Nov 4 2011

Showa

Kristi

Our primary reason for trekking over to Showa? Ramen. Yes, even though ramen is surprisingly scarce here in Seattle, I still keep an eye out for any new places that might serve up the good stuff… homemade broth, thin noodles, fresh toppings, etc. I’d heard the chef at Showa recently perfected his ramen recipe, and we headed out to give it a try:

Of course, being an izakaya, we had to have a few other small dishes, and all of them were quite good.

Seasoned spinach with sesame: Fresh, with just the right amount of sweetness.

Chilled tofu with natto:

I’m one of those weird people who actually likes natto! Surprisingly, Adam didn’t gag when I first served it to him several years ago. This is a good version, again, quite fresh, and the mustard added a nice flavor.

Kurobuta sausage:

Yum. Juicy grilled sausage with mustard? How can you go wrong. Definitely a good dish!

Ramen:

Here’s what we came to try, though.. the ramen. The broth was a bit different than I’m used to.. not a pure tonkatsu broth, with the addition of the clams. The clam flavouring is subtle, though. The broth was quite delicious, bordering on being overly salty for me, but definitely tasty, and served steaming hot. The noodles were a touch al dente, which I like. The char-shiu was quite tender, and overall, we both really liked this ramen! In fact, I’d venture to say it’s probably the best we’ve had in Seattle to date. Just wish it were available on the Eastside..

Cost: $$

701 N 36th St Ste 200 Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 388-3913
showafremont.com
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Sep 16 2011

Spud’s Fish and Chips

Kristi

Besides the fact that it’s one of the closest restaurants to our house, we love Spuds because they have some really good fish and chips! I like the fact that it’s more on the flat side, and well fried… just the way I personally prefer my fish and chips. Simple, and tasty. What more could you ask for?

We’ve been noticing that whenever the sun is out, this place gets PACKED. I guess the fact that Juanita Beach is right across the street doesn’t hurt, either. Guess people like fish and chips on a sunny day!

Cost: $
9702 NE Juanita Dr, Kirkland, WA 98034
www.spudfishandchips.com
(425) 823-0607
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Aug 20 2011

Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA

Kristi

After hearing the accolades building up about the Willow’s Inn, I was more than anxious to get here to try the food! We went on a perfect weekend, and had a wonderful time.

The dining room is quite small, and limited to one seating a night. I loved that the chefs were quite interactive with the diners, bringing out most of the dishes themselves and explaining each course. For our first appetizer, Chef Wetzel himself brought our mystery ‘box’ to the table for us. More on that, plus the rest of the food:

That mystery box? As soon as we opened it, a waft of smoke rose out, and inside were two perfect, tiny cubes of smoked wild king salmon, resting on top of still smoldering alderwood. Gorgeous presentation, and the salmon was to die for!

Our second appetizer was black code over saukerkraut, on a potato chip. Another tasty bite, with plenty of freshness and zing.

The third appetizer was so cute… a mini bushel of fresh baby veggies! The dressing was creamy, with plenty of chives. The veggies included baby radishes, turnips, and kale, and were covered in edible ‘dirt’ (toasted hazelnut) which was quite tasty!

Our fourth appetizer was a fried kale chip with black truffle toasted rye bread. Although it was a small bite, the truffle definitely shined through, and made for a delectable, crispy dish!

Our fifth appetizer (yes, these are still appetizers!) was herbed toast with a brown butter emulsion, and ‘powdered’ vinagrette. No idea how they made that vinagrette, but the dish was fresh, and delicious!

The final appetizer consisted of organic watercress with mushrooms and berries, with what I believe were fiddlehead ferns. Light, fresh, and really good.

Finally, we got to our five course meal. Along with our meal, we both opted to do the juice pairing in lieu of the wine pairing. I LOVE that they have this option! At $40 for 5 juices, yes it’s a bit expensive. But all of the juices are house made, super fresh, and quite unique!

The first juice pairing was cucumber, and as expected, quite cool and refreshing!

The first dish consisted of porcinis, red currants, with fresh cheese and woodruff. Again, everything incredibly fresh. Those currants were incredible! Tart, juicy, and sweet.

Our second juice pairing was carrot juice, and this was probably my favorite. It tasted so incredibly sweet and creamy. Just what kind of carrots are they growing on this island?!

Dish #2 consisted of a skate wing with cabbage and mussel sauce. Although this may have been my least favorite (if I had to name a least favorite) dish of the night, it was quite good.. I’d never had skate with this texture before. Tasty!

Our 3rd juice pairing was granny smith apple juice. A very close second favorite of mine to the carrot juice. Tart, sweet, and very apple-y. Wish I had some of this right now!

The accompanying dish was spring onions with rhubarb and thyme. Very light, very fresh, and that crunchy green rhubarb added quite a zing!

Our fourth juice was huckleberry. Very tart, and quite a nice replacement to red wine. This juice pairing went exceptionally well with the accompanying dish.

One of my favorite dishes of the night, the slow roasted Peking duck breast with red beets and berries. The duck was incredibly fresh and tender (coming straight from a nearby island). That little layer of fat? And the crispy skin? Perfection. Adam mentioned that the taste was reminiscent of pork rind, but not at all in a bad way! Oh, and the meat was tender and juicy, too…

Our final juice pairing was sorrel juice. Quite grassy, and my least favorite of the night. Still, I have to say, it did complement dessert well!

Dessert consisted of a fresh strawberry sorbet with chamomile milk foam, strawberries, meringue, and lavender glass. What a great combination of flavors and textures, and a great way to end an incredible meal!

The next morning? Scrambled eggs, potatoes with kale and cheese, and zucchini carrot muffin. Simple, and delicious. The cheesy potatoes were incredible.. only lightly seasoned, so the flavour of kale, cheese, and chives could really shine through. And the muffin? Soft, fresh, and delicious!

This is definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in the Pacific NW to date, if not the best. I highly recommend a weekend getaway to Lummi Island, and visit to the Willows Inn. I’ll be dreaming about what Chef Wetzel will have created the next time we visit!

Cost: $$$
2579 West Shore Drive, Lummi Island, WA 98262
(888) 294-2620
www.willows-inn.com
The Willows Inn on Urbanspoon


Aug 20 2011

Lummi Island, WA

Kristi

While the primary purpose for our visit to Lummi Island was to dine at the Willow’s Inn, we spent the night on the island, and did a bit of exploring. This is not a difficult feat, as the Island is only around 9 miles long! The weekend we visited, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Sunny and warm, but not too warm. Here’s some shots I took during our mini-vacay:

View of the ocean from outside our room:

Our room at the Willow’s Inn, the low-tide. Tiny room, but clean, and with quite a nice view!

The first place we visited was the Beach Store Cafe, which is just up the road from the ferry. We were hungry, so we immediately stopped for lunch. The food wasn’t much to write home about, but it was good, fresh, and satisfied our hunger!

Clam chowder:

Club sandwich

Cod fish and chips:

2200 N Nugent Rd, Lummi Island, WA 98262
(360) 758-2233
www.beachstorecafe.com
Beach Store Cafe on Urbanspoon

If you squint, you can see two bald eagles in this tree, which was right up the road from our room:

The Nettles farm is where a great deal of the produce at the Willow’s Inn comes from.

Quite a variety of produce, as well as honeybees, and chickens!

 

Colorful, healthy chickens. No wonder those breakfast eggs were so tasty!

Very much a working farm!

If you’re planning to go to dinner at the Willow’s Inn, (which I also HIGHLY recommend), I also recommend staying at the Willow’s Inn, rather than trekking home after such a long, relaxing meal. I’m hoping to be back soon!


Aug 5 2011

John Howie Steak

Kristi

My bff had given me a gift certificate for John Howie the end of last year.. and for some reason it took us until recently to use it. One weekend I finally decided, ‘let’s do it!’ So off we went.

The restaurant was quite nice inside, although since we were there early, some of the servers made me a bit nervous.. standing around, watching us. Since I photograph everything, I try to be discreet and snap the shots out of sight of any servers. Unfortunately I couldn’t do that this time, but no one complained, so no harm.

Here’s what we had:

As an amuse bouche, we were given salmon mousse with sweet onion over toast, which was a nice, tasty bite.

As an appetizer, we chose the dungeness crab cakes, which were also quite good. I liked that you could tell they were actually made from crabs. Sometimes crab cakes can be so mushed up, you have to wonder…

For one of the side dishes, we had the creamed spinach with kurobuta bacon, and a sunny side up egg. I love spinach, and add cream, bacon, and a runny egg? How can you not like it!

Our second side dish was the mesquite roasted corn with honey chipotle butter. I’m a sucker for a good creamed corn dish. This one was good, although I was comparing it to the creamed corn I’d recently had at RN74, and it didn’t quite stack up!

For my entree, I went with my usual cut, filet mignon. Here I was able to get a combination of two different types of filet; 4 oz of Snake River Farms wagyu, and 4 oz of USDA prime. Obviously the wagyu was a bit more tender and juicy, but both were quite good, and very flavorful. Neither one of us needed any sauce for our steaks!

While this is the first ‘steak house’ I’ve been to in Seattle, I thought it was quite good, and I would definitely return when the steak craving hits.

Cost: $$$
11111 Northeast 8th Street, Suite 125, Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 440-0880
www.johnhowiesteak.com

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Jul 31 2011

RN74

Kristi

I have to admit, I’m not a huge Michael Mina fan, although the two restaurants of his that we’ve been to in Las Vegas were good. Of course, now that he’s ventured into the Pacific Northwest, I wanted to see and try his place here. RN74 is pretty nice inside. Modern, with a chic yet casual feel to it. I liked the train station board-turned wine list, which indeed changes everytime one of the wines on the list sells out. Noisy, but neat!

As for the food? Here’s what we tried:

Liberty Farms duck breast with swiss chard and cherries:
Adam’s entree of choice was a good one. the duck was mild, tender, and quite tasty!

Bluebird Grain Farms farro:
A side to the duck breast, this was quite good. Rich, and cooked enough, but not overcooked. And the flavor was incredible!

Painted Hills beef bourguignon with maitake mushrooms and pommes rissolees:
My entree of choice, and another good one. The beef was ridiculously tender, with just the right amount of fat interlaced. It also wasn’t overly seasoned, which I liked. I want to be able to taste the beef!

Espelette creamed corn:
An extra side dish we chose, and I loved this version of creamed corn! It was slightly chopped up, but still had plenty of crunchy texture, and just enough cream and sweetness. Really delicious.

For dessert, we shared the hand cut beignets with salted caramel and Macallan 12 butterscoth pudding. The beignets were fluffy and warm, and that pudding definitely had a bite to it! Sweet, and a nice ending to quite a nice meal.

I would definitely return to RN74 to try more of their menu items. Even though we went a couple of weeks after they opened, the service was great, and everything seemed to be working like clockwork during our visit. Adam even had a slight complaint about his wine choice, and the waiter promptly replaced it with something much more to his liking.

Recommended!

Cost: $$$
1433 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 456-7474
www.michaelmina.net/restaurants…

RN74 on Urbanspoon


Jul 24 2011

Santorini Greek Grill

Kristi

We LOVE greek food, and so far, Santorini has been the favorite out of the few we’ve tried in town. The gyro meat is definitely the standout, although the kebabs are pretty darn good too. But I’d be hard pressed not to get the gyro, or the gyro plate! The pita bread is always nice and fresh, and the hummus is quite tasty. I also appreciate that the food isn’t overly garlic-laden. I love garlic, but some Mediterranean places in town go a bit crazy with it!

We’ve been here several times now, including for takeout. The place gets extremely crowded as the food is good, and the restaurant is small!

Oh, and don’t forget the Greek fries! Quite tasty…

 Cost: $

106 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033
(425) 822-0555
Santorini Greek Grill on Urbanspoon


Jul 9 2011

Milagro Cantina

Kristi

Milagro Cantina is a fairly new ‘modern’ Mexican restaurant in downtown Kirkland. I have to admit, we actually went here the end of last year, but for one reason or another, I’d forgotten to do this blog post! So, form my (not very good) memory, here’s my take on the food:

We started with a couple of small dishes:

Sopes: crispy masa cakes filled with goat cheese, wild mushrooms, onions, and huitlacoche crema:

I remember these being tasty and crispy, but perhaps a bit too much creme?

Gorditas: masa tortilla filled with homeade chorizo, corn, poblano peppers, with pico de gallo, avocado, and key lime crema:

I think I enjoyed this one a bit more. Chirizo and peppers? Yes.

Chips and salsa:

I love big tortilla chips! I remember the accompanying salsas being quite good as well..

 

Albondigas soup: chorizo meatball soup with tomatoes, zucchini, oregano, and cumin:

I believe this was quite hearty, but a bit on the spicy side for me. Still, a nice soup on a cold winter’s day!

We tried three of the tacos. I do remember enjoying the bbq beef the most, even though it was probably the most non traditional of the three.

Barbacoa: slow roasted bbq beef with avocado, onion, and cilantro

Pescado: grilled mahi mahi marinated with coriander and lime cabbage slaw, Mexican mayonnaise, pico de gallo

Al Pastor: Rotisserie pork, grilled pineapple, radish, and cilantro

Frijoles Negros: black beans with cotija cheese and pumpkin seeds

This dish was quite good. Black beans with my favorite cheese in the world, plus crispy pumpkin seeds. Very nice combination.

The interior is quite classy, and I expect this restaurant will do (or is doing) quite well downtown. It seems like a nice spot for lunch or dinner, as well as for drinks. We haven’t been back yet, but fully intend to return soon!

Cost: $$
148 Lake St S, Kirkland, WA 98033
www.milagrocantina.com

(425) 952-6270

Milagro Cantina on Urbanspoon


Jul 2 2011

Rainin’ Ribs

Kristi

One of the many things we’ve been on the search for in Seattle is a good BBQ spot. We had a favorite spot in Las Vegas called Buzz BBQ, which we miss terribly!

We’ve tried a few out here that have been okay.. but so far, I think this has been our favorite. While I didn’t like all of the items, I thought the brisket was good, and the ribs (which have never been my favorite) were excellent. Smoky, tender, and quite delicious!

The hot links were not exactly my favorite, but were certainly hot. Fried okra was pretty good. Mac and cheese? Not anything really special. I think this place is all about the ribs… although.. we definitely have to try the pulled pork as well.

I also really liked their sweet bbq sauce. I’m one of those people who likes my sauce sweet, but this one also has a bit of spice to it, which is nice.

 

We’ll definitely be going back to try more items, especially since it isn’t far from where we live! The dining area is basically a tent outside, and there was live entertainment the night we were there.

Recommended!

Cost: $$
15030 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155
(206) 362-7427

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Jun 23 2011

Spring Hill

Kristi

When we moved to Seattle the end of last year, one of the things I kept hearing about was the Fried Chicken at Spring Hill. I figured.. we’ll go one of these days. Then, earlier this year, I heard the news that Monday night fried chicken dinners were coming to an end. I immediately got on the phone, and secured one of the last reservations available! Fast forward a few months later, and there we were.

The dinner is designed for four, but really, could easily feed 8 with the chicken. We had a last minute cancellation, so three of us tackled two whole chickens, plus 4 sides, cornbread, and dessert. Needless to say, there were leftovers!

First, lets start with the chicken. I noticed right away when they brought it out that it was a bit… umm.. dark. While the chicken was well seasoned, hot, and extremely moist inside, all of us agreed that the skin was a bit overcooked. I even had a few burnt bits on the two pieces I tackled. So, while the chicken was good overall, I’d have to say that sadly, it wasn’t the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

Now, about the sides..

Jalapeno cornbread:

The cornbread was quite good. Not overly spicy, moist, and crumbly. I liked it a lot!

Roasted broccoli:

Probably my favorite side. Why had I never thought of roasting broccoli before? Those crispy bits on it… yum!

Herbed spaetzle:

I have to admit, I had never had spaetzle until a few months ago. This was good! Kind of like an herby mac and cheese.

Marinated cucumber salad:

While this dish wasn’t exactly a standout, it was nice to have something cool, light, and refreshing to go along with the meal. A nice addition.

Buttered russet potatoes:

Certainly not the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had (that will probably forever go to Joel Robuchon’s) but certainly not the worst, either. It got the job done.

Green apple sorbet; popcorn ice cream; peanut butter ice cream:

Dessert doesn’t come with the chicken dinner, but stuffed as I was, I wanted something sweet for us to share. While I initially thought the popcorn sounded the most interesting, and it did indeed taste of popcorn, we all seemed to like the green apple sorbet the best. Really good! And the peanut butter went pretty fast, too…

Overall, it was a fun experience, and well worth the $98 price tag considering the amount of food you get. While I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t the BEST fried chicken I’d ever had, it certainly was good. Of course, after doing this review, Monday night fried chicken dinners at Spring Hill will be a thing of the past in a few more weeks. If you want to give it a try, pray there’s a cancellation!

Cost: $$
4437 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 935-1075
www.springhillnorthwest.com

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