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Until Monday, when we were graced with fleeting snow flurries, Seattle was experiencing some lovely Spring weather. Sunny, with highs of 60 degrees and cherry blossoms in full bloom. 

Saturday morning was no exception, and I celebrated the perfect Spring weather over an outdoor brunch with friends at Volunteer Park Cafe. Stumptown coffee, delicious baked goods, sunny sidewalk tables and friendly servers = cafe perfection.

The three of us shared the caramelized banana brioche french toast, brie, apple & lavender honey panini and the spinach & goat cheese quiche. All three were divine – the quiche coming in last because the thin, too crispy crust was difficult to eat, and left something to be desired. The atmosphere was perfect for sitting on the sidewalk, sipping iced americanos and chatting. Had there not been a line,  I could have sat their all day enjoying the sunshine and atmosphere. I am amazed I’ve been living in Seattle for almost ten years and have just now discovered this gem.

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self.comThis was really tasty and I’ve been meaning to post about it since I made it for dinner two weeks ago! Its a long story, but somehow I got stuck with a two year subscription to Self. No offense to Self or anything – but I have a list of magazines I’d rather have delivered to me for two years. Note to self (me, not magazine): be more careful with “three free issues!” offers. especially when debit card numbers are involved. However, last months issue came complete with a tasty dinner plan! Salmon Florentine with Quinoa Pilaf! Delicious. I’ve linked to their recipe, since you’re already reading this, I’ll tell you how I made it too.

  • Four salmon fillets (budget friendly trick – you can get frozen wild salmon at trader joe’s for a decent price, and since you’re putting the tasty florentine mix on top before you bake it, I really don’t think fresh salmon would make a huge difference)
  • One bunch spinach, chopped (Self calls for frozen spinach, which I find to be absurdly expensive. Fresh is where its at.)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 sun dried tomatoes, chopped (these are pricy if you buy a whole jar of them – I live near a co-op and bought 6 from the bulk bin for less than a dollar! Soak them in hot water for 30 minutes before chopping and you’re good to go!)
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

If you’re using frozen salmon, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight. Rinse and place in baking dish. Heat oven to 350. Saute spinach until wilted. Transfer to a colander and allow to drain. With olive oil, saute shallots and garlic. Add crushed red pepper, sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Add drained spinach, and ricotta. Divide mixture and place on top of salmon fillets. Bake 15-20 minutes (until fish is cooked through).

While your salmon is cooking, prepare your quinoa pilaf! You’ll need:

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • olive oil

Bring broth and quinoa to a boil. Turn heat to low, and simmer covered for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Saute onion in olive oil. Transfer quinoa to a bowl and toss with onions, parsley, and toasted pine nuts.

Impress your mister with your fish baking skills! Enjoy!

IMG_2541Portland is so great. 

I’ve just returned from a long weekend with my siblings at our beach cabin on the Oregon coast. They are not trying to save their vacation hours to fly around the country for post-phone interviews, and thus, are still hanging out at the cabin. Those lucky bitches. My mister wasn’t able to come with me because of work, and I didn’t want to make the 7 hour trek home alone, so I brought my friend E, who had a great time and meshed well with my family members. The beach was divine and we had just as much fun coming home to Seattle, when we took a four hour detour in Portland for some great food with friends, and tax free shopping! (Mostly for her – but a liiiiiiiiittle for me)

Awhile back I read a review of Portland street food  in one of my mothers issues of Sunset magazine. The chickpea sandwich from Garden State piqued my interest, and I remembered just as we were approaching the city with grumbling tummies. Lucky for us, E is armed with an iphone, and we were able to look up the article to remember the name, the address, and then navigate our way! We arrived at 3:45 to find the shop owner in front of the cart tidying up. 

Owner: I’m sorry… we closed at 3:30.

Me: Oh, no. Really?

Owner: Yes.

E: …but we came all the way from Seeeeeeattle!

Owner: Really? Well, what would you like? 

How awesome is that? Everyone should go to the Garden State truck in Portland and order the chickpea sandwich. It is amazing with a chickpea patty, delicata squash, carrot slaw, lemon aioli and lettuce on a delicious roll. All this deliciousness for six freaking dollars. Amazing.