Do the Cinnamon Twisp (Not a Typo)
Plus: Dinners at Arrowleaf Bistro, Lodi, and Atoboy.
I just got back from some EPIC traveling. A week in New York and then a quick jaunt to Washington State for Craig’s parents’ fiftieth anniversary celebration. For these festivities, Steve and Julee (the aforementioned parents), who live in Bellingham, chose a beautiful spot in the north-central part of the state called Winthrop. Here we are (with Craig’s brother Eric, sister Kristin, and Kristin’s boyfriend Dean) in front of a waterfall.
It was a grand old time with some grand old eating!
On Saturday night, we went out for an official celebration dinner at The Arrowleaf Bistro right across the river. The setting was lovely… here’s the view out the window.
And here we are at the table:
Not only was the place charming, but the food was spot-on. Check out these shrimp cakes with a green curry sauce:
And this wild boar meatloaf (!) with a cherry glaze on a parsnip puree:
For dessert, there was chocolate mousse plus carrot cake, with candles for the lovebirds to blow out:
As for the title of this newsletter, on Sunday we went to Twisp, Washington; a tiny town that was hosting its own Gay Pride! We attended some of the festivities and then made our way to the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery, famous for their Cinnamon Twisp. (You can see it at the top of the post.)
It’s basically a cinnamon twist made with local honey, hazelnuts, and cinnamon. Spoiler alert: I absolutely loved it. I put it up there with the best cinnamon rolls of my life, maybe the best. Something about the honey and the hazelnuts. Good job, Cinnamon Twisp Bakery!
Now let’s rewind the tape back to New York, where Craig and I had two more notable meals worth newslettering about. The first was a post-theater dinner at Lodi in Rockefeller Center.
Lodi is the latest from Ignacio Mattos, chef at Craig’s favorite NY restaurant, Estela. It got an absolutel rave review in the NYT, so I was really eager to eat there.
The verdict? It lives up to the hype! Loved the fresh ricotta, especially how it was presented:
The bagna cauda — a warm bath of garlic and anchovies in olive oil and butter — may have been my favorite dish, with a vast assortment of vegetables to dip into it: including surprising ones like raw broccolini and cooked fingerling potatoes.
(That tuna toast in the background wasn’t too shabby either.)
I also appreciated how emulsified the bagna caudal was; mine didn’t look anything like that when I made it a few months ago.
For our entree, we shared this porchetta with beans and salsa verde that was out-of-this-world.
My only quibble with the meal came at the end when the waiter came over to ask if we wanted dessert. The answer to that question, for me, is always “yes!” but instead of bringing over a dessert menu, he said they only had a few things left: a chocolate tart or gelato. As Craig questioned whether we needed gelato, the waiter said “it’s big” (I think to deter us? Maybe he wanted to go home?) but I was undeterred. So I ordered the gelato and out it came.
Indeed, it was very large, but also very plain: as in, plain vanilla gelato. There was a chocolate cigar on the side, which was nice, but overall it was like eating the same bite over and over again.
Then the bill came and guess how much that gelato was? $25!
I felt a bit hoodwinked. True, he did say it was “very big,” but he didn’t say it in a way that implied “it’s meant to feed 3 to 4 people".” Craig didn’t let me live down the $25 gelato for the rest of the trip.
What do you think? Was the waiter in the wrong? Or was I in the wrong for ordering it?
Atoboy is a Korean restaurant that’s the precursor to Atomix, one of the hardest reservations to get in NY.
It’s a great deal: for $75 you get five courses. When we went with our friends Kent and Clint, the waitress suggested we all order everything (there are three options for each course) and share, which I actually regretted at the end of the night. Sometimes you just want to order for yourself. (Amanda Hesser wrote a great essay about that in Cooking for Mr. Latte.)
However, the one thing that you MUST share and order for the table, is the supplemental fried chicken.
How to describe this fried chicken? Like the world’s best chicken fingers? Crunchy beyond belief, tender as it gets on the inside (from thigh meat marinated with jalapeños), the chicken comes with two dipping sauce: one spicy peanut, one gochujang. Those who go to Atoboy and don’t get the fried chicken will be prosecuted.
As for the rest of the courses, they all came with surprising flourishes; like the lamb, here, topped with what the menu says is white asparagus, but that seems hard to believe here.
We loved the desserts, especially this Injelomi Mousse with cocoa crumble and soybeans.
Growing up, my brother and I would exhaust my mother so much when we went away that she would say: “I need a vacation from this vacation!” And now I feel the same way. I’m exhausted from all of this eating.
Let’s look at some links!
How food snobs ruined garlic in a jar (The Walrus);
How food snobs look down on the air fryer (SF Chronicle);
Looks like I have a new show to watch: The Bear on Hulu (Eater).
That’s all for today, folks!
In case you missed my paid subscribers only newsletter on Thursday, I wrote about my friend Diana’s 40th birthday dinner at Le Bernardin. To read that, plus to gain access to my full archives, become a paid subscriber! It’s a huge motivator to keep me doing this ol’ thing.
Until next time….
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)