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Opinions on Gourmet Chocolate

I like Vosges's small caramel bites. I like the Stout and Caramel.

I'm much less fond of Theo's bars than of their confections or caramels which are quite good indeed. Their winter collection of confections was delicious.

Richart -- I had their fancy small chocolates box organized in flights for Christmas -- not necessarily what I would have as my go-to -- it's expensive for one -- but definitely a compelling taste experience.

Can't recall tasting Taza.

FWIW, I know I haven't been super specific here....

Jan 09, 2013
fiorbhlasta in General Topics

Xoco, GT Fish & Oysters solo/ brief review

Forgot to say, I love Asian, seafood, vegetarian, meat, Mexican, S Asian, Turkish, etc, and though somewhat gluten intolerant will take one for the team to be able to eat special stuff.....

Dec 04, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Chicago Area

Xoco, GT Fish & Oysters solo/ brief review

Ahhh. I was afraid my cunning plan might not be cunning enough. Franks n Dawgs looks great. Are there any other super and reasonably quick lunch options around Vanille? And should I bother with Floriole if hitting Vanille? I will plan to check out by 9 to get my shopping done and be up on Clybourne by 11 and lunching by 1130 then. I'm on EST so it's no bother to eat early--one offer advantages to living in South Bend, IN.

Dec 04, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Chicago Area

Xoco, GT Fish & Oysters solo/ brief review

Thanks to this board for giving me loads of ideas about where to eat in Chicago on a speedy overnight trip before picking up jet lagged family at O'Hare tomorrow.

Today I arrived at 11:15am and was able to check in to Hotel Felix and trot down to Xoco for lunch around noon. It was busy but no wait and no problem being solo. Ordered short rib caldo, raspberry agua fresca and pistachio tres leches. The caldo broth was VERY salty. It worked well for the scrumptious potatoes but was just imbalanced to my taste. Edible, tasty even, but disappointing. The raspberry agua fresca was fantastic. Ruby red and not overly sweet but full of complex flavor. The cake was very very tasty indeed, moist and nutty with a Cambodian-temple beehive of meringue on top. Happy happy joy joy.

Hit Vosges for some fun chocolate--caramel and stout with dark chocolate, etc-- then hit GT Fish and Oysters as a solo again. Very very friendly warm young women working reception and tables--just extremely nice and easygoing. Had the tuna poke with mango and black sesame. Very nice tho wanted a wee bit more sesame. Then had sunfish ceviche which was very tasty too. Also decided against a cocktail but was accommodated with a fancypants nonalcoholic lemonade with various fruity flavors-freshly made and perfectly balanced.

It's just so nice to be treated well and warmly as a solo diner. And everywhere I went today, people were lovely--extremely kind and funny and warm. Thank you, Chicago, I needed that!!

Tomorrow I plan to buy some ripe fancy cheese at (probably) Whole Foods, which is near my hotel, and then some other groceries and maybe Vanille and/or Floriole for treats to take home for my family, and then some posh meaty treat at Hot Doug's (first time; specials looked soooo good yesterday) at noon before heading to OHare for a 1:20pm arrival. Wishing I could take more of it with me and regretting, as usual, that I have but one life to live and one meal per mealtime, etc, etc.

Dec 04, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Chicago Area

Eating while conferencing in Penn Quarter

Thanks so much; super helpful leads!!

Eating while conferencing in Penn Quarter

Thanks!!

Eating while conferencing in Penn Quarter

Hi, all! I'll be in DC for the next few days attending the Renaissance Society of America conference at the Grand Hyatt (staying at the Harrington Hotel). In a quick scan, I've identified a few places close to the Grand Hyatt for lunch -- Againn, PS7, Zaytinya -- and for dinner -- Zaytinya, Zola, Co Co Sa La (or just chocolate??), Jaleo (?), Oyamel. Unfortunately, though this conference actually pauses for 2 hours for lunch, I often find that time is squeezed for that delightful activity -- EATING! -- when conferencing. So I will be hoping to rely on luck and patience to get in somewhere, as I don't really know precisely when I'll be free and how many (if any) will be with me. On one night, I'm hoping to head up to U St. for some Ethiopian. Best I ever had was years ago in DC, and I'm hoping to reawaken my taste buds. I'll be footing or Metroing it around -- looking for awesome salads with protein for lunch, ideally, and Asian, Mediterranean, tapas, seafood, wizardry for dinner. OK, I know that's not very specific, but I live in a seriously underserved (read: mostly chains, nothing amazing) place so even though I just got back from a dreamy food-filled conference weekend in New Orleans, I am still game for more. Anyhow, if anyone has further suggestions for places handy to the Grand Hyatt and/or flexible for those without reservations...or awesome ethnic food that must be tried...I'd love to hear from you. Otherwise, THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING THE INTERNETS FUNCTION.

Thanks, NOLA board // abbreviated report

PPS At least four different folks I know ate at Green Goddess and loved it. One comment: "I didn't do much food scouting but did have lunch at Green Goddess: a crab melt I would run away with and marry."

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Suggestions for a 30th birthday surprise party

Domenica is pricey for mains...but they have the cool 3-6 happy hour. You could have a multipart thing...like go there for pizza and stuff and then adjourn home for a surprise cake and balloons. You could have the friends from the pizza beat you home by having to do some errand or something....???

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Nawlins Trip Advice

Awesome! May the Force be with you!

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Domenica service

I know!! That pizza is killer!! Well worth tossing the carb-free dining out the window for. Also, really, that Affettati Misti board ($30) is an awesome way to go. What could be better -- go early, get stunning pizzas and then split that??? PERFECT!!!!

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

ROOT

Don't get me wrong, it's plenty posh and fancy in what they are doing -- and seems plenty sceney, but we were there early on St. Patrick's Day, so perhaps the young women in tutus are not typical!

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

ROOT

I did prefer Sweet Olive, but I can see some people would love Root. I do think Root is the more kid-friendly place, esp. if you go early. It's darker, more casual, etc. Let me know what you think!!

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Thanks, NOLA board // abbreviated report

PS the two pics are main fish course at Coquette -- actually an exquisite little multicolored gem -- and the zany but wonderful Ambrosia at Root.

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Thanks, NOLA board // abbreviated report

Dear NOLA Chowhounders,

Thanks so much for your terrific and generous guidance. I regret only that I had such a limited number of days -- I mean MEALS -- to devote to exploring NOLA foodwise. After spending many hours on this site and perusing menus, I flew down to New Orleans from Northern Indiana on Wednesday, March 14th. That night, I made early reservations (the only ones that were available) for Domenica. Two of us arrived on time, but the other 4 trickled in 30 minutes and then 1 hour late. The server, who was attentive, charming, and helpful, didn't mind at all, and the whole atmosphere was relaxed yet also efficient and expert. We split a gorgeous wild mushroom bacon fontina yard egg pizza -- delicious -- and then our colleagues had a margherita/white anchovy pie (love that you can do half and half), and the other arrivals had full meals. We earlier 4 also split the stunning, beautiful charcuterie/pickle board, which was awesome -- lovely little pickled raisins, "marmelade," cheeses, prosciutto, etc etc. It was an impressive and wonderfully easy-going meal. Later on, we hit MiLa for drinks and some food, which seemed to go over well, though I am not convinced they are really that much of a drinks place -- they didn't have a menu for cocktails and it was a bit vodka heavy.

Thursday morning I strolled around the French Quarter with my friend and we had breakfast at Jimmy J's -- stunning fresh orange juice and lovely eggs. Later we hit a small cafe whose name escapes me (sorry!!) after finding Green Goddess super busy (I never managed to get in there alas)...had a nice rosemary chicken salad, perfectly done. Thursday night I went to Coquette with a friend. It was delightful -- very nice service and exquisite food. I had the "everything" vegetable salad -- fresh vegetables and pickled things and then the stunning fish (arg can't tell you what!) with "kimchee" sauce (mild and more of a sriracha flavor with rice wine/vinegar) -- so pretty I took a picture, which I'll try to attach below. The flavor was stunning. The portions were rather small though. It kind of explained why there were all these very slender super-leggy young women in towering heels at the bar -- I looked at once point and there was only one man at the entire bar. I still felt hungry, so I had the cheese plate, which was tasty and well done. My friend also very much enjoyed her meal. I partly chose the place because it looked easy for her to follow her eating restrictions (no wheat or sugar), and it was. The service was great.

On Thursday evening plans developed for a 6-person gang for dinner Friday night. No reservations could be obtained, except that on Friday late morning I was able to download Open Table to my phone (finally!) and snagged an earlyish table at the 2-month-old Sweet Olive, which I had heard about, luckily, at Coquette the night before. We six at there and had a delicious, amazing meal, which I've posted about on a separate Sweet Olive thread on this board. Earlier in the day, EVEN THOUGH I had a mandatory meeting lunch at Crescent City Brewhouse, where we made a tactical error and failed to order early, then had to wait eons for our meal and then watch while the waitress endlessly consulted her notes to figure out who ordered which (of mostly 2) things (instead of just saying "Tuna?" or "burger?" and letting us sort it out), I say EVEN THOUGH this was set, I wanted to grab some lunch with a friend and happily we ended up at Mr B's and I had a lovely simple salad and then we split the amazing BBQ Shrimp. It was the whole deal -- the bib, everyone staring at us like they'd never seen this before (!?!) -- and it was sooo good. And the service was excellent. And prompt. And we got out and I was only a little late for lunch #2.

On my final day, St Patrick's Day, I had loads of professional responsibilities and skipped the parades and drunken excesses. I had another pre-planned lunch (ALAS!) that was served at the Monteleone -- it was quite good for "hotel food." Dinner was at Root, which I've posted elsewhere -- I didn't really care for the "face bacon" or pickles with which we started, I think the chef has some kind of a chocolate/breakfast fetish that was not my thing (amuse bouche involved granola and chocolate, ew), but the Hanger Steak w/ Crispy Sweetbreads, Sweet Kumquat Bordelaise, Pommes Frites was fantastic and so was the Coriander Scented Grilled Gulf Fish with Lemongrass, Consommé, Satsuma Ginger Shrimp Salad, “Yaki Udon” Noodles. We decided to overdo it by having dessert, and my friend had the Yorkie (more evidence of the breakfast fetish, as it involved cocoa puffs), and I had the Ambrosia, which rocked the house and was like a tiny smurf village. Worth going, but order carefully...

Friends of mine also ate (on my rec or not) at: Herbsaint (loved it), Bayona (adored it -- Susan Spicer was cooking that night), Irene (disappointed), Green Goddess (loved it), Jacques-Imo's (loved it). I will see if others have further feedback to share with the list. But, again, THANK YOU ALL for all the super advice and suggestions, which helped me come off as a total superstar of foodie organizational ability AND enjoy some world-class eating.

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

ROOT

Have you eaten at the bar and/or during Happy Hour at Domenica? Half price pizzas and "well" drinks? Seemed like a great deal to me...

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Sweet Olive: New Restaurant from the Coquette Team

PS
Plus, they had tables available on very short notice! They're on Open Table. I imagine the availability won't last long, but it was our luck, as we had made no advance plans for Friday night and put together a group of 6 and couldn't get reservations elsewhere. Yay!

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Sweet Olive: New Restaurant from the Coquette Team

I ate at Sweet Olive on Friday, March 16th and it was extraordinary. We were a party of 6 of visitors from out of town -- 3 from Ireland, and 2 from Boston and 1 from Indiana. It was scrumptious. We started with an amuse bouche of smoked salmon (appropriately enough) -- very tasty. Then we all shared the pickle plate and the charcuterie plate -- both were balanced, beautiful arrangements. The pickles included beets, cucumber, turnip (?), and a bunch of other stuff (sorry memory a bit hazy due to not sleeping well while traveling). The charcuterie included pâté, head cheese, boudin balls and was delicious. I had the fantastic scallops with new asparagus, a bit of caviar and a few chive flowers in a light cream (& pernod?) sauce. People, I wanted to dive into this. (The other dish I felt that was about was Mr. B's BBQ shrimp.) It was scrumptious. Others had grilled (broiled??) oysters, which they'd had and loved at Pelican Club the night before and loved again. My neighbor had a squash pasta dish (I think) that she thoroughly enjoyed. Others had shrimp. I had a nicely done red snapper that was less impressive than the rest, but still good. We had a moderate-to-small amount of wine and no dessert, but enjoyed the ?meringue and citrus jelly?? "lollipops" at the end. We spent about $70/person. All were very impressed. The decor gleams with white marble, heaps of candelabras in glass, and a bathroom that looks like a movie set with mirrors and more mirrors, with the good or bad side-effect that you can actually see your rear-view (which may or may not have caused the women not to order dessert). Yet there is no stuffiness. They are trying hard and really want you to have a good time. I would like to see them offer something like the stunning fresh amazing salad that they have at Coquette (where I ate the night before) -- it's so earnest in its Southern/NOLA style focus that just about everything is a protein-rich offering, but, really, this is a great great restaurant with a lovely menu.

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Domenica service

I have to say, I ate there in a party of 6 last Wednesday evening, early -- 5:30 -- and our service was fantastic. The food was delicious. They were perfectly patient even though our party TRICKLED in over the course of, oh, maybe an hour (driving in from Texas, taking the train from Illinois, flying in from Indiana and Rhode Island -- only two of us were on time). Our wonderful server was attentive but relaxed, enthusiastic about the food and helpful in answering questions. Actually, I had read that the service was bad and we joked that it would be a bonding experience for the group, but no such thing. My friend said her main course (?pork??) was one of the best meals she'd ever had. We had the gorgeous mushroom fontina pizza at half price, some prosecco and white wine, and a really wonderful, over the top cheese and charcuterie board -- the first of many over the long St. Patrick's Day weekend. It was extremely well done. My colleagues loved their half Margherita, half anchovy pizza too. Now, we WERE eating very very early by New Orleans time, but it's an hour later for those of us on East Coast time, so it worked out well. All in all, I'd strongly recommend it and was really pleased we landed up there. The beginning of a sublime weekend of eating.

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

ROOT

We were right next to a 1 year old and it was no problem. It's smallish but kind of open and casual in feel, with low open ceilings and posts -- pretty kid friendly though not in terms of what's on the menu necessarily.

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

ROOT

I went to ROOT with a friend 2 days ago and came away just slightly less impressed. They make some very fine food, yes, but some of the flavors just don't do it for me. The pickle plate (which included pickled romanesco, Korean melon, watermelon rind, etc, and we got with chorizo and "face" bacon) demonstrated real skill...but the flavors seemed a bit strange. I love all sorts of food, including Korean, Japanese, etc, but felt a little meh about it. There was an odd recurrence of chocolate in the amouse bouche (made with !granola!?) and the marmelade that just didn't work for me. I mean, we had food left on the plate! I had a very delicious fish dish and my friend had scrumptious hanger steak -- really really good. Here are the actual descriptions from their menu:
Hanger Steak Crispy Sweetbreads, Sweet Kumquat Bordelaise, Pommes Frites: 23
Coriander Scented Grilled Gulf Fish Lemongrass, Consommé, Satsuma Ginger Shrimp Salad,
Fish “Yaki Udon” Noodles: 22
Then we overdid it by ordering dessert -- my friend had the Coco Puffs dessert -- the Yorkie -- which was just a bit too weird and like eating breakfast for my friend. I had the Ambrosia which was the total winner and of which I took a picture, which I shall attempt to attach. Here are the descriptions of those:
Ambrosia Candied Zest, Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Charred Apricot Meringue, Blood Orange Marshmallow, Citrus: 8
Yorkie Chocolate Covered Peppermint Pattie, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Coco Puffs, Minted Milk: 8
Mostly it was great...but some of it was strange... Pickle plate at Sweet Olive the night before was just so superlative, too.....

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Nawlins Trip Advice

Did you already see the thread about all the $20 lunch deals (prix fixe/limited menu) at fancy places all over town? August for $20.12, Lüke for $15 (express lunch), Iris, etc? And Domenica has happy hour from 3-6pm (half price gourmet pizzas, drinks).

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Looking for great steaks!

My friend had the steak at ROOT and it was fantastic. It's pretty trippy and experimental otherwise, though, so probably not what you're looking for. But FYI.

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

any new great restaurants, especially outside the French Quarter?

I'm just back from New Orleans and very much enjoyed Sweet Olive at 931 Canal. Yes, that's in the FQ, but it's just 2 months old and well worth knowing about. The pickle plate and charcuterie plate large starters to share were great, and I adored the scallop dish. I mean, I wanted to jump into it and swim around. FWIW. Dunno if they do lunch.

Mar 19, 2012
fiorbhlasta in New Orleans

Thanks for all the leads, everyone!

I have never had such a fooderific time...and, er, yes, I didn't exactly go to wall-to-wall sessions at my conference. On the other hand, how many talks can you actually take in? I heard some great, great talks (twice at 8:30 am panels!) and made a point to attend panels on stuff I didn't know much about but that sounded good...rather like some of my meals. It was a great, exploratory trip, though next time I want to see more natural beauty and walk around more, too....and meet more people...and try to find an employer!! Seriously, why did I choose a career without mobility? Why??

Jan 10, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Greater Seattle

Seattle - April

Hallelujah. My god, you folks have the most awesome restaurant scene. Truly fabulous!!! Lucky lucky lucky lucky lucky.

Jan 10, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Greater Seattle

Thanks for all the leads, everyone!

Hi everyone,

I'm just back from having a delightful time in Seattle. There were many fantastic restaurants I couldn't get to -- what with time and social constraints and so on, but I did sample many great things. This is a set of comments, as requested. Sorry they aren’t more detailed or, er, scientific!

The first place I hit was Ting Momo on Wednesday for lunch with a local friend. It was fantastic. I had the Azag Azog combo with Thenthuk. Wonderful spicy coconut curry pull noodle soup with a depth of flavor and perfect slight kick for the only really rainy day we had. The combo plate gives you 1 yak star anise, 1 pork, and 1 eggplant dumping, along with a nice chickpea/onion/bell pepper/celery salad, plus cilantro dip and soy/vinegar dip. It's more pricey indeed than a regular lunch spot, but fantastic. They also serve the local Dry soda (rhubarb!! on the sweet side, but nice). This said, when I went back to Ting Momo on Friday for lunch (I know, I know, I shouldn't have repeated, but I had such a yen ...), it wasn't nearly as good. When I went on Wednesday there was a beautiful older woman with fantastic smile lines who had The Touch. Her food was amazing. On Friday, it was some young folks, and it just wasn't as good. So try to scope out who is cooking. Because on Friday it was definitely the B (C?) team.

Later on, we made our way out to Fremont to Theo’s Chocolate – running late for our tour. They let us join it late and we enjoyed hearing about chocolate and sampling some nice standard bars – darks and milk and salted almond, chili and cherry bars. We also tried some confections – pear jelly with balsamic ganache was startling and fascinating. I bought some delicious caramels there—the cardamom was astonishing. Ginger was a bit too “fresh ginger” tasting for me (how is that possible? Somehow it didn’t blend adequately with the chocolate, or maybe I am just so used to the different flavors of ginger and dark chocolate that I usually have and adore). Chili chocolate caramels were very tasty too. But the cardmom was the knock-out. We tasted a bunch of the chocolate bars in the shop (my friend goes to Theo’s regularly and gets the Cocoa nibs for her oatmeal), and I bought the curry-coconut bar, the chai bar, and the hazelnut crunch: really delicious. I was less impressed with their mint, which was, er, “too minty” for me. But really a very very impressive chocolate place. And the people there couldn’t be nicer. (In fact, I have to say, I was really impressed with how friendly the Seattle folks were everywhere…though my attitude of gushing jealousy may have helped.)

I next ate at Tilth, where I had the 5-course carnivore/omnivore option. I'm afraid I didn't keep notes on things, but the standouts were the superb Grilled Dakota Beef Hanger Steak and the Sablefish. It was a delicious meal and my friends had phenomenal cocktails (iin particular El Presidente I think it was called; not on the menu now). My complaint was that the tasting plates were not very hot (when I think they should have been), so the flavor was a bit compromised. Perhaps that’s to be expected? I also thought the stack o’ bread course was a little odd, FWIW. The service was absolutely impeccable though -- just restrained and perfectly present/attentive without being in the least obtrusive. A wonderfully tall dark-haired woman with a perfect dignity and calm served us. And what a nice space it is, too. Sorry not to have gone to the Golden Beetle -- hope to next time.

Thursday morning, I met up with friends and their two small children (ages 2 and 5) for breakfast at Pike Place Market. We sampled Chukar Cherries (great -- Cabernet chocolate-covered cherries, spiced hazelnuts (a seasonal) were especially nice)...sampled some fresh, fat, yummy Alder-smoked salmon at Pure Seafood -- what a pleasure to see a toddler and his older brother SCARFING smoked fish! We ate breakfast at Lowell's -- nice oyster omelette, smoked salmon omelette, and big bowls of oatmeal. Stunning views.

Thursday for lunch, my friend and I tried to go to the Thai Simple Curry for a quick bite, but it was closed for the holidays so we dithered and then walked up to the Malay Satay Hut, the one in the International District. The woman who served was lovely, but the food was unexceptional. I'm told that the owner and the culinary splash have moved to the Microsoft branch. My friend had roti to start and a sort of mixed veg noodle dish and I had an egg noodle chicken curry, but it was just blah. Maybe there were other things that we should've ordered.

That night, a friend and I attempted to go to Le Pichet square in the middle of dinner time, without a reservation, with a big conference (i.e., mine) in town. Nope! This I knew would be a problem, but my friend wanted to try, and hey, it didn't hurt. Fortunately, because of YOU CHOWHOUNDERS I had my trusty-dusty cheat-map of downtown restaurants and realized we were handy to Long Provincial Vietnamese. Though they were packed, they seated us in the somewhat subterranean and very dimly lighted bar area. My friend had a groovy "tangerine martini" (which she said was really like a Marguerita?) and seafood fried rice, which she enjoyed. We also split the spring rolls, which were nice. On the recommendation of the server (for a choice among the satays), I had a wonderful Bò xã lụi lemongrass beef satay -- hot and spicy and addictive. I LOVE the preparation of the ground beef mixture wrapped around lemongrass -- the beef has a fantastic flavor. Then I had the Gỏi bắp chuối cua lột ~ Soft crab banana blossom salad. Heavenly. I've never had banana blossom before (hence my order, in keeping with my desire to eat not only well but new), and it was fascinating -- fresh, light, floral, delicious. Service was a little inattentive, but they were packed and we were just fine.

Friday morning, I grabbed a surprisingly tasty and filling turkey and swiss croissant from the Specialty Cafe near my hotel for breakfast. For lunch, I went back to Ting Momo and was disappointed. I happened to walk past Marie & Frères, 2122 Westlake, so I stopped in there on the way back and had their fantastic chocolate-covered passionfruit sorbet "pop" -- deservedly written up in local magazines, I gather. I also tasted their marvelous toasted coconut chocolate bar. Amazing. And the owner was full of recommendations for places to go and things to eat in and around Seattle. (Note: my friend agreed with me about the ice cream confection and the single-origin organic Brazilian chocolate, but noted that Gelatiamo downtown has a better passionfruit sorbet and gerlato For dinner, a group of 4 of us actually made reservations for a change (!!) at Mashiko, the sustainable sushi place in West Seattle. It was about an $18 taxi ride out there from downtown, but the food was worth it. Melt in your mouth sushi and other treats. My friend and I shared the $50 Toku Omakase. She insisted on ordering an extra Rainbow roll, which was awesome, but meant we just had too much food. But these are nice problems to have. The sushi, again, was awesome. A white fish with ponzu and shiso oil… tako salad….heavenly poké over seaweed salad – a perfect explosion of sashimi, seaweed, scallions, garlic and sesame. Then heart-meltingly fantastic Geoduck Butter Yaki with fabulous umami power. There was a fantastic grilled salmon, too. I was underwhelmed by the tuna sashimi—I don’t really see the point, frankly. I think the kitchen appreciated the absolutely wiped clean plates and enthusiasm, because they sent out two desserts for the whole table -- marvelous scented, rich Jasmine crème brulée and green tea ice cream, too. I couldn’t get over the quality of the food for the price. $50 for TWO????? I just wanted to put my head down on the table and cry. In fact, by day 3, I kept on finding myself muttering, “You’re killing me, Seattle, you’re killing me.” With envy. It’s enough to make an exiled foodie almost tearful.

Saturday, I had a surprisingly good crab omelet, topped with avocado, at my hotel (Red Lion on 5th). Later, I had a nice almond croissant and an AMAZING, FANTASTIC hazelnut sablé at Le Panier. For lunch, my friend wanted to hit Wild Ginger and so we did. It was just OK (prawns with green beans), nothing special, which is what I expected. I tried to get the server to steer me, but he just pushed the lunch special. I’m a little sad that I didn’t have another stand-out meal in that “slot” though. For dinner, a fellow conference-attendee arranged reservations at Poppy, a nice choice for a veg (her) and omnivore (me) to go to. We enjoyed tasty cocktails (Turkish delight and Wild about Saffron), which I’d enjoy exploring more though I’m not usually a drinker, as I am usually the designated driver at home. I note the GQ-type bar/server staff at Poppy—quite the collection of hunks, and very nice and professional too. The 7-item Thali with scallops, fennel salad, yams, burdock pickle, naan and beet soup was tasty, though a bit gimmicky – tasty, but not nearly the mind-blowing quality or generous quantity for the same money (or a bit less, actually) that you get at Mashiko. More of a scene—the adorable graphics on the menu, the studly servers, the cool music, the brick wall, etc—but that’s fun too.

Sunday I had Taiwanese food at Facing East in Bellevue. The kumquat and citrus tea, warm, was unusual and satisfying. The pork burger was delicious. (see pix on Yelp) I was less fond of the bitter melon with egg and the oyster-yam something or other, but it was comfort food for my friend. I would’ve loved to have explored the menu at this place more. Then I had shave ice—with everything on it! Sweet beans, soft, cooked peanuts, condensed milk, green jelly, etc—for the first time ever and it was addictive. That night found me wandering around downtown indecisively, unsure where to go for my last night. Stopped by blueacre and looked at the menu, but it was dead and I wasn’t sure it would be very nice to be solo in a completely empty restaurant. Wandered around a LOT and finally ended up at the Brooklyn, where I tried some oysters and had a rather busy scallop dish: Day Boat Scallops, porcini mushroom-dusted, with braised painted hills shortribs. served with yukon gold asiago scalloped potatoes and spinach. finished with honeycrisp apple, bacon and roaring 40's blue cheese butter. topped with a castelvetrano and nicoise olive tapenade ($31). I mean, stop already!! The flavors worked alright, but there was just a bit too much going on there. I’d rather keep it simple and just taste the seafood.

Monday I was flying out, but grabbed another hazelnut sablé at Le Panier, bought some expensive smoked fish and got a Meatloaf sandwich on pumpernickel with the works from Three Sisters Bakery. Even 4 hours later, instead of fresh, this was a monstrously good sandwich. Bye bye, Seattle, O how I loved you.

Jan 10, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Greater Seattle

Downtown/walkable Solo Eating in Seattle?

Mahalo, Kaleo! I was thinking I'll need to ask everywhere "what's the thing I shouldn't miss / what's in season / what do you recommend?" Yes and yes!

Jan 03, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Greater Seattle

Downtown/walkable Solo Eating in Seattle?

Also: how exciting to see plenty of places open on Sunday. Yippeee! I'm staying an extra night just to get to eat more and I'm so glad there will be some good options.

Jan 02, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Greater Seattle

Downtown/walkable Solo Eating in Seattle?

Homemade tartar sauce! Mmmm. I'm thinking that a lot of seafood is in season right now, too. Yippeee. I actually cry whenever I go to my favorite fish place in Madison, WI (Sardine <sigh>), so this is a great lead. Thanks!!

Jan 02, 2012
fiorbhlasta in Greater Seattle