I never need an excuse to go to Vancouver, but this is the best one I can think of. The Playhouse International Wine Festival takes place every year in late March, and this was my second—and favorite–visit. I stayed at the hip Opus Hotel, a sweet little gem just off the café-and-club-filled brick side streets of the Yaletown area.
Last week, Tom Douglas announced via Twitter (@TomDouglasCo) that Cuoco, the Italian pasta house that anchors his revamped brick Terry Avenue Building, was open.
At Cuoco, longtime Tom Douglas pastaiola Martha Francis will work alongside Cuoco chef Stuart Lane (who last awed us at Cafe Juanita) to create dishes like gnocchi with nettle pesto, hazelnuts and pancetta; fresh pea risotto with pea vines and ham hock; artichoke raviolie with mascarpone and Parmesan. And that's just the pasta!
Crudo is an Italian dish of raw fish dressed with olive oil, citrus, and sea salt. The beauty of a good crudo lies in its ability to preserve the subtlety of the fish flavor and bring out its richness with good olive oil while simultaneously balancing it with acid—in this case, orange juice. The best crudos have a textural component: here I use chopped bits of pumpkin seed and crunchy crystals of Maldon sea salt (worth seeking out at a specialty market or online if you’ve never had it).
Serves 4 as an appetizer
½ pound sea scallops
We highlight 15 affordable meals in this month's Best Restaurants cover story. Here's a peak at one of my favorite dishes in the section, a wonderfully authentic silken tofu stew from Korean Tofu House in the University District.
(The band gets a gig in Pasco?)Marinate wild halibut in lime ginger and garlic; reduce the remaining marinade to a nice glaze after cooking the fish and everyone at the table sing hallelujah after every bite. Printable recipe? Click here.
"Poquitos" is about as fitting a name for Capitol Hill's new Mexi-palace as “Tiny” is for a 300-pound man. I got the chance to soak it all in at the pre-opening party on Friday, and nothing owners Deming Maclise and James Weimann (the powerhouse duo behind Bastille Cafe & Bar) have done with their latest project is small.
(Can't run with scissors!)Cooked white beans, fresh sage and a touch of tomato paste create the creamy base for this nourishing soup. Ribbons of kale add color, texture and major nutrients. Serve with Pumpkin Pecan Muffins or a bit slice of warm bread and butter. Who can resist? Printable recipe click here.
Every year I come at the big April Best Restaurants issue from a different, hopefully fresh angle. This year, my inspiration was former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni's farewell piece, at the end of which he argues that there is value at every price level.
There's a lot to be said for an outsider's view of things. Frankly, there's just less baggage. He/she doesn't take sides, doesn't play favorites, doesn't have a history (good or bad), so the opinions are pure. Or purer. When it comes to, oh, I don't know, a food writer from another city's take on restaurants here in Seattle? I think it's refreshing to read what they see, how they taste things. It makes me challenge my own assumptions.
In the restaurant world the ever-humble chef Grant Achatz rubs elbows with Thomas Keller, Tony Bourdain, David Chang and Eric Ripert. Last week he was in town with his new book Life, On the Line and talking with 130 Seattle fans at Tom Douglas’ and Kim Ricketts’ soiree for him at The Palace Ballroom.