Pumpkin Curry with Chickpeas is getting added to the top of the ol’ meal planning list.
(photo via BBC Good Food)
I wouldn’t mind a piece of this Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread.
(photo via Sunny Side Up in San Diego)
Ginger liqueur + vanilla liqueur + club soda + Guinness = a Guinness Cream Soda
(photo via CHOW)
A Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Yes, please!
(Photo via BS’ in the Kitchen)
Tips for brewing better mulled cider. I’ll give you a hint – one tip is to toast your own spices!
(photo via Serious Eats)
I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new vegetable sides for dinner. I’m loving the idea of this grilled cabbage with spicy lime vinaigrette.
(photo via The Kitchn)
How about an Earl Grey MarTEAni?
(photo via The Kitchn)
Last, but certainly not least: Pumpkin & Brown Butter Blondies
(Photo via Raspberri Cupcakes)