Thursday, December 30, 2010
Lite Soy Sauce
A take on Momofuku's Ginger Scallion Noodles, with mirin soy glazed mushrooms, bacon, and fried egg.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Emeril's casual restaurant has a homey bistro feel with exposed brick, black chalkboards and tall ceilings.
|A Pat O'Briens Hurricane|
Last year, my team had a partner event at a private event facility called Calcasieu; I recalled how delicious and elegant the food was. I asked my former teammate who had organized the reception about the place. The restaurant that served it was named Herbsaint so I was determined to get folks there and was even more excited to learn that the chef had won the James Beard award for best chef of the South in 2007. We were originally seated at a table for 8 but we had extra friends so the restaurant was kind enough to seat us in a private back area where we could be loud and obnoxious. I dared to order a Pimms cup to drink - I adored this British summer staple and wanted a refreshing quencher since summer in New Orleans is at hot and humid as you can imagine. It was crisp and delicious, garnished with cucumber. In fact, everyone kept ordering these all night long!
We started the meal with a rocket salad with goat cheese which was decent but quite typical and uninteresting; Seattle places dress up their arugula with more surprises. A few of us opted for a fried soft shell crab for an entree which is a tasty, New Orleans staple. No one had a clue how large the crab would be; basically it was a giant, full-sized crab served a top a nice Asian-inspired cucumber salad with balanced use of fish sauce and mild chilies. The flavors were wonderful and the salad's crispness and acidity cut the fattiness of the fried crab although my crab was a little on the greasy side.
We pretty much ordered everything for dessert. Banana tart? Yes please sir, some more. The goat cheese beignets had a unique flavor but were pretty good.
|Baked Oysters - nom!|
I started with Denise's salad after it was recommended by the server. When it appeared, it looked underwhelming - a salad with some asparagus, crabmeat, shrimp and tomatoes; the salad was arranged geometrically straight from cooking 101. However, the salad had wonderful flavor which brought out the sweetness of the crab and shrimp. It reminded me of the dressing from back home on Arnie's hot seafood salad. Looks aren't everything and this ended up being a win. One evening, we forayed to Bon Ton and felt bad for them since we had a party of - I don't know...12 turned 20 people? It's a classic New Orleans establishment and looked as if it hadn't changed much in 100 years with classic décor and homey service. Everything was reminiscent of a time long ago - from the drinks to the plating and the recipes were probably what folks ate in the 1800's.
Dessert was their famous bread pudding with a whiskey sauce… which we soon realized meant it was in practicality, a whiskey cocktail with bread pudding garnish. You could seriously get drunk off of dessert and several friends mentioned that they would not have been able to drive home after consuming it. Imbibe or eat with caution.
|Fried and green and saucy|
How could I almost neglect to mention Café du Monde? One of my favorite spots in New Orleans and one that only takes cash! Even better, this place is open 24 x 7 which makes it not only a great breakfast and afternoon snack spot but a perfect place to walk to at 3am to sober up and grab a greasy pick-me-up.
There are only two items worth mentioning here:
- The famous doughnuts which are beignets - fried drops of dough rolled in powdered sugar. They are fresh, warm and amazing with a surprisingly balanced texture - not too airy, not too dense. People snort them up like cocaine along with powdered sugar noses and lips to match.
|Yes, me and beignets. Sigh.|
Sunday, December 5, 2010
1. How to Cook a Wolf
3. La Carta de Oaxaca
4. Black Bottle
5. Toulouse Petit
How to Cook a Wolf
Not sure how we should start but this place was a fanfreakingtastic addition to the top of Queen Anne. It's a small, blink-and-miss joint nestled on Queen Anne Ave proper but is worth the inevitable wait if you happen to dine on a busy evening. The place is small because it has to be small; the kitchen is tiny! Your home kitchen may be bigger but the surprise to this place is that there is almost no refrigeration - no giant walk-ins or typical line and prep areas since it is all right in front of you. While there are some menu staples, my favorite Ethan Stowell restaurant relies on food that is fresh, seasonal and fairly simply and rustically prepared but with unique ingredients and pairings. Their veggies were probably harvested from the farm that morning and their pasta is homemade with that awesome chewy nutiness that only comes from freshly made pasta. Our favorite is their hamachi crudo - served with a sprinkling of lime, avocado and chiles. The avocado cools the heat of the chiles and the flavors and textures go together wonderfully. Despite its saltiness, the spaghetti with anchovies and chili is another favorite with flavors that remind you of eating at your Italian grandmother's kitchen - that is, if you have an Italian grandma.
|Spaghetti with anchovy and chili|
We all crave it. Behold the splendor of Paseo which contains the sloppiest of sandwiches that make you greedily and crassly lick your fingers as the garlic juices dribble down your chin! The Caribbean/Cuban flavor profile stuffed into a banh mi is almost inconceivable - can bread can hold such explosive flavors? Can you get such satisfaction for less than $10? Paseo is quite literally an unadorned red shack on the hill in Fremont with only a few tables and nothing but the wafting aroma and the line of patient people waiting outside to even alert you of its existence. (Another even smaller shack with no seating has opened in Ballard but we have yet to dine there). Paseo is barely a step up from a street cart but has some of the most amazing food in Seattle - this salad with beets that can make you actually like beets, corn on the cob that is slathered in garlic butter, red beans and rice that make your knees quake and a heap of entrees and the amazing sandwiches that drive you mad. Some people swear by the pulled pork or midnight cuban while I adore the luscious juicy prawn sandwich. The generously sloppy and sauced sauteed onions, the garlic mayo special sauce, the secret baguette - everything about those sandwiches calls to you like a drug addiction until you are too weak to resist. I have Paseo on speed dial. Succumb.
La Carta De Oaxaca
I picked up Nick from the airport one evening after a business trip and he was exhausted and famished after a long and arduous day. He wanted something comforting to eat. Knowing his love of latin cuisine, I naturally took him to La Carta de Oaxaca. I think it saved his day! If you want some authentic Mexican but don't want to crouch in a parking lot where your local taco cart is, come to Ballard. La Carta de Oaxaca is unpretentious but an utterly delicious spot if you're craving flavorful and expertly spiced Oaxacan dishes; you know, the stuff that doesn't come with refried beans and greasy rice. You'll be delighted by the flavors and choices here - comforting posole (pork and hominy stew) or caldo de pescado (fish soup with tortillas), mole negro on tamales or with chicken or pork, fried comfort food like molotes and quesadilla fritas and be-still-my-heart! Real enchiladas with a fried egg. They have fresh-tasting tacos al pastor or carne asada on homemade tortillas as well and a great salsa bar. This place just plain makes us happy. The prices will make your pocketbook happy as well; we think that the most expensive entree is $10 or maybe $12. If you're from SoCal, it probably doesn't compare to what you can get on the streets of L.A. but it's definitely Seattle-rific.
|Anna kissing her food she loves it so much|
|We love the peach blueberry kettle tart!|
|Biscuits and eggs forestiere|