Category Archives: vegetarian-friendly

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

 

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Post-classes: Vacation Day Nine (Tallahassee: Edward Ball Wakulla Springs Park)

I decided to take my parents to Wakulla Springs on their last day here, because it was a sunny day and the last time I had attempted to take it in it had started pouring rain as soon as we got on the trail. It turned out to be a great decision because we saw plenty of turtles, alligators, and even got a chance to see manatees in the wild! This is what I’d been hoping to show my parents all along, so I’m glad we all got a chance to experience it together. If you go to Wakulla Springs, I STRONGLY recommend taking the river boat tour. It’s reasonably priced and without it you most likely will have a very difficult time spotting anything. the glass bottom boat tour wasn’t running when we went, because of “dark water” but we still saw plenty. I highly recommend visiting this park. Also, you will get to see the untouched “real” Florida if you take the tour (from the boat), at the end of the stretch of spring where people are allowed to go, and where they only visit a few times a year. The first and third movies in The Creature of the Black Lagoon series were filmed here, as well as Tarzan. If you’re going to take the trail anytime in the spring/summer, wear bug spray! I got many mosquito bites. We did see some lizards though.

main sign

We even got to see a turtle on our way into the park, crossing the street! The car you see in the sign above contained people that also stopped to admire the turtle.

turtleeeee

one

two

three

four

five

six

seven

eight

nine

ten

beautiful

so nice

There is also a swimming area, a beach-y place to lay about in the sun, and a lodge with a soda shop (for milkshakes, hot dogs, etc.) and a real restaurant where we chose to eat lunch.

lodge

outside

ceiling

picture

Here’s the menu:

menu one

menu two

We got the Chicken Caesar salad, Po Boy shrimp sandwich, and the grilled shrimp salad.

caesar

shrimp salad

sandwich

Everything was great! My parents agreed the shrimp was very fresh and I thought my salad was great too. The lodge also offers lodging (imagine that) and beer/wine. Anyway, highly recommended, and a great way to end my parent’s visit.

lizard!

Post & photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Seven Part One (Tampa: Lowry Park Zoo)

This post was a tad too long, so I’m splitting it into two. I decided to make two posts because when I was looking at the pictures for this day, I had over 100 I wanted to use and that seemed like way too many! This first part will feature the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, and the second part will focus on the Columbia Restaurant (lunch), St. Petersburg Beach and Samurai Blue (dinner.) Enjoy the zoo (I know we did!)

As you first come into the Lowry Park Zoo, make sure to keep your receipt handy as the lady at the desk needs to view it before admitting you. Snag a map, or use their Zoo Map app (I opted for the paper copy.) There was a lady with a green snake standing at the entrance, which was a fun introduction to the zoo. Off to the right, there was an enclosure with many different birds and of course the ever-present wild squirrel which is everywhere in northern and central Florida as far as I’ve experienced. Squirrels love the zoo too. A few things of note about this zoo: Voted #1 zoo for children/families by a parenting magazine (can’t remember which one), has several opportunities for direct animal contact/interaction/feeding, and has rides for the children as well. I think these features make it a very unique and fun zoo. If you go early-ish (we were there before 10) the animals are all fairly active as well, even in the sun.

bird enclosure

Then we saw the warty pigs, which made me happy. I also feel bad for them for having such an unappealing name. They’re more hairy than warty, and pretty cute.

warty pigs

My dad and I agreed these birds look like college professors. Let me take a moment to apologize that this post will mostly be pictures. Hope you don’t mind!

old man birds

hello there little guy

I fed this guy some nectar from a cup.

bird on arm

These lizards were everywhere in the zoo! Something very unique to this particular zoo, Lowry Park, is the amount of wildlife that is included, including various random wild lizards, squirrels, and birds throughout the zoo and its enclosures. I really liked that it seemed like a very natural setting.

wild lizard

penguin feeding time

They also had a lot of zoo babies. Here are a few: baby elephant and baby pygmy hippo!!

baby elephant!!

hippppppo

what are you looking at

meerkat

wallaby

koala

I do apologize to the lady above for catching her looking at the koala… Oh well. This glass was so reflective.

singing dog

bats!

if you know anything about me by now, you probably know I love goats. And zoos that let you pet/feed them, which I did!

goatses

friendly

And the Florida black bear.

florida black bear

meh

Such big alligators!

gators

The main attraction for me was the manatees. Here’s my very first manatee viewing (in person.)

my first manatee

nom nom lettuce

I also love seahorses.

seahorse

snakes!

eagle

I think there were a couple kinds of rays in the enclosure. You could feed these guys if you wanted to, which was another thing I liked about this zoo. They had plenty of opportunities for you to interact with the animals (my mom fed the giraffe and on some weekends you can feed and touch the rhino.) These guys were so funny to watch. They would sometimes splash you as they swam by and you could reach in and touch them, like in the aquarium.

rays!

rhino

And what zoo is complete without pony rides?

horses

And now, finally, I can’t remember what this guy was exactly… but he basically had a heart on his chest. And I thought that was too cute not to show y’all.

heart bird

Post & photos by: Melissa


Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad

First I thought I’d start this post off by sharing a bit of the lovely spring weather I’ve been lucky enough to experience lately…

lovely lake

And show your our ducks. It’s a Muscovy duck, I believe.

ducky

Anyway, I’ve been really busy lately and haven’t been cooking a lot, so I decided to try eating healthy by re-creating a salad that I had in a hotel restaurant over the summer during my road trip. The restaurant is Kahill’s Steak-Fish Chophouse in South Sioux City, Nebraska. It was the BEST restaurant we visited during the trip and even though if you know anything about me you know I’m not into salad or most raw vegetables, this was the best salad I have ever had. All I had to remind me of the ingredients was an at-best blurry picture of the menu.

tah-dah

So, without further ado, here is my take on this salad. This recipe is for TWO SERVINGS but ingredient amounts can be adjusted according to your preferences. Obviously to make this salad vegetarian-friendly you can just remove the bacon!

Ingredients:

4-6 oz. Baby spinach
1 pear
1/8 cup gorgonzola cheese
2 strips bacon
1/4 cup red onion
4 oz. spiced pecans (RECIPE HERE, or use own recipe, or purchase from store)
1/4 cup crasisins or dried cranberries
Cranberry vinaigrette (to taste. I couldn’t find this so I used raspberry pomegranate vinaigrette but I find that this salad doesn’t even need dressing)

Recipe:

1. Wash and drain spinach.

2. Chop pear into small cubes.

pear cubes

3. Cook bacon and crumble into desired size.

bacon-y

4. Finely chop red onion.

5. Add all ingredients to bowl and toss.

tossed

6. Serve with or without your vinaigrette.

salad complete!

with vinaigrette

7. Enjoy!

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


Pizza dough (totally from scratch!)

If you’re a long-time blog reader (are there any of you out there?) you’ll know that the first summer of this blog’s existence we made grilled pizzas from scratch. But this is going to be like the one I made with store-bought dough, except I made it myself. 🙂

This post will include the recipe for the dough I made (which makes enough dough for 2 medium pizzas) and the finished result of each pizza. The recipe claims this will make dough for 4 pizzas, but seriously unless you’re feeding children I’d say it makes 2 medium pizzas unless you like the crust super thin and then maybe it could make 4, but they won’t be substantial.

I used this recipe for the pizza dough, but used 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 2 cups of bread flour instead of 3 cups of all-purpose flour. Keep reading to see my results!

Ingredients:

1 package of active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
(desired pizza sauce, cheese, & toppings!)

Recipe:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup warm water.

yeasty

2. Combine the flour and the salt in another bowl.  Add the oil, yeast mixture, and remaining 3/4 cup of warm water and combine until it forms a dough ball. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead 2-3 minutes until smooth and firm.

dough ball

3. Cover dough with a clean, damp towel and let rise for about 2 hours. Divide into 2 equal dough balls and knead these 4-5 times each until smooth. Place under towel and again let rest for about an hour.

stored

covered

risen

4. Roll out your dough on a greased pizza pan, or press dough for a thicker crust.

pizza rolled

5. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings! Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes (may take more or less time depending on thickness and toppings, and desired crispness of crust.)

pizza~

And here is my second pizza.

meaty

Dough will keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days. If you’d like to freeze it, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store this way for up to a week.

Post & photos by: Melissa