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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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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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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.

I recently did a fabulous caviar tasting at Seattle Caviar Company and now I’m hooked!  I knew I liked caviar before but I didn’t know how many different types of caviar there are and what the differences were.  Owner Betsy Sherrow and her friendly staff are so helpful and make the tasting so much fun!  They do a caviar tasting with champagne every Thursday so sign up and go…you’ll be happy you did:)

This post is very overdue but I just wanted to say congrats to local chef Tom Douglas for his much deserved win for Outstanding Restauranteur from the James Beard Foundation.  I may be biased because I’m from Seattle but Tom is outstanding in all that he does.  From the restaurants that he has opened and runs to the cookbooks and spices and to the events and philanthropic work he does…he’s amazing!  Short and sweet…congrats Tom…you earned this!!!

Terra Plata – Seattle, WA

Since going to Melrose Market for the first time I’ve had a serious urge to go back so my husband and I tried Terra Plata for dinner the other night.  It was a gorgeous night as we were going home from the airport and since they were still open we went for it!

The decor combines exposed wood beam ceilings with steel…it’s beautiful and what I often refer to as contemporary Northwest architecture.  Philip Christofides of Arellano Christofides is responsible for this gorgeous space (in collaboration with owners Tamara Murphy and Linda Morton).

The food was outstanding as well!  So flavorful that midway through the meal we ordered some bread just so we could sop up what was left on our plates:)  We started with the Shisito peppers.  Anytime I see those on a menu I always order them.  We were lucky this time and didn’t get a hot one…nice!  For my entrée I chose the Sea Bream with chorizo, clams, preserved lemon and tomatoes…awesome!  I would order this again in a heartbeat.  And for dessert…who can say no to homemade churros?  Not us!  Great choice and I can’t wait to go back.  Maybe next time for brunch!

Blistered Shisito Peppers – aioli, sea salt

Crispy Brussels Sprouts – serrano ham, maple, rosemary

Steak & Potatoes – hanger steak, remoulade potatoes, cabrales butter, crispy onions

Whole Fish – sea bream, clams, chorizo, tomato, preserved lemon

Churros with dipping chocolate

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!

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