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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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GRILLED OCTOPUS, salsa verde

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

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YELLOWTAIL, local mushrooms, english peas

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

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

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

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BRULEE CARROT CAKE, cream cheese ice cream, ginger syrup

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HOUSEMADE COOKIES

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

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ROSEWATER RHUBARB, pistachio meringue, preserved lemon ricotta, orange

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Tray Kitchen – Seattle, WA

What a fun place!  First impression is that it resembles Revel decor wise, but that’s a compliment in every way.  I even noticed some artwork from Electric Coffin (good work guys!).  I went with four girlfriends (two of which had been before) and we ordered like crazy.  It’s hard to say no when they come to your table with a tray full of delicious looking plates that all seem to be calling your name.  There’s a menu with a la carte dishes in addition to the cart items if you please and boy did we!  Everything was cooked to perfection, tasted so fresh, and all had a unique burst of flavor.  I’m excited to go back and try different things.  I’d say this is definitely one to put on your list of places to try.

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Blue bird farm farro, asparagus, snap peas, pea tendrils, house made ricotta cheese

Blue bird farm farro, asparagus, snap peas, pea tendrils, house made ricotta cheese

Charred octopus, white beans, baby arugula, lemon

Charred octopus, white beans, baby arugula, lemon

Kale Salad, black sesame yogurt, sunflower seeds, almonds, apple - Shaved Brussel Sprouts Asian Caesar, togarashi with Chinese donuts

Kale Salad, black sesame yogurt, sunflower seeds, almonds, apple – Shaved Brussel Sprouts Asian Caesar, togarashi with Chinese donuts

Duck Confit fried rice, maitake mushroom, leek, soy cured egg yolk

Duck Confit fried rice, maitake mushroom, leek, soy cured egg yolk

K.F.C. (Korean Fried Chicken wings), pumpkin seeds, Korean chili sauce

K.F.C. (Korean Fried Chicken wings), pumpkin seeds, Korean chili sauce

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Chinese doughnut cannoli, raspberry cream, chocolate, candied ginger - Dark chocolate mousse, toasted marshmallow

Chinese doughnut cannoli, raspberry cream, chocolate, candied ginger – Dark chocolate mousse, toasted marshmallow

Cantinetta – Seattle, WA

This is your quintessential neighborhood restaurant.  Adorable brick corner location in Wallingford.  The food is just as cozy as the inside of this place feels.  It’s the perfect spot to catch up with an old friend, enjoy a date night, or celebrate with a group.  I hadn’t been for a while and it was so satisfying going back.  I can never say no to one of their housemade pasta dishes and I love when I get a view of the chefs making the pasta behind the glass windows.  Everything was outstanding with the exception of one dish – the baby artichoke zeppole with fennel and horseradish creme fraiche.  It wasn’t bad, but I was just hoping for more.  I didn’t feel like the artichoke was the star of the dish which I think it should have been.  Other than that it was a wonderful night full of great food, wine and company.

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Baby Artichoke Zeppole, fennel, horseradish creme fraiche

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Halibut Crudo, pickled fresno chili, fried capers, sprouts

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Pea Vines, crispy speck, fresno chili, farm egg

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Pappardelle alla Bolognese

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Halibut, marbled potatoes, fiddleheads, wood sorrel, leek brodo

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Zeppole

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The London Plane – Seattle, WA

My husband and I made reservations here on a warm and sunny Thursday night since we were in Pioneer Square for First Thursday Art Walk.  Located on Occidental Plaze, it’s a beautiful and airy space with lots of natural light.  The menu is fixed, offering 3 courses for $35.  Talk about fresh and seasonal – cherries, garlic scapes, apricot syrup – the whole dinner was dancing with summer flavors.  They also fancy themselves part market/cafe/floral workshop so even if you don’t come in to eat, you can still stop by to grab delicious and beautiful things to go.

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arugula, fennel, cherries & walnuts, dressed with citrus & mint

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bucatini with pancetta, tremiti olives, garlic scares & breadcrumbs with housemate tomato sauce

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chocolate torte with coffee cream, apricot syrup & candied almond

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Mamnoon – Seattle, WA

I’ve been meaning to go here for a while, ever since I noticed construction going on while dining across the street at Terra Plata.  The space is gorgeous and without knowing you’re in Seattle, this could easily be in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.  Very urban and edgy.

And the food…I honestly can’t say enough great things about it.  A blend of Lebanese and Syrian food, it’s absolutely delicious and unlike anything else in the city.  Lots of bright spices and fresh vegetables, perfectly cooked meats and sauces that you can’t help but sop up with whatever bread you have left on the table.  Each dish is so uniquely different from the last that you end up having a hard time picking a favorite when it’s all over.  I went with a group of 6 and after eating there I think it’s probably best to go in a group so you have the opportunity to try a bunch of different things.  That or you’ll just want to immediately go back to try what you didn’t have room for.  We ordered a lot…primarily vegetarian heavy items…and I walked away satisfied, content and excited to go back!

Be sure to order one of the khobz – specialty breads, the bateresh – charred eggplant with minced lamb, fatten hummus – fresh chickpeas, grilled bread, green garlic yogurt and pine nuts (one of my all time favorite dishes to make in culinary school!) and the kefta – minced lamb, onion, pistachio and baharat.  YUMMMM!!!

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