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Madeo – West Hollywood, CA

This was my first time dining at the popular Northern Italian restaurant Madeo and I can tell you that it won’t be my last.  It was one of the best Italian meals I’ve had.  I normally opt for fish dishes (and I still did this time) however I always rely on my husband for a bite of pasta.  He chose wisely and went with the classic Spaghetti alla Bolognese made with a veal meat sauce and honestly…it was probably the best we had both had.  Simple and far from fussy, the tender meat and perfectly cooked pasta intensified with every bite.  It was sad when it was gone.  My sister-in-law went for the special Veal Meatballs which I think we all assumed would be coming with pasta however it didn’t BUT, these meatballs were melt in your mouth good.  Perfect from start to finish.  They were delicate and soft not over mixed, hard or dry.  They (aside from my Cafe Lago meatballs) are the best meatballs I’ve ever tasted.  Next time I go if these are on the menu I’m getting them!  Another dish in the mix on our table was the Osso Bucco which was also to die for.  The veal shank was cooked the way it was supposed to be with the meat falling off the bone.  Absolutely delicious.  I guess what I’m getting at is that you can’t really go wrong at this restaurant, or at least that’s what my first impression has led me to believe.  The ambiance won’t blow you away but there’s something nostalgic about it and you’re bound to find some famous faces in there which is always fun:)

Carciofi e Parmigiano – baby raw artichokes and Parmigiano cheese and rucola  *SO good!  A light dish that got eaten quickly…everything about it was well balanced and seasoned perfectly.

Prosciutto e Melone – Parma ham and melon  *Classic Italian dish…how can you go wrong?

Fagioli e Aragosta – Italian Cannellini beans with diced lobster and Rucola salad in a lemon dressing  *This was such a beautiful flavorful starter.  Plenty to share but honestly something I could eat everyday.  DE-lish!

Calamari Affogati – sautéed squid in tomato sauce  *Some of the best calamari I’ve ever had!  you need a spoon to get some sauce with every bite:)

Branzino di Mare al Carciofi – filet of wild sea bass baked with white wine and artichokes  *On the special menu…VERY good!

Vitella Arrosto – sliced roasted leg of veg from the cart  *We didn’t order this but as we were paying our bill…STUFFED…we all salivated while the chef started carving this beautiful meat and then carefully coated each delicate piece with some au jus.  Thankfully our waiter saw our oh-so-descreet drooling and had the chef make us a plate.  I can’t describe how flavorful this was.  It was on the special menu but seriously if you go and it’s on there and you have enough people to share with…GET IT!!!

Saint Demetrios Greek Festival – Seattle, WA

This is something I look forward to every year.  As a young girl my family and I used to attend church at Saint Demetrios and every year when the Greek Festival would roll around I would beg my parents to let me work the pop machine…coolest job EVER!  I have fond fond memories of the festival and love that it’s still around and going strong.

My husband and I moved back to Seattle 3 1/2 years ago and conveniently settled into the Montlake area where our house is in walking distance to the church.  Don’t misunderstand me here…I’m not going to church on Sundays, I’m going to the Greek Festival everyday I possibly can when it happens the one weekend out of the year.  Oh how I love the gyros, spanakopita and loukoumades.  Being a good Greek girl, I’ve learned most of the traditional recipes that I grew up on and make them quite often at home so I definitely get my fix but experiencing it straight from the source is a totally difference experience all together.

If you missed it this year there’s always next.  Just remember that it’s always in September on the weekend when the Huskies have an away game.  Opa!

The star of the day…the Gyro!

Kalamari (Greeks use a lot of K’s) – something I’ve never had at the festival but it was really good and topped with a little tzatziki which was a great addition and very tasty!

Meatballs over rice…can you really go wrong here?

Pastitsio – this is one of my favorite Greek dishes

Dolmathes – not ‘Dolmas’ people!

Spanakopita and Tiropeta (mine’s better I swear!)

Loukoumades…AAAAMAZING!  Little fried nuggets of goodness in a honey glaze and topped with cinnamon…need I say anymore?

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