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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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La Condesa – Napa, CA

While strolling down Main Street in cute St. Helena I couldn’t help but notice this hip new Mexican joint and I couldn’t wait to try it.  When you walk in you are immediately struck by the vibrant blue painted walls that look something reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet in Sex and The City only a tad bit little brighter!

The menu is loaded with flavor punching Mexican favorites with a new twist to them such as the pickled strawberry, roasted pepitas and queso fresco guacamole.  Say what?!  Another dish that stood out to me was the Panza de Puerco Huaraches with pork belly, blue cheese, fig jam, black pepper caramel, arugula and tomatillo.  Wowzers!  I’m not even sure what to say except that I’m looking forward to going back just to try some of their interesting modern Mexican dishes.

I chose to take them up on their $15 lunch special which included a salad, 2 tacos of my choice, rice, beans and a scoop of ice cream for dessert.  Perfect!  PS – the Cream Cheese Ice Cream is delicious!  Tastes just like frozen cheesecake…yum!

Casa Salad – mixed greens, queso fresco, avocado, tortilla strips and balsamic vinaigrette

Cochinita Pibil Taco – seville orange-banana leaf marinated berkshire pork, cabbage, pickled red onion and pickled jalapeño & Pescado Taco – griddled pacific rockfish, cabbage, salsa de arbol, pico de gallo, and chipotle mayo

Coffee Chip Ice Cream

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