I went up to Seattle to visit my boyfriend this weekend. Here are the dining highlights:
I flew in late Wednesday night. Boyfriend and I enjoyed a homemade chipwich made with Cougar Mountain cookies and cinnamon ice cream.
On Thursday night, we went to Cascadia. I had the "Food from Here" tasting menu, and my boyfriend had the "Coast to Coast" tasting menu. I've had bad experiences with tasting menus at other restaurants in the past, but this more than made up for it. Probably the best meal I've had in years. All of the courses were tasty, but the most outstanding were the clam chowder with a poached oyster, ginger and celery seeds, and the spice-rubbed calamari with fried calamari, yukon gold mashed potatoes, and asparagus salad. The chowder had the perfect balance of flavors, and the ginger was a wonderful touch. I mopped up every last drop. The halibut/calamari/potato/asparagus combination was perfect. Each element was delicious on its own, and even better when combined with one of the others. Boyfriend's prosciutto and figs was wonderful as well. I finished up with profiteroles with espresso gelato and kahlua chocolate sauce, which was very good, lighter than it sounds.
I've been to Cascadia once before, and my impression was that while the vegetables were perfectly prepared, the meat and fish were not quite up to that standard. On this trip, everything was great. I had some fairly high expectations for this meal ever since I saw the tasting menu on Cascadia's site, and they were met or exceeded.
On Friday, we went to Jones Barbecue in the Bellevue Crossroads Mall for lunch. I had the pulled pork sandwich, boyfriend had the ribs. It was good, but I'm not really a barbecue conoisseur. I like bit more smoke and spice flavorings, and I think Jones Barbecue is something more subtle. (We both had medium spice, and would upgrade to hot when we go back). Boyfriend remembered that there was a Vietnamese place there that he'd wanted to go to, then backed out when he found out it was a food court restaurant.
We went to Whole Foods to buy pizza crusts and toppings. We also went kind of nuts in the olive bar, getting a whole lot of little things that we didn't need, but seemed cool. Pizzas turned out ok.
On Saturday afternoon, we went back to Bellevue Crossing to have lunch at Papaya. We ordered way too much food. The pork chop on rice was quite tasty. We went to St. Clouds in Madrona for dinner. Homey-eclectic-ethnic has always been appealing to me, so I wanted to check it out. I had the grilled provence chicken sandwich, and boyfriend had hoppin John cakes with slaw. The hoppin John cakes were a bit strange texture-wise, but I liked them after the first few bites. Had a lovely hot fudge sundae for dessert, and boyfriend enjoyed his pecan/sweet potato pie.
On Sunday evening, we went to Mashiko for omakase. Unfortunately, we got there at the wrong time, and couldn't sit at the bar. It's not quite as much fun sitting at the table, and the pacing of the meal has to be altered to make it easier for the waitstaff. The best thing we had there was scallop crab and tobiko with prosciutto wrapped around it and a big slice of avocado on top. We also got ankimo with something spicy on top, with hard-boiled egg. Ankimo always tastes too rich to me, so I was glad to have some things that cut the richness. We also got some item that included some of the tenderest tako I've ever had. There was a guy there who owns a horse named Mashiko, and while we were there they played a videotape of the horse winning a race, which was fun.
On Monday we went to Coastal Kitchen for breakfast. We ordered two of the Jamaican breakfasts and some coffee cake. Eggs were mediocre. The ham that came with one of them was quite tasty, and the coffee cake, loaded with raisins, orange zest, and something chewy, like oats, were very good. I like the concept (regional specialties that change every quarter), but wish the execution were a bit sharper there.
I had to go home on Monday afternoon, so my Seattle dining adventures came to an end. Can't wait till my next visit.