Asadero Sinaloa: Feel it in Your Bones

There’s a place in Kent, just off Military Road south where they sell epiphanies. It’s not on the menu, but shit like that rarely ever is. In my limited experience, earth shattering moments like this are the kind of thing that you should actively seek out. That you should prepare yourself for. Wandering into a moment like this because you like Food Network and marrow is a fun word to say would be like picking up a copy of A Farewell to Arms because you were done with the US Weekly you were reading. You’re liable to wake up in a holding cell unexpectedly with no pants on… or something.

If you are seeking, though, we can help you. If you’ve got some bail money lying around and you’re interested in tasting something so devastatingly good that it ruins your goddamn weekend, punch the words Asadero Sinaloa into your Google maps app.

Go there.
Order some bone marrow.
Eat it.
Remove your pants.
Prepare to be arrested…or something.

Sinaloa2

1:30 PM on a Friday found Krishan and I sitting across the table from one another, marinating in the pervasive smells of good cooking. Grey skies out the windows and a sign that says ‘Mexican’ flapping enthusiastically in a rain-bringing wind. There’s spanish guitar on the speakers and praise and exaltation written by hand by the restaurant patrons in marker and pen on one of the walls.

Sinaloa3

Krishan and I are distractedly talking about some outlandish fist fight we got into with a shoplifter,
“Yeah, I thought he was going to bite your nose off too-”
making small talk like family in hospital waiting room. Then the waitress sashays through the kitchen doorway with a wooden board engulfed in steam and we both shut our mouths. The board hits the table, three halved pieces of mesquite roasted, Prime Grade, USDA beef bone, sprinkled with sea salt and finely chopped green onion. To continue the hospital waiting room analogy, the operation has been a wild success.

And now, a brief history of eating bone marrow:

According to thefoodtimeline.org (there’s a link below), eating bone marrow is something you’ll find in the operating system folder of the human hardrive. We were doing it back when everyone was humping under the stars and pooping in a hole. Prehistoric man was known to crack open a bone or two to get at that good stuff and scooped out bones were at the site of the first location at which Ancient Greeks used fire to prepare meat. However, unlike humping under the stars and pooping in the woods, which pretty much only happens at Burning Man now, eating marrow has endured. Pliny the Elder wrote about how to prepare it in The Natural History circa 1469 and the English perfected a special spoon just for scooping that buttery business out of the bone in the Elizabethan era. I’d say that Krishan and I eating it at Asadero Sinaloa goes to show you that it’s made its way to the 21st century, but if you saw us devour it, you might just think that someone had invented a time machine, and that we’d escaped from it.

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Silence follows as we descend on our pieces, scooping the gelatinous marrow from the center with forks as fat drips down onto the plate in chunks and gobs. I load it into a fresh pressed flour tortilla and punch it into my face and for a moment I live alone in a world of contentment and fatty goodness. Rich. So rich. Like butter in a meat smoker. And smooth. So smooth. Who made this shit? Luther Vandross? It’s unlike anything I’ve had before. Such nuanced flavors coaxed out of the center of something that most people just throw away. Scoop after scoop after scoop poured into what came out to about 12 dollars worth of fresh tortillas eaten with religious fervor to the tune latin jazz on a rainy day in Kent.

Sinaloa 1

When the bones are bare and the Tim the Toolman Taylor grunts have begun to fade from the ears (but probably never the memories) of those around us, the waitress takes away the husks and Krishan and I sit, leaned back in our chairs with the vacant, wrung out expression of two men who’ve witnessed a star exploding and are waiting for the heat to catch up to the light and vaporize us, humbled and grateful for it.

In short, It was really good. All the eye gouging metaphors and tongue and cheek exaggeration aside, Asadero Sinaloa, and this dish specifically, is not to be taken lightly. I wandered out of there with something heavy at one end the scale I use to measure things that I enjoy and, if you’re ready, I would strongly suggest that you get in there and do the same. Like I said, it’s not on the menu, but if you seek it out, they’ll give it to you.

 

Written By:

Kellen Burden


Links:

Home

http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodmeats.html#marrowbones

Music: http://www.purple-planet.com

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Sisters and Brothers Bar: The South in South Seattle


When you’re perusing the interwebs and you hear about a place serving Nashville style hot chicken so good it might make you talk like Foghorn Leghorn until your wife locks you out of the bedroom, what do you do? Ah Say, Ah Say you get up in there and film that shit. Then you get locked out of your bedroom.

Music: http://www.purple-planet.com

Check them out here:

http://www.sistersandbrothersbar.com/

Big Island Poke: Getting Raw in Renton

I find immeasurable comfort in the fact that if I ever crashed a plane into the Pacific, narrowly avoided a grisly death and found myself stranded on some tropical island, there is a chance that I would still get to eat some poke every now and then. That I might be able to fashion a net, reel in something edible, and Gilligan’s Island my way into a coconut shell bowl full of raw fish. If I ever did find myself in such a position, forced to grow a dirty beard, befriend an inanimate object to keep from cranking the crazy dial up to Charlie Sheen, and wear a grass skirt over my jiggly-bits, I know without a doubt that my greatest discomfort would lie in the fact that my freshly caught, feverishly eaten, nirvana inducing concoction was still somehow not as good as the stuff at Big Island Poke in Renton.


To help me come to terms with this frustrating realization, Krishan called up his buddy Jaydean Gabriel, the owner of Big Island Poke. Jaydean agreed to come and hang out with us at his restaurant and explain why, if he had been on that island with Tom Hanks in Castaway, Hanks would have rolled up his ‘Help Me’ sign and just lived out the rest of his days there.
Krishan and I pulled into the lot in Renton about 45 minutes early so we could shove poke into our faces and weigh the consequences of eating one’s entire body weight in fresh food and going bankrupt at the age of 26 against the taste of expertly marinated fish. No contest, get me a rascal scooter, some sweatpants and a box under an overpass. I’m all in. The interior of the place is simple and slightly industrial, unsanded wood screwed into the walls, steel on the chipotle-style serving bar, black laminate signs with the food specials on them. Behind the counter, silent and succinct in their purpose, the servers dump food into plastic bowls, moving with an easy grace, serving in a consistent, almost animatronic way. Everybody gets the same sized scoop, sauce from left to right.


Bob Marley through the speakers, rhythmic and unencumbered.

If you’re having a hard time finding this place on a map, don’t feel bad. Google doesn’t know it’s there yet.(You know you’re being a good hipster when you start beating Google to the punch.) At the time this piece is being compiled, if you type the address into Google maps, you’ll see a photo of a building that’s not a Subway, not yet a poke place (isn’t that a Britney Spears song?), its picture windows looking out over Rainier Avenue.

“I wanted to put this place in Renton,” Jaydean tells us from across the table, trying not to look directly at Krishan and me as we trash compactor food into our faces. “It’s diverse. You got every culture, a lot of different backgrounds. It’s close to Seattle, close to Tacoma.”

Krishan and I grunt our approval through our mouthfuls of goodness.


Looking around at the clientele in the place, he hit the diversity nail on the head. There are islanders, haggard looking construction dudes, Boeing employees and dyed in the vintage wool hipsters mashed into that place, forking raw fish into their worldly faces.
“How’d you first get the idea to start this place?” Krishan asks. Jaydean tells us a story that is not unlike a lot of success stories you hear from people who don’t know they’re awesome. Lots of perceived luck, bunch of right place at the right time, and a good deal of humility. But when you really shove all the accoutrements of the story to the side, rinse off the marinade, blow the nori flakes away, and get down to the meaty part of it, you realize that this guy just works his ass off. There are several points in the story where Jaydean throws out the words “just kinda worked out” and hip rolls past a lot of late nights and early mornings. Jumps over a lot of things that anyone who’s ever had a business plan fall apart on him wasn’t willing to do to get shit done. He does this, not because he’s running an angle, or trying to be humble, but because he just couldn’t imagine not working that hard.

Early in 2012, Jaydean was working as a mechanic. He had gone to school for it and landed a job at it and, long term, he had planned to open his own mechanic shop and run it himself. But after 7 years at the trade, he was starting to see it come apart at the seams. He just wasn’t happy. Right around the time he was realizing this, a buddy of his had rolled back into town to visit. His friend was living in Los Angeles (the mecca for food trucks) and hating his life pretty good and hard. The two of them got a couple of drinks in them and started talking escape plans.


“We’ve always cooked. I like experimenting with food, and I like to eat,” Jaydean says. He brought up the idea of a food truck.

At that time, food trucks were hitting the streets of LA like STDs at a Sublime concert. Popping up in parking lots and drawing people to them with a salty magnetism that couldn’t be denied. “That’s weird,” his friend had said, “I’ve been thinking of doing the same thing.” They talked about menus and hashed out business plans and then his buddy went back to Los Angeles and Jaydean went back to work.

This is one of those junction points. This is where 90% of all best friends who want to start a detective agency or guys at adjacent cubicles who want to be sky diving instructors find themselves dead in the water. They hash all that shit out at a bar, and they swear up and down that they want to do it, and then they wake up in the morning and have themselves a pee and go back to hating their lives.

Instead of doing that shit, Jaydean bought a truck. It needed work, so he fixed it up at the mechanic shop any time he had a moment to himself. Within a fairly short period of time, he’d installed a kitchen, complete with fryers, sinks and stove tops. His buddy moved back to Seattle and the two of them went full commitment, Mike Tyson on a Hoverboard, into the food business, praying silently that they wouldn’t end up like Mike Tyson on a Hoverboard.

And they didn’t.

“So tell us about how this place came about,” Krishan says.
Jaydean had always wanted to open a poke place. He’d originally wanted the truck to serve only poke, but his original business plan had been focused on a wider audience. As time wore on though, he realized you just can’t please everyone. “You can’t cater to everyone. This…” and he motions at the restaurant around him, baseball on the television and reggae on the speakers, rice steaming in metal pots, “…is not for everyone.” So Jaydean whittled the menu down to something he was really passionate about. He describes shuttling back and forth between Hawaii and the Philippines with his parents when he was younger. There, on the big island of Hawaii, poke became a natural staple of his diet. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner” were his exact words.


As he got older, he learned to make poke himself through local recipes and trial and error. He started putting his own twist on it as he became more comfortable with the dish. Soon it was his thing. He took it to potlucks, made it for parties or just threw it together when he was feeling it. Now, an ocean away from the sunny winters of Hawaii, in the land of grunge and flannel, poke has become his comfort food. A safe place where he can roll up his ‘help me’ sign and just be where he is. Looking around the sun splashed restaurant manned by his friends and family (without whom, Jaydean insists, none of this would be possible) and full of happy, diverse people and the smell of fresh marinated fish, one can’t help but agree – this place is a good place to be.

 

Written By:

Kellen Burden

Big Island Poke on Yelp!:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/big-island-poke-renton-5?osq=Hawaiian+Food

Music:

http://www.purple-planet.com/

 

Ice Cream Heartache

I had a nightmare the other night. Those kinds of things tend to happen when you stay up late reading Stephen King novels like a middleschooler, huddled like a baby rat in a den of blankets, reading by the light of a flashlight. Jumping every time the heat comes roaring through the ducts, swinging on my wife when she unexpectedly asks me why I’m still awake. Sleep doesn’t come cheap or easy on nights like those.

In the nightmare, something is chasing me through the woods. Running full out in the moonlight, branches whispering past me, feet digging in the soft earth and all the while the creature bearing down on me, ever louder, ever closer. I trip, as we invariably do in those situations, and he’s upon me. Standing over me full and terrible in the silver light of the moon. His murderous yellow eyes search me up and down and he licks his swollen lips with a black and dripping tongue. I look down at myself only to realize I’m melting. Sticky and melting. A hunger fills his eyes and he lunges at me screaming. I scream! He screams! We all scream…

for ice cream…..

Boom!!!! And the award for weirdest ice cream post goes to…….

this guy:

little_babys_ice_cream

Dammit, almost had it.

Anyway, let’s talk about ice cream. The last few weeks I’ve had pretty bad luck with ice cream. I don’t mean that I’ve eaten terrible ice cream, or that I’ve gotten sick from it. Quite the contrary actually. I’ve had some pretty mind blowing confections. Fresh ice cream, inventive ice cream. Kind of stuff that makes you want to go all Banksy on a Baskin Robbins or go around T boning ice cream trucks before they pass frozen lies out to babies. Good stuff.


The trouble I’ve been having with ice cream doesn’t rest in the hands of the ice cream purveyor. It’s my fault. I lose my shit when I think I’m about to eat ice cream and invariably I do embarrassing, emasculating things. Last week for example, I was going to a place called Ice Cream Social, in Tacoma, which is fantastic (or, if you’re familiar with our sliding scale: Shit’s Bomb). I wandered feverishly to the large building that houses Social and a few other businesses, and, smelling ice cream, seeing red, I threw the door open and wandered into what turned out to be the tattoo parlor next door. A man with the words ‘shit happens’ tattooed on his FUCKIN FOREHEAD looked at me over the top of the dude he was scribbling on as I stood silhouetted in the doorway, trying to figure out where they kept the waffle cones. A Cessna towing a banner buzzed through my subconscious. The banner said: “This is the first time you’ve entered a tattoo parlor”. A 747 followed it with a much bigger banner that read, “THE ONLY REASON YOU’VE EVER ENTERED A TATTOO PARLOR IS BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT IT WAS AN ICE CREAM SHOP”.

Nice.

Later that same month, Krishan talked me into going to a place called Kurt Farm Shop in Seattle. There was still a big Hello Kitty bandaid on my pride from the Ice Cream Social incident and I was initially hesitant at the prospect of doubling down, but Krishan was insistent. The place had to be tried. So I made a quiet vow to myself that I’d keep it together this time. That I’d Liam-Neeson-Up, strut in there like they kidnapped my daughter, order something badass and eat it with subtle dignity in the parking lot.

Then the smell of ice cream hit me as we got out of the car and I felt the controls start slipping on me, little speed wobble, no biggie. Then I saw the menu by the counter, and the sirens started going off. Finally, Krishan wandered in there and started doing this shit:

goat-federation ice cream loves mr burns

And the whole thing left the rails.

 

 First thing I did was start filming EVERYTHING like an idiot. The ice cream in the case, the decorations on the walls, the hallway leading to the actual stand. Everything. Halfway through a slow motion shot of some ice cream being scooped, a former Army Ranger and current heart-eating-face-punching-badass buddy of mine called me and ruined my video.

“You fucked up my shot,” I said into the phone.
“Whoah. What are you shooting at?”

“Oh, no. I was filming ice cream.”

“Okay, bye.”

I’m too far gone to feel shame at that moment. I put it in my pocket for later.


At the counter, I ordered a scoop of Flora’s Cheese (which had chunks of real cheese in it) and a scoop of berry. The combo was incredible. Like a berry cheese cake on a cone. My vow forgotten, I ate it aggressively upright in front of the counter. Parents made their kids look away. Somewhere on Kurtwood Farm on Vashon Island, the cow who produced the milk to make the ice cream found herself filled with a profound sense of shame that she couldn’t explain but knew she deserved.


“Will you be paying together, or separately?” the kind older woman behind the counter asked, totally accustomed to my kind of crazy.

“Together,” Krishan said.

“No man, you don’t have to do that.”

He waved me off, saying,

“Nah, you didn’t even want ice cream, I got this.”

Somewhere, beyond myself, I heard myself say,

“I’m an expensive date.”

And before I could reel that shit back in, the lady patted me on the arm and said,

“Honey, you should be.”

How do I keep doing this?

I look to Krishan for help, and I see him trying to explain that we’re food bloggers and that we’re not on a date. That we have wives at home. He looks her dead in the eyes and says,

“We’re married.”

Damn, ice cream fever. Got us both on that one.

 

Written By:

Kellen Burden

BONUS VIDEO!!!!!

 

The Lengua of Love


I’m bellied up to the bar and there’s salsa music warm and splashy through the speakers, filling the room up. The roar of voices one over top the other, climbing to the high ceilings like the bubbles in my glass. I’m in a place called Fonda La Catrina, and there are Cow Tongue Tacos on a plate in front of me, and I am happy. Everyone is happy. The bartender is dancing around behind the bar, putting liquor into glasses and the kitchen staff is moving in the back, kicking food out to customers who are sitting in their own personal slivers of elusive springtime sunshine that’s smashing through the windows and glowing on the patio. There’s a couple beside me at the bar and she’s teaching him how to eat Posole. What to put in it, what not to put in it. He caught a tongue lashing at the beginning when he dipped a tortilla chip in it.

“Don’t do that when you meet my family.” she says.

“I wont.”

Still though, they’re happy. They have Mexican food in front of them, how could they be anything but. Georgetown bustles by outside the windows and now and then a lone shadow crawls over the street as a jet passes overhead, coming in for a landing at King Co. International.

I was genuinely surprised by the food in this place. Having just come back from Mexico, I was thinking I might have the bar set a little too high in my head. That I might wander out of there saying something douchey like, “Not as good as Pedrito’s in Cerritos” But when I pushed the door open and wandered out into that florescent sunshine, all I had in my mouth was the word, “gahdamn.” and some left over cilantro.

 

Written By:

Kellen Burden