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Goldfinch Tavern – Seattle, WA

Ethan Stowell has added yet another restaurant to his already long list.  What used to be Art Restaurant & Lounge is now Goldfinch Tavern in the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel downtown.  The views are priceless and an added bonus to the great food.  The menu is very Pacific Northwest heavy with oysters, geoduck, and King salmon which I’ll never get enough of even though I live here.  I saw a number of burgers go by the table which looked mouth watering.  Next time:)  Whether you’re downtown after work, meeting an out of town guest, or simply on a local night out, this spot should be on your list of places to try.  I should mention that the portion sizes are very generous.  I ordered the Beet & Dungeness Crab Salad to start and was too full for my entree by the time it came.  At least it’s nice knowing you get your money’s worth.

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Fried Olives – castelvetranos

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King Salmon Tartare – fennel salad, lemon sauce, smoked trout caviar

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Beet & Dungeness Crab Salad – watercress, gribiche sauce, tarragon

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Wild King Salmon – bacon hash, green garlic, mushrooms

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Rocky S’More Sundae – hot fudge, graham crunch, house-made marshmallows

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Gott’s Roadside – St. Helena, CA

Formerly known as Taylor’s Refresher, Gott’s is THE burger spot in town!   There are 3 locations in the greater Bay Area – The Ferry Building in San Francisco, The Oxbow Market in Napa and here off of highway 29 in St. Helena.  Most burger joints just offer the expected – hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, shakes, etc.  Not the case here.  There’s everything from your traditional bacon cheeseburger to shrimp tacos and chinese chicken salad.

On a recent visit with my husband and some friends, we all chose something different.  I went for the Spicy Chicken Sandwich which was very satisfying however I could have used a little more kick!  My husband went classic and got the Bacon Cheeseburger which was perfect, juicy and everything you would want in a cheeseburger.  I definitely had to steal a bite:)  Along with fries and onion rings (the best I’ve had!), we splurged and also got the special zucchini fries.  How can you say no to something that has “while they last” in parenthesis next to them?  I’ve been on a zucchini kick so I really liked them however when looking back at my pictures I realized what was missing…the home made ranch sauce they said came with them.  Darn!  Next time.

The cute picnic area out back where we enjoyed our insanely indulgent lunch

Bacon Cheeseburger – American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles & secret sauce served on a toasted egg bun

Spicy Chicken – grilled, chili spice-marinated chicken breast, sliced avocado, Mexican slaw, cilantro sour cream & charred jalapeño mayo on a toasted sourdough roll

Zucchini Fries

 

 

 

Rotisserie & Wine – Napa, CA

I’m a huge fan of Tyler Florence already but this just confirmed it even more.  Located in the heart of Napa with a patio facing the Napa River, he’s opened another fantastic restaurant that is the perfect spot for any occasion.  A thanks to his wife Tolan, his personal interior decorator, the decor couldn’t be more or a perfect marriage with the food.  Rustic yet refined, it’s a comfortable spot that has managed to still be current.  Whether it’s a casual lunch (like i enjoyed) or a birthday get together, you’ve got to try it!

The best surprise ever was the warm cornbread that came out before our meal.  I seriously could have eaten tons of it but had to remind myself of all the food coming.  My husbands R&W cheeseburger looked incredible.  With the fried egg on top it was a little hard to share so lucky him…he got it all to himself.  My salad was perfect for the middle of the day, especially since we had the deviled eggs as starters.

And don’t forget about his tempting kitchen store next door – Tyler Florence West Coast Kitchen Essentials.  I could spend all day in there:)  Here’s where you can get your hands on the pots and pans Chef Florence uses in his restaurants and at home as well as other top brands.   His spice rubs and marinades make amazing hostess and holiday gifts.  I’d be amazed if you walked out without purchasing anything:)

Complementary cornbread to start your meal with…yum!

Deviled eggs with fried capers, shallots and thyme oil

Chop salad – pulled chicken, bacon, avocado, jack cheese and a garlic vinaigrette

R&W Cheeseburger with an added fried egg

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!

The Dubh Linn Gate – Whistler, BC

Hands down one of the best aprés-ski places in Whistler Village!  Since the addition of the newly remodeled outdoor area, there’s plenty of heated and covered space that allows you to enjoy the outdoors even when it’s cold and snowing outside.

With 20 draught beers on tap and a sizable wine and scotch list, this place has got everyone covered.  My husband’s favorite beer is the Kilkenny Cream and one of my favorites is the Caesar…a Bloody Mary made with Clamato.  It might sound a little scary to some but I promise you it’s SO good!

The nachos are as delicious and glutinous as they look:)  Perfect for a group especially after a long day of skiing.  Other items on the menu that look great to me that I have yet to try are the Fish & Chips, the Guinness Burger, and the Baked Crab & Artichoke Dip.

And if you’re lucky you’ll be there to catch some live Irish music!

Cook – St. Helena, CA

With so many amazing, credible restaurants in Napa Valley…how do you choose?  I’ve only been to Cook twice (once for lunch, the other for dinner) but both times left me wanting to go back.  Located on Main Street in St. Helena it’s a small, quaint place with great decor inside.  They pride themselves on using local and seasonal ingredients and showcasing simple yet elegant North Italian food.

I highly recommend making reservations for dinner since they get full fast.  Lunch on the other hand I would say you have a much chance of just walking in.

The burger on a ciabatta roll with aged cheddar and grilled onions…yum:)

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