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
It was Sunday at 1:45pm and my friends and I had our monthly get-together. The line was out the door with a 20 minute wait for a party of 3. What madness was this??? For ramen on a Sunday afternoon? I wanted to introduce my roommate to ramen – and not of the prepackaged cup variety that many of us were familiar with in college – but the real, rich broth and hearty noodles with meat that melts in your mouth. Kukai is all of those things, plus the par boiled egg, with its runny yolk that completes the meal.
garlic tonkatsu ramen – it’s rich without being oily, punctuated by crunchy bamboo shoots and crisp bean sprouts; the noodles are al dente and firm to the chew – very different from what you may expect from packaged ramen; the kicker is the par boiled egg
My friend traveled all the way from Tokyo, and people think that he wants Japanese food, in Seattle. He was born in Seattle and Japanese food in Tokyo is much better than any Japanese food you could get in Seattle – hands down. Tokyo has more Michelin starred restaurants than Paris and even more stars overall. It kind of puts things into perspective if you think about Japanese culture and their attention to detail and their craft, that it makes sense that the same sort of reverence and obsession would be applied to food. However, a trip to Japan and dining at one of the finest Italian restaurants is quite expensive, so we’re sticking to Seattle. There are a few top notch Italian places on my list: Cantinetta, Café Juanita, La Rustica, Agrodulce, Rione XIII (this is more comfort food), Tavolta, and Cascina Spinasse.
Today’s choice was Cascina Spinase, after having dined at Aragona earlier this year and remembering a pretty fantastic poached egg with fontina, I thought it was time to return. We were not disappointed and ordered a smattering of dishes to get a better taste of the kitchen’s talent. We watched, with rapture, a chef handmake pasta and breadsticks. The food was impeccable and truly highlighted their mix of ingredients.
proscuitto and zucchini salad – this was the first half of the antipasti sampler; prosciutto with melon, which featured a very sweet melon, in this classic pairing; and charred zucchini with cheese – like a deconstructed zucchini parmesan (fresh zucchini without a hint of bitterness plays well with the mild cheese)
The Black Knight and I go running, and nothing sounds better after a long run than comforting southern food. Today’s pick: Witness Bar in Capital Hill. It’s not a super trendy bar, so we were fine in our running gear sitting on the patio. There was a birthday party with a drag queen diva and it’s a lively place, smallish but not too cramped.
chicken & waffles: Love love love the waffles, soft but so buttery! The chicken, well, probably could have used a little more seasoning, but it's the combination of sweet and salty that we're after here.
pork sliders - a nice combination of slaw and pulled pork on a brioche bun; I was in it for the French fries though - and that horseradish cream sauce that goes with the fries! Those are pretty good fries!!!
My bi-monthly dinner explorations with Salumi continued this month with Restaurant Marron. There has been a lot of excitement from foodies regarding this restaurant because it was supposed to be a 16-course journey. While that menu hasn’t quite come to fruition yet, a carte blanche for $98 is. Consider it their version of the tasting menu. How is it different from a tasting menu? Chef Eric Sakai makes dishes up as he goes along and it is splendid. There is no better way to get a sense of the chef’s chops than the tasting menu (the Black Knight would agree whole-heartedly with me on this) and so both Salumi and I ordered the carte blanche and waited to see what magic the kitchen could concoct.
avocado & kumquat: the amuse bouche, light refreshing with just enough acidity to make you start salivating
red beet salad – with smoke cherries and mustard green, our veggies for the night; the beets were sweet and firm pairing nicely with the crunch of the greens and light dressing; the cracker, paper thin, was full of flavor and the best part of this dish
On a nice day, the Black Night and I dropped by Marination Ma Kai after a day at Lincoln Park as he liked the idea of kalibi beef in a taco form. It’s one of those Asian fusion concepts that you have to try in order to fully appreciate its brilliance. The patio was crowded on a sunny day, but be warned, the draft coming off the water makes it really cold. Bring a jacket if you think you want to sit in the sun or get a better view of the cityscape. This is after all, one of the most iconic views of Seattle, after Kerry Park.
kalibi beef tacos – the original Asian fusion tacos, you can’t miss these! It’s a twist on the koren kalibi beef that you love delivered in a convenient taco.
pulled pork slider – a nice balance of savory, smoky, acidity, crunch tucked between two pillows of sweet rolls
katsu burger – lots of crunch with a nice balance of their cabbage coleslaw
When Mr. Lo returns from Washington D.C., we always celebrate his return with good food and good friends. It’s a Good Life. We were going to go to Brimmer & Heeltap, but the restaurant was too small for a party of 9 and wasn’t child friendly, so Nutkin moved us to Hi Life not too much further down the street.
I’ve been there for their friend chicken Sunday dinner, which at $15, is an amazing deal and most certainly a must-try! I had not been there for other entrees, and I enjoyed the atmosphere and thought it was great for children and large groups. Their build your own cookie for children’s dessert was so much fun! They provide cookie dough and sprinkles and let the kids get to work. It is truly an edible work of art!