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I’m a contestant in a live cooking competition – Kitchen Circus

This girl is taking food to another level as a contestant in a live cooking competition

This time, I’m not cooking just for me. I’m cooking for 45 people. I’m so excited to announce I’m a contestant on Kitchen Circus, a live cooking competition at Rover’s restaurant in Seattle. This competition challenges home cooks, like myself, to step into a professional restaurant kitchen and see if we can handle the heat. Kitchen Circus is organized by Thierry Rautureau, who owns and operates Rover’s and Luc restaurants.

Kitchen Circus contestants were announced recently and I’m one of nine (the last one on the right) who will be headed into Rover’s kitchen to compete.

Yes, this is hardly the type of cooking I’ve focused on with The Solo Cook blog. But what you may not know about me is that I often hold large dinner parties for friends and family. There is no doubt, this will stretch my cooking skills and creativity.

I am one of nine contestants chosen to compete, based on my application, video and live audition. I’ll tell you more about my live audition in upcoming posts. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, I will prepare one of a three-course meal for guests at Rover’s. I will have to prepare an appetizer, main course or dessert. Then, at the end of the night, guests will choose one home cook as the winner who will move on to the finale.

When I discovered I was one of the Kitchen Circus contestants, I literally jumped up and down like a little girl. I hope to bring my passion and love of food to a dining room full of guests at Rover’s. In the next couple weeks, I’ll be obsessed with food. I’ll be dreaming of food, taking notes on homemade recipes and trying out different meals on friends.

You, too, will be a part of this fun journey. I plan on sharing my Kitchen Circus experiences along the way.

You can follow the competition on facebook.

For more information about the Kitchen Circus competition, check out the press release.



Tapas bar in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is a hit for singles

Ocho – a Hot Solo Spot

This deviled egg delight combines salmon roe, pickled onion, tomato dust and dill.

Turn to Ocho in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, if you want a restaurant that has small bites, made just for one person with an artistic impression.  As The Solo Cook, I look for places that single people can enjoy, whether it’s the vibe of the place or the menu that is eclectic and perfect for one. I’ll share my secret hot solo spots with you and I’ll also discover new places along the way.

At Ocho they throw great cocktails behind the bar and create bite-size menu items that are loaded with flavors from Spain.

This small tapas bar at 2325 NW Market St. is hopping, but there’s usually an empty seat at the bar. I also like to people-watch so I sit in the outdoor area, just in front, where I’m entertained by the foot, bike and car traffic, zooming by the table.

The Solo Cook enjoys the San Miguel cocktail at Ocho, a tapas bar in Seattle.

What’s fantastic about Ocho and other tapas bars is that you get to try several menu items, without getting full like you would if you ordered a large entrée.

Visually, these tapas tempt the eyes. I craved deviled eggs as a child, so when I saw Ocho’s grown-up version, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the creamy egg. Their Huevo del Diablo for just $2.50 is an explosion of flavors in the mouth with salmon roe, dill, fried capers, pickled onion and tomato dust.

Another great menu item at $1.75 is the Banderilla de Boqueron, which combines skewered anchovy, red pepper, deep-fried artichoke and aioli.

“I wanted to convince people to try anchovies because in Spain they’re eaten like candy,” said Ocho owner and manager Zach Harjo.

While chatting with Harjo, I discovered his inspiration for the restaurant.

This tapas dish at Ocho will make you an anchovy and artichoke lover.

After graduating with several art degrees from University of Washington in 2003, Harjo backpacked through several regions of Spain. He discovered a vibrant nightlife with people standing at bars, nibbling food and having cocktails.

“I wanted to bring the bar nightlife of Spain to here,” he said about opening Ocho in 2008.  “The two or three dollar items inspired me in Spain and I love the flavors.”

To quench your thirst, I recommend you sip on the herbaceous and refreshing San Miguel drink with gin, St. Germain, rhubarb bitters and a touch of lemon.

Another gin drink called El Picador, changes colors as you imbibe. Because the speared beet bleeds into the drink, it turns red much like a Spanish bull bleeding in the ring, Harjo said. Drinks cost $8 and tapas about $2-9.



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