On Saturday we visited the OOLA Distillery in Capitol Hill (Seattle, WA) for their distillery tour. This tour is free, lasts about an hour, and ends with you tasting up to four spirits which makes it fantastic value for money. OOLA has been our go to gin for a number of months so we relished the opportunity to taste some of their other spirits, particularly their base and infused vodkas.
The first spirit I tasted was their base vodka to serve as a basis for comparing their other spirits (which with the exception of the whisky use the vodka as their base). Unlike mainstream vodkas that target being flavorless and odorless OOLA’s base vodka is intended to have a flavor and this made for a welcome change. The vodka’s flavor stood well on its own which would make it ideal for vodka-forward cocktails but without being so flavorful as to clash with other flavors in more complex cocktails.
Next up was their barrel-aged gin which I was keen to compare to their standard gin which we use frequently. This is aged in oak barrels resulting in a smoother flavor and mouthfeel with the gin’s typical floral notes taking more of a backseat. While their standard gin is incredibly well balanced and can be mixed with anything I can’t imagine mixing their barrel-aged gin with anything, I’d rather enjoy it on its own.
Finally we tasted their two infused vodkas, rosemary and pepper. The pepper vodka provided an undeniable taste of red chili pepper with a small hint of heat, I’m planning to make a riff on a margarita with this and if it’s successful I’ll post the recipe. The rosemary vodka was more muted in flavor and I felt that the rosemary flavor could have been more intense. The following recipe caters for that by the fresh rosemary providing a rosemary fragrance to supplement the more subtle rosemary flavor in the vodka itself. Enjoy!
Rosemary Vodka Gimlet
2 1/2 oz OOLA Rosemary Vodka
1/4 oz simple syrup
3 lime wedges
Sprig of rosemary
Add the vodka, simple syrup, and lime wedges to a cocktail shaker and muddle, strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
While most hate when the weather turns cold in Seattle (we’re expecting below freezing this week thanks to storms in Alaska) for me it’s an opportunity to start roasting again. Last night for dinner we tried a recipe of Geoffrey Zakarian’s that we saw on The Kitchen – Roasted Pork Loin with Spanish Onion and Vermouth. We also had some extra parsnips from our OxBow CSA so we made Tyler Florence’s parsnip puree to go along with it but we could have made half as much because it was so rich (but delicious). Suffice to say the meal was delicious and had a really interesting variety of flavors, in particular from the Chinese five spice. We have plenty of leftovers which we’ll probably make very multi-cultural tacos with on Tuesday.
PS – I need to work on my food photography skills.
Plated is a food delivery service with a difference, you still need to prepare and cook the food, and that’s a good thing. For between $12 and $15 per serving they’ll deliver most of the ingredients needed to prepare a chef-quality meal in 30-40 minutes (they don’t provide staples like salt, pepper, and olive oil). Plated produce a new menu for you to select from each week and you’re not committed to order every week if you don’t want, you do however have to order the plates in multiples of 2.
The plates are delivered by OnTrac (at least in Seattle) and are packed in an insulted box with ice packs to keep the meat (and everything else for that matter) cold. We did have an issue with one delivery where for some reason (which we didn’t work out) the chicken wasn’t kept cold enough and wasn’t good but Plated were very apologetic and credited our account. We’ve been temping the meat that’s arrived since then and it’s all been under 32 degrees F so I think it may have been a one-off issue.
The ingredients we’ve received so far have been of a high-quality and Plated try to strike a balance between saving you time and still giving you the experience of cooking, for example, ingredients will typically be portioned out but will still require some preparation such as washing and cutting. Unfortunately delivering food safely and with portioned out ingredients means there is a lot (bordering on obscene amount) of packaging for you to dispose of.
Along with the ingredients they provide step-by-step instructions, these instructions go a bit beyond typical recipes because they provide photos for each step and are optimized to help you parallelize the work. This parallelization is something I’ve struggled with but their instructions definitely help master doing multiple things at once.
While they have a number of “traditional” meals they also have ones that will stretch even experienced home cooks such as Quail with Quince or Dashi with Soba and Eggs (which is what we had for dinner last night). The serving sizes are quite generous and we can easily feed 2 adults and a 3 year old with 2 plates. Next time we cook a Plated meal I’ll post some real photos for you to see.
Overall I think this is a great service, while I won’t be placing orders every week and I don’t think I’d order any “traditional” meals it’s a great way to try out high-quality, quick to prepare, meals that you may not prepare otherwise (and greatly reduce the risk of failure).