Posts Tagged ‘soup’
This is my third post on pizza in three weeks! Ballard Pizza Company is the first of Ethan Stowell‘s Grubb Brothers ‘production’ of casual eateries. After cocktails (a refreshing Inverness mule of Scotch, ginger beer and fresh lime juice) and Mackie’s potato crisps at MacLeod’s Scottish Pub, we joined the Saturday night queue at Ballard Pizza Company. Our group of four gathered at the communal bench and bopped to 80s and 90s hip hop as we ate.
I returned during the week for lunch with Shirley. A gargantuan wheel cutter was a beacon for pizza lovers. Painted pewter, a glass paned garage door rolls up on those beloved Seattle summer days. Play That Funky Music greeted us.
A New York style pizzeria, Ballard Pizza Company sells ‘fat slices’ and ‘whole pies’. Pasta and gnocchi were carb alternatives, and salads and soups were lighter meals. There were eight beers on tap with a flat price for pints and pitchers. Wine on tap was noted as ‘coming soon’.
Staff was rhythmically stretching dough on enormous wooden paddles. A cheese pie is the base and you can add any toppings priced per item.
A daily stromboli special had salami, asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes.
There were six pizzas sold by the slice: cheese, pepperoni, ham and pineapple, tomato and rapini, sausage and mushroom, and broccoli and garlic confit.
We ordered and paid at the counter, and had the pizzeria to ourselves for several minutes. Timber and brick were the requisite rustic material on the walls, roof, chairs and tables.
Each table had three shaker jars of chilli flakes, dried oregano and grated Parmesan.
We shared slices of tomato and rapini, mushroom and sausage, and broccoli and garlic confit. The thin crust was a little firm with an even char. Bitter greens and juicy tomatoes were an appetising combination.
Florets of broccoli were interspersed with cloves of garlic confit. The garlic was sweet and mellow, and I would have been happy with just the caramel coloured morsels and mozzarella. The sausage and mushroom was a highlight. Peppered with Italian sausage and crimini mushrooms, the slice was spicy and meaty.
Ballard Pizza Company will be popular with the late night crowd!
I celebrated Australia Day (26 January) with a private lunch at Salumi courtesy of Naomi. Founded by Mario Batali‘s father Armandino, Salumi is a family business that produces artisan cured meats with a retail store in historic Pioneer Square.
Resplendent in firecracker red, a tasselled Chinese lantern was sketched on the chalkboard. There was a Chinese New Year sandwich special on the menu for the Year of the Dragon.
A queue crammed in the narrow corridor and I weaved through the crowd to get to the back room. The blushed wall had a slot with a view of the communal table. A mosaic plaque was homage to the swine.
Opposite is a window into the storage facility where sausages dangled on a metal rack.
A pink chequered vinyl tablecloth brightened the room.
Translucent slices of salumi curled together.
Four rosy shades of salumi fanned around a platter.
A bowl of marinated mixed olives whetted our appetite.
We nibbled as introductions were made and wine was poured. The first course was tomato and mozzarella bruschetta, a classic.
Jalapeños were halved and stuffed with cream cheese and flecked with meaty fragments. Laced with heat, these morsels were bites of fun.
I was happy that the next course featured vegetables for a requisite serving of healthiness. Crunchy green beans and plump cherry tomatoes were tossed with slivers of bacon.
A traditional New Year dish, the cotechino and lentils were a taupe grainy mass studded with discs. With the exception of dal, I’m ambivalent to lentils but I liked the chewy texture of the boiled pork rind sausage.
Blistered and golden, next was a crisp edged frittata with cubes of fleshy potatoes.
A shallow bowl of aromatic soup was a welcomed palate cleanser. A deeply savoury broth, it reminded me of Chinese herbal soups that cure all ailments and enriches the soul.
A loyal carb lover, the highlight was the pappardelle with chicken, garlic, leeks and Vermouth. It was a symphony of harmonious flavours.
Just when we thought the meal was at its crescendo, the scent of truffles preceded the tray of polenta. I scooped a tasting portion on my plate and decanted some in a container to take home.
Dessert was wine poached pears cut into the shape of Dr Zoidberg from Futurama.
Shards of crackling concluded three hours of dining and wining, much as we did at Momofuku Seiōbo.
We slowly straightened from our chairs and waddled out for fresh air after indulging in the ‘chef’s whim menu’.
I dislike mornings. With enough sleep, I still wake up in a fog. I perfected a silent routine in Sydney with the singular goal of hugging a cup of coffee at my work desk. I breathed in the caffeine aroma and slowly sipped the warm bittersweet liquid. A skim mocha was prerequisite to my human interactions.
I have weened myself off caffeine since moving to Seattle. My two, three cups a week are less functional and more enjoyment. And I indulged in one nearly every day we were in Whistler. Resting indoors with a hot beverage while snow flurries fluttered by the window were idyllic, a romanticised white Christmas for a Southern Hemisphere native.
The Starbucks near our hotel was crowded one afternoon and we crossed into a laneway to the provocatively named Hot Buns Bakery.
A cosy café with optimistic al fresco tables and chairs under an awning, Hot Buns Bakery is open for breakfast and lunch.
Above the entrance was a risqué surfboard adorned with the eponymous ’hot buns’.
Vintage skis and boots dangled from the ceiling.
Framed sepia portraits lined the walls and the dining room was marked with a manual parking meter.
Sweet and savoury crêpes, panini, soups and pastries were on the menu.
A frothy cup of Lavazza was welcomed.
We shared a cinnamon bun, a Hot Buns Bakery specialty. A sticky scroll of dense dough swirled with a gritty cinnamon paste and glazed, it was a delightful sweet treat.
I spotted a banana Nutella crêpe at the next table and it was a decadent snack. Conveniently located in Whistler Village, Hot Buns Bakery was a pleasant retreat after several hours on the slopes.
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!
This is our first full winter in Seattle and I’m learning the art of layering, and loving the essential quartet of coat, scarf, gloves and boots. I’m searching for a hat and considering ear muffs! There is only one walking pace on a frigid day and that is brisk. My glasses fogged up when I entered King Noodle for lunch with Naomi.
A banner tacked to the window announced the opening of the restaurant. A small room with about half a dozen tables, the décor is simple and homely. A blue bird and cherry blossom decal is featured on a cream wall.
The compact menu is printed with checkboxes for self ordering. Customised noodle soup is the specialty and other dishes include congee and clay pots. There is a selection of soup bases, noodles, vegetables, proteins and other ingredients.
I ordered a red bean and sago coconut milk as it reminded me of my childhood. Served in a bubble tea cup, it’s always fun to pierce the sealed lid with the thick straw. The beverage was an icy blend of red bean paste, starchy sago pearls and sweetened coconut milk.
We pondered the noodle soup combinations and submitted our pieces of paper. We spotted a condiments bar which had a variety of chilli oils, soy sauces and fermented bean pastes.
An enormous steaming bowl of flat rice noodles, sliced mushrooms, chives (mistakenly listed as leeks on the menu), wontons and barbecued duck swirled in chicken broth. It was soothing to slurp the slippery noodles and the wontons were a flavour delight.
Naomi had a medley of QQ noodles (Taiwanese), tofu skins (bean curd sheets), sliced mushrooms and chives in spicy Szechuan soup.
I shall return for congee and clay pots!
We only knew a handful of people when we moved to Seattle. Ms D-R, an Irish American, has been hospitable and introduced us to some of her friends. We joined them this month at Poppy for their restaurant club. The ‘host’ is rotated each month and is responsible for selecting the restaurant and booking a table.
At the Lake Union end of Broadway East in the gentrified neighbourhood of Capitol Hill, Poppy has a modern décor in a comfortable and spacious room. Birch toned with poppy accents and exposed brick walls; an open plan kitchen is lined with glass jars of herbs and spices.
I was early so I sat at the bar and sipped a glass of ‘Poppy hour’ Tempranillo and was entertained by the bar staff’s stories from the dining room. The menu was held upright with a wooden peg.
I was thankful the restaurant was moderately lit and the din was just a gentle hum.
There were about a dozen appetisers and the specialty was thali, an Indian meal. The definition of thali was printed on the front of the menu, ‘a round tray on which a variety of small dishes are served, all at once, to each guest’.
After we ordered I took a peek at the herb garden which is at the back of the restaurant. The wooden beds were full of thriving plants.
Our group shared the eggplant fries with sea salt and honey, and batata wada, potato fritters with cilantro lime sauce. The lightly battered batons were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Batata wada were spicy balls of starch and the citrus sauce was refreshing.
There were various combinations of seven and ten item thalis and vegetarian options. Our patient waitress explained we could substitute and add components. I was starving and chose the ten item thali.
Clockwise from top: beet yoghurt soup with avocado cream, Swiss chard gratin (hidden), nigella poppy naan, roasted cauliflower with apple and dill, seared scallops with lentils, pickled onions and black pepper lime Hollandaise, radicchio salad, pickled Asian pear, persimmon salad, and Berkshire pork ribs with pear, chestnut and vanilla.
The salads of radicchio and persimmon were crunchy and zingy.
Ladled into a mini cup, the beet yoghurt soup had a concentrated earthy flavour.
Bite size cubes of pickled Asian pear were a palate cleanser. Charred and caramelised, the roasted cauliflower with apple and dill were mildly sweet.
I have an aversion to pumpkin and squash. Roasted, puréed or in a pie, I generally won’t eat it. I tasted a spoonful of the mashed delicata squash and was surprised by the smooth, spiced purée. The Swiss chard gratin was a favourite comfort food; the leafy nutritious greens were baked with bread crumbs until browned.
Two plump scallops were grilled and rested on a bed of lentils in black pepper lime Hollandaise sauce and topped with threads of pickled onions. The bivalves were well cooked, its briny freshness highlighted by the acidic garnish.
The chunky Berkshire pork rib was tender and fatty, and pear, chestnut and vanilla was a classic pairing with a twist.
Mr S swapped the Berkshire pork rib for wagyu coulotte steak. Grilled to medium rare, the richness of the premium marbled beef was tempered by the garlic chive and caper salsa verde.
We were too full to be tempted by the dessert thali!
If we were to play a word association game, the word ‘samurai’ conjures up the Samurai Pizza Cats anime for me. I have only vague memories of the show dubbed in English. Sword wielding, crime fighting cats who are undercover (or are they moonlighting) as owners of a pizzeria?
I found myself humming the tune of the theme song as I approached Samurai Noodle. Samurai Pizza Cats! Pepperoni, anchovies. Samurai Pizza Cats! I digress.
Huddled next to the entrance of Uwajimaya Village, Samurai Noodle’s street frontage is dominated by a large poster declaring ‘Seattle’s best ramen soup’ with scintillating photos of steaming bowls of noodle soups.
Inside is a small L shaped dining room with the kitchen operating out of a narrow corridor. The menu is divided into ramen and rice, and a long list of extra toppings including the aptly named samurai armour and shōgun combo.
Samurai themed paraphernalia like sumo calendars, t-shirts and printed articles decorate the walls. The tables are deceptively spacious but the stools are awkward to perch on.
A cute wall mounted condiment shelf was loaded with salt and pepper shakers and containers of Japanese seasoning, sesame seeds, pickled ginger and chilli flakes.
I ordered the tonkotsu, not to be confused with tonkatsu which is crumbed pork cutlet. A traditional dish from Hakata, the cloudy soup is made with pork bone, a rich source of collagen. The milky broth is viscous and soothing. A thick slice of pork, green onions and black mushrooms float above the thin, firm ramen.
Service is brisk and I gladly vacated my stool as soon as I emptied the bowl.
Seattle is vibrant in late summer. The brilliant weather has us all out and about. Keen to be outdoors in the balmy dusk, we strolled through Pike Place Market to Lecosho. The patio emptied of Downtown workers as we perused the drinks menu.
Our table had a direct view into the main dining room. Furnished in muted tones and dark veneers, the lofty space had a long bar and an open kitchen in the corner. Sunlight streamed in through the floor to ceiling windows.
Our table was brightened by a jug of blossoming dahlias.
Lecosho is the Chinook slang for swine and there’s a chubby pig on their logo!
We nibbled Marcona almonds and olives as we pondered dinner choices. A round and stout variety of almonds, the Marcona had a fine texture, and were fried and salted.
Complimentary bread was from Columbia City Bakery. I like the dainty glass butter dish on a distressed wood board.
The gentlemen ordered the Catalan style fish soup. An abundance of prawns, clams, mussels and finfish mingled with a saffron sofrito broth. I had a spoonful and the soup was infused with the briny essence of the fresh seafood.
The ladies opted for the ricotta gnocchi with chanterelle mushrooms, asparagus and Pecorino Romano. Pan fried with a crisp shell, the gnocchi was pillowy soft inside and paired well with the crunchy spears of asparagus.
The gentlemen eschewed dessert for whisky and Scotch digestifs, poured by Jerry who was the sommelier at the Il Corvo Sardinia pasta and wine class.
Ms S picked the bittersweet chocolate torte served with a quenelle of cream about the same size as the torte. Cracked and sunken in appearance, the slice was rich and velvety.
I had the vanilla rice pudding with stewed rhubarb topped with a petite madeleine. Dotted with vanilla bean, the bowl of rice pudding was decadently creamy.
I ate the petite madeleine last as its sweetness would have overwhelmed the delicate vanilla perfume.
We agreed to return to taste the restaurant’s namesake which features on the menu as porchetta, rillettes, sausage and pork chop!
It was night by the time we left, the chill of autumn in the air.