Unpronouncable – Mamnoon

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Mamnoon has been on all of the restaurant critic’s best restaurant lists, inluding Seattle Magazine and Metropolitan Magazine, so Salumi suggested that we give it a try for our next dinner.  Mamnoon is Syrian and Lebenese food, which seems similar to middle eastern food in general.  Lots of yogart, hummus, and flatbread type breads on the menu.

There’s a walk-up window for kulage sandwiches and mana’eesh (similar to pita/flatbread) and the restaurant itself is large with a very modern design.  We were lucky enough to be seated in a small corner in the back of the restaurant, but it was still very loud.  After some research on what other people said were must try items on the menu, we ordered:

mamnoon - fattah hummus

fatteh hummus – fresh chickpeas with tahini and fried pita; while we were expecting green hummus, this was definitely different as I have never had fresh chickpeas. They are in my mind, like spring, what the chickpeas should taste like before they get turned into the tan garbanzo beans at the salad bar; a nice mix of textures, this is difficult to get eat with the bread as everything tends to want to escape.

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Food for the Soul – Roux

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I had wanted to go to Roux ever since it opened since Southern food is one of my many weaknesses.  The last time I tried to go to this restaurant, it was snowing and we ended up at Toulouse Petit as a compromise.  Some of the same crew from Toulouse are now at Roux, which makes sense given that both have a focus on Southern and Cajun food.  However, they are completely different when it comes to nuances and taste.  Whereas Toulouse is a crowd pleaser with an extensive menu, Roux elevates everything to the next level.  Toulouse is a bar where people go to see and be seen, and Roux is similarly packed on a Saturday night, but the bar here is also part of the kitchen.

We had the best seats in the house, right next to chef Michael Robertshaw, and watched everyone work their magic on delicious looking dishes all night long. The only drawback of sitting next to the kitchen is that everything looks so good and you want to try ALL OF IT!  I guess that just means we have come back to try the rest of the dishes.  We ordered:

jalapeno hush puppies: drizzled with honey, these are honestly the best hush puppies in town and I’ve had them at every restaurant that serves them…  They weren’t too dense or too dry, which is often the problem with over-fried hush puppies.  But these were so amazing, with just the slightest hint of spiciness and plenty of honey to give a nice balance of flavors. Continue reading »

Setting a High Bar – Bar Cotto

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Dining with Nutkin and the She-Nutkin, we decided to try Bar Cotto, yet another Ethan Stowell restaurant. This one is a pizza and salumeria (cured meats) restaurant. It’s located right next to his other restaurant, Olives and Anchovies, and on a Thursday night was rather empty.  As this is a pizza and salumi restaurant, we ordered exactly that:

The salumi plate:
- Spicy coppa: flavorful with a hint of fire, the milder version of a sopresetta
- Petit Jesu: a hunk of cured meat that’s the size of the baby Jesus, delicious and hard to find in most places!!!
- Mangalitsa Lardo: back fat, and I’m not kidding.  It melts between your fingertips, but it’s sliced so thinly that you won’t find it too rich
- Torta Frittas – little pillows of fried pizza dough crust, perfect for wrapping for stuffing your cured meats in.  For 3 cured meats, you’ll need two orders of these. I’m not sure if they have bread to go with the salumis… Continue reading »

A Winner – The Whale Wins

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The month-long celebration of my birthday continues at the Whale Wins!  My friend and I had heard great things about this place and it is impossible to get a reservation here.  It’s small and tucked away, but it’s a neat space next to Joule with “hello” written in the lights above and the desserts prominently on display on the counter when you walk in.  A preview of dessert – what could be more exciting!  They had a pile of unruly looking pistachio meringues that you could take home for $3.50. They are a family style large plate restaurant – meaning you order as if you would small plates and share with the table.  There’s no real entrée on the menu, so pick all the things that interest you and you won’t go wrong.  We ordered 5 plates plus dessert and it was very filling, but not uncomfortably so.

whale wins - kale salad

kale salad – kale with their 7 minute egg, potatos, cooked fennel, and aioli; it could have used a little lemon to brighten it up a bit, but overall, quite delicious for kale, which wasn’t tough or chewy at all.

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This Time with Pictures – Loulay

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The first time I came to Loulay, I forgot my camera. Well, in an effort to make up for it, I brought my camera to my birthday celebration with the black knight. Sadly, I did a less than steller job with the pictures, but they are still drool-worthy!

The black knight as I mentioned before, always tries the tasting menu when it’s available, and of course tonight was no exception.  I had my eye on a few dishes that I didn’t get to try last time and ordered a smattering of appetizers, which I believe, are the most fun part of the meal.

Loulay - beet salad

beet salad – sweet and varied in texture, quite the site to behold with all the jewel tones

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Holy Cow – Red Cow

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I think Salumni and I were meant to meet each other.  We had scheduled our dinner and both showed-up under the weather, so we were could share each other’s germs since we both already sick. I know, it’s a weird way of thinking about it, but it’s somehow fortunate that we were sick at the same time. This time, we kept it simple with Red Cow, an unassuming french bistro in Madrona that took the place of June and Crement before it.  Red Cow, however, is an Ethan Stowell restaurant, which means we had high hopes for it.

red cow - bone marrow

bone marrow – full of fatty marrow, but needed some acid or sweetness to balance it out. Also, slightly burned toasts. Prefer Quinn’s bone marrow.

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Come hellfire and brimstone – I’ll be at “Brimmer and Heeltap”

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Nutkin lives down the street from Brimmer and Heeltap, so we decided to give it a try.  We went on a Thursday night, 7:30 and the small space was packed to the brim, so we waited by the door with drinks in hand.  It was an hour fifteen minute wait for a table to open up, but we managed to snag seats at the bar, so ended up waiting about 30 minutes for four spots at the bar.  Our bartender Jeff was phenomenal – attentive and well versed in drinks and dishes alike. Continue reading »