Category Archives: dessert

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.

20131029-100624.jpg

 

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 Five (Tallahassee: Graduation, El Tapatio & Kool Beanz)

I graduated! PROOF:

class of 2013

ME

I am now a master of science.

None of us really ate breakfast this morning (as we frantically raced toward the civic center instead), but we did have lunch at El Tapatio, which I enjoyed. Both times I’ve been there I got the carne asada and was not disappointed.

asada

I also tried to show my parents around Lake Ella, but it started raining. We got in a look at some food trucks that happened to be there, as well as the rose garden by the church.

pizza

tacoooos

menu

flowers

The main attraction of the day for me was a well-deserved graduation dinner at Kool Beanz, my favorite Tallahassee spot. My hints: get there early and be prepared to wait. Fortunately we spent time at a local boutique, Cole Couture, while we waited for our table. I also forgot that Kool Beanz always gives you delicious bread and butter before your meal. The bread is so crusty and the butter is so creamy, I could eat the whole basket.

menu

My mom and I each also had a glass of wine.

wine1

wine2

We had the clam appetizer, the spring salad, and the two pasta dishes at the bottom (the crawfish and the scallops/shrimp.) It was ALL amazing but we couldn’t pass up dessert.

clams

le salad

cheesy

mine

Lastly, the dessert menu and our chosen dessert (the smoky bacon brownie!)

desserts

Sorry the picture is dark, it was getting late! This was wonderfully unique and smoky and delicious.

ours

Post & photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Three (Atlanta: Aquarium & Silver Skillet & Poor Calvin’s Absolute Fusion)

This morning we got up early and promptly went back to sleep after the alarm woke us up. We headed out to the Silver Skillet, a local diner, for breakfast. Afterward, we went to the Georgia aquarium and we finally ended up eating dinner at Poor Calvin’s Absolute Fusion, which is a Thai/Asian Fusion restaurant.

My mom did both the beluga experience and the whale shark swim. I went around with my dad to ALL the other parts of the Georgia aquarium. But lets start with the breakfast at the Silver Skillet.

Silver skillet

front

menufront

two

three

four

inside

table

I got the sandwich with bacon eggs and cheese, my mom got the ham skillet and my dad got eggs and sausage.

sandwich

ham skillet

egg sausage

We also had biscuits, which were good, and I was SO excited to see this tabletop because it is almost exactly the same as our kitchen counter used to be (our house was built in the 60s.) So I loved it. (those shapes!!)

Next we went to the aquarium.

lionfish

turtle

tanky

seahorse

seahorse 2

jellies

fishes

fin

grouper?

whale shark

penguins

Beluga whales!

beluga

bel

whale

fish

snake

Albino alligator!

albino

two

three

Piranha

fishie

WHALE SHARK!!!!

whaleshark

Behind the scenes: They grow their own coral!

growing coral

more

Sorry Atlanta lovers, as a Seattle fan I’m still a bit upset over the playoffs. 😦

BOO FALCONS

Still a cool dolphin though.

still cool

another

last one

Lastly, we headed over to Poor Calvin’s, and parked by central park.

inside

one

20130502-215652.jpg

Thought I would show the drinks up closer.

drinks

I had the crispy beef, my mom had the unicorn fish, and my dad had the steak. I also ordered the sangria (amazing) and my mom had the “Frankly my dear” cocktail. Both were great, and all the food was too.

We had the calamari as an appetizer.

calamari

steak

fish

beef

sangria

rose cocktail

The staff was really friendly and they also gave us a gift at the end of our meal: a chocolate-covered apple with a 15% off an entree coupon.

dessert

We very much enjoyed our day today and had a much-needed great meal and drink at the end. Glad we didn’t settle for the loud, not-as-great hotel bar. 🙂
If I lived in Atlanta, I think I’d go to Poor Calvin’s to drink as well, seemed like a very nice bar with friendly staff.

Post and photos by: Melissa


Spring Break: Orlando/Cocoa Beach – Sunday & Monday morning

On Sunday we went out for brunch at First Watch.

brunch is great!

I had the Parma Hash which they describe as: “Two eggs* any style atop a hash of fresh, seasoned potatoes, Italian sausage, house-roasted Crimini mushrooms, onions and tomatoes with melted Parmesan, mozzarella and fresh herbs.”

As you can tell from the description, it was amazing. It came with an English muffin, but I chose to substitute a fresh lemon poppyseed muffin for $.90 more.

with a cuppa fruit

so cheesy!

After that we went to Cocoa Beach. It was packed, as some spring breaks are occurring at the moment. However, it was really windy and cold. We stayed for over an hour and then went around town a bit before heading back. And of course from my picture you can’t tell it was crowded, you’ll just have to believe me!!

Cocoa beach

The other place we visited in Cocoa Beach was Ron Jon’s surf shop, which if you’ve driven on a highway in northern/central Florida, you’ve probably seen a sign for.

ron jons

RON JON

Apparently they’re open 24 hours. Seems like that would be a big draw in a place where a lot of things seem to close around 5. We ended up going to Downtown Disney to look around and have dinner. We chose Wolfgang Puck Express based on their menu, which included creme brulee and pizza.

I had the 4 cheese & pesto pizza.

pizza

And of course creme brulee. It was very filling.

so big!

The next morning, we went to breakfast/brunch before it was time for me to drive back home. We went to Toojay’s.

Toojay's

I had the Meat Lover’s Skillet, which included sausage, bacon, onions, green peppers, tomato, eggs (obviously), and cheese. It also came with toast and we ordered a grilled blueberry muffin to split.

eggs and such

toasty

muffiny

The muffin was so good. We stopped by Sweet by Holly next door as well, for their Monday special (mini cupcakes for $1 each)

I got a lemon mini and a white chocolate raspberry. I could eat about 50 of those raspberry cupcakes and probably still not get enough; it was amazing. The lemon one was okay.

sweeeeeet

so cute

perf

Post & photos by: Melissa


Another macaron recipe (raspberry buttercream)

Today I attempted another macaron recipe that I found through one of my favorite youtubers. Honestly, though, I need to work on my piping skills. I even bought a piping bag! I am just not great at it. A few of these looked really pretty (I thought) but I do not prefer this recipe to my last attempt, other than the way the cookies looked…

I baked these for 40 minutes, despite the fact that her recipe says 20 minutes, because last time some of my shells were hollow and that is likely due to undercooking. These didn’t burn, but I would say they were a little sharper/crunchier than I would have liked and while they were not hollow, they weren’t correctly chewy. Sigh. But, enjoy my illustrations and click on the recipe above if you’d like to see Entertaining With Beth’s recipe, which I followed (without the cream of tartar.) My food coloring also didn’t come out as pretty as I’d hoped and the cookies were essentially brown.

pretty meringue

cookies not piped well

the cookies

squiiiiish

nom nom

Some were really messed up since I piped them poorly… Il’l even show you that.

eek

That front one is a beast. But the top one is lovely. Anyway, they still taste good, but not as good as the ones from the last recipe (only difference is this one calls for more powdered sugar.) I would recommend following the last recipe, though these did turn out pretty.

Post and photos by: Melissa


Apple Crisp

My roommate had a large quantity of apples leftover that she said she wouldn’t be able to finish and asked if I wanted some. Naturally, I decided to bake something. I found a few apple crisp recipes online and some muffin/cupcake recipes in a book I had, but I decided to go with a crisp because I already had all the ingredients. Here’s the recipe I used with some adjustments.

Ingedients:

5 cups sliced apples (about 3 medium apples)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick, room temperature)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar

Recipe:

1. Place sliced apples (chopped relatively the same size, shape doesn’t matter) in bottom of 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.

chopped apples

2. Add half the cinnamon, half the nutmeg, and half of the vanilla. Pour the water over the apples (though I recommend using slightly less than the listed amount. Mine was a little goopy.)

with the spices

3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. (This will be easiest if your butter is room temperature.)

apart

together

4. Add the rest of the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon to flour mixture and distribute evenly over the apples. Spread the brown sugar evenly over the top.

ready to bake

5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. Check and bake in 5-10 minute increments until crust is browned (but not burned) and apples are tender. Mine took about an hour and ten minutes total, but I don’t want you to take my word for it and burn your crisp! Carefully remove from oven and enjoy! This is great with vanilla ice cream.

remove and enjoy

Post & Photos by: Melissa


Nutella walnut brownies

As I had a rather large quantity of leftover Nutella, and a desire to bake, I searched online for a Nutella brownie recipe. I came across this one and decided to use it, with the addition of walnuts (because I had those too and brownies are always better with nuts!)

It was super easy to follow and they turned out really well, so I thought I’d share my experience with anyone who wants to make something special for Valentine’s Day or really any other brownie-appropriate occasion.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup Nutella
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted, melted butter (room temperature)
Walnuts (if you’d like, I think I used 1/2-3/4 cup)
A dash of cinnamon

Recipe:

1. Melt your butter. Let it cool till it is room temperature and set aside. You may also preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit at this time, because the prep time for these brownies is minimal.

2. Mix your flour and salt in a bowl.

salty flour mmmmm

2. In another bowl, combine your eggs, brown sugar, Nutella, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. This is also when I chose to add my walnuts.

appetizing

all the walnuts!

walnuts!

3. While mixing at a low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and the melted butter.

texture

4. Butter or grease your square baking dish, or use parchment paper, with the parchment overhanging the lip of the pan to make for easy removal. Spread your mixture evenly in the pan. I greased mine a bit too vigorously but in the end it was fine. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top.

spread it out

5. Put your brownies in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes (mine took about 40.) Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center (or a fork/knife which is what I had to resort to as I don’t own toothpicks)comes out clean. Allow to cool for two hours, after which you can easily cut them into squares to serve.

brownies

6. Enjoy!

closeup deliciousness

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Macarons: Success

After the last attempt I decided to try a recipe that actually included the measures of ingredients in cups, as I don’t have a kitchen scale, and this time it worked out (for the most part, a few of the shells were still hollow so I’m in the process of perfecting it.) But I decided to do a post on the recipe, in the hopes that it will show how I’ve corrected from what I did last time. I made the same nutella-chocolate filling as last time, so if you’d like to see that click here. This time I used a Martha Stewart recipe for the cookies, although I altered the cooking time/temperature a little due to paranoia that I would burn them. This makes about 10 macarons (20 halves.)

Ingredients:

1.25 cups plus 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 cup (4 oz) almond flour
6 Tablespoons egg whites (3 large eggs)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (although honestly how long does an oven take to heat up, I don’t think it’s necessary to do this as the very first step, considering how long it takes to whisk the egg whites, I think it’s a waste of electricity, just keep it in mind for a later.)

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour and powdered sugar.

apart

 

together

 

3. Separate your egg whites into another bowl. Whisk until frothy/foamy. This time I was very careful not to get any yolk in here…

egg whites

 

4. Gradually add your granulated sugar while whisking (so much easier with an electric mixer than by hand) and continue whisking until the white mixture forms stiff peaks.

peaking

 

5. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into your meringue until fully incorporated.

folded

 

6. Pipe your batter onto  parchment paper/wax paper or a Silpat on a cookie sheet. Make evenly spaced, similar-sized circles. Lift the cookie sheet and drop it lightly a few times after you’re done piping, in order to spread and remove air bubbles from the batter. This makes about 20 cookies halves, or 10 macarons.

allow to rest

 

7. Allow to rest about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top is no longer sticky/shiny and a skin forms over the tops. Then bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Check cookies every 3 minutes after that point. They are done when the top is hard and the bottom slides against the baking surface and removes easily (though you may need a spatula to remove them, still.)

baked them

 

they're cute

 

they're cute

 

8. Pipe/spoon in your desired filling and sandwich it up!

finished cookie

 

enjoy

 

Photos by: Melissa
Post by: Melissa


Macaron fail (a.k.a. delicious cookies that aren’t what they’re supposed to be)

I attempted to make chocolate macarons with a nutella mousse filling. However, I shouldn’t have attempted to use this recipe. It’s a fine recipe, but I do not have a kitchen scale. And I do not feel like purchasing one for the sole purpose of making these cookies. While my mousse turned out fine, the cookies were more like… very thin chocolate cookies with a crisp outside, chewy inside, and a brownie-like taste. Still delicious, but not-so-macron-y. The nutella mousse turned out lovely though.

This can be attributed to many things. As mentioned above, I have no kitchen scale, which most likely led to me combining the wrong amount of ingredients. I also failed to make a sturdy meringue, which probably is what led to me not being able to create the cookie texture I desired. This may have been due to the non-weighing-cup-conversion-in-my-head based approach I took to the ingredient amounts, or a tiny bit of yolk in my egg whites because I’m not practiced in separating them. But, if you’d like to knowhow to create what I’d like to call crisp brownie cookies, read on!

Ingredients for cookies:

1 cup almond flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 T. cocoa powder
3 egg whites (from large eggs)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Recipe:

1. (Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.) Sift your almond flour and combine with your powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

powdered sugar and cocoa powder

combined

added to almond flour

total combination

2. Beat egg whites in another bowl until foamy.

foamy

3. Add granulated sugar and whisk until meringue-y. In my case, this never happened. (It was goopy and would not form peaks, but that’s ok if you’re not making macarons!)

sugar added

won't form peaks

4. Add the dry ingredients and fold in with a spatula.

nom nom

chocolate-y

5. Add contents of bowl to pastry piping bag (or non-fancy plastic Ziploc bag that you will cut the corner off of) and pipe even circles onto your wax paper or Silpat.

or not so even

As you can see, mine are *not so even* but this turned out to be fine. I also have an odd number, so I could eat one outside of a cookie-sandwich situation. Let these sit out for about 1 hour.

6. Bake for about 15 minutes, then check. Mine took a long time, essentially 45 minutes to bake, but as they were uneven, some were done before others, so check frequently. Leave on a wire rack to cool. These are not the prettiest cookies.

cookies wooooo

7. Done! Now make your mousse.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 T. nutella

Recipe:

1. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream on medium low until simmering.

creamy

2. Spoon out your nutella into a bowl and top with the broken-up chocolate.

nutella

 

chocolate pile

 

3. Pour your heavy cream over the nutella & chocolate. Leave for 20 seconds, then whisk until smooth.

stir it up

 

4. Place in fridge for 30-45 minutes (I had to leave mine for an hour) until still pourable/mixable but hardened overall. Remove and whisk until lightened in color.

looks like this then

 

whisked it

 

5. Scoop (or pipe) a dollop of this mousse onto the flat side of a cookie, and sandwich it with another cookie.

cookie pile

 

cookies!

 

all ready to eat!

 

Enjoy your cookie sandwiches! I think this would also be a good type of cookie to put ice cream inside of, in order to make ice cream sandwiches!

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa