Seattle Restaurant Week Fall 2014 Round 1

I started the two week food journey at Le Zinc for lunch. This trendy, French restaurant is located Capital Hill. I heard good things about this restaurant from some friends so I made sure to put it on my list to try. I’m glad they offer this lunch on Sundays! A new thing they’re doing this year with SRW is that many restaurants are changing their lunch menus from 3 courses to 2 courses. I think it’s a huge bummer :( This restaurant was offering a 2 course brunch.

Atmosphere: Right when walking in, the decor is what really stood out to me. It’s bold and they have words on the walls that really captured my attention. They have their bar in the entrance with a small seating area. Their larger dining area is on a lower level in front of their kitchen. I like that there’s a little window to peer into the kitchen to see the chefs working.

Pricing: 2 courses for $15 for lunch. They also offered a 3 course meal for $30.

Service: I really enjoyed our server! He was really friendly, engaging, and smiley. He even chatted us a little at the end. They weren’t terribly busy, so I appreciate that he paid extra attention to us. He also told us some of the specials that went on during the week.

Food:

IMG_2032This is what you’re looking at when you enter! A very classy, trendy bar.

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This is their menu for their weekend brunch.

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This is the view from where I was sitting from the dining area. I like the steel bars used as a pseudo wall between the bar and dining room.

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Appetizer #1 – french onion soup! House made veal stock, caramelized onions, croutons, gruyere de comte (aka cheese). Nice top, but I wish it stayed crisp, but I know that’s always hard with soup. I felt like they put a whole onions worth of sliced onions in the soup. Not that I’m complaining! I love onions!

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Appetizer #2 – chicken liver mousse with caper berries, dijon pickled fennel, and crostinis. Plenty amount of pate for the crostinis. I had some leftover. I really enjoy pate in general so this was delicious for me.

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Entree #1 – mussels & fries. Shallots, garlic, white wine, and house made butter. It was accompanied with a huge basket of fries and I barely made a dent into it! The mussels were DELICIOUS though. I really, really enjoyed this. One thing I noticed was that every mussel had meat inside. There was NO shell-less mussel. Impressive! This was also a pretty large portion size. If you come to Le Zinc, this is one thing you should not miss out on.

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Entree #2 – Croque madame. I’ve had a few croque madames before and thought this was okay! More fries for us to eat. I felt like it was very carb heavy and I only took a few bites before feeling full.

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I really loved the mussels :)

Overall: Come for the mussels!! This is not directly in the heart of Capital Hill but a tiny bit south. They have free mussel Wednesdays! From open to close, with a purchase of a drink, you can get a free half order of the mussels. What a steal. I will definitely be back for this. They also have happy hour from 4-6p daily!

Le Zinc on Urbanspoon

Cheeky cheeky cheeky

Cheeky Cafe is located in International District and is a great find for some brunch, lunch, or dinner! It’s far away enough from ID that there’s plenty of free parking around the area, but close enough to still be in ID. This post will be a 2 in 1, brunch and dinner.

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, we were greeted by a server who told us to sit anywhere. This place has a nice cafe feel with puzzles, games, and cards in the corner and plenty of kids art decorated along the walls. It has a very family oriented vibe with bright colors.

Pricing: Reasonably priced for everything. I would say on the cheaper end of things. Brunch ranged from $6-$10 per dish and lunch/dinner ranged $6-$12.

Service: Both servers I’ve had are quite friendly and smiley. They were very polite and left a positive impression on me.

Food:
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Cheeky pancakes! Green tea pancakes with two eggs and two slices of bacon. The green tea pancakes weren’t too overwhelming and had a nice flavor to the pancakes.

IMG_3537 Breakfast sandwich – english muffin, scrambled eggs, cheddar, bacon served with sweet potato fries (loved that they serve this instead of regular fries!). You can sub a tortilla for the english muffin for no charge. This was a really great wholesome sandwich. Simple, but everything was cooked just right.

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Dinner! Spicy mac and cheese – this had a Korean kick to it. They added kim chi! I can’t handle too much spice, but this was not overly spicy. Very creamy. I prefer mac and cheese that has some burnt parts to it that make it crunchy, but that’s just my taste!

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Balsamic mushrooms – marinated mushrooms that have been deep fried served with roasted pepper and caramelized onion dipping sauce. It’s even gluten free. I thought it was a little heavy after eating a whole skewer, but it’s all like that with deep fried food.

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I’ve been looking for a place that serves okonomiyaki and I have finally found one! This is a Japanese dish of savory pancake batter with shredded cabbage, slices of beef, with shaved bonito and Kiyomi’s special sauce. I’m used to having noodles with my okonomiyaki. I wish they had that with their dish!

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Grandma Kam’s dumplings – This is a family recipe that has a crispy, deep fried outer coating with a mochi like interior that is filled with peas, carrots, kohlrabi, onions, pork, chinese sausage, and dried shrimp. Apparently, the cook is particular about these and thought these were a little overdone so they comped this dish for us. I thought this was super nice of them and shows how much care they put into making their food. This reminds me of a dish at dim sum called “footballs,” because of its similar outer texture.

Overall: I think this is a great cafe that’s welcoming to everyone. Their style of asian-fusion with many types of asian styles is unique, but at an affordable price. They incorporate Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, etc cuisine. It’s a casual place with good pricing and parking. I’d definitely recommend this place to everyone for some good cheaper eats!

Cheeky Cafe on Urbanspoon

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:
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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…).

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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