Archive for foie gras

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
 
 

RN74

Posted in French, Wine bar with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2011 by belltowngirl

A new restaurant just opened its doors right in the middle of downtown Seattle on 4th Ave and Pike.  RN74 is the brainchild of Michael Mina who is a James Beard award winning chef.  He has many many different well received restaurants from San Francisco to Las Vegas.  Suprisingly, he was raised in Ellensburg, WA and now resides in SF.  RN74 is primarily a wine bar focused on Grand Cru wines from the Burgundy region in France.  Their menu is of contemporary french fare with a focus on local ingredients.

I couldn’t help but notice they have sweetbreads and foie gras on their first and second course.  If you have been reading my blog for awhile you probably know  I am a major foie gras fan :)  The Crispy sweetbreads “a la chasseur” with spring onion confit, chanterelle mushrooms, and english peas was delicious.  Very lightly crispt sweetbreads on the outside immersed in a rich onion confit. 

Crispy Sweetbreads "a La Chasseur"

Crispy Sweetbreads "a La Chasseur"

The second plates menu the Liberty Farms duck breast and Hudson Valley foie gras caught my eye.  Very tender duck breast served with a bowl of Bluebird Grain Farms farro, bing cherries, rainbow swiss chard mixed with foie gras.  You take a spoonful and layer it onto the duck – Sublime!  The bing cherries is a great compliment as fruit goes well and balances the richness of foie gras. 

Liberty Farms duck breast & Hudson Valley foie gras
Liberty Farms duck breast & Hudson Valley foie
RN74 Seattle
RN74 Seattle

I love anything to do with wine reduction sauce and the Alaskan halibut with sugar snap peas sounds absolutely delicious.  The dish will definitely be next on my list.  An excellent wine bar in the downtown Seattle area.  The interior I would best describe as old world and contemporary with dark red leather seats and sleek blue lighting at the wine bar.  For a more intimate evening with your special date, I highly recommend reserving a booth.  Hopefully, I will have time to visit the main wine bar when I pass through to Napa Valley in the next couple weekends.  On a side note, stay tuned for my review on the new Iron Chef Morimoto restaurant in Napa :)  Overall, RN74 has excellent customer service and great modern french fare.  Enjoy!

RN74 website (Downtown Seattle):  http://www.michaelmina.net/

RN74 website (SF):  http://www.michaelmina.net/restaurant.php?restaurant_id=3&action=menus

Address:  1433 Fourth Avenue  Seattle, WA  98101 (cross st is Pike)

Hours:  Lunch 11am-2:30pm, Dinner Sun- Thurs 5:30-10pm Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30pm

Contact: 206 456-7474

Barolo – Downtown Seattle

Posted in Fine Dining, Italian, Wine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by belltowngirl

I’ve been meaning try this Italian restaurant right below the Metropolitan Tower bordering Belltown and I am soo glad I finally did.  When you walk inside Barolo Ristorante, it has a sleek and seductive look with large Italian glass chandeliers and flickering melted wax candles that adorns this place.  Barolo has a large list of over 300 wines ranging from Barbaresco to Barolo Italian reds and a good selection of domestic reds.  I decided on the Allegrini La Grola red wine and it was an excellent choice by the staff.  A great full bodied and fruity wine to compliment my pasta dishes coming ahead.  As for the appetizers I tend try a couple, but with heavy pasta dishes coming up I limited it to either Foie Gras or Carpaccio.  I love Foie Gras so go figure!  I probably said this before, but I am so glad I don’t live in California or Chicago.   The Fegato Grasso e Fagioli $16 (Foie Gras with cannellini beans, thyme, and candied wild black cherries) was delectable.  Typically, foie gras is paired with fruit and the cherries added a nice tart and slightly fruity taste. The foie gras was seared perfectly…lightly crispt on the outside.

Foie Gras with cannellini beans, candied wild black cherries - Barolo

Foie Gras with cannellini beans, candied wild black cherries - Barolo

Now for the pasta dishes, the truffle-leek sauce ingredient caught my eye so I tried the Tortelloni alla Piemontese  $19 (Fresh homemade pasta filled with porcini mushrooms with truffle-leek sauce)….My FAVorite!  Excellent aroma and a great earthy taste!

Fresh homemade pasta, porcini mushrooms, truffle-leek sauce - Barolo

Fresh homemade pasta, porcini mushrooms, truffle-leek sauce - Barolo

Lastly, I tried the Gnocchi in Tegamino con Mozzarella Fresca $16 (House-made Gnocchi with fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce, and Copper River Salmon)…the texture of the gnocchi was soo tender, smooth, and full of flavor.

Housemade Gnocchi, Copper River king salmon - Barolo

Housemade Gnocchi, Copper River king salmon - Barolo

Barolo - Westlake

Barolo - Westlake

I will definitely be back to try their other dishes especially their baby Octopus, wine reduction, and garbanzo beans…and the Tuna Tartare, ginger glaze with organic copper mountain honey, and french sea salt!  I highly recommend reserving a booth for dinner as the seats are very cozy and spacious.  Overall, I highly recommend Barolo for a perfect ambiance and great homemade organic pasta dishes!

Barolo Ristorante website:  http://www.baroloseattle.com/

Address: 1940 Westlake Avenue Seattle, WA  98101 (Below the Metropolitan Towers)

Hours:  Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm, Dinner Sun-Thurs 4:30pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 4:30pm-11pm, Happy Hour Everyday 3-6pm and again on 10pm-midnite

Contact:  206 770-9000

Cafe Campagne

Posted in brunch, French with tags , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by belltowngirl

The first time I went to Campagne was during senior prom while the rest of my friends were either at Palisades or Ponti.  I wanted to be in more intimate and chef-inspired restaurant and it was definitely what I had in mind.  Then, not even realizing it they had a bistro-like restaurant right below called Cafe Campagne.  Located in the Pike Place neighborhood, it serves Southern French comfort food with seasonal Northwest ingredients.  I went there for brunch and all their Oeufs and speciality dishes looked great.  I had their Oeufs en Meurette($15) which in French means eggs in red wine sauce.  This spectacular dish had two poached eggs served on garlic croutons with bacon, pearl onions, and champignons(mushrooms) in a red wine and foie gras sauce served with pommes frites.  The big garlic croutons dipped in red wine sauce was juicy and with a perfect crunch on the ends.  This is my favorite dish and it’s indescribably that good.  When I was in Paris years ago every dish I tried whether it be at a restaurant or shopping at a gourmet grocery store, words can’t describe how good it is… you just have to try it.  If you like dipping your frites or french fries in a sauce, I definitely recommend the garlic aioli.  It’s rich and creamy and the garlic is not too overpowering.  They serve this dish during brunch on weekends, but they also serve during lunch on weekdays as well.

Oeufs en Meurette - Cafe Campagne

Oeufs en Meurette with pommes frites - Cafe Campagne

Definitely I would love to veer away from my favorite brunch dish and sooner or later try the house-salmon gravlax, salmon rillettes, and demie baguette with a fennel, red onion, and citrus salad($14)…I am a major fan of good salmon and tangy salads!  The Butter Lettuce and Beet salad($12) sounds tasty too… it has butter lettuce with hazelnut vinaigrette, Roquefort cheese, marinated beets, and toasted hazelnuts..Yum!  Cafe Campagne has a great selections of salads with interesting vinagrettes and baguette sandwiches.   They have a good selection of white wines…Gewurztraminer and Reisling’s from the Alsace region of France.  I highly recommend this place for its unique and great tasting Southern French comfort food at its best!

Cafe Campagne website: http://www.campagnerestaurant.com/cafe_home.html

Address: 1600 Post Alley Seattle, WA 98101

Hours: Brunch Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm, Lunch Monday-Friday 11am-5pm, Dinner Sunday-Thursday5pm-10pm

Contact: 206 728-2233

Six Seven Restaurant – New Years Eve ’08

Posted in Fine Dining, Wine with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2009 by belltowngirl

At the Edgewater Hotel located on Pier 67, we booked a reservation at their restaurant Six Seven.  As we walked into the entrance, the theme was very New Years Eve with a sparkling Moet Chandon champagne fountain to hip and jazzy music playing  by a band that was suprisingly very good.  Think jazzy remakes of mid 80’s to early 90’s hits and a great singer to boot – It was that good!  We requested a table overlooking the waterfront – very intimate atmosphere with candles and a flickering fireplace next to our table.  We reserved a 4-6 course meal($95 per person) and lets just say that the executive chef kept my palate on edge…

First and foremost, I had to order some drinks;)  I started with a goose and tonic..then, decided to get a bottle of 2004 L’Ecole No.41($74).    They had a great selection of wines from Riojas to a couple of my other local fav Washington wineries – Leonetti and Kiona.  On the menu our first was an Amuse Bouche which is a hors d’oeuvre and served with complimentary Moet Chandon.  A faberge egg ensemble with lobster, leek, caviar, truffle, and champagne.  A great selection from the chef, the caviar blended well with the truffle and lobster – light and creamy.

Faberge Egg - Six Seven restaurant

Faberge Egg - Six Seven restaurant

Now, for the real starter dish we had Carmelized Foie Gras infused with toasted cardamom, fleur de sel, white balsamic, and vanilla poached quince.  I love great Foie Gras and I am so glad I dont live in Chicago or California.  The cardamom is a strong herb and suprisingly it didn’ t overpower the rich and melt in your mouth foie gras.  It was served warm which I love as opposed to some restaurants that serve it cold pate-style.   Typically, foie gras is paired with fruit and the Poached Quince was a perfect match.  Very delicious and not too sweet.

Carmelized Foie Gras - Six Seven restaurant

Carmelized Foie Gras - Six Seven restaurant

Next is one of my favorite dishes – the cheese platter….it’s a breather from all the other rich dishes coming up;)  We had the Gouda XO which is a cheese from Holland and aged a minimum of 26 months.   Loved this – Semi hard texture, very creamy and blended perfectly with the pecans dipped in whiskey. 

Gouda XO - Six Seven restaurant

Gouda XO - Six Seven restaurant

For the Intermezzo, we cleansed our palate with Riesling Sorbet with ingredients of chili, pineapple, and mint.  Thumbs up for the pineapple  sorbet – Very lightly tart and refreshing.

Riesling Sorbet - Six Seven restaurant

Riesling Sorbet - Six Seven restaurant

I debated between to the Strip Loin, Black Bass, and the Muscovy Duck…I like duck so go figure.  The Muscovy duck is the leanest of all duck breeds, yet very tender and flavorful.  The duck was complimented with apricot, foie gras, pistachio, brioche, and grand marnier.  My favorite entree thus far! The duck was very tender and blended well with the apricot, and the light tart mustard and dark sweet sauce. 

Muscovy Duck - Six Seven restaurant

Muscovy Duck - Six Seven restaurant

Lastly, I had the “Assiette au Chocolate” which was an AMAZING dessert…Assiette is french for “Assortment.”  It was a trio of a dim sum ensemble, chocolate pave, and pot du creme.   First, many thanks to the Executive Chef for developing a different twist from your typical “trio of creme brulee” or “truffle” type desserts served in multi-course meals.  OMG – Lets first talk about the dim sum ensemble(middle).  Unexplainably fantastic – rich bits of chocolate in a crisp roll.   On the far right is the chocolate pave that was rich, smooth, and overall tasty.  The far left is the pot du creme and is served in small dessert cup that was filled with a luscious cream of chocolate.  I pretty much cleaned that up!  Overall, the trio of chocolate desserts were very delicious.  I would highly recommend dining at Six Seven Restaurant on NYE or any other occasion as it has a very unique twist in dishes and a spectacular wine list. 

Assiette au Chocolate - Six Seven restaurant

Assiette au Chocolate - Six Seven restaurant

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

Tel:  206 269-4575

Hours:  Breakfast: Mon-Fri: 6:30am-11:00am, Sat: 6:30am-11:30am, Sun: 6:30am-10:30am

Sunday Brunch: 10:30am-2:00pm

Lunch: Mon-Fri: 11:00am-2:30pm, Sat: 11:30am-2:30pm (No lunch menu on Sundays when Brunch is served)

Dinner: Sun-Thur: 5:30pm-9:00pm, Fri/Sat: 5:30pm-10:00pm

Happy Hour: Sun-Thurs: 3:00pm – 6:00pm