Archive for the ‘Feasting Friday’ Category

Affogato is an simple Italian dessert of ice cream topped with a shot of espresso. Affogato actually means “drowned” and as you can see below, the ice cream is drowning in a pool of espresso.

I have been resisting the urge to eat ice cream morning, noon and night all week. It’s been hot here in Seattle. Really hot. Hotter than the hinges of hell, as my mother-in-law would say. With temps topping 100 degrees, I’ve kept myself cool with nonfat fruit and juice bars. But it’s Feasting Friday people. FF requires fat.

Tully’s Coffee is located near my office and they sell some pretty tasty soft-serve. It is a little on the sweet side, but works perfectly in an Affogato. You can take a small spoonful and dip it as much or as little into the espresso as you like to add the bitterness of the coffee to the sweetness of the ice cream. It takes some practice, but that is part of the fun.

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Our vacation to Eastern Washington was amazing. We went to Walla Walla for three nights, drove through the Palouse for a one-night stop in Spokane to visit some friends and then lounged around Lake Chelan for the last three nights. I have lots of good reports to share…from wine tasting, to Washington’s second best bartender, touring the Dry Fly Distillery and our quest for the best drive-in burger. More on all of that later because today is Feasting Friday.

A big construction project is underway at our house. The roof has been torn off and it’s fucking mayhem over here. Therefore…our meals for a few days will be eaten out, where there is no dust and no sawing or hammering taking place. Our first meal away from the chaos – I am happy to report – was perfect.

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers is a chain from Hawaii that recently arrived on the shores of the Pacific Northwest. Before our vacation, I spent a lot of time on Chowhound researching restaurants. I found a thread titled Looking for the best burger in WA where I found lots of tips for the trip but ALSO saw mention of Teddy’s, which is closer to home.

Teddy’s has been voted best burger in Hawaii every year since 2004…according to their website at least. They opened their first mainland location in Woodinville, about 15 miles from our house. It isn’t the most convenient option for burgers, but ended up being worth the drive.

They offer burgers in three sizes: Big (5 oz), Bigger (7 oz) and Biggest (9oz). All the burgers come with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and special sauce. More on the special sauce in a minute, but first can I just say that I LOVE a place that doesn’t make onions optional?! I love onions on a burger (thankfully so does Gavin) and Teddy’s slices theirs ultra-thin.

OK, so about that sauce. It is mayonnaise-based and a little bit sweet with just the tiniest bit of smoked flavor. I likened it to grilled pineapple, but that might have been because I had Hawaii on the brain. They slather on loads of it and it is a nice compliment to the “flame-broiled” beef.

Teddy’s uses 100% ground chuck for their patties. They serve them medium and, as the menu states, that means they may be a little pink in the middle. It was cooked perfectly in my mind. A little drier than I expected out of ground chuck, but maybe they use leaner meat than I do. Or maybe some dimwit in the kitchen that day was pressing the heck out the patties with a spatula. Don’t get me wrong…it was juicy, just not oozing juice. Eeew. That sounded kind of gross. Anyways

The fries were in top form. Thick-cut potatoes, double fried and not over salted. Perfection. This was a relief given our most recent experiences with french fries in the north end.

All in all, Teddy’s was tops. I have a running list of my favorite burgers in the greater Seattle area and Teddy’s is definitely in the top 5. Maybe even the top 2. It’s THAT good.

Teddy's Bigger Burgers on Urbanspoon

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Feasting Friday is on vacation and headed East – where the weather is hot & dry, the wine is flowing and the taquerias are muy autentico. I’ll report back in a week. Adios!

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I’ll be honest – this week’s Feasting Friday was in fact, on Thursday. The meal far surpassed anything I had on Friday though, so it is really the only meal worth sharing with you.

Salumi is an institution in Seattle. Started by a retired Boeing engineer over a decade ago, it has been making divine cured meats and gut-busting sandwiches ever since. Armandino Batali (Mario’s dad), ‘retired’ a few years ago and the operation is now run by his daughter and son-in-law. Their cured meats can be found on menus from coast-to-coast and the line outside their Seattle storefront often winds its way around the block.

You have to plan a trip to Salumi carefully. They are only open from 11-4 Tuesday-Friday. It doesn’t usually work as a lunch spot for me, but since I have been working on lower Queen Anne I sure have been trying. This most recent visit didn’t start off well. I had planned to meet my friend Anbrit there on Wednesday, but realized I had a conflict so moved it to Thursday. I left the office at noon and was weaving my way through downtown before I realized there was a 1:40 pm Mariners game that day. There was loads of traffic and parking was sure to be abysmal. I finally made it to the Pioneer Square though and surprisingly, found a primo parking spot straight away. I sent Anbrit a text and went to join the line.

The line. It was LONG. And packed with tourists. Don’t get me wrong, I like tourists. I actually find it kind of surprising and charming that people spend their vacation in Seattle. It just means that places that are usually crowded are really crowded during the tourist season.

The line ended up being OK. Once Anbrit joined me, we were able to pass the time very easily while catching up. I haven’t seen her for months and she always has fun stories about her family, travels and school.

The menu is – as you can imagine – heavy on meat. There are some pastas, a vegetarian sandwich, Muffaletta, various cold sandwiches and some hot sandwiches. I still order the same thing I have ordered since my first visit a few years ago though – the porchetta sandwich.

Porchetta is a roast pork dish from Tuscany. It is the source of all things delicious. An entire pig (or at least a shoulder) is stuffed with onions, herbs, fennel and loads of salt and pepper, then roasted for hours until it is melt in your mouth tender. In Italy, small mobile food carts set up at markets and town squares and serve sandwiches of the juicy meat piled high on crusty bread and topped with more salt.

At Salumi, they amp up the flavor by spreading some herb/onion/mayonnaise spread on the bread first and then topping the porchetta with roasted onions and peppers. It is well worth the wait.

Salumi on Urbanspoon

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We have a restaurant in Lake Forest Park. Granted, it isn’t anything “gourmet” or anything…but a bona fide restaurant nonetheless. And can you say “Void. Filled?” Look at this line-up of people!

We picked up a menu last weekend and learned that this new restaurant is owned by the same folks who have the Greenlake/Eastlake/South Lake Union Bar and Grill restaurants. Those are decent enough places. Good, but not great.

There was a bit of wait for a table, but we managed to snag one in the bar. It was loud and boisterous, probably due to the fact that the place was packed. They have a good selection of beers on tap and some decent wines too. The cocktail choices however are horrible. Totally unacceptable. Especially since this is Robert Hess’s neighborhood. They were all sweet concoctions made with various flavored vodkas and rums. Not a savory cocktail in site.

I had a craving fish and chips and Gavin got the burger. Both the fish and the burger were surprisingly good and fresh. The fries on the other hand were terrible. Gavin didn’t even finish his. The colder they got, the worse they tasted. Such a shame, especially considering the great fries we had for last week’s Feasting Friday.

Last summer, on a trip to the Yakima Valley, we ate a a brewpub in the area. It looked promising, the pub was cute and the beer was delicious. The food however, was terrible. We joked then that the restaurant must have ordered the “pub kit” from FSA. Food Services of America trucks are those ones you see delivering to restaurants all around.

I don’t really think a “pub kit” exists, but if it did there would be “ready-for-fryer” items like onion rings, french fries and chicken wings. There may even be variations on the pub kit, like the Italian pub kit: the basic pub kit plus mozzarella sticks, mini pizzas and Caesar salad (with grated parmesan!). Perhaps a Mexican pub kit: the basics plus taquitos and jalapeno poppers. I could go on…but I think you get my drift.

So, I suspect the Lake Forest Bar & Grill uses many items from FSA. The fish was fresh and the burger hand-formed, but those fries were straight out of the freezer for sure.

Lake Forest Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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Seattle has become a great french fry town. What makes a great french fry? It’s the double fry. That’s right – the double fry. The first fry cooks the potato just fine, but it’s the second fry that gets them superextracrispy and that my friends, is the key to great french fries.

Last Friday, Gavin and I went to Restaurant Campagne down at Pike Place Market. We had a gift certificate that we’ve been meaning to use for months. Actually, it was a “discount” gift certificate we bought online. We decided to sit at the bar rather than the restaurant because a) we could maximize our budget by taking advantage of the happy hour prices and b) we actually find their bar menu more appealing.

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, so the place was empty. They offer free “snacks” in the bar on Fridays (crostini, Marcona almonds and the like), but I was in a carnivorous mood. Gavin got the Steak Frites and I ordered the lamb burger. I have to mention that Gavin will ALWAYS order a Steak Frites if it’s an option. He didn’t think he liked French food until a couple of years ago. He’s a french fry afficionado (hence my knowledge of the “double fry”). Once he realized that French restaurants often have fries on the menu (even though they are Belgian…but I digress), he was all for it. Throw in a nice steak and consider it DONE.

The lamb burger was delicious. I’ve only started to eat lamb recently, and even then only the mild cuts. This burger was a bit gamey, but you know what? I liked it! The meat was so tender and juicy. The burger came with a mountain of semi-pickled red onions and of course those incredible fries. I was pleased to see it made Seattle Magazine’s Best Burger list

The bar was definitely easier on the wallet than the restaurant, yet we still received A-plus service. I’m a sucker for good service and Campagne does it right. We declined on dessert, but were pleasantly surprised to get a sweet treat with our check…

Campagne on Urbanspoon

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I owe you a report about Sonjapalooza and it has taken me a week to get to it! I have to admit, it kind of kicked my butt this year.

I am leaving in about 10 minutes for the annual Girls’ Weekend at Crescent Bar, so I have to make it short. This may give you an idea of why this year’s Sonjapalooza wiped me out.

Tuesday: I kicked off my birthday week on Cinco de Mayo – as I normally do. Gavin and I went to see The Shins at the Showbox. Great show – kind of mellow, but good sound.

Wednesday: Barb brought over a bottle of our favorite Bourbon – Basil Hayden. Need I say more?

Thursday: Yay! My actual birthday. I met Kathy for lunch (burgers and beers at Buckleys), then went to my parents after work for “appetizers.” It ended up being a feast of crab, baked potatoes, grilled chicken, angels on horseback (see below) and cake.

Friday: Gavin and I met Robin at Sambar for cocktails. This is such an adorable bar and they have great drinks (and food)
After Sambar, we continued on to The Copper Gate for some Akvavit cocktails and Swedish meatballs. On the way home, we stopped by Jens and Jami’s house for a beer and to hang out by the firepit.

Saturday: The home stretch. I had a hair and nail appointment and then went shopping. They were giving free makeovers at Nordstrom (aren’t they always though?), so I got my make-up done too. Gavin and I had reservations at Spring Hill in West Seattle. It was a divine meal, topped only by the view we had into the kitchen. It was fascinating to watch them work. In short, I had oysters, lamb and ice cream. I really need to just write a separate post about that restaurant. It was divine.

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