Joule is Still a Jewel

February 28, 2009

We’ve loved Joule, the atmospheric neighborhood resto in Wallingford on 45th Street since our very first visit, and glad to report that things are still running like clockwork. 

Shrimp Potstickers and Risotto Balls at Joule on 45th Street in Wallingford.

Here are two of the appetizers we enjoyed immensely on our latest visit–Shrimp and Edamame Potstickers (left) and Kimchi and Rice Fritters in Spicy Tomato Sauce. The Whole Dourade was also outstanding, served with Sweet-and-Sour Eggplant and Almond Piccata, as was the Octopus with Fingerlings and Smoked Chili Broth. 

We’re thrilled that chef/co-owner Rachel Yang has been nominated as a semifinalist in the Rising Young Chef category in the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards! Finalists will be announced on March 23. 

Dine Around Seattle Returns

February 26, 2009

Dine Around Seattle returns in March 2009.

Dine Around Seattle returns to Seattle March 1 through 31. During this biannual event, now in its seventh year, 30 Seattle-area restaurants offer three-course dinners including an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $30, Sundays through Thursdays.

Many restaurants also offer three-course lunches for $15. Prices do not include beverage, tax and gratuity. 

Marvelous Maximilien-in-the-Market Mussels

February 23, 2009

A steaming kettle of mussels at Maximilien-in-the-Market more than warms your tummy.

You know from a previous post that we’ve lately been reintroduced to and reinvigorated by the food, service, and ambience at the long-running Pike Place Market French bistro, Maximilien-in-the-Market. During a recent Sunday brunch/lunch, I enjoyed a big kettle of Penn Cove mussels in a light white-wine broth redolent of chopped garlic and fresh parsley. This classic dish more than deserves Dish of the Day designation.

Elliott’s Super Salmon

February 19, 2009

It’s tough for consumers to get fresh, wild, troll-caught salmon during the winter months, which is the reason we trotted down to the waterfront to Elliott’s Oyster Bar & Restaurant to snag some lovely ivory and red fish.

The red salmon at Elliott\'s Oyster Bar & Restaurant.

Here’s Spencer’s Alaskan Troll-Caught King served with sautéed veggies. 

The ivory salmon at Elliott\'s Oyster Bar & Restaurant.

And my Troll-Caught Ivory, which was served with a wild-rice side dish and steamed asparagus. According to the menu, “A white king salmon is, after all, quite an oddity. No one is sure why about about one in 100 wild kings is white!”

They Know How to Cook at Wolf!

February 16, 2009

Although it’s been open (to rave reviews, we might add) since last October, between our travels and all the snow that hit Seattle over the holidays, we didn’t make it up Queen Anne hill to try How to Cook a Wolf until early January. We’ve long been a champion of Seattle über-chef Ethan Stowell, who with business partner Patrick Gabre-Kidan and wife Angela, is building a restaurant empire in Seattle à la the-chef-with-the-Midas-touch himself, Tom Douglas. 

First off, the 40-seat-space is as warm, inviting, and contemporary as has been widely reported. With beautiful blonde paneling wrapping from floor to ceiling, my first reaction was that I was dining in a hollowed-out pine tree! An elegant hammered copper band runs just above eye level, while the bar bustles with activity. 

The place attracts all ages and somehow makes everyone seem hip. We ate our way through a majority of the menu, beginning with the Hamachi Crudo, gently sauced with creamy lime, and sprinkled with chili flake that packed a real punch. Seared Escolar, a meaty, oily fish similar to marlin or swordfish, was Spencer’s fave. It was lightly seared and served with celery slices and tops, chopped Taggiasca olives, and blood-orange segments that perfectly offset the richness of the fish. Seared Albacore was another star of the evening, the ruby-red center of the fish glistening and tender, accompanied by sautéed cauliflower florets, golden raisins, and pine nuts and white-bean purée. 

Two salads shone–Roasted Beets in a creamy orange vinaigrette with parsley and red endive and Frisée Salad with green apple slices and crunchy pistachios. 

Tagliatelli with Clams, Garlic, and Chilies shines at How to Cook a Wolf atop Queen Anne.

From the Pasta section of the menu, we opted for the Tagliatelli with Clams, Garlic, and Chiles, a simple dish we’ve tried and enjoyed several times at one of chef Ethan’s sister restaurants, Tavolàta and Union. It held up to our fond memories, but we were so stuffed from sampling all the “small” plates that we took more than half of the generous portion home for later enjoyment (mixed into a seafood stew the next evening).

We look forward to welcoming this dynamic trio’s fourth venture, Anchovies & Olives, which just opened upon Capitol Hill. And this time around, we promise to try it sooner rather than later.  

Braiden Wins Wine Writer Scholarship

February 13, 2009


Wine flights are a sensible way to experience several different types of wine.

Just yesterday I found out I have been awarded a scholarship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley!!!

This is similar to the merit-based scholarship I got way back in 1998 for the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at the Greenbrier, and I am just so thrilled and happy.

I am also the only person ever to win scholarships to both symposia, so I am truly over the moon with happiness!

Terlato Family Vineyards is the Napa Valley winery that is sponsoring me. Quite a big company, and the really neat thing is that the patriarch, Tony Terlato, has a book called “Taste: A Life in Wine” that includes lots of recipes and info on food-and-wine pairing, so we are a good fit.

I’ll take lots of photos and bring back lots of stories, I’m sure. Speakers include wine-world luminaries such as Eric Asimov, Frank Prial, and Karen MacNeil. 


Bringing in the Haggis

February 13, 2009

January 23rd marked the 250th birthday of Scottish poet and raconteur Robbie Burns. And the Pike Brewing Co. served up a big-time birthday party with the Elliott Bay Bag Pipers, reading in English and Old Scots of Burns’s poetry, and both a traditional and vegetarian Haggis!

The Elliott Bay Bagpipers bring in the Haggis at Pike Pub in downtown Seattle.

Here are the bagpipers making their grand entrance.

Shannon Borg cooked and served the Haggis at Pike Pub.

And our buddy Shannon Borg, haggis mistress, cutting into the hot oatmeal and lamb-laced treat. 

Five single-malt Scotches awaiting sampling at the Pike Pub in downtown Seattle.

The Haggis celebration was preceded by a single-malt Scotch tasting, so we were ready and primed for partying!

Union’s Unctuous Oysters

February 10, 2009

You know I am a big fan of oysters on the half shell, and now is the time to slurp a’ plenty. So I was quick to order the Virginicas at Union Bar during happy hour. Here are the blushing beauties before:

Union\'s Oysters on the Half Shell are among the best in town.

And after:

Union Oysters on the Half Shell after consumption.


Tulio Beet Salad

February 7, 2009

During the cold, cruel days of winter in the Northwest, we sometimes (often) turn to comfort food to soothe our ragged souls. A recent salad at Tulio Ristorante in the Vintage Park Hotel in downtown Seattle did just that.

The Beet Salad with Burrata is to die for at Tulio Ristorante in downtown Seattle.

Here’s a photo of the shimmery Three Beet Salad with Burrata, Plums, Frisée, and Beet Vinaigrette. Burrata is that fabu Italian cheese that’s buffalo mozzarella on the outside and whole-milk ricotta on the inside. YUM! I could eat this all day. . .especially when paired with a glass of Bunnell Family Cellars VIF, a bold red blend from the Columbia Valley. 

The Love Cocktail

February 4, 2009

The Metropolitan Grill\'s Love Cocktail

The Metropolitan Grill is featuring the Love Cocktail in honor of (what else?) Valentine’s Day. Here’s the recipe if you want to make it for your sweetheart at home.

The Love Cocktail

½ ounce of pineapple gomme syrup

½ ounce of Chambord Raspberry Liqueur

Dom Ruinart Brut Champagne or your favorite Sparkling Wine

One fresh raspberry

In a cocktail shaker, mix the pineapple syrup and the raspberry liqueur until well blended. Pour into a Champagne flute, then top off the glass with Champagne. Garnish with the raspberry.

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