Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We have just finished an eleven day trip to the West Coast. We flew to Seattle, rented a car and after several day drove through Oregon, with several stops, to the San Fransisco area before returning late last evening.
I am not going to try to write of all the things we did, places we saw or interesting meals but I will try to highlight those that were really out of the ordinary. As is my custom I will break down reports and thus it will take a few days to cover everything.

Our first night in Seattle we had dinner with Marilyn's niece and her husband. They had chosen a restaurant in the Ballard area, "Staple and Fancy" 4739 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (206) 789-1200. The Ballard area is in the midst of a transformation from a warehouse and manufacturing district to one with several restaurants and multi-housing buildings. "Staple and Fancy" was a hardware retail and wholesale shop, in it's most current life, previous to becoming half of two new restaurants, the other an oyster bar plus "small plates. "Staple and Fancy" is definitely Italian with menu and ambiance to match. It is fun, relaxed and turned out to be one of our better and most interesting meals.
The menu arrived, stapled to a wood shingle. It listed 4 appetizer, 4 main courses and four desserts. In the far right hand portion was a paragraph stating that if the table wished to put themselves in the hands of the chef he would serve a 4 course dinner at $45/person. We, of course, chose that option. A good bottle of Berrolo and we were off for our adventure.
The seven appetizers, all served to accommodate 4 people were; olives, escolar crudo( cucumber slices with chili and avocado), crostini of fish blended with chicken liver into a paste, deep fried oysters( delicious) , buratta(fish) served with prosciutto, and finally grilled asparagus. After this who needed dinner, but we persevered.
Next came the Pasta course: potato gnocchi with morels, fava beans and pancetta with a very light butter and cream sauce and tonarelli( long, thin, wavy noodles) with cuttlefish strips and a squid ink collis.
The two main courses were a perfectly roasted whole chicken with roasted new potato segments and roasted onion slices. All perfectly done and doused with the roasted chicken juices. Also a beautiful Bronzino( fish) grilled with a slightly crunchy skin and a gleaming white inside.
We forced ourselves to devour the cheesecake with fresh rhubarb sauce and a slightly warm chocolate cake served with almond ice cream and carmel sauce.
A simply wonderful eating experience.

The next night 6 of us went to the "Golden Beetle" 1744 NW Market St. Seattle, WA 98107 (206) 706-2977. Incidentally both restaurants were written up in the New York Times Restaurant section which was on our breakfast table Sunday morning. Are we "foodies" or what. There was no way that the "Golden Beetle" could out do our experience the night before but they gave it a fair try. Unfortunately I neither took notes nor translated the listings on the bill but all of the food was mid-eastern and some of the more memorable dishes were the Chicken Tagine( Moroccan), a wonderful dish of sweet fresh clams, marinated and grilled beef strips and two other Turkish dishes that I am ashamed that my failing memory, currently, can't or wont recall. I do know that the shared desserts were Donut holes, with a honey dipping sauce, and Baklava. Also there were plates of pita with the standard humus and other sauces.
I've learned a lesson that I either look at the statement and make notes or that I recall before I hit the sack after food and drink.

We left Seattle the next morning after two days of beautiful weather, great food, excellent company and a full adjustment to West Coast life.

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