Dish of the Day

November 29, 2009

Il Bistro Seafood Pasta

Il Bistro is one of the Pike Place Market’s most reliable restaurants, with its romantic arched dining room and dark, intimate bar. Spencer and I like to go there on impulse, when the mood seems right, and quite often we enjoy the Seafood di Mare. . .Seafood Pasta along with a bottle of Peter Dow’s Cavatappi Nebbiolo.

Fonté Perks Along First Avenue

November 26, 2009

We were thrilled when the Four Seasons Seattle announced that Fonté Coffee Roasters would join Fran’s Chocolates in the single remaining retail space fronting First Avenue.

Fonte Interior 1

Although we’d checked out the warm, inviting coffee shop cum cafe by peering into its plate-glass windows and peeking at the menu, we’d never even stopped in for coffee or a glass of wine.

Fonte Interior 2

So we finally remedied that situation one morning when we popped in for Sunday brunch. We were greeted by several fellow diners, along with lots of people who stopped by for take-away coffees.

Fonte Omelet

Here’s my Northwest Garden Omelet with Fresh Vegetables, Cheddar, and Grilled Artisan Bread. I like that the portion was well prepared and filled with a wide array of gently sautéed veggies, just the right size of one person, and cost just $8. And that my grapefruit juice was fresh-squeezed and Spencer’s decaf Americano was rich, round, and robust–not weak and watery as so many of them have been about town lately (even Starbucks).

The recipe was crafted by Chef Jason Wilson of Crush; the wine list by managed by Tysan Dussan, formerly of The Herbfarm, so Fonté’s pedigree is strong.

According to a recent press release, “Fonté’s happy hour menu, served daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., offers a wide selection of $3 drink and food selections, including Fonté SangriaSpiced Lamb Burger Sliders, and Mini Pork Sandwiches with Bleu Cheese on Mini Brioche. Sounds like a deal to me.

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers!

November 23, 2009

Very surprisingly (at least to me) was the positive response I got to one of my blogs from a couple of months ago showcasing my flower arrangements that I create weekly solely for Spencer’s and my enjoyment.

So, egged on by readers “reviews,” I’ve continued to create the bouquets and my darling husband has kept a visual record using his big digital camera and tricks from his photo studio and PhotoShop.

So here are the latest images for your viewing pleasure. Here is White on Black:

White on Black (Flowers)

And here is Black on Black:

Black on Black (Flowers)

And here is A Burst of Orange:

A Burst of Orange (Flowers)

Just for fun, here are the flower arrangements that we spotted in the main lobby at our hotel in New York City, the Jumeirah Essex House. Groupings of clear glass vases in various rectangular shapes, with stems gathered (sometimes tied) and visible, seemed to be all the rage both in NYC and Philadelphia.

Essex House Flowers

Dish of the Day

November 19, 2009

Matt\'s in the Market Salmon and Beets

A few weeks ago I enjoyed what I knew would have to become one of my picks for Dish of the Day when I enjoyed the Wild King Salmon with Beets and Chanterelles at Matt’s in the Market. Not only did executive chef Chester Gerl’s dish rise above the ordinary, but it reached new heights when paired with a bottle of Brick House Vineyards 2007 “Les Dijonnais” Pinot Noir. The buttery beets, with their earthy flavor, created a provocative counterpoint with the berry elements in the silky wine made from Dijon clones.

This dish is what tasting terroir is all about!

Kabul Captures the Imagination

November 17, 2009

A few weeks ago, needing a quick dinner before a 7 p.m. movie near the University of Washington campus, we struck out for Kabul Afghan Cuisine in the Wallingford neighborhood along 45th Street.

Kabul Bolani

Here are the glorious Bolani, a samosa-like appetizer (vegetarian) filled with potatoes and peas. Rich yogurt sauce was perfect for dipping.

Kabul Ash

And here is the Ash, a hearty lentil-and-chickpea soup redolent with dill and mint, and much more flavorful than many of its Greek counterparts.

Kabul Chicken Skewer

Spencer and I both had the same main course. . .chicken skewer with one of my all-time favorite dishes–Badenjan Borani–baked eggplant with tomato sauce and yogurt. The rice was buttery, with a sweet edge thanks to a topping of grated carrots and dark raisins.

Kabul Red Lebanese Wine

Wine was a treat since we got adventurous and tried a red from Lebanon which was both rich and flavorful with hints of pepper and wisps of smoke!

Kabul Firni

Dessert is always a must here. Spencer got Firini, the traditional rosewater-and-pistachio custard pudding flavored with cardamom.

Kabul Ice Cream

While I opted for Rosewater and Pistachio Ice Cream. Hard to say which was better. . .MMMMMM.

Dish of the Day

November 15, 2009

After a book signing several months ago in downtown Kirkland that lasted until well past 8 p.m., we were starving and so seized the moment to re-try Trellis restaurant, where our old buddy Brian Scheehser (former long-time Hunt Club exec chef) is now happily and successfully ensconced.

Trellis Spicy Harissa Shrimp

Here’s a shot of his Spicy Harissa Shrimp, gorgeous, super-plump and juicy shrimp in a gooey, finger-lickin’-good, devilishly hot (in a good way) sauce with crispy celery and leeks and a “light, spicy summer salad” to cool the burn.

Also helping to sooth ticklish throats was a bottle of one of the best Sauv Blancs we’ve experienced in a long time, 2008 Mount Nelson, from Marlborough, New Zealand.

This Smali Boasts Big Flavors

November 13, 2009

One Sunday evening, after enjoying a viewing of Coco Before Chanel at the venerable Harvard Exit movie theater, we ambled across Broadway to see if we could get into our friend Jerry Traunfeld’s Poppy restaurant. Fortuitously, at the door, we ran into Alan Aquila, former general manager of the since-departed and lamented Yarrow Bay Grill, who led us to a perfect window seat for two.

Poppy Mussels and Crab Rolls

Jerry and his partner, Stephen, were also in the house and we enjoyed catching up with all three men. By this time it was beginning to feel like old-home day, especially when the ever-generous Jerry sent over an order of the restos fabu Dungeness Crab and Herb Summer Rolls. These paired perfectly with the flute of Piper Heidsieck I’d ordered, as did the Lightly Fried Mussels with Basil Aïoli (both the crab rolls and mussels are on the appetizer menu).

Poppy Black Cod Smali

Here’s my Smali, which featured a lovely serving of Black Cod along with Savoy Cabbage and Matsutake mushroom, the rare mushroom that’s a favorite in Japan, and that Jerry told me he often used when he was still chef at The Herbfarm.

Other dishes included a vegetarian Potato-Coriander Soup, Warm Leeks, a gratin of Swiss chard and oregano, burdock pickles with ginger, and naan, the traditional Indian tandoor bread sprinkled with aromatic, anise-y nigella seeds. Jerry told me the Dilled Asian Pear, Celery, and Hazelnut Salad comes straight from his cookbook, The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor. This smali was a steal at just $25.

Poppy Beef Smali

For just one dollar more, Spencer went straight for the beef–Grilled Wagyu Denver Steak–to be exact, served with farro (an ancient grain that’s suddenly popping up on every menu about town) and peppers.

His sides included several of the same ones as on my platter, with the substitution of Pumpkin, Fenugreek, and Green-Chile Soup and Roasted Beet, Quince (from Jerry’s neighbor’s farm!), and Huckleberry Salad (a yummy combo of flavors, textures, and colors).

We were too full for a dessert thali, opting instead to finish our bottle of Buty Conner Lee Vineyard 2007 Chardonnay, a not-too-oaky, not-too-fruity, perfectly balanced wine (and great with this type of flavorful and complex food).

Sunset Over Seattle

November 11, 2009

All the strange windy, snowy, wet weather of late has sparked some gorgeous sunsets in late afternoon, once the clouds have lifted and the sun gets a few hours to shine.

Sunset Over Seattle

Here’s a sunset over Elliott Bay from last week that really knocked our socks off. Shades of purple and magenta and royal blue and cotton-candy pink surround the golden horizon. . .

Happy Birthday to Tulio Ristorante!

November 10, 2009

We were among the lucky Seattleites to experience executive chef and owner Walter Pisano’s special dinner at Tulio last Friday evening for loyal customers and friends of the restaurant.

Tulio Calamari and Polenta

Among the outstanding dishes on the five-course menu? Calamari with Toasted Garlic, Chili Flake, and Preserved-Lemon Polenta (pictured above); Grilled Escarole and Radish Salad with Bagna-Cauda Vinaigrette (!); Trofie Pasta with Barrel-Aged Feta, Tuscan Pine Nuts, Golden Raisins, and Fresh Oregano; and Swordfish with Taggisca Olives and Blood-Orange and Fennel Salad. Soulful Italian food, each and every dish.

Dessert didn’t disappoint! Chocolate Torte was served at room temperature (more flavor than chilled!) with a a cap of Cinnamon Crème Fraîche.

Walter Pisano Making Mozzarella

Earlier this fall we helped Tulio celebrate its 17th birthday by attending a special mozzarella-stretching and food-cocktail presentation. Here’s a photo of Walter concentrating on making fresh bocconccini–miniature mozzarella balls–which we sampled with a variety of olive oils, sea salts, and Walter’s housemade basil salt. Creamy perfection!

Meanwhile, mixologist Raphael Nicas offered up inspired cocktails such as the Caprese–basil-infused Ketel One Vodka, tomato juice, Bocconccini, baby tomatoes, and Trampetti olive oil, all adorned with a fresh basil leaf.

Spencer and I were taken with the Bakers Witch–Bakers Bourbon, Benedictine, Strega, and a garnish of candied butternut squash. Sweet, yet sassy!

Yummy Yam Frosting

November 9, 2009

Yummy Yam Frosting

My friend and fellow cookbook author Cynthia Lair is also a gifted actress and comedienne. She has her own online television show called Cookus Interruptus, and in a recent episode she showed how to make Yam Frosting from just five easy-to-find ingredients.

It’s the kind of recipe we all welcome and treasure during this busy time of the year. Here’s the link to her Web site and the recipe.

Newer Posts »