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Posts from the ‘Washington’ Category

Bastille ~ Seattle, WA

Ballard’s Bastille Cafe & Bar, is as close as you can get to the reverent bistros and cafes that adorn Paris’s sidewalks.  The large, but cozy space is located on the ever popular Ballard Ave and oozes with French details. The Owners of this sustainable restaurant reused pieces from another time and place to recreate the beautiful, warm energy the rooms behold.

If that isn’t enough to start making your way their now, their happy hour will.  Their extensive happy hour menu offers French cuisine using local, eco-friendly ingredients from reputable purveyors.  Some of the components are so local, they come just steps to the kitchen from the rooftop garden.

If we pop into Bastille’s early happy hour offering, we usually sit by the front fireplace to enjoy its warmth and beauty.  If we make it in later in the evening, we often opt for the always hopping back bar with the gigantic glowing chandelier.  One thing is for certain, choosing where to sit always ends up being easier than deciding what to devour from the lengthy list of amazing choices.

Of course you have to order a carafe of the white, rose, or red wine they are offering.  For the price ($15) the 500ml carafe is worth every cent.  The Petite Moules Frities, which translates to Mussels steamed in a savory bouillon with french fries is an absolute every visit.  Also a must is one of my most favorite cheese on the planet, the famous, Dinah’s Cheese, from Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island.  Dinah’s Cheese is a fresh, bloomy rind, cow’s milk cheese that melts in your mouth like butter – its heaven.  Some of the toss ups that are always delicious, but we don’t always have room for are the scrumptious Beef Cheeks Gougeres.  These two pieces of tender, braised beef with a bit of cheese and pickled shallots are served on a slice of their unbelievable bread. Probably the main reason we can’t fit another thing into our stomach is because of their peasant bread, it is a must, no exceptions – it is my favorite bread in town.  The Bastille Burger is absolutely fabulous and we almost always split that as part of our meal.  It is consistently cooked perfectly and is a steal at $10 with cheese (without cheese, $8 – but why would you?).  Another favorite is the charcuterie plate with a selection of meats and pickled veggies, yummy and simple.

We could go on and on, but it is so much better if you see and taste for yourself- you won’t be disappointed.

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Poppy ~ Seattle, WA

Last week, a good friend and I dined at another cute establishment in the Capital Hill neighborhood during Seattle’s Restaurant Week, called Poppy. We walked into a busy restaurant at 6:30 (always a good sign) and  sipped on a glass of Delille Cellar’s Syrah/Cabernet blend called Doyenne AIX (2008) from Washington’s famous Columbia Valley while we waited for our table at the bar.  First, DeLille may be my new favorite wine, it’s local, they have a ecofabulous sustainability policy for producing their wines (more to come on this winery).  Anyhow, back to Poppy. 

We sat at a two top table by the window and our meal was quickly underway with some fabulous appetizers.   The appetizers were probably one of my favorite parts of the entire meal.  We split between the two of us a salmon, avocado, heart of palm, and chevril salad – perfect, fresh, light, delicious.  The other one we chose from the other four options was the white sausage with prunes, shallot, and arugula that was also amazing.  The white sausage was far from typical tough to chew sausage, it was also light and seemed to melt in your mouth.

For dinner we ordered the sea scallops with a carrot vinaigrette, that came with a plethora of sides; naan, cauliflower, saffron, and rosemary soup, radish and grilled spring onion salad, asparagus with sage and lemon, gingered burdock ribbons.  The other dish was the herbed ricotta dumplings with nettles that was accompanied by the same provisions as the other dish.    The main dishes and the naan were splendid, not large at all, but very well done.  My only complaint was that the several small sides seemed to be pickled in some way or another and that was a tad too much on your palate. 

The thing I do love and loath about restaurant week is that all the meals come with a dessert.  I never order dessert when I am dining out and these 3 course dinners twist your arm into trying some amazing dishes.  Both sweets at Poppy included some amazing ice cream.  We couldn’t decide which one was better, the rhubarb and cookie or the hot date cake with brown butter ice cream, butterscotch and pecans.  

Another thing I do adore about this restaurant is their on site garden.  Herbs and other greens are plucked steps from the kitchen.  It cannot get anymore fresh or local than that.

Dinner ~ Inn at Langley

Recently, we made the short trip up to picturesque Whidbey Island for an overnight adventure at the beautiful Inn at Langley.   We were so lucky to not only be staying at this beautiful hotel nestled up to the Puget Sound, but to enjoy the famous dinner at their restaurant, operated by the talented Chef Matt Costello.   This Whidbey Island restaurant is so cozy with its double-sided river rock fireplace, warm woods, and expansive windows.   You are able to enjoy acclaimed Chef Costello work is magic as he prepares a splendid six-course dinner in the open kitchen.  The seasonal and local ingredients from the rich lands on the island are finessed into unique and unexpected creations that leave you in absolute awe.  

If you choose, you can complement this culinary experience with the pairing menu from the Inn’s extensive wine collection.  The Inn at Langley’s Restaurant serves dinner every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night year-round and Thursday through Sunday nights during the summer months, beginning in June.

When we arrived at the restaurant as sun was starting to set and the restaurant was aglow and filled with energy.  We were treated to a glass of tantilizing bubbles and seated at a large table communal table positioned parallel to the kitchen with 4 other couples.  Honestly, I probably  wouldn’t have chosen to sit with other couples I didn’t know, but in the end I’m absolutely pleased that it happened the way it did.  Matt Costello, gave a gracious and welcoming speech about the meal that was in store for us and the ingredients he choses to use from around the island.  You could see the grins from our every table in the restaurant as this romantic story of dinner unfolded. 

Before we new it our meal had started and first up was an amazing amuse bouche that melted in your mouth and then an oyster expertly prepared with cucumber and lime.  The meal continued on with a baked pretzel with goat milk butter that was simple and delicious.  Next up was the a halibut with a streak of marshmallow and then a creamy risotto with asparagus and fava beans.  Then to a goose confit, that was soon followed by the first of the desserts which ended up being one of my favorite items of the evening, a toasted hay ice cream and  a triple cream dish.  After this simple cheese dish there was a green apple and celery consomme, and then to a playful whipped chocolate that consisted of ‘pop rock’ toffee. 

We closed out the night full of food, wine, and laughs.  The setting and ambiance of the Inn and the charms of the Island will alway be a fond memory in my mind.

Staple & Fancy ~ Seattle, WA

Ethan Stowell’s approachable restaurant, Staple & Fancy, is surrounded by warehouses and workshops at the far end of  the popular Ballard  Ave.  I have been by several times in the past to snag one of the few, hard to come by walk-in tables and try a couple of the Chef’s locally sourced and seasonal menu items, with no success. It was a blessing that we were able to reserve one of only a handful of openings they had left for the entire two weeks of Seattle’s beloved Restaurant Week

We came in for an early 6 PM reservation on a Wednesday to see people inside already settled into their meals.  We were greeted warmly and quickly and given a complimentary choice between Vivareau sparkling or still water.  For Restaurant Week instead of choosing our first course, as some restaurants do, we were given a delicious sampler of mixed garden greens, house made ricotta with grilled bread, sliced speck, crostini with smoked mackerel salad and a grilled sardine.   The house made ricotta and grilled bread was served with fresh greens tossed in a bit of lemon juice. The toasted bread was the perfect contrast in texture to the silky ricotta and crisp greens and when put all together was absolutely splendid. 

  For our entrees we chose the pork loin and I went out on a limb with the gnocchi because of the waiter’s recommendation.  Gnocchi is generally just too heavy and not one of my favorites, but the Staple and Fancy kitchen absolutely proved me wrong. The gnocchi was tossed in a frying pan for a crispy texture and had some heat with the sliced red peppers and variation in texture with the olives, cauliflower and sumptuous artichokes.  My date savored and ate every bite of his grilled pork loin that laid on a bed of fine eggplant puree with  grilled asparagus and an onion.

After eating every morsel of the fabulous array of appetizers and mouth-watering dinner we are full, but wouldn’t consider for a second skipping desert.  We chose the buttermilk panna cotta with strawberries, almonds, and beautifully aged balsamic or the affogato with sabayon gelato, pistachio biscotti, and an espresso that was poured over the top.  The deserts were spectacular.  They were sweet, but not overly sweet.  We finished them and just stared at each other in awe of the entire meal.  I could go on and on about each of these dishes for pages, but you just have to go and taste them for yourself.

35th Street Bistro ~ Seattle, WA

Last night a friend and I dined at the charming and cozy 35th Street Bistro in the Fremont neighborhood.   This week happens to be the coveted Seattle Restaurant Week and 35th Street Bistro was on the extensive  list of fabulous Seattle eateries.  Restaurant week here features a couple of selections for a  3 course meal at the amazing rate of $28, not including any thirst quenching beverages.  If you miss restaurant week, fear not, the restaurant smartly does a Dine Around Dinner Menu of 3 courses offered Tues-Sunday all year-long for a mere $30!

Dinner worked out perfect for us since we each got something different from the beautiful selections they offered.  I had the Local Mediterranean Mussels to start that were tender, flavorful and cooked expertly in a garlic white wine broth.  I ordered the Chicken Confit for my main, the first bite of the chicken with the jus was a bit salty for me, but after mixing it with the fried polenta cake it found better balance.  The Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding to end was incredibly sweet and delicious, think the best cinnamon bun and french toast combination that you could ever dream of.  My friend had the Bistro Salad, concocted with fluffiest, greenest leaves of lettuce I have ever seen, that could not have been more superb.  She devoured the Steak Au Poivre that was again, cooked flawlessly and then finished the ramekin clean of the perfect portion of  Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme.

What makes the 35th Street Bistro, a splendid dining spot beyond their country European fare is their committment to serving only the best and freshest ingredients available.  They strive to make the menus sourced as locally as possible (100 mile radius), and the quality is beyond apparent.  The bistro, like us, believes strongly in animal compassion and gives great attention to the origin, production and treatment of every ingredient that enters their kitchen.  If you couldn’t tell, we highly recommend.

Dahlia Lounge ~ Seattle, WA

We are happy and so very satisfied from another amazing lunch at Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Lounge.  For 20 years, they “have been at the epicenter of Seattle’s local, sustainable, and organic food movement”.  I can attest that you can taste that pride in the food from the lunch we devoured today.   First, I highly recommend that you take advantage of their offer of $18 for a choice of any started and main course, it is worth it.   I chose to start with the chilled shrimp, avocado, cilantro, lime, and crispy tortilla.  The dish was lite, fresh, simple and delicious.  For my main I picked the Coho salmon with Bluebird Farms farro, amazing hedgehog mushrooms, almonds, and plump dried cherries.   We ate every morsel, the fish was perfectly cooked, the farro absorbed the juices, the crunch of the chopped almonds added great texture.  Unfortunately, I stupidly didn’t order dessert.  Who knows what I was thinking but the selection, especially from their bakery, looked like heaven.

For those of you that caught our review on Dahlia’s sister restaurant, Etta’s, you may have noticed that I ordered the salmon again, but you just can’t argue with the fact that Tom Douglas restaurants know how to do salmon, plus it is Seattle and you can’t get it anywhere else better.  You will also know about the family of restaurant’s reliance on their Prosser Farm for fresh, organic produce.   Go here for lunch or dinner, support the sustainable and local and enjoy!

Harvest Vine ~ Seattle, WA

We are still dreaming of our meal last night at Harvest Vine.  I don’t even know where to begin to describe the incredible dinner we had.  This little jewel of a restaurant is located inbetween downtown Seattle and Lake Washington in an area of town called, Madison Park.

We started with the Remolachas, finely slivered red & golden beets, olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic and then the cured tuna with caviar that were both delicate and divine.  For our entrees we had the most tender octopus served with a pocha bean puree and the Calamares that consisted of sautéed squid with fideo pasta in squid ink sauce & alioli.  They were both so delicious that we could not decide which one was better.

Harvest Vine does not only source local ingredients to create their fabulous and unique dishes, they are philanthropists in our community and abroad.  They support fundraising for groups like Green Plate Special, an independent garden-to-table pilot program, designed for at-risk youth and Bakesale For Japan which was organized shortly after the devastating earthquake suffered there.  We obviously recommend and appreciate  this delicious little gem and will be back soon to fill our stomachs and support their causes.

Etta’s ~ Seattle, Washington

I devoured a delicious lunch today at Tom Douglas’s restaurant Etta’s on the north cusp of Pike Place Market.  I ordered the smaller portion of the Rub With Love Salmon dish that came with a shiitake mushroom relish, kale, and cornbread cake that was mouth-watering and a perfect portion.  I ordered this knowing I would probably disregard the cornbread since it is normally one of my least favorite things to eat.  Au contraire this wedge of cornbread was the best piece of cornbread I’ve ever eaten.  The fish was perfectly cooked with a warm, pink, moist center that makes my mouth salivate thinking about it. Everyone in my party was extremely satisfied.  Some ordered the fish and chips that came out hot, crisp, and perfectly seasoned with a mound of skinny fries.  Others had the ling cod that was light, flavorful, and so fresh they had to have personally fished it earlier this morning.

I love that Tom Douglas brings a lot of the ingredients used in his restaurants from his organic veggie farm in Prosser, Washington.  They also like a lot of other local restaurants recycle their restaurant grease into biodiesel with, General Biodiesel.  Very green, very local, and so very good!

Sitka & Spruce ~ Seattle

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Sitka & Spruce was the perfect setting for my colleague and I to discuss commercial composting, LEED for existing buildings, and every other way we want to save the Earth. This beautiful little restaurant served a small selection of dishes all unique with ingredients sourced from their Vashon Island farm. I enjoyed a cool dish of the striped bass, potatoes, and creme fraiche that was so simple and delicious. I highly recommend this little gem and with their sustainable ways for lunch or dinner.