Naka – Seattle, WA

When my husband and I went here last month, we had the choice of two menus, the a la carte menu or the kaiseki menu (a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner).   With the kaiseki menu we then had three choices, the Tasting Menu (5 or 7 courses I can’t remember), the Naka Kaiseki (10 course tasting menu) or the Chef Kaiseki (15 course menu which requires a weeks notice).  We went with the Naka Kaiseki because why not?!  We were also told that the chef’s intention was to eventually limit the menu to just the kaiseki one and have the a la carte become the bar menu.  Looking at their site right now I see they’ve made that transition.  I hope this doesn’t discourage people from trying this restaurant because the tasting menu was outstanding.  When you hear 7-15 courses, I think most people think that sounds like a lot but some of the courses were just one bite.  Very simple clean food so we both left feeling satisfied and not the least bit full, refreshing actually.

The presentation was stunning and the flavors were outstanding.  I highly recommend Naka if you appreciate great Japanese cuisine.  The bill can get a little steep so it’s the perfect place for a special occasion.  I should also mention that we enjoyed the wine pairing as well and the pours were very appropriate seeing there were 10 courses to be had.


Chop Shop – Seattle, WA

Go. Here. Now.  Absolutely delicious!  This was one of the most amazing meals I’ve had in a while.  I love that Seattle is becoming such a food driven city and that it’s one of those places that’s hard to keep up with now.  Ericka Burke of Volunteer Cafe has created the coolest space, keeping the exterior of the old building and transforming the interior into a modern urban hotspot.  Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, I will have plenty of excuses to go here.

We started with the Gioia Burrata.  When we read that it was served with brown butter we were sold.  Let me just tell you, this is by far the best burrata I’ve ever had because of that decadent brown butter.  Both my husband and I were sopping it up with our bread.  Unreal!  We shared everything but our main courses and if I had to do it all over again I would order exactly the same way.  Everything was as visually stunning as it was flavor-wise.  The menu is very seasonal so if I were you I’d rush in there now to take advantage of the last of summer.


Gioia Burrata – heirloom tomato, oregano, brown butter, pine nut


Gulf Prawns – Northwest bordelaise, smoked trout roe, English peas, purslane, grilled bread


Sugar Snap Peas – stone fruit, radish, carrot, onion petals, vadouvan yogurt


Grilled Octopus – fingerling potato, pickled leeks, red chimichurri, squid ink aioli


Bavette Steak – heirloom tomato, fingerling, marrow onion toast, soft herbs, balsamic


Summer Fruit – vanilla bean apricot puree, cultured cream, sweet cicely


Shake Shack – New York, NY

My husband and I try to get to NYC every year and after years of crossing off big hitters from our list of restaurants we finally indulged in Shake Shack for lunch.  Let’s just say we were disappointed we didn’t have more time in our schedule to go back.  It was that tasty!  Crinkle cut fries perfectly salted, a delicious cheeseburger (single or double) and the biggest mistake was not ordering wine and/or a concrete (frozen custard ice cream blended with whatever mix-in you desire).  Next time!  With 14 locations in New York alone, it’s not hard to find one close by.  I guarantee there will be a line out the door but it moves fast.

IMG_4608  IMG_4605

The Fat Hen – Seattle, WA

Ballard sure has some adorable restaurants tucked into it.  This being one of them.  We went here on a nice Sunday afternoon for brunch.  There was a long wait so I had plenty of time to decide what I was going to order.  I immediately knew – the lentil salad with warm lentils, a soft poached egg (I’m a sucker for poached eggs on just about anything), lardon and celery on top of spinach.  Holy moly this was tasty!  Definitely satisfied my insane hunger after the hour wait and I would recommend it to everyone!  Next time I might try one of their egg bakes…two eggs in tomato with sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella?  Yes please!  Adorable space, lovely staff and delicious food.


Jackson’s Corner – Bend, OR

What an adorable restaurant!  If I lived in Bend I’m certain the staff would know me by name.  I went for breakfast and had the hardest time ordering. I settled on the Pesto & Eggs, two of my favorites so together this dish sounded like heaven.  The Sparrow baguette it was served on was so tasty and provided the perfect pedestal for the stars of the dish.  I did myself a favor and added bacon to my order.  Excellent!  I normally stick to water but I couldn’t help but notice all their kombuchas on tap.  What?!  Brilliant!  I got the non-flavored one (I can’t remember the name now) and it was exactly what I wanted.  They’re very friendly and let you try as many as you’d like.  I would love to try their lunch and dinner options.  Next time!

IMG_6501 IMG_6502

Deru Market – Kirkland, WA

I don’t mean to be a 206 snob but I will say I don’t go across the bridge all that often.  Deru Market is one reason that will have me willing to pay the bridge toll time and time again.  Located in the North Kirkland neighborhood (Norkirk), Deru Market is the best kept secret of the East Side and the greater Seattle area for the matter.  Chefs Jamie Casady and Jordan Cooper are killing it when it comes to creating out of this world intensly flavored dishes like Fig + Pistachio Meatloaf or the Chorizo + Kale Wood Fired Pizza.  If you can’t stay you can take it all to go or they even will cater your next event.  Their “Farm + Market” items (think beets, cauliflower, kale and broccoli) are all priced by the pound like you’d buy them at a market (except these are cooked, seasoned and ready to eat).  Let’s not overlook the desserts.  I’m not exaggerating when I say their Chocolate Chocolate Cake is THE best cake I’ve ever had!  The slice is humongous and it’s embarrassing how much I can take down but don’t miss it!!!!  If chocolate isn’t your thing, be sure to get a slice of the coconut cake, apple bread, or one of the many scrumptious cookies or muffins.  If you don’t live in Bellevue you’re going to leave being sad you don’t live closer to this place.

IMG_7051 IMG_2367 IMG_2369 IMG_7053 IMG_7054 IMG_7055 IMG_7056 IMG_7057 IMG_7059

Shaker + Spear – Seattle, WA

Located in the new Palladian Hotel downtown on Second Ave (and Virginia), Shaker + Spear surprised me in a good way.  Without many photos online of the space itself, I didn’t know what to expect but it’s gorgeous with tons of natural light and well chosen interior design details.  I especially like the chandelier above the bar as well as the bar stools themselves.

We started with cocktails at the bar and then moved onto wine and dinner once we were seated.  Between four of us eating family style, we were able to order quite a bit which is always fun when trying a new place.  Overall I was very impressed from start to finish from the moment we walked in to the moment we walked out (being the last to leave means you had a great time right?!).  I would suggest making reservations if you’re planning on going Thursday – Saturday at least!  *Not pictured are the delicious oysters we had served with rose bitters and tarragon.  Yum!


Special that night – ROASTED CARROTS, pickled jalapeños, kimchi puree


GRILLED OCTOPUS, salsa verde


TEMPURA SQUASH BLOSSOMS, foie mousse (on the side because I don’t care for foie)


YELLOWTAIL, local mushrooms, english peas


ROSEMARY COULOTTE STEAK, spring garlic, fava beans, avocado chili puree


WHOLE FISH CHEF’S WAY (DORADE), panzanella salad


HALIBUT, black garlic, asparagus, baby artichokes, pak choi


BRULEE CARROT CAKE, cream cheese ice cream, ginger syrup




MINT DARK CHOCOLATE SEMI FREDDO, chocolate crumb, cacao nib, micro mint


ROSEWATER RHUBARB, pistachio meringue, preserved lemon ricotta, orange

IMG_8217 IMG_8218


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 68 other followers

%d bloggers like this: