Altura Takes Itself Just Seriously Enough

It was a coincidence that Altura received a semi-finalist nomination for a James Beard Foundation award the day we had reservations. It made it all the more surprising that tables around us sat empty for hours as we ate, despite my needing to book two weeks out to get a reasonable time slot. After the level of service and cuisine we witnessed, I can't help but wonder (hope!) if it was purposeful--to relax the kitchen and the waitstaff workload--so that the diner's experience is impeccable. If not, perhaps we were just fortunate that nobody read the nominations and tried to jump on the … [Read more...]

Dear Seattle Restaurants: A Chicken and Waffles Challenge

¬†This picture, folks, is the ultimate in chicken and waffle cuisine. Not familiar? Neither was I. I was dubious, to say the least, as all of my friends urged me to try Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles while I was on vacation in Los Angeles. I like fried chicken as much as the next person, and well, who can dislike a waffle, right? But together...I narrowed my eyes in wary judgment. How wrong I was! Now, I'm reduced to chasing this delicacy up the coastline, in search of the same¬†succulence. Seattle restaurant owners, I issue you this challenge: Make a chicken and waffle dish that rivals … [Read more...]

My own Mexican Renaissance: El Mestizo and Taqueria Latinos

I had Mexican food twice this week, without having to drive. Within the last few months, it would appear that there is a new food group moving into the neighborhood, and I for one am here to support it. We had actually been to El Mestizo once when it first opened. It's a brick and mortar store in what had been a pizza restaurant for many years, then briefly an Italian place. The taco truck, Taqueria Latinos II, I had not noticed until the minute we ate their food. El Mestizo has been open for a few months. When we went before we thought it had potential, but nothing terrific. After reading … [Read more...]

The Top Six Dishes I ate in Seattle this year

I'll be honest, this started out as a top 5 list, but I had six dishes that truly stood out in my mind that I ate this year. I eat out a decent amount and I don't always write about them--especially if the rest of the meal was distinctly underwhelming, as was the case in at least one of them. I like just picking a dish because I'm not judging the whole restaurant experience (another of these dishes was served with a side of horrifically bad service), nor am I needing to make extensive commentary. The only point of this is to give props to the creativity and skills of the chefs and restaurants … [Read more...]

Barrio at Brunchtime

When Barrio invited me to come to lunch with B, for free, I paused and then wrote them a quick letter saying I would go but I wouldn't guarantee anything written and if I did I didn't promise to be nice, etc, etc. Then I went to brunch. I kind of hoped it would be bad and I could brush off the whole experience and never think about it again. But it wasn't. It was quite good and fit a very specific niche that B and I need in our lunch world. We walked in the heavy doors at about 9:59 for a 10am reservation (B had biking to do). "We don't open until 10" a hostess told us, rather bluntly. I … [Read more...]

A Fabulous Northwest Weekend

It was raining slightly on my run this morning, but now the bright sun is shining through my office window. It is so typical Seattle, and I just love it. Like I love so many things about my city, including so much of my weekend. This was my first weekend not coaching ski racing, my first days off in many months (since the snow started falling) and I was eager to get outside and enjoy the many things that are on offer here. It was such a fabulous collection of awesome activities that I'm posting here so you can remember how great where we live is... First thing Saturday morning, we sauntered … [Read more...]

Anchovies & Olives

I really like Anchovies and Olives. Both the two individual foods and the restaurant. Seriously, anchovies and olives are two of my favorite things and I think that helped in my decision to really like the restaurant. There is something basic, plain and inviting about the completely bare walls and barely screened over industrial ceiling. The kitchen is open, with low counters, leaving the whole thing completely exposed, much like the food. What do I mean by exposed food? It is served, plain and simple, just as it is described on the menu. Order the scallop under 'crudo' (grapefruit, … [Read more...]

Barrio: Great Minds DO Think Alike

I was getting ready to write up this summary of my dinner at Barrio, when this flashed up in my reader. Seriously, this basically outlines my major feeling on the restaurant. Exactly. I suppose that it just means they are very consistent, but now I feel lame posting such a similar report. But ahh, well, I will anyways. Barrio fills a void that exists in the Seattle restaurant scene. I think what they are doing is unique. A high-endish, Latin inspired menu sets it apart from the myriad of Tapas places that serve the currently trendy Spanish version of small plates. These lean more towards … [Read more...]

My Mind, It has Been Blown.

I have written before about my love of Quinn's. Walking distance from my house, extensive selection of wines at every level and in every size, innumerable different kinds of beer and simply impeccable food that goes out on a limb. Food everyone can enjoy, from the simple bread salad to the braised oxtail, they do great food. But last night, for the first time, they totally blew my mind. I can't get over it. I'd never seen it before. We ordered the bone marrow 2 ways, a dish I expected would come, as marrow usually does, with one bone, cut horizontally into rounds, so the marrow was inside. … [Read more...]

Sundays are Good Days

I woke up this morning and went up to the first day of the Broadway Farmer's Market as it opened at 11am. Perusing the market, I actually managed to get out with out spending ridiculous amounts of money, but with a large amount of delicious food. I've only been home for about an hour and I've already had two different kinds of arugula salad. Here are my variations for home use: anchovy filets, sauteed in olive oil, hot oil poured over the top of the arugula to wilt it, then crisp up asiago cheese in the oven and sprinkle for crunch. Salt, pepper. Version two, used oil left clinging to the pan … [Read more...]