Escape – The Lake House

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Birthday celebration 2017 – needed a place on the Eastside that had inventive food, something more interesting. Jason Wilson’s Lake House of farmhouse inspired craft cooking in the middle of downtown Bellevue seemed to offer just that. It’s an airy, white-walled, spacious temple for locavores humming with the energy of shoppers newly energized by some retail therapy.

lakehouse - pesto pasta

housemade sarde shell pasta – foraged mushrooms, soft cooked egg, green garlic pesto. This is my favorite dish at The Lake House hands down. It’s an al-dente pasta, lovingly wrapped in clingy egg yolk with pesto and I swear a hint of truffle. Just pop these in your mouth, one at a time, and savor the chew, the silkiness, and the richness of this dish. Like carbonara moved up north in Italy.

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Top Shelf – Butcher’s Table

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They say Butcher’s Table is the swankiest new steakhouse in town, with tasting flights of different grades or different cuts of beef. It’s trendy and it’s a bit of a extravagance, but if you’re going to have steak, you might was well go all out. We were celebrating a birthday afterall, so no expense was spared.  And that’s how I like it.

Butcher's Table - uni

uni – lardo, seeded bread, jalapeño. Considering that Butcher’s Table specializes in beef, this uni had a delicate sweetness and creaminess that paired well with the bread and the spice of the jalapeños. It’s always fun to see how uni is used outside of sushi and they did quite well with this fun bite of appetizer.


Butcher's Table - 4-cut tasting flight

If you wanted to know what the difference in cuts tastes like, this is how you do it. If you can’t taste the difference between the cuts, then your best bet is to get the cheapest cut and stick to it. This happens to be the 5-star tasting – filet, new York, cap of ribeye and eye of ribeye. All the pieces had a lovely beef flavor, the filet was the most tender (as expected), though none of them had any issues with gristle and chewiness. This is about as good as it gets.

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Great [Again] – Young American Alehouse

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This post is as much about food as it is politics, as fair warning. I’ve had a hard time processing the results of the 2016 election and writing is cathartic to me.

It was election night. Nutkin and She-Nutkin and I met for dinner so that I could regale them with my tales from New Orleans (beignets, music, and history!).  I wanted to check out Young American Alehouse since it was in their neighborhood, and it was Maria Hines’ re-imagining of Golden Beetle. They had just opened three weeks ago. Golden Beetle was my favorite Mediterranean restaurant in Seattle, so I was sad to see the change, but I assume they had good reason for the change. Maybe the locals weren’t interested in the unrecognizable spices or the fancy small plates among the growing population of craft breweries springing up all over the neighborhood?

We were halfway through our entrees when She-Nutkin checked her phone for the election results. All we saw was a sea of red. A little bit of math told us that Hilary had lost the White House.  It was as if we had all swallowed rancid milk (or in this case, a rancid Cheeto) in our stomachs. What was supposed to be a celebration of our first woman for President, quickly became a shot to the gut with an instant reaction to throw up. This wasn’t supposed to happen.  How could someone who spews racist, misogynistic, and bigoted comments be elected as a leader in a country that once was a haven with freedom of persecution from race, creed, and religion? What fear has torn this country asunder to turn to hate? Continue reading »

Come On In – Screen Door (Portland, OR)

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They say that Sunday brunch is an institution in Portland.  The proper way to brunch, according to locals, is to put your name on the waiting list, go home to eat a bowl of cereal or to a donut shop, and then come back about an hour later. In other words, be prepared to wait for a while, so grab your favorite friends/family and enjoy the company. In our Portlandia adventures, we chose the most popular brunch spot, Screen Door, for the experience.

We arrived at 10:30am, and as promised, the wait about about 1.5 hours and we were seated just past noon. We had a table of four, so we had the opportunity to share a few items. Otherwise, expect to take lots of food home.

Screen Door - chicken and waffles

Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffles – a 6 oz. chicken breast that is still surprisingly juicy bursting with peppers and breading that isn’t too crispy; enjoy this classic combination of sweet and savory kicked up a notch with sublime sweet potato waffles to add more just a touch of sweetness without needing maple syrup. This is the mini-version; it usually comes with THREE chicken breasts for a total of 18 oz. of meat. It could be some of the best leftovers you’ve ever had.

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Comrade – Copine

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Ever since the Book Bindery closed, I’ve been keeping an eye out for chef Shaun McCrain. Book Bindery had clean dishes that sought to highlight the main ingredient in an inventive way that was minimalistic, and yet inventive. It’s fine dining, but not overly fussy without being boring. So it was with high hopes that t0e and I went to Copine in Ballard to see how the chef had faired in his own restaurant.

Copine - fried salmon pate

Fried Salmon Pate – with salmon roe, with crème freshe. A nice amuse bouche to start the meal – a take on salmon multiple ways in a very complex bite.

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Fusion Done Right – Miyabi’s on 45th

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When it comes to Asian fusion, we have a pretty good choice of restaurants: Dahlia Lounge, Marination Station, Joule, and Stateside to name a few. However, the one I like most for dinner with my family is Miyabi’s. It’s mildly adventurous combinations and recognizable ingredients makes it the perfect place to branch out without hanging too far off the limb. You’ll still have your traditional sobas and sushi’s here, but you’ll also find shaved foie gras.  Foie gras tofu anyone?  Don’t question it too much – just enjoy the creativity and the mingling of flavors.

Miyabi's on 45 - agedashi tofu

agedashi tofu – with saffron and chanterelles, in a broth so good they provide you with a spoon

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Scrumptious – Salare

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They call Salare a chef-driven restaurant and a labor of love. Mr. and Mrs. Nutkin agreed to give it a try with me for one of our dinners. They recently returned from their honeymoon in Zion, and what better way to celebrate love, than dining in a restaurant that is a labor of love?  The reviews have been positive and Salare has made Ravenna somewhat of a hotspot. Salare has a bit of southern influence that you can see in the cornbread, grits, and okra, but you can also taste Europe in the lamb au jus and duck confit. It may be eclectic, but it’s thoughtfully curated and wonderfully prepared.

Salare - fried okra

Fried Okra – with pineapples and bacon. So no one likes okra, except for me, most of the South, and Mrs. Nutkin (thankfully), because it’s slimy and furry. Well, when you deep fry it in the most delicate and silk thin of batters, pair it with a hearty bacon and then punch it up with some pineapple, it’s not your average fried okra anymore. Granted, they probably should have cut the okra in half so some of the older ones weren’t so stringy, but overall, this is one of the best preparations of okra that I’ve eaten.

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