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Serious Biscuit – Seattle, WA

Tom Douglas’ Serious Biscuit is just as divine as the name:)  Seriously…how can you really go wrong when everything on the menu revolves around a buttery and flaky biscuit?!  My first time there I ordered the Fried Green Tomato Biscuit which included a fried egg, bacon and remoulade.  Absolutely delicious in every way!  The fried tomato gave it a nice crunch all the while being nice and juicy inside, the bacon…well…the bacon was just awesome, the fried egg is what should be on top of everything in my opinion and last but not least the remoulade added a great kick of flavor to the whole thing.  Awesome!  I would get this again.

My husband went for exactly what I thought he would…”The Zach” – fried chicken, gravy, an egg and bacon all on a biscuit.  I think that’s everyone’s hangover dream:)  And in this case my husband wasn’t hungover so it was just pure bliss on a normal midday afternoon.

My second time there I decided to go for a “healthier” option and ordered the Fried Chicken Chop Salad. Perfect!  There was just the right amount of fried chicken on top of the freshest salad.  There were radishes, carrots and tasty feta cheese in there too.  And don’t forget about the biscuit that came on the side.  Of course I nibbled on it:)

There’s nothing too “light” about this place but you won’t regret going there and guaranteed you’ll be back soon after.

Chicken Paillard with Creamy Parmesan Dressing

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

Oh how I love Tyler Florence and all that he does!  I’ve made this recipe of his a couple of times now and each time my husband cleans his plate!  That’s always a good sign:)  It’s a pretty easy meal and one that doesn’t taste too heavy which is nice.  Perfect for a weekday night or for easy entertaining.  I think once you make this you’ll definitely go back to it as a trusty go-to recipe.

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or peanut oil

Dressing:

  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 clove garlic, pealed and smashed
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 1 cup organic grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bag fresh baby arugala
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, boccancini, halved
  • Shaved Parmesan, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions

For the chicken:

Begin by pounding out the chicken breast gently between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.

Prepare a breading station with flour, whisked eggs and milk, and panko crumbs. Season all generously with salt and pepper. Coat the breasts in flour, egg then panko. Lay the coated breasts out on a flat tray and refrigerate to let the crust dry out (about 10 minutes) this will ensure there is less moisture and less chance your coating will break when frying.

Shallow fry the paillard in hot oil for approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side depending on how thick the breasts are. Drain well, season with salt and set aside when done.

For the dressing:

Put the anchovies, egg yolks, garlic, and lemon juice into a blender and process for 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth. With the blender running, pour the olive oil in slowly for the dressing to emulsify. Add water if the sauce is too thick.  Stir in the Parmesan, season with grinds of black pepper; set aside. (Refrigerate the dressing if you will not be using it right away.)

Prepare the salad by splitting the grape tomatoes in half through the middle lengthwise, mixing all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing and toss the salad well.

To serve lay the warm, crispy chicken paillard on the base of the plate and top with the salad. Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese, a wedge of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.

Ballard Pizza Company – Seattle, WA

Ethan Stowell just doesn’t stop…and I couldn’t be happier about that!  So far each restaurant he’s opened has had it’s own personality.  His latest – Ballard Pizza Company – serves up huge slices of pizza for lunch and dinner everyday and is even open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays…that could be trouble:)  Along with pizza there are fresh pastas each day and a selection of salads.

I ordered a slice of the mushroom pizza as well as a mixed green salad.  The pizza was very good and I was pleased to see that the bottom of the slice was nice and crispy, not soggy.  Perfect!  The salad was good however my only complaint is that it was over dressed…so much so that I couldn’t eat half of it and normally the salad is my favorite part.  Next time I’ll just have to order the dressing on the side.

I look forward to going back – maybe for dinner next time – and trying a new slice!

Bar del Corso – Seattle, WA

If I lived in Beacon Hill I’d probably frequent this spot more than I’d like to admit.  It’s got that laid back neighborhood feel while serving food that proves why it earned the title as one of the best new restaurants in Seattle.  Jerry Corso uses his impressive pizza oven to fire Neapolitan style pizzas with seasonal ingredients that will have you not wanting to share.  It’s a popular spot and because they don’t take reservations, don’t be surprised if there’s a wait but just get a glass of wine and be patient…it’s worth it!

I love octopus and tend to order it whenever I see it on a menu.  This version was well done except I felt the peperonata overwhelmed the dish, not letting the octopus stand out.  But…it was still a great dish and sopping up the leftover sauce with bread was amazing!  Our salad was perfect…there was a great balance of sweet and acidity that made all the ingredients work together.  And the pizza!!!  SO good!  I’d love to go back and try all the others but I have a feeling I would probably want to get the fungi again it was so good:)

Grilled Octopus - with heirloom peperonata

Arugula & roasted sunchokes - Pink Lady apples, pecorino, agro di mosto & extra virgin olive oil

Funghi pizza - crimini mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, housemade sausage, pecorino & fontina

Spencer’s – Palm Springs, CA

This was my first time to Spencer’s but it won’t be my last.  Nestled up again the San Jacinto Mountains, the setting is beautiful and I can only imagine what it would be like at night seeing that we were there to enjoy a late lunch.  Outside on the patio under the trees is by far the best seat in the house – it’s no wonder they won the award for Best Outside Dining:)

The menu is American with hints of Asian and Mediterranean influences.  Being a hot afternoon I chose the Baja Shrimp Salad.  It came with roasted corn, avocado, tomatoes and tortilla strips with a lemon tequila dressing…yum!  I added a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt…DE-lish!

Vue de Monde – Melbourne, Australia

I am one lucky girl!  Vue de Monde is one of the hardest (if not THE hardest) reservations to get in Melbourne.  As fate would have it, two nights before I got into VDM I was sitting by myself at the bar at MoVida and happened to be sitting one seat away from the Executive Chef there Cory Campbell.  We got to talking and fast forward – he got me in!  I feel really lucky to have gotten such a well rounded eating tour of Melbourne considering I was only there for 3 days.

Vue de Monde is hard for me to describe.  It’s like no other place I’ve ever experienced before.  Shannon Bennett is the brains behind this restaurant and he’s done an excellence job creating a dark modern wonderland.  The tables are wrapped in kangaroo leather (it’s gorgeous) as well as the seat backs.  Mine (unlike my mom’s) was wrapped in the whole hide, fur and all, which I couldn’t stop touching because it was so soft.  For those of you that are squeamish about “fur”…sorry.  There were also a variety of rocks strewn about in the center of the table.  What we didn’t know then was that each had a purpose for dinner.  Two were for salt and pepper, another for your bread and butter plates (they split giving you a flat service).  And then there were two burley twigs which ended up being used to rest the cutlery on.  It’s almost like the underworld of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Back to the food.  Each dish was SO different from the one before in every way…presentation, taste, temperature, texture, you get the idea.  One of my favorite dishes of the night was the Marron which is an Australian crayfish.  It was served warm with a tarragon butter which was to die for.  You weren’t presented any flatware for this dish rather they encourage you to eat this course with your fingers:)  I could have just eaten a whole plate of these all night long.  I liked how playful the chefs are with the food here.  For instance, the wasabi that came with the tomato and watermelon salad was made from powder and then formed into frozen freeform balls by using nitrogen.  It’s the unexpected while at the same time still delivering the expected flavor.  The lemon meringue dessert was the same way, deconstructed but if you took a bite with all of the components on the plate, you got lemon meringue pie!

When you leave you’re escorted through their enormous wine cellar which is quite stunning and then to the elevator.  Before you go you’re given a bag of treat for “the morning after”.  Our had a cute little loaf of brioche, homemade muesli, honey and chocolate chip cookies.  Very unique and definitely something I will remember.

This is a place to go for a special occasion, if you’re visiting Melbourne and appreciate molecular gastronomy/modern food, and/or if your budget allows ($$$$ by far the most expensive dinner we had on the whole trip but SO worth it) and you just want to have fun with dinner.  Word of advice, don’t eat a large lunch:)

The Christofle cutlery and crystal drink ware were gorgeous

Smoked eel, white chocolate, caviar

Oyster

Salt cured venison

Celeriac, sunflower seed

Spanner crab, rockmelon, salmon roe

Tomato, fennel, watermelon, wasabi

Marron, kohlrabi, caviar, tarragon butter

Fried duck egg, lamb sweetbreads, pickled onion, truffle

Cucumber sorbet, crushed herbs

Barramundi, herb emulsion, prawn, smoked bone marrow

Pigeon, carrot, clove, orange

Blackmore wagyu beef, fig, pear

Lemon meringue ice cream, white chocolate, lemon cured, parsley

Pavlova

Tonka bean soufflé, smoke cocoa ice cream

A selection of coffee, teas, infusions & petit-fours

A photo with Chef Campbell:)

The Blvd – Beverly Hills, CA

There’s no better place in Beverly Hills to eat well and have the best people watching right in front of you.  Located in the timeless Beverly Wilshire at the tail end of Rodeo Drive, The Blvd comes with a high price tag but it’s THE quintessential Beverly Hills experience.

Almost every time I’m there I get the Seafood Salad.  It’s changed over the years but is never disappointing to me and comes with the highest quality of seafood one would expect for a $33 salad.  My husband started with the Lobster Salad which was divine.  I especially loved the green apple.  It added such a lovely acidity and made the dish perfectly balanced.  For his entrée he got the Veal Schnitzel…whoa…I had a tinge of order envy but luckily he was nice enough to give me a couple of bites.  The veal was pounded thin and cooked to perfection.  So tender and full of flavor…this was definitely a success.  My only advice is to add a good squeeze of lemon juice on top.  It brightens the dish and makes it not as heavy tasting.

Just to name a few, Bob Green, Mariel Hemingway and André Leon Talley were all dining there the last time I was there for lunch.  Does it get much better than that?!  Go!

Great selection of breads

Maine Lobster Salad – green apple, avocado, jicima, lemon oil vinaigrette

Seafood Salad – pickled butternut squash, octopus, prawns, lobster, scallops, white port and hazelnut oil

Veal Schnitzel – fingerling potato salad, red radishes, lemon butter

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