Seattle Top 5 Patio: The New Branded at Almquist Family Vintners is Stunning (Easily Amongst Seattle's Most Beautiful)

Seattle weather is at it's most beautiful right now... The perfect time to visit the outdoor Wine Garden at the new Branded at Almquist Family Vintners. This location is absolutely in my Top 5 most beautiful for wine on the patio, and it's open for business. One of Seattle's hottest up-and-coming chefs, Brandt Bishop, has created a lovely menu for bites, including Smoked Cod Crostini with Cilantro Salsa Verde and Pickled Onion, Fresh Columbia City Focaccia with Bone Marrow Butter, and Kusshi Oysters on the Half Shell. The full bar downstairs, including the Greenhouse, as well as the upstairs wine bar will officially open to the public in June with an expanded menu.

The Branded Wine Garden is Open!

The outdoor Wine Garden at Branded sits on a beautiful property overlooking the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

The outdoor Wine Garden at Branded sits on a beautiful property overlooking the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

A Peek Inside: Homemade Vinegars and Fresh Spices

The Branded Greenhouse (The Roof Opens for Sunny Days)

The Wine Garden at Branded is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 to 4. Branded is at 198 Nickerson Street (if you were a patron of the former Hommage or Book Bindery, you know where to go!)

We'd also like to invite you to be a part of our POP:LUCK with Chef Brandt, Artist Ten Hundred doing live painting and DJ Santa Maria with some smooth spins, Saturday, June 30 at The Kitchen by Delicatus. It's going to be a fantastic evening that fuses food, art and music. Tickets are available now including VIP tickets for a private Happy Hour with Chef Brandt before the dinner begins. Expect a gourmet, 5-course meal with fresh spring ingredients. Get your tickets here!

There's Nothing Like Lunch on the Puget Sound: Six Seven is So Lovely!

One of the most wonderful things about living in Seattle is that we're surrounded by beautiful water including the magnificent Puget Sound. So when you get the opportunity to have lunch in one of our many restaurants with a view it's a special moment.

This week I got to do just that at Six Seven on the downtown Seattle waterfront when meeting with some incredibly talented people: My good friend Randy Lane, who is also a part of Rob and Donna Dughi's episode as well as Sumi Hahn Almquist. Sumi really needs no introduction because she's so well known! She has an amazing history in the culinary world including being an author, former food critic in Seattle as well as for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, and is the former owner of The Book Bindery along with her husband Mike.

The lunch was delicious and I highly recommend the Bento Box (with your choice of salad, soup and sandwich), as well as the "Mom's Chicken Salad" and "Two Clam Chowder." Delicious!

Thank you Randy and Sumi for the great conversation and lovely experience.

Sitting on the Puget Sound, Two Clam Chowder, Mom's Chicken Salad and Bento Box

For more on Six Seven, you can find them on Facebook here.

Cuban Food in Woodinville Wine Country... Yes Please!

A rainbow outside of the Twisted Cuban Cafe, Woodinville, WA

A rainbow outside of the Twisted Cuban Cafe, Woodinville, WA

Cuban food and rainbows... What more can you ask for?! We recently dropped into the Twisted Cuban Cafe for lunch and it was a fun experience... On the day we went, the food was really good and the service was perfect. I definitely recommend going for something different to eat... We love variety in the food scene and want to see more of it! 

While we were there we also talked with the owner, Julio Ortiz, who was born and raised in Havana and uses recipes straight from his mother's kitchen. Julio also rolls his own cigars and offers them for sale so be sure to talk with him about this! Finally, Saturday nights they have Latin music and dancing.

Now on to the food! And thank you for being lovely hosts Twisted Cuban Cafe.  


Picadillo, Twisted Cuban Sandwich and Camarones

For more information on the Twisted Cuban Cafe, you can find them here.

Queen Anne's Eden Hill Dishes Inspire Som Kesa to Recreate at Home

Eden Hill's Tasting Menu

Eden Hill's Tasting Menu

If you haven't heard yet, Eden Hill in Queen Anne is generating a lot of buzz lately including Executive Chef and Owner Maximillian Petty receiving national attention as a 2016 James Beard Foundation "Rising Star of the Year" nominee, as well as being recognized locally as one of Seattle Magazine's "Top 20 Most Talented People in Seattle" right now. I haven't personally been to Eden Hill yet, but friends say it's a truly unique dining experience with loads of charm and I can't wait to go.

When cooking, we all find inspiration in all sorts of places... Definitely from Chefs and restaurants, and definitely from our friends and family members who we share meals with. Seattle Foodie Som Kesa, who I haven't been shy about talking how brilliantly delicious her food is, recently found inspiration from Eden Hill after going for the Tasting Menu which is beautiful! Som is always wanting to push the limits of her talents and was inspired to recreate a couple of the dishes at home which we are sharing here. Thank you for sharing Som!

Crudo: Scallops, Pickled Sunchoke, Buttermilk, Basil and Lemon Oil

Som Kesa Remakes Seattle Eden Hill's Crudo

Confit Beets with Burrata

Som Kesa Beets with Burrata Inspired by Eden Hill

For more on Eden Hill, please visit their Facebook page here or their website and congratulations to Chef Maximillian and team for the accolades!

Meet the Moon in Seattle's Leschi Neighborhood... Love, Adore, Amazing

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower with Lemon Yogurt, Pickled Golden Raising, Almonds, Cilantro and Golden Raisin Gastrique

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower with Lemon Yogurt, Pickled Golden Raising, Almonds, Cilantro and Golden Raisin Gastrique

Welcome to the neighborhood Meet the Moon.... We have been waiting for something unique, cozy and brilliant along the Lake Washington waterfront over on this end! It is our pleasure to highlight this lovely new restaurant from the Heavy Restaurant Group (Purple, Barrio, Lot No 3, The Commons), along with Chef Omar Salazar-Cruz, who comes from Purple, and whom we'd like to call an up-and-coming Chef who needs more attention! 

Meet the Moon is open for breakfast through dinner. We went there for dinner and had the Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower along with the Tacos de Omar, which are Chef's choice for the day... These were brilliant! If you go there for dinner, you may want to go early because they sell out of the tacos regularly. 

Please enjoy some photos as well as the Yelp review from our friend Andrea to see what diners have to say! (Also... After posting her review, Andrea received a nice email from the Heavy Restaurant Group thanking her. Talk about great customer service...)

Meet the Moon on Yelp

Thank you Chef Omar Salazar-Cruz for saying "Hello!"

To find more on Meet the Moon, visit their website here.

Goldfinch Tavern Happy Hour

Three things worth posting about happy hour at Ethan Stowell's Goldfinch Tavern in downtown Seattle: Atmosphere + House Smoked Salmon (on grilled baguette with spring herbs and creme fraiche) + the Crimson Finch (Spiced Cranberry Syrup, Remy VSOP, Lemon and Bubbly)... It's lovely!

(Update: Thursday PM) I should definitely add that these are "Three things I LOVE" and was only there for a short time during Happy Hour. Goldfinch Tavern is a spot I would recommend and I will absolutely be going back for more!

Experiencing Chavez: A Seattle Times' Top 10 New Restaurant

Experiencing Chavez: A Seattle Times' Top 10 New Restaurant

I've had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people lately including the lovely Ravi and Madhu Sanga, whom I met through Honoree Som Kesa. Like me, Ravi and Madhu are huge supporters of Som and attend her Pop-up dinners regularly. At a recent party, Ravi was telling me about how one of their New Year's Resolutions was to try every restaurant on a Seattle Times Top 10 New Restaurant article and they were going to begin with Chavez in Capitol Hill

Read More

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Ethan Stowell's Red Cow, Mr. West Cafe Bar, Gorman Winery and Le Caviste

This Is What Happens When You Give a Bartender Freedom to Make What They Want

On a recent visit to Bar Sajor I couldn't decide on a post-dinner coffee so I turned that decision over to the bartender. What he created was pure genius and a drink I'll remember for a long time. 

There is no special name for it because it's my understanding he made this up himself. It was creamy, wonderful, flavorful, and totally fresh. Here are the ingredients for you to try and make yourself or order when you're there!

Thank you beautiful Bar Sajor.... Until next time!

Is Inability to Share Prix Fixe Meal Poor Policy?

There are some restaurants in Seattle that I adore beyond adore... I frequent them often, recommend them for visitors, and even think about when I can go there again! The London Plane is one of those special restaurants on my list. 

Everything about it is near perfection to me... The ambience, the flowers, the lighting, the food, the location... The whole package is something I see as totally beautiful. Up until a couple of weeks ago, my visits there had only consisted of brunch with friends, but on a recent visit in the evening before the Manchester United game at CenturyLink Field, the unfortunate attitude of just one staff member, the one who was taking care of my friend and I, was not only highly disappointing throughout the night, but it also raised the question of a "Policy" we were unaware of.

It’s against our policy to share [a Prix Fixe meal].
— The London Plane Server

Against policy to share? This took me aback so I said to her, "We just want one meal it shouldn't be a problem." To which she told us again it was against their policy but she would check to see if they could make an exception.

A couple of disclaimers: First, because we were going to the Manchester United game we knew we'd want bites at the stadium so didn't want a full, 3-course meal beforehand. Next, this wasn't New Year's Eve, it wasn't Mother's Day, it wasn't Valentine's Day, or any other event when I would totally understand that it would be uncouth to make reservations only to share. It was a typical Friday night at 5:30.

Although we had no idea that an exception was made and we would be served our meal, it arrived, which was delicious and beautiful! But it still raised the question, why was it a "Policy" not to share?

So I reached out to The London Plane to ask. 

Response from Yasuaki Saito with The London Plane:

"While our dinner setup is functional most of the time, it has put our staff & guests in awkward positions. We have been working on a solution which would allow us to both serve wonderful meals to diners looking for something substantial & allowing for snackers & noshers as well. Basically, the family style, prix fixe dinner will be modified to accommodate a la carte items & additional offerings.  

re: policies, we train our staff to put hospitality before them but in this instance our training failed. We will follow up with all our staff to err on the side of generosity of spirit. We will also work with them on when to apply policies appropriately to certain situations which may call for it."

Thank you Yasuaki for the generous and quick response and for taking action to work with staff in order to provide a better experience. It still wasn't answered why it's policy in the first place, but I really appreciate the thought that went into explaining things, plus the follow-up with staff.

I will absolutely continue to visit The London Plane and recommend it to visitors. Hopefully by working with staff to clear up what the Prix Fixe "Policy" is, and when and how to implement it (or not), the atmosphere will only continue to improve.