Archive for the Seafood Category

Morimoto Napa

Posted in Seafood with tags , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2011 by belltowngirl

My best friend completed his PhD in Physics a couple years ago and we have been meaning to celebrate with a trip to a great culinary landscape for sometime. We are both foodies and wine lovers hence we decided to meet in Napa on 4th of July weekend and it was definitely worth the wait. The wine region of Napa and Sonoma is very special to me as I started going there since my 21st birthday. The wine country has many great restos and it’s definitely growing especially neighboring towns such as Healdsburg (one of my favs).  I was reading the Wine Enthusiast magazine about the changing landscape of Downtown Napa and noticed that Iron Chef Morimoto opened up the first restaurant on the west coast in 2010. I am a fan of the Iron Chef and I definitely had to check out his dining establishment first in Downtown Napa.

Morimoto Napa is located right in the middle of the new Riverfront complex on Main St.  It has a very sleek and open feel to the restaurant with tall ceilings and minimalist design. There is an open kitchen which is great as you can see how the chef’s prepare the dishes and if your lucky you may even spot Iron Chef Morimoto in the action. Interestingly, before he became a chef he was going to be drafted to a major league in Japan, but ended his career because of an arm injury. Nevertheless, he has created a successful career for himself in the culinary world.

The menu had so many innovative dishes from the cold and hot appetizer categories.  All their raw fish and other seafood dishes are sourced from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.  We decided to try a couple dishes from the hot appetizer section.  I first tried the Morimoto bone marrow…with teriyaki sauce, 5 spices(cayenne, chili pepper, cumin coriander, paprika) topped with caramelized onion and panko which was roasted…Yum!  A nice touch was the Meyer lemons – add a splash and the fruit acidity cuts the richness of the bone marrow perfectly.

Morimoto bone marrow - Morimoto Napa

Morimoto bone marrow - Morimoto Napa

 
I am a major fan of seafood and tried the grilled spicy king crab with tobanjan aioli, and micro cilantro….very creative and delectable.  I initially thought the king crab was in its shell, but it was camoflaged with the creamy tobanjan to give it its red vivid color…very clever indeed.  The term tobanjan is a spicy miso paste that is very versatile especially for that added kick. 
 
Spicy King Crab - Morimoto Napa

Spicy King Crab - Morimoto Napa

 
As you probably know by now how much of a foie gras fan I am, I wouldn’t pass up on the oyster foie gras with market oysters, uni, foie gras, and teriyaki sauce….great balance of sweet and saltiness.  I am personally a fan of caviar sushi and the uni added a nice balance of sweetness to the oysters. 
 
Oyster Foie Gras - Morimoto Napa

Oyster Foie Gras - Morimoto Napa

Lastly, you cannot go wrong with great dessert to end your night of wine hopping in Napa.  I love anything rhubarb and the strawberry rhubarb tart with thai basil sauce and a strawberry jasmine milkshake…very tasty and refreshing!

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart - Morimoto Napa

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart - Morimoto Napa

 
I needed a balance of desserts from light to rich.  The miso butterscotch pudding with bitter chocolate foam and black tea caramel was perfect!  Great contrasting yet balanced flavors of sweet from the butterscotch and saltiness from the caramel. 
 
Miso Butterscotch Pudding - Morimoto Napa
Miso Butterscotch Pudding – Morimoto Napa
 
 
Morimoto has an excellent selection of innovative cocktails.  The white lilly – shirayuri which comprises of calpico, shochu, yuzu juice, and lemon juice was very tasty!  The term Yuzu is a citris fruit that is very tart.  Shochu is a distilled spirit.  The difference between sake and shochu is that sake is brewed while shochu is distilled.  Shochu has more of an earthy and nutty taste.  If you are a bloody mary fan, the “bloody mary-moto” has an innovative twist of grey goose orange vodka, heirloom tomato, teriyaki, wasabi, and pickled peppers.  Also, they sell shochu, premium, and aged sake.  Their most expensive sake is the “Morimoto 1972” which has spiced pumpkin and citris oil aromas with a tropical fruit finish…..priced at $504  for a bottle (500ml).  Overall, I enjoyed the innovative dishes at Morimoto in Napa.  This would have to be one of the best Japanese restaurants that I’ve had in awhile by far.  If you ever get the chance to visit Napa, definitely check out the Morimoto restaurant.  Enjoy everyone!
 
Morimoto Napa

Morimoto Napa

 
 
Morimoto Napa website:  http://www.morimotonapa.com/
 
Address:  610 Main St., Napa, CA 94559
 
Hours:  Sun-Thurs 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 5-11pm
 
Contact:  707 252-1600
 
 

Six Seven at the Edgewater Hotel

Posted in Fine Dining, Seafood, Wine with tags , , , , , , on January 14, 2011 by belltowngirl

One of my favorite restaurants on the waterfront is Six Seven.  It has spectacular views of the puget sound and the olympic mountains and is located on Pier 67.  It features New American appetizers and entrees, specializing in gourmet food with a seafood focus.  I always come here for their seafood especially for their tasty white fish and salmon dishes. 

There were a couple dishes I wanted to try, but the salmon entree always seems to catch my eye.  The Cedar Plank Salmon was spectacular….chanterelle mushrooms, rainbow potatoes, tomato, pancetta, truffle cream, asparagus, and blackberry honey…Yum!  The grilled King Salmon had a rich, smoky flavor especially when combined with truffle cream sauce.  I am a fan of wild mushrooms such as the porcini and morel mushrooms and the chanterelle was a perfect addition with its meaty and nutty flavor.  Perfect timing as wild mushrooms are in season in late fall.  Typically, wine pairing is dependent on the base and bridge ingredients of the dish and since the salmon(base) had chanterelle mushrooms, truffles(bridge) it was a perfect match for a Pinot Noir so we had the 2007 Rochioli Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in California.  A terrific fish to match with this wine! 

Cedar Plank King Salmon - Six Seven

Cedar Plank King Salmon - Six Seven

I could not leave without trying the Wild Striped Sea Bass.  The Sea Bass was perfectly immersed with artichoke and leek stew, sauvignon blanc, fines herbs, cipoline onions, tomato confit, and roasted fennel on top to give it that sweet and mild delicious added flavor to the fish.  This one is a winner!!  The Sea Bass was pan roasted perfectly which gives the skin that nice crackle and that is how it should be cooked. 

Wild Striped Sea Bass - Six Seven

Wild Striped Sea Bass - Six Seven

Lastly, it could not hurt to try one dessert for the night as all the previous dishes were light, but very tasty.  I had to try the pumpkin with pistachio crusted cheescake….Yum!!  If you try this dont forget to eat slice with the gingerbread pureed sauce that is drizzled on the dish!  

Pumpkin with Pistachio crusted Cheesecake - Six Seven

Pumpkin with Pistachio crusted Cheesecake - Six Seven

Six Seven restaurant also has a chic lounge with a fireplace that gives it a warm and cozy feeling.  Be sure to check out the lounge on Fridays and Saturdays as the have terrific bands playing rhythm and blues to jazz music.   If you like great drinks with tonic water be sure to try their vodka tonic because their tonic is homemade.  The chief ingredient in tonic is called Quinine.  It is derived from a tree bark in the Amazon basin and is supposed to have medicinal properties.  The major plus is that the bar uses Quinine powder in its “pure form” as opposed to it being dilluted into a high fructose corn syrup such as the likes of Schweppes and Canada Dry.  I have been a recent fan of 100% pure Quinine powder in tonic water as it has less of that sugary, syrupy taste and more of a slightly bitter, but very tasty ingredient in tonic water.  I would recommend reserving a booth for dinner as you have excellent views facing the waterfront.  The customer service is always top notch all the times that I have dined there.  Six Seven is a great restaurant with tasty seafood dishes and an excellent wine list.  The ambiance is also perfect to take your special loved one for a romantic dinner as well ;)  Enjoy everyone!

Six Seven restaurant website:  http://www.edgewaterhotel.com/edgewater_dining.aspx

Address:  2411 Alaskan Way, Pier 67 Seattle, WA  98121

Hours:  Dinner Sun-Thurs 5:30-9pm, Fri-Sat 5:30-10pm

Contact:  1 800 624-0670

The Oyster Bar – Chuckanut Drive

Posted in Seafood, Wine with tags , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2010 by belltowngirl

I love going for great scenic drives all over Washington state especially during the summertime…whether it be Hwy 20 to Winthrop or driving through Whidbey Island to Deception Pass.  One of my FAVorites for many years is called Chuckanut Drive in Skagit County.  Chuckanut Drive is along a cliffhanger road with spectacular views of Samish Bay and the San Juans.  While I was driving I noticed a restaurant called The Oyster bar and I love oysters so I must go inside :)  A great romantic lodge style restaurant and an excellent patio where you are surrounded by fir trees and surreal sea views.  They have a cozy indoor dining area with two floors, but it was a nice sunny day out so I dined on their patio.  They have a great list of Oysters on a half shell so I tried the Baker’s dozen($30) that included the Samish Bay Pacific, Penn Cove Select, Fanny Bay, and Kumamoto.  I am purist when it comes to eating raw oysters so a squeeze of lemon or a just a splash of mignonette is ideal.  All were great along with my favorites, the Kumamoto…plump, mildly sweet, and succulent. 

Top clockwise: Fanny Bay, Samish Bay Pacific, Kumamoto, Penn Cove Select

Top clockwise: Fanny Bay, Samish Bay Pacific, Kumamoto, Penn Cove Select

I always order either Champagne or a crisp, dry white wine with my oysters and tried the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Kim Crawford from New Zealand.  Light and crisp with tropical hints of fruit.  I also love my oysters baked in many ways…I remember making my very first Oysters Rockefeller at home and it was suprisingly yummy!  I tried their Baked Oysters($15)…four Samish Bay Oysters with Boar bacon, spinach, tomatoes, dry sherry, and chives…Very tasty indeed! 

Samish Bay Baked Oysters - Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive

Samish Bay Baked Oysters - Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive

Next on my list that I definitely want to try is their California Red Abalone, thin slices flash sauteed with hazelnut lime butter. This sounds great as I never had Abalone before.  Also, the Maine Lobster Tails sounds soo good…butter poached and grilled with gremolata garni and Yuzu honey butter sauce.  Yum!  Gremolata is an Italian mix of minced parsley, lemon peel and garlic.  I highly recommend dining on their patio as it has excellent views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands.  They even bring out comfy blankets as the night draws near.  Overall, I immensely enjoyed The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive for their fresh oysters, great bay views, and not to be forgotten…an excellent drive!

The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive

The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive

The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive website: http://www.theoysterbaronchuckanutdrive.com/

Address: 2578 Chuckanut Drive  Bow, WA  98232

Hours: Lunch daily 11:30am-4pm, Dinner daily 4pm-10pm

Contact:  360 766-6185

Seastar – South Lake Union

Posted in Fine Dining, Seafood, Wine with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by belltowngirl

One of my FAVorite seafood restaurants over the bridge has finally opened another in South Lake Union….Seastar!  I have been a major fan of Seastar in Bellevue for many years and I am very excited that they settled with South Lake Union.  The menu is almost exactly the same as the one in Bellevue.  The only slight difference is the raw bar has a lot more selections!  The raw bar has a great range of “raw” food so to speak…..oysters, ceviche, and sushi served maki style. 

I was invited to a family celebration and I was so excited that I wanted to order all my fav dishes, but alas I wanted to save my appetite for my ultimate FAVorite entree that only comes 2 months out of the year ;)  I decided to try my usual favorite, the Sesame-Peppercorn Crusted Ahi($14.5)….crusted with white and black sesame seeds and black peppcorns that is seared rare, served on top is daikon-carrot salad with ginger-soy reduction and wasabi cream.  Loved the textures and the suttle spices on the Ahi. 

Sesame-Peppercorn Crusted Ahi - Seastar South Lake Union

Sesame-Peppercorn Crusted Ahi - Seastar South Lake Union

For dinner I never had steak before at Seastar hence seafood restaurant so I decided to try the USDA Prime Top Sirloin($29) that was grilled a perfect juicy medium rare…my favorite…with herb roasted red potatoes, grilled red onion, garlic portabella mushroom, and Maytag blue cheese….Yum!  I complimented my steak with a bottle of 2000 Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins wine($525) from the Southern Rhone Valley of France.  Henri Bonneau’s wines consist of a Rhone blend of at least 90% Grenache and the rest Mourvedre, Counoise, and Vaccarese.  A phenomenal wine!
 USDA Prime Top Sirloin - Seastar South Lake Union

USDA Prime Top Sirloin - Seastar South Lake Union

Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins, Châteauneuf du Pape, 2000 - Seastar

Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins, Châteauneuf du Pape, 2000 - Seastar

Lastly, my all time FAVorite entree that I saved the best for last is the Applewood Grilled Copper River King Salmon(market price)….it is grilled over Applewood with butter, vermouth, and lemon and served with truffle-tomatoes and rosemary fingerling potatoes.  It was excellent…as always! I loved the hint of fruity and mild flavors of the apple with the salmon.  They also have the salmon roasted over Cedar plank which I had in the past.  A very subtle and smoky flavor, but I love a mild and fruity flavor to my salmon and grilling over Applewood was the best!  Also, one key thing to remember is that Copper River salmon is only available May to June.  Of course every Seattleite like me knows this so I definitely came to Seastar just in time…

Applewood Grilled Copper River King Salmon - Seastar South Lake Union

Applewood Grilled Copper River King Salmon - Seastar South Lake Union

Seastar will most definitely be a great addition to South Lake Union.  In terms of parking it is free at lunch with validation and $2 during dinner.  Seastar is quite easy to find as it is located right above Whole Foods and right next to Pan Pacific Hotel in South Lake Union.  Overall, I immensely enjoyed the Applewood Copper River King salmon, excellent Chateauneuf du Pape wine, and always the best customer service at Seastar…always!

Seastar restaurant and Raw bar website:  http://www.seastarrestaurant.com/seattle.php?page=Home

Address:  2121 Terry Ave, Suite 108 Seattle, WA  98121 (South Lake Union)

Hours:  Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm (Lunch), Mon-Sat 5pm-10pm, Sun 5pm-9pm (Dinner), Mon-Fri 4-6pm, Sun 5-10pm (Happy Hour)

Contact:  206 462-4364

Whistlin’ Jack Restaurant – Chinook Pass Hwy

Posted in Seafood with tags , , , , , , on July 27, 2009 by belltowngirl

I love going on great scenic drives and exploring much on what the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  For some reason I always get the best tips from my sport bike friends – Thanks guys!!  About a three hour drive from Seattle, Chinook Pass happens to be the most spectacular of the Washington’s Cascade passes.  As I drove down the Chinook Pass Hwy (410) towards Cliffdell is a riverside restaurant and lodge in the middle of nowhere.  You can see a lot of Northwest influence in the food and selections in wine.  Their dinner entrees were pretty diverse ranging from Huckleberry chicken, Venison Elk, to King Salmon.  I decided to get the King Salmon “Teriyaki” and plus I love salmon so go figure.  Alaskan coldwater salmon seared with a huckleberry teriyaki sauce and rice pilaf.  Yea, I know what your thinking…huckleberry and teriyaki sauce.   Quite suprisingly, it tasted great.  The tangy teriyaki sauce with sweet huckleberry blended well onto the King salmon.

King Salmon seared with huckleberry teriyaki sauce - Whistlin' Jacks

King Salmon seared with huckleberry teriyaki sauce - Whistlin' Jacks

Next time when I come back I’ll be sure to have some dessert…The Mt. Rainer Huckleberry Creme Brulee and the Mountain Blueberry Pie sounds tasty!  On the way back home to Seattle I wanted to stop by and do a little hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Just a few hundred meters up the summit, I stopped at the stunning Tipsoo Lake.  I hiked up past the log and stone archway marking the summit of Chinook Pass and had a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Mountains.  The best time to drive is late July to late October when the entire route is open.  Overall, I recommend the Whistlin’ Jack restaurant as a great stopover for good food and one of the best scenic drives that ascends 5430 feet overlooking a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier.

Tipsoo Lake Scenic Area - Chinook Pass, WA

Tipsoo Lake Scenic Area - Chinook Pass, WA

Whistlin’ Jack Lodge website: http://www.whistlinjacklodge.com/

Address:  20800 State Route 410  Naches, WA  98937

Hours:  7am – 9pmish (open all year around)

Contact:  509 658-2433

Taberna del Alabardero in Belltown – Pt2

Posted in Dessert and Pastries, Fine Dining, Seafood, Wine with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2008 by belltowngirl
Taberna del Alabardero in Belltown

Taberna del Alabardero in Belltown

One of my best friends was in town and I wanted to take him to Taberna del Alabardero restaurant in Belltown because I know he hasn’t tried traditional spanish cuisine – he loved it!  The manager and sommelier were extremely friendly.  They were very informative and explained all the spanish dishes we ordered and even showed us upstairs where a fireside room is held for private events.  First we decided to try two reds:  2007 Luna Beberide($10) from the Bierzo region and is a Mencia varietal and the 2005 Moristel de Alquezar and is a Moristel varietal($8).  The Mencia was full-bodied with light tannins, and spicy blue fruits – my current favorite.  We then moved forward to try some tapas.  If you like prosciutto…read on.  We decided to try the Tostada de Jamon Iberico a la Catalana ($7.50)  which is an Iberico ham on a toast rubbed with fresh tomatoes.  This appetizer is listed under Pinchos, in Spanish means small slice of bread which is similar to that of Bruschetta.  The Iberico de Bellota is a dry cured ham from the Iberico pig.  There are many different grades of Jamon Iberico depending on the diet of the pig,  and the most expensive grade is the “de Bellota.”  The Jamon Iberico de Bellota, the Holy Grail of ham is one of the pricest hams in the world and just recently became available in America in fall of 2007.   In the spring, the pig eats mushrooms and in the fall it consumes acorns.  This all natural diet of the iberico pig is one of the factors from its quality of meat that produces a more tender and flavorful one than prosciutto. It produces a marbled meat with fat that has a sweet and nutty flavor and melts onto the bread perfectly – My all time current favorite tapa dish. 

Luna Beberide Mencia, Moristel de Alquezar - Taberna del Alabardero

Luna Beberide Mencia, Moristel de Alquezar - Taberna del Alabardero

Jamon Iberico de Bellota - Taberna del Alabardero

Jamon Iberico de Bellota - Taberna del Alabardero

Next we tried the Brocheta de Pulpo y Colas de Langostinos($6) which is an Octopus and King Prawn Brochette.  Drizzled with Spanish olive oil and a tangy sauce that complimented the seafood very well.  

Octopus and King Prawn Brochette - Taberna del Alabardero

Octopus and King Prawn Brochette - Taberna del Alabardero

A different twist…we tried a refreshing chilled shot of Gazpacho($5) – Very healthy concoction.  Typically, it is a drink consumed during the summer months in Spain.  Now, when I first tried this even after a couple sips, this is still an acquired taste…for me that is.  It was very fulfilling and you can really taste the cucumber flavor.  Generally, the Gazpacho recipe comprises of cucumber, tomato, onion, green and red pepper, olive oil, and sherry vinegar.  Overall, this was fulfilling, very healthy and would try it again – maybe during the summertime.

Gazpacho shots - Taberna del Alabardero

Gazpacho shots - Taberna del Alabardero

Last, but not least…can’t leave without trying desert!  We tried the Leche Frita a la Canela which is fried milk squares with cinnamon($8). – Oh my gosh….this is incredibly good.  It had a thick custard inside with a crisp fried outer shell.  It is very much melt in your mouth delicious and I can eat a dozen of these bite size fried milk squares.  Overall, I immensely enjoyed the Spanish cuisine here at Taberna del Alabardero in Belltown and will keep you posted on more unique dishes to come!

Fried Milk Squares with Cinnamon - Taberna del Alabardero

Fried Milk Squares with Cinnamon - Taberna del Alabardero

Taberna del Alabardero website (Belltown):  http://www.alabardero.com/seattle/index.html

Address:  2328 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 (Cross st is Battery st.)

Tel:  206 448-8884

Happy Hour:  Mon – Fri (3pm-6pm)  50% off tapas, sangria, and pitchers.