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Harvest Vine – Seattle, WA

Harvest Vine has long been a favorite of mine in Seattle – but under specific conditions.  If I can’t sit on the top floor of the restaurant, I’d rather just go back another time.  I know that might sound picky of me but if you’ve been there before then I think you can understand where I’m coming from.  The bottom section of the restaurant doesn’t have nearly the same appeal that the top section does.  The best seat in the house (in my opinion) is at the bar where you’ve got a front row seat to all the action.  It’s like watching a symphony right in front of your eyes but rather than instruments being played the chefs sing and whistle while plating gorgeous dishes from the smallest and cutest little sauté pans that you’ve ever seen.

During the summer on warm nights the garage door walls are rolled up and you’re able to fully enjoy a beautiful Seattle summer night.  It’s a great spot year round and should definitely be on the top of your list if you haven’t already been there.

If you’re a beet fan definitely get the beets to start.  You’ll want to sop up all the yummy olive oil and vinegar with bread once the beets are gone.  If mushrooms are on the menu get those for sure!  You really can’t go wrong here.  I’m always amazed at the wonderful creations the make and each time I go back there’s a new menu.

Plato de Boquerones – vinegar cured anchovies with anchovy stuffed olives & piparra peppers

Remolachas – red & golden beets, olive oil, sherry vinegar & garlic

Coliflor – roasted cauliflower with onion confit & olive oil

Coles de Bruseles – brussels sprouts with béchamel, tomato frito & bread crumbs

Vieriras – seared scallops with fingerling potatoes & scallop reduction

Pulpo – grilled octopus with garbanzo bean puree

Bacalao Ahumado – smoked, salt-cod with grilled spring onions & hazelnut romesco

Flan de Almendras – spanish style toasted almond custard

Tarta de Queso de Cabra – creamy goat milk cheese cake with honey poached rhubarb & strawberries

MoVida – Melbourne, Australia

Everywhere I searched and everyone I talked to recommended MoVida in Melbourne as a spot not to miss.  I had a night to myself and because it was too late in the game to get reservations I decided to just cozy up to the bar.  The wait was 45 minutes but it was well worth it.  Located in a funky alley right off of Flinders Street and across from Federation Square, the door and signage is discreet but it’s not that hard to find.

Because I was ordering for one I decided to stick mostly to the tapas side of the menu where you can order by the piece but I also decided to order a couple of the specials since they sounded so good.  The first were the Padron Peppers.  OMG I love those!  Whenever they’re on a menu I have to order them.  If you haven’t had them before they saying is “some are hot, some are not”.  The majority (I would say 9 out of 10) are sweet and mild, however there’s always one in the batch that is hot and spicy.  The order was large and the people next to me had befriended me so I offered to share.  Unfortunately the guy next to me got the hot one:)

Next I had the Gamba – prawn and romesco pincho.  The presentation wasn’t what I was expecting (beautiful, clean and simple) but the flavors were definitely there and I honestly could have eaten a lot of those.

The Cordero al Chilindron was also calling my name – Pyrenees wet roast lamb breast with fino and paprika sauce.  Delicious!  So tender and juicy, the meat pulled apart so easily.  This dish was great and the portion size was perfect for just one.

To finish I went with the special fish of the day.  I can’t remember what it was now but the fish distributor happened to be the guy I was sitting next to and I ordered it because I saw the dish come to him.  It was fantastic!  Pan fried perfectly, the fish sat in a lovely broth with chorizo and clams…my kind of dish!  I ate the entire thing and was very happy about it:)

Overall I have to say this place really reminds me of The Harvest Vine in Seattle.  Not so much the atmosphere but the food most definitely.  MoVida is a little more progressive but it’s nice to know I won’t have to go so far to get the same type of meal.  If you’re in Melbourne go!  It’s the spot everyone is talking about but be sure you go to the original MoVida…their new sister restaurant is next door but this is the one people keep going back to.

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