Monday, January 28, 2008


One of the best things about moving to a new city, is trying out the new restaurants. This past weekend, we visited Lark. Located in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, its a small unassuming restaurant that can easily be passed by without notice. We did.

After finding the restaurant and having the hostess hang our coats, we settled into our table. With in moments of viewing the menu, were were excited that this could be a place to add to our list of Seattle favorites.

Not wanting to judge a menu by it's "cover" if you will, we slowly went through the sections: cheese, vegetables/grains, charcuterie, fish, meat, desserts.

Lark's menu is meant to be sampled and shared, and it's recommended each person orders two-three dishes per person. Depending on what is ordered, the chef then sends out the dishes in a succession, perfectly choreographed from delicate and soft to robust and more intense.

It was fantastic! We weren't disappointed with any of the dishes and can't wait to go back and try more.

A bit more about the chef: In addition to being named "Best Chef Northwest/Hawaii” by the James Beard Foundation in May 2005, Johnathan Sundstrom has also worked with some of New York and San Francisco’s most renowned chefs Daniel Boulud, Jean-George Vongerichten, Diane Forley, Gary Danko, and Traci Des Jardins. Following a series of inspiring and educational travels, John returned to Seattle with a renewed sense of purpose, new ideas and techniques, and a greater understanding of excellence.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Frozen Comfort Food

Seattlites take their food seriously. The quality, freshness and seasonality. And we're quickly finding out that grocery stores in this Northwest city are no exception.

Here, there is a fabulous small local chain of grocery stores called Metropolitan Market. Daily catch seafood, in house butcher, fresh European style breads and pastries, restaurant quality take out, global cheese selection, wine get the idea.

Of course fresh is always best. And really; who would argue? So when the Market's monthly promotional postcard came in the mail touting "buy one, get one free" frozen macaroni and cheese, it was tossed aside with the rest of the junk mail. Well, the food gods must have been looking out for our palettes, because the postcard ended up in our car on a grocery trip one afternoon.

It was shopping as usual. Stopping off at the cheese counter first to select a few of creamy stinky and oh so yummy cheeses (Greyson sampling everything she could), we next strolled through produce, the deli, and wines. After checking everything off our list, we made our way to the frozen food aisle to put our postcard to good use. Tossing two boxes into our cart we wrapped up the trip.

This is were fate stepped in.

It had been a long day, and the thought of popping something in the oven was just too convenient to pass up. Turn on the stove, wait for it to preheat, pop it in the oven and voila! Right? Sounds good.

Waiting for the oven timer to sound was the perfect opportunity to pour a glass of wine and study this month's Dean and Deluca catalog. Flipping through the pages, my mouth watering and tummy beginning to rumble, I notice something...

Mac & Cheese*"World's Best" is made with penne pasta and artisan Flagship and Just Jack cheeses. Mariachi is made with penne pasta, Flagship and Just Jack cheeses, plus roasted Anaheim chiles, cauliflower, red onion, corn and red bell pepper. From Beecher's award-winning kitchens. Shipped frozen.

What? Wait a minute! Could it be? Just to make certain, I reached into the waste bin to retrieve the cardboard sleeve. Yep, sure enough, it's the same Mac & Cheese in the beloved catalog. But it's frozen, so really, how does it taste?

When the timer went off, there was much anticipation about pulling it from the oven. The aroma was fantastic...and bite after bite...let's just say it is wine worthy!

Normally, frozen food isn't something found in our freezer, but we'll make an exception! Order a box now - get your hands on some and enjoy some frozen comfort food because unless you live next to Grandma, you're just not going to find better Mac & Cheese.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Turn your Teeth

You know you're having a fabulous time tasting wine, when everyone you're with has purple smiles. A fantastic place with both culintary and wine tasting menus is Purple Cafe on 4th Ave. in downtown Seattle.

So worry about your whitening strips, let's turn our teeth Purple!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Haute Chocolate

It comes as no surprise that we're learning Seattle winters are damp. It's that chilling damp cold that seeps right into your bones. No matter how many layers of clothing you pile or scarves you wrap around your neck, this Pacific Northwest cold chills you right to the core.

And, don't think we're strangers to what frigid temperatures feel like. You're talking to people who have fox hunted for hours in slushy snow and rain and who have skied the Alps - enjoying themselves the whole frozen time.

In the pursuit to warm ourselves from the inside out, we offer two "haute chocolate" recipes recently introduced to our kitchen. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

HC with a kick:

1 2/3 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 red chili pepper, split with seeds removed
1 cinnamon stick, around 3-4"
1 1/2 oz chocolate (bittersweet)
Simmer milk in a saucepan with vanilla bean, cinnamon and chili. Heat through for about a minute. Whisk in grated chocolate, and continue to simmer on low until melted. Remove from heat and let 'steep' for another 10 minutes. Caliente!

HC for the grown-ups:

2 cups milk
1 1/2 oz chocolate (bittersweet)
1 shot buttershot liqueur
fresh whipped cream
Simmer milk in saucepan. Whisk in grated chocolate and continue to simmer on low until melted. Remove from heat and add in buttershot liqueur. Top with fresh whipped cream and nutmeg. Sit back and put your feet up!