Category archives: Seattle

  • Seattle Restaurant Week 2013: Olivar

  • This week I tackled two more restaurants, getting the third one in last night on the very last day of week two of restaurant week. Like two giant clowns, we piled into a ridiculously small smart car (part of the zipcar-like cars2go service) and scooted up to Capitol Hill for dinner at Olivar.  I hadn't heard of Olivar, but their yelp ratings are high and it's Basque region Spanish cuisine, and I love me some Spanish cuisine. This was one restaurant where I think you lose out a bit if you dine only from the restaurant week menu.  Thankfully, we ordered many many many dishes off the regular menu on top of ordering restaurant week items. We didn't even approach the specials, but they all sounded spectacular.  I think if I were to return, I'd probably throw the menu aside completely and order entirely from the specials written on a rustic chalkboard on the wall. Of what we ordered, I'd say we had three really spectacular dishes - the  frisée salad with poached egg, crispy serrano & [...]
  • Seattle Restaurant Week 2013: Agrodolce

  • Last year restaurant week was a mixed bag for me.  At the soon to be shuttered Rover's*, I had one of the most delicious meals I've experienced in Seattle but at Tilth, I had a pretty forgettable meal. It wasn't bad, it just didn't wow me like I thought it would, given everything I know about chef Maria Hines. I meant all year to return to Tilth for a non-restaurant week meal, since I knew it was likely a reflection of restaurant week and not the restaurant or chef that I wasn't wowed. Sadly that never happened, so once restaurant week rolled around again, I made plans with a friend to try another of Chef Hines' restaurants.  Suffice it to say, I was wowed by my meal at Agrodolce. The service was great, the waitstaff was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the menu and explaining the dishes, and the dishes were just spectacular. One thing I did learn: When I ask a waiter what he would order if he was me, I really should listen.  Because I asked and he shared, but I foolishly only o[...]
  • river valley cheese, fall city, washington

  • This past weekend I did something I have been wanting to do for ages. On a whim I signed up for a cheesemaking class, and it turned out to be the best possible way to spend that particular Saturday.  The class was taught by Julie Steil, whose River Valley artisan cheeses are featured on the menus of numerous James Beard award winning chefs in Seattle (including Tom Douglas ) as well as in the Williams Sonoma catalog.  She's kind of a big deal, especially when you realize that Julie has only been making cheese since 2005, when she picked it up as a hobby. The class was on making parmesan, which was the draw for me, as well as fresh mozzarella, which I'd made before on my own.  Crazy thing is, I learned just as much about making mozzarella as I did the parmesan, because Julie shared tips here and there, sprinkled in with her stories about her past victories and failures.  Now I know that it's not just how long I handle my fresh mozzarella that determines how tender or rubbery it is, b[...]
  • porchetta at Salumi, oh my.

  • Salumi is Iron Chef Mario Batali's parents' highly regarded deli and sandwich shop, tucked unassumingly into Pioneer Square.  Never fear, if you are worried about finding it, there is a clue; namely, the line that forms and twists around the block, even before they've opened their doors at 11 am each day.  I heard about this, but was still shocked at just how many people were there extra early, eagerly awaiting sandwiches and pasta specials.  I've wanted to try salumi ever since I learned that my boyfriend's chef sister used to work here, crafting the salami and other cured meats that they are so famous for.  Once I realized my window of opportunity was closing, I jumped for it. See, the thing about Salumi is that it's only opened from 11 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.  So if you hold down a 9-5 and don't work in Pioneer Square, you may never have the good fortune to try this delectable food.  Since I'm about to start a new job and knew I would likely not get a chance to go agai[...]
  • 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 wintery birthday dinner at Cafe Juanita

  • I have been treated to some amazing meals in my life, but last night's meal at Cafe Juanita was without a doubt one of  my top five dining experiences. Of my life.  Cafe Juanita has been on my radar since I read about Holly Smith's food in the October 2007 issue of the now defunct and much missed Gourmet Magazine.  That article featured delicious, hearty dishes for an October meal, featuring the same deeply flavored vegetables and meats that were crafted for us last night.  Since then I've watched her battle (and crush) Cat Cora on Iron Chef America, be nominated for James Beard awards, and compete (and get kicked off far too soon) from The Next Iron Chef. But that was Fate's way of telling her to hold tight, to stay in Kirkland, because a Very Important Person would be moving there in the next few years who desperately needed to taste her dishes.  I'm so incredibly thankful that she's still here, rather than in New York, cooking on tv.  Because her meal made my year, just ten days [...]
  • eat * drink * herb * spice

  • Right before the holidays, I had the good fortune to dine at a restaurant that was perched at the top of my Seattle restaurant bucket list.  To say it blew my mind would be the understatement of the (end of the) year.  The entire experience at Poppy-- from the modern interior, the great branding, the attentive service, and most of all the spectacular food, just rocked my world.  I wasn't sure I'd love the Thali dining experience, worried that receiving all my small plates at once would be too much, or that my food would get cold.  But I was wrong.  It was a perfect platter, my entree surrounded by the most succulent, beautifully prepared seasonal vegetables, nestled in their own little dishes.  It really were the vegetables that got me, so much so that I might go for the vegetarian Thali on my next visit.  You know a genius is in the kitchen when you feel that strongly about the vegetables.  Nothing was overly fussy, he just happened to throw in just the right touches to accent the dis[...]