Seattle – Food Truck Tacos

Two days, two different food truck festivals to vie for the best taco. Most of the trucks don’t normally offer them to it’s fun to see what they can come up with, my favorite on each day was the same truck Nosh which normally does fish & chips. Fish tacos not too far out there and I think they should have it on menu all the time since just need to have tortillas and slaw to put on top, nothing too crazy. Chopstix’s spicy pork belly bun was also very good but we had a debate on if it could count as a taco since it wasn’t in a tortilla. I argued it could since the bun could be thought of as a thick tortilla of sorts but then by that logic a hot dog bun could be too, so where is the taco line drawn? Just for good measure had a Hainan chicken rice too since it’s so good for something so simple yet hard to perfect.

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Nosh – fish taco

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Chopstix – spicy pork belly (L) and peking duck

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Bomba Fusion – beef bulgogi

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Han’s Chicken Rice – popcorn chicken

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Buddha Brothers – spicy pork (L) and Kalua pork carnitas

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Han’s Chicken Rice – Hainan chicken rice

Seattle – Eden Hill

After a short trip to Woodinville to do some wine tasting, we headed over to Eden Hill. With four of us we ordered all but one savory dish and since I’m a semi-regular chef Max sent out a few freebies so we ended up with 10 courses, didn’t take a picture of the salad dish.
My parents both like the cauliflower the best while I’m torn between the pate and octopus. K liked the quail the most and we all thought the oysters fell a bit flat. If everything on plate eaten in one bite it was interesting but the oyster itself had too much breading and not, if any, enough seasoning.

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Cauliflower “chilaquiles” – serrano and lovage hot sauce, red cabbage curtido, lime crema, manchego

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Quileute salmon mi cuit – kumquat, red sorrel, calamansi, spiced vanilla vinaigrette, roasted new potatoes

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Chicken liver pate – sauternes pickled foie gras, northwest syrup, toasted coffee rye, walnut

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Salmon mousse – radish, bread

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Kumamoto oysters

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Crispy pighead “candybar” – prosecco, d’anjou pear, fermented black bean, merlot pickled red cabbage, serrano

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Fried pacific oysters – sweet and sour apple, black garlic mayonnaise, wobble cart spinach, apple, almond

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Spanish octopus – dark chocolate and plum mole coloradito, sunchoke, ancho, seaweed tepanade

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Pan roasted quail – charred asparagus, black morel, tomato preserve, poultry glace, soft egg, agour

Portland – Beast

I had been wanting to try Beast for a while since I knew it would be a great meal, but it turned out to exceed our expectations. The pasta course was by far our favorite, the pasta texture was almost perfect (I thought a bit more al dente would have been better) and the pork ragu was sublime even if there wasn’t much of it. Seating at the restaurant is two large tables and we were across from a lovely couple from Hawaii who like us loves to travel to eat. They were even coming back on Sunday for Beast’s famous brunch. Our second favorite course was the asparagus and cheese, K isn’t a huge fan of burrta but loved it so much insisted I make this dish at home.

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Bay shrimp amuse

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Verjus cured halibut crudo – smoked olive oil aioli, gem lettuce & cherry belle radish, bottarga

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Spinach garganelli – milk braised pork ragu, collard rapini, mustard blossoms, parmesan

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American wagyu hanger steak – butter poached new potatoes, roasted viridian farms calcots, pickled maitakes, sherry demi glace

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Salad of grilled and raw shaved asparagus – burrata, shasta gold mandarins, min, pine nut-brown butter vinaigrette

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Machego media curado – marinated fennel, wild miner’s lettuce, quince paste, espelette baguette cruton

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Rhubarb-jasmine profiterole – jasmine ice cream & rhubarb sorbet, roasted rhubarb, matcha pistachios, poppy seed meringues

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Foie gras bon bon

Whidbey Island – Willowood Farm Benefit Dinner

On the evening of March 6th, 2017, a devastating fire destroyed the historic Smith Barn, along with the livelihood of the Smith Family and Willowood Farm. While I knew nothing about the farm, I knew many of the restaurants they supply and this was very sad news to hear. Many of her chefs quickly began talking to each other and Willowood’s owner to see what they could do. This was one of the first benefit dinners and I made the trek to Whidbey Island for the first time to show my support. The evening lasted over four hours but felt faster with all the great conversation to be had. Each chef gave a brief talk about their connection to Willowood and one consistent theme is how the farm connects so many disparate people into a family.

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Radish and black cod roulade – horseradish chantilly

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Head cheese – sauce gribiche, green onion

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Parsnip & celery root shooter – urfa chili, fennel oil

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Prosciutto – ricotta, basil pesto, pickled sweet peppers, miners lettuce, rye crisp

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Grilled octopus – chermoula, oil cured olives, belgian endive, cilantro

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Brown butter parsnips – parmesan, salumi culatello

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Grilled rabbit – creamy young leeks, rhubarb, chanterelle, thyme

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Clams – creole rice, maple brined pork belly, salsify, green onion, radish

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Buckwheat polenta dumpling – wild mushrooms, pork bolognese, onions

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Raspberry blueberry cheesecake pops, lemon zeppole, vanilla cremeux citrus vanilla compote

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Seattle – Staple & Fancy Renzell Dinner

Renzell is a new app trying to provide data driven ratings from its user base that I’ve been contributing to since I found out about it late last year. Unlike Yelp they aim to have a more objective rating system that provides valuable data back to the restaurants. They have events in their cities where members can redeem their points for events and this was the first one in Seattle.

Dinner was basically the same as their standard tasting menu which at $55/person is one of the best deals in town. Had a bunch of appetizers, a few pastas, one main and a dessert. Was a fun evening talking to other members who are passionate about food and debating which restaurants need to be added to Renzell’s list in the next update.

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Redmond – The Stone House

After visiting a few wineries in Woodinville made the short drive down to Redmond to finally try The Stone House which people have been telling me for years I must check out. I’m sad I didn’t listen to them sooner as the meal was excellent. The pock belly was super tender and paired with the marshmallow was a new taste. I wish I had ordered the fish as it was better than my lamb, which was still good but not the same complexity of flavors. The donuts were super light which was good since K only had a bit I ate 3.5 of them.

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Pork Belly – Thai gastrique, tart apple emulsion, fennel-apple slaw, toasted ginger marshmallow

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Bone Marrow – bacon jam

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Black Cod – clams, bacon dashi broth

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Lamb – bread pudding

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Zeppole – lemon

Seattle – Tavolata Sunday Feast

We hadn’t been to Tavolata’s monthly feast in a while, so we forgot to pace ourselves since there is just so much food. March’s dinner was originally supposed to be suckling pig but turned out to just be pig, a welcome change to me since the dishes were more interesting and easier to eat. The last time I went to suckling pig it was presented whole to the table and I ended up carving it with a wide steak knife which isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Most of the pig was used throughout the meal and each course was somehow better than the last. I really enjoyed the meatball, I wonder how glorious it would be if I wasn’t forcing myself to eat at that point. We got two servings of each dish for six people, one of each would’ve been fine except for the salad and pastas which we ate 75% of both.

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Salumi Board: porchetta, capicolla, proscuitto, speck, mortadella

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Pork Fat Torta Fritta

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Pig Head Fritters: truffle aioli, meyer lemon

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Crispy Pig Ears: white anchovy, apple, cippolini agrodolce

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Bloomsdale Spinach: pancetta, huckleberry brown butter, semolina crouton

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Pork Neck Agnolotti: roasted carrots, pea vines, marjoram

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Pork Skin Cacio e Pepe: tonarelli, cracked pepper, pecorino

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Wild Mushrooms

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Charred Allium Tenderloin: onion soubise, vinaigrette

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Pork Meatballs: smoked pomodoro, cannelini beans

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Wine Poached Pear: pistachio, creme fraiche