Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘cocktail

It was a pleasant May in Seattle. I did not feel sodden as I did last spring and we were blessed with many glorious days as a prelude to the northern summer. On a pleasant Saturday we enjoyed apéritifs at Tavern Law and sauntered down to Momiji (紅葉) for dinner with a group of Australian expats and tourists.

The sister restaurant of Umi Sake House in Belltown, Momiji is Japanese for maple. Painted burgundy, the front bar featured a curious white latticed lampshade and was saturated in natural light.

With the exception of the wide street frontage, the layout of Momiji is the same as Umi’s. A corridor opened to a spacious dining room. The counter had a prime view of the sushi chefs deftly slicing sashimi and shaping nigiri.

At the centre was a serene Japanese garden.

We perused the comprehensive menu as I sipped a summery cocktail, The Getaway. In a tall glass was Hendrick’s Gin, Pimm’s and soda topped with a lychee.

We ordered an array of dishes among the seven of us. First was ahi pokē. Diced ahi tuna and cucumber were tossed with onion slivers, shichimi (Japanese seasoning), soy sauce and sesame seeds. The first time I ate pokē was at a Flying Fish cooking class. A Hawaiian salad, it had a luscious contrast of textures.

A plate of prawn and vegetable tempura was coated in a lumpy batter and pleasingly crunchy.

Poached beets, and a mound of arugula and shiso were drizzled with lemon vinaigrette.

Portions of grilled king crab was paired with ponzu dipping sauce and mixed greens. A generous serving, the crustacean was charred and meaty.

Soft shell crabs were pan fried to golden brown. The spindly morsels were sweet and succulent.

Wrinkled and charred, the half dozen prawn and scallop gyoza were juicy parcels of seafood encased in a thin wrapper.

Buckwheat noodles were stir-fried with cubes of tofu and an assortment of vegetables. Garnished with green onions, pickles and nori, the triangular bowl of yakisoba was a symphony of flavours.

With casual ambience and quality ingredients, Momiji is a delicious addition to 12th Avenue in Capitol Hill.

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It was a glorious Monday in London and we spent the only clear weather we had outdoors. I gallivanted about Westminster in the morning fending off tourists with unwieldy maps and gargantuan DSLRs. We merrily roamed Kew Gardens in the afternoon, steamed in Victoria era glasshouses and felt the spring blades of grass between our toes.

Famished and fatigued, dinner at Nopi was a nourishing conclusion to a lovely day.

A lampshade of rustic bronze leaves greeted patrons.

The glare of the all white interior was diffused by the lighting creating a warm ambience.

A beautiful bouquet in pink hues marked the serving table where platters of salads and loaves of bread were displayed in a front corner of the dining room.

On the left was the grapefruit and lychee cooler, a fruity cocktail of lemon infused vodka, lychee and grapefruit juices, lemon, sugar and mint.

The menu was categorised into vegetables, fish and meat. We agreed to let our waiter order for us and our group of seven had nine dishes family style.

The first was roasted aubergine with black garlic, harissa and pine nuts. Eggplant halves were roasted until silky, its soft flesh contrasted with the crunch of the pine nuts.

I’m neutral on lentils so I only had a tiny spoonful of these green ones with shaved beetroot and radish, and berbere croutons. An African spice blend, the berbere was an appetising seasoning for the bland but nutritious lentils.

Sambal rubbed gurnard was wrapped in banana leaf. The fish fillet was succulent and fiery.

A sphere of burrata was paired with slices of blood orange and coriander seeds. The squeaky mozzarella oozed with cream, and the herby and citrus notes tempered the richness.

Portions of twice cooked baby chicken was dipped in chilli sauce and sprinkled with lemon myrtle salt. The distinct Mediterranean flavours were bold and vibrant.

A cube of pork belly was in a pool of grape mustard jus. The fatty meat was balanced by the wedges of caramelised nashi pear.

In a skillet was seared prawns tossed with feta, fennel and Pernod.

Two golden orbs were courgette and Manouri fritters. Dipped in a cooling lime yoghurt, the mixture of zucchini and Greek cheese were savoury bites.

The last of our waiter’s selection was a ‘cheesecake’. Valdeón, a Spanish blue cheese, was baked in a copper pot and garnished with pickled beetroot and thyme honey. I prefer this version to dessert cheesecakes!

This scoop of sorbet was the essence of pear.

A classic English treat, this Eton mess of meringue, sumac and rose syrup was topped with a quenelle of strawberry sorbet.

Delightfully warm and fluffy financiers were shared.

The Brits love Yotam Ottolenghi and a meal at Nopi epitomises his food philosophy.

I love the rhythm of weekend meals. They can be spontaneous or researched and made with intention. We were vacillating about brunch when we serendipitously stopped outside Henry and Oscar’s. Owned by the Big Picture, Henry and Oscar’s is located next to Boulangerie Nantaise in Belltown.

The bar is at the front and the separate dining room is at the back.

A cosy lounge connected the bar to the dining room.

Their signature cocktails were enticing. Mr S selected the Bogart, muddled sage, lime, Tanqueray, Cointreau and lemon were shaken into a sea foam beverage poured into a martini glass.

My mojito was garnished with a vibrant sprig of mint and was appetisingly tangy.

Complimentary scones were warm flat discs served with generous scoops of marmalade and berry conserve.

The chicken Parmesan sandwich was messy to eat but satiating. Chicken breast, molten cheese and rich tomato sauce melded together in a crusty baguette. A little limp, the rusty fries were hand cut and starchy.

The last time I had a hot dog was at a New York baseball local derby a couple of years ago. A quintessential American sports experience, the hot dog was gobbled with a beer.

In a narrow poppy seed bun was a Vienna beef frank, neon relish, tomato slices, dill pickle, sport peppers, a squiggle of mustard and a sprinkle of celery salt. The Chicago style Oscar dog was a meaty and piquant combination of ingredients.

Henry and Oscar’s is open until late for supper and cocktails!

I’m always nervous suggesting European restaurants to our French friends. Thankfully we loved the cosy ambience and homely fare of Dinette. I hummed the tune of ‘Four Seasons In One Day‘ by Crowded House all day. Snow, sleet, wind, rain. Repeat. There were moments of brilliant light, silver beams refracted off pewter clouds.

On Olive Way in Capitol Hill, Dinette’s seasonal menu has French, Italian and Spanish flavours.

Two adjoining rooms split the bar and dining areas. Powdered blue walls were accented by a cluster of serving trays. Tangerine damask lamps and glassybaby votive candles lit the counter.

A vertical piano was in the back of the dining room and Casey MacGill entertained us with the rhythmic melodies of swing jazz.

Neutral walls and embellished pillars, I adore the simple elegance of the décor.

A functional chalkboard listed the specials in block writing.

Infused with bergamot, the Earl Grey martini was a zesty apéritif.

We shared terrine and toasts as appetizers. A slice of rabbit, pistachio and bacon terrine was paired with grained mustard and pickled rhubarb. My aversion of rabbit continues and I had one bite of the terrine spread on crostini.

A three by four grid of toasts were presented on a wooden paddle. From left to right: prosciutto, croque monsieur and pesto. My favourite was the pesto, molten Beecher’s Flagship and spicy pickled peppers.

Ms S had the rainbow trout with French lentils, ruby chard and lemon aioli which was pleasingly fresh.

A generous portion, the spaghetti carbonara was tossed with bacon, peas and topped with an organic egg yolk. Mr S twirled a forkful for me to taste and it was a robust pasta.

An apt dish for March, Ms LM’s lamb was braised in Guinness, on a pillow of mashed rutabaga, leeks and peas, and garnished with grated horseradish.

I ordered the crispy skin chicken thighs. The butterflied dark meat was well seasoned, and the cauliflower purée was creamy and sweet.

The second terrine of the meal was Valrhona chocolate with whipped cream and nut brittle.

Our dessert was a retro bread pudding with raisins soaked in Tuaca, a dollop of whipped cream and drizzled with caramel sauce.

Quality ingredients, cooked splendidly!

We celebrated our first anniversary in Seattle with dinner at Spur. We had a cosy evening at the gastropub during the miserable spring of last year and loved the experience. Located next to The Coterie Room, Spur is the original restaurant by Chefs McCracken and Tough.

The ambience was warm and bistro like. A narrow room is split into two, long communal tables on the right and individual tables on the left. Plush armchairs are at the entrance and the open plan kitchen is at the back. Mirror panes line the wall to create the illusion of space and illuminate the high ceiling.

The menu is categorised into seasonal and staples. In a nostalgic moment, we ordered the same dishes as we did nearly twelve months ago.

Pimm’s is a classic English liqueur and we sipped on a refreshing twist, the West Coast Pimm’s. Poured into a tall glass with lemon, cucumber, mint, basil and ginger ale, it was a fizzy beverage with a citrus bouquet.

Dotted with capers, a plump piece of sockeye salmon was atop pillowy mascarpone on a crostini. At four dollars each, they were appetising bites.

Cut in half and served with a mound of shoestring fries, the grass fed beef patty, red onion jam, cheddar and thyme were sandwiched in a buttery brioche bun. It was a juicy burger, the delicate sweetness of the red onion jam accentuated the savoury beef.

Parmesan foam, shaved Parmesan, glossy sous vide duck egg, finely sliced green onions, crunchy pine nuts, meaty oyster mushrooms and silky tagliatelle, my main was a delectable combination of textures and flavours.

We reminisced and reflected, making the time to pause over a delicious meal at the end of a hectic week.

A mixed group of Americans and Australians met for happy hour at Nijo last week. Located a couple of blocks south of the Seattle Art Museum, the restaurant is on the Puget Sound end of Spring Street.

A courtyard is fenced by bamboo and would be popular for al fresco dining during summer.

Festive baubles dangled from ceiling lights. There was a bar and a sushi counter, and tables were by the window.

Happy hour is daily, early and late. The beverages menu was the same length as the food menu! A selection of appetisers, maki, temaki, nigiri and sashimi were discounted.

Three large marbles of takoyaki were drizzled with mayonnaise and aonori. A savoury batter ensconced a tendril of octopus.

A generous mound of chicken karaage was served in an odd sized bowl. The chicken pieces were marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic, lightly dusted with flour and deep fried.

On the left was spicy tuna roll, a fiery blend of minced tuna and chilli. On the top right was Bainbridge islander roll, prawn, salmon, cucumber and avocado were seasoned with a spicy sauce. On the bottom right was salmon nigiri, a slice of salmon sashimi atop sushi rice.

On the left was ebi nigiri and on the right was seared spicy shiro magura (albacore tuna) nigiri, both were fresh and succulent.

We shared two desserts, tempura ice cream and fried banana spring roll. Green tea and red bean ice cream were cloaked in pound cake and deep fried. I preferred the delicate flavour of the green tea ice cream. There was no crunchy shell and it was more ice cream cake than tempura.

Crispy and sweet, banana and white chocolate were a sugary filling for the spring roll.

We are fond of happy hour in Seattle and Nijo is another recommendation!

Online shopping is easy in America. There are many aggregate websites that curate brands with cheap delivery and free return. I like browsing the ones with a short sales period such as One Kings Lane and Gilt as there tend to be bargains for items that are on your wish list.

When Gilt City launched in Seattle I was curious as to how it would be positioned in a crowded market. They seem to have targeted a demographic keen on a lifestyle of culture, health, fashion and food. Maybe I’m one of those people as I’ve purchased vouchers!

Gilt City Seattle and Seattleite hosted the Fall Comforts Taste the Season event at Wing Luke Museum yesterday evening. The autumn gastronomic celebration coincided with the ‘Fields to family: Asian Pacific Americans and food‘ exhibition.

Concentric circles are suspended from the ceiling at the entrance. The bells can be rung with a donation, to ‘clear the air, send a wish, say hello’.

This list of restaurants was what enticed me to attend! (Image courtesy of Seattleite website.)

The GastroGnomeLovely Lanvin and her neighbourly friend Phia were my dining companions. The GastroGnome and I needed a cool drink after a brisk walk on a mild day. Golden Beetle was mixing two cocktails and I had the Cargill. Hendrick’s gin, lavender liquor, black pepper syrup and lemon juice was a refreshing apéritif.

The tasting room was resplendent in Chinese red. Tables surrounded the perimeter and were decorated with an autumn theme.

Our first sample was the cassoulet from RN74. A generous ladle eaten with a petite spoon, the bean stew was peppery and warming, and crunchy from a scattering of bread crumbs.

Pork rib was braised in foie gras nage and wild mushroom, and topped with harissa jam. This morsel from The Chef in the Hat was tender with intense earthy flavours.

A mini tray of Foodz Catering brie and truffle mac and cheese was al dente and creamy.

Foodz Catering also had peppers stuffed with feta and pistachios, a sweet and savoury snack on a bamboo skewer.

Platters of corned lamb Rueben with sauerkraut and green curry aioli were substantial from Revel.

Artusi had scoops of eggplant and stone fruit caponata with cherry tomato and toasted pine nuts. The vinegar was balanced with the sweet fruits and the silky eggplant contrasted with the seeds.

Pork cheek pibil with potatoes was stacked in a cup by Poquitos. The chunk of meat was a little chewy but the diced potatoes were spiced and crispy.

Bastille had mussels with Rockridge hard cider, young ginger and fennel pollen with potato chips. In an aromatic broth, the plump bivalves were briny and fresh.

My favourite dish was pasta fagioli from Staple & Fancy, served by Ethan Stowell! Borlotti bean and ditaloni pasta in broth made with Parmesan rinds and bacon, and sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano. This was the definition of hearty comfort food!

We meandered through the Fields to Family exhibition. It was an interactive display of the ‘sights, sounds, tastes and smells of foods in the homes and restaurants of diverse Asian Pacific Americans’.

Wok accoutrement hung on the wall.

On the left is a fortune cookie machine, and on the right is a noodle press and dough roller.

Framed photos of Chinese restaurant neon signs.

The story of Bing cherries.

We returned to Spur for dessert. Chefs McCracken and Tough paired freeze dried house made cereal with whole milk ice cream.

It was theatrical to watch the canister of liquid nitrogen being poured. The ice cream tasted of wholesome milk and cereal flakes were the sweetener.

A final treat was dianne’s Delights cake pops. Pumpkin, chocolate or vanilla, these whimsical desserts on a stick were popular.

Cheers to Gilt City Seattle for a food and drink event where the chefs were present!


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