Thursday, September 6, 2012

My First Podcast!

My very first Podcast has been published.  Note to self, I say "Ummm" too much.
Please, listen and let me know what you think.  I am very excited to share this with you!
Click here to hear more about me and Revel in Fremont.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dining Out: Skillet Diner, Seattle WA (Capitol Hill)

In the past, enjoying Skillet Diner was limited to their roving food truck.  This popular food truck has added brick and mortar for their fan base.  You can also find their food at The Armory at The Seattle Center, Skillet: Counter at the Armory.

Located on Capitol Hill, this place is a drive from the Eastside, but I've found myself enjoying Skillet Diner when I'm looking for a good breakfast place to eat.  My time here has been limited to early breakfast or lunch, as I don't have the patience to wait for a table to eat.

Tip:  Go early or off hours, if not you'll find yourself waiting.  My favorite time to go is 8:30am on a weekend, just before the "rush".

The restaurant offers plenty of natural lighting and reminds me of a "diner" atmosphere keeping with their name.  I am always in awe at their place setting which includes a mason jar (your water glass) stuffed with a kitchen towel (your napkin) and silverware.  Very unique.

I like to sit at the counter offering a front and center view of their kitchen.  The energy is always good.  Overall it is a good place to eat, offering a casual atmosphere and serving really good food.

Comments on what I've had at Skillet Diner:
Barb's Granola - A beautiful presentation.  I am able to take home granola as their serving size could feed two people easily!
Fried Chicken Sammy - One of the best seasoned fried chicken I've had.  Excellent sandwich.
Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffle - I'd take the chicken over the pork.
House-Made Biscuits and Sage Gravy - My husband insists he get extra gravy on the side.
The Burger - Of course, the bacon jam is what makes this burger.
The Veggie - It's a fork and knife burger as it will fall apart on you.  It's fantastic.
Cinnamon Roll - You have to share this, consider it an appetizer.

Bottom line:  Go!

Skillet Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hash House A Go Go, San Diego, CA (Hillcrest)

On a recent visit to San Diego, my cousins took me to this restaurant.  I've never really experienced the food scene in this part of the country and I had no idea what to expect.

Hash House is located in the Hillcrest area of San Diego.  It's not far from downtown, and has "cleaned up" since I left many many years ago.  Hillcrest is fun, contemporary and progressive.  Parking is tough.  But, now I know it's where I need to hang out on my future visits to SoCal.

When I first walked in I noticed the dark, tavern like interior - casual and full of energy with the kitchen and bar within view.  There were five of us, and we had no problems getting a table. From what I understand, their weekend mornings can get pretty busy.

First glance at their menu, I noticed lots of comfort food.  I love chicken and waffles, and having enjoyed them in several Seattle restaurants I decided to give it a try.

To cool off, I started with a blueberry mojito.  I love mojitos, especially extra sweet.  My drink was sweet and heavy on the rum.  It was thirsty quenching.

We were served a pail full of buttermilk biscuits.  Where other restaurants serve bread and butter to their guests, Hash House offers warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven, honey glazed biscuits.  Outstanding in flavor and texture, these biscuits are sure to start satisfying any appetite.  I was beginning to get full and questioned my ability to continue to eat my main entree.

In perfect timing, our waiter brings out our dinner entrees. At first sight I was amazed at the size of the dishes that our meals were served.  They were more like platters and punch bowls than plates.  Once our dinners were on the table, I understood.  The amount of food was more than ample.  No, it was insanely gigantic.  Our individual entrees could easily pass as a family style dinner.  If big portions are your thing, then this is your restaurant.

I made a small dent, eating one piece of waffle (I was served 4) and one piece of chicken (of the two that topped my waffles).  It was delicious.  Plating and presentation was total eye candy.  Portion size was insane.  Two thumbs up.

Thank you Bobbie, Blythe & Tiffany - you all know how to eat!

Hash House a Go Go on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 20, 2012

Scarpetta with Chef Scott Conant & Guest Chef Michael Chiarello

from LAFW website:
Legendary NY chef Scott Conant's west coast d├ębut, Scarpetta, has foodies in LA buzzing. Located in the glamorous Montage Beverly Hills, this Italian restaurant has quickly become a must-try destination. Join Chef Conant and celebrity Guest Chef Michael Chiarello as they cook up a four-course meal with sommelier-paired wines for a luxe afternoon lunch of la dolce vita.

The Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival (LAFW) is a series of several events where folks can eat, drink and be merry. Local and celebrity chefs from around the country gather to share their talents. Events are held all over town and include cooking demonstrations, fine dining, casual dining, street dining and more. Ultimately the LAFW raises money for the St. Vincent Meals On Wheels. In 2011, LAFW raised $400,000 which provided hot nutritious meals delivered to seniors in need.

from Montage Hotel website
I attended lunch at Scarpetta with my mom, which is located in the beautiful Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. We drove up from San Diego that morning, allowing four hours based on the traffic reputation of Los Angeles. After self parking in the garage, my mom and I made it up to the gorgeous courtyard. There was an incredible water fountain surrounded by meticulously manicured grounds. With a slight turn, there it was. Scarpetta of Beverly Hills.

There was a table set outdoors to greet guests. In the small outdoor area, fellow diners stood drinking Nino Franco "Grave Di Stecca" Prosecco and passed appetizers. The weather was perfect, sunny and maybe 90 degrees - so welcoming for this sun-deprived Seattle-lite.  For about half an hour we stood, nibbled and drank (seems that we drank more than nibbled).

from Montage Hotel website
As folks started to move into the restaurant, I couldn't help but notice the dining room. It's large and open. The huge table in the middle was reserved for Food and Wine folks and the booths for various sponsors. Those were the ideal seats.  Tables located on the perimeter of the dining room were for people like me, general ticket holders.

We chose a large oval table in the corner with table setting for nine diners.  We met our table mates, a local couple from Beverly Hills, a couple from New York and three friends from San Francisco.

The program started with a few words from folks at Food and Wine.  Chef Scott followed by Chef Michael both warmly welcomed the guests.  There was a feeling of culinary friendship between both Chefs, very apparent when Chef Michael (jokingly) explained that a bucket would be passed around to buy Chef Scott a new pair of jeans, because they were too holy  Both Chefs described the menu we were about to partake.  Afterwards, representatives from the wineries described their wines that we would be drinking.

First came the bread basket.  If you've every dined at a Scarpetta restaurant, you know what I mean.  A hearty selection of deliciousness.  I made sure to pace myself because there were four courses coming up.  Our afternoon menu:

Truffle Suppli with Taleggio
Pasta Fritta with House Cured Proscuitto and Fig Conserva
Bruschetta with Oven Dried Tomatoes, Burrata and Balsamic Caviar
Blini with Stracciatella and Smoked Trout Roe
w/ Nino Franco "Grave Di Stecca" Prosecco, Valdobbiandene 2009
Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, "Pancetta Wrapped" with Chiogga Beet Mostarda, Parisienne Pomme Confit and Purple Mizuna Insalata
w/ Palima Malvasia Bianca 2010
Mushroom Agnolotti with Corn, Chanterelles, and Red Wine Glace
w/ Lungarotti, Rosso Di Torgiano, Rubesco, DOCG, Umbria 2008
Wood Grilled Chops of Grass-Fed Lamb with Local Cherry Vinaigrette, Pistachio Pesto, Roasted Cauliflower, Fregola Sarda
w/ Bersano Barbaresco "Mantico" DOCG Piedmont 2008
Chocolate Souffle with Milk Gelato
w/ Paolo Saracco Moscato D'Asti 2010

Throughout the meal, both Chefs made their way around the dining room, greeting guests at each table and signing menus.

Each course came at a leisurely pace.  Our silverware replaced at every course.  Water glasses always filled with Panna (how classy), and napkins nicely folded after guests excused themselves during the meal.  Service was fabulous.

As the meal concluded, my table mate Arthur and I took a tour of the upstairs seating area.  Oh my goodness, what a beautiful, private dining area.  The wall of coveted alcohol, the woodwork on the ceiling, the view overlooking the main dining room was breathtaking.  It's rumored that "A" list celebrities dine upstairs - offering them the privacy to enjoy a meal in relative peace.

Overall, I enjoyed the afternoon.  It was such a pleasure to attend such a successful event.  I had the chance to again enjoy meeting Chef Scott and the honor of meeting Chef Michael for the very first time.  Scarpetta Beverly Hills and Bottega Napa Valley - both restaurants were well represented at the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival.

Scarpetta on Urbanspoon