Monthly Archives: July 2010

Washington/Oregon

Cucina Spinasse (Seattle) — the best dinner of our trip; chef was Food & Wine up & comer for 2010; sat at chef’s counter table overlooking the open kitchen and  and were served numerous courses by the chef; emphasis is on Piedmont style of cooking; highlights included four (amazing) homemade pastas, salt roasted local prawns, lamb tartare, seared salmon, and rabbit pouches; we’d highly recommend you check out this restaurant

Serious Pie  (Seattle) very popular stop on all Seattle food tours; anticipate long waits; small restaurant, open kitchen with brick oven, community seating; enjoyed an amazing fresh porcini salad and a wild mushroom and truffled cheese pizza (featured by Tyler Florence on the FN’s Best Thing You Ever Ate)

Crush  (Seattle) — chef won this year’s James Beard award for the Northwest; located in a house in a changing neighborhood east of downtown; enjoyed grilled baby octopus as a starter, and roasted halibut and seared scallop entrees;  above average artisanal cocktails; friendly attentive service; probably didn’t fully appreciate this restaurant as we were still reeling from our previous night’s chef’s table experience

Luc  (Seattle) — very popular French bistro (same owner as neighbor, Rover, a more upscale, highly rated restaurant); casual (i.e., slightly inattentive) service; we were disappointed they had run out of the salt baked whole chicken that is the Monday night feature; our group of four enjoyed smoked trout appetizer, potato mushroom soup, grilled halibut, and a (we’ve had better) cheeseburger

Restaurant Zoe (Seattle) — a popular contemporary downtown restaurant; enjoyed a unique version of sweetbreads with apricots and an even more unique entree “hog croustillant” (braised, shredded pork formed in a log and pan fried) with a side of nicely done herb risotto

Saffron Mediterranean (Walla Walla, Washington) — chef was a James Beard nominee this year; enjoyed an appetizer of steamed clams with ham hocks and sausage, and an entree of roasted pheasant on Israeli couscous; were surprised that the chef declined our request for a half order of pasta

Brasserie Four (Walla Walla, Washington) — managed to find a French bistro in southwestern Washington; started with a  good country pate;  branched out with a very fresh, whole sauteed trout served meuniere style; also enjoyed a perfectly cooked hanger steak with yummy brandy sauce and frites

Celilo (Hood River, Oregon) — after walking around this charming town, we landed on one of the more upscale places in an otherwise laid back place; enjoyed salmon rillettes as a starter and and entrees of lamb three ways (chop, braised and overly spiced chorizo) and roasted cod

Beast (Portland) — second best meal of the trip; Food & Wine up and comer for 2009; two seatings, served at two long communal tables; multi-course menu (no choices, “substitutions politely declined,” vegetarians need not apply); went with the wisely picked wine pairings; highlights included the amuse bouche plate (including pork rillettes, steak tartare, foie gras bon-bon) and the beautifully cooked duck breast