Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room Battling the Basic

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Starbucks is often synonymous with basic and *like totally* known for that time of the year when the leaves fade into a sunset palette and flocks of girls donning their uggs, yoga pants and fleece jackets make their yearly migration for the sacred pumpkin spice latte, or infamously shortened, PSL.

It’s not a surprise that Starbucks faces a branding problem. No one really wants to be called basic, especially in a time where sophisticated coffee culture has reached an unprecedented high and local coffee roasters can get away with charging as much as $15 for a pour-over to patrons curious to hear about the tale of the hand-picked beans and the far away farm.

This so-called “battle against the basic” leads us to Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, which is unlike any other Starbucks I’ve seen. I’d call this place a must-see for any Seattle vacation agenda, especially for coffee lovers.

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The Starbucks Reserve Exterior-Image Source: Starbucks

This upscale, experience-focused roastery features everything you’d see in a hipster joint and more. If I had to describe it simply, it was kind of like a hipster Starbucks museum factory. The coffee is brewed any way you’d want, the baristas are “coffee experts” whom are happy to answer any questions you may have, there’s a spacious floor plan with cabin-themed seating and a vast fancy menu pinned down to little wooden clipboards. Oh, not to mention, you know those little trinkets that capture your attention on your way to pay? There’s a whole section of that with the most unnecessarily interesting things ranging from cute mugs to Penny Skateboards to really expensive sustainably-made clothing. Apparently, the beans gotta pass a lot of tests to make the cut. The Starbucks website states, “less than 1% of all Starbucks beans will qualify for this distinction, and some are so scarce they might never be available again.” Damn!

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What are thoooose

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Anyways, I ended up getting a coffee flight because I’m a sucker for coffee flights and I love having options. My best friend got the affogato which I also contemplated heavily. To my surprise, I could actually taste the difference between the coffees (something I wouldn’t expect from a normal Starbucks). They were served in cute little silver pots with fancy post card-quality labels. My favorite was the second one, the Guatemala.

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Needless to say, I was pretty hyper and bouncing off the walls by the time we left. According to Business Insider, Starbucks plans to shed their basic identity includes opening more of these premium locations in the US and in other parts of the world such as Shanghai, China.

If you head to Seattle or any of these Reserve locations open up near you, I definitely recommend paying a visit. I can’t say that I’ll start going to the various Starbucks chains near me, but I definitely think these Reserves proves Starbucks can be more than just a basic bitch.

How to Make Your Own Ramen Burgers

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Whether you’re a nine-tailed fox or a college student cramming before midterms, ramen has always been your delicious dependable friend. This savory noodle soup has transcended beyond any ordinary bowl of noodles to a Japanese cultural icon. There are festivals, even a museum located in Yokohama devoted to the dish. Nowadays ramen is so popular there are endless configurations to the noodles: bold shoyu, rich tonkatsu, spicy miso, all garnished with delectable toppings such as sweet tender pork. In Japan, it is customary to slurp your noodles and considered rude if you don’t. However, there’s a new tasty craze that’s taken ramen to a whole new level—ramen burgers. That’s right, now you can enjoy ramen without a bowl, broth, or chopsticks by transforming it into a classic American staple. Chef Keizo Shimamoto took these two beloved national treasures and made a hapa burger baby. Ramen burgers are delicacies that aren’t listed under every burger joint’s menu, but fear not for you can make them yourself at home.

Time: 1 Hour

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First of all you’ll need your ingredients. We made a ramen cheeseburger, but as I said about ramen earlier: there are endless options. Substitute the beef patty with pork, switch up lettuce with bok choy, add some kimchi for a spicier sandwich. Here’s what we had:

Ingredients:

  • Pack of Ramen
  • 1 Egg
  • Ground Beef
  • Lettuce
  • Cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Spicy Mayonnaise
  • Soy Sauce

Step One:

Open up that pack of ramen and boil the noodles in hot water. You’ll need to let the noodles cool for about 15 minutes.

Step Two:

Crack an egg yolk into the noodles or a bowl and mix well. You may add soy sauce or the flavor packet that came with the ramen.

Step Three:

Forming the buns is probably the trickiest step. We had ramekins which are little soufflé and dessert bowls but anything circular would work—smaller bowls, mugs, tins. Mold the buns evenly against the bowls and place a layer of plastic wrap above them. Weigh the buns down with something heavy such as a can of soup or a jar of pasta sauce. Place the forming buns into the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Step Four:

Now that your ramen is shaped, it’s time to fry them up into nice buns. Sprinkle some oil onto a pan on high. Plop the buns on and cook them into a golden brown. Make sure you flip the buns and let them cook on both sides. The time may vary on how thick you shaped your buns. Thinner buns are better because it can be hard to fully cook the inside of larger ramen buns.

Step Five:

It’s burger time! Cook your ingredients: sizzle a juicy patty, sauté some mushrooms, melt that cheese into a gooey blanket.  Instead of ketchup, we made a spicy mayo by mixing mayonnaise and sriracha. You are the chef and artist, unleash your inner Remy. Like any other burger, things can get a bit messy but you won’t regret this American Japanese fusion.

Note: Don’t feel discouraged if your first batch of buns didn’t come out perfectly. It may take a few tries to get it just right.

Itadakimasu!

The Moistest Cornbread Ever

I don’t think that my Sundays are complete without a family grocery trip to stock up for the week. And whenever my mother and I feel like splurging a tiny bit, we head to Whole Foods for a nicer cut of meat or my mom’s newest 365 obsession (right now it’s apparently their hand sanitizer). But when we stop at Whole Foods my mom has to have one thing: the fresh in-house cornbread. My mom is honestly my biggest cooking inspiration, so it’s no surprise that I searched and searched for the perfect cornbread recipe.

Cornbread, however, is not merely as simple as I first believed. It has a troubled, controversial past involving many debates about whether or not it should contain sugar. Also, my family lacks cast iron anything which many claim is essential to “real” cornbread. So after much experimentation, and pounds and pounds of cornbread later (my friend’s family can attest) I came up with a recipe that suits my restrictions but satisfies my friends, family, and most importantly, my mother.

I do want to note that for this recipe I used two 9-inch round pans, but a cast iron skillet would be amazing. And I included prosciutto for an extra bit of fat and flavor, but it is purely optional. This is entirely true for the sugar element as well, if you prefer for your cornbread not sweet, then by all means.

If you do end up trying out this recipe, please let me know how it turns out for you in the comments below as I love any feedback. Enjoy!

xoxo,
Megan

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Ultra Moist Cornbread Recipe

113 cups coarse ground cornmeal
2cup all-purpose flour
1cup granulated sugar
1teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon baking soda
1cup whole milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen are fine)
2 ounces prosciutto or any cured Italian meat, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place your desired pan in the oven to heat while you make the batter.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Then whisk in the milk, buttermilk, eggs, and about 5 tablespoons of the cooled melted butter. Allow the batter to rest and rise for 10-20 minutes. If using the Italian meat, add it to the hot pan inside the oven to heat up and render.

Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. Coat the bottom of sides of the pan with a small amount of the remaining butter. Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes then enjoy.

Outside Lands: Wine and Dine Between the Music

Between, during, pre, post– the food at Outside Lands was delectable at anytime. Not only were our ears fed, but the festival catered to our hungry stomachs and selective tongues. Dozens of restaurants gathered together at the event to bless us with a “taste of the bay area.” The menus ranged from soulful delights such as mouth-watering fried chicken and buttery waffles from Farmer Brown’s Little Skillet, to cheeseburgers hugged between fluffy sweet doughnut buns from Straw.

Inside of Outside Lands, there were more delicious territories to be explored: Beer Lands, Wine Lands, Choco Lands, Cheese Lands and food truck… lands.

Here are a few photos of the food we sampled:

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(Pictured: Waffles Fries with Crazy Toppings, Up & Under Pub and Grill)

I was born with the greasy predisposition to all shapes of potatoes descended into deep fryers. There was a smorgasbord of fries and tots.

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(Ramen Burger, Nombe)

pbburger

(Pork Belly Burger with Fries, Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers)

wine

(Wine from the Lands)

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(Liquid Chocolate Bar, Guittard Chocolate Factory)

cupcake

(Smores Cupcake, Kara’s Cupcakes)

funnelcake

(Funnel Cake, Endless Summer Sweets)

Ciao for now,
Leanna