Cafe Juanita

Cafe Juanita deserves a separate posting in itself, as it is one of the top-rated restaurants in the United States.  Chef Holly Smith allows her patrons to savor the fare specializing in Northern Italian food with a commitment to organics and sustainability.  They offer a nice selection of exotic meats and seafood.  Cafe Juanita, located in Kirkland, WA is also known for their award-winning wine list.  On this night, we chose to bring a bottle in (as it was not on their wine list), and paid a $25 corkage fee to do so.  We also enjoyed rose champagne by the glass as a starter.   And take a look at this nice “birthday” spread…      

  • Seared Foie Gras with Onion Crostata, Candied Ginger, Cacao Nib and Charteuse Apple Brodo
  • Veal Sweetbreads with Fried Capers and Parsley, Ligurian Olive Oil
  • Local Rabbit Braised in Arneis with Baby Turnips, Pancetta and Porcini
  • Fish of the Day – Scallops
  • Bittersweet Chocolate Torta with Marcona Almond Gelato, Tangerine Reduction,Caramelized Banana
  • Piccoli Pasticcini; Diti di Mandorle, Golden Raisin Krumiri, Pinenut Biscotti and Gianduja (a cookie plate)

The evening could be described as a reserved quiet romantic elegance.  From the fireplace on one side, to the tea lights throughout the restaurant, a nice atmosphere.  The staff is attentive but not obtrusive.  The other patrons keep a hushed tone in deference to the surrounding atmosphere.  An all-around lovely evening!

January Dining

Urbane –    Urbane promotes their fare as from farm to table, bringing regional farmers goods and quality to the table.  Modern yet comfortable.  Water (in a pitcher) was placed on the table which was nice.  As Urbane is located in the Hyatt Olive 8 hotel (corner of 8th Ave and Olive Way), it is the perfect opportunity to view the hustle and bustle of the city.  We enjoyed the Caramelized Onion Flatbread (blue cheese and walnuts) and the Charcuterie & Cheeses  (lamb pate) selection.  This was a starter for us as we were headed to see Grease at the Paramount.   Since I am not doing a separate review of Grease, I will include it here.  Grease was only here for a three-day gig (January 7-9, 2011) and it is one that featured additional songs from Grease, the hit movie. We were treated to a special appearance, Eddie Mekka, from the popular 70’s show Laverne & Shirley, came out prior to the show to encourage the audience to participate in a sing along and hand jive.  Eddie also played Vince Fontaine/Teen Angel.  Grease itself was enjoyable and entertaining.  It followed the movie but some scenes took place in different venues (as to cut stage cost I imagine).  Matt Nolan, who played Danny was very good.  I would have preferred one of the other gals to have played Sandy though.  “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop, A-wop-bam-boom!”

Spice Route  Located at 2241 – 148th in Bellevue (Overlake).  Spice Route is Indian cuisine (north, south and Fusion) and is recommended – for the Grand Lunch Buffet and courteous staff.  This is a favorite stop for the Microsoftees that work nearby.  Enjoy!

Blazing Bagels  –  this stop was on 1st Ave S at Safeco Field (SODO).  This location gets great reviews and based on their menu, I think you will find something that will please.  I won’t mention what I ordered (although it was really good) but I will say that the gentleman behind the counter was awesome…I liked that he called the men that came in “Boss”, and I believe he called me “sweetie”, although I can’t remember for sure.  Check out the for a menu or find it here:  Download Menu Page 1 (PDF)
Download Menu Page 2 (PDF)

Chantanee  As the choice of the birthday girl, this was a nice evening out among friends.  The hostess was most pleasant!  On this night, Martin Luther King day, it was a little slower as it was a Monday night and the usual business crowd was away.  We ordered brown rice and shared four dishes… Heavenly Beef, Phad Gang Paa, Crispy Garlic Chicken, and Green Bean Pric Pao.  All were delicious, especially the Crispy Garlic Chicken and Green Bean Pric Pao (ordered with Prawns).  I liked the entire meal.  What they didn’t tell me though was, by ordering the Prawns with the Green Bean Pric Pao, an additional $6 was charged for this selection.  Due to it being a birthday celebration, they were nice enough to bring out a scoop of ice cream for the birthday girl as well.  Chantanee is considered upscale Thai and is located at 106 108th Ave NE  in the Key Center building in Bellevue, WA.  Those friends who are considered experts in Thai, choose Chantanee.

Check out updates on prior posts of A Terrible Beauty, The Ram, Pearl and Rock Bottom Brewery.

Note:  not all outings or visits to fast food or chain restaurants are reviewed on

Everett Silvertips

Hockey in the Puget Sound area consists of the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds, who are part of the WHL (Western Hockey League).  I like the Everett Silvertips for their home town, community feel.  The home games are located at Comcast Arena at the corner of Broadway and Hewitt in Everett, WA.   I try to go at least once a year.  This evening the Everett Silvertips played the Seattle Thunderbirds, their Puget Sound rival, with the Silvertips winning 6-5.  The energy and noise make it fun as many in the crowd ring their cow bells and others their vuvuzelas.   A nice variety of food and drink is available including specialty items like Top Pot doughnuts.  Suites are available. Chuck a Puck.  The 50/50 Raffle.  The evening we attended, the raffle got to $3980 with a sell out crowd of over 8,300.  Between periods, there are contests and audience participation activities that will make you smile… such as the Kiss Cam, Dance Cam, the party Zamboni, and others.  This evening, Tyler Maxwell, made four goals.  When one player scores three goals in a game, it  is called a hat trick.   When this occurs, many people throw their hats onto the ice…so don’t wear a hat that you might not want to part with!  And if you have time, check out the team store where you will find a nice variety of team merchandise (although the lines are usually long).  The 2011 Everett Silvertips season goes through March.  Check out the Hockey 101 link under Fan Zone at  for hockey terms and rules.

Teatro ZinZanni Seattle

Wow!  If you haven’t seen Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle, get there at some point!  It is an investment, but well worth the experience.  This particular run, Hearts on Fire, showing until January 23, 2011, is REALLY fun!   The event is three-hours…dine on a five-course meal and enjoy the all-out sensory experience of the international cast specializing in cirque, comedy, and cabaret.  I especially liked the audience participation portions and the sensual performance of Vita Radionova.  I really can’t say enough about the entire cast…I could list them all here but I’ll let you check out the website to view the talented crew.  To get the most out of this enjoyable evening …share a table with a couple you don’t know or go with a group of friends.  The food was generally good, however, the  salmon was a bit dry which is to be expected at the larger dinner events, so I would recommend the filet mignon or other entrée options.  The add-on’s are not necessary.  Due to the length of dinner, I would recommend bringing a bottle of wine (corkage fee is $20) or ordering a bottle to carry you through the show.  The atmosphere is vibrant, visually intoxicating and the dress/costume of those that work there really brings the experience together.  You will definitely leave the show with a smile on your face.  🙂

A New Year begins…

“One kind word can warm three winter months.”
–   Japanese proverb

“The twelve months…
Snowy, Flowy, Blowy,
Showery, Flowery, Bowery,
Hoppy, Croppy, Droppy,
Breeze, Sneezy, Freezy.”
–   George Ellis

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.” 
–   Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday. -Charles Lamb

A busy day…

Today was a busy day.  If you are looking for a good wine selection, may I make a suggestion?  Esquin Wine Merchants on 4th Avenue South in Seattle.   Lunch was had at Matt’s in the Market – just above the Pike Place Market.  I made note of this in a May post, but wanted to make mention once again…I really like the hustle and bustle of the lunch crowd.  We enjoyed a half bottle of 2008 Cadence along with the Lamb Burger and Roasted Lamb Sirloin.  For the Lamb Burger, I especially like the brioche roll used.  The bacon was cooked just right…and who could resist goat cheese?  And…the spread of onion jam was a really nice touch.  The dish came with a bowl of garbanzo bean-sultana salad.  A nice walk through Pike Place Market was had.  To complete the outing, a visit was made to the Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM).  I have to admit I am not much of a museum goer but did enjoy the experience today.  I especially liked that I could get more information during the tour using my smartphone and Microsoft Tag  My favorite pieces  (in English) were Head of Fernande in Profile, Three Figures Under a Tree, Reclining Nude, and The Studio at La Californie.  Also, it was nice to see the photographs of Picasso with his family and friends.  The exhibit ends on January 17th, 2011.  The best part of seeing special exhibitions at the SAM, is that this entitles you to browse through the thousands of other pieces of art that are part of the museum’s regular rotating exhibits for no extra charge.  I especially like the robe-like form which is made up of 40,000 dog tags (Floor 3, see picture herein)  Note:  Not an inexpensive day out.