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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

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Agrodolce – Seattle, WA

Located in the old 35th Street Bistro spot in Fremont, Agrodolce has knocked it out of the park!  The atmosphere is welcoming and charming and our server couldn’t have been more enjoyable which was very refreshing.

The food was to die for!  I seriously would go back tonight for the exact same meal I ate last night.  We started with the burrata with beets, a citrus honey gastrique and mint…as delicious as I expected!  For my main course I chose the ricotta ravioli with roasted garlic, green garlic and stinging nettle.  Everything about this dish was perfect!  You would have thought I had licked my plate based on how clean it was at the end of the night.  Do yourself a favor and go get this before they take it off the menu.We also got the seared broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts to share…all of which I would order again.  For dessert we got the rice pudding fritters with a citrus honey, vanilla dipping sauce and powdered sugar.  Nothing to complain about there!

Something notable about Agrodolce is how organic the menu is.  It took us a bit to realize that the few things on the menu that are unlined are those ingredients that are NOT organic.  Just to be clear, there are hardly any.  Pretty impressive!  Not to mention on the reverse side of the menu there are vegan and gluten free options.  This isn’t something I’ve seen yet in Seattle but I think it will soon catch on.

Overall, Maria Hines has outdone herself and I can’t wait to go back!

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Oven-baked Spicy Brussels Sprouts Crumble and Sour Cream Curry

I was in need of a good vegetable side to serve with my Baked Fish recipe that I was serving to friends  for dinner and came across this recipe in my Vij’s At Home cookbook and have now found a new favorite.  It’s a fairly simple recipe and doesn’t require too much time or focus (which is a plus when multi-tasking in the kitchen:)).  While the Brussels sprouts are baking, start the curry and voila!  You’ve got yourself a damn tasty side dish that everyone’s going to want seconds of!

Serves 6

Ingredients

Baked Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp mango powder (I couldn’t find this in my local grocery store so I omitted it)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil

Sour Cream Curry

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup  chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic (6 medium cloves)
  • 2 cups puréed tomatoes (4 medium, or canned is fine, but not crushed)
  • 2 Tbsp ground yellow mustard seeds (optional0
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala or ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 3 1/2 cups water

Directions

Baked Brussels Sprouts

Preheat the oven to 400ªF.

On a large baking tray, toss Brussels sprouts with cumin, salt, cayenne, mango powder and oil.  Bake for 15 minutes, carefully stirring them once after 6 minutes.  (The spices should be cooked and the Brussels sprouts slightly dry but not wilted.)  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Sour Cream Curry

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and buttermilk.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium pot on medium-high for 45 seconds.  Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Add garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until garlic is also golden brown.  Stir in tomatoes, mustard seeds, cayenne, salt, garam masala (or cumin) and fenugreek seeds and sauté for 5 minutes, or until oil glistens on top.  Stir water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

To prevent curdling, spoon about 3 Tbsp of the hot curry into the sour cream-buttermilk mixture.  Stir well, then pour the sour cream-buttermilk mixture into the pot of curry.  Using a whisk, mix well and simmer, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes, or until the curry reaches a gentle boil.  Remove from the heat.

Top baked Brussels sprouts with sour cream curry and serve immediately.

*Serve this dish with bread or on top of a 2-inch cube of paneer per serving.

On a nice sunny weekend day there’s nothing better than visiting the farmers market.  We are lucky to have so many close to our house.  Both the Fremont and Ballard farmers markets are on Sunday and are fairly close to each other so it’s actually easy to hit both.  Ballard caterers more to the produce and food items whereas Fremont has more vintage home wares, food trucks and prepackaged foods such as jams, cookies, etc.

Be sure to check out Hot Cakes – Molten Chocolate Cakery.  Need I say more?  These take and bake molten cakes come in personal sized mason jars that couldn’t be cuter!  Talk about a great hostess gift, birthday treat, and/or dessert for a dinner party!

You can’t go wrong with any and all of the produce.  There’s nothing better than local organic fruits and veggies.  And the eggs!  They just make me want my own chickens even more.  Someday:)

Deluxe Foods makes awesome apple butter which is great on hot biscuits or even in your oatmeal in the morning.  They also make the most interesting syrups.  The one we bought is Earl Grey which you can add to soda to make your own flavored soda.  Sounds amazing to me…can’t wait to try it!

I highly recommend going on an empty stomach which might be hard at the same time because there are temptations every turn you make but the food stalls pump out the most amazing food which should be taken advantage of for lunch.  There’s everything from gourmet quesadillas to homemade sausages to crepes.

Go to your local farmers market and support your local farms!

*We actually found these at the Fremont Farmers Market on our bike ride home:)  So good!

ABC Kitchen – New York, NY

Located in the basement of ABC Home (I didn’t get the chance to go there so it’s on my list for next time), ABC Kitchen is home to Chef Jean-Georges, winner of the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant of 2011.  The space is very urban with all the exposed beams and air ducts as well as the mix of materials…wood and concrete with splashes of decorative lighting.  The menu is well rounded offering a mix of seasonal ingredients all the while staying just small enough to not be insanely overwhelming.  Our reservation wasn’t until 10pm (welcome to New York!) and was still packed and lively.  Definitely a different city in comparison to Seattle but we already knew that:)

We started with the Line Caught Tuna Sashimi Marinated with Ginger and Mint.  Nice clean flavors…I could have eaten a lot more of this:)

We had to get the Pretzel Dusted Calamari with Marinara and Mustard Aioli.  I’ve never seen such a thing but in all honesty…it was so understated that I was barely able to detect the pretzel.  Good and cooked perfectly but didn’t strike me as anything “different”.

Special of the night: Truffle pizza…yes please!!!  Anyone who has had fresh truffles before knows that they’re much more subtle than the overly intense flavor of truffle oil.  I love both but think you have to be careful with the oil.  A little can go a long way.  These on the other hand…keep ’em coming!

I love, love, love brussels sprouts and always get them when they’re on the menu.  Roasted with garlic and rosemary, these were fantastic!  Lived up to my expectations for sure.

My husband and I split the Akaushi Cheeseburger with Herbed Mayo and Pickled Jalapeño.  With all the other food we ordered this was the perfect thing to split.  Packed with flavor, this wasn’t disappointing.

To end our already indulgent meal we decided on the Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae with Candied Peanuts & Popcorn, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce…wow!  I would definitely order this again.  Although we hardly put a dent in it this was incredible!  I loved the hot and cold, silky and crunchy, salty and sweet…it was everything you could ask for.  Yum!

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