Category Archives: comfort food

Seattle Restaurant Week 2013: Lunch at the Steelhead Diner

Seattle Restaurant Week ran this fall from October 13th-17th and the 20th-24th. I went out twice the first week, once for lunch and once for dinner, and one time for dinner during the second week. If you don’t know, restaurant week gives you the opportunity to have a 3 course lunch or dinner (respectively $15 or $28) at a number of Seattle/Bellevue/etc. area restaurants. It’s a great chance to try a new, high-quality restaurant for a very reasonable price. The last thing that I cannot stress enough about restaurant week is that YOU NEED RESERVATIONS. Even for lunch. There may be certain restaurants where you do not, but if you have your heart set on going somewhere, check it at least a week in advance. Many of them allow you to reserve Via Yelp/OpenTable which I’ve had no problems with and which is my favorite way to reserve.

All 3 that I visited had great options for all the courses and very generous portions. But first, I’m going to talk about the Steelhead Diner. First, the menu. There were 3 options for each of the 3 courses, and I chose the tater tots, the pasta, and the pear crisp bar. I do kind of regret not choosing the sandwich for the second course, because it sounded really interesting and the pasta was such a large portion that, while delicious, it was impossible for me to finish.

The restaurant itself is located right over from the Pike Place Market which makes parking obnoxious, but which makes for a pretty view if you have a window seat.

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We were given bread and herbed butter to start.

herbed butter

 

bread

 

The crab and shrimp tater tots came with a great celery leaf salad garnish and a pretty good sauce, considering I am not an “add sauce to everything” kind of person. Also, note the adorable plates that go with the fly fishing theme.

tater tots

 

The next course for me was the pasta, which was a trenne with mushrooms, cheese, and roasted cauliflower. As I mentioned, the portion was huge so I couldn’t finish it, but it was a very good pasta dish.

pasta

 

The absolute BEST part of this meal was the pear crisp. But while we waited for dessert, I had my friend try to get some sneaky decor pictures of the flies in the glass case next to where we were seated.

fly!\

all the flies

 

And now for the dessert! As I mentioned, it was a pear crisp with hazelnut streusel and vanilla icing. It also had the best whipped cream I’ve ever tried, which was so thick and flavorful that it tasted like vanilla ice cream.

dessert!

 

Overall, I would definitely go back to the Steelhead Diner.

right by the market

 

Restaurant Week returns Spring 2014, and if you have the opportunity, go for it!

Post and photos by: Melissa

 


Bite of Seattle 2013 & Olympic Sculpture Park, plus some Chihuly

This weekend is the bite of Seattle. Naturally this means I’m quite excited and had to partake in the festivities. Twice. Once on Friday and once on Saturday. I highly recommend going to the Bite of Seattle, or any other “bite” type activity you have in your area, as it’s a great way to enjoy a variety of foods from the area at a reasonable price. In my case I went to “the alley“, which is the event’s largest fundraiser, donating the money to Food Lifeline, a local charity. The menu is different on all 3 days, so I posted a link to it above (“the alley” link) but I’ll explain as I show you the food below. But first, the Space Needle. You can also see the fountain spraying water below the Space Needle, which is a fun attraction especially for children as they try to run away before they get wet.

needle and fountain

Friday:

friday food

From the yellow rice, clockwise, and then the middle:

Far-Eats: Tender chicken morsels simmered in an aromatic sauce with herbs & spices then slowly baked with basmati rice until flavors blend
Dahlia Lounge: Ginger pork salad with blueberries, mint and chilies
O’Asian Kitchen and Lounge: Baked Barbecue Pork Pastry
Purple Cafe: Summer Quinoa Salad
Din Tai Fung: Veggie & pork wonton with spicy sauce
Yippie-Pie-Yay: Peach-Bourbon Hand Pie
Belltown Pub: Chicken & Seafood Gumbo

I really liked everything, except for the Belltown Pub’s gumbo. However, if you like extremely smoky flavors, you might have liked it. My favorite was the Dahlia Lounge’s ginger pork – it was amazing. Another favorite was the wonton from Din Tai Fung. Fortunately, the wonton was served on both days that I visited.

Saturday:

saturday foods

From the bun, clockwise:

Local 360: Root beer glazed pork belly
Palace Kitchen: Slow cooked brisket, blueberry BBQ, sweet corn pudding & blueberry pickles
O’Asian Kitchen and Lounge: Baked Barbecue Pork Pastry
PinkaBella Cupcakes: Root beer float cupcake
Din Tai Fung: Veggie & pork wonton with spicy sauce
Shanik: Roasted spiced eggplant, squash & tomatoes with crispy wheat flatbread
Salty’s on Alki: Fresh Oregon BayShrimp Cocktail with marinated local vegetable slaw finished with a house-made cocktail

The brisket was amazing, (and of course blueberries are my favorite food) and the shrimp cocktail and spiced veggies on flatbread were respectively fresh and nicely seasoned. The root beer float cupcake was delicious, though very heavy on the frosting, to the point that it fell over in my corn. But it was still good!

After we left the bite we walked around the area, and ended up at the Olympic sculpture park where there were a few interesting pieces that I hadn’t seen before, and a few I think I just haven’t taken a close look at before. We also wandered by a new Chihuly piece which was visible from the walkway. They reminded me of Dr. Suess flowers.

Metal tree!

metal tree!

Eyeball chair! As demonstrated by lady with stroller.

eyeball chair

The infamous naked fountain, though the other figure is obscured by water.

fountain

I’m told that this sculpture is fashioned after an old-timey eraser with a brush on the end. I thought it was some kind of sea creature…

eraser art

Temporary art installation:

the roofroofing

And the flowers.

dr suess

fun times in suessland

Post and photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Seven Part Two (Tampa: Columbia Restaurant, St. Petersburg Beach & Samurai Blue)

After the zoo, we headed to Ybor City for lunch at Columbia Restaurant. It was delicious! We decided to go with the tapas platter (3 to split) and order 2 desserts (key lime pie and bread pudding.)

here it is!

sign

front

Here’s the menu, it has so many pages! Sorry if they’re a bit hard to read. =/

menu

one

two

three

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five

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seven

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nine

ten

First, we were greeted with warm Cuban bread and delicious butter.

warm bread

balcony

Above us was the balcony.

crab

peppers

shrimp

Our three tapas choices (above) were the Devil Crab Croquettes, Stuffed Poquillo Peppers and Shrimp Supreme (I believe? we were between the two shrimp choices.) All were good, but my favorite were the peppers. they were very cheesy and had chorizo inside. We just had water but the sangria pitchers looked great. We followed this with the key lime pie (super refreshing and great) and the bread pudding (which was very large, sweet, and flavorful without tasting too much like rum for my taste.)

pie

bread pudding

Then we went to St. Petersburg Beach. It was quite a drive, but not too far for a nice beach on a warm day. We passed the Don CeSar Beach Hotel and parked a ways away, then walked down to it and back. Such a pretty, big building! It looked like a lovely place to stay.

big!!!

beach

There were lots of shells and some were inhabited.

shells 12

aha

And of course, bread-hungry birds.

birdy

so many

Then we went back into Ybor City for dinner at Samurai Blue, which I would say might’ve been my favorite meal of the whole trip. If this place was around where I lived I would go here often. Everything here was delicious. The prices were also great especially considering the amount and quality of the food.

sign

menu

one

two

three

four

five

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It has an industrial, old-warehouse kind of feel with brick walls inside, but the interior is also quite modern and nicely done. They have a sushi bar, separate sushi menu, and full bar inside.

walls

tables

We got the calamari and blue crab rangoon hot starters and they were both great but the sauce on the crab was amazing.

starters

sushi bar

We also split the cucumber, seafood salad. I LOVED this salad and I am not a salad kind of girl.

cucumber salad

miso

For main dishes my parents split two sushi rolls and I had the amazing Tokyo Beef Short Ribs. The hibachi rice underneath was possibly the best fried rice I’ve ever had, and I love fried rice.

roll

roll2

RIBS!

so so good

We walked around the square afterward.

theater

We discovered the Tampa Bay Brewing Company and I thought I’d just mention them and their beers.

brewing

I'd tap it

I hope you enjoyed! If you’re in the area and like Japanese food at all, DEFINITELY stop in Samurai Blue (either location is probably great.) I was very impressed and they were very friendly.

Post & photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Six (Tampa: Oakley’s Grille)

Sorry I’ve been slacking on blog posts! Just been very tired, a little bit under the weather, and busy. But I’m here to finish up the last 4 blog posts from the trip for you now.

On this day we really didn’t accomplish much, as we got up late-ish and had a bit of getting ready to do (and catching up from our previous day of excitement) before we got to driving to Tampa. Today was mostly full of driving, and then having a quick but nice dinner at Oakley’s Grille by our hotel in “New Tampa” and then swimming in the evening, and enjoying the hotel’s promise of free ice cream.

menu title page

page one

page two

page three

page four

I had the bacon cheeseburger, plain, with pepperjack cheese. Sorry it looks so plain, but it was juicy and delicious.

plain like I like it

All burgers come separately from sides, so we split a basket of sweet potato fries.

mmmmmm

My parents also shared a burger and a fish sandwich (the blackened tilapia)

fishy

This was painted on the wall and I liked it.

nice!

Sorry the post is so short! To make up for it you will get WAY more than enough in the next few, so don’t worry. I’m off to make them now!

Post & photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Four (Atlanta: Ria’s Bluebird, Atlanta History Center featuring beautiful houses, & Frank’s Family Restaurant)

Today we started out at Ria’s Bluebird, a local breakfast/lunch place for a decidedly more fancy breakfast than yesterday. We decided to try a nearby restaurant.

bluebird

creepy bbird

menu one

menu 2

We had the french toast and the pancakes (french toast w/Nutella cream cheese and pancakes with pecans and caramelized bananas.) Both were great, but the pancakes were the clear winner, despite how much I love Nutella.

French toast

pancakes

We also tried the house-made sausage patty and it was great; it was flavorful without being too spicy and perfectly cooked.

patty

Then we went to the Atlanta History Center, which features some civil war exhibits along with gardens and an olympic exhibit, as well as a historic house (The Swan House) and entry to the Margaret Mitchell house, along with traveling exhibits. This was in a very nice part of town which encompassed many beautiful homes, which I also was interested in and took many pictures of. I would say it’s worth a visit if you’re interested in civil war history, history of the south, or general Atlanta history. Also if you enjoy pretty gardens and historic homes. If you’d just like to see some gorgeous Atlanta homes it’s worth a drive through the neighborhood. It’s also worth taking a tour of the Swan House.

canon

musical

animals

piggy

rooster

quilty

turtle

clothing sign

dress1

dress2

Next, the houses!!

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nine

ten

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We also came across a bit of history (see sign)

signpost

description

We stopped at Frank’s Family Restaurant for dinner. It doesn’t look like much and it’s attached to a gas station but it was decent food, considering that.

franks

This was on our way driving south to Tallahassee, not too far from Atlanta. We had the calamari appetizer, salad, sausage and peppers entree and complimentary breadsticks. Overall it was good value for the money and not a bad place to stop in a town that didn’t offer much else.

calamari

salad

bread

pasta/sausage

Post & photos by: Melissa


Vegetarian burger patty (quinoa, panko and garlic)

Although for one summer I was a pescatarian (which wasn’t horrible, although it lacked variety and did get very tricky to go out to eat/side note, wordpress tells me that pescatarian isn’t a word which seems awfully silly) I have never before attempted to make my own vegetarian burger patties, and have instead opted for the beefy variety. In case you’re unaware, a pescatarian is a vegetarian who eats seafood products (fish, scallops, crab, etc.) but not other meat (chicken, beef, pork, etc.)

But back on topic. I came across these burgers on one of my favorite food blogs, which I’ve previously mentioned in posts, How Sweet It Is. I happened to already possess most of the ingredients, and I was sold on the idea of a veggie burger with garlic and red bell pepper in it, as those are two of my favorite ingredients to cook in just about anything. So, without further babbling or praise for my favorite food blog, I’ll share the recipe because these turned out delicious and were rather easy to put together.

Ingredients (for 4 patties):

1 can (15 oz.) white cannellini beans
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped red peppers (the recipe calls for roasted, but I didn’t have time for that. I’m sure it would add to the flavor.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon flour
Olive oil (for cooking)
Other desired toppings (lettuce, tomato, whatever. I like my burgers plain. Cheese or bacon would be a good addition though, in my opinion. Unless you’re actually a vegetarian. Also optional: buns)

Recipe:

1. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper.

mmmm

2. In another bowl, roughly mash beans with a fork until smooth. This is not going to look pretty.

appetizing right?

3. In large(ish) bowl, combine beans, quinoa, garlic, and red peppers. Stir to combine. Add the bread crumb mixture and your beaten egg, and combine again. Finally, add the flour (I almost forgot!) as this is an important step to ensure your patty doesn’t crumble and fall apart when you cook it.

combine that stuff

ready for patty-cake

4. Form 4 roughly equal-size balls of…veggie patty. It’s ok if not all your beans are smashed.

play ball

5. Coat a medium-large pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high (about 7 on my stovetop.) Add your patties and flatten, making sure you press the sides with a spatula so it sticks together rather than crumbling at the edges. You may cook them all at once, but I did choose to do it separately, as it was my first time trying this and I didn’t want to ruin all of them at the same time.

patty

After about 5 minutes (depending on temperature) flip, and it should be golden-brown and crispy. Cook the other side to the same crispness and then remove from heat. Repeat for all patties.

crispy~

6. Enjoy!

mmm crispy patties for me!

Post & photos by: Melissa


Asiago garlic bread (loaf)

Since I had already tried making asiago bagels I decided to do something different this time, and bake a loaf of asiago cheese bread. I chose to add garlic to mine because that’s always a winning combination. The recipe calls for optional rosemary, which I think would be a great choice too. It should be noted that this recipe takes SO long for the dough to be ready to bake ~3 to 3.5 hours, with steps in between wait times. But let me just tell you that it was so worth it. This bread is light, cheesy and flavorful. It would’ve been crispier if I could’ve baked it a little longer but you may know by now that I get very paranoid about burning my baked goods.

Ingredients:

3-3.5 cups of bread flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 package dry active yeast
1.25 cups water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons of rosemary or thyme (optional) and/or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1.25 cups asiago cheese or other firm cheese, cubed (swiss, gruyere, etc.)
Cooking spray (like Pam)

Recipe:

1. In a large bowl, combine 1.5 cups flour, the sugar and yeast and mix. Add the 1.25 cups of warm water (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit) and stir until all combined into a ball. Let stand about 1 hour, until bubbly.

first

bubbly

2. Stir in the oil, rosemary (or other herb/garlic) and salt with a wooden spoon. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is soft, easily leaves sides of bowl, and is easily handled. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 15 minutes.

handle that

3. Sprinkle flour on flat surface (counter or cutting board) and place dough. Knead the dough, pulling toward you, pressing away with your palm and rotating 1/4 each time between pressing. Sprinkle more flour if the dough sticks. Knead in 1 cup of the cheese. Spray a bowl with the cooking spray and place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover and let rise 45-60 minutes, until about doubled in size.

cheesy

poof cheese

shiny

4. Deflate your dough with your fist. Spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray. Gently form your dough into a football shape, about 12 inches long. Coat loaf with flour. Let rise in a warm place, covered, another 45-60 minutes until about doubled in size.

dough ready!

5. Place an 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan halfway filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven. Heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Sprinkle or spray your loaf with water and sprinkle desired amount of flour. Cut a line in the middle of your bread lengthwise about 1/2 inch deep and fill with remaining cheese.

full of cheese

7. Place in oven on middle rack, above the water-filled pan’s rack. Bake about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake another 20-25 minutes, until browned and cheesy. At your own risk, bake a bit longer to get it really crusty. I was unable to do so, but this bread is still delicious and will get harder if left on the counter.

yum

8. Enjoy! Experiment with your own combination of spices, cheese, garlic, onions, whatever! I think this is a versatile recipe that you can easily customize. 🙂

cheese holes!

Post & photos by: Melissa