Dinette, you have my heart

Oh Seattle, you delicious vixen.  You keep this up and you won’t be able to get rid of me.

This week was a great week with lots of good news to celebrate.  M and I knew we wanted to celebrate with a night out at a restaurant we had yet to try, and my list of options? HUGE.  I’ve been bookmarking restaurants on yelp for the last two months of living here, taking suggestions from ‘best of’ lists, yelp reviews, chowhound threads, and individual recommendations.   After a terrible gnocchi experience in Redmond last week at a place reckless enough to serve us boxed, barilla brand gnocchi, I decided we needed a great gnocchi experience, one that would rival the amazing gnocchi at one of our favorite restaurants in Cambridge, Hungry Mother.  And oh did I find it.  I realized Dinette in Capitol Hill had the west coast gnocchi of my dreams when I read an insane person on yelp complain in a review that the gnocchi was too soft and fluffy.  Too soft and fluffy!  Like soft and fluffy gnocchi is a bad thing.  Crazy girl.

The gnocchi were little fluffy clouds of ricotta and pasta heaven.  They were served with a ragù of braised beef short ribs that just melted in my mouth.  It was the perfect hearty winter dish, comfort food at it’s finest.  Other winners of the night were the appetizer toasts, which were brilliantly conceived.  We ordered one that sounded somewhat frightening, a prosciutto toast with a fig and anchovy jam.  This is where online reviews are key, because I would never have tried this, had I not read rave recommendations on this dish, recommendations that were heartily deserved.  Because while it sounded like an odd combination, it was perfectly sweet and salty, with a nice touch of umami from the anchovies.

They offer half price bottles of wine on Wednesday nights, a great happy hour menu, and a highly regarded Sunday Supper series.  This, along with the intimate, dimly lit atmosphere, had us planning a return visit before we even left.

I always like to dig around the web and find a few recipes from the restaurant chefs who wow me.  For Chef Melissa Nyffeler, I found one recipe for broccoli rabe pesto toast and a recipe for corn fritters from the cookbook you get if you join this very cool non-profit program called Celebrated Chefs.  Just by signing up and registering the credit card that you use to dine out, participating restaurants  donate 5% of your bill to the participating charity of your choice.  Such an easy and amazing way to give a little back just by eating at your favorite restaurants.  Not only is Dinette one of the participating restaurants, but other recent favorites of mine Poppy and Cafe Juanita also take part, as do How to Cook a Wolf, Lark, Nell’s, and The Walrus and the Carpenter, which are all high on my ‘must try’ list.  I’m so happy I discovered this before I tried them all.

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