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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fin Fish

A couple of  weekends ago my boyfriend visited RockCreek in Fremont. RockCreek focuses on serving the freshest caught seafood from around the country. RockCreek was also one of Eater.com Top Newcomers of 2013. Therefore, I must check this place out.

First, when you visit RockCreek, note that is shares a building with another restaurant. If you are not paying attention (like we were not), you might just walk into a hamburger joint. Once you walk out of the hamburger joint, walk down the stairs, turn to your left, and walk just a few steps up the street to RockCreek.

We did not have a reservation, and the restaurant was already full. However, there were 2 seats in the bar, but not to next to each other. The staff was very friendly in getting us the one seat, so we can get a drink and stalk the bar patrons to get the next free seat that became available. We were not there for 5 minutes, when the bartender freed us up a seat by asking a couple people to move down. Very courteous, and off to a good start. The bar is a little small and a little snug, but they do have comfy bar seats, and the bartenders are very friendly, and we got great service.

So now on to the good stuff..seafood. First we started off by sharing the RockCreek Oyster Stew. There is no skimping in with the oysters in this stew. There were plenty of nice plump, juicy oysters. The stew has some interesting flavors, and my first bite I was not sure if I liked this or not. I gave it a few more bites, and the flavors meld together, and decided this was a tasty stew.

Next we moved to the main course. RockCreek offers a variety of fin fish, as they call it. Not your standard fare of fish you see on menus here the PNW. Fish like Florida Grouper, Mutton Snapper and Monkfish. I'll admit, I went towards something I knew and liked,#1 Hawaiian Tombo Tuna, and my boyfriend ordered the Neah Bay Black Cod Provencale. Both of the seafood dishes are served in a light broth. The tuna was accompanied with shaved brussel sprouts, delicata squash, and hern of the woods dashi broth (this is something I have not heard of before). The tuna was perfectly cooked. The broth had an Asian flavor to it, and really paired with the squash. My opinion, is it was a little overpowering and heavy for the fish and the brussel sprouts. However, the broth on its own was very good. The Black Cod was served with sherry lime, caramelized shallots, and Provencale herbs. My boyfriend won the evening with this dish. This was just so good. The broth was just light, full of flavor, and was perfect with the cod. We both would have this dish again!

Don't forget dessert...and that I did not.  I was immediately intrigued by the RockCreek S’mores – Valrhona chocolate mousse, smoked
meringue, caramel, sea salt, graham tuille.  First it sounded good, and who does not like a good S'more, no matter how it is presented to you.  Second, it fits in with the feel and decor of the restaurant.  With the pictures of trees and babbling brooks and rivers (as seen by the graphic above), it just seemed appropriate. The S'more did not not disappoint.  The mousse in the middle was divine, and just right amount of sweetness.  As I was eating this, i ate my graham tuille before i was finished.  As i was just think i need like 2 more of these, the bartender commented "you need more of that graham cracker don't you?  They are just so good!"  Yes, they are!  :)

RockCreek on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pop-Up Mexican

I attended my first pop-up restaurant this evening at Cantinetta Bellevue.  Cantinetta hosted Chef Gabriel Chavez.  Chef Gabriel has worked at Boat Street Cafe and Serifina.  He has decided to open his own restaurant (sometime in May he reported tonight) in Bellevue.  Chef Gabriel is from Mexico and wants to share his taste of his homeland with the Seattle.  After tonight's tasting, Bellevue is in for some good eats this summer.

Tonight's menu included, tostado, poblano pepper stuffed with pork, chili verde, and homemade churros.  Every dish had a wonderful flavors, and made you think you were in sunny Mexico vs rainy Seattle.  The table favorite was the poblano pepper stuffed with pork.  It had a nice sauce over with apples and pomegranate seeds that help balance out the spiciness of the pepper. It was a good savory - sweet dish.  

The other favorite was the homemade churros.  Just when you thought we did not have room for another bite of anything else, we all managed to find the room for churros..  They were so light and just the right amount of sweetness to end the very savory, delicious dinner.

If you live on the Eastside or will be visiting sometime after May, look for Chef Gabriel's new restaurant on Main St in Bellevue. Until then you can always visit Cantinetta for some very delicious Italian food.

Blogger Update - Chef Gabriel has opened Chavez on Capital Hill. I have not had a chance to visit yet, but it if you have please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Dishes

When I go to a restaurant that I have been to before, I  usually attempt to try something new with every visit.  However, there are some dishes I must have each time to visit. These are dishes from 3 restaurant that stand out, and are my go to dishes when I visit these restaurants.   If you visit any of these restaurants, I highly recommended you try these dishes.

Hand cut egg pasta with butter and sage.  I will admit, if I had not done the tasting menu on my first visit, I would have never tried this dish.  First, there is not any sort of meat on the pasta. Second, it seems so simple and basic that even I could make at home, and  it would taste just as good.  WRONG!!!  Maybe it is the homemade pasta or maybe it is the butter (because everything taste better with butter, Right?), but this dish is heavenly. Sometimes the simplest of things are the best things.

Porcini Rubbed Delmonico with 15-Year Aged Balsamic.  I love steak.  There is nothing like a good steak.  I have had my fair share of steaks, good and bad.  This steak is one of the best steaks I have ever had.  I usually steer clear of chain restaurants. However, I think this steak is better than anything you will get a the Metropolitan.  The steak is tender, always cooked exactly the way I like it, and just has a great flavor to it.  Being from Oklahoma, my steak always has some A1 to accompany it.  This steak does not need A1. It stands out on it’s own.  I have been to The Capital Grill a handful of times, and every single time the steak is just as good as the very first time I ate it.

Fried fresh cauliflower florettes with la spiga’s herbed sea salt.  Cauliflower is not my favorite vegetable.  I find it blah, and I definitely do not like raw cauliflower.  So what better way to make cauliflower taste great...fry it up.  Now this is not your fried zucchini, or mushrooms like you have at Claim Jumpers.  This is a light crispy cauliflower, that brings out the flavor and the freshness of the cauliflower.  The herbed sea salt just gives it the final zing to the cauliflower that just brings everything together.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


In September, I went to Spain, and finally able to experience the Spanish cuisine.  Soon after I returned I started hearing about Aragona.  Aragona was going to be serving Spanish classic dishes.  I began stalking the local foodie sites and Aragona site for the opening.  Finally it opened and my reservation secured.

Argaona has a prime location.  Overlooking the Seattle waterfront and the Wheel.  The interior reminds me of a modern Franklin Lloyd Wright.   But I not here to talk about the interior...let's get to the food.
We started with the spot prawns with cider sauce.  When it arrived at the the table, it does not look like anything spectacular, but don't judge a spot prawn by its looks.  The prawns were perfectly cooked, and very tasty.  I wasn't sure what to expect from cider sauce, but it was delicious.  I could have just had a whole bowel of this sauce and would have been happy.  My boyfriend and I wanted to pick the bowl up and not leave one drop of the sauce behind.   You know wen you want to do this the dish must be good.

When I visited Spain, veggies or salad's were not something you would see on a menu.  We decided to share the shaved cabbage salad.  Mostly because it had slivered lomo iberico.  The ham was slivered alright, and not really visible. We were able to taste it in with the cabbage, pomegranate seeds and almonds. It was nicely dressed, and had alot of flavor for a cabbage salad.
For my entree, I decided to try something different.  I had the soupy rice soup with geoduck and turnips.  My boyfriend decided to have the grilled octopus.  When my boyfriend and I go out to dinner, I like to play a game who won with the best dish.  This time my boyfriend won.  The octopus was cooked well, not dry, and nice grilled flavor.  The trinxat potatoes and cauliflower were just as tasty.  My dish, the broth was too salty and fishy tasting.  The geoduck was nice and tender, but that was about the only good thing I can say about this.  This entree is a skipper.

Thank goodness for dessert. The Aragona: extra virgin olive oil ice cream rolled in cocoa nib and thyme with bread crumbs and aerated, frozen chocolate mousse got that fishy, salty taste out of my mouth and was delicious!!
Aragona on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fried Pickles

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I grew up in Oklahoma.  In Oklahoma, Sonic drive-ins are like Starbucks in the PNW.  There is practically one on every corner.  I'm pretty certain I visited a Sonic several times a week during my youth.  My go to items were cherry limeades, tater tots, and fried pickles.  These are my comfort foods, and make me feel good no matter the situation.  It always reminds me of home.The closest Sonic to me now is just about an hour away. I have been know to make the drive for a hamburger, tots, and a cherry limeade.                                                                                                                                      

Sonic fried pickles were sliced dill pickles with a lite batter that just a hint of sweetness to it.  They were always perfectly cooked.  Lightly crispy, but not soggy.  They were called Pickel-O's.  These were first introduced by Sonic in 1968.  For some reason they stopped making them sometime in the 9o's I think. They re-introduced them in 2003, but apparently were not greeted with hungry mouths.

When I heard the newly opened Hollywood Tavern in Woodinville was serving fried pickles, I got very excited. I have visited other eating establishments in Seattle that have had fried pickles, but they were whole dill pickles or spears.  This preparation is not good and do not taste good.  If you are going to fry a pickle it needs to be sliced pickles.  This is exactly what Hollywood Tavern does.

Here they are in all their fried gloriousness.  I love the presentation.  I'm pretty sure my great-grandmother had the metal measuring cup, and my grandmother had that dish.  The dill pickles were coated in a cornmeal batter, and served with a house made buttermilk ranch dressing and a tangy hot sauce.  Both of the sauces were really good, and complimented the fried pickles.  The cornmeal batter was just a little heavy for the pickles, and some of the pickles had alot of batter on them.  But all in all they were darn good fried pickles and way better than whole fried pickles.  They are definitely Southern worthy!

I continued my fried theme, and decide to have the fried chicken sandwich. The sandwich had the same tasty hot sauce that was served with the pickles that gave the sandwich a kick and a good flavor.  The chicken was fried perfect, and was juicy.  It was more of a patty, reminded me a little of Chick-fila, but definitely tasted way better.  The fries were nice homemade, greasy fries.  Once my arteries were clogged with all things fried, I decided some homemade soft server ice cream with a chocolate magical shell would make everything better.  Who doesn't like..uh I mean love a good chocolate magical shell??
Hollywood Tavern on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 3, 2014

Seattle Met 50 best things eaten


I am ashamed to say there a few things on this list that I have not eaten.  I was sad that I had to go out of town this holiday, or my holiday break would have been eating all the good things I missed this year.  2014 will be catching up, and discovering new favorite dishes that might make the 2014 list.

One restaurant I recently visited on this list is Tanglewood Supreme http://tanglewoodsupreme.com/ in Magnolia.  We did the tasting menu for $45.  So worth the money, and a must do.

The Sake Poached Octopus was very tasty.  The octopus was very tender and a great flavor.  It reminded me of an octopus dish I had in Spain.  Any dish that reminds you of Spain is a good thing.  However, if I was writing my Top 50 list, the Alaskan Albacore Loin would have been on my list.  The tuna was perfectly cooked and so meaty.  The chantrelle broth was so flavorful.  When the dish was placed in front of me, I was not expecting this to be as good as it was.  Usually anything in a clear broth, is usually lacking in some flavor.  Seriously, I wanted to pick up the bowl and suck every bit of that broth from the bowl.  So if you do not do the tasting menu, order this and the scallops crudo.

Confessions of a Foodie

Hi, my name is Jarae and I am a Foodie.  I'm not quite sure when I became a foodie or how it happened.  It probably started when I discovered Anthony Bourdain.  At first I was drawn in by the travel aspect of the show.  I love to travel and discover new places.  However, I think when I watched the El Bulli episode, I witnessed whole other side of food.  Eating at El Bulli was just not going to any type of restaurant and eating.  It was a whole new experience with food, to the way it is prepared, plated, and presented to the lucky person who got to consume the end result.

I grew up in Oklahoma.  My experience with food was it was either fried, smothered in gravy, or barbecue sauce. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these things.  Anytime I can locate a good chicken fried steak with white gravy and some fried okras that tasted as good as my grandmother's I am all over it, There were not a lot of fancy restaurants, just simple American cuisine, that wasn't always that great, but  it was there to sustain and comfort  you.

Now I have become a foodie, food snob,and follow chefs like rock stars.  I am always looking for new exciting, and interesting restaurants to try.  I am willing to try about anything new at least once.  Whenever I travel, part of my itinerary is looking for the top restaurant to eat at. Food has become more than a way to sustain me, it has become a hobby.  Some people like to go camping or paint....I like to experience and eat really good food.   I have decided to document my gastronomic journey, and share my eating experiences, past and present, and thoughts on food.