Food from around the Puget Sound. It is about good sources, great eating and unusual foods.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Finally some Mexican Food we loved

It has been tough going here in Seattle, I know that Mexican food shouldn't be hard to find up here but it IS! We have had many meals and many disappointments. Some meals have been good but the bad has far out numbered the good and the bad has been very bad.

 But this in not about the bad but the good, tonight we were going to do the last evening of 3 for $25. All the places we wanted to go to were booked to at least 9 or later, which was good to hear. Our goal was to get to Ballard for a Messin' with Texas concert at the Tractor Tavern, it was a fund raiser for Musicares. The line up was fun and the music eclectic, Messin’ With Texas: Seattle Bands Sing Songs of the Lone Star State feat. members of

a benefit for MusiCares. Thank you Shelly Earl for putting it all together.
But back to the food, my wife said we have been wanting to try Senor Moose and every time we tried in the past it had been too long a wait or not in the right direction. Well tonight was the night, we parked, which is never easy around there and beat a number of groups to be at the front for about a 10 minute wait.

As we waited with a Tecate in hand standing behind the counter we noticed the wonderful looking plates of food going out. The staff was busy moving through a large number of orders and all looked good and large. Upon getting seated our waitress thanked us for waiting and proceeded to get us started on some very good food.

To start I had the Calabacitas Guisadas, zucchini sauteed with corn, tomates and onions. Not as good as La Super Rica's but fresh, tasty and done perfectly. My wife had to have the Esquites, fresh corn cut off the cob and epazote with cream.  Again the vegetables were done to the right point of still having a toothy bite to them and bringing the flavors out wonderfully.

 For our main courses we had PAPAS CON RAJAS, Roasted poblano chiles, corn, onions, and potatoes cooked in cream. Served with black beans and tortillas. As well as PUERCO EN SALSA DE LOS TRES CHILES, Chunks of pork cooked in a spicy sweet-sour salsa made from guajillo, ancho and morita chiles. This was served with some mashed potatoes with plenty of butter. Bueno!

It turned out to be too much food, but we are looking forward to the left overs.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Great tastes at Taste

Taking another opportunity to enjoy Seattle Restaurant Week, we headed off to Taste which is in SAM. We never really think about the restaurant that is in the Seattle Art Museum until it is too late.  Fortunately I got an email news letter from Taste announcing their specials for 3 for $25. Not only was the letter full of new and interesting wine events coming up, but the menu for restaurant week was available in the letter.

Needless to say it enticed us to go and we found it fun and as well as informative. The menu made it hard to make choices, but what's not to like about having so many great options. 

Starting out with  Quillisascut chevre flan with  sautéed rhubarb, chives, arugula and the Stokesberry cured duck breast with a salad of frisee, fresh herbs, white balsamic vinegar. Not a big fan of flans, I had a taste of my wife's and I loved the texture and savoriness the cheese imparted on the dish, I would order this in a minute except I really enjoyed my duck. Cooked perfectly with a hint of a sauce and a great counter balance of the fresh greens with the tartness of the dressing would make it hard to not go with is next time. The third option was equally interesting but will have to wait for next time.

Entrees were the risotto & morels with morel brodo, pine nuts, red dandelion and I had the  braised Carlton farms pork with baby turnips, yukon puree, fennel fronds. The risotto was different than what I turn out, it was dryer and fuller which played perfectly with the brodo. A wonderful dish and I was lucky to get just a taste. My pork was braised, full flavored and a great texture contrasted with the smooth and creamy potatoes. The turnips were cooked just right with flavor that seemed to permeate thoroughly through the whole body of the turnips. I was surprised with the fennel fronds, I think they were deep fried and either candied or maybe the frying caramelized it enough to sweeten it.

Desert was easy we both chose the rhubarb almond parfait with orange crunch, almond tapioca, rhubarb conserve. My wife had the tapioca brought on the side and I had mine as suggested. The flavors and textures were a great finish to a wonderful meal of beautifully cared for food. In talking with the manager, he informed us that the company that runs Taste tries to source as much as they can from a 200 mile radius to all their many operations.

As for wine, the manager suggested a very nice bottle of Cavatappi Maddalena from Yakima Valley.

 If you go to their site you can find a list of their Sustainable Partners and a great introduction to the team. Hope you get out and give them a opportunity to show case some wonderful food.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Seattle Restaurant Week Kicked off Sunday

 The Inaugural Seattle Restaurant Week April 18-29, 2010
Three courses for $25......
I just love the concept, a chance to sample more than enough restaurants in 10 days time, some lunches are also available at select restaurants. Check it out. Over 100 restaurants.

On Sunday the start of the first day we made reservations at Crush, I had heard many things and really wanted to see what the buzz was about. One of the nice things is the weather was just short of fantastic and I have to say the dinner was topping on the cake as they say. We were surprised by the compactness of the restaurant, but felt at ease once we were seated. The climb up the narrow stair way struck a curious note until we came into a nicely laid out second floor. The decor was striking against the "Tudor" house but worked very comfortably and there was more than enough space between tables.

We started with some very clever and refreshing cocktails with a plate of
complimentary Gruyere  cheese gougères.

Then our starters were the salad of mixed greens and beets with a sublime vinaigrette and soft cheese. I had the pork belly on a creamy bed of white grits.

The second course was a beautiful hand made pasta with wild greens Fiddle Heads, mushrooms, leeks, pea shoots and I think beach asparagus. The other dish was a Wagu flat iron steak with mash potatoes, baby carrots with a parsley gastrique.

The dessert was a tarragon sorbet with small cookies and beignets with a pear jam.

It was a very memorable meal, the flavors and finesse that was shown to each dish made for a great meal. What a wonderful way of learning about new restaurant and local foods. Get out and enjoy the rest of Seattle Restaurant Week, as we learned Crush is truly Modern American Cuisine.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wonderful weekend of cards and food.

 We started out Friday night right after work with cocktails and enough friends to fill two tables for cards. I brought some stuffed dates, nothing too fancy, Gorgonzola, roasted almonds with some cream cheese. I also used some lavash to wrap some red peppers, olive tapenade, and artichoke hearts after spreading some cream cheese and Mexican sour cream thinly spread on the lavash before laying down the stuffing then rolling them up and slicing them up into roundels.

Our host cooked us two wonderful tagines, one with a nutty chicken sauce and the other a vegetarian cauliflower and carrot tagine with hints of orange juice. Beautiful in their colorfully glazed tagnines and Delicious! We wrapped it up with a selection of beautiful pastries. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the wonderful selection of wines. One a Semillon and the other a Portuguese Rose found favor with the group.

 Saturday we joined another set of friends for a meal of small plates and some fun bridge. We started off with a glass of sherry with some sauteed quartered mushrooms, plenty of garlic, red chili peppers and a dusting of chopped parsley. I brought some bread that I had made using the "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day" technique and some wild grilled shrimp with a basil shallot infused yogurt dipping sauce.  Of course some cards between courses along with a fruity but dry crisp white wine from Portugal. It had a touch of effervescence and a great finish.

The second course was a beautiful colored carrot and tahini soup topped with cilantro and zests of lemon sprinkled on top. The soup was from the New York times' Melissa Clark's recipe, he said it was easy and the results were fantastic.  It tasted as bright as it looked and the depth of flavor and complexity belied the easy that he said it took to make it.

For the final course our hosts seared some beautiful large wild sea scallops, they glistened as they cooked in the pan and once pulled they were added to a plate of sectioned grapefruit with small onions. The pan was then deglazed with butter and wine, poured over the whole dish making it a savory and refreshing end to a wonderful and enjoyable meal with cards.

Sunday, one last day and we played bridge once more for about 4 hours straight, after we called it a day and a weekend we still had a meal to ponder. Knowing that I had a whole chicken waiting in the refrigerator drying out it's skin, I turned my attention to my wife and asked what she was would love to have for a meal to end this culinary/card weekend?  She requested a fish with some kind of savory sauce, something tart and comforting.

I roasted my chicken a la Thomas Keller's technique and my wife enjoyed a seared halibut steak with capers, onions, artichokes and a deglazed sauce of shallots, whole grain mustard. We shared it with a wonderful salad and called it a weekend well done. Or maybe a grand slam, sharing so many different types of foods with so many people that have a passion for food.

PS Mr. Keller's simple roasted chicken was great.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Markets and more Markets

Had a little break in the action, I have been shopping around, as you can imagine there is a lot of places here in Seattle. But what I will be focusing on is ethnic markets, large, mainly Asian.  Right now the list is larger than I thought and I do have my favorites but let me know if where the hidden gems you like are and I will check them out. For now here is a teaser picture.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vote now, Bento?

I know this is entirely off the Seattle radar, except that my cousin lived up here for years and she and her husband are great fans of the Emerald City. She is Happy Little Bento, and has an entry to a contest for this years spring 2010 bento contest,, whether you vote for her or not just vote because it is something that ties into our community here in Seattle.  Good luck Sheri, (was that too obvious?)
 For those of you that are not familiar with Bento, this is a great way to see how creative and fun it can be.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"pop up shop's" new trend in Seattle?

After reading Tan Vinh's Dining Deals in Friday's NW Ticket & Movie Times, I stumbled on this article from Koi Fusion, , for those of you who went to the last Mobile Chowdown, they were one of the guests from PDX. And as you might know Portland has a very large "cart" food culture.

Is Taco Gringos the start a trend up here in Seattle?  The surplus of vacant commercial real estate might work in the favor of some very creative food trends that can find a willing audience here in Seattle. For those that follow food, you know doubt have heard of Chef Ludo Lefebvre from the Los Angeles food scene. He has been doing his LudoBites and will be using this guerillia style "pop up" restaurant events to fuel his passion for getting his spin on food to the lucky few that are passionate about their food.

Let's hope there is more to follow here in Seattle, no telling who might want to test the waters, expand their repertoire or just go out and have some fun.

P.S. I can't wait to give Turpin and Pitts' tacos a try.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dinner so soon?

Being asked to join some friends for dinner a La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard, a chance to have good Mexican food? Never pass it up, especially up here in Seattle no matter how much you've eaten earlier. Having re-located from the central coast of southern California, I have missed the Mexican food I sooo took for granted. It is always easier to look back and assume it will always be there, but as it turns out I have not been that lucky up here in Seattle, so when you find some place you like you go for it.

Well tonight everyone else was thinking the same, even though the restaurant was packed, the wait was not too long. They were turning them left and right so it wasn't long before we had a table and ordered up some wonderful flavors. I had the house special Mole Negro Oaxaqueno with the pork. The pork was lean and the mole sweet and savory with a hint of spice. The flour tortillas were chewy with a smokey taste that went well with the dark mole. And the great selection of salsas were as good as ever, different degrees of heat, but all with their distinct taste of spices.

What's for lunch?

Did you every have too many left overs in the refrigerator and couldn't make up your mind? Today was one of those Seattle days you expect in the winter, cold and windy, everything sounded so good. Was it going to be the meat and chive dumplings from Szechuan Noodle Bowl with their hot and spicy sauce or maybe the roast pork from 663 Bistro from the ID? I even have the left over chicken confit I made sitting in the frig, maybe over some rice? To make matters worst my wife comes home with half her sandwich from the Hill Top Ale House, the grilled Ahi tuna with rosemary lemon aioli with red pepper and onion relish.

Needless to say it was a hard choice and I have to admit I ate too much, a little of that and little of this made for way too much lunch. It was a good thing I worked out this morning, as if that was going to help.