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Contributing Chef Series-Ludger Szmania

by Karen on May 1st, 2011


The best seat in the house watching the busy kitchen.

Lately we have eaten a lot at a neighborhood restaurant that I love for many reasons. The owners are friends of ours, the environment is warm and inviting, on any given night (if you live in the neighborhood) you will see someone you know there, the food is consistently good year after year, and the staff is loyal.

 What is there not to love?

This past week I ate an incredible meal at Szmania’s and certainly the best meal dining out since I was at The Book Bindery in November.  I cannot stop thinking about the meal, and I cannot contain my enthusiasm.  You have to try it and for those who live in Seattle do not delay.  If you are a reader of  this blog  you know that I don’t give this kind of praise often, that is because it is real and I am only enthusiastic when something is truly excellent.

Szmania’s is a special place for me because Ludger and Julie were the first to contribute a recipe to my book Cooking Gluten-Free! long before it became fashionable to serve gluten free food. Their confidence in my book project allowed me to secure many top chefs from around the country, many of them James Beard nominees or award winners.

Ludger and Julie Szmania

The meal you can’t miss at Szmania’s is their Balsamic-Grilled Pork Chop Citrus Compote, Bacon- Scallion Potatoes & Roasted Carrots. 

It is completely gluten free (I just called to double check) and it is unlikely that you could prepare this meal at home because I can’t think of a store that sells chops of this quality.  Pork chops found in the grocery store are extremely lean and just don’t have the flavor or texture.  And to make it even better…it is $18 for the whole entree!!!

We have always had great success eating a completely satisfying gluten free meal here since many menu items can be prepared gluten free. Ludger even prepared gluten free boxed lunches one time for the Gluten Intolerance Group, which were fantastic.  He goes the extra mile.  I will never forget sitting at the counter with Bette Hagman (one of the pioneers in gluten free cookbooks) and Cynthia Kupper of GIG while we sampled the various box lunch ideas Ludger had for our event.  Each idea was delicious.

On another night when it was cold and rainy outside my husband and I sat with Ludger near the fireplace in the dining room planning a special dinner we were hosting for clients that he carefully executed with perfection. 

Ludger contributed several recipes to my book including one for Gnocchi.  If you live in Seattle or are planning a visit be sure to stop in for a bite at the counter at Szmania’s.

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