Stateside – Seattle, WA

I feel like even just 6 or 7 years ago when my husband and I moved back home from San Francisco, we felt like Seattle had some serious catching up to do in terms of the restaurant scene, but today I think a lot of cities need to catch up to us.  I’m happily floored by the chefs that have emerged and all the different cuisines that are popping up.

A French Vietnamese restaurant, Stateside’s chef/owners have planted themselves in the heart of Capitol Hill’s restaurant scene (at least the one on the west side – there are many) and have created such a fun environment.  Tropical wallpaper mixed with reclaimed wood tables, it’s a good mix and a great backdrop for some pretty awesome food!

We started with the Crispy Duck Fresh Rolls (duck rolls wrapped in fresh herbs and rice paper) which were very good.  Fresh flavors from the herbs, great texture from the crispy duck…all in all I would get these again no doubt about it.

Next were the Chili Cumin Pork Ribs (a bit spicy or extra spicy).  We chose a bit spicy but I think I’d go extra spicy next time.  I just wasn’t sure what to expect so we played it safe.  The ribs were perfectly cooked…the meat was so tender and moist.  The spices were great…different than your normal ribs but I like the change.  The fresh cilantro on the side is a great addition too!

The Green Papaya Salad was calling my name – sooo good if you like green papaya salad.  Long beans, tomatoes, lime, chili, dried shrimp (didn’t even notice them) and beef jerky…whaaaa?!  Crazy right?!  No…amazing!  They do note that it can be made vegetarian.  Unless you are one don’t do it:)  Everything about this was perfect.  Slightly spicy, fresh, crunchy peanuts on top…YUM!

The Master Stock Crispy Chicken (free range chicken poached in aromatic stock, then fried crispy) sounded too good not to try.  And different.  It came with three dipping sauces (I can’t remember them now sorry) and was topped with scallions and something fried like tempura bits but I can’t recall that either – my apologies.  Great dish!  The flavors are so different and well matched that I’m having a hard time describing them.

Last for the savory was the Bun Cha Hanoi (pork patties and belly in caramel fish sauce marinade.  imperial rolls, rice vermicelli and herb plate).  Delicious!  I loved this and think i could eat it quite often.  Everything is served separately which allows you create your bite.  Just thinking about this meal makes me hungry:)

Last but not least was dessert.  The only tragedy here is that ever since having a baby I’ve completely lost the ability to remember anything worthwhile therefore I need to write everything down and I didn’t in this case.  SO…I have no idea what it was we ate but I can tell you this…it was the most incredible dessert and I would go back for just it.  I realize I’m not helping you out here but at least you can reference the photo and see if anything looks similar on the menu.

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Trove Noodle – Seattle, WA

Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi have proven themselves ingenious chefs once again!  Trove, located on the corner of Pike and Summit, is four concepts in one.  You’ve got Noodle, Parfait, Bar and BBQ.  All are very unique and different yet they compliment each other perfectly.  I’ve been to all four but because they’re each their own, they also deserve their own blog post so stay tuned.

We couldn’t help ourselves and had to order three different noodles.  First the yellow curry rigatoni with cauliflower chickpea and yogurt.  Out standing!  So much flavor, awesome texture…standout dish for me!  I believe the nuts on top were toasted hazelnuts and there were also raisins or currants in there as well.  Perfection.

Next the spaghetti stir fried with meatballs and swiss chard.  Sounds plain but there was so much more to the dish and it was tasty!

Last but not least (and somehow I forgot to take a picture) was the rice noodle, chipotle pad thai with pork belly and yu choy.  Awesome!

I really don’t think you can go wrong.  The menu rotates so get in there often and try something new each time.  IF you aren’t stuffed when you leave, stop by Parfait on the way out.

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Peasant – New York, NY

Our trip to New York this past December was different from our others in the past such that we didn’t have any agenda nor did I make any reservations ahead of time.  Typically I set my alarm for 6am 2 months in advance and call to get into whichever restaurant I have on my list and then I go back to bed.  We’ve done the 3 hour Michelin star meals, the fussy food where you debate grabbing some street food on the walk home.  This time we wanted to eat like locals, explore the different neighborhoods and that’s exactly what we did.

Our first night there we got in late and asked our concierge what they recommended for great Italian food near the hotel (The Mercer Hotel in Soho).  Immediately she said, “Peasant!” and off we went to dinner.  The ambiance is great, rustic but refined.  Chef Frank DeCarlo really prides himself on the kitchen which is meant to be exactly like a true old world kitchen in Italy or France.  Rustic brick wood-fired ovens, a rotisserie…the only gas is so they can boil water we were told.  Let’s not forget to give credit where due…he laid the brick himself!

The food…where to start?!  We couldn’t help ourselves and had to order the Burrata with wood-roasted tomatoes and the Polpi in Purgatorio (baby octopus, hot chiles).  Both were outstanding!  Perfectly presented, cooked, prepared…delicious and I would order them again in a heartbeat.  For our main courses we chose the Gnocchi al Funghi (brown butter, sage, mushrooms) and Tagliolini al Ragu di Vitello (homemade tagliolini, veal ragu).  I never use this blog as a forum to talk badly about a restaurant or dish (I just don’t write about them) but in this case I wanted to because I love this restaurant so much but this is where we felt there was something lacking.  Neither dish had much flavor which was surprising seeing as our starters were incredible.  The pastas lacked salt for one which probably would have made a huge difference.  This all being said I would most likely order one of the pizzas and/or meat/fish dishes next time (we were told by other locals after the fact that their pizzas are to die for).  For dessert we went with the Budino di Pane e Cioccolato Bianco (white chocolate bread pudding with almonds, figs and white chocolate gelato).  I typically stray away from white chocolate but I’m a sucker for bread pudding and I’m glad we tried it because it was incredible!

One more thing to note, I guess there’s a great wine room down below that wasn’t even on our radar.  Just something to note!

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Fig & Olive – Newport Beach, CA

This restaurant is beautiful from the inside out.  If I could live in there I would.  The interior design is so clean and elegant just like the food.  And it never hurts to be surrounded by beautiful people.

I went for lunch and ordered light but would love to go back and explore the menu more.  I started with the Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio which was perfect and followed that with the Salade de Laitue with grilled shrimp added.  Next time I’d love to try the Salmon Tartar, Penne Funghi Tartufo (I’m a glutton for truffles), or the Fig & Olive Chicken Tajine.

Next time you’re in need of a nice leisurely comfortable meal, go here!

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Graze – Walla Walla, WA

On a recent wine tasting trip to Walla Walla, my group and I asked where to get a great sandwich in town and the unanimous answer was Graze’s right off of Main Street.  After checking into our hotel, we made the 5 minute walk and were so pleased with what we encountered.

I decided to go for a hot sandwich and ordered the Pepper Jack Chicken – grilled chicken, pepper jack sauce, tomatoes, red onion, provolone and lettuce.  So tasty!  I like spice so this was a great choice for me.  I was also tempted by the Pastrami (a classic in my book), Turkey Avocado and Lemongrass Chicken.  Delicious!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything and for good reason…I’ve brought another Good Eater into the world:)  Welcome Maxwell!  At 8 months he’s taking the food world by storm and so far has lots of favorites, making his mama proud.  Stay tuned for some new restaurants and recipes to come!

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Redd Wood – Yountville, CA

Whether you’re spending your day wine tasting or are just looking for a great spot for lunch (or breakfast/dinner), you should definitely stop by Redd Wood in Yountville.  Located next to the boutique hotel North Block Hotel (and not far from French Laundry), it’s the perfect place to have an easy, unpretentious meal that’s satisfying, not super heavy and overall a place that you’ll want to go back to.  This is Michelin-starred chef Richard Reddington’s second Yountville spot, his first being Redd which is equally fabulous but oh so different.  *You’ve got to try that spot if you haven’t already!

The decor is very current/urban and comfortable.  Kind of reminds me of a place you’d find in Soho with a California feel.  There’s outdoor seating which is always a great option, especially for someone like myself who doesn’t get the opportunity to eat outside a ton at home.

I stopped in midday for a bite in between wine tastings and was very happy with my order – the shaved summer vegetable salad which couldn’t be fresher and the proscuitto, arugula and parmesan pizza.  I’d love to go back for dinner to try some pastas and main courses.

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