Posts Tagged ‘ice cream’
If I had to name a favourite restaurant in Seattle it would be Lark. Seasonal ingredients, small plates, attentive service. I have dined there twice and both meals presented regional cuisine at its best and epitomised what I love about a restaurant experience.
The only blemish is the lighting. For a city ensconced in a melancholic grey for half the year, Seattle’s eateries are in the shadow of candles and dimmers. The Danish word ‘hygge’ is the perfect description of cosy ambience but I would like to read the menu without squinting!
The Lark dining room has a homely feel. Opaque curtains partition the centre tables and there is a row of booths along one side. It is intimate and comfortable.
Categorised into cheeses, vegetables and grains, charcuterie, fish and meat, the menu is designed for sharing and the wait staff can recommend the number of dishes depending on your appetite.
Wine was poured and bread buttered as our group of four chatted on a quiet Sunday evening in spring.
Asparagus featured in three of the courses and starred in this in Provençal style. Tender spears were sautéed in olive oil, garlic, rosemary and black olive.
On a terracotta plate were ribbons of La Quercia prosciutto garnished with figs and Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.
Three plump scallops were atop asparagus in an earthy broth.
The ubiquitous asparagus were paired with slices of rare Mishima Ranch wagyu hanger steak, roasted potatoes and a dollop of ramp butter.
A petite cocotte of pommes de terre Robuchon was smooth and buttery, an elegant mashed potatoes.
Dining with the French means duck. A crispy Liberty Ducks leg was served with spring onions and green chickpeas.
I neglected to note the third cheese but the other two were Kukulu Bleu de Brebis from the Pyrénées and Taleggio from Lombardy.
A compact round of hazelnut brown butter cake was adorned with whiskey poached figs and accompanied by a quenelle of salted caramel ice cream.
Light and ethereal, a generous mound of miniature madeleines was dipped in a tiny pot of Theo organic dark chocolate sauce.
Lark is simply splendid, a beacon for the Pacific Northwest.
The main meal of the day, taken either around MIDDAY or in the EVENING.
A formal evening meal, typically one in honour of a person or event.
From Old French disner
I’m a frequent snacker. I enjoy long, leisurely meals but at home I munch on McVitie’s, fruits, nuts and muesli bars throughout the day. It’s both sustenance and habit.
With a 9:45pm reservation for our anniversary dinner, I had to prepare for a late night meal. I had a substantial lunch, potato crisps from the minibar and a Kind bar in the afternoon, and napped prior to going to the Mandarin Oriental for Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. We waited for our table at the bar with a glass of wine and nibbled on a bowl of rice crackers in a lively atmosphere.
Dinner is the younger sibling of Heston Blumenthal‘s famous The Fat Duck. It has one Michelin star and debuted at number nine, the highest new entry, on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Named for ‘British quirky history and linguistic playfulness’, Dinner’s menu is a homage to traditional recipes cooked with modern techniques and local ingredients.
An elegant dining room with a panoramic view of Hyde Park, chocolate furniture and ivory walls complemented the high ceiling.
Clusters of jelly moulds made whimsical lights on pillars.
Nearing 10pm and feeling hungry, I was delighted to nibble on complimentary bread. I love the succinct menu in the format of dish, year originated, components and price.
Circa 1730, the hay smoked mackerel was garnished with lemon salad and gentleman’s relish, and drizzled with olive oil. The greens tempered the pungent, oily fish.
A couple of seasons ago MasterChef Australia contestants had to replicate several of Heston Blumenthal’s signature dishes and I was fascinated by meat fruit, circa 1500. A sphere of chicken liver parfait is dipped in glossy mandarin jelly. I discarded the authentic stem, and cut into the skin and flesh of the meat fruit. Spread thickly on grilled bread, the silky smooth parfait was tinged with citrus notes. It was soft and rich, best shared with the complimentary bread.
The Hereford ribeye, circa 1830, was the star of the plate. A tender cut, the beef was seasoned and perfectly medium rare.
The steak was paired with triple cooked chips and mushroom ketchup. Crunchy and luscious, the chips were starchy batons of joy.
Our waiter explained that umbles are offal and the phrase ‘eating humble pie’ is derived from the medieval specialty of umble pie. Morsels of umbles dotted the powdered duck breast, circa 1670. Portions of succulent duck and supple confit fennel were in a pool of savoury jus.
Fresh and bright, a side of green beans and shallots was the requisite vegetable.
On a wooden board was a Staub cocotte of brioche and a strip of spit roast pineapple. Circa 1810, the tipsy cake was ethereal and aromatic. Sweetly caramelised, the tropical fruit was a textural contrast to the custard soaked brioche.
We had watched the nitro ice cream trolley being wheeled from couples to groups all evening and I gleefully replied ‘yes please’ when asked. Liquid nitrogen is poured with a flourish and the handle cranked to churn the vanilla ice cream. Scooped into a dainty thin sugar cone, the ice cream was dipped in a selection of toppings. The freeze dried raspberries had a concentrated flavour and the popping candy was fun!
Our celebration concluded with chocolate ganache and caraway biscuit, courtesy of the chef with exquisite penmanship.
It was midnight, and patrons lingered at the restaurant and bar as we exited into the cold London spring, contented by the Heston Blumenthal experience.
We returned from a sodden and blustery week in London to a glorious Seattle spring weekend. I check the weather forecast morning and night, converting Fahrenheit to Celsius and scrutinise the predicted precipitation. I wither in the blistering sun in Australia and I wilt in the shades of grey of the Pacific Northwest. C’est la vie!
Parallel to the Fremont Sunday Market the Mobile Food Rodeo changed its venue to a closed street this year.
There was no wait to enter with free admission and the atmosphere was congenial. Families picnicked, friends gathered and couples strolled with their dogs.
Steadied by a toothpick, the pulled pork slider with jalapeño lime aioli and spicy pineapple coleslaw was a little small for the price but was juicy and tangy. The sweet potato fries were pleasantly crunchy.
The customised pig is back for another season with attitude. I was bewildered the first time I saw Maximus Minimus grunting on a Downtown street!
Wedged in a doughy bun were chunks of Maximus pulled pork. Marinated in a sticky sauce, the pork was tender and spicy. A side of Maximus coleslaw flecked with coriander was refreshing.
A toothy Mohawk tomato is the mascot for Tokyo Dog.
Wrapped in chequered wax paper, the signature Tokyo dog of smoked cheese bratwurst was seasoned with teriyaki grilled onions, furikake, tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. The meaty hot dog had bold umami flavours. We shared a bottle of Calpico Mango, a Japanese yoghurt drink.
Our final food truck was Parfait Organic Artisan Ice Cream, my favourite local ice creamery that delivers!
We happily licked scoops of toasted coconut and chocolate peanut butter cup in sugary waffle cones as we weaved through the Fremont Sunday Market.
The inaugural kinks have been untangled and it was a better organised Mobile Food Rodeo.
It snowed in Whistler on Christmas Day and I loved it. Snowflakes zigzagged gently from the sky and dusted every surface. I was delighted with my first white Christmas. The powdered slopes were serene and the magic carpet was quiet. We skied in the morning and relaxed in the afternoon.
Survivor like torches guarded the entrance of the restaurant.
A cascade of glass globes were strung together as a sparkling chandelier.
The interior was warm and welcoming. On the far left was a champagne bar and Belvedere Ice Room. The main dining room was buzzing with families and friends celebrating Christmas. We were seated at a table with a view of the busy kitchen. Service was traditional fine dining style with a cocktail cart, sommelier and a plethora of staff.
Enticed by the cocktail cart, we ordered apéritifs as we composed our three courses. The bartender was a little absent minded. Ms S asked for recommendations for a refreshing cocktail and he referred her to the menu. Intrigued by dehydrated beer as an ingredient, Mr L ordered a Caesar. Unbeknown to our group of Australians, Caesar is a Canadian cocktail with Clamato juice which was not listed. We had the same expression after one sip each and it was abandoned.
An amuse bouche of salmon tartare whetted our appetite.
My first course was arctic char. From left to right: gravlax and celeriac, tartare and blini, and smoked and sorrel. Similar texture and milder flavour to salmon and trout, the morsels were perfectly paired.
Photographing was a challenge in the dim lighting! Ms S selected the Pemberton beets and carrots with shaved ricotta salata, spicy greens and white balsamic. It was artistically presented and I sampled a lump of white beet which was sugary.
The gentlemen had the wild mushroom soup with truffles. Poured at the table, the soup was a thick liquid with an earthy aroma.
A tangy citrus granita was the palate cleanser between courses.
The sommelier recommended a local wine, Foxtrot 2008 Pinot Noir. It was a classic match for our game main courses.
Three rare slices of Yarrow Meadows duck breast rested on a plump duck confit ravioli, squash purée, cauliflower florets, beets and pumpkin seeds. The dish was well seasoned and the meat tender, and the components were a delectable combination.
Mr S chose the wild game tasting plate of wild boar wrapped in venison and braised bison short rib with wild mushroom and heirloom bean ragoût. The other couple picked the chef’s Christmas special of goose.
We spotted a cheese cart and the fromage expert was friendly and helpful. We shared a bleu, a local cheddar and a semi soft, with raisins, candied walnuts, fig jam and crisp fruit bread.
I was determined to photograph dessert and I persisted with the single flickering candle as my light source. Served on a slate plate, the geometrical coconut and pineapple had frozen coconut mousse, Meyer lemon and kafir lime sorbet, pineapple and espelette jelly, rum caramel macadamia and cilantro. It tasted like a sophisticated piña colada!
A deconstructed St Honoré was a log of vanilla crème chiboust, coffee Chantilly, crispy malt Irish cream and brown butter milk jam.
On a rectangle of bourbon cake, the apple and caramel had a wheel of salted caramel maple parfait, apple pavé sour cream ice cream and crumbled bacon.
Petit fours concluded our Christmas dinner. From left to right: nougat, peppermint bark, ginger snap and hazelnut ganache.
It was a fun festive season in Whistler!
After a fun afternoon tenpin bowling at Garage Billiards, we sought reprieve from the darkness that was the end of daylight saving. The sister restaurant of the soon-to-be relocated Restaurant Zoë, Quinn’s gastropub is at the busy corner of Pike and 10th.
I love the architecture of Capitol Hill. Single or double story buildings are converted into spacious gathering places with floor to ceiling windows and mezzanine levels.
The entrance curtain parted to reveal a moodily lit loft. The bar is at the front and there are tables on the ground floor and upstairs.
We were seated by the window upstairs with a view of neon signs and street traffic. The wall was decorated with animal themed artwork, including these drawings of a plump pig and cow.
A majestic sheep grace the cover of the menu.
Water was served in recycled liquor bottles of varying shapes and sizes. Ours was Sazerac rye whiskey.
We chose a cider each. In a salvaged jar was a draught apple cider blended with apricot. In a flute was a pear cider made in the style of Champagne.
Topped with a pink cow shaped pin etched with ‘M rare’, the burger of Painted Hills beef, bacon, cheddar and mayonnaise was served with a bowl of French fries. The thick beef patty was juicy and the sturdy bun held the burger contents together without getting soggy.
Two generous portions of battered fish fillets rested on French fries, and were plated with pots of tomato sauce and tartare sauce. The batter was light and crispy, coating the succulent and flaky fish evenly. It was the best fish and chips I’ve had in Seattle!
The dessert items were priced at three dollars each and were perfect tasting size. I paired the chocolate ho ho with coffee ice cream. Studded with roasted hazelnuts and a round wafer, the ice cream was smooth and creamy but light on caffeine.
The chocolate ho ho was a cream log encased in chocolate ganache. It was pleasantly sweet with the texture of sponge cake.
We look forward to the re-opening of Restaurant Zoë in January 2012!
I consider Seinfeld the seminal sitcom of my generation. I have much affection for the flawed characters and how they navigate the minutiae of life. Jerry Seinfeld has toured Australia a couple of times but I deemed the tickets too expensive. I was very happy when I found out he would be in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre at an affordable price. This was the first show we’ve attended since we moved here and I really miss live comedy and theatre.
Conveniently located near the Paramount Theatre, we had reserved a table at Blueacre Seafood for pre-show dinner. I have tasty memories of the food at the Barton Seaver event several months ago and was looking forward to our meal.
There was an enticing three courses for thirty dollars Harvest Moon special but we resisted the prix fixe and opted for the seasonal à la carte menu.
A curved oyster bar is at the front, the main dining room is elevated by a couple of steps and wooden panels divide the space. Tinted glass panes filter the view into the large kitchen and tinged the booths a royal blue.
I spotted both owners, Chef Kevin Davis was in the kitchen and General Manager Teressa Davis was on the floor.
There are some similarities between Blueacre and its sister restaurant, Steelhead Diner. Complimentary bread is served with triangles of seasoned butter and the crockery is branded with the logo. The butter was dressed with a squeeze of lemon and a dusting of salt, an appetising contrast.
We had fun designing combinations from the extensive menu. Mr S ordered a cup of duck and andouille gumbo for his first course. The small container was full of sliced sausage and duck pieces, the spiciness absorbed by a scattering of rice.
I chose the jumbo lump Dungeness crab cake. A deconstructed crab cake, the tender chunks of meat is pressed into shape with no binding agent. A squiggle of mustard lime sauce and topped with mirliton salad, it was homage to the sweet Dungeness crab.
Mr S selected the Hawaiian tuna for his main course. Thick medallions of peppercorn crusted and seared rare fish was paired with whipped potatoes, frizzled leeks and sauce au poivre. The sharpness of the crushed peppercorns was tempered by the pepper sauce soaked starch.
I had the Totten Inlet mussels in green curry of coconut milk, grilled lime, ginger and chilli. The aromatic broth was soothing and light, and the mussels were fresh and plump.
We shared a side of fried sweet corn. I renewed my love for corn with this dish. The juicy kernels were lightly charred and coated in butter, espelette and sea salt.
We concluded with German chocolate cake with black walnut ice cream and cocoa soil. The layered chocolate cake was glossy and dense, textured with shredded coconut and chopped walnuts.
Jerry Seinfeld was entertaining and it was invigorating to laugh at his vignettes of coffee, marriage and food!
A screen printed wooden sign was a cheerful welcome. Bluebird Microcreamery was created as a space for the community to gather. The ice cream is made with ingredients from Washington and Oregon, the beers are from local breweries and the coffee is from Seattle roaster Caffé Vita.
An eclectic collection of reclaimed and handmade furniture decorates the sunken loft. A pane of glass across the keyboard of a piano is the table top for condiments and cutlery. Recycled glass bottles and jars are tied together with wire and dangle as light diffusers.
Draught microbrews are available in pint, ice cream float or pitcher sizes. Some of the ice cream flavours included snickerdoodle, Elysian stout and horchata.
Tacked on the side of the register, Scrabble letters spell out Bluebird. Thirteen points!
We agreed to share a Remlinger Farms marionberry waffle cone. Misshaped and limp, the waffle cone was structurally weak. Usually a slow eater, I had to hasten so the ice cream didn’t collapse onto my lap! The marionberry ice cream had a lovely lavender hue and it was slightly tart and very creamy.
We rested on the worn but comfortable sofa as Mr S sipped his DRY Soda. A graphic dinosaur looms as a feature wall.
A walrus rides a bicycle in another painting.
There are shelves of books and National Geographic magazines, and a stack of board games. I challenged Mr S to several rounds of Boggle. We had to read the rules!
A signature CakeSpy mural brightens the lavatory with a whimsical neighbourhood scene.
Beers on tap, board games and ice cream, you can easily while away the hours at Bluebird!
I had a question mark next to the Mobile Food Rodeo on my calendar as Mr S was returning from a three week work trip on the same day. I hesitated when the lovely Carol offered me a spare ticket but Mr S assured me he would be sleeping off jet lag so I happily accepted.
It was cool and cloudy as we joined the queue just before midday. VIP ticket holders were to have an extra hour before general admission but they were delayed by the fire marshal inspection and thus had a cascading effect on us. Hungry and windswept, we finally entered just before one o’clock.
A barren bitumen block enclosed by a barbwire fence, about a dozen food trucks ringed the perimeter and there were a couple of canopies with stacked hay bales for seating.
The bright graffiti on the Skillet Street Food van greeted us.
Next to the petite Whole Foods truck was Maximus Minimus, a pig with attitude in sunglasses!
Our first food truck was Curry Now. By the time we got our wristbands, I was shivering and in need of sustenance.
We shared a small chicken curry with rice and topped with cilantro. We ate this quickly and appreciated the spiciness.
Street Treats was adjacent and we peeked at the menu. Although tempted by ice cream cookie sandwiches we opted to purchase a salted brown butter crispy bar for later. We split this in the car and it was a sticky treat of sweet nuttiness.
When we were outside the line was moving steadily until we paused at Fusion on the Run. We noticed a menu leaning against a window and were intrigued by the coconut ginger chicken bánh mì.
As we were waiting for our bánh mì, a guy picked up his tacos order. On the left is ono, kalua pork with mango salsa and surfer sauce. The other two are KV fusion, marinated short rib with cilantro and onions.
A crusty baguette was filled with julienned and pickled carrots and daikon, lettuce, cilantro, sesame seeds and coconut ginger chicken. Each bite of the bánh mì was crunchy and juicy, the sour vegetables tempered the richness of the marinated chicken. This was the highlight of the Mobile Food Rodeo!
By now the crowds have at least quadrupled since we got in. Groups were huddled together, balancing plates and trays while standing. Those perched on hay bales were elbow to elbow.
We continued our rotation and walked by Lumpia World, Where Ya At and Kaosamai. After the bánh mì, we skipped burgers, sliders and sandwiches at Bistro Box, Buns on Wheels and Charlie’s Buns N’ Stuff.
The pig shaped chalkboard at The Box caught our attention! A recent addition to the fleet of local food trucks, they’re based in Kirkland.
We ordered a pork belly hum bao each and these were speedily assembled. Slow braised in soy and mirin, a generous slice of pork belly with a scattering of coleslaw was wedged between a steamed bun. The fresh and zingy slaw was a textural contrast to the yielding pork belly and the soft bun soaked up the tasty marinade.
A band entertained the crowds and later, Mayor McGinn appeared on the stage and a cupcake eating contest was held.
The sun had emerged and the atmosphere had livened up. There were some long queues so Carol lined up at Bigfood and I went searching for fries.
I was keen to try poutine, the Québec specialty. Surprised by only a handful of people lingering at Skillet, I joined the short queue just in time for the announcement that they were sold out.
Disappointed, I returned to the area where Bigfood was parked and caught a glimpse of the Happy Grillmore menu. Yukon gold fries with garlic and Parmesan? Yes please!
Unfortunately I was defeated by the wait time. The two chefs were cooking at a frantic pace but they were limited by space. The size of the event overwhelmed the charm of food trucks.
A jungle themed food truck, Bigfood also had a long queue but we were determined to try their grilled flatbreads.
On the left is sasquatch, spicy pulled pork shoulder with green mango chutney and coleslaw. On the right is yeti, braised beef with curried fruit and coleslaw. Colourful ingredients rested on fluffy flatbreads with perfect grill marks! These were tender and luscious, the grilled flatbread was a sturdy utensil for the shredded meat and fruity condiments.
And finally, a red velvet muffin. We scraped off the buttercream and halved the dense and buttery muffin.
Another new food truck, Snout & Co. has ‘soulful food from Cuba to South Carolina’.
As we exited, we were thankful that we arrived early and mostly avoided queuing by the dozens. Hopefully the organisation will improve for next year but it is a fun event to sample the diverse food trucks of Seattle and Portland.