Lucia – Kirkland

I like this place.  We enjoyed celebrating a birthday this night and have been to Lucia a number of times.  Happy hour is the preferred experience so far (as that is the only experience had).  The evening started out with Frank Sinatra, a perfect accompaniment to happy hour.  It then changed to electronic/dance which also fit the packed bar area soon thereafter.  I also liked the Italian lessons heard in the ladies room.  What else can you ask for?  The happy hour fare of  this evening?  Carmelized Pear and Onion Pizzetta (delicious!) and the Tomato and Basil Bruschetta.  Both of these are a standard favorite. Also, a half caesar and a half seasonal green salad was enjoyed.  The Italian white and red on the happy hour menu were savored.  I would suggest that a second bar server be added…just to seal the deal.  Oh, and this is a must mention – a black and white film was showing this night…Step Lively, on the wall above the fireplace as you walk in..no audio, big screen. Can I use the word “cool” here?  http://www.iloveluciakirkland.com/

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Walla Walla…Whitehouse-Crawford

OMG!  Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant in Walla Walla, WA served up one of the most appetizing, flavorful meals I have experienced.  Yum!   The high tressled ceilings, open kitchen, warming fireplace, brick walls, and windows showcasing wine barrels from a local winery make for a warming ambiance.  It is suitable for a couple wanting a romantic evening, a business dinner or a group gathering.   We brought in our own local bottle of wine but also enjoyed a 1/4 bottle of Perrier Jouet (as it was Valentine’s weekend).  The appetizers chosen were crispy fried sweet onions and Vietnamese style deep-fried calamari with ginger and two dipping sauces.  The entree of choice was the House made spaghetti with Dungeness crab, fennel, and pancetta.  Absolutely delicious!  The flavors lingered.  Also, a bite was had of my Valentine’s Wagyu beef tenderloin steak with red wine sauce, mushrooms sauteed in foie gras butter and mashed potatoes.  The beef was incredibly tender and flavorful (medium-rare).  David P served us with professionalism and a quick wit.  Would love to tell you about the dessert, but was way to full and satisfied to indulge.  If traveling to Walla Walla this is one of the must go to dinner spots, you may also have the desire and time to try their six course chefs prix fix dinner, I hear it is wonderful. The Whitehouse-Crawford building used to be a mill and furniture factory…check out the history portion of the website.  http://www.whitehousecrawford.com/

February’s Elegance

“I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was not other creature
That saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.” 
–   Sara Teasdale, February Twilight

Rain or Shine … Be My Valentine
Raindrops on our dresses,
Sunshine on our face,
No matter what the weather,
The look of love won’t be replaced.

The silent sound as rain falls,
The brilliance of the sun.
They only promise radiance,
Caused by either one.

Let it rain, or let it shine,
It won’t matter none.
You’re such a lovely Valentine,
In either rain, or sun.

Let it snow, let it hail,
Earth blanketed with white.
It won’t prevent our day,
Or deny the magic of our night.
– Donna Wallace

“February makes a bridge and March breaks it.”
–  George Hebert

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.”
–   William C. Bryant

Wine and Chocolate Festival – Enumclaw

The Third Annual Enumclaw Wine & Chocolate Festival was this last weekend, February 4-5, 2011 at the Enumclaw Expo Center.  The event showcased 30+ shops for your perusing pleasure, 30+ wineries for tasting, and 13 chocolate vendors.  This year’s event was for persons 21 and over which allowed for more vendor flexibility, as the wine and chocolate booths were next to each and dispersed throughout the Expo Center.  This allowed for a fun time out for the adults.  Tickets were good for both days and additional wine tasting tickets were only $1 each (as long as you came back with your wine glass).  Entertainment included Moody Music and a number of seminars on wine, truffle making, and food pairing.  There were a couple stops along the route for a bite as well.  My favorite chocolatiers there was Carter’s Chocolates out of Port Orchard, WA  http://www.carterschocolates.com/ .  Carter’s Chocolates can be found in other locations too…check out the About Us section of their website for where to purchase.  There were different kinds of chocolate makers… from fudge to chocolate bars, chocolate nuts to chocolate drinks, as well as the specialty chocolatiers like truffles and caramel.  Doesn’t this sound heavenly? Also, a bit like Forest Gump’s Shrimp analogy? 🙂   Mark your calendars for next years event but be sure to go on Friday or earlier on Saturday (as some chocolate vendors ran out of samples).  There were plenty of different wines for all tastes, from inexpensive, to fruit wines, dessert wines, as well as some really good wines to share with your special valentine.   Some of my favorite wines there this year were from Five Star Cellars, Brian Carter Cellars, Kontos Cellars, Barrister Winery, and Gamache Vintners, in no particular order.  And because this was a Chamber of Commerce event, wine was available for purchase at a good discount.  Make it a day (or evening) out, and enjoy the ride.  http://enumclawchocolatefestival.com/