Monday, October 31, 2016

Bar Cotto

Bar Cotto was the second Ethan Stowell restaurant we tried in Seattle. It's billed as a "Parma-style salumeria and cocktail bar with pizza."  I wasn't sure how SP would feel about trying this place. On the one hand, he really enjoys those kinds of meats. On the other hand, pizza. His love of the meats won.
We made reservations for a Friday evening. It's casual inside, wood tables, bottles of wine and olive oils on shelves. We both ordered wine.  He chose viognier. I chose vermentino.
As expected, SP chose Salumi, Chef's Choice 3 for $18 and opted to include the torta frita:
I think his wood board had mortadella, prosciutto, salami (can't really remember). I tried a bit of prosciutto and ate a lot of his fried dough. They were so good!
We shared Heirloom Tomatoes (Basil, Pecorino, Balsamic). Simple and delicious. I say shared but really I ate most of it while he was eating his meats.
We also shared Parma Pizza (Prosciutto di Parma, arugula, fior di latte, tomato). We both really enjoyed the pizza and ate it all. Thin, crisp crust. Crisp arugula. Salty prosciutto. Just enough cheese and sauce.
For dessert we shared Sorbetto. It was a seasonal flavor and I think it was pomegranate-citrus - ?Whatever it was, it was a bit different and a lot delicious. Plus the little shortbread cookies.

We both really liked our meal at Bar Cotto. Service was great, too. Definitely a place we'd return to the next time we're in Seattle.

  Bar Cotto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 28, 2016

How To Cook A Wolf.

Ethan Stowell has several restaurants in Seattle. We dined at 4 of them. The first one we went to was How To Cook A Wolf. Parking is pretty tough in the area (Queen Anne Ave N) so SP dropped me off in a grocery store lot, went and found street parking, then walked to get me and walk the block to the restaurant. We had made reservations and were seated right away.
There is a lot of wood inside. Floors, walls, ceiling. The ceiling-wall is curved, making me feel like we were inside a wood barrel. I ordered an Italian white wine. SP stuck with water. There are small plates and larger plates and it's great for sharing.
We started with Heirloom Tomato Salad (eggplant cucumber, caciocavallo, crouton). Delicious. I wish tomato season would never end. The eggplant was a puree in the bottom of the bowl. I loved the lacy, thin croutons and the cheese plus the delicious, fresh veggies.
We did not share Hamachi Crudo (melon, black pepper, lime, puffed wild rice). This was for SP and he said it was terrific. Like his meal/drink at Radiator Whiskey, this was a dish he talked about a lot during vacation.
SP also had, all for himself, Grilled Squid (lentils, preserved lemon, fennel, pickled peppers). He enjoyed this a lot as well. 
Meanwhile I was devouring Pappardelle (Lamb Sugo, Tomato, Eggplant, Herb Ricotta, Olive). Delicious pasta. Lamb. Lots of eggplant. Cheese. A perfect dish for my tastes. I think it is my favorite dish from vacation. SP liked it, too.
We couldn't agree on dessert so we ordered two. SP chose Lemon Olive Oil Cake (port figs, bay leaf cream, parmesan tuile). He thought it was wonderful, I thought it was OK. it's not really my kind of dessert, but it very much an SP kind of dessert.
I chose Cannoli (pistachio ricotta, powdered sugar). I picked off the pistachio because I'm not a fan. The cannoli were delicious. Crispy, lots of creamy filling. I ended up taking one back to the hotel to enjoy later in the week.

We both really liked HTCAW. There were plenty of choices for each of us. Service was great, too. I'd definitely go back the next time we're in Seattle.

  How To Cook a Wolf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

I finally accepted that it's time for pumpkin spice everything but then the magazines with Thanksgiving recipes started arriving and I'm annoyed again because of turkey, stuffing, and green bean overkill. Can we just wait until Halloween is over before we talk turkey?

The kitchen faucet is replaced. The installation proved difficult, so we ended up calling a plumber. So fixing a drippy/leaky faucet ended up costing us close to $500 total. Sometimes owning a home stinks.

But the new faucet looks a lot nicer, so, yay. I guess.

I had blood work done this week and while there is no visible bruise, my arm has been aching a lot. My mom was here the day I got it done and she called me a wimp.

Mom came over for the yearly cleaning of the dining room hutch. We take everything out and wash it. The glass shelves and mirrors get a good cleaning. The brass gets polished. All done for another year.

Meals This Week:
  • We decided to make the German barley & bratwurst soup (Graupensuppe) using the last 2 bratwurst in the freezer. Unfortunately, even though they were labeled bratwurst, when SP went to grill them, he discovered they were actually Italian sausage. So we made German barley & Italian sausage soup for 2 dinners. It's not bad but not great!
  • We also grilled shrimp and made caponata for 2 dinners.
  • Our final 2 dinners are grilled chicken and steamed broccoli.
  • Dessert is either nothing, popcorn, or blondies from the freezer.
TV Update: I tried to give up on Westworld. I planned to send SP to the basement (mancave) until Quantico, but then I realized that the show I wanted to watch wouldn't be on until late because of CBS sports and I had nothing else to watch, so he ended up staying upstairs with me and we watched Westworld. I still don't like it much. And I'm iffy on Quantico. It could be so much better. SP & I have started picking on it and laughing at it when we watch.

We recorded The Walking Dead but because I know we won't watch until December and because I just needed to know, I went and discovered who got killed. Now I think I might quit TWD. It always bugged me a bit. So depressing & sad all the time, full of despair and no hope.

Movie Update: None. Unless you count trying to watch the remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and deleting it from the DVR after 15 minutes. Some movies you just shouldn't remake.

Book Update: I read Tangled Up In Brew by Joyce Tremel and enjoyed it.

Magazines: I had it down to 1 magazine but then some new issues arrived. So it's back to 4.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Last weekend we met some friends and dined at a new-to-us restaurant: Mezzo. It's the second floor of Sienna Mercato on Penn Avenue. We've dined at the first floor's Emporio several times (meatballs!) but have not yet tried Il Tetto (rooftop beer garden). R&S had dined at Mezzo before. We were early for our reservation but were shown to the elevator and seated when we arrived.
I liked that Mezzo seems a little less crowded/busy than Emporio. I also liked the dim atmosphere, the exposed brick, the chalkboard walls, the windows along one side. I didn't like the hard bench seating. I'm old and my derriere is accustomed to my special, honeycomb, breathable, soft, supportive wheelchair cushion. I didn't want to sit on the end of the table and felt it would sort of "mess up" the seating/conversation for 4 people to have 2 on one side and then one on another side and one on another side with the 4th side empty. So I scooted from the wheelchair onto one side of a bench. Halfway through the meal, my derriere was very unhappy with me. It felt bruised later that night and kinda hurt! This is the third time I've learned the hard way (literally) that my derriere doesn't like wood benches anymore (I had similar discomfort halfway through meals at Veritable Quandary in Portland and at Butcher & the Rye here in Pittsburgh).
No one else was bothered by the seating. Just me and my overly sensitive butt. While we waited for R&S, SP ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc and I ordered a glass of Verdicchio, Rocchina, Marche, Italy. I like this wine a lot. It's become the one Italian white wine I recognize on menus and know I like!

Onto the food:
SP & I started with Ricotta Gnudi (apple butter, roasted onion, spinach, thyme, cauliflower, breadcrumb). Cheesy, delicious gnudi. Yum.
Next up we shared Arugula Salad (roasted fingerling potato, sicilian olives, pecorino, pistachio vinaigrette). Also yummy. It's salad and my main requirement for a delicious salad is fresh greens lightly dressed. That's what this was.
For his entree SP went seasonal: Pumpkin Risotto (confit rabbit, charred red onion, cauliflower, sage, hazelnuts, pecorino). He got the small portion. I was a little surprised, but we haven't made risotto in a while, he likes rabbit (which we don't cook at home), and he likes pumpkin (which we don't cook at home). He ate it all and said it was tasty.
I chose Lamb Sugo (paccheri, milk, tomato, wine, soffritto, parmesan). Lamb & pasta - I cannot resist. It was delicious. Also, I ordered a large portion so I'd have leftovers for lunch the next day.
I took a photo of S's Smoked Sausage (tortiglioni, melted leeks, spinach, tarragon, cream, sunny side up egg) but not of R's Shrimp Fra Diavolo (orecchiette, jalapeño, calabrian chili, parsley, tomato). Both ordered small portions and finished them.
I was full but SP seemed like he really wanted to try Warm Apple Cassata (toasted cinnamon roll, vanilla spice parfait, apple jack anglaise). I think I ended up eating more of it than he did. This is definitely a me kind of dessert. So good. I spooned up all that anglaise sauce.

R&S shared Chocolate Puddin’ Cake (vanilla cream, brown butter purée, brûléed bananas). Three of us ordered coffee and one chose an after dinner sherry.

I really enjoyed my meal at Mezzo. Service was great, too. I'm not sure why it took us so long to try Mezzo, especially when we really like Emporio and Sienna on the Square (same chef, Matthew Porco). We'll be back.

Mezzo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Etta's Seafood

Etta's was the second Tom Douglas restaurant at which we dined in Seattle. It's in Pike Place Market - or at least right next to it/on the edge of it on Western Ave. We made reservations and were seated with a view out the window toward the park & water.
By this point in vacation, my cold had exploded into drippy nose and sinus crap. I didn't want alcohol, I just wanted tea. SP avoids alcohol in the middle days of the week because of a medication he takes, so we both ordered iced teas. Very good iced teas. I was looking at the receipt and it said hot tea, and for some reason I am remembering they don't normally served iced tea but they made hot tea for us and then iced it. If I am correctly remembering, I give them extra points.
SP ordered Creamy Clam Chowder (with bacon, parsley oil). I tried a bite and agreed that it was very tasty. I don't remember much else about it other than cream, clam, bacon, yum.
I do remember this starter I ordered: Housemade Ricotta (marinated prosser melon,tomato, mint). I remember it because it was large, the ricotta was sooooo tasty, and the melon & tomatoes went together better than I expected. SP helped me finish it and he agreed that it was an excellent starter.
For his entree, SP ordered Etta's "Rub with Love" Salmon, small portion (grilled coho salmon*, sauteed green beans, cornbread pudding, shiitake relish). He said the salmon was cooked nicely and the cornbread pudding good - his usual comment, that it was tasty.
Etta's offers a lot of fish, which is not my thing. I didn't want fried shrimp so I chose Crab Cake (dungeness crab cake, sweet corn-potato hash, local greens, old bay aioli). Dungeness crab makes for a different crab cake than usual. The crab is much finer. It was a very good crab cake, just different. I also wasn't feeling well and was full from my starter, so I kind of forced my meal down. I remember the crispy straws and enjoying the hash.
I was too full for dessert, but SP ordered a Plum & Almond Crostada (buttermilk ice cream, anise hyssop, zaya rum).
I don't remember this at all. I was too full, I had a tiny bite that was mostly crust, and that's it. SP liked it a lot, this being his preferred kind of dessert (fruit desserts).

Overall, we really enjoyed Etta's. SF had suggested it to us when we dined at Red Cedar & Sage. Our server was fantastic and the food tasty. We'd go back.

  Etta's Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 24, 2016

Serious Pie

While we were in Seattle, we dined at 3 Tom Douglas restaurants. The first one we went to was Serious PieThere are 3 locations: Virginia, Westlake, and Pike. We went to the Virginia location. They don't take reservations but happily, on a Monday around 6 pm, we were seated after only a 5-10 minute wait. For beverages, I had a glass of chardonnay, SP had iced tea.
I can't remember if this was a daily special starter or if it's just no longer on the online menu because tomato season is over, but we started with a tomato, cucumber, and cheese dish. It was delicious. As I've said, we love tomatoes, especially with cheese & fresh herb, and this time with crunchy cucumber.
Serious Pie is a pizza place. The pizza is a thin crust and one pizza is enough for 1 person, not enough for 2 people (unless you are not very hungry). SP chose pizza with Penn Cove clams, pancetta tesa, & lemon thyme. He really liked this combination of toppings.
I was boring: buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce, & fresh basil. At first I thought the crust was burnt because it looked so blistered (black) but it wasn't. Tasty pizza and I ate it all.
For dessert we shared cannoli with pistachios on the ends. The shells were wonderfully crunchy and the filling creamy. I don't like pistachios so I picked them off. SP likes them so he ate them all.

It's hard for me to write about pizza because there are so many crusts and so many toppings and it's such a personal taste thing. Serious Pie is a thin crust, fancy (pricey) pizza place. I prefer thin crust pizza like this. It was good and I liked it but I didn't love it. For me, currently the ideal pizza is Mercurio's in Pittsburgh. SP agrees. So while we both liked Serious Pie, we didn't love it, and it was not a cheap meal. We spend less at Mercurio's for 2 pizzas and a starter plus iced teas and gelato. I'm just not sure we'd go back next time we're in Seattle. That being said, service is wonderful and I liked the relaxing, dimly lit interior. It was a nice atmosphere in which to end a day of sight-seeing.

Serious Pie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 21, 2016

Red Cedar & Sage

Our second night in Seattle, we met a friend (SF) for dinner. It was kind of last minute. We had made reservations at Red Cedar & Sage in Pike Place Market and then SP & SF finally reached each other and SF decided to join us for dinner.  
I was surprised that we were the only people in the restaurant and it remained that way throughout the evening. Maybe no one dines out on Sunday in Seattle? Maybe they eat much later than 6 pm? After poking around a bit, I think maybe they opened not too long ago and since they're kind of tucked away in PPM, maybe not too many people know about this place? At least, it seemed tucked away to us but we aren't too familiar with the layout of PPM. It took us a bit of looking around to figure out where to go/how to get to it, and yes, there is an elevator so it is wheelchair accessible. Inside is bright, spacious, lots of windows. Lots of wood and white & red. We sat next to a window which was nice.
While SP & SF chose wine, I opted for a cocktail: Not Your Papa's Old Fashioned (Bourbon, Muddled Lemon, Orange & Cherry with Cointreau and Orange Bitters). I wish I'd chosen wine. I didn't like this at all. It was just too strong for me and whatever bourbon was used, it wasn't to my liking. I ended up swapping drinks with SP.
For an appetizer, the 3 of us shared Crab Stack (Dungeness Crab, Avocado, Cilantro, Fresh Lime, Mango, Citronette Dressing & Balsamic Dressing). We've had this, or similar dishes, before, and this was a good version of the crab stack.
For my meal, I chose Short Ribs (Red Wine & Orange Braised, with Parmesan Basil Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Red Wine Vinaigrette). The description said asparagus, but I didn't receive asparagus. I think it was broccoli, or broccolini. This was quite tasty. A large portion of tender short rib. Delicious potatoes. I couldn't eat it all so I gave the leftovers to SF.
SF chose Scallops (Pan-Seared Scallops topped with a White Wine & Lemon Cream Sauce). He said they were very good, cooked nicely and the sauce was yummy.
Not surprisingly, SP chose fish: Cedar Plank Salmon (Red & White Quinoa, with Red Onions & Peppers, Kale, Lemon Beurre Blanc & Roasted Vegetables). It was a nice portion, cooked nicely, and he liked the quinoa and veggies with it.
For dessert, we shared Tiramisu. It was not what I expected but it was a tasty version of tiramisu and it was not too dense & filling.

We all enjoyed our food at RC&S. SP & SF were able to easily finish their food, but my portion was too big for me, so I'm not sure if the actual portion was larger or if I wasn't really hungry or if beef is just more filling. Our server was young but friendly and checked on us frequently to make sure everything was good and we had everything we wanted.