Saturday, July 31, 2010

Serendipity and Cafe Nola

ser·en·dip·i·ty (srn-dp-t)1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. 

If you know me at all you know I love those special little moments that just happen unexpectedly ,and usually on the heels of something not so special !  Yesterday we had one of those moments.  We started out for a road trip over to the Kitsap Peninsula via the Bainbridge Ferry out of Seattle.  Normally, it would be a quick 25 minute ride over. Remember I said normally.  When we left home,convertible top down,sun shining brightly, we didn't know that the early morning fog had  wreaked havoc on the Bainbridge ferry schedule. We learned that little piece of information when it was too late to turn back .

 Too late meaning we were sandwiched between 50 cars, no escape in site and no ferry for hours !  We pulled out our reading material and munched on stale chips that we found under the car seat!  We bought our ferry ticket at 3:25pm and boarded the ferry at 5:00pm-really,no kidding.  So as we pondered if we should just bag the whole idea and sneak out of line when the boat started boarding. We figured lets' just go with the flow,take the ride we had planned- just shorten it.  On the ferry over we decided to really shorten the trip. Instead of heading out to the Peninsula we decided we would drive into Bainbridge and look for a place to have dinner. 

We drove around a few of the village blocks when beautiful huge flower baskets overflowing with petunias caught my eye and I saw the sign "Cafe Nola".  I suggested to J that it looked like a cozy spot to have dinner and he was hesitant-his thought process being we aren't eating petunias ! I was very convincing with my argument.  So we walked inside a lovely bistro with Frank Sinatra music playing in the background,looked at the menu and promptly asked to be seated.  I figured  beautiful flowers,cozy bistro type atmosphere,friendly staff and Frank singing in the background-can't go wrong! And I was right !  This is a place that has snuck by my restaurant radar.  And now that I have found it,  I'm going to be looking for excuses to make the trip to Bainbridge Island to try everything on their menu!

J ordered his usual,Manny's Pale Ale while I spotted something that sounded so refreshing after the ferry disaster-Limoncello Lemonade. Grey Goose Vodka, Limoncello and Chambord.  It was almost too pretty to drink-a pretty pale raspberry color.  It was intoxicating-caution-sip slowly !
As we perused the menu we decided it would just be an evening of appetizers because they all sounded so scrumptious.  J, always the voice of reason said let's start off with just 2 and see where that takes us.  As usual he was right !  The appetizers are meal size portions.  J had the Calamari fritti, fried calamari with a lemon aioli,a garlic cilantro dip and charred tomatoes. The calamari was fried to perfection,light and crunchy.  I loved the charred tomato dipping sauce-sweet and smokey.  I ordered the 5 Spice Duck Spring Rolls, served with honey soy syrup,toasted almonds and a ginger pear relish.  The spring rolls were exceptional,so fresh and light-again fried to perfection and the honey soy syrup-I was ready to lick the plate it was sooo good. They also brought their house bread, fresh and chewy, great for dipping into the olive oil they set out for us.  The staff was beyond attentive.  I wish we would have been able to eat dinner, everything sounded tempting, but the appetizers were so filling we passed on dinner.

But of course we saved a little room for dessert.  And ohhh the dessert. Heads were turning when they served it.  Little children in the restaurant were eyeing it with envy and adults had the look of sheer lust on their faces.  We ordered the Blackbird Bakery chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and whipped creme-sounds harmless right? 

The presentation takes your breath away.  A perfect slice of cake (with an incredible mousse filling) topped with beautiful shiny ganache , a dollop of fresh whipped cream on the side and a beautiful dripping of raspberry sauce on the plate.  It was exquisite. And the perfect ending to a meal we shall not forget.  All this because the fog delayed the ferries earlier that day-thank you fog gods-without your intervention we may not have discovered this little jewel on Bainbridge.

PS After this delectable dessert the Blackbird Bakery is at the top of my list of places to get to quickly !!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Blueberry Baking

I have an overabundance of blueberries-it's a good place to be !  Blueberries in my cereal,in my salad,in the sauce used on my pork chops, in a smoothie, and over my cantaloupe.  I'm thinking about making some blueberry syrup so I'll have it during the winter and just  pouring it over french toast or pancakes will bring me back to this beautiful summer moment. I love blueberries, can you tell ?  But I didn't grow up with them-don't know why-they just weren't in my mother's fruit repertoire. They also weren't in her baking repertoire .  She wasn't a blueberry muffin kind of baker-special occasion baker, holiday baker and baker of all things sweet and wonderful from her ancestors-just not blueberry muffins.  I think it was in college when I first tasted a blueberry muffin-not a good memory-it was cafeteria style,slightly burned,slightly over baked tasteless kind of thing.  It's funny none of my aunts who were bakers made muffins or anything with blueberries either.  Maybe there was some blueberry boycott by my family that I wasn't privy to .  In any case somewhere along the line,even after the hockey puck muffins from college, I developed a taste for good muffins and really good muffins with blueberries.

Isn't it wonderful when you first take them out of the oven and you can't wait for them to cool so you pop one out of the pan, tear it in half and watch the steam rise from the center and from the hot juicy blueberries ?  A favorite moment for sure.  You almost burn your tongue on the hot blueberries but you can't stop yourself from taking that first bite..hmm there it is,sweet and tangy with a nice light crumb to it and the smell is heavenly.  I don't bake muffins very often but every time I bite into one fresh out of the oven it reminds me that maybe I should be baking them more frequently.

This morning  is a misty foggy day in Seattle and a perfect day to make blueberry muffins.  This is a recipe I haven't tried before-from Allrecipes. It doesn't have crumb crust or sugar coating-something I believe blueberry muffins don't need-why camouflage that lovely tart taste.  Enjoy fellow blueberry lovers. Bon Berry'tite!
Blueberry Cream Muffins
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sour cream
2 cups blueberries


1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

2.In large bowl beat eggs, gradually add sugar while beating. Continue beating while slowly pouring in oil. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda.

3.Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with sour cream. Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.

4.Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July Daring Bakers Challenge -Swiss Ice Cream Roll

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home. Instructions and PDF file can be found  here.

My inspiration for my Swiss Roll came to me while I was in my garden gathering basil. I love the odor that's released when you even brush against basil. I remembered a dessert I had at Ray's Boathouse that was a strawberry cake,with whipped cream,chocolate ganache and a sweet basil sauce. I loved how those flavors came together so I decided to try and combine them for this challenge. First of all if you do nothing else make the Basil Ice Cream ! Oh my goodness it is indescribable-one of those can't stop eating kind of desserts-don't say I didn't warn you. And the balsamic strawberry ice cream-the flavors combined with the basil make you think you are eating your strawberries fresh out of the garden! Thank you Sunita for coming up with this challenge because I learned so much and I don't think this is something I would have done on my own !


Roulade or Swiss Roll
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 ounces), plus more for dusting baking sheet
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter , cut into two pieces
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup cocoa (3/4 ounce), Dutch-processed, sifted, plus more for unmolding and garnish
1/8 teaspoon table salt
6 large eggs , separated, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 18 by 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, cover pan bottom with parchment paper and spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray; dust baking sheet with flour, tapping out excess.
2. Bring 2 inches of water to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Combine chocolate, butter, and water in small heatproof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set bowl over pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and heat until butter is almost completely melted and chocolate pieces are glossy, have lost definition, and are fully melted around edges, about 15 minutes. (Do not stir or let water in saucepan come to boil.) Remove bowl from heat, unwrap, and stir until smooth and glossy. While chocolate is melting, sift cocoa, flour, and salt together into small bowl and set aside.

3. In bowl of standing mixer, beat egg yolks at medium-high speed until just combined, about 15 seconds. With mixer running, add half of sugar. Continue to beat, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary until yolks are pale yellow and mixture falls in thick ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 8 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down bowl once, about 30 seconds. Turn mixture into medium bowl; wash mixer bowl and beaters and dry with kitchen towel.

4. In clean bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add about 1 teaspoon of remaining sugar; continue beating until soft peaks form, about 40 seconds. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until whites are glossy and supple and hold stiff peaks when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer. Do not over beat (if whites look dry and granular, they are over beaten). While whites are beating, stir chocolate mixture into yolks. With rubber spatula, stir quarter of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in remaining whites until almost no streaks remain. Sprinkle dry ingredients over egg and chocolate mixture and fold in quickly but gently.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan; using offset icing spatula and working quickly, smooth surface and spread batter into pan corners. Bake until center of cake springs back when touched with finger, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.

6.While cake is cooling, lay clean kitchen towel over work surface and sift 1 tablespoon cocoa over towel; with your hands, rub cocoa into towel. Run paring knife around perimeter of baking sheet to loosen cake. Invert cake onto towel and peel off parchment.

7. For finished cake: Starting at a long side, roll cake and towel together into jelly roll shape Cool for 15 minutes, then unroll cake and towel. Using offset spatula, immediately spread whipped cream filling evenly over surface of cake, almost to edges. Re roll cake gently but snugly around filling. Chill in refrigerator until ready to start filling with the ice cream. Then slice approximately 20 pieces about 1- 1 1/2 inches wide .

Whipped cream filling
2C of whipping cream

1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tbsp of caster sugar (or grind regular sugar in your food processor until it becomes very fine)

In a large bowl beat the ingredients until thick and spreadable.

The Basil Ice Cream is so incredibly indescribably delicious !

Vanilla-Basil Ice Cream with Chopped Valhrona Chocolate
Makes approximately eight 1/2-cup servings
Adapted from The Kitchn

6 egg yolks
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 pints heavy cream
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 ounces fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4  cup finely chopped Valhrona chocolate nibs

Preparation1. Pour cream and milk into non-reactive sauce pan. Add basil. Put over medium to medium-high heat until cream is scalded. Remove from heat.

2.In two containers, separate yolks from whites (reserve whites for another use -- don't waste them). add sugar to yolks and whisk until they reach ribbon stage (about 6-8 minutes).

3.Using a small measuring cup (1/8 cup measure), carefully and slowly temper cream into yolks. Do not get any basil in the yolks. Keep tempering until about half the cream has been added. Strain cream into another bowl, add that cream back to sauce pot. Return the tempered yolks and cream to the sauce pot (it will be slightly frothy). Continue to stir over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and transfer to another container. Allow to chill in refrigerator overnight.

4.Using your chosen method of churning ice cream, add the chilled ice cream base to tumbler and churn. About half way through churning, add the chocolate. Once ice cream is semi-solid, transfer to the storage container/s of your choice and freeze.

Hot Fudge Sauce

TOTAL TIME 10 minutes
Ingredients2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate in small pieces
1 1/4 cups sifted high-fat Dutch-process cocoa like Valrhona, Pernigotti or Droste (sift, then measure)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In medium saucepan, combine cream, butter, sugars and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer 45 seconds. Add chocolate, and whisk to dissolve. Remove from heat, add cocoa, and whisk until no lumps remain.

2. Return pan to low heat, and simmer sauce until glossy, whisking constantly, 20 seconds. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Once it's cooled follow instructions for assembly.

Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream
Thanks to Closet Cooking !
(makes 4 servings)
2 cups strawberries (cleaned and hulled)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup full milk
1/2 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
3 egg yolks

1. Toss the strawberries in the balsamic vinegar and sugar and let sit for 20 minutes.
2. Pour the mixture on a baking pan covered in foil folded up on the sides to capture the juices.
3. Roast the strawberries in a preheated 425F oven until they start to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes.
4. Place the strawberries and the juices into a container and chill in the fridge.
5. Heat the cream, milk and sugar in a sauce pan until it almost boils, about 5 minutes.
6. Reduce the heat to low.
7. Add one tablespoon of the cream mixture to the eggs to temper them.
8. Add the egg mixture to the sauce pan.
9. Cook at low heat until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.
10. You may want to strain the mixture at this point to remove any bits that may have formed while cooking.
11. Chill the mixture in the fridge.
12. Mix the cream and strawberry mixtures.
13. Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream machine.


1.Open the roll and spread the whipped cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
2.Roll the cake up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.
3.Remove the Swiss Roll from the refrigerator and cut the Swiss roll  into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
4.Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.
5.Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
6.Soften the basil vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
7.Add the cooled fudge sauce over the basil vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm
8.Soften the balsamic strawberry ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .
9.Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily


Monday, July 26, 2010

Chocolate with Francois or Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Let the good times roll ~ as soon as I saw this month's Chocolate with Francois recipe I immediately wanted  to celebrate.  First all of anything fried with a chocolate center is heaven in my book !  Then beignets-oh my goodness-the word alone takes me right to the French Quarter in New Orleans. Julie from Leave Room for Dessert is our hostess with the mostest this month and takes us on a beignet baking bash !
Now back to my beignet moment . I spent 2 weeks in New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity back in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. Not building houses, but gutting the interiors of homes,  so that people could salvage something -anything -no matter how small.  That was one moving lesson for me in what is important in life.  At one of the houses, I was digging through mud and muck , and found a baby's christening outfit sandwiched between layers of mud. Yet the gown was almost pristine, preserved only by the cardboard box it was inside of.  Of all of the things I saw during those two weeks that was the first of many things that moved me to tears.  For whatever reason that little baby's gown was saved from the disaster called Katrina.  The parents would be coming by later,once we all cleared out to pick up what we salvaged.  I couldn't even imagine how they might feel seeing that this was the only thing we could salvage.  I remember carefully setting that gown outside on the porch-it was more precious than jewels. And then as I stepped back and surveyed the huge pile of debris and damaged property we had set outside-it was just too overwhelming to think about people who had worked their entire lives to build a home, to make memories, to have someplace safe to come back to-and it was all gone -all except for the baby's gown.  I like to think that little white gown brought some type of comfort to them-it wasn't much but it was some small piece of their history that for whatever reason was the only thing to be found.  That day it really hit home about what is important in life-our family, our friends. 

And that night , the group I was working with decided to celebrate each other by going to the French Quarter. That led to my introduction to the incredible beignets at Cafe du Mond. Ohhh the lightness of  them, and the powdered sugar-by the time we were finished we looked like we had been working in a cocaine processing factory !  Covered in powdered sugar -head to toe !

We made several trips back to Cafe du Mond during those 2 weeks for beignets. Those visits matched our visits to another new discovery for me-drive through daiquiris-yup drive thru just like a Starbucks drive thru, but there you get daiquiris !You have to love a place that gives you some of the best jazz in the world,beignets and drive thru daiquiris !

Now you know a little about why just hearing the word beignet floods me with memories. This particular recipe sounded too good. A beignet batter with beer-holy hops Batman-beer batter,fried, and chocolate center-the trifecta ! Yet again another challenge by Chef Payard-the recipe calls for dipping the chocolate ganache balls into the beignet batter. Well let me tell you , my beignet batter was not of dipping quality. It was like a thick wet ciabatta dough-not to be dipped ! So I shook my head and figured whomever is translating Chef Payard's recipes is missing something in translation. I improvised and would pull off small chunks of dough and form them around the ganache balls like a little bread boule. It worked out very well and when I dropped the little beignet boules into the hot oil-voila-puffed up beignets. They had such a nice yeasty flavor from the beer being added and the ganache centers were all melty and delicious. This recipe is a keeper-I will definitely be making these again !

Want more of Francois Payard ?  Buy the book-it's choc full of chocolate recipes !! Fabulous, delectable and delicious recipes.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Perfect Saturday Perfect Lunch

This is shaping up to be a perfect Seattle Saturday.  It's sunny, blue skies, slight breeze and the cherry on top is that Marination Mobile is in West Seattle Today. Yea!!!!!!!!!!  I've been wanting to try their food because I have heard so many fabulous things about them. Their menu is a fusion of Hawaiian and Korean cuisine.  They describe their kalbi as tender beef marinated in Kamala’s version of the iconic Korean recipe. Soy-based marinade all hugged up with garlic, and a mistress of citrus to satisfy your need for salty-sweet variety love. Hmm Hmmm good.

Kalbi Taco and Aloha Slider

 J and I are having the Aloha Slider, Kalbi Tacos and Pork Slider. We were not disappointed and as long as they keep showing up in West Seattle on Saturdays I know where we will be having lunch !

Since our trip to Portland we are really getting into food carts- I just hope Seattle wakes up and smells the aroma and changes the codes to allow them here.  From what I've been following in the papers the current codes are very restrictive and allow for limited carts-mainly serving hot dogs !  Sheesh, all you have to do is take a trip to Portland and graze your way through food cart heaven before you start wanting to open up one yourself ! Seriously, Mayor McGinn are you listening ?  Give us Food Carts !  Check out the amount of people who showed up for the recent Chow Down with Food Carts at the Seattle Center.

The fears are that they are going to create litter-really ?  We are clean ,conscientious and neat foodies here in Seattle.  Competition for the restaurants?  I think not.  Anyone who wants to sit down and be waited on and have a full menu to choose from is not going to stray from the restaurant scene. And typically the crowd from the restaurant scene are not the folks lining up for the food carts !  In my mind if Seattle gets with the program then the restaurant business could  get some really good fall out from the food cart business.  Foodies crave  kimchi or pork sliders or Thai basil chicken and as our taste palettes expand so does our desire to try different food.  And sooner or later we're going to join the restaurant crowd while still keeping one foot in the food cart line ! Come on restaurateurs there is enough business for everyone out there even in today's economy.  And here's an idea-you already have an established business-branch out and open a food cart  and lure us into your restaurant ! Okay,time to get down off my soap box and have this incredible lunch !
Aloha Slider-Kalua Pork ( Hawaiian Braised Pulled Pork)
on a Sweet Roll Bun Warm and soft,
stuffed with their signature slaw 

Kimchi Quesadilla ,kalua pork plus cilantro and cheese

Kalbi Beef Taco topped with saucy, tangy, crunchy signature slaw

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Seafood Fregola

You say fregula , I say fregola ......
Having dinner at Ray's Boathouse the other night turned me on to a pasta I had never tried before-fregola. I loved it at Ray's with calamari and I knew I wanted to try and cook it myself.  So off I went to the internet in search of recipes using fregola.  I came across Anna's Seafood Fregola in The Independent and it just sounded too good to resist.

Uncooked fregula from Wikimedia Commons by Emily Parkhurst

Have you cooked  Fregola before? It's commonly described as a large couscous. And according to Wikipedia: Fregula (also fregola) is a type of pasta from Sardinia. It is similar to Israeli couscous. Fregula comes in varying sizes, but typically consists of semolina dough that has been rolled into balls 2-3 mm in diameter and toasted in an oven.  I found it at Metropolitan Market in West Seattle.  Everything I read on the Internet talked about the horrors of cooking it and having hard little marbles or mushy overcooked ones !  Needless to say I followed the cooking instructions very carefully, stirring it consistently while keeping it covered with fish stock so it would cook to that perfect al dente stage.  It took about 40 minutes but it was well worth it.

Anna's Seafood Fregola
Adapted from a recipe by Anna Pino
"Anna is from Sardinia where fregola, a lentil shaped pasta, is made. It can be served with meat or chicken but frutti di mare is the most typical accompaniment. It is found in delis over here but is becoming more popular and therefore can sometimes be found in supermarkets and is sometimes referred to as large couscous."

Serves 6.

3 oz extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped -I love anchovy fillets so I used the whole can
Half a red chili, finely chopped -I also love red chilies so I used 2 of them !
8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved-ditto for the tomatoes, I added almost a pound of heirloom cherry tomatoes
Good pinch of salt
Good pinch of pepper
1 lb fresh clams
3/4 - 1lb  squid rings
12 raw king prawns
1 lb  mussels
6 oz white wine
1 lb small fregola
1-2 oz  parsley, roughly chopped
About 4 cups of fish stock
2 oz  butter

In a non-stick frying pan heat the oil and when hot add the garlic, chili, anchovy fillets. Give it a stir and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the clams, mussels, prawns and squid. Remove the garlic and cover with a lid for five minutes or until the shellfish have opened. Add the white wine and reduce for a couple of minutes. Remove the clams and mussels, leaving the prawns behind. Add the fregola and pour over some of the fish stock until it is just covered. Stir for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes. Keep on adding fish stock as necessary until the fregola is cooked “al dente”. When it is nearly ready, put back the clams and mussels and add the chopped parsley. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the butter and serve with a good crusty bread, a fresh green salad and a nice chilled chardonnay.  Bon Appetit !

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Bite of Seattle

I'm sitting in front of my laptop bursting at the seams, literally -the seams in my jeans ! I just spent the entire day eating and drinking my way through The Bite of Seattle.  Pulled pork with chipotle coleslaw from Maximus Minimus;  cinnamon sugar donuts from Mighty O Organic Donuts;  Rub with Love salmon with cucumber slaw from Tom Douglas Etta's Restaurant;  a cold soup with oven toasted beets, balsamic vinegar, orange juice scented with thyme from Al Boccalino, Seattle’s Little Italy ; Gorgonzola stuffed dates with pine nuts from the Purple Cafe;  Mesquite Grilled Prime Top Sirloin with Maitre d' Sauce from John Howie Steak; Hot pastrami on rye with mustard from Roxy's Diner; Achiote rubbed prawns with spicy red sangrita from Barrio; Peach Shortcake - Washington peaches, gluten-free nutmeg cake, honey yogurt whip and tart berry syrup from the Sand Point GrillRobert Mondavi's Chardonnay, Pinot Gris,Fume Blanc,Cabernet and Meritage along with Patterson Cellars Chardonnay.  I couldn't think of a better way to spend a sunny Friday afternoon in Seattle. If you go I highly recommend the Alley it's a group of at least 7 restaurants-menu changes daily-and for $10 you get a nice size taste from each one and the proceeds benefit Food Lifeline.  I'm going to try and run up on my lunch hour on Saturday and hopefully make it through the line again-the menu looks pretty mouth watering !
Now pass the Pepto, enjoy the pictures, and do you want to split that last cinnamon sugar donut ?

Pulled Pork from Maximus Minimus

Maximus Minimus Piggy

Smoked Salmon from Etta's

Cucumber Slaw from Etta's

Cold soup with oven toasted beets, balsamic vinegar,
orange juice scented with thyme from Al Boccalino
Gorgonzola stuffed dates with pine nuts from the Purple Cafe

Mesquite Grilled Prime Top Sirloin
with Maitre d' Sauce from John Howie Steak

Achiote rubbed prawns with spicy red sangrita from Barrio

Hot pastrami on rye with mustard from Roxy's Diner

Peach Shortcake - Washington peaches, gluten-free nutmeg cake,
honey yogurt whip and tart berry syrup from the Sand Point Grill

Full plate from the Alley

The kids had more fun in the water than eating !