A Merry Salty Christmas

Christmas trees are probably like babies, you’re certain yours is the most beautiful, even if realistically, it looks kind of like a constipated monkey. But seriously, my tree is the fairest of them all.

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Sure, it’s a little lopsided, and someone didn’t distribute the blue lights all that evenly, and I’ve only dug up 11 ornaments thus far, and–as evidenced by the lone gift–I am waaaaay behind on the Christmas shopping, but all that just adds character.

Plus, my Big Gay Ice Cream Truck ornament is in the mail.

Even when you only have 11 ornaments, tree decorating builds up a fierce hunger, one that can only be vanquished by FISH SAUCE CHICKEN WINGS. The sort found at Pok Pok, or, even more conveniently, at the new Whiskey Soda Lounge, which has all the chicken wings charm without the loathsome lines. Yet. The new WSL opened Monday, and it’s intended as both a neighborhood bar and a place to stay warm and have a cocktail & snack while you wait for your table at Pok Pok.

A persimmon drinking vinegar and a plate of Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings hit the spot. I should have been more adventurous, after all, the new WSL menu is full of intriguing eats like 5-spice pork chitlins, turmeric pork meatballs, fried chicken gizzards, and curry pumpkin fritters, but I had a serious yen for wings.
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Back home, the smell of a freshly cut Noble Fir filled the entryway and the tree sparkled prettily. Making hot chocolate seemed like an appropriate way to perpetuate the Pottery Barn moment, until the pipes burst or the neighbor’s cat snuck in and peed in an open suitcase again or one of the 40 strands of tree lights shorted out and incinerated my one gift or something else burst my perfect holiday bubble.

I pinched the recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table by Suzanne Goin, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. The recipe involves plenty of chocolate, cream, whole milk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. The result is deep, dark, rich, and sinfully thick, with a slightly salty bite that pushes it into the realm of perfect.

This was the ideal opportunity to use my new favorite stocking stuffer (I mean, if I had stockings up yet, that is), Northwest Sweets‘ hot chocolate topper marshmallows. They’re shaped like fat dollops of whipped cream and they come in three flavors–Vanilla, Caramel, and Peppermint. They’re quite tasty, and awfully fun.

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As it turns out, I put a little too much salt in the hot chocolate. I was hoping nobody would notice, but there was a crack made comparing my hot chocolate to the Dead Sea. Which probably wouldn’t happen in a perfect Pottery Barn world. Oh well. At least I have the world’s most beautiful Christmas tree, and a belly full of chicken wings, and the neighbor cat didn’t pee in my suitcase again. I think. I’d better go check. Merry Salty Christmas.

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