Tag Archives: beef

What I ate this weekend

I swear, every time I visit Seattle, I love it more and more.

And this time was no exception.

It goes without saying that I ate copious amounts of chocolate this weekend. No, make that obscene amounts of chocolate. Chocolate bars, cocoa nibs, truffles, single-origin products, blended products, chocolates I loved, and chocolates I…didn’t.

But this post is not about chocolate. Forgive me. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the deliciousness that I ate this weekend.

I went for dinner at Steelhead Diner, which is a gem of a place in Pike Place Market. Platters of oysters on the half-shell, flash-fried geoduck, little battered smelt with hot mustard, mussels with chorizo, crab cakes with crazy giant pieces of whole crab leg…oh, I’m just getting started.

One standout was the caviar pie, a delicious slice of four colours of caviar on creamy mousse (creme fraiche? cream cheese?) on a bed of finely chopped red onions, hard-boiled eggs and capers.

The other one was the house cured beef bresaola, all smoky and rich, served with the season’s first Rainier cherries, goat’s cheese, tangy olive oil, and twisty-turny bread sticks.

As if that wasn’t enough, dessert was – quite literally – the world’s best pie, from the expert herself. I mean, I pride myself on my pie. I’ve been working on the crust recipe for years. But hey, I know when I’ve been beat. Crumbly, sweet, and infinitely delicious, this was The World’s Best Pie.

I also had breakfast at Tilikum Place Cafe. (Hrm, website maybe be broken? It’s not working for me.) Lovely pastries. Beautiful blueberry muffins, still-warm raspberry cake that was positively juicy, all of it washed down with a pot of insanely robust coffee. Whether you pick the house-made sausage, delectable baked beans, creamy baked eggs or the insanely cute Dutch baby, I think you’ll be happy and full.

Both meals were marked by great food, and more importantly, great company. As in, great company. You know who you are – thanks for the good times.

Steelhead Diner
95 Pine Street
Seattle, WA
Steelhead Diner on Urbanspoon

Tilikum Place Cafe
407 Cedar Street
Seattle, WA 98121
Tilikum Place Cafe on Urbanspoon


Frasca: food, wine, and chocolate

“I always pick the second least expensive wine on the menu.”

I went with my friend Mark to Frasca, and he picked the bottle of wine. As you can see, Mark is a very discerning wine drinker. Lest you he’s a total plebe, he picked a lovely Cotes du Rhone that tasted like blackberries, smoke and spice. Nom.

Frasca’s beautiful. Once you get past the slightly confusing black curtain in the entrance, you find yourself in a wood-panelled room full of beautiful people and delirious smells. Aside from that, you might want to eat there because of the restaurant’s, for lack of a better word, pedigree. Among other accolades, co-owner Chef Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson won the 2008 James Beard award for best chef in the southwestern US. Co-owner and wine director Bobby Stuckey is a Master Sommelier. Oh, and they met while working at The French Laundry. Huh.

Anyway, back to food. The market salad was clean and bright, with nice acidity. Garnished with two kinds of cheese and beauitfully salty salami, it was a great start to the meal. I’ll admit, though, that Mark’s braised lamb dish was exceptional.

Mark’s next course was a duck thigh ravioli, which was as delicious as it sounds. I had a lobster pasta alla guitara, thin noodles (think angel hair pasta, but with a fancier name) tossed with lobster and lemon. Rich, redolent and succulent, this dish could have been the end of the night and I would have gone home happy.

Of course, I kept going. We both got the Colorado beef shoulder, which was so. freaking. good. Enrobed in a salty, sweet, rich and acidic jus, the beef was cooked to exactly medium, all seared and crusty on the outside. Served on a ricotta cream with meaty mushrooms that soaked up all the jus, it was tasty. And then some.

For dessert, I had the house special bombolini, otherwise known as warm, deep-friend pillows of delicious. With a passionfruit centre in the middle and dusted with icing sugar, the bombolini looked a bit like doughy eggs. Served with homemade vanilla ice cream, the hot-cold combination was beautiful. Mark’s chocolate peanut butter torta was a peanut butter mousse on luscious chocolate cake, with banana ice cream.

And because that wasn’t enough, I insisted on getting a plate of house chocolates. More on those tomorrow.

Frasca Food & Wine
1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO
Frasca Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

Bones – my goodness, the deliciousness

Word on the street is that Frank Bonanno, the owner of Osteria Marco, Bones and a number of other Denver restaurants, is up for a James Beard award for 2009 Outstanding Restauranteur.

If you’ve eaten at Bones, you’ll second that nomination.

Don’t get me wrong – Osteria Marco was very tasty, and I’m sure that Bonanno’s other restaurants are equally lovely. But my goodness, the food at Bones is absolutely beautiful. The concept, the ambiance, and the food itself – it’s all beautiful.

The room itself is tiny. Ignore all the tables and sit at the bar to watch the chefs expertly prepare noodles, stocks and garnishes. It can’t be easy working under such scrutiny, but they manage to do it while making occasional chit-chat with the customers.

Egg rolls are such a cliche, but who can resist the prospect of deep-fried packets of braised beef short rib? The plate of three egg rolls arrives piping hot and neatly tucked in a napkin, served with fragrant hot sauce. The beef is tender and flavourful and nestled amongst al dente cabbage and rice noodles.

The dungeness crab soba is served cold, as it should be – though the waiter will ask if you’re okay with that. The soba noodles are perfectly cooked and tossed with a generous portion of bright, fresh crab. The dish is rounded out by paper-thin slices of asparagus (tossed in an acidic vinaigrette – the effect is almost like they’re pickled) and artichoke hearts (oily and sweet). The dish has a slight kick to it, and just the right amount of acidity to be refreshing but not sharp.

But oh. Oh! The lobster miso ramen. This is not the ramen of your starving student days. This is ramen shipped directly from Japan, cooked until al dente, and then kissed with generous chunks of perfectly cooked lobster. The ramen-lobster mixture is treated to a bath in miso-lobster broth and garnished with edamame beans. The tasty, buttery noodles are shockingly delicious on their own, but consider that the broth is simultaneously sweet, rich, salty and creamy. The edamame beans provide the umami, or meatiness to round out the flavour profile. And I haven’t even talked about the luscious lobster meat. It’s an exercise in food architecture – an ideal dish with a deliberate flavour profile. Even better, it plays with your expectations, combining ramen (food of the poor) with lobster (food of the affluent).

Lobster ramen. Who would have thought?

701 Grant Street
Denver, CO
(303) 860-2929
Bones on Urbanspoon

New York street food worth waiting for

New Yorkers do not stand in lines. They certainly don’t stand in lines for street food – not usually.

They do stand in line for the halal food cart at the corner of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue. Its proximity to Times Square is a little bit ironic, because tourists stuff their faces full of chain restaurant swill when they could be having freshly prepared tastiness. There’s beef, chicken and lamb with your choice of pita or rice. All of it is smothered in some delicious sauce, and hot sauce if you want it.

I’m not sure what’s better: the people-watching opportunities (people in line, and the people who gawk at the people in line) or the incredible value. You can stuff yourself silly for under $10.

FYI: The cart is only open at night. I’m not sure what time they set up shop, but I’ve been there at 9pm and at midnight. Both times, there were at least 40-50 people in line.

Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro

Thank goodness that half of Elisa is Japanese, because she finds little gems in Vancouver that otherwise wouldn’t make it on my radar. The other half of Elisa is good for ranting, stories and gossip, so overall she’s a pretty useful person to have around.

For Elisa’s un-birthday dinner, we hit Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro. It’s not really an izakaya because they serve sushi, so I’m guessing that’s why they decided to go with “japanese tapas” instead.

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My dad loves hamburgers

My dad makes me smile. He appears to be the most unemotional man on the face of the planet, but I’ve learned how to read him.

My mom doesn’t eat beef. Never has, never will. And while she claims that it’s okay if you cook it in her house, I’ve never tried. I suspect that there would be much fussing if I did.

So, when my dad and I get together without my mom, we eat beef. And there are few things that make me smile more than when my dad calls to say, “hi, just thinking of you. Wondering if you want to go for burgers this week.”

Dine Out Vancouver: db Bistro Moderne, take two.

Yesterday’s post was about my first, and rather disappointing, visit to db Bistro Moderne. Today’s post is about my second, and rather enjoyable, visit to the same restaurant.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the service was better. This is probably because we had a late table on a Wednesday night, and the restaurant wasn’t nearly as busy as it had been on Saturday. We were seated in an alcove away from the rest of the restaurant, which afforded a little bit of privacy.

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