For the love of food

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens*Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens*Brown paper packages tied up with strings*These are a few of my favorite things*Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels*Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles*Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings*These are a few of my favorite things*Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes*Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes*Silver white winters that melt into springs*These are a few of my favorite things

Marjorie in Seattle Review or… where did the Harvest Vine kitchen crew go? October 26, 2010

This post is actually way overdue but better late than never. A few months ago we were sitting having dinner at the Harvest Vine and started a conversation with a guy sitting next to us, he informed us that the owner Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez will no longer oversee the restaurant and that in his opinion it is one of those last great meals we will have there. He said that a Spanish restaurant without the Spanish chef who made it what it is today cannot last. We listened and thought he had a point, though we had 100% confidence in the kitchen crew there was a sad element to this conversation because in every restaurant there is someone who creates the concepts and guides the rest of the kitchen and wait staff, whether its the head chef or the ex-chef turned owner. Unfortunately our random conversation came to fruition, we came to the Harvest Vine a few weeks later and did not recognize a single face in the kitchen; they all left. The question is where did they go???

Marjorie is the answer!

The very talented, awesome crew left to join Donna Moodie and open the new Marjorie on Capitol Hill; and we were very happy to find the familiar faces and great food in a happy, hip and cozy environment, always busy and for all the right reasons. The concept is one of my favorites, small plates of mainly local and seasonal ingredients with various influences including those of Spain; the service is friendly and the wine list is fun. So… now it is our new “go to” place when we are in the mood for fun, delicious and diverse food, especially late in the evening. Please go and enjoy!

Its really really really great!

WWW: http://www.marjorierestaurant.com/

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Lark in Seattle Review March 29, 2010

This review is quite overdue given my love for restaurants and food. Lark has been open for quite a while and we had plans to go there quite a few times but it never materialized. It is in a lively strip of 12th avenue (corner of Spring street), right by Seattle University, and is surrounded by lots of other establishments. The space is lovely but unfortunately I cannot rave about the food or wine list.

First thing first – the wine list is tiny (probably about 15-20 choices for red wine, less so for white and very few options by the glass), and no I am not a wine snob, but I did feel the list was not appropriate for diverse clientele. Prices ranging from $40 to $120 limit the selection even further as different people have different financial abilities. After having some wine on bar stools (and not by the bar) while waiting for our table, we had the hostess graciously spill wine on my husband’s pants and on my coat but that was just an accident though the rest of the service was not professional enough in my opinion.  

Now for the food, the Yellowtail carpaccio I heard so much about… nice and fresh with some fennel and green olives leaving a pleasant aftertaste but… the quality of the fish was not produced by the restaurant so the credit I am giving this dish is minimal. Its not that it wasn’t good, it just required minimal effort from the kitchen. The Foie Gras terrine was mediocre in my opinion, too much fat and not enough liver, it came with candied black olives which I found to be interesting and some sliced rhubarb which was slightly out of place when combined with the olives. I also had a chance to taste the Nettle soup, a distant memory from my childhood, it was nice. Out of the warm dishes we had the pork belly which in my opinion was superb, the best dish in the whole meal, just melts in your mouth! Dessert was fairly plain (they ran out of three out of five or six desserts by the time we got the menu), a rhubarb crostata with lemony mascarpone – very very basic for a place that gets so much attention and praise – it would have been a lovely dessert on a farmer’s market somewhere but not in a restaurant with such reputation.

Overall, I do not intend to go back, but I am planning to go visit a few places down the street :)

WWW: http://www.larkseattle.com

Address: 926 12th Ave, Seattle   Tel: (206) 323-5275

 

Txori in Seattle – Review February 18, 2010

They have been open for a couple of years now but we had no opportunity to visit this place – shame on us! This place carries out the traditions of its parent restaurant (The Harvest Vine on E. Madison avenue which is my absolute favorite out of all Seattle area restaurants by the way) which in turn carries out the traditions of Spain, the Basque country in particular.

Txori is a San Sebastian style pintxos place, which means small bites, even smaller that the more popular and known tapas (served at the Harvest Vine). The place is small, the staff is friendly and the hours are 12 pm to 1 am Thu-Sat (12 pm to 11 pm the rest of the week) which gives you the opportunity to come for lunch, an afternoon aperitif, a great dinner or some midnight munchies.

The offerings are diverse; from cheeses and salumi to olives, seafood, vegetables and meat. Quite a few dishes are served on toasted bread and contain sunny side up eggs :) The wine and cocktail list is great and all goes well together creating a piece of Spain here in Seattle.

Now go!!! :)

WWW: http://txoribar.com/

Address: 2207 2nd Avenue, Seattle  Tel: 206.204.9771

 

The Shrimp stand near Deception Pass August 17, 2009

Filed under: Eats in WA,Food,Travel,Washington State — lovemyfood @ 3:07 pm

WA spot prawns deception passI’ve heard about this place but didn’t know where it actually was nor have I ever been to Deception Pass until recently…I found this road-side Sseafood and BBQ stand without even looking for it – a large gathering of cars and people on the side of the road near a little white shack drew my attention the moment I saw it :)

For those of you who are in the area and want to plan ahead, it is located on HWY 20 when you go south-west towards Deception Pass park on the intersection of Deception road approximately in the middle between lake Campbell and Pass lake (look at the map…) .

The BBQ looked and smelled great, so did the various versions of fish/shrimp/oyster and chips but the main attraction is the freshly boiled spot prawns, small and pretty and incredibly fresh. They are sold by weight (about $4 or $5 per pound) with the option to add cocktail sauce for a $1. You take those with you tot he beach and indulge :)

 

Food in Switzerland July 22, 2009

Filed under: Food,Switzerland,Travel,Uncategorized — lovemyfood @ 4:11 pm

Zermatt

Picking up from where I left in my last post about my vacation…after Chamonix Mont Blanc we continued on to Zermatt and stayed at Le Petit Hotel which justifies its name by having really tiny rooms, overall it was clean and quiet but if you are coming for your yearly vacation and want a really nice hotel this one is not it.

In Zermatt itself I do recommend visiting the Italian GramPi’s on 70 Bahnhofstrasse where both pasta and pizza were quite good. The real gems though are the various mountain restaurants you can visit either while skiing or hiking in the mountains. They serve traditional simple foods, concentrating on fresh local ingredients and all this is washed by beer and some more beer. Here is a photograph of a restaurant we absolutely loved, Chalet Ried Restaurant,  it is located on the trail going up to Sunnegga and is really close to Zermatt so you can either go there from the town itself for the sake of enjoying a lunch with a view or to actually go up to Sunnegga and on your way down have a well deserved meal. The owners are very nice people and the restaurant is open all day long until 9 pm (in the summer). 

Chalet Ried Restaurant Zermatt

food in Zermatt

Another one is located in Z’mutt (a very nice hike to get up there with constant views of the Matterhorn) and is also good, it is actually called Restaurant Z’mutt (there are a couple more restaurants in that tiny old village).

Restaurant Zmutt Zermatt

Valais specialty foods

Rosti and sausageRosti with ham and egg

So keep looking for the mountain restaurants because they have the best views, the best prices, the best food and you will have the best appetite whether you are hiking, biking or skiing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andermatt

Baumann Cafe Oberland on 49 Gotthardstrasse, a lovely bakery and cafe in the also lovely town of Andermatt. Good coffee and a mouth watering selection of pastries with loads of seasonal fruits. We did not have any food but what I saw on other people’s tables looked appetizing to say the least.

 

Interlaken and Iseltwald

In the Interlaken area we actually stayed at the Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald (it is in Iseltwald, not in Interlaken), the hotel itself is nice and clean with all rooms overlooking the beautiful lake, it is very simple and basic inside with no luxuries but its location and lake view compensate for that. While staying at this hotel we visited Bern and Lucerne, we hiked in the Jungfrau region hiking up to Klein Scheidegg where we enjoyed rosti, sauerkraut and sausages from the outdoor stand.

In Interlaken itself I was happy we found Restaurant Baren on 2 Seestrasse, Interlaken is quite the touristy town and many places give up on quality. This place was not an outstanding restaurant worth telling long stories about but it is was quite good and provided an authentic local meal.

 

Lucerne 

An outstanding meal in the area came again from a restaurant mentioned in the Relais and Chateaux guide and is located on lake Lucerne. We visited the Restaurant Sparks  in Park Hotel Weggis (one of the three restaurants in this lovely hotel). The shady terrace overlooking the lake was beautiful, service professional and the food delicious – I really enjoyed the seared steak tartar and the Pike-Perch as well as the multi component dessert.

 

Blausee

One more restaurant on a lake side was quite different, it is located on lake Blausee and is adjacent to a trout farm and is celebrating it on its menu. It costs 5 euro to actually “enter” the lake area but here is a tip – its free after 5pm and in the summer it is not a problem to come after hours without missing a thing. The lake is tiny and full of trout, the views around it are beautiful and the restaurant had good food and lovely atmosphere. I had a plate of various cold preparations such as smoked trout, smoked trout mousse, trout tartar etc and really enjoyed it; I obviously tasted everyone else’s food and both the beer batter fried trout fillets, the oven backed whole trout as well as the smoked trout ravioli were all delicious. Desserts were quite good but very large so be ware.

Blausee restaurant switzerland

Ascona

Ascona is beautiful but unfortunately when we were there the weather left a lot to be desired and we saw very little of this lake side town, but we did have lunch at one of the strangest restaurants I have even been to. The restaurant is located in one of the small alleys very close to the lake, to be more exact on via S. Omobono, the name is Grotto Baldoria. There is no menu and you eat whatever the cook makes in the kitchen, the seating is outside and is very basic with picnic tables and a fiberglass roof to prevent you from getting soaking wet when it rains. The meal begins with some bread, a board with cured meats (salami etc) that you get with a knife and cut some for yourself and the board goes onto the next table, a delicious salad followed, then the main course brought out in the pot or skillet it was cooked in and is divided between the diners whether its only your table or maybe a few tables depending on occupancy, it all follows with a cheese board on  a self serve basis, then a cake (crostada) also as self serve and even the Grappa at the end follows the same principal. The main course is simple and good as if you stepped into someone kitchen rather than a restaurant but do not expect anything fancy – we had pasta with tomato sauce and veal a creamy sauce of sort. 

Grotto Baldoria Ascona

Lugano

Tea room Vanini, right in the center of town on Piazza Riforma , with tables overlooking the city hall, good coffee and cakes. People come to sit and enjoy the sun, enjoy looking at the passing by tourists and locals. Basically to see and be seen as well as enjoy the pastries.

Tea room Vanini Lugano

Zurich

Now on to our final stop – Zurich. You can have a plain traditional hearty meal of sausages or meat (veal in mushroom sauce…) with a side of potatoes of course – your choice between rosti, mashed, potato salad etc at the Zeughauskeller on 28a Bahbhofstrasse, it is touristy but don’t be afraid it is still good. Another option is to have a traditional Spanish dinner sitting at an outdoor table on one of the small streets in old Zurich having tapas made daily. The place is called Bodega Espanola and is located on 15 Munstergasse, we had some Sangria and some Rioja, olives, tiny sausages, sauteed rabbit,  anchovies in olive oil, squid and a few other small plates we chose from the selection available on display inside the restaurant; they also have a menu for some main courses but we did not bother with those.

Now we do breakfast and weekend brunch in two separate but geographically close places. The breakfast spot goes to Felix Cafe am Bellevue on 5 Bellevueplatz with a view on the lake where cakes, pastries and chocolates are abundant; indoor as well as outdoor sitting is available. The brunch spot goes to the garden in the Terrasse restaurant on 3 Limmatquai where it is busy on the weekend, with everybody in their “Sunday best” enjoying jams and pastries, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, fresh orange juice, white wine and some (like me) lemon risotto with shrimp.

A must visit, though not exactly an innovation, is the huge Sprungli store on 21 Bahnhofstrasse, you can get a table and enjoy the pastries, little sandwiches and coffee and you can go ga-ga buying things to take back home with you loading on chocolates over chocolates but one thing you absolutely cannot go out the door without is the Luxemburgerli (macarons) – every color, every flavor, pink and gold, sweet and tart, they are tiny and delicious and if you are flying home from Zurich they have a special package which will allow you to get them home safely and devour them within a day or two because their shelf life is 3 days top. I like the fruit flavors best.

While in Zurich we stayed at the Sheraton Neues Schloss, its nice and spacious, has good service and a central location.

General

One other place in Switzerland I would like to recommend for lunch or take out is the Kauffmann Metzgerei with quite a few locations in Bern, Zurich, Thun, Basel and a few more (you can see a list if you click on “Aktuelles” on the website); it is a deli with sandwiches, a large selection of prepared food that could be heated for you if you like (sausages, potatoes, rotisserie) as well as a large selection of raw meats you can buy if you have a kitchen in your hotel room. They also have beer and other bottled drinks :)

Kauffmann Metzgerei

 

Food in Provence, Cote d’Azur and Chamonix Mont Blanc July 14, 2009

Filed under: Food,France,Uncategorized — lovemyfood @ 4:01 pm

I am back!!! I was on a wonderful vacation in southern France, Italy and Switzerland and now I have some recommendations to make :)

 

Vence, France

Our point of departure was a small town near Nice (about 20 minutes by car from the airport) called Vence where we stayed for the first night; the town itself is quite small but lovely with a beautifully preserved medieval center. We stayed at a very nice family run bed and breakfast called La Ferme du Paradou  and visited a very good restaurant called Le Pizzaiole chez Guy on 28 avenue du General Leclerc – the majority of the food is made in a wood burning oven we sampled quite a generous selection of dishes between the four of us (escargot with garlic & parsley butter, pasta, pizza, steak with pepper sauce, grilled fish of the day, foie gras) and everything was delicious.

Unfortunately I have very little to say about the food in Provence because it was more than disappointing though one restaurant really did stand out, it is located in the small town of Chateauneuf du Pape and is called La Mere Germaine and is listed in the Relais and Chateaux guide. The food was amazing and the light and sunny dining room was very pleasant, there is also a terrace which we couldn’t use due to the Mistral. Order anything – meat, game, seafood, desserts – its all good! While in the Chateauneuf du Pape take the time to visit a winery or two (some require advanced arrangements) – we visited the beautiful Chateau La Nerthe  and gladly brought a couple of bottles home with us. 

Chateau la Nerthe

Another decent meal in Provence (my view was not shared by half of our table of four…) was Allain Assaud in St Remy de Provence  at 13 blvd Marceau (to the left of the church), the food wasn’t amazing but it was good starting with a traditional fish soup with toasts and rouille, pot au feu with duck confit and a cherry clafoutis of sort for dessert. I do think it was overpriced for what it offered but the atmosphere was nice.

 

We continued towards the Alps through Annecy and really enjoyed our meal at Le Venezia at 23 rue JJ Rousseau, it is a small place overlooking one of the canals with very good pasta (the carbonara came with an egg yolk in an egg shell on top of the pasta which I thought was nice) and buckwheat crepes (galettes).

Annecy, France

 While in Chamonix Mont Blanc we stayed at the wonderful Les Balcons du Savoy which on top of the amazing view had a kitchen allowing us to shop the many beautifully stocked food stores with many local specialties like Chanterelle or Cepes salamis & oozing cheeses. We also found a very good pastry shop not falling in quality or imagination from its Parisian counterparts; the name is Patisserie Richard on 10 rue du Docteur Paccard.

chamonix mont blanc pastry shopfrench pastriesChamonix pastry shop

 

While in Chamonix we actually visited only one restaurant and it was quite enjoyable with fun decor which complemented the name, La Dolce Vita, displaying some scenes from Federico Fellini’s classic. The restaurant is located on 78 rue du Lyret and is an Italian restaurant with Italian owners and Italian food.

After Chamonix Mont Blanc we continued on to Switzerland and this will be my next post.

 

Thomas Haas, Vancouver March 11, 2009

thomas-haas-bakery-vancouver

It was a very pleasant discovery – a proper bakery in North Vancouver, making European pastries on a professional level, the only unpleasant part was that I discovered it only recently and now I moved back to WA so the next visit will not be any time soon.

Thomas Haas is famous for his chocolates and you can purchase them in high-end grocery stores like Whole Foods, Meinhardt’s and Capers…to be honest I have tasted the chocolates but wasn’t impressed, neither was my husband but the pastries do compensate for it big time! The space is tiny with two counters inside and a couple of outside tables. We have visited a couple of times and it was packed! The sandwiches are delicious and grilled if you want them to be, coffee is good and the pastries and delicious – both the cakes of sorts as well as the croissants and tarts – worth a detour even if you do not live in the neighborhood :)

good-pastries-in-vancouver

WWW: http://www.thomashaas.com

Address:  998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver   Tel: 604-924-1847