Jun 12 2011

Toby’s Tavern, Whidbey Island


Last weekend the weather was gorgeous here in Seattle. FINALLY! I’ve been waiting for this ‘gorgeous spring/summer’ weather that everyone keeps telling me about, and to be honest, was starting to think it was a myth!

Anyway, we decided to take a short day trip to Whidbey Island to take advantage of the sun. Off we went on the ferry, and drove through a good part of the island, which was relaxing, and quite lovely.

As for food? We were walking through the small town of Coupeville, and stopped in at this little bar. Even though it didn’t look like much from the outside (or from the inside), I’m glad we picked this place. After hearing about the local Penn Cove mussels, I had to give them a try.

Now, I rarely eat mussels, but I think it would be hard for anyone to not appreciate the freshness of these. They were served up steaming hot, had a bit of sweetness to them, and were incredibly tender.  Cooked simply in a broth of white wine and onions, they made for a delectable lunch! And even though at first glance it didn’t look like a lot of food, I struggled to finish the entire pound of mussels in this dish. Thankfully Adam was there to help out (turns out he’s not allergic to mussels. Whew!).

Adam went with one of his favorites, fish and chips. While I think it was a good version, this place is all about the mussels!

Speaking of mussels, after lunch, we went for a walk along the pier right outside the bar. I wonder if the owners of the bar just scoop up the incredible amount of mussels sitting in this cove?!

Cost: $
8 NW Front St, Coupeville, WA 98239
(360) 678-4222

Toby's on Urbanspoon


Jun 5 2011

Frost Doughnuts


I’m not much of a doughnut person, but when I see the words smoky-bacon-maple-bar put together, my interest is piqued! Off we drove one Sunday to Frost, about 20 minutes north of where we live. We exercised some self restraint, and ordered four doughnuts to share. The above is the aforementioned bacon maple bar, and it was quite good, with plenty of smoky bacon bits on top.

The others we had were the Aztec chocolate, salted caramel, and peanut butter perfection. The Aztec chocolate was really good, with a hint of pepper and cinnamon in it, and plenty of shaved chocolate on top. The salted caramel wasn’t as salty as I’d hoped.. it actually tasted the most like an ordinary doughnut to me, albeit a good one. Our hands down favorite, though? The peanut butter perfection. Think of one of those old fashioned jelly doughnuts, only with a whipped-creamy peanut buttery mousse inside. Yum!

Since then, we’ve been back to try several other donuts, all of which have been good. My favorite is still that peanut butter perfection… which they haven’t had since we first went! Guess we’ll have to keep going until they’re available again…

Cost: $
15421 Main Street, Suite 102, Mill Creek, WA 98012
(425) 379-2600
Frost Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

May 18 2011

Trellis, part II


Our second visit to Trellis was for happy hour. We ordered a variety of different items to share, and here’s what we had:

Snails Bourgogne with mushrooms, garlic butter & crustini*:

I hadn’t had snails in a long, long time, and these were really good! The sauce was quite tasty, and the snails were tender and quite mushroom-like in texture.

Sweet Potato Fries with chipotle aioli:

The sweet potato fries in the background were also quite good; crisp, hot, and really nice with that chipotle aioli.

Green globe artichoke tots with chipotle dipping sauce:

These were not as good as I’d hoped; I think the artichokes got a bit overcooked when they were deep fried, as the texture ended up borderline mushy.

Pesto flatbread with pine nuts, oven-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese & roasted garlic:

This was quite tasty, but it also was full of ingredients that I love!

Barbeque ribs with house-made barbeque sauce:

I only had a taste of this, but it was quite tender, and the sauce was good, albeit a bit sweet.

House-made gnocchi with fresh tomato sauce and shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese:

The gnocchi was super fresh, and really good, and the tomato sauce had a nice tartness to it.

House-cured salmon with lemon zest, capers, grissini, bitter greens:

This dish was good, but not as good as I was expecting it to be, especially since the salmon was a bit salty for me.

Overall, a really good deal on food for happy hour! It was quite busy, and we ended up sitting outside the restaurant in the hotel lobby, but the service was still spot on. We’ll definitely come back for happy hour (or dinner, breakfast, brunch, or lunch)!

Cost: $$$
220 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033
(425) 284-5900

Trellis on Urbanspoon

Apr 30 2011

Anthony’s Homeport


On the lookout for what will be our ‘favorite’ seafood restaurant in the Seattle area, having a craving for salmon, and remembering that it was still Seattle Restaurant week, we headed to downtown Kirkland’s Anthony’s for dinner one Thursday evening. Finding the dining room absolutely packed, we headed upstairs to the bar area, which is quite large, appears to have a better view of the lake, and serves the full menu. Once again, we ordered one SRW menu, as well as some items from the regular menu.

Although this was technically my appetizer choice, it wasn’t exactly my first choice… but Adam twisted my arm to give it a try. Ahi tuna nachos on taro chips. It was good, but I’d likely try a different appetizer next time. The tuna was fresh, but slightly oversauced. Adam also ordered a cup of the clam chowder, which he quite liked.

My entree was the wild Alaskan salmon, roasted on an alder plank and finished with smoked sweet red pepper beurre blanc, with grilled asparagus. The salmon was well cooked, but I wasn’t overly fond of the amount of creamy sauce over it.

Adam ordered one of his favorite dishes, fish N chips. This version was Alaska cod dipped in tempura batter, with Anthony’s seafood seasoning. I think the version was good, but definitely not the best in the city.

For dessert, we ordered the Bailey’s Irish cream chocolate mousse. It definitely had the flavor of Bailey’s, but the chocolate mousse portion was quite sweet.


Overall, the food was good, and the seafood quite fresh. We’ll likely return for the view, and because it’s relatively close to where we live. I think the bar area would be a nice place to relax, and enjoy drinks and appetizers, especially now that the weather is getting better!

Cost: $$
135 Lake St S, Kirkland, WA 98033
(425) 822-0225
Anthony's HomePort (Kirkland) on Urbanspoon

Apr 24 2011



On the first night of Seattle Restaurant week, we decided to check out Joule. I’d made a reservation early, but there were already a few people when we arrived at this tiny restaurant, which filled up pretty quickly! The menu has quite a few interesting, Asian influenced dishes, and several of the items have with some seriously good broths/sauces. Rather than order two SRW specials, Adam ordered one, and I ordered an appetizer, entree, and dessert off of the regular menu, which is divided into two sections; Native, and Abroad.

I’m always on the lookout for interesting drinks, and this was the first time I’d had a shrub. I absolutely loved it! While a vinegar based drink may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I couldn’t stop drinking it. This one had rhubarb, lemon, and ginger. A wonderful blend of sweet and tart, with a bit of spice.

One of the two appetizers we ordered was the duck terrine with arugula, pickled spring garlic, and ginger scallions. The terrine was good, and the dish had a nice, tangy flavor to it.

In addition, we ordered the baguette with bacon butter. Literally butter with chunks of bacon blended in. Smoky, creamy, and quite delicious!

I’ve always loved mochi. This version was Korean mochi with smoked pork belly, kale, Thai chili, and peanuts. Small slivers of fresh, grilled mochi, with smoky pork belly, in a broth that was absolutely to die for. It tasted like a dashi broth with some added sweetness and heat. We both agreed that this was the best dish of the night, which I was a bit surprised about…. as Adam has never been a big fan of mochi. I guess the broth won him over!

My entree of choice was the bison hangar steak with a curry rub and kohlrabi chutney. I love a good bison steak, or bison burger for that matter. Oddly enough, I find both a lot harder to find here in Seattle than I did in Las Vegas… which I would have thought would be the reverse. Anyway, this was a really good dish. I’ve never been a big fan of curry, but the rub went well with the bison, which was cooked perfectly, and served lukewarm. I’d order this again…

Adam chose the beef cheek pot au feu with savory pickled root vegetables and mustard oil. I thought the beef was cooked perfectly, but we both agreed that the dish was slightly bland.

To go along with my rhubarb shrub, I decided to get the rhubarb short cake with green tea, creme fraiche, and jasmine honey. My favorite part of the dessert was the rhubarb! The green tea cake was quite dense, and not overly sweet- which I appreciated. The jasmine honey was a nice touch!

Adam ordered the smoky lapsang ice cream with a soft hazelnut biscotti. The ice cream wasn’t quite as smoky as either of us hoped, but still made for a nice, simple dessert.

Overall, we were pretty impressed by the food, and would definitely return. I like that there were quite a few interesting and unique dishes on the menu, and I would absolutely order the mochi appetizer again. And, of course, the SRW menu was a steal!

Cost: $$$
1913 N 45th St., Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-1913
Joule on Urbanspoon

Apr 16 2011

Rikki Rikki


Craving udon one night, we drove downtown to Rikki Rikki, not having heard much about it, or having done much research on the restaurant. What we found was a completely packed (and decent sized) restaurant, with quite an extensive menu! We ordered our usual spicy tuna roll to try, which was good, with plenty of fresh tuna and just the right amount of spice.

Adam also ordered the tofu beef sukiyaki, which was also good, although much soupier than I’m used to:

I ordered the tempura soba. The noodles were firm (which I like), and the broth slightly sweet, and boiling hot:

I ate the tempura separately as I hate getting my soup oily. Yes, I’m picky sometimes! The tempura was good, although definitely not the best I’ve had. Most of the pieces were fairly crispy, but one of the shrimps was quite soggy.

Overall, the food was good. Since it’s somewhat close to where we live, we’ll be back to check out some of the other menu items, and probably more of the sushi once the weather starts warming up!

Cost: $$
442 Parkplace, Kirkland, WA 98033
(425) 828-0707
Rikki Rikki on Urbanspoon

Apr 10 2011



Having wanted to try Lecosho for awhile, and then noticing that if we went at a certain time on Sunday, we’d be able to hit both the Dine Around Seattle prix fixe menu, AND happy hour, guess where we went one Sunday?

Okay, so I messed up a bit, and forgot that happy hours are usually only in the bar area, and, oops, we were seated in the dining area. Our server was kind enough to make an exception for us, though. So, we ordered one 3 course meal, and several happy hour items. Here’s everything we noshed on:

Columbia City Bakery baguette with sea salt butter and house olive relish:

Really good bread, with really good, oily olive relish. I could’ve eaten that relish with a spoon on its own (and almost did)!

House green salad with soft boiled egg, baguette crisps, and house cornichon-mustard vinaigrette:

I loved the dressing on this salad! I didn’t detect too much tartness, as the mustard was definitely prominent. Combined with fresh greens, crisp bread, and runny egg, this was one incredible salad!

Olives and marcona almonds:

Simple, and really good. I’m not sure what kind of olives those wrinkly black ones were, but they were delicious!

Aqvavit cured pork belly rillettes with mustard and pickled radish:

Okay, NOW the meat started coming out. At first glance, I thought the rillette looked a bit.. errm… unappetizing. But wow, was it delicious! Served cold, the meat was tender, and incredibly flavorful. I had to remove a bit of the lard (just couldn’t bring myself to eat all of it!), but it was still great. One of my two favorite dishes of the night.

Lamb sausage-stuffed grape leaves with tzatziki and pickled cucumbers:

This was good, flavorful, and quite nice with the tzatziki sauce.

Carlton Farms pork chop with potato-parsnip puree and beets:

My other favorite dish of the night. Anyone who knows me would be a bit shocked.. as I’m not normally a huge pork fan. But this pork chop was SO tasty and tender… I’d definitely order this again.

Grilled house made sausage with soft boiled egg and lentils:

Quite a good sausage, and those lentils were extra tasty (almost a bit too salty for me, though)!

Spaetzle with brown butter and pecorino romano:

Like a really good twist on mac and cheese, this dish was simple, comforting, and really, really good!

Bittersweet chocolate flourless torte:

By the time dessert came, we were both incredibly stuffed, and wondering how we’d eat this! Thankfully, the torte was much lighter than it looked, with a nice, crisp outer shell. And also, thankfully, that dollop in front of it was whipped cream, not ice cream!

Overall, one of the better meals I’ve had in Seattle. Everything was good, and some of the items (rillette, pork chop) were outstanding. We’ll definitely be back!

Cost: $$
89 University Street, Seattle, WA 9101
(206) 623-2101

Lecosho on Urbanspoon

Apr 1 2011



A friend of Adam’s invited us to Elemental for dinner, a restaurant that I knew very little about. All I was told was that we needed to leave extra early, we’d likely be there a good part of the night, and not to expect to be able to drive afterwards. Hmm. Well, being that we live on the Eastside, I decided the smart choice was for me to be designated driver, as I don’t tend to drink much anyway. And that way, at least one of us could enjoy all of the drinks that were supposedly to come with dinner!

We got there just on time, and I could see why we needed to get there early… not only is the place small, but they don’t take reservations. That, plus the dinners are long, so if you’re waiting for one of the few parties seated to leave, you could end up standing around for quite awhile. As soon as we got there and sat down, drinks immediately showed up at the table. Then food started arriving. I started to notice that while things were brought over and dropped off, scarcely a word was said, let alone any indication of what any of it was! Yes, you can ask, but otherwise, you eat and drink what’s put in front of you. Interesting concept. Although we did ask about a few of the items, some of them are somewhat of a best guess.

Since I stopped drinking after a glass of mulled wine, a cocktail, and two glasses of white wine, I decided to only review the food. I think I counted everyone else getting at least six more glasses of wine, plus an after dinner drink.

Food-wise, here’s what we had:

Truffle popcorn:

A nice, simple starter, likely popped in truffle oil. I’m going to have to try that at home!

Avgolomono soup (chicken broth, eggs, rice, and lemon):

Okay, I cheated and looked this up! At first glance, I figured this was corn chowder, but not so. Light, tart, and really nice.

Seared scallops with pinenuts, grapefruit, and green tea custard:

Scallops have never really been my favorite seafood, but these were cooked quite nicely, and I really liked the combination of the mousse and grapefruit.

Same dish as above, but with sake marinated jicama:

This dish came sans scallops, since Adam mentioned his shellfish allergy. I actually liked the jicama better than the scallops!

White bean ravioli with parmesan broth:

A very simple ravioli, and the broth made this dish much lighter than a typically sauced ravioli.

Arctic char with capers and cauliflower:

The fish was quite flavorful, and I love capers, so I liked this dish quite a bit!

Braised shortrib shepherd’s pie:

This dish was the heaviest and also the last main dish, so I couldn’t eat much of it.. but it was quite good, especially with the snappy peas mixed in.

Wha-??  No dessert??

Okay, yes, there actually were desserts. I was just tired, stuffed, and forgetful at this point of the evening, so the pictures were of half eaten desserts, plus the light was fading outside, so the shots didn’t come out very well anyway. Rather than torture you with bad photos, I chose to omit them. But they were good, and worth mentioning. Included were a cheese plate, a chocolate cake,  goat cheese cake, and sorbet (I honestly don’t remember what the flavors were, though!)

Overall, I’d say for the price (around $75 a person, tax/tip included) this is a great deal.. IF you drink. It’s actually not that bad of a deal for the amount of food you get either. I do think, however, that the amount of drinks they bring you is bordering on the ridiculous, especially for the amount of time you’re actually there. But then again, like I already mentioned, I’m not a huge drinker. I’d likely return, though, just to see what new menu items might pop up!

Cost: $$
3309 Wallingford Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 547-2317
Elemental on Urbanspoon

Mar 26 2011



After dining and Ethan Stowell’s Staple & Fancy, I was eager to try his pasta-focused restaurant, Tavolata. Thankfully, a few days after our dinner at S&F, we were going to a Devo (!) concert at the Moore Theater, with Tavolata was just a few blocks away. How convenient!

The interior reminded me a bit of S&F, kind of industrial, and quite an open space. I saw a few familiar items on the menu, but, we were here for the pasta. We went with two that sounded more simple than a few of the others:

Spaghetti with anchovies, garlic, and chili:

This was Adam’s pick, and it was quite good. Warning, though… if you don’t like anchovies, this is definitely not the pasta for you! It is quite prominently flavored by anchovies, with a bit of heat. The pasta, of course, was cooked perfectly.

Rigatoni with spicy Italian sausage, marjoram, and tomatoes:

My choice was a bit spicier.. with the combined punch of spice from the sausage and added chiles. The dish had just a tad too much heat for me, but I was able to tough it out and finish it! The pasta was delicious, and the flavors were quite wonderful.

Although we were both quite full, I needed something sweet to cool my mouth off a bit. We went with the vanilla pear sorbetto, which was really good! Not only did it have a nice, subtle pear flavor to it, it had the sugary-sandy texture of a pear.

Overall, another great restaurant by Chef Stowell, and another one that I’d very much like to return to to try some different items! Once again, great service, great atmosphere, and exceptional food.

Cost: $$$
2323 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 838-8008

Tavolata on Urbanspoon

Mar 20 2011

Staple & Fancy Mercantile


First of all, let me say that the location of this restaurant is a bit odd… We thought our car’s nav system had gotten us completely lost! The neighborhood is a bit industrial, and the front of the restaurant blends right in with the area. Once we saw inside, though, we knew we were at the right spot. The space feels like an old mercantile store (and perhaps once  was one), complete with the main wall having what we assumed was an old, original advertisement still painted onto a brick wall. Very cool, and they did a great job keeping with that theme throughout. I also liked the openness of the entire space; we had a booth right across from the kitchen, and watched the chefs all night, trying to figure out what they were making, and which of those dishes would end up on our table!

We opted for the family style supper, which consists of 4 courses for $45 a person. Here’s what we had:

1st course: A total of seven small plates. Really, more like courses 1-7!

Anchovy with chickpea puree:
A nice blend of flavors, on top of extra crunchy toast…

Beef tartare:
Quite fresh, but surprisingly not as flavorful as I’d expected…

Really good, and just salty enough without being overpowering..

Soft boiled egg with anchovy:
I was surprised this was so cold, but it was tasty, and the yolk still oozed out nicely.

Fried oysters with red pepper aioli:
The oysters were crisp, fresh, and flavorful on their own, but even better with the slightly spicy aioli.

Bbq chicken wings:
I’m not a huge fan of wings, but these were quite good. Slightly crispy, hot, and covered in sticky-sweet BBQ sauce.

Corona beans with grilled fennel:
The grilled fennel was delicious… The beans were quite good, especially paired with the basil strips.

2nd course:

Tagliarini pasta with cheese broth:
Such a simple pasta dish, and so well executed! The pasta was unbelievably fresh, and perfectly al dente. So good, that it didn’t need more than the simple cheese broth that accompanied it. It reminded me of an exceptional version of buttered noodles my mom used to make.

3rd course:

Pork shoulder with caramelized onions and polenta:
This was probably my favorite dish of the night. The pork was fall apart-tender, with plenty of herbs to add plenty of flavor. The onions were nice and tart, and the polenta tasted like really good cornbread. A wonderful combination of flavors!

Ricotta cheesecake with cranberry compote:
We were really glad to see the last dish, as we were stuffed! This cheesecake was, thankfully, really light, and not overly sweet. The tart cranberries added a nice touch. Delicious!

We’ll definitely come back to explore the menu a bit more, or to try another version of the family style supper. The service was great, the atmosphere laid back, and the food was exceptional!

Cost: $$$
4739 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 789-1200
Staple & Fancy Mercantile on Urbanspoon