Tag: Seattle

And Now for Something Completely Different

Seattle Skyline | Travel | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

If we’re being honest, I am a homebody. I like having a home base, a place I can return to that is comfortable, a little oasis, a space that is mine. I like to know where my belongings are, to sleep in my own bed, to light candles in the evenings, to cook dinner. When I don’t have that I feel… off. I feel like my footing is uncertain and that, even if I know where I’m sleeping that night and even if I have  a room that is “mine,” it might not last.

Jonah and I moved out of our house a month ago, and we are now floating around until we leave for Thailand in two weeks. What does floating around mean? It means we are “living” in our dear friends’ guest room, stowing boxes in their crawl space. In the past month we have been to NYC, Chicago, Seattle, and McCall, ID. I have had a total of 9 nights in my own bed, and for someone who is a homebody, that’s a challenge.

I suppose I’m writing this partially to begin the transition of this blog. Over the next seven months or so, I’m not quite sure what this space will become. As I live abroad, I know I’ll want to write. But I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to, or about what. I assume I’ll want to tell you about the food I’m eating, the adventures I’m going on. But it also may become more of a journal than it has been in the past, since I know that this trip is going to challenge me in a lot of ways and I’ll need an outlet for that. I hope that’s ok with you.

New York City Skyline | Travel | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chicago Skyline | Travel | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

So, the itinerary as it currently stands:

On October 4th we fly from Seattle to Bangkok, where we’ll spend three days getting our feet under us again before heading to Ko Lanta, an island off the southwest coast of Thailand. We’ll spend about ten days there before heading north to Chiang Mai where we’ll meet friends, rent an apartment, and live our lives for another two months. In mid-December we fly to Germany, where we’ll spend a few days with friends before heading to Stuttgart to be with Jonah’s extended family for Christmas, and then around New Year’s we’ll head to Portugal. The plan is for Portugal to be our home base for about four months, but we’ll travel from there, hopefully to visit friends in London, the Netherlands, and Morocco. I’m also crossing my fingers for a stop in Iceland on our way back to the U.S.

It sounds like a lot – a lot of places, a lot of time. But truthfully, I know it will fly by. Or at least that’s what everyone is telling me. Let the countdown to departure begin: 2 weeks.

McCall View | Travel | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Chai Truffles

Chai Truffles | Serious Crust by Annie FasslerChai Truffles | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Let’s talk about chocolate. Everyone likes it. Everyone. If you don’t like chocolate, I think you might not be a human with feelings. And there is nothing quite like biting into a piece of chocolate that is fudgy, a little melty, and dark enough that it’s got that hint of sharpness to it.

Some of my favorite chocolate to eat is Theo Chocolate, based in Seattle. Jonah and I went on a factory tour a couple summers ago, and man was it a) interesting thanks to our awesome guide and b) delicious thanks to lots of samples. They have a chai flavored bar that is crazy good (so are all of their flavors, really), which I think is subconsciously why I chose to try these chai truffles. Well, that and I had been really wanting to make some easy truffles, and of course I can’t just have a plain chocolate flavor, can I? So with the advice of baker friend Caitlyn and a little research I got to work.

Chai Truffles


1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 Tbl chai blend tea (I used Highland Chai from Tea Chai Te here in Portland)
9 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, ~70% (I used Scharffen Berger)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
~1/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder


In a small pan on the stove, bring the cream and chai blend to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10-15 minutes.  While tea is steeping, roughly chop chocolate and put it in a heat proof bowl. After 10-15 minutes, uncover the cream and put it over low heat again, bringing it to a simmer.

Strain the cream into the bowl with chocolate, discarding steeped tea. Let sit for about 3 minutes, allowing the hot cream to start melting the chocolate. Add spices and a pinch of salt, and whisk together until chocolate is melted and thoroughly combined with the cream. Taste, and add a touch more spice or salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight, until the ganache is firm.

When ganache is firm, prepare to get covered in chocolate. Gloves are not a bad idea. Line a plate or baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Put the cocoa powder into a shallow bowl. Scoop rough 1/2 tablespoons of the ganache and roll into balls, then roll the ball in the cocoa powder, and set on lined plate. Repeat until the ganache is all rolled into beautiful little truffles, and refrigerate again for at least an hour. Enjoy.

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread // Serious Crust
Chocolate Banana Bread // Serious Crust
Chocolate Banana Bread // Serious Crust

Let’s talk about the beauty of roommates. After living with just Jonah in a studio apartment, we have been lucky enough to find the greatest housing situation either of us have ever really had. We live with two other couples, all of whom are friends from college. Six people may seem like a lot, but when it’s three couples, it’s really not that many. Each couple has our own bathroom (score!), and while the kitchen is small, we’ve almost never had everyone trying to cook at once.

The other fantastic thing about roommates is that they eat things. My roommates are wonderful about sharing food. Sure, borrow a banana. Let’s all make brunch, I have potatoes, you have bell peppers, frittata sounds great. One of the things that always used to stress me out about baking for this blog is that I always have all these sweets to pawn off on other people. Living with five other people means that I don’t have to look too far for someone to eat the rest of those cookies, or give me their opinion of this bread. And when I say things like, “I really feel like baking. Should I bake something?” their answer is usually, “Is that even a question that people ask?”

Jonah was away traveling the world, as he is wont to do, and I was home, wanting to bake. There were many contributing factors to my making a very slight variation on this chocolate banana bread from Pastry Affair. First, it had been a little cool out, and I wanted something less summery, a little chocolate, and cozy. Second, there was a can on the back of my pantry shelf, hidden from view, of cocoa nibs that I hadn’t used in a very long time. Third, we had some awfully ripe bananas. So this bread seemed like the perfect choice.

I like that this bread is chocolatey without being too sweet. I like the crunch of the cocoa nibs, almost like adding walnuts (which you could totally do also). I like that the banana isn’t overpowering at all. I like this bread.

Chocolate Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Note: If cocoa nibs are not your thing, or you don’t happen to have them sitting around like I do, feel free to substitute some chopped walnuts or pecans. Alternatively, if you’d like your bread to be a little more dessert-like, feel free to use chocolate chips.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cacao nibs


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter a loaf pan. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, mixing after each addition, then the vanilla extract and bananas. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture and mix again – no pockets of flour or clumps of cocoa powder here! Add the milk, mix, and the cocoa nibs, and mix again.

Pour the batter into the greased pan. If you’d like to sprinkle a few additional cocoa nibs on top, go for it. Bake for about an hour, give or take 5 minutes, or until your bread successfully passes the toothpick test (or if you’re like me and can never find toothpicks, the sharp knife test). Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. A slice of this bread is best served warm, accompanied by a glass of cold milk.

Weekend Finds 3:22:14: Seattle Favorites

I write about Seattle all of the time, because it’s where I’m from and I go visit my family an awful lot because, you know, I love them. You can find bits and pieces throughout this blog of things I’ve done when I’m there, or things I like to do, but I thought it might be nice to compile them all in one place. Now, you can’t go watch movies at my mom’s or cook dinner at my dad’s, but you can partake in some of my other favorite places. Scroll down to see some of my favorite things to do and eat and drink.

Weekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerWeekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler


Weekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerWeekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Eating & Drinking


Weekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerWeekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler


Weekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerWeekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler


  • The Blind Pig for a very creative meal. If you can swing it, I recommend doing a tasting menu and trying every dish on the board.
  • Bar Sajor for another beautiful meal. Definitely try the smoked yogurt!
  • Joule
  • Revel
  • The Whale Wins
  • Artusi
  • Delancey for quite possibly the best pizza in town.
  • The Walrus and the Carpenter for an oyster bar meal. But it has oh so much more – The Walrus and the Carpenter made Bon Appetit’s top restaurants in the country last year.
  • Rainier BBQ for a crazy good, authentic korean barbeque.
  • Bake’s Place is in Bellevue, technically, but they always have great bands playing, and the food is pretty darn good too.
  • La Bête

Weekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler


  • Canon for an incredible dealer’s choice cocktail.
  • Liberty for an awesome liquor and cocktail and really unique cocktails. The Seattle Sour is one of my favorites. If you get a chance, sit at the bar so you can watch the bartenders work their magic, and ask them questions. If you get hungry, you can order some sushi.
  • Knee High Stocking Company for the speakeasy feel – you have to text to make a reservation, and ring a doorbell to get in.
  • Essex
  • Rachel’s Ginger Beer for some amazing ginger beer, which they use to make awesome cocktails, including possibly the best hot toddy I’ve ever had.

Weekend Finds: Seattle Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler