Mistral Kitchen 9-Course Dinner

In late May, Karen, Jeri, Jen, and I were able to get our schedules coordinated and enjoy a special deal we had gotten to enjoy a 9-course meal at Mistral Kitchen in downtown Seattle. We have all been there before, and they have wonderful food and fantastic cocktails. So we were very excited to have a whole evening there!

We had the most amazing servers and were having such a great time, that we ended up having the manager and pastry chef sit down and chat with us! We were there 5 hours and it just went by like that! Apparently, since they loved us so much, we ended up with more of like a 12-course meal! By the last of the 3 desserts, we were so stuffed, we had it home with us. We were just maxed out!

I ended up taking some notes (I know I know- nerd alert!) on what each course was, just to remember all the details and how amazing everything was (I tried to include the wine pairings when I’m remembering them, but that didn’t really go so well. Particularly after the “cocktail course”!

Intro/”Welcome” Snack: Champagne with chili oil
and lime popcorn:

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Amuse-bouche: Grav lox with creme fresh:

Big eye tuna with shaved asparagus and radish,
grapefruit segments, and radish sprout basil oil:

Maine diver scallop, corn, basil oil, and hon
shemiji mushrooms:

Alaskan halibut, Egyptian farro mustard greens, baby
turnips, heirloom carrots, radish sprouts, and pea foam:

Lamb, black beans, ramp oyster mushrooms, in
a port reduction:

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Pierre Robert cheese with apricot
marmalade and radish sprouts:

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Dessert:
Coconut pudding with rum foam, shaved coconut,
compressed pineapple, and cilantro syrup:

Chocolate bombe (peanut butter filling) with port
soaked cherries:

Some of the other items we had (that I was too wrapped up in to get a picture of):

Foie Gras with thinly sliced apple and candied orange peel (who would have thought I would like Foie Gras?! But I do!)
The “Cocktail Course”: “Point of No Return” was the name. It involved fire. Very cool.

What a great, fun experience. Sometimes I don’t mind paying extra for a special experience. And that’s what this was. Not just good food and wine. But a whole experience, and one I won’t forget anytime soon.  Can’t wait for our next culinary adventure…

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LloydMartin, Seattle’s Newest Gem

A few weeks ago, my sister and I went to the new restaurant at the top of Queen Anne Hill: LloydMartin. Named by Seattle Magazine as one of the Best New Restaurants in Seattle, owner Sam Crannell has created a truly delightful environment; filled with delicious food, lovely and creative drinks, and an adult, yet energized and fun setting.

Since it was our first time there (and we came hungry), we decided to try several of the “small plates” offered. We had the shaved pear salad with blue cheese, hazelnut, port syrup, & frisee, the 64°C duck egg with brioche and mushroom-bacon-red wine sauce, a cheese plate with my most favorite cheese (delice de bourgogne), and a charcuterie plate. They mistakenly thought we ordered the manila clams (with chorizo, apple cider and white wine), but let us have them to try since our server joked that he couldn’t put them back! Bonus!

All of the food was absolutely delicious. Wonderfully prepared and perfectly presented. My personal favorite of the small plates might have been the pear salad; simply because it was so beautifully and creatively prepared (and anything with blue cheese, hazelnuts, and port is bound to be pretty tasty). Now, if you were to ask anyone in the restaurant, my favorite might have been the juice from the steamed clams. I soaked up ALL of that juice with the great crusty bread that was nearby. It was a little embarrassing, but so yummy!

We decided to split a large plate, and got the lamb cannelloni with balsamic roasted cipollini and chevre fondue. O.M.G. Let me say it again. O.M.G. Makes me start drooling just thinking about it! That was the most tender, flavorful, and delicious lamb I have ever tasted. Truly amazing. It simply melted in your mouth it was so good.

We were so full from everything, we never made it to the foie gras, which I’m sure is amazing as well. There’s always next time!

As my sister and I were talking to Tyler (the fantastic bartender by the way) throughout the meal, we noticed that the open kitchen seemed small, and we found out that they have no hood, grill or gas. They only have two plug-in electric cooktops and an oven. So all this amazing food came from two plug in cooktops and one oven! That is just insane! It just goes to show you that you don’t need fancy kitchen equipment (or apparently even basic equipment for that matter) to create wonderfully amazing food.

LloydMartin was great, and Sam Crannell is a genius with braised meats. I cannot wait till I can get back there to try more from their menu. Might just have to treat myself…Merry Christmas to me!

 

Rover’s Restaurant

Thierry Rautureau, affectionately known as the “Chef in the Hat” in the Seattle area, has been the chef/owner of Rover’s in Seattle since he bought it back in 1987.
The story of how the nickname came about is this: his wife bought him a fedora one year for Christmas, and he ended up wearing it constantly. One night in the restaurant, he went into the dining room to chat with one of his guests, and forgot to remove his hat. A patron exclaimed “Look, it’s the Chef in the Hat!” Word quickly spread and the nickname stuck!

Chef Rautureau is from the Muscadet region of France, and hence the food at Rover’s has been described as “Cuisine of the Pacific Northwest. Refined by a French accent.” Rover’s has for years been known in the Seattle area as not only one of the most expensive restaurants in town, but by far the best restaurant as well.

I’ve always heard great things about Chef Rautureau and his food, so my good friends and I decided to bite the bullet and we went there this past Thursday. This was the last night of Seattle Restaurant Week, a bi-annual event which involves many wonderful Seattle restaurants in the area providing a special three course dinner option for a limited time.

Let me just say that it was simply the most magnificent dining experience I have ever had. From the moment we stepped in the front door, to the last moment when we were getting our coats at the door; everything was immaculately done and absolutely perfect.

For Restaurant Week, there are three different options for both the first and second courses, as well as different dessert options. In addition, there were wine pairings to go with everything. Since there were three of us, we thought it would be perfect to play musical plates and wine glasses and try one of everything!

Before we started with sharing the three courses, we decided to try a few other things that we knew would be delicious: The Scrambled Egg with Lime Crème Fraiche and White Sturgeon Caviar, and the Seared Foie Gras in a Savory Profiterole with Cognac.
Oh. My. LORD. They were both absolutely delicious (with the egg being particularly lovely in its presentation), but the Foie Gras was exceptional. Perfectly cooked and perfectly paired with the profiterole and cognac. I have had very good Foie Gras before, but Chef is able to take it to the next level: into the stratosphere of taste.

After we wiped the drool from our mouths and quit rolling our eyes and carrying on, we proceeded with the sharing of the three course options. All of the food in the different courses was amazing. My particular favorites were the guinea fowl and the potato and leek soup. And the brown butter buerre blanc sauce with the halibut: sooooo good. This is not the kind of restaurant where you soak up sauce with your bread, but J and I didn’t care. We damn near licked the bowl clean! So yummy!
In addition to the great food, the wait staff was just impeccable with their service, timing, and friendliness. Just a wonderful, wonderful experience all the way around, and I look forward to returning there in the very near future.

Cooking The Wolf

“Eating is an art worthy to rank with the other methods by which man chooses to escape from reality”
“How To Cook a Wolf”
MFK Fisher

This past Wednesday, my sister Jo Anne and I went to How to Cook a Wolf, an Ethan Stowell restaurant, located in Upper Queen Anne. Neither of us had ever been before and were so excited; even looking forward to it several days ahead of time!

We started by getting there early for cocktails (naturally) and we were seated at our table to enjoy our cocktails instead of the bar area, since it was early enough and the full crowd had not gotten there yet.  The restaurant was smaller than I had anticipated (I purposefully hadn’t seen any pictures for the restaurant, to get the full experience for myself first), and I ended up liking that very much, for the more intimate evening it provided. The stone and wood accents also contribute beautifully. The warmth of the wolf den: created beautifully.

We then proceeded to have delicious appetizers, a beet salad for me and a wonderful green salad for Jo Anne, and then our main entrées. I had the Strozzapretti pasta with beef bolognese, and topped with mint and parmesan cheese. Jo Anne had the pork shoulder over some kind of delicious white beans (I don’t remember what kind they were- not cannellini or fava- but they were sooo tasty so who cares!). For dessert we both had the panna cotta with strawberries, almonds, and balsalmic. It was so flippin good!

I had also been to another Ethan Stowell restaurant that I had been meaning to go to the week before (Staple & Fancy) and I have a few comments about the food and Mr. Stowell’s restaurants.

First, I absolutely love the environment he creates at his restaurants. When I go out to dinner, I want it to be an experience. I want to look forward to going, to enjoy the surroundings, to not be rushed through drinks and/or dinner, and to leave knowing without a doubt that I will be back. And not just one time, but many times at that. Too often, especially nowadays it seems, restaurants try to hurry you through so they can turn the table. My sister and I were at How to Cook a Wolf for 3 hours, so you can see we weren’t rushed!  The staff at both restaurants was very friendly and extremely professional. Their timing was always perfect and I appreciate that.

Secondly, the food. OMG the food. Amazing. Flavorful. Simple yet Creative. Can’t think of much more to say other than: go have some of his food.

I enjoyed my experience so much at HTCAW that I am still thinking about it: 4 days later. Now THAT’S a good restaurant! I even went out and bought the book on which the restaurant is named; written by MFK Fisher.  I am currently on the chapter entitled “How Not to Boil and Egg”, and I will be blogging on the book at a later time.
Ethan Stowell truly knows what he’s doing and he does it amazingly well. I look forward to going back to both restaurants, and can’t wait to try the next one on my list: Anchovies and Olives!