Friday, October 31, 2008

Clean plate club: Poppy

Johnny loved his thali at Poppy, Jerry Traunfeld's new restaurant, which I reviewed in today's P-I. Read it by clicking HERE

One little bit of trivia that didn't make it into the review: the wooden clothes pins used to hold the menu on its wooden stand are from the same company that makes clothes pins that go on the bills at The French Laundry. Poppy delivers its check in a plastic thingie that looks like a pocket protector. Lots of fun details to notice at this new venue. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election Day countdown!

Smokin' Pete's BBQ in Ballard isn't waiting for a new president to slash taxes.

On Nov. 4, the restaurant won't add tax to its tabs. I'm going to vote with my fork and get in there to take advantage of this great deal. Thanks Pete!

Check out the menu by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Man, I love a layer cake

Sure, I would never turn down a piece of pie or a creme brulee made by my friend Holly, but I my heart belongs to the layer cake. This one was from Nielsen's, a bakery that reminds me of my great grandmother Signe, smelling of sugar, butter and flour perfuming the room.

I miss the caramel layer cakes of the South, and have never perfected the German chocolate that my sister loves for her birthday. I do make a pretty good pineapple upside down cake, though.

What's your favorite cake?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Communal tables: Love 'em or hate 'em?

This week's column asks that question... check it out, click HERE.

Gotta love these Freedom Fries!

Baby Girl just told me Blue Moon is giving out free French fries next Tuesday to everyone who shows proof they've voted. Let freedom ring!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday in West Seattle

What a beautiful afternoon to go to the farmers market. If only all fall could be this perfect, it might make the long winter a little easier to swallow. (She typed while basking in the glow of her full-spectrum light.)

I'm making dinner from all the goodies I got: halibut, chanterelles, beets, okra, potatoes. After loading up, went to Constellation Park and snacked on Honeycrisp apples and cheese. What's on your plate for Sunday supper? 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So hot for Poppy's cocktails

I am so impressed with the mad skills of Poppy's bartenders. They've mixed me up the best bourbon sour I've ever tasted, complete with raw egg whites, which adds a frothy creaminess. 

The drink pictured above is a six twenty-two, named for the restaurant's address on Broadway Avenue East on beautiful Capitol Hill. It's built on a truly old-fashioned foundation, rye whiskey. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, amero nonino, rhubarb and Angostura bitters, shaken, not stirred. When I asked the server to describe the drink, whether it was dry or sweet, he bumbled: "It's like a dirty martini." No sir. It's more like a beautifully balanced Manhattan, sweet, but not sticky.

I also loved Papi Delicious and can't wait to try the rum curry. Three cheers to the fab bevs at Poppy!

P.S./stuff that didn't make the review

I'm reviewing JUNO this week in the Seattle P-I, but couldn't find room to mention at least one thing that was super annoying:

On a slow evening, the dining room was obviously overstaffed, a couple servers and the "captain" paced back and forth in order to look busy. It was so distracting. 

It's got to stink to be in this position, just a few tables, bored, trying to keep up the appearance of working. But, maybe there's some napkins in the back that could be folded, or some glasses that could use a little polish. 

In the meantime, our server -- Gary -- was an absolute pro, who offered insider dish, good recommendations and took care of a problem with the wine exactly the way it should be handled. Well done. Maybe Gary's available to do some training of less seasoned members of the staff.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Curtain's coming down on Veil

Just got news that Veil is closing this week, coinciding with its third anniversary. 

I recently interviewed chef/owner Shannon Galusha and he was upbeat about the future, saying he had just hired a new GM. What a difference a couple of weeks make, huh?

Veil will also serve brunch Saturday and Sunday (that's the crab and goat cheese omelet pictured, which I thoroughly enjoyed last January), and have a closing bash from 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Nov. 1. 

Restaurants open and close constantly, but somehow this feels different. Like the right ingredients for success were there, so why did it go down? We'll probably never know why some places can't keep the doors open and restaurants that appear to have a whole lot less going for them remain open.

Any thoughts?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Breaking news: Ethan Stowell does it again

Uber-chef Ethan Stowell is opening his fourth venue, an Italian seafood restaurant on Capitol Hill. Anchovies and Olives will debut in late December or early January at 15th and Pine, one of the anchor tenants in a new apartment building. 

Charles Walpole, formerly at Mistral, will be in the kitchen of the 40-seat, 1,500-square-foot eatery. The menu will include appetizers, pasta dishes, meat and fish and all items will be $18 or less. 

With all the suck-y economic news of late, here's something worth celebrating.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

If you were stranded on a desert island...

Got a travel story in the P-I about my recent trip to Maui. (Here's a link to that piece.) The overnighter into Haleakala was one of the coolest things ever, especially the dinner I cooked in the cabin. I planned the meal and prepped everything in advance. Then, my S.O. schlepped it in. 

Seared ahi, stir-fried veggies, soba noodles with black bean sauce, ma-po tofu. It was so good, even better because it came at the end of a great hike into a wonderful place. I wouldn't do anything differently.

What would you bring to a remote destination?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's better: Creme caramel or creme brulee?

Had a terrific creme caramel at Olivar, the Spanish-French with a bit of Italian restaurant I'm reviewing this week. It's not as egg-y as a creme brulee, which I also love. It seems creamier, and I'm a sucker for caramel. (The madeleine was also filled with caramel!)

Heck, panna cotta and flan are faves, too. I'm not sure I've ever had a pudding I didn't like.

Still, the creamy, dreamy stuff comes in second to cake, my top sweet treat.

Let's take a pudding poll: Which do you prefer? Creme brulee? Flan? Creme caramel? Or a good, old-fashioned tapioca?