Posts Tagged ‘lasagna’
We’ve had meals with several Australians in the last couple of weeks. Some were visiting for work, others were on holiday. There’s a homely comfort to hearing an Aussie accent, laughing at a sarcastic comment and understanding a cultural reference.
Our sunburnt country is girt by sea and with the exception of New Zealand, it takes many hours on a plane to get to another country. In this tyranny of distance, Aussies tend to travel for weeks and months and not days.
Sustained by a warm day and long daylight hours, Mr N overcame jet lag for dinner at Cuoco. Occupying the street level of the Terry Avenue Building, the restaurant is resplendent in its restoration with brick walls, wooden beams and Georgian windows.
A wide entrance welcomes you with a view of the open plan pasta making area, lined with Atlas Marcato pasta machines in rainbow hues. We were ushered to the bar for an apéritif before being seated at our table.
I noticed a couple of private dining rooms, ideal for business meetings and special celebrations. I read on the website that there’s also a chef’s table, a concept that’s popular (and expensive) in Sydney.
The tables had dividers or were generously spaced which made for good conversation. As with all other Tom Douglas restaurants, Cuoco is dimly lit but we were lucky to be by a window.
We shared house made bread with extra virgin olive oil tasting. Fresh and fluffy, the thickly sliced bread had a chewy crust and a soft centre for soaking up the fluorescent liquids.
Our waiter was congenial and knowledgeable about the menu. Mr S ordered spaghetti with garlic, anchovy, breadcrumbs, chilli flakes, Parmigiano and grilled wild prawns. A dryer style pasta with flavoured breadcrumbs, the combination was a pleasant textural contrast. The prawns were succulent and added bulk to the meal.
Mr N craved a classic dish after seventeen hours of airline and airport food. The seven layer lasagna with tiers of Bolognese and besciamella was cosy and soothing.
I don’t recall ever eating lamb in pasta so I was intrigued by the lamb ravioli served with garlic, spring onions, English peas and Pecorino. Plain in appearance, the flat, jagged edged parcels were silky and protected a dollop of finely minced lamb.
A bowl of Bing cherries was the dessert special but my love for chocolate and hazelnut pairings prevailed. Salted, roasted and crushed hazelnuts were scattered on top of a slice of chocolate Nutella semifreddo. The waiter brought three spoons but only one was used – mine!
It was still dusk as we left. Mr N commented that Seattle is a liveable city in summer and we wholeheartedly agree.
Pike Place Market thrives with activity in summer. Tourists queue patiently for a coffee from the original Starbucks, buskers are vying for the attention of passers-by, crowds linger at the fishmonger eager to witness a salmon throw, children climb on Rachel the Pig like an amusement park ride, and locals shop and eat in the heart of Emerald City.
When I reflect on summer in Seattle, these would be the fond memories I’ll retrieve to endure another winter. On a postcard day, I meandered down to Post Alley for a weekday lunch with La Modette. I have not walked this section of Post Alley before, an eclectic collection of trinket stores and restaurants.
My usually reliable mobile phone had ingested polyjuice potion and assumed the temperament of a diva. I could not, for it would not let me, search for the address of The Pink Door. I strolled up and down Post Alley looking for a sign when I realised there is literally a pink door. More beige than pink, two painted marble columns guard the entrance to The Pink Door.
A restaurant with free live entertainment by night (cabaret, trapeze, burlesque), a table on the terrace is highly coveted at lunch. With a panoramic view of Puget Sound, the terrace is shaded by a wooden lattice and I could easily while away the afternoon with a bottle of crisp white and nibbling on antipasti.
Service was brisk and we were seated quickly at a vinyl clothed table. We ordered a glass a house red, a generic Italian wine served in classic beer bottles. It was more than a standard drink at eight ounces!
La Modette opted for the antipasti, a generous plate of prosciutto, salami, grilled seasonable vegetables, tapenade and mozzarella.
I selected lasagna Pink Door, their signature meal. Presented in an oval baking dish, sheets of silky pasta were layered with besciamella and pesto, and doused in marinara sauce. Each mouthful was a complex blend of creamy, tangy and earthy – it was the definition of comfort food.
We exited through the anonymous pink door warmed by the sun, glowing from the vino and enriched by travel stories.