Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mistral: Seattle's Most Expensive Restaurant

We didn't really know what to expect in a fine dining restaurant in Seattle. A far cry from San Francisco, it turned out that we wouldn't even have needed to make a reservation. There were only 2 other tables of people the entire time we were there. The waitstaff were very friendly and laidback, and definitely attentive. The whole vibe was very low-key, yet elegant. The food was solid for sure, but not mind blowing. The chef seemed really into purees. I think there was a puree on every plate, which was sort of funny. Good thing for the chef though, his purees were really clean and smooth. Overall, a good, solid, meal. The 8 course tasting menu at Mistral was around $100. We don't know for sure, since the bill was not itemized and Alexis ordered the wine tasting (which was excellent).

Maguro Sashimi with Blood Orange and Fennel
The flavors were bold and the fish was fresh, but the fish sort of got lost in the other flavors.

3 Kumamotos with:
Spicy Red Pepper and Cumin (this was the best of the 3 flavors)
Citrus, Olive Oil and Scallions
And something else we don't remember...

Brown Butter Parsnip Soup with Hamachi Sashimi
This was a totally amazing and inventive dish. The sashimi was seared on the underside and the combo of the soup and fish raised each component to another level of deliciousness.

Seared Scallop with Sunchoke Puree, Mediterranean Veggies, Pinenuts, Microgreens, Blood Orange Gelee and Saffron Syrup
A very well constructed dish. Although there were a lot of ingredients, they played off each other nicely. The scallop was perfectly cooked and the puree was subtle and perfectly smooth.

Louisiana Prawns with Thyme and Dill on a Carrot Puree with Baby Turnips and Brussel Sprouts
This was probably our least favorite dish. The carrot puree was good, but the shrimp were undercooked (even for us).

Seared Foie Gras with Pear Puree, Passionfruit and Vanilla Syrup and an Apple Chip
This was just awesome. The piece of foie was huge and relatively unadorned. No toast points, or huge pieces of fruit that rival its glory. The sweetness of the fruits provided a nice contrast and the super-thin, super-crunchy apple chip was a delight to look at as well as eat.

Rack of Lamb with Fingerling Potato Puree, Kale and a Balsamic and Red Wine Vinaigrette
This large hunk of meat was perfectly medium-rare. It was a nice, big, main course.

Cheese Plate
A Basque, aged sheep's milk cheese
A raw cow's milk cheese
A washed rind goat cheese
A double cream, cow's milk, blue cheese
What was great about these cheese's is that we hadn't had any of them before, which is pretty rare, since we eat A LOT of cheese. The goat cheese was beyond amazing. We've got to call them and ask what it was. Apparently it's made by a creamery with only 4 people.

Coconut, Passionfruit and White Peach Sorbet
The peach was great on its own and the passionfruit was quite sour, but matched well with the coconut.

Almond and Apple Tart with Toasted Pinenuts Served with Caramel, Vanilla and Coffee Ice Cream and Fresh Raspberries
The tart was so-so, but keep in mind we are not really dessert people. The coffee ice cream was quite good, however.

113 Blanchard St
Seattle, WA 98121

Food: 2
Decor: 2
Service: 2

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Tasty Malaysian at Malay Satay Hut, Redmond, WA

Chili Chicken $11
A Singaporean standard, well prepared.

Salt and Pepper Deep Fried Frog Legs $13
These were so good we couldn't put them down. The meat was tender and juicy and the crust was very crispy and light, almost like tempura.

Malay Satay Hut
15230 24th St NE,
Redmond, WA 98052

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Leisurely Eggs and Bacon

A classic Saturday morning meal of onion-y eggs and thick cut bacon.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Mom's Carrot Soup

When we arrived at Alexis' parents' house, her mom was ready with steaming bowls of homemade carrot soup. It was hearty and flavorful, made with carrots from Alexis' parents' garden.

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Round Table Pizza at Oakland Airport

When are you willing to spend $4.50 on a crappy piece of doughy pizza? When you've just gotten off work, are waiting for your plane to board, and know you won't be eating for several hours. Honestly, this is probably the best meal you can get at Oakland Airport, but it's truly pathetic.

Pepperoni Slice $4.50
Doughy and very greasy.

Round Table Pizza
Oakland Airport
Oakland, CA

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Wonderful Wontons at Good Earth Cafe, San Francisco, CA

Prawn Wontons in Miso Broth $6
We love Good Earth cafe. The food is delicious and cheap. The staff are wonderful. You order at a counter and go sit down where you are presented with hot tea and water with mint or fruit in it. What's not to like?

Good Earth Cafe

835 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA, 94108

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dinner at Umami...Twice in a Week

We went to Umami for the second time in a week, this time for a friend's birthday. There were lots of people and so we ordered lots of food to share. We occupied the entirety of the large communal table upstairs. The meal came to about $80 per person (including drinks).

Shaking Beef Tenderloin Filet $21
The crispy shallots added nice texture to this deliciously succulent beef. This dish hardly resembles shaking beef, however.

Assorted Sushi Rolls $7-$15 per roll
All were fresh and tasty.

Scallop Carpaccio $12
An interesting application of scallops.

Bi Bim Pap Korean Hot Pot $14
An upscale take on a very traditional dish, this was satisfying in a down-home sort of way.

Edamame Hummus with Grilled Housemade Flatbread $8
A tad expensive for what is essentially a dip, this is a stellar and very inventive dip.

Tempura Rock Shrimp $12
These were super crispy and very tender, but a bit too sweet.

Beef Wontons $10
A bit too fried and too much sauce.

Garlic Glass Noodles $11
The corn seemed a little out of place, but these were quite tasty noodles.

Kobe Beef BBQ Skewers $15
Tender and tasty, but I don't understand the use of Waygu in a dish like this. It isn't worth the price.

Tuna Tacos $14
The epitome of fusion, but this dish didn't hit the mark.

Green Papaya Salad $8
Refreshing amidst a lot of heavier food.

Tuna Tataki $14
Tasty, but not really a tataki.

2909 Webster Street
San Francisco, CA 94123

Food: 2
Decor: 2
Service: 1

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Italian Lunch hosted by Caruso Wines

Amy, of Caruso Wines, transformed a stodgy conference room into a cheery family style Italian lunch. Giao and his coworkers had a great time partaking in the great homemade sauce and sumptuous meatballs on ziti. Afterwards we celebrated Amy's birthday, with what Giao is told, a great cake.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lunch at Elephant and Castle, San Francisco

Giao went to another work lunch. Because of the drenching downpour this morning, he didn't bring his camera, so he whipped out the trusty iPhone.

Pub Pretzels - $6.50
These were the prefect little treat on a gloomy day. Buttery and hot, with a tasty mustard.

Chicken Pot Pie - 10.5
Too small, too few chicken, too many mushrooms.

Elephant and Castle
424 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

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