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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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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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