so you might as well eat fried chicken! Well, my fellow fatty, you went and did it. After 214 Friday morning chats over hashbrowns, coffee, and syrupy stuffs; after countless hours of “working from home” and enjoying beer on the front patio at Sweet Betty Blue; after hundreds of blog posts about food, fat, and the fucking 520 bridge—you’ve left me.

It’s rough. Really shitballs without you. You missed this whole thing with Paula Deen, SCOTUS doing some great stuff, Wendy Davis filibustering for 12 hours, and you’re going to miss free Slurpees on July 11th. But we’re all going to put on our big girl panties and say good-bye. As I write this, the ice cream man is driving through the neighborhood. They’re playing our song, kid, so I’m going to take it as some sort of non-religious, non-divine, maybe-ghosty (c’mon—I’m allowed to believe for a hot minute) sign that you’re stoked about this, too.

Listen up, because here’s how this is all going to go down:

  • Saturday, July 20th, 2013 at 3pm, and well into the evening, we’re all going to get together at
  • Tracey & John’s house to celebrate
  • Lisa’s life the only way I know how to celebrate anything with you:
  • Food. Inspired by Fatty Chow.
  • We will serve ribs inspired by this Fatty Chow post and mac ‘n’ cheese, inspired by the four-part Fatty Chow series.
  • Beer and liquor will flow. Homemade peach-infused vodka inspired by this Fatty Chow gem will take center stage for our signature cocktail.
  • If your friends want to bring some grub, they’ll bring something inspired by Fatty Chow! There are plenty of posts to choose from, and at least 1093810247102380 about cupcakes alone, as well as several bacon-related ramblings.

It’s going to be an open house, stop-by-have-a-drink, drop-over-eat-some-food, see-some-people-we-haven’t-seen-in-awhile, try-not-to-be-too-sad, party.  And that’s how we’re gonna do it.

Let Tracey know if you can make it:


Life is destined to be an adventure in learning, and I’d like to think that most of the time it includes growth opportunities, as we learn new tidbits and tales that teach us how to be more substantive beings. But this week has been a lesson in what not to do, or maybe just identify what I need to do less of. As I wandered around the city during my usual workless week I found that some of the places I end up tend to offer little insight into the human condition and even less of a chance to encounter a good meal. Here’s what I mean.

First Stop: The Senior Center

Sure, maybe you don’t hit the local senior center, possibly because you have not reached the age of 65, more likely because you still haven’t recovered the funds from when your 401 tanked 8 years ago. And you’re probably thinking you thought that us fatties were also part of the pre-Medicare crowd, and you’re right. But let me sell you on my local senior center, because it’s the jamming center of all daytime activities in my area. They feature classes, support groups and gatherings for all kinds of things. Unfortunately picking up a hot date or hot meal – those are just bad ideas. The biggest catch in our recent group was the sole single dude that came rolling in on a shiny chromed-out wheel chair that had a sweet 2-bedroom condo all to himself. Let me hear you… all the single ladies! But before you go sashaying your saucy little ass in his direction, you’ll going to have to fight your way through the competition. Being the only single guy in a group of 12 single chicks there’s already a line that has been formed to the left. And these little old ladies come for action, most carrying the alluring sample of homemade confections. Some have even whipped out the heavy equipment, sporting low cut seasonal sweaters, complete with dazzling rhinestone embellishments spread across the bosom. The real tramps have even gone so far as to seductively cross their legs in front of the gentleman, garishly exposing the “purrfect” socks with tantalizing little kitties embroidered around the ankle. Tramps. How can I beat these pros? And the food, ugh. No better. Even with a free meal, it’s not worth the price. We’re talking giant pans of lasagna that must have been filled with nuts and bolts because it had to be rolled out in a wheel burrow. And then there was an enormous bowl of lettuce that was clearly a collection of salad leftovers from the week gone by. Dressing in a bottle sounds innocent enough until you realize that somebody has suspiciously rubbed out the expiration date. I bet that’s what happened to the guy too. Better luck at my next visit.

Second Stop: The Hospital

Well, again this doesn’t seem particularly promising, but after listening to all those successfully married folk they swear you can find a many anywhere. Really, anywhere? Truly. Just last week I heard this bitch say that she was going to write a book for us stupid single gals called How to Get Married: Brush your Hair and Go Out. Seriously, if it was that easy I woulda bought a brush already. So let us just see. While at one of my many hospital visits, today’s bachelor strolled into the general surgery wing with parents in tow. For a grown man this is clear evidence that we’re dealing with a single guy. No man can deal with medical problems alone. They need somebody to listen to them whine. And hand them kleenex. Anyway, this guy’s a real stallion right away. We’re talking white hot piece of man action. Not quite a pony tail, but it’s clearly been too long since he’s had a hair cut. Just in case you wanted more proof of very single status. And it seems mom didn’t get a chance to lay out his clothes this morning because he’s wearing a big gray sweatshirt with a “DRUNKN MONKY” logo. Are you kidding? Is this a brand? Somebody started a business based on a two horrifically misspelled words? The only thing classier than this company is clearly the high quality standards a guy must have for pulling this gem off the shelf at Wal-Mart. No surprise it took him three times to communicate to the staff that he was here for his appointment. Some confusion about his name versus the name of the doctor. So confusing and all. Sadly I was called into my appointment and my moment for a love connection was lost to a misfortune of fate. Or wait. Maybe not. Just another hour later while I waited to be stabbed in the anesthesia wing my spelling bee champ showed up again. Fate recovered? No, just support that this genius doesn’t know his numbers either, and it appeared he got off the elevator on the wrong floor. Well before this trip ended up being a total failure, I made a stop by the urology unit where they usually offer free beverages, including coffee, hot chocolate and my favourite, hot cider. And before you think that sounds petty, let me share that the parking lot will impose an $8 fee for my visit today and I should at least be able to score a drink on the house. Sadly upon arrival I discovered that they had slimmed down their offerings, with the only choice being a a measly pot of decaf. Ew. Not even worth wasting the cup. How can they impose cutbacks when my medical bills have undoubtedly paid for new staff, new chairs and surely at least a bag of instant apple cider. Bastards. Maybe it is better to just stay home. With the cat.

If you’ve been searching for a brick oven big enough to cook up a VW bug, look no further than Tutta Bella Pizzaria, located just off 45th and Stone Way in an area nudged between Wallingford and Green Lake. (You’ll probably driven by it visiting my former neighbourhood liquor store, which was recently commandeered by dolts over at Archie McPhees.) And in the event you aren’t in the mood to chow down your flame broiled Volkswagen, you’ll have a fine time selecting one of Tutta Bella’s Neopolitan specialties. Once you are smacked in the face with the scent of fire-roasted tomatoes it’s only a matter of moments before your tummy makes home for a true Italian experience. The simple aroma is smoky sweet from divine charred tomatoes that must have joyfully sprang from the ground before they were plucked at the peak of perfection.

If you’re looking for a sweet drink to wash down a pie, try the lemonade with rosemary, as it’s a Tutta Bella specialty. That is if only you can get past the Pine Sol smell. Otherwise, there’s a generous wine list and it’s served in a classic Italian drinking glasses which are just as charming as the building’s décor, where strings of bulbs hang from the rafters meant to evoke visions of twilight eve in a Tuscan piazza, where brick paths were once marched on by Roman soldiers just a few thousand years earlier.

We started our feast with a favourite first course, the Bietola Marinata (beet salad), generously sized for sharing among a table of two chubbies (or perhaps suitable for four skinny folks). I don’t know about you, but I eagerly select beets on restaurant menu, because somebody else is tasked with the messy process of skinning and chopping the veg, leaving everything and everybody it touches stained with a menacing red hue. Properly roasted beets offer a sweet and tender bite and Tutta Bella marries this with a creamy goat cheese and the crunch of salty green pistachios, all dressed in a tangy vinaigrette.

For the pie we chose the Pancetta e Pomodoro, but we have equally enjoyed many of the others. They use a fresh crispy crust akin to flatbread, and doll it up with olive oil and seasonings ready to be paired with their toppings. This wondrous treat included caramelized onions, slabs of pancetta and bits and pieces of tomatoes all charred to perfection in the blazing inferno. The best parts tend to be the crusty edges of various ingredients toppled onto the pie. I have a feeling this enormous brick oven could make a bowl of Cheerios a toasty singed treat.

The meal is concluded with an Italian dessert brought in by a specialty supplier. Get up from your seat and you’ll find open top freezer near the bar featuring gelato from Bottega Italiana in an array of flavours, including plain (you may pronounce vanilla), chocolate, Nutella, coconut, strawberry, pear and chocolate chip. They also offer a seasonal feature which at this point was egg nog, but was spiced pumpkin just a few months ago. Whatever you do, don’t go home without a scoop, even if you have to share.

Join Tutta Bella during the month of January and help celebrate the restaurant’s anniversary by receiving a promotional card for a discount at your next visit. If you’re a Price is Right fan, you’ll enjoy the spin of the die for an opportunity to win a discount on your check, from 10-50%. It’s not exactly Plinko, but it’s a coupon nonetheless.

I may initially go to TB’s just to inhale the enticing fragrance of charred pizza bits, but I fall in love with a new gelato flavour every damn visit. I do admit that toppings are sparse at best, but of at least of good quality. You won’t find pineapple or pepperoni, so if you’ve got little chum chums best make your way to Pizza Hut or stay at home and order in a pie from the Pagliacci’s, which remains a veteran Seattle icon, despite their detestable eastside locations which frankly suck so many cool points out of this joint it’s hard to have much tangible respect left. There is a courteous staff, never a wait and usually you can score a spot in the parking lot tucked behind the building.

The perfect conundrum:Bacon-wrapped Tofu

It’s not a secret—I am a conundrum. I have more expensive shoes and handbags than a woman needs, yet I’m lucky if I shower more than twice a week sometimes. I get my hair done at one of the nicest salons in Seattle, yet I have no problem going out to breakfast straight from the bed with JBF hair without bothering to even run a comb through it.

My eating habits are no exception. I love piggies—and I eat bacon. I’ll eat a steak for dinner, but I refuse to buy any leather furniture for my new home. I chose my hardwood stain because it reminded me of bacon. I love tofu. Given a choice between scrambled eggs and scrambled tofu, I’ll take the tofu every time. Choice between fries and tofu fries? Tofu fries, no doubt. It’s like Mr. Bacon vs. Monsieur Tofu.

I am a flexitarian. According to Wikipedia, a flexitarian is someone who identifies themselves primarily as a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat. OK—that’s fucking stupid. You’re either vegetarian or you’re not. Don’t be a moron. If you eat meat, you simply can’t call yourself a vegetarian—if you eat meat, you have not embraced a vegetarian lifestyle. Stop trying to be cool. I posit that a flexitarian is someone who is “vegetarian- “ or “vegan-friendly.” That’s me. I’m a meat eater and I don’t pretend to be otherwise. But I also seriously dig on some vegetarian and vegan cuisine.  Good food is good food—whether it has animal product or not. I can chow down at El Gaucho or Carmelita and be perfectly happy either way. I’m flexible. I’m a flexitarian.

I encourage meat-eaters to stop poo-poo’ing it and try vegetarian and vegan food. I’m not preaching the lifestyle, but always encourage trying good food. (Note: No matter how hard I try, none of my veggie friends will succumb to my pork-belly encouragements…). Meat eaters: open your minds and palates to vegan food. Believe it or not, food does taste good without animal products. Two cases in point, if you’d like to give it a whirl, are these beginner dishes from two Seattle restaurants:

  • The Basic Breakfast at the Wayward Café: perfectly-seasoned tofu scramble with hashbrowns and artisan toast—really, the bread is amazing.
  • The Greek Ohmlette at the Squid & Ink: tofu with black olives, artichokes, roma tomatoes; hashbrowns with plenty of crispy parts (vegans do believe in oil—yum, oil!); and toast (just so-so, but the hashbrowns and savory ohmlette make up for the lame toast). P.S. I wish they’d get a real Web site one of these days. I’m practically embarrassed to post a MySpace link…

Try it. You might like it. And if you do, here’s a great resource with plenty of other veggie and vegan options in Seattle: Vegan Score.

(Warning: If the title was enough to put a twist in your knickers, don’t bother reading on. I probably used words too big for you anyway.)

It’s not that I hate your god, it’s that I detest his damn followers. (I know. This is a food blog and I’m not sure what god has to do with snowflake cookies and honey-baked ham.) So what. Sometimes you just have to ruffle a few feathers, and today is that day.

There’s really only one thing I detest about Christmas, and it’s just that bit about Christ. Over the last decade a tug-of-war has emerged between the liberals and the conservatives, as they battle for control of how we celebrate this holiday. One side is demanding that any and all religious references be deleted from society. Christmas trees are stripped from airports, carols are banned from schools and holiday greetings are forbidden at local supermarket. Meanwhile the nutballs over on the religious right maintain a tight grip on their bibles, pushing for prayers, damning the unfaithful and arming for holy wars. The result is that a nasty little infection of conflict is injected into what should be a charming family tradition.

And before you ask me why I have such bad feelings about the church I ask, why don’t you? While I’ll be the first to admit that some churches serve our community well in many forms, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and providing haven for those in need. My anger lies in the hate and persecution that seems to accompany all religious sects. The worst concept about religion is the one thing all fanatics share. The basic tenet that we’re right and you’re wrong. Face it, that’s really the center of all beliefs. That my story, my god, my theory of planetary evolution and my religion is complete and total fact. And that because I (and my fellow dogmatic minions) are right, you (and your infidels) are so wrong that we even dreamed up a new words to serve as just how bad being wrong is. Blasphemy. Desecration. Sacrilege. And in demanding that my god is the right god, millions upon millions of followers have taken up arms and gone to war to declare the non-believers as the enemy. The fallen. The scorned. The damned.

Religious beliefs serve as a catalyst for so many wars, so much killing. I’m tired of watching people use it as an excuse to hate and to hurt. Hiding your disgusting behaviour in a bubble of false doctrine is just as pathetic as your commitment to a repugnant deity. So why give it a seat at your dinner table? To be so sure of your righteousness is alarming. The new term is extremists and fundamentalists. But that’s not just for Arabic people – that’s for all devout followers, be it clergy or cult. And all this exists despite the complete lack of any substantial proof of existence to support the premise. Yet there you are. You still insist you are right. And that everybody else is wrong.

Really? So you buy it all? Good fights evil. Noah and that ark. 40 days in the desert. Water into wine. Four horseman. Adam and Eve. Serpents and apples. And it’s not just the wacky Christians. Muslims have their 72 virgins. Scientologists have their intergalactic spaceships. Mormons have their chastity vow. And back in the 70’s the Vatican went around and slaughtered hundreds of black cats. Why? Well because they were evil. That’s right. Demonic-possessed putty-tats were a viable threat to the Pope and over armed 100 Swiss Guards.

I’m not out to hate you or your church, but I do strongly object to the ongoing, overwhelming and relentless persecution of those who do not share in your beliefs. That doesn’t make me an atheist. Hell, that’s just another group of zealots pushing another idea. I’m happy to stand in line with the agnostics. And before you curl up your nose in a state of offense, perhaps you should pull a dictionary and see what it really means. Agnostics prefer to reserve judgment and simply agree on one thing: That you don’t know. That nobody knows the answer. And whatever your belief is, be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormons, or whatever new fantasy is concocted this century, well we’re pretty sure you’re just dead wrong. Be honest – this certainly makes more sense.

Organized religion has been trampling free thinkers since the beginning of time. The Greeks, the Ottomans, the Romans, the Mayans, the Native Americans, the Scientologists… whoever, whenever. Every hundred years or so some a-hole writes a new story, designs a new logo and ta-da a new team of zealots is born to march on. Well I say they need to cook up some new holidays of their own because my Christmas is now off limits.

I adore Christmas. There’s no better day than one where we gather to bake eggnog cookies, hang ornaments that have been passed down generations and listen to The Muppets jam with John Denver. But I don’t want to celebrate the birth of (some) god’s child, even if its roots are entangled in this great holiday event. I realize that many people think that the occasion is strictly based on this fairy tale. But for me, December 25th has nothing to do with fables from bibles with lessons of moral deeds, gory battles between heaven and hell and rules of life demanded by a higher being. It’s about family. Friends. Traditions. I see Christmas as a cultural celebration, like a master recipe passed down through time. This event has crossed many cultures, and as it is passed from family to friends each person adds their own ingredients and adjusts the recipe. After being blended with ethnic and local traditions the old Christian story no longer serves as the essential component. It may, or may not, have been initiated based on a tale of imaginary friends whipped up a two thousand years ago, but it no longer limited by those boundaries. I think it’s time we allow this holiday to evolve and leave the irrelevant nonsense about imaginary friends behind. I simply ask that we suck the last little bit of religious bigotry out of the day.

Now that I’ve worked you up into a frenzy, why not take a minute to enjoy a batch of Eggnog Martinis to ease your mind. And try not to worry about my lost soul, there’s always a chance that I’ll be saved from an eternity in hell by some last-minute deathbed conversion when I see the light. Or not.

New Year’s Resolution: A commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.

That’s Wikipedia’s definition – I guess they think now’s the time to reform your nasty little habits. Hrmpf. Like I’m going to stop buying Little Debbie snack cakes. Instead, I say that a resolution should really be more about being a better human being. Or maybe just being less of an asshole. Or as we like to put it, spread the fat around in three ways.

Acquire fat. Find something to work hard at. And this certainly need not be your actual job. Why bother wasting all your good energy there anyway? Trust me, nobody really cares. As long as you show up and keep the seat warm for your eight to ten a day consider it a job well done. Meanwhile, let’s focus on working hard at achieving new goals. For me, that means stepping on the inspirational foot pedal and crafting up some killer creations. On the heels of my successful clothespin doll empire, I am looking to develop exciting fun and desirable goods for the world to admire. This generation of crafty goodness will result in the acquisition of fatty love, whether that is measured in doting compliments a’plenty or bitty sacks of Internet coinage (aka PayPalPlayDoh). Both serve the soul well, and allow the factory to prosper.

Remain fat. Under no circumstances should a fatty lose their fattiness. That includes fatty pen pals, fatty moms, fatty furry friends, and even that fatty muffin top you hide up under your big fluffy sweater. Really, that’s what makes us so damn lovable anyway. Ignore this month long attack by the weight loss mafia – their latest diet fads (carbs aren’t evil, Jenny craig is evil) and ridiculous trends (having a wii fit harp on you to do jumping jacks is no different than having Richard Simmons sweat your pounds off with the golden oldies). So guard your fat with all your might. Hold it close. Feed it well. Cuddle when needed. And remain true, not just because lies are just pathetic, but because you’re a better person and it’s about damn time to act right.

Spread fat. So now that you’ve promised to obtain and secure your fattiness, let’s give sharing a go. Yes, we may have held it tight and promised to not let any fatty love escape, but this is different. Fatty is best when shared amongst the crowd. So cherish what you need and give the rest when and where it best be served. This is a teachable moment… for if you show how to share the wealth of your bounty, others will see your gift and feel genuine joy. You remember that, right? Real and actual happiness. It doesn’t come in a paycheck or streaming across your iPhone. It’s created or gifted, so get in the game. You absolutely must send to receive. So tough these times. So many in need. Things could be worse, mom always said. So take a moment and put aside a piece to share with the neighbours. The community needs all hands on deck, so stretch out your chubby little paw and take some time, make an effort and extend a little fatty love.

Ah, the joy of the holiday season. Time for baking up batches of cookies, candies, bars, cakes and more all to celebrate the arrival of a fat man in a red suit. Not that I need an excuse to buy Costco-sized parcels of butter. This year, in search of inspiration, I pounced on the innerwebs for a new snack and found Pumpkin Spice Chex Mix. Now I believe recipes are much like traffic laws, something that is adhered to only by the uneducated simpletons of society. As an experienced chef, (and driver) recipes (and traffic codes) are merely a general suggestion and advanced thinkers are given the leeway to apply adjustments where appropriate. As such, the results are my edited version of this Sweet Pumpkin Chex Mix.

½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups Corn Chex® cereal
2 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
2 cups honey nut toasty o’s cereal
¾ cup sugared pecans
2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 250-275. Mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Melt butter and add vanilla and extract. Mix cereals and pecans in large baking tray. Pour butter mixture over top and dust with brown sugar mixture. Bake for 30-45 minutes, taking time to stir the batch every 10-12 minutes. Pour out on counter to cool. Dust with table sugar for a sparkly sugary finish.

I sure hope you all are surviving the season unscathed, or at least without permanent scarring. This is certainly a time to endure tension-filled family visits, no matter how hard you try to delete them from your life. Perhaps eating your way through the event will help dull the pain. Meanwhile the Cookie Fairy is off to deliver her goods today. If you don’t receive a box, then I suspect you must really regret not being nicer to the fatties near you.