So please remember my most recent post about the virtuous foods I also ate with my dietitian godmother on my recent vacation to my hometown of Spokane, WA before you read this one.
My feeling is, as I think is healthy, that most of the time you should eat food that is tasty but that is also healthy; with mostly plant-based ingredients prepared in a healthy manner, limiting added sugar and alcohol and saturated fat and whatnot.
However, sometimes when you are on vacation it is natural and normal and indeed HEALTHY to eat food sometimes to make yourself happy.
Like happy hour.
My godparents, my boyfriend and I went on an adorable double date of sorts. We had been in town walking around, seeing the Gonzaga campus where my godfather teaches journalism, hangin’ by the river. When we headed back in the direction of our car, Steve casually mentioned that he had a gift card to AMC theaters and that The Help was playing at 6:30 and 7.
Well that sounded GREAT! There was a Twigs (one of my godparents’ favorite restaurants; there’re a couple around Spokane) right by the theater, and it was happy hour, baby!
Hilariously enough, we ordered by gender. Both girls got mojitos, and both boys got pomegranate margaritas (which in my opinion tasted like sour mix and not much else and I was very happy with my order).
Happy hour included food as well as drink specials, so we got a few of those to share.
The hummus trio:
It included one that seemed to include sun dried tomato, one that was curried and YUM and my favorite, and one that I couldn’t quite place but was quite tasty. With toasted pita squares, YUM!
Their fries, which are known as a specialty of theirs. Though they sometimes have sweet potato, they didn’t that day :( So we went with the regular.
The reason they are so renowned? GORGONZOLA DIPPING SAUCE WHOA MAN.
Yeah, it was as good as it sounds.
Finally, we split the Twigs nachos, which were super unusual looking and difficult to photograph but really really cool.
They included marinara sauce, hummus, tomatoes, what seemed to be freshly fried chips, cheese, some kind of meat… so unique, so tasty!
Now, what I am about to show you is what I ate more than any other thing in Spokane. What I would eat more than any other food in my diet if I was given a chance (which, fortunately, at least for my girlish figure, I am not).
My godmother’s homemade chocolate chip cookies.
A recipe she has spent years refining.
I continued to admire her dietitian techniques. Cracking eggs into separate bowls to avoid inadvertently adding a bad or rotten egg to the batter, thus ruining it. Something I am often too lazy to do…
Totally caught her on this and wouldn’t have known it otherwise- she subs Smart Balance for half her butter! You’d never guess tasting the indulgent final product. Whipped away with the eggs. Oh also- she uses salted butter. And if she doesn’t, adds an extra 1/2 tsp. salt. Which I think gives her cookies a really rounded, complex flavor.
A tip she uses for a lot of baked goods- oat flour! She grinds up whole oats in a food processor to make a gentler, more mildly flavored but still 100% whole grain product.
She actually ended up mixing it with whole what flour for an 100% whole grain cookie. And it was DELICIOUS. Seriously, nothing about it tasted healthy. She says she hates “dietitian food” that tastes like it (brownies made with applesauce being a key example). She is a chocolate lover and says dessert should taste like dessert and be rich and satisfying, just enjoyed in moderation.
The key to her rich and satisfying chocolate chip cookies, she says, is the extremely large quantity of chocolate chips she adds. Bittersweet, baby. Mmm.
The dough was constantly on the verge of, but never actually reached the point of, overflowing the mixing bowl. She’s been making this so long that she knows EXACTLY how many will fit in her mixing bowl.
Then she decided I had to taste the cookie dough to check if it was too floury. Despite being a health care professional, she eats raw cookie dough. She says she keeps her eggs refrigerated the whole time and that’s all you can do.
Amen. Life is too short. This cookie dough was tremendous. AMAZING. BLISSFUL.
She uses, as I do since she showed me, a cookie scoop for even portions and a beautiful shape.
And, which I always now associate with her, cools her cookies on pieces of newspaper. Yep, there they were, hot out of the oven and begging to be eaten. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.
I’ll conclude this by pointing out first that she did all of this with an 100-pound Airedale (named Rhoda) underfoot, hoping desperately to get to snack on anything we dropped.
And also mention that I probably ate… 20 of those cookies on the four days after she made them and we were still out West. That is probably a reasonable estimate. They are SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO good.
Recipe is above. You’re welcome/sorry about your girlish figure.
Also on the subject of dessert, you can buy huckleberry flavored shaved ice downtown, so that is always nice.
And finally, one of my Ultimate Destinations if you go West is See’s candy.
I’ve raved about their chocolates quite a few times in this blog, but seriously: See’s is amazing. Everything is so fresh, made with the best quality ingredients.
The See’s store experience, which you can only get on the West coast, is particularly incredible. You go in and are immediately offered a glut of samples, which you happily munch on as you peruse your options.
And then you stand by the counter, pointing at the selections you want to include in your custom box, watching the salesperson delicately nest the sweets in their paper cups, tucking them in with their delicious companions, a heavenly surprise for the lucky recipient.
You feel like a kid in a candy store, even if you’re a grown up, mostly healthy dietitian.