Song of the Sea – Manolin

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t0e and I catch up from time to time, to hear about each other’s lives, ruminate on working out, and talk about food over good food. We have history, but it’s always nice to chat about things that make us happy. Manolin had come with high recommendations from Salumi and given that they were part of the same team on The Whale Wins, it seemed like a good candidate.

manolin - potato croquettes

Potato croquettes – expertly fried with just a thin crispy crust on the outside and creamy potato and parmesan on the inside; garnished with dill, paprika, and a subtle garlic aioli – a perfect starter

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Guilty Pleasures – Guilt Trip

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The Black Knight, my BFF and I were going to Cirque du Soleil show in Redmond and need a place for dinner before the show. Now, Remond is a bit of a culinary wasteland, despite the fact that it’s full of foodie loving Microsofties.  It’s getting a little better with places like Tipsy Cow Burger and Homegrown sandwiches, and I’d add Guilt Trip to this list. Guilt Trip is an Indian fusion restaurant – with dishes like cheese sticks and bacon butter chicken. It appeals because it is so different and so hard to fathom what some of these combinations would taste like without trying them. Now, what to try between three people?

Guilt trip - lamb kabob

lamb kabob – crispy on the outside of the patty with full flavored minced lamb; these aren’t what I was expecting as I was thinking about kebobs on a stick, but these were still pretty tasty. They are a little on the dry side, but that’s what the dal on the side is for!

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Divine – Harvest Vine

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Harvest Vine is without doubt, my favorite restaurant in Seattle. From the very first time I came here, on a whim to try something different, to all the times I’ve come here for my birthday and to celebrate a host of other occasions, it has never disappointed.  I remember the first time, sitting at the kitchen bar watching the Joey work his magic and Jose strolling in and just playing with ingredients for fun and serving them to the lucky few at the bar.  I was spellbound by the way the flavors come together, the inventiveness of each plate, and the parade of dishes we would try and hope that we had room for more. Though the kitchen has evolved over the years with brunch and a new chef, Harvest Vine is what made me fall in love with tapas.  On this night, my birthday night, my Black Knight dined here and I fell in love all over again.

harvest vine - beet carpaccio

beet carpaccio – paper thin slices of pickled beets sprinkled with salt, garlic, and floating in olive oil; they were a little heavy handed with the olive oil and a little inconsistent with the salt as it was in clumps causing some slices to be much too salty

harvest vine - jamon iberico bellota

jamon iberico bellota – the nutty fat just melts in your mouth with the richness of the pork – this is one special jamon that makes you want to lick the bits of melted fat off the plate; we only ordered 1 oz., but I was originally thinking we needed 2 or 3, but we seriously thought about ordering it for dessert as well. Note, it’s $20/oz.

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The Sweet Life – A Seattle Cupcake Crawl

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Everyone knows that cupcakes are wonderful and should probably be called Happy Cakes instead of cupcakes – it seems more appropriate, given the fact that they are personalized smiles in dessert form. The question is, with all the flavors and the shops out there, which one is the best? Nofrodelius and I decided to try to find the answer on Memorial Day – stopping at cupcake shops all across town.  I started at New York Cupcake on the eastside, met up with Nofrodelius in Seattle, dropped by Yellowleaf in Belltown, headed over to Trophy in Wallingford, and made our last stop at Cupcake Royale before going next door to Ballard Coffee to do the actual taste test.  We had 8 cupcakes, two from each store – and couldn’t have been happier!

Cupcake Crawl - the Haul

Cupcake crawl – we went to Trophy, Yellowleaf, New York Cupcake, and Cupcake Royale to see who had the best cupcakes. We tried a variety of flavors ranging from normal chocolate to off the wall Elvis.

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Mega love! – Omega Ouzeri

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I love tapas because they offer you the opportunity to try a variety of dishes at the table without getting too full. It’s family style, with 7 more dishes, with the advantage of still being able to go by yourself. Tapas are Spanish small plates, dim sum is Chinese small plates, and mezethes are greek small plates. The only reason I even know about mezethes are because of Jose Andres, who opened Zaytinya’s, in D.C., and t0e used to rave about the restaurant. I’ve never even had mezes small plates before, until I went to Omega Ouzeri.

omega ouzeri - SPANAKOPITA

SPANAKOPITA – the standard spinach and feta with crème fraiche and dill; this isn’t how I imagined spanakopita, this was closer to an empanada, but it’s more delicate and oh sooo delicious; the dill gives it an extra zing and the olive oil it’s resting on is lovely

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Nutella Zeppole – Cantinetta Bellevue

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My mom was leaving for Taiwan, so I wanted to take her out to dinner before she left.  We needed good food on the eastside that wasn’t too fancy, but my mom knows good food (yes, that’s where I get it from). She likes Italian, and I had really like the Wallingford Cantinetta when I went a few years ago, so I thought we could try the newer outpost in Bellevue. Cantinetta is upscale Italian at its finest.

catinetta - steak tartar

steak tartar – with pomegranate syrup, pretty basic steak tartar, and badly missing crostini to prevent the sliminess of the tartar from being overwhelming, though the chunks of meat were fairly substantial and not completely ground

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Let the Good Time Roll – Roux

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Although I’ve reviewed Roux before, I don’t think I did it justice. Mike Robertshaw, the head chef, is headed to Arkansas on a new adventure, which meant we had to get into the restaurant one last time before he left. Although the Black Knight and I didn’t see him behind the counter that night, Roux served still served some amazing dishes.

roux - beet salad

beet salad – with endives, pomegranate, puffed rice, and blood oranges; sweet, tangy, crunchy and full of beets! this is probably one of the more original beet salads that I’ve had (note, there’s no cheese paired with the beets)

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