Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘pasta

When I’m in a lift I have a tendency to exit at the next floor the door opens. Each level of my work building in Sydney was painted a different colour so it was discombobulating when I’m in the foyer of the wrong one.

Here in Seattle I’ve inserted a key into the wrong apartment and panicked when it wouldn’t turn. I looked at the number and realised I was three floors above home. I gasped, stumbled and ran down the stairs. And I counted the number of floors.

When Marisa was driving us to dinner at Gainsburg we took the scenic route. We were happily chatting until we crossed the Fremont Bridge and not the Aurora Bridge. We were going in the direction of Greenwood, and thankfully American blocks are perpendicular and numbered so our absentmindedness was easily rectified.

The exterior is ominously clad in black, a ‘dining room and cocktails’ sign beckoned.

It was dark inside. Amber lights diffused a sepia tone and the furniture was in moody shades of red and brown.

We perched on stools at the counter and quizzed the affable chef on the menu.

An ornate plate of charcuterie consisted of coppa, porcini ham, smoked duck breast, olives, cornichons, bread and mustard.

A pot of macaronis et fromage was served with a side salad. Molten Gruyère and Brie were stirred into penne seasoned with roasted garlic and thyme.

A narrow baguette was stuffed with slices of duck breast and brie, caramelised apple and fennel, arugula and Dijon mustard, and served with frites.

The cheesecake du jour was salted caramel. A fluffy cheesecake with a thin biscuit base, the saltiness was balanced by the drizzle of glossy caramel on top.

Layers of spongy chocolate cake and satiny fudge were an opulent dessert.

Appetites satiated and enriched by conversations, we returned across the Aurora Bridge and I alighted the lift on my floor!

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All of Tom Douglas‘s restaurants are in our neighbourhood. Seventeen months in Seattle and we’ve dined at each of them except for Palace Kitchen. Every time I walk by I remind myself that we must have a meal there. And I finally did last week! Located on the corner of 5th and Lenora, it is adjacent to Palace Ballroom and in the midst of a couple of construction sites.

At the centre of Palace Kitchen is the bar, and two dining rooms are to its left and right. Window panes slide open for fresh air on warm nights and natural light filters in on long summer days.

A jewel toned goblet of strawberry lemonade was garnished with a lemon twist. A second beverage of sour cherry fizz was tart and minty.

Shirley and I shared three courses. First was ‘plin’, a Piedmontese style ravioli, filled with roast pork and chard. The pinched pasta were in a puddle of sage and parmesan butter. I spooned the fragrant sauce over each of the cute al dente morsels. Next time I’ll order a side of bread to mop the plate!

Palace Kitchen is famed for their applewood grill. The chicken wings were golden and sticky, laced with an intense smokiness. A sea foamed coloured coriander cream tempered the succulent poultry.

A vibrate mound of lettuce was studded with spicy garbanzo beans, fava beans, chopped boiled egg, drizzled with herbed dressing, and dotted with sliced radish. It was a healthful salad, spicy and crunchy.

Our second salad was compliments of Chef Dezi. Fava beans from Prosser Farm were grilled and tossed with ‘extra virgin’ (first press) fish sauce, ricotta salata, mint, radish greens and marinated peppers. The charred pods of tender beans were exquisite, a luscious contrast to the peppery greens.

An oval dish of silky orange blossom panna cotta was topped with seasonal strawberries and a brittle pistachio wafer.

Tiered discs of malted chocolate milk cake and cream were paired with shards of cocoa rice crispies and a quenelle of chocolate crémeux. A decadent treat, this was malty, chocolaty, and redolent of Milo and chocolate crackles.

I shall not wait another seventeen months before I dine at Palace Kitchen again!

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!

Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Curator PR. This is not a sponsored post.

I’m a slow grocery shopper. I browse the aisles for discounts, read the nutrition labels, convert measurements to metric, and compare brands. AmazonFresh delivers our non-perishable staples, and we’re lucky to live within walking distance to Melrose Market and Pike Place Market.

Whole Foods Westlake is my local supermarket and we’re there several times a week for vegetables, fruits and incidentals. Whole Foods has a reputation for being expensive (hence the moniker ‘Whole Paycheque’) but it is a greengrocer, butcher, baker, deli and purveyor of specialty goods all in one that is both of quality and convenient.

Located near Alderwood Mall just off I-5 exit 181B, the first Whole Foods in Snohomish County is opening this Thursday 15 March in Lynnwood.

My tour was scheduled on Friday at 9am and it was a surprisingly quick half hour drive to Lynnwood. The 33,000 square feet standalone store clad in Douglas-fir wood was a beacon on a bleak day.

Decorated in pastel colours throughout, the store was brightly lit and bustling with staff training and shelf stocking.

We breakfasted on muesli bars from the bakery.

A tray of berry muffins.

Of the 150 employees, fifty per cent currently work for Whole Foods so it’s a one to one training ratio. Founded in 1980 in Texas, Whole Foods is a natural food store. It stocks many organic products but it’s not certified organic. It has since expanded to Britain and Canada, and they’re considering sites in Alaska, Tacoma and West Seattle.

Denise Breyley is the Local Forager for the Pacific Northwest and I covet her job! She described it as being a ‘matchmaker’, sourcing products from local farmers and producers. There are seven recipients (Firefly Kitchens is one) of the Local Producer Loan Program in the Pacific Northwest. The money is for new equipment purchase, organic certification and other capital investments.

CB’s Nuts used the funds for a peanut butter jarring line which is in Mirracole Morsels‘ peanut butter cookie, and Middle Fork Roasters coffee is in their ‘pick me up’ cookie.

Mt Townsend Creamery is another beneficiary of the Local Producers Loan Program. These wheels of Trufflestack and Cirrus are from the first batch made with loan money.

The produce section is next where we sampled Sumo Citrus. A hybrid of Japanese Satsuma and Californian oranges, the citrus fruit is plump, seedless and bursting with sunshine.

Whole Foods Lynnwood will open with at least thirty items in the produce section, will increase to more than one hundred in the first month of trading and peaks at seventy per cent in summer.

Sold by weight, acrylic containers dispensed bulk cereals, dried fruits, flour, grains, lentils, nuts, rice, seeds and snacks. Buying in bulk is value for money and eliminates waste in packaging.

In the bulk section is the cooking department. The wooden counter will have computers for cooking resources, and the area will feature ingredients and local authors, Amy Pennington will be the first on 16 March.

The cheese department is in the back left corner. Patrons can sample all the cheeses, and they maintain a database of your purchases for your reference. You can buy shredded cheese by weight. There are also thirty varieties of olives for scooping.

Cold shelves were full of local pasta and sauces, Ethan Stowell‘s Lagana Foods, Cucina Fresca and Manini’s.

A lime sign above the seafood department encouraged us to ‘bring some local flavour home for dinner’. Each fish and crustacean is tagged with information and staff can assist with sustainability questions.

Whole Foods own Select Fish, a processing facility, for quality control. They partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium to rate by fishery and Whole Foods does not sell red rated or non-rated seafood. A non-affiliated third party audits farmed aquaculture annually for feed and water quality, and environmental impact. Whole Foods targets three per cent wastage or spoiled seafood which is composted.

A set of clocks indicated what time the beef was minced. The meat department is a full service butchery. Whole Foods applies Global Animal Partnership‘s five-step animal welfare rating system for all meats. A fridge was marked dry aged beef, done in-house for a minimum fourteen days.

The Whole Body department has a swap program where you can bring in two conventional products to exchange for private label equivalents.

Neatly stacked bars of Fran’s and Theo chocolates.

Cans of Zevia soft drink and bags of Kettle potato crisps.

My favourite, ice creams and frozen desserts!

Refrigerators with doors and energy efficient LED lights were installed for milk and juices.

Deli, sandwiches, taqueria, and greens, beans and grains will cater for lunches and dinners. FareStart students supply the packed salads. There is an organic salad bar in the prepared foods department, and rotating themed hot bars (Thai, Mexican, Indian and comfort food). The intention is for it to be a ‘one stop shop’ for meals.

The espresso bar serves Allegro Coffee.

And they have soft serve machines with a toppings selection!

The tour concluded with brownies and cookies from the bakery.

All the staff spoke with genuine passion about what they do. There is much excitement to be ‘part of the Lynnwood community’.

Whole Foods Lynnwood opens this Thursday 15 March with a bread breaking ceremony at 8am.

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 attended my first Foodportunity yesterday evening at the Palace Ballroom, a networking event founded by the inimitable Keren Brown.

A screen projected the live Foodportunity Twitter feed.

The lovely Keren spoke briefly to thank Foodportunity’s sponsors and supporters, and drew the winners of the business card raffle.

My first taste was at Metropolitan Market, the main sponsor of Foodportunity. Imported wheels of Zola Gouda were stacked on the table.

A generous portion of creamy macaroni and cheese was sprinkled with bread crumbs and Parmesan.

I interspersed savoury dishes with desserts. Next was Fat Cat Fudge, a smooth chocolate fudge that was moderately sweet.

I spotted The Coterie Room in the corner and happily crunched on a decadent snack of ham crackling dipped in black truffle fondue.

In the same area was Inn at Langley. On a wooden paddle was a disc of smouldered spruce panna cotta with truffle honey foam and pine nut sugar.

The Chef in the Hat was momentarily absent but the silver forks of coffee cured salmon with celeriac by Rover’s were scrumptious.

One of the few restaurants with signs of their food, Local 360 had a rustic chalkboard written in cursive script and illuminated by tea light candles.

Except I didn’t notice the sign until after I ate the bacon wrapped rabbit saddle with cheesy grits and maple truffle jus. I don’t eat rabbit. But the meaty cylinder topped with a jelly cube was an appetising pairing.

Mike Easton was resplendent in a customised apron and demonstrated artisan pasta making.

Cooked on an induction stovetop at the stall, the malloreddi alla Siciliana was exceptional.

Fumie’s Gold had silver platters of sweet treats. I sampled the green tea cookie and it had a balanced matcha flavour.

The profiteroles and tiramisu were tempting!

My first loop concluded at the entrance where Mt Townsend Creamery was. Cirrus is a favourite and there were nibbles of Seastack.

Light and citrusy fromage blanc was spread on apple crisps.

I meandered back to the restaurants I had skipped due to crowds. At Blackfish from Tulalip was house smoked sockeye salmon with chèvre cucumber purse on a bamboo square. The salmon was surprisingly dense, tempered by the mandolined cucumber and goat cheese.

On a wooden board at Volunteer Park Café was crimped puff pastry with caramelised onion, a smear of chèvre and black trumpet mushrooms. I have fond memories of their grilled figs at Keren’s book launch party and these morsels were a highlight too!

The last dessert was by Main Street Cookie Company. Made with quality ingredients, the chocolate chunk and dark chocolate cookies were perfectly baked.

I hovered at Lucky Palate, curious about the contents of the paper cups. A vegetarian meal delivery company, the quinoa and farro were both textured and healthy.

A scarlet tablecloth greeted us at Tipu’s Chai. Steeped in herbs and spices, chai is a traditional Indian beverage.

A stainless steel and glass dispenser poured the Tipu’s Chai Now, a vegan instant chai. It was soothing and aromatic.

The penultimate was Tabby Cat Pickling Co.

Jars of pickles were scooped into bowls and the curried cauliflower floret was piquant.

And just before I exited, a friend‘s mother recommended the sizzling sausage by Tom Douglas.

Fluffy buns encased a spicy pork belly and octopus chorizo with fennel. It was a warming conclusion to a fun first Foodportunity.

Sincere thanks to Keren for connecting the Seattle food community!

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.


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