I’m so fancy, you already know.

For my four year anniversary, my boyfriend and I went to Staple and Fancy located in Ballard. It’s located near the popular Walrus and Carpenter, known for their juicy, fresh oysters (post coming soon!). Staple and Fancy is part of the Ethan Stowell Restaurants. This particular restaurant has more of a specialty in Italian food.

Atmosphere: It’s nestled next to two other restaurants in Ballard at the end of Ballard Ave. It has a very rustic, romantic vibe with some outdoor seating. They have some bar seating located in the front. There are 4 person tables along the wall with 2 person tables lined in the middle. We sat at one of the 2 person tables and I thought it was private despite being in the middle of the room. You can see right into Walrus!

Pricing: We had to go fancy for our anniversary so we did the chef’s menu. They also highly recommend this on their menu. It’s $50 per person and the whole table must choose to participate. This consists of 4 courses – antipasta, 2 entrees, and a dessert. There were 6 antipasta dishes to start!

Service: We had a main server who continually checked in on us, described each dish as it came out and had a pleasant smile on his face. I could tell the staff had good communication because they worked as a team and a different person would serve our dishes and clean up when we were done with a plate.

Food:
IMG_1614
IMG_1622

Started off the night with this chilled heirloom tomato soup. Out of all of the chilled soups I’ve tried, this is probably my favorite so far. It’s not too tomato-y, but had a nice fragrance to it.

IMG_1625

Another tomato heirloom dish with their house made mozzarella and crackers. This combination actually worked really well together.

IMG_1623

Fried oysters with chili aioli. Nice texture to the crisp outside and soft oyster inside.

IMG_1626

Buttermilk eggs, blue cheese, and radish salad. I thought overall, this was my least favorite antipasta dish.

IMG_1630

Spicy coppa! Cured meat with micro greens and olive oil. This was deliciousssss, especially with their bread.

IMG_1634

Fried squid with fennel, olive, cucumbers, chile, and avocado lime juice! Tasty dish that was well balanced with the fresh, light greens from the heavy squid.

IMG_1636

I know that was a lot of antipasta, onto the first entree – gnocchi! (I was feeling pretty good by the time this came around). This is the potato telefono gnocchi with basil, tomato, and mozzarella. You can see the trend of staple products they use throughout the meal.

IMG_1640

Entree #2 – rib eye with summer veggies and onion puree. This was mighty tender with fatty parts at the edges of the piece. I really loved every single bite of this.

IMG_1642

Finished the meal with chocolate terrine. When I first saw this, I thought, oh man this is going to be super rich. Surprisingly, it wasn’t! The cake was delicious right down to the very bottom. It had a thick layer of crunchies on the bottom that was kind of hard to separate with a spoon, but was sooo worth it. The combo of cake, ice cream, and toffee crumbles in one bite was the perfect combo and a great way to end the meal and night.

Overall: I couldn’t be happier with my experience! We had a filling meal and the last two dishes were certainly my favorite. They left a memorable marker in mind by ending the meal with a bang. The chef’s menu is a great way to get a taste of the restaurant. I recommend making reservations just in case. It was pretty busy when I went, which was around 6:30p on Sunday. Happy eating!

Staple & Fancy on Urbanspoon

Yolk Brunch

During my trip to Chicago, my friend took us to this splendid place for brunch. It’s called Yolk! I think there are a few locations in the Chicago area. This is probably the ultimate brunch place. They have an extensive menu, so I would recommend browsing it a little before coming.

Atmosphere:  There were a tonnnn of people waiting outside so we figured the wait had to have been at least an hour. We headed to a nearby coffee shop to kill some time. The venue didn’t look too big, but somehow the turnover was pretty fast. We got called after half an hour! They also have some patio seating under a cabana. Tables are somewhat close to each other and there are two sides to this particular location.

Pricing: A little bit on the cheaper end of some brunches I’ve been to, about $9-$12 for entrees, averaging ~$10 for most.

Service: Very efficient and fast! Our server was very quick to take our orders and serve us. She was pretty much on top of things!

Food:

IMG_1304

My dish! The croque madame – grilled ham, turkey, melted swiss, dijon smacked between two challah french toasts and topped with a sunny side up egg (had to get something with yolk in it!). This was VERY filling. I ended up only eating most of the insides and maybe one french toast.

IMG_1306

Big easy skillet – andouille sausage, green peppers, onions, tomatoes over potatoes with jack cheese, and 2 scrambled eggs on top. I had a bite and it was pretty good, but on the heavier side.

IMG_1308

This was probably my favorite dish that my friend got, the red velvet french toast! It has swirls of cream cheese, topped with strawberries and a side with whip cream. It’s so unique and delicious, it’s a must try.

IMG_1310

Carnita egg sandwich – pulled pork, pineapple-mango salsa, goat cheese and a friend egg, topped with a pretzel bun. I didn’t have a bite of this but from what I can tell, my friend really enjoyed her dish and that the pork was tender.

Overall: This place has nearly every dish you could want and more. It’s really hard to decide on a dish.. so I’m sure you’d come back if you had the chance. They have traditional dishes and also have a variety of unique dishes to cater to all. I would definitely recommend trying this place if you’re ever in Chicago!

Yolk on Urbanspoon

Pretty sure this is what pasta is supposed to taste like

There’s this great spot in Pioneer Square that serves deliciousssss pasta! Bad news though, it’s only open during lunch time M-F. It’s called Il Corvo. If you get a chance to try this place, I would definitely recommend it! It’s a hidden, delicious gem. This post will consist of my 2 visits :) I apologize for the iPhone quality pictures!

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, you’ll see a marble community table on the right with small tables everywhere else. It’s a small space that is always bustling with people.

Pricing: $9 for pasta. There’s usually 3 different ones to choose from. They also have some antipasta.

Service: You order at the counter, they’ll give you a number, and they’ll deliver your pasta to you when it’s ready. I’ve found that everyone is generally smiley and nice. They will give great recommendations and answer any questions you have.

Food:

IMG_2680Cavatelli in veal sugo and house made sausage. This was so delicious!! I wish there was a little more sauce, but I was still really happy with the sausages (I wish there was more of that too…).

IMG_2684

Bucatini with pancetta in tomato sauce. Great texture to the bucatini. I’m not a huge fan of tomato sauce, but this was very classic and I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSquid inked gigli in spicy clam sauce. Gosh it doesn’t get any better than this. I’ve been wanting to try squid ink and I finally came on the right day! This was taken at my 2nd stop to Il Corvo.

Overall: This casual pasta place will definitely just give you the right amount of fill for lunch and not put you over the edge to food coma. I’m never disappointed when I come here. I can’t wait to come back and try their pesto pasta. That is by far, my favorite sauce. They change their pasta menu on a daily basis. You can check their blog for more info and past dishes.

Il Corvo on Urbanspoon

“I’m Top chef, you’re top ramen, I’m top shelf”

This post will be a combination of two different locations! This will feature Santouka, a ramen restaurant that is world wide. The first one I went to was in Vancouver, Canada. This past spring, one opened in Bellevue!

Atmosphere: Vancouver – It’s on a pretty busy street downtown. There’s a large table near the front that’s for community seating. There’s some seats wrapping the bar/kitchen and more tables in the back.
Bellevue – Also in downtown Bellevue. The decor here is much more modern and I feel like there is probably as much or maybe less seating at this restaurant. For the first few weeks of opening, there’s a line that forms outside of the restaurant and what’s interesting is that there is a sign saying there’s a max capacity of 48. That seems so little!

Pricing: Same average price of ~$11-12 for a normal size and you can get a smaller bowl for $1 less and a large bowl for $1 more. I added a soft boiled egg for an extra $2, which is a lot more than I would have wanted to pay.

Service: Pretty average in Vancouver. In Bellevue, they mixed up my friend’s order (but this was a couple weeks after opening so that’s understandable).

FoodIMG_3196

Vancouver – Tonkotsu shio ramen! This was probably the best tasting ramen I’ve ever had (or that I was really hungry). The char siu was SOOOO tender and literally melted in my mouth. I added the soft boiled egg for extra. SO good.

IMG_3764

Vancouver – The second time I went to Vancouver, I had to stop by again. This time, I got gyoza along with my order. This was the tonkotsu miso ramen!

IMG_3654Bellevue – Tonkotsu miso ramen along with my $2 soft boiled egg. This serving platter is a staple of Bellevue’s compared to Vancouver’s. I just wish the egg was cut in half for me.

Overall: Vancouver is still by far much better than Bellevue, despite being the same chain. I’m not sure if it’s because Bellevue is still new and working out the kinks, but I prefer Vancouver. I have yet to visit Bellevue again after everything has settled down, but I definitely will give it another try. They also now have happy hour from 3-5p. There are a couple of other ramen places in Bellevue so I will be sure to try those before finding my favorite in the area.

Blind Pig Bistro.. with a twist

Blind Pig Bistro took over the teriyaki place next door and kept the name of Eastlake Teriyaki for a while. They recently upped their game and renovated to Babirusa (I have yet to revisit since the remodel).

Atmosphere: It has a very teriyaki feel where you order at the counter and they’ll bring your food to you. Very casual place. Quite opposite of next door.

Pricing: Appetizers to main dishes range from $6-$12

Service: Very friendly guy that was helping us out and gave us some great suggestions.

Food:
IMG_3254

Painted hills burger with pesto sauce and mushrooms. The guy who took our order said that if we enjoyed the steak next door, then we would enjoy this! This piece of meat was so delicious….

IMG_3263Pork belly with rice and kale salad. This was their play of a typical teriyaki dish and I think it’s a great rendition. Their sauce is homemade and you can really tell. Not too overly sweet.

Overall: I can’t wait to come back because they change their menu nearly everyday. It’s super close to where I live so there’s no reason not to go! Such gourmet food for a great price. Even if Blind Pig is full, you can hop over next door and have a drink and still get delicious food :) I encourage everyone to try this place! It’s kind of a hidden gem that not many people know about yet. It’s a great place to go and eat family style.