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Monday, October 26, 2015


It was Friday, we just got off work, and we just wanted a cocktail and a bite to eat.  In my search to find a place to meet this criteria, was close to home, I stumbled across Barnacle.  I had never been to Barnacle, but just passed on my way to Walrus and Carpenter (which is right next door).

Barnacle is a small little bar (probably sits about 20 people), and is considered an Italian aperitivo bar.  A place to get a pre-dinner cocktail and small bites to eat with your cocktail.  Never  been to Italy, it reminded me of a Spanish tapas bar.  You grab a couple of snacks and a drink, and then you move on to another bar or go to dinner. Most of the customers were doing just this while they were waiting for a table at Walrus and Carpenter. Since usually the wait at WC is always over an hour, it is quite genius to place this right next to the restaurant

At most cocktail bars you might get some nuts or pretzels, at Barnacle you get Lays potato chips.  It has been a long time since I have munched on Lays. They were a pleasant surprise, and I have to say they went will with my cocktail.   Barnacle offers Italian red and white wines, Italian beer, and Italian inspired cocktails.  The cocktails are a little on the spendy side ($12 -$14), but I think it is worth it.   They are made with quality ingredients, and well made.  I had the Autumn in New York.  This is a take on a Manhattan, but made with cranberry to give it a a little woodsy, tart taste.  A perfect fall cocktail. My 2nd cocktail was The Other Woman with limoncello and presecco. This was a little cleaner in taste and bit refreshing after my first drink.

Food is small plates.  The menu as a Spanish/Italian theme/taste. In addition to the menu, they offered 3 specials, oysters, duck liver pate, soup.  We selected the octopus terrine.  Thinly sliced octopus that swim in a delicious Italian olive oil with a squeeze of lemon.  This dish is delicious!  If you like octopus, you will love this dish.  After we finished the octopus there was still some olive oil remaining.  I wanted to pick up the dish and start licking it off the plate,  The bartender offered up some pieces of bread to sop up the remaining in a more civilized fashion.  Another item on the menu which we did not have is hand shaved serrano jamon.  If you have been to Spain, you are familiar with the delectable Spanish ham.  The ham sits beautifully in a Spanish restaurant is thinly sliced to order. I have yet seen a Seattle restaurant that has the same Spanish presentation until I went to Barnacle.  It was a good thing I was not sitting in front of the ham or i would have been salivating the entire evening.  It is just a beautiful thing to see.  I will be back to eat this, and enjoy some lovely cocktails.

If you have not been to Barnacle, stop by and check it out.  The food, drinks and staff are great!

Barnacle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Curbside Food Truck

I have driven by the Curbside food truck many many times on my way home. They advertise Pho and Banh Mi sandwiches I would see a few people lingering in front of the truck, but never knew anyone that had visited the truck.  I am not an anti food truck person.  However, I have been a little slow in adopting and enjoying Pho. So it just one of these places I had not not jumped up to visit.

So this week I had a cold, and just wanted some hot soup.  As I was scrolling through FB in between sneezes, there was a post of the Top 10 Pho places in Seattle.   As I reviewed the list, I see Curbside Food Truck. Hey this is the place down the street.  I did a little more research, and social media comments could not say enough good things about this food truck.   Forget the cold medicine, I am going to get Pho.

I showed up around 12:30, there were 3 people in line and probably about 5 or 6 people waiting. This is a good sign.  They have quite a selection of Pho, Banh Mi sandwiches, rice and meat combos and noodles.  In addition, to their array of selections their prices are really good.  Pho is $7 sandwiches are $4.  I got the brisket Pho and my husband got the vegetarian spring rolls ($4).  It probably took about 10 minutes to get our order.

By the time I got home the soup broth was piping hot, and all the ingredients packaged separately. The soup had a great flavor, the meat was tender, and just what stuffed up nose needed.  The spring rolls were much bigger than we had expected.  They were made with fresh veggies and tofu.  I cannot say much for the sauce the rolls came with.  I think they would have been better with a chili sauce or peanut sauce.  Something to ask for next time.

So if you are in the area it definitely a place to check out.  I know I will be going back!

Curbside Food Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cederberg Tea House

I visited South Africa in 2007.  During my visit I fall in love with the country, the people, and the food, and Rooibos tea.   Rooibos is a staple among South Africans, and had it with almost every meal I had.  I could not get enough of it while I was there.  When I returned home, I thought I would for sure find the tea in a store in the states.  I did find a version of Rooibos it just did not taste the same.  So for years I was always on the lookout.

Last summer, Cederberg Tea House opened on top of Queen Anne Hill.  Unfortunately, it took me a year to finally get to Cederburg. ( I did try a couple of times, but they were always closed :()  I'm sad I am late to the party.  For a year I have missing out on Rooibos and Rooibos latte's (Red lattes).  Red lattes are like regular latte's, they just take Roobios tea and finely grind it into the coffee.  Red Latte's are my new favorite thing in the world.  They also have a few grocery items that they have exported from South Africa.  They have the Lipton tea of Rooibos from South Africa.  I am now in my happy place.  I can't really explain what both of these taste like.  You just need to to QA, and try one today!

Cederberg also has South African dishes (bunny chow, savory pies and pastries), and sweet treats.  They also have all the makings for a nice little tea party that you schedule for you and your friends.

When we visted, we just had some treats as we had already eaten lunch.  We had the Mulva Pudding. it is a little loaf of spongy goodness that has been soaked in some other tasty goodness.  Surprisingly enough it not overly sweet, it just has a nice apricot taste to it.  We also had a apricot tart.

If you are on top of Queen Anne, get yourself a taste of South Africa.  You will not be disappointed.  The staff is very friendly and will answer all your questions about their menu.

Cederberg Tea House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A post from Minnesota

A couple of weeks ago I visited the home of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota.  It was my summer pilgrimage to visit the parents.  My parents live in a smallish town about and hour and half outside of Minneapolis, and about 20 minutes from the Iowa border.  Needless to say there is not alot to do in these parts.  Once you have to been to the Spam museum, you do not need to go back  (I guess unless you really like Spam).  My mother recently discovered Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery in Spring Valley, MN.

The winery has been in business for a little over 2 years.  They do have a small vineyard on the property, and a small production facility where they produce and bottle the wine.  When we visited they were having an event called Moonlight Dine in the Vines.  This is a 10 course tasting menu with wine pairings.  I wasn't sure what to expect from a tasting at a winery that is in the middle of a Minnesota cornfield, but hey let's give it a try.

Unfortunately, due to the weather we were unable to eat in the vineyards, but instead ate on the patio next to the vineyards.

You are requested to arrive 30 minutes prior to the dinner.  When you arrive, you are greeted with a choice of white or red sangria.  About 10 minutes prior to the dinner you are given a brief tour of the wine making process, and given the opportunity to ask questions about the winery and/or wine. Then it is time to eat.

It was nice to hear that the Chef tries to access all of his food from local sources.  Some veggies and corn come from the farm down the road, some of the meat comes from a local butcher in St. Paul, etc.

As I look at the 10 course tasting menu, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  There was quite an array of food items and preparations, and it I knew I was going to be in for a culinary adventure!

Course 1 - Octopus ceviche with grapefruit, mint, and crispy tortillas - The flavor of this dish was amazing.  It was light and refreshing and had overall great flavor.  If it would had been a typical hot Minnesota summer night, this would have just made that evening a little cooler.  The one minor nit-picky item i have was the octopus.  It was a little rubbery.  I wish shrimp or a white fish would have been used instead.  Granted this would have been a little more traditional than adventurous.

Course 2 - Asparagus with anchovy-preserved lemon, vinaigrette, crispy prosciutto, shaved Parmesan -  I'm not going to lie, when this was placed in front of me I thought this looked like Spam.  Luckily it taste nothing like Spam.  It was nice continuation of a light summer dish.  It was like a nice asparagus salad, but presented in a whole new way

Course 3 - Buffalo tartar with forest mushroom Dijon, quail egg, bone marrow polenta, arugula - I know some people are going EWWWW..right now..Raw meat.  My boyfriend even said he was not looking forward to it.  Once we took a bite it tasted just fine. I was a little more excited about the bone marrow polenta.  That was very tasty.  The bone marrow just added a savory flavor to the polenta.  this should be offered in more restaurants.

Course 4 - Yellow fin Tuna crudo with roasted heirloom tomato. edamame, tomato oil, chive blossom

Course 5 - Sweet Corn consomme with charred corn, crab, jalapeno, heirloom tomato, basil, toasted pumpkin seeds

Course 6 - Rabbit salad with grilled artichokes, fava beans, sorrel, whole wheat pearl pasta - I have never had rabbit before, so this was a first.  It was prepared nice and a good flavor.

Course 7 - Blood Sausage hash with fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts, olive oil poached yolk, brie fondue - I am not a fan of blood sausage, and was not looking forward to this.  However, this did not taste like the blood sausage i have had before.  It had a good flavor and was enjoyable to eat.

Course 8 - Oxtail braised with celery root gratin, caramelized fennel, braising juice reduction - this was my favorite dish of the night.  The meat was so tender, and the braising juice had such a meaty good flavor.  I could have had another plate of this one.

Course 9 - Calf's Liver sauteed with sweet pea -potato puree, roasted spring onions, big boy pan gravy

Course 10 - Chocolate Truffle with Candied Red Chili  

If you are in this neck of the woods stop by for a wine tasting or check out their many events they have going on during the year.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Radishes and Butter

Radishes and Butter..this post is not about a restaurant, but about my food experience and memories.

Growing up in Oklahoma, I don't remember having alot of fresh veggies.  I don't recall anyone in the family having a large garden.  My grandmother had the largest pantry of canned veggies I think. Times had changed.  My grandparents both worked, as did my parents. Canned goods provided families a matter of convenience and perhaps some cost savings.

However, I do always remember having fresh radishes. When I moved to the Northwest, it seemed not very many people had ever had a radish. In fact, in college I took a. Psychology class.  We had this group experiment where we had to taste things while we were blindfolded.  One of the items was a radish.  Out of the 5 people in my group, I was the only person who guessed radish.  One of the members of the group turned to me and asked "how did you know this"?  My response, was " How do you not know what a radish is?"

Radishes always seemed to be in the refrigerator.  Just grabbed a couple and sprinkle some salt on them, and you had had yourself a nice little snack.

Awhile back I was watching Anthony Bourdain.  He was in NYC at Prune and eating radishes and butter. What??  Tony is spreading fresh creamy butter on a radish.  That seems a little odd, but also sounds a little delicious. After doing a little reading, it seems that radishes and butter is quite popular with the French.

About a year ago or so, I visited Walrus and Carpenter, there it was radishes from a local farm and butter on the menu.  I was very excited and must try.  It is a must to have Real butter (no margarine people), and really good butter.  I can now say I am a big fan of this. Radishes tend to have a bit of spice/sharp flavor. Then you top that with that some creamy, sweet butter and this all = YUMMMMMM.

I am seeing more and more radishes and butter on restaurant menus during the spring and summer.  So if you have never had Radishes and Butter, I highly recommend you try.  Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Artusi!

This weekend Artusi celebrated their 3rd Birthday.  Artusi  focuses on the Italian palette, and is owned by Chef Jason Stratton.  The chef also owns Spinasse, which is right next door to Artusi and is the place to go if you want some of the best pasta you have ever had in your life. Renee Erickson was quoted that "she dreams of Spinasse pasta". so do, I Renee, so do I. Chef also owns  Aragona (which was one of of my first blog posts).

To celebrate, Artusi offered a 6 course tasting menu with a wine paring.  When I received the email about this, I immediately went and made a reservation.

Now I have never been to Italy before, so I am not as familiar with the regional cuisines other than what I have eaten the United States.  However, from a little food reading I have done, I would say that the menu derives more from Northern Italy cuisine and taste.  Which if this how the people of Northern Italy eat, then I will be more than happy to visit them and eat their food anytime.  The Piedmont Region seems to be a Foodie a destination, and I will be added to my Foodie Bucket List.

Let the tasting begin!!

The first course was Shaved porcini and egg salad with salsa Apicius served with a 2012 Gavi di Gavi
Brut, Broglia, Piedmont,
  I have to admit I had no ideas what the Salsa Apicius was.  It was very tasty, but I had to Google later to find out what it was.  I just happened to locate the recipe for the entire dish on the Artusi Blog.  The porcini mushroom were earthy, the egg and smooth and slight creamy texture, and then the salsa just gave it that pow, wow taste in your mouth. The salsa just complimented both the mushrooms and egg perfectly.  However, if just given the salsa in a bowl, I would have just had been as happy with that.

Second Course Pappa alla fragole: Tuscan Style chilled soup tomato, strawberry, and bread soup
served with 2013 Il Rose di Casonova, La Spinneta Tuscany
  We received the wine before the soup came out.  It is a Sangiovese Rose.  On its own it is very light and does not have alot of flavor to it.  Then the soup arrived, a vibrant, beautiful, red soup topped with fresh basil and olive oil.  It may have looked simple, but the taste was not.  It packed so much flavor, you could taste the tomato and strawberries just like you just plucked them from the garden. The soup just had a bit of a kick of spice which was really unexpected.  Then you take a sip of the wine, and it gives your mouth a nice cleansing, crisp flavor.  At that time you know why this wine was paired with this soup.

Third Course Tonnarelli with local crawfish, pistachio and lemon  served with 2012 Gruner Veltliner, Abbazia di Novacella, Alto Adige
  This dish looks like a typical Italian spaghetti dish that you might find at Anywhere USA, but it sure in the heck does not taste like it. The first thing you notice and taste is the pasta.  This not your boxed pasta your mom made you (unless i guess your mother is Italian, which my mother is not).  This is the that fresh, homemade, made with love, the pasta you will be dreaming about pasta that you find get at Spinasse  and that I mentioned earlier. The sauce was flavorful, but not overpowering.  The craw\fish, a little small and lacking (it is a tasting menu after small, and smaller portions, so I can understand this).  However, the most interesting part of the dish for me were the pistachios. I m not much of a pistachio person, and quite unsure of their use in a pasta dish, but it works.   They seemed to be lightly toasted, with just a little seasoning. It just give the dish a nice texture and crunch.

Fourth Course Duck capunet with figs and hazelnuts served with 2009 Barbaresco Produttori del
Barbaresco, Piedmont.
  When the dish came out it reminded me of a cabbage rolls that I had growing up in Oklahoma (which I never had one I liked very much, because it usually lacked in flavor). So again I had to Google my food, this time Capunet.  Capunet is a Tuscan stuffed cabbage roll.  My people from Oklahoma could have used a little Italian influence in the cabbage roll department, because this was the best cabbage roll I have ever eaten! Now having the roll stuffed with duck, delicious, tender, succulent duck, also kind of helps in making this dish so wonderful.  The figs and hazelnuts were a nice accompaniment, but seriously it was about the duck.  Hands down, best dish of the nitght.  If I could have had 6 tastings of this I would have been one happy girl.  This is what I am dreaming about now.

Fifth course  Quadrello di bufala with local baby lettuce and chestnut honey served with 2012
Moscato , Giorgio Pelissero, Piedmont
  Now when it comes to cheese course as a dessert, I am not going to sign up for that. (I apologize to any French people who I might have just offended with that statement). I want my little chocolate, sweet after a delicious meal.  However, since I knew this would be next, I accepted the cheese. The cheese alone, was a strong, bold cheese.  However, if you took a  little bite of cheese with a little lettuce with that barely sweet honey, and then followed that with the sweet Moscato, then my thoughts of cheese as dessert begin to change, but just a little.  This girls still wants just a little more sweet and a little taste of chocolate.

Sixth course Panna cotta with mascarpone, Marsala, chocolate and espresso served with NV Cocchi Baralo Chinato
  Artusi took 3 of my favorite things and served them up on a plate for me.  For a second I thought it was my birthday.  Needless to say it was delicious.

Thank you Artusi for celebrating your birthday with me.  I hope there are many more celebrations to come and taste.

Artusi on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ka'ana Kitchen Brunch

Prior to going to Maui, I was looking for a place to have Easter Brunch.  I found a few places that still had openings. I stumbled across Ka'ana Kitchen in my searches.  This would be the first Easter brunch they have ever had.  I was a little uncertain of this, but decided this looked to be the best offering.

Ka'ana Kitchen is located Andaz Maui in Wailea.  Luckily this was just down from where we were staying.  I also learned this hotel had newly renovated, and just recently opening.  If you don't stay atthe Andez or eat there, at least stop by and take a visit.  There is no public parking.  The hotel provides complimentary valet.  I can support this.  The hotel has a little beach/zen setup including sand right in the lobby.  The kitchen is downstairs below the lobby.  We were automatically greeted by a very cheery host.  She first walked us through the open concept kitchen (if you were watching House Hunters you would be taking a drink now) to explain what all the dishes that were available for brunch.  This is like no other brunch i had been too.  You will not be locating a waffle or omelette station, or any watery eggs, this is the modern foodie brunch.  Even the chefs are walking around the kitchen chatting you up and telling you about their dishes.

We then get seated out on the patio which has an amazing views of the what looks like a 3 tier infinity pool, and the ocean.  The waitress as really nice, and laughed all my dad's jokes.  I did I mention the cost of the brunch included unlimited mimosa's.  There was regular mimosa, guava, and, passion and guava.  Oh yes please!!

Easter Brunch Menu
Whole Tropical Fruit Cut to Order
Chicken Sausage |Spinach |Feta
Paniolo Potatoes | Smashed | Maui Onions Puree | Garlic | Fresh Thyme
Applewood Smoked Bacon
Herb | Maui Cattle | Lamb
Roti |Pork Belly| Pickled Vegatables
Ahi| Tataki| Fried Rice| Tempura Kim Chee
Charred Baby Peppers| Roasted Tomatoes| Green Beans
Seared| Local Fish| Grilled Lemons

Everything we had was delicious.  If you get a chance to eat here, do it.  You will not be disappointed.

Ka‘Ana Kitchen at Andaz Maui on Urbanspoon