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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.

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My last day at the Aspen Food & Wine Festival was just as fabulous as the first two however I was sad to see the weekend end knowing that it meant we were heading home.  What an amazing time we had!  I’m already dying to go back.

On our second night we enjoyed a fabulous and oh-so-satifying meal at Nobu’s Matsuhisa restaurant.  Everything about the meal was amazing from start to finish!  And the people watching was pretty great too.  Emeril, Fabio and Hugh Acheson were all in the house.

On day three we went and saw Susan Feniger do a demonstration.  She’s so entertaining and fun!  After that we had our last run through at the Tasting Pavilion where we ran into our Seattle friends/chefs Cormac Mahoney and Zoi Antonitsas of Madison Park Conservatory.  I also managed to get one last celebrity chef photo with Top Chef Just Desserts judges Johnny Luzzini and Danielle Kyrillos.

Here’s hoping I get back to beautiful Aspen again soon!

How cute is Nobu?! My new best friend:)

There were so many highlights for me today. I felt like I totally dorked out when it came to getting photos with chefs but that’s okay…I’m not embarrassed:). It all started when I spotted Fabio Viviani…I LOVED him from Top Chef Season 5. He was so cute with his Italian accent and man-crush on Stefan!

Next I laid eyes on Ming Tsai and Michael Chiarello who were nice enough to pose with me for a photo. After that I had a cookbook signed by Bobby Flay and got a photo with him and Michael Symon. Both were so nice and personable! After that I spotted Ed Lee from the most recent season of Top Chef. I wish he had made it further in the show but I have no doubt he’ll do well.

We went to 3 seminars today…all which were great! First was Jose Andres…so full of energy and it’s clear he loves what he does. I wish I could have a private meal with him. He seems so interesting and I’d love to pick his brain. And I can’t forget to mention that we sat right next to Nobu and had a really nice conversation with him! (we’re going to his restaurant tonight and are really looking forward to it!). Next was Paul Qui – the Top Chef Season 9 winner! He’s new to his “famous chef status” but was so authentic and seems so appreciative of everything he’s been given since. Last but not least was Bobby Flay. He’s just classic when it comes to the food scene. He’s been a part of the Aspen Food & Wine Festival for 14 years…that’s crazy! But he’s clearly deserved it and seems like a great guy.

Can’t wait for tomorrow!!!

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I have no idea who the woman is getting her picture with Giada is but I had to get a picture of Giada:) She’s gorgeous! And so tiny:)

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The Coterie Room – Seattle, WA

In the former Restaurant Zoe space, The Coterie Room is a breath of fresh air.  I love everything about it.  From the white subway tiled open kitchen to the distressed wood floors and lone yet stunning chandelier, everything is perfectly balanced here including the food.  Chef Brian McCracken (a fellow Seattle Prep alum alongside my husband) has outdone himself yet again!  A nominee by Food & Wine for ‘People’s Best New Chef’ he’s proving that he’s deserving of the attention.

Our meal was outstanding from start to finish.  I would order everything I had again in a heartbeat.  My fish was a special of the night so chances are it won’t be on the menu next time but it was outstanding.  I am now a huge fan of Turbot…a fish I didn’t know much about before this dinner.  And my husband’s duck leg confit was seriously the best duck confit I’ve ever had…absolutely amazing!!!

The only thing I wish I had done differently is order the “six pack of beer for the kitchen crew” for a mere $10…totally worth it.  Having worked in a kitchen myself I can tell you the first thing you do once your shift is done and the kitchen is clean is crack open a cold one by the walk in and dish about the night’s events.  It’s the perfect cap to the evening…and then you wake up the next morning and it’s a brand new day.  Next time!

Endive Salad dressed in a tarragon mustard vinaigrette with candied walnuts and aged gouda (I held the gouda although I’m sure it’s great)

Poutine – braised pork shoulder gravy, fried Beecher’s cheese curds and tender herbs

Market Fish of the Day – Turbot over a parsnip puree and roasted brussels sprouts

Duck Leg Confit – crispy pan seared duck leg with buttered farro, arugula and a mission fig conserve

Chocolate Caramel Tort – covered in an orange ganache with candied hazelnuts

Brilliant!

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