JuneBaby – Seattle, WA

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely already heard of JuneBaby.  Even if you don’t live in Seattle, news about this special spot is making its rounds around the country – most recently in The New York Times (no big deal) as well as in the May issue of Food & Wine mentioning JuneBaby as one of their 2018 Restaurants of the Year!

Let’s just get down to business here – you have to order one of the breads to start!  We chose the Antebellum Wheat Buns with honey butter and I’m still thinking about them.  Damn they were good!  Next we went straight to main courses because…we ordered three plates for the two of us (gasp!).  Thursday’s special is Mac n’ Cheese with Benton Ham.  Whaaaaat?!?!  I can never pass up Mac n’ Cheese…it’s a serious weakness of mine.  Aside from that little number I ordered the Fried Catfish and my husband got the Chicken Fried Steak.  Nom nom nom.  Oh yes, and we got dessert too.  The sweet potato ice cream sandwich.  Delicious!

They are open Wednesday through Sunday and don’t take reservations unless you are a large party (8-12).  When we went we were told the wait was going to be 45-60 mins.  Conveniently their sister restaurant Salare is right down the street, so they suggested going there for a drink/cocktail while we waited and that they would text us when our table was available.  I kid you not, we had JUST gotten our drinks and they texted…10 mins or so…so don’t be discouraged if they say it’s going to take a while because chances are it might be a lot sooner than you think.  Something else to mention is that yes, this is Southern food at it’s best which typically is fried and on the heavy side, but I felt great after dinner and didn’t wake up tasting it.

IMG_3258.jpgIMG_3260.JPGIMG_3261.jpgIMG_3262.jpgIMG_3265.JPGIMG_3256.JPG

Advertisements

This week has been a somber one with the news of Anthony Bourdain’s passing.  I find myself in shock and saddened that we’ll never hear that oh-so-recognizable voice again (thank God for OnDemand and the internet).  His unfiltered nature and willingness to try anything was fun to watch, as well as the great rapport he had with everyone he met and interviewed.  I feel lucky that I got to see him (and Eric Ripert) years ago at The Moore theater in Seattle while he was on tour to promote his book Medium Raw.

My husband and I frequently go to Japan for skiing in the winter.  It was brought to our attention on this last trip that Anthony Bourdain was obsessed with the egg salad sandwiches at the local Lawson minimarts…think 7-Eleven in the United States.  I know, I know – it sounds disgusting in every way possible but I trusted him (who doesn’t?!) and low and behold…he was onto something!!!  I honestly don’t even think I had ever even eaten one in my life, but I was willing to give it a try.  Holy #$@!  Those fluffy little sandwiches are something special let me tell you!  How is a minimart sandwich that amazing?!  The crust is perfectly cut off the sandwich which is also perfectly sliced into two triangles to fit into the neat little packaging (packaging is EVERYTHING in Japan)…AND… the bread is not soggy.  What???!!!  I don’t know what else I can possibly say to validate his love for these sandwiches but one thing’s for sure, you have to make this a priority the next time you’re anywhere in Japan (they make great midday snacks on the chairlift or train).

In his CNN travel show, “Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain,” Bourdain states what every Tokyoite knows:

Tokyo may well be the most amazing food city in the world. With a nearly unimaginable variety of places stacked one on top of the other, tucked away on every level of densely packed city streets.

At Lawson’s, you can dig into their unnaturally fluffy, insanely delicious, incongruously addictive egg salad sandwiches. I love them. Layer after layer after layer of awesome. Proud eateries serving who knows what. But it all smells delicious and looks enticing.

IMG_1990.JPGIMG_0720.JPGIMG_4835.JPGIMG_4218.JPG

Café Gratitude – Beverly Hills, CA

My brother-in-law, who’s a vegan now, has been raving about this place for a while now.  While I’m not vegan myself, I do have an appreciation for plant-based food so I decided to check it out the last time I was in LA.  First impression was that the space is beautiful!  Open and airy, white and minimalistic…it’s a very peaceful environment.

My friend and I decided to share two things – the Mucho/Mexican Bowl and the Lucky/Torta Española Chopped Salad.  Our server recommended adding braised oyster mushrooms to the Mucho bowl to give it that carnitas taste and texture.  GREAT rec!!!  Had I not eaten breakfast already, I probably would have gone for the Festive/Chilaquiles…I’m a sucker for those.  Next time!

IMG_2864.JPGIMG_4419.JPGIMG_0738.JPG

Florilége – Tokyo, Japan

Wow.  What a stunning meal!  Florilége was voted No. 3 in the 2018 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants (No. 99 in the world!) I have absolutely no question as to why.  Chef Hiroyasu Kawate surprises you with both presentation and ingredients.  There’s one dish in particular that shines for it’s thoughtfulness and sustainability message – beef carpaccio using beef from a 13 year old cow versus meat you’d normally have from a cow slaughtered at 2-3 years old.

Surprisingly the portion sizes were much larger than I anticipated and when our server noticed me slowing down, he had the remaining dishes made smaller so I could make it through.  Say yes to the wine pairing – so good!  And if you don’t drink alcohol, the non-alcoholic pairing was even more impressive and beautiful.

You’ll definitely need a reservation far in advance (1-2 months) – well worth it!

IMG_9533.JPGIMG_2153.JPGIMG_2999.JPGIMG_9304.JPGIMG_3431.JPGIMG_4084.JPGIMG_7487.JPGIMG_1971.JPGIMG_9694.JPGIMG_8531.JPGIMG_5475.JPGIMG_5728.JPGIMG_0859.JPGIMG_9430.JPG

The reason I’m putting this in my Good Things section is simply because I don’t speak Japanese therefore I’m not able to tell you where to go exactly to eat at Tsukiji Market.  BUT…I did take pictures which I know will help.  The first spot – I’m not even sure what we were eating but it was kind of like the Japanese version of a Philly cheesesteak on rice minus the cheese.  Amazing!!!!!!!  We got there fairly early and by the time we left there was a long line so it must be “the place”.  Our second stop – fresh tuna.  Need I say more?! You get to choose how fatty you want your tuna – lean, medium fatty or fatty.  I chose to go middle of the road and it was delicious.  Third – dried fruit.  I’m not even sure what we bought but they had samples and they were sweet but subtle.  The kind of mysterious snack where you keep eating it because you want to figure it out but can’t.

I suggest going early in the morning (by early I mean 8:30-9am) and just wander.  Get lost, turn left, turn right, just explore and have fun.  I promise you won’t have a bad experience and if anything you’ll wish you had more time.

IMG_0941.JPGIMG_3324.JPGIMG_3623.JPGIMG_3501.JPGIMG_2630.JPGIMG_4211.JPGIMG_3637.JPG

Fonda La Catrina – Seattle, WA

Queso Fundido with chorizo?  Yes please!  What are enfrijoladas?  Three grilled tortillas dipped in creamy pinto bean sauce, topped with lettuce, onions, cilantro and prawns if I want?  Oh my god I’ve died and gone to heaven!  Yes please, yes please, yes please…take me back!!!  Everything about this Georgetown institution is perfect.  If you’re like me and could eat Mexican 7 days a week…this place is definitely for you!

IMG_1743.JPGIMG_1742.JPGIMG_1737.JPGIMG_1736.JPGIMG_1739.JPG

Spring – London, UK

What a beautiful restaurant!  Spring is located in the New Wing of the Somerset House.  I’m not going to lie…it was a little hard for us to find when we got out of our Uber.  When you go, enter on the street that continues over Waterloo Bridge.

The interior alone is so soft and comforting.  It’s “pretty”.  The food was equally as impressive and beautiful.  I’ve also heard from a friend that lives there that the bar is a great place to meet friends for drinks.  I would definitely go back!

IMG_1008.JPGIMG_1005.JPG

IMG_0995.JPG

Wild salmon carpaccio with ginger, gooseberries and horseradish

IMG_0997.JPG

Bistecca alla Fiorentina with cannellini beans and slow cooked chard for two (or three)

IMG_1003.JPG

Bitter chocolate semifreddo with nocino caramel and walnuts

 

%d bloggers like this: