From the Forge Came Heaven – Miller’s Guild

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A birthday celebration calls for something special, exceptional, and wholly memorable. I took t0e out for his birthday to Miller’s Guild without really knowing what we were getting into – only that they had a gigantic flaming grilled call the Infierno and that they specialized in meats. And what followed next, was jaw dropping, camera clicking, OMG inducing for a variety of reasons (how’s that for a sensationalist hook line?).

The chef, Jason Wilson, is probably better known for his fine dining establishment Crush, which is a solid place in my mind, but not on my recommendation list. Miller’s Guild is a restaurant built around a 9 foot flaming grill, and while it specializes in meat, the chef is top notch in all the other items beyond just meat.

miller's guild - 31oz prime rib

31 oz. prime rib – we came for meat, and they did not disappoint in that arena. 31 oz with the bone in of meat that came on a tree trunk sectional, brown sauce are drippings from all the meats on the grill (heavenly) and green sauce was horseradish-y with truffle oil; 31 oz. is impressive – it was also the smallest rib eye steak on their dry aged menu; and because it is such a large and thick cut of meat, parts of it were more well done than medium rare, especially near the tip of the bone, the meat has a sweetness to it, but it’s not the most tender or most flavorful steak you’ll ever have, but it is by far the most impressive chunk of meat you’ll ever be served. Still, a good steak.

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Spoiled by Pasta – Vespolina

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Urbanspoon ran a contest to encourage use of its save feature, which I use regularly to track the restaurants I’m interested in trying as the are simply too many to keep track of in my head, and randomly drew me as their winner for a gift card to use at one of the restaurants on my list – Vespolina. I’d like to thank Urbanspoon for giving me the opportunity to try this restaurant!

I had been to the restaurant during the new year when it had just opened as Argona – Spanish tapas and had enjoyed the complexity and inventiveness of their dishes. But when you run an empire built on hand made pasta already, customers are interested more in pasta than they were daring Spanish cuisine, which has no pasta at all. Jason Stratton heard the feedback and bravely revamped the entire restaurant to go back to his Italian roots.  The restaurant architecture and design remain the same, but the name and menu are entirely new.

vespolina - antipasti misto

antipasti misto – the sampler appetizer platter, mortedella, beet and sardine on crostini – a nice balance with beets and sea foam, calamari in hummus – a nice combination reaching a little bit closer to the eastern Mediterranean

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Glowing – Glo’s

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Glo’s was actually plan B on Saturday around noon. I had heard it was popular, so the Black Knight indulged me and we drove across town to wait 45 minutes for a table. The restaurant is tiny, so we had to wait outside, which can be somewhat unpleasant if you’re not prepared, but we got coffee at Starbucks and wandered around Goodwill.

Glo's - pumpkin french toast

pumpkin French toast – made of pumpkin bread served with pecans and whip cream stuffed inside, it didn’t quite have as much pumpkin flavor as I would have liked, but it still quite tasty

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In the Zone – Dough Zone

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It’s Sunday afternoon around 2pm and I need lunch.  I’m tired of eating sandwiches all week, trying to avoid fast food, and don’t want to eat too much as I’m going home for dinner within a few hours.  Lunch by yourself can be an awkward affair, better suited to grab and go, but you get used to it after a while.  If you want good food, you figure out how to be comfortable eating alone. I had been wanting to try Dough Zone to see how they compared to the gold-standard Din Tai Feng for soup dumplings and this seemed like the perfect time to do it.

Dough Zone was still a zoo at 2pm with a 20 minute wait for a table. The fortunate part about dining by yourself, is that they can squeeze you into the counter.

dough zone - soup dumplings

soup dumplings – I loved these first of all, they had all the hallmarks of a good soup dumpling – plenty of fillings, they poured juice when you bit into them, the skin wasn’t too chewy and they had decent flavor; Din Tai Feng still holds the crown on these though – theirs are more delicate in the wrapping and have a bigger oomph on the meat flavor; however, these are only $9 vs. their $13 and doesn’t have the benefit of being a worldwide phenomenon

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Flaming French – Pomerol

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My sister can’t get foie gras in California, so when she comes home to Seattle, we must have at least one foie gras. Since it was her birthday, we found restaurant that serves FOUR dishes using the succulent lobes – Pomerol. They’re a relatively new french restaurant in the Fremont area that has their own wood fired grill in a minimalist setting.  There’s nothing stuffy about this place, but it’s trendy without being too edgy.

Pomerol - grilled octopus

grilled octopus – a job well done on the texture, they made good use of their grill

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They’ve got CHOPS! – Porkchop and Co.

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Where should I start with Porkchop and Co???  Nutkin and crew decided to go here for dinner on a whim, not really knowing what to expect as I had heard of it in passing, but hadn’t paid much attention to it. But I’m paying attention now.  With a name like Porkchop, they were going to have to have some good pork dishes and they did not disappoint.

We made a reservation for 8pm on Saturday night, but as it turns out, that wasn’t necessary as it was mostly empty. Their menu consisted mostly of small plates, sandwiches, a 3 course pris fix dinner, and pickled veggies. And a whole chicken that Nutkin and she-Nutkin debated ordering before we decided that we were going to order family style to try more things on the menu.  That was the smartest move we made.

pickles & kimchi - pickles, carrots, cauliflower, kimchi; sadly the pickles were a little limp and the kimchi doesn't have the punch of a Korean restaurants kimchi (it's less vinegary and spicy) but is probably a good choice for people who are unfamiliar with kimchi; the cauliflowers were the standout in this starter

pickles & kimchi – pickles, carrots, cauliflower, kimchi; sadly the pickles were a little limp and the kimchi doesn’t have the punch of a Korean restaurants kimchi (it’s less vinegary and spicy) but is probably a good choice for people who are unfamiliar with kimchi; the cauliflowers were the standout in this starter

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