February Eats

Ciao!  Assaggio Ristorante is a breath of fresh air when it comes to hospitality and authentic Italian fare.  It is a great place for a table for two, a party of friends, or business associates.  A staple since 1993, Assaggio provides personal attention and a varied menu (from central and northern Italy).  A remembrance and a warm greeting was had by the executive chef, Mauro.  Check out the great blog at  http://www.assaggioseattle.com/  A shout out for Michelle at the bar is needed -she was welcoming and our server was knowledgable and more than accommodating.  Suggestions were made, substitutions were granted – I was able to choose half and half (two different pastas) on this evening.  A sampling of choices this evening were:

  • Gamberoni alla Griglia – Grilled prawns dipped in goat cheese
  • Bruschetta – the fresh tomatoes, garlic, and basil – delicious!
  • Prosciutto con Arugula
  • Red wine from the award-winning wine list accompanied the meal
  • Cinghiale –  wild boar ragu
  • Vongole – Linguini with manila clams
  • Melanzane al Forno – Baked Eggplant
  • A special of the evening – Risotto with chantarelle mushrooms and duck
  • Osso Bucco
  • Pepperonata (made to order for the vegetarian of the bunch)

The bar is small so happy hour may not be on the agenda, depending on the evening.

Jazz Alley – Jazz Alley is a longtime Seattle favorite hosting quality food and entertainment.  Visits here have been many and no doubt, there will be more.  Come for dinner prior to the event or just show up for dessert and drinks.  Seating options are plenty.  On this night, celebrating a friend’s birthday, we saw Smooth Jazz Guitarist Peter White.  The drummer and the rest of the ensemble were fabulous!  Entertaining, a nice mix of styles, and worth the $28 ticket.  http://www.peterwhite.com/  Check out the calendar of events, parking info (complimentary), and sample menu at  http://www.jazzalley.com/  For reservations…online or make a phone call.  All in all, it always make for a nice evening out!

MunchbarNOTE:  As of January 2012, Munchbar in Bellevue, WA is now closed. See June 2011 for an earlier mention.  Looking for the best veggie burger ever?  Munchbar has it.  The veggie burger is beautifully built using crispy onions, arugula, avocado, sundried tomato and black olive mayo.  Delicious!  Also tried this time around was the mini munch®* slider (melted cheddar, tomatoes, pickles, crispy onions, shredded romaine, “fancy sauce”).  I suggest ordering  it without the fancy sauce as it comes with personal sized ketchup (and mustard) bottles.  Again, loved the music played here.  And hey…there’s a Las Vegas location too.  http://www.munchgroup.com/bellevue/

Palomino –   Bellevue – Great lunch once again!  Check out my initial November 2010 post.  This time around, Dungeness Crab Sliders were on the menu – Yum!… and I can recommend the Turkey Panini as well.   http://palomino.com/

Jumpin’ June

Munchbar – located at the Bellevue Collection (Bellevue Square) in Bellevue, WA, this chain is lively and rockin’. Love the music heard above! Don’t come looking to be too healthy as there are some pretty good-looking comfort foods here, like crispy mac ‘n cheese bites and sloppy jack sliders. As this was my first time here, I tried the Burger in a Bowl – YUM! A really nice mix of crisp iceberg lettuce, beef, shredded cheddar cheese, crispy onions, chopped tomatoes and smoked bacon. It comes with a “fancy sauce” but I asked for blue cheese instead. They do a really nice job of not adding too much dressing, it was just enough. This is a really tasty dish. My friend and I thought the beef was a bit too charbroiled, regardless of how it is cooked. Overall, I would definitely have this dish again. Check out their menu at http://www.munchgroup.com/bellevue/

Re:public – located at 429 Westlake Avenue N.  in the vibrant South Lake Union area of Seattle, this is a hot spot for happy hour!  I had not been to this area in awhile (although, I didn’t realize it when I stopped in at Serious Pie in early March) and was surprised to see the new growth – Amazon’s new headquarters, Tommy Bahama headquarters, Microsoft, PATH, others…  While at re:public, I must have seen 5 different people run by, as it seems that people tend to seek recreation in this area as well. 

Now on to re:public.  Really like the decor…the ability to open the windowed “garage” door to the street outside is always a draw, especially during the summer months.  There is a nice variety of seating options – booths in the dining area, tables and high tables/stools.  I am glad I was able to try this newbie…happy hour consisted of good mix of professionals, although I must say, it is one of the noisiest places I’ve been to.  We pretty much had to yell to have a conversation.  But, as the evening went on, the clientele diversified and the atmosphere was more dining casual with flair.  I was surprised to see that they had one server taking care of the dining area of the bar.  Best happy hour in the area a friendly gent sitting next to us noted.  If ordering wine by the glass…it was nice that the server would bring over the bottle to taste.  A variety was had this night.  Appetizers…Pomme Frites, Artisanal cheeses served with bread.  Dinner….Baby Lettuces, Pan-Roasted Alaskan Halibut, Pork Angoloti.  Dessert….Ricotta Fritti (really good carmelized bosc pear with cinnamon cream),  Chocolate Budino (toasted marshmallow gelato, graham cracker crumbs).  I think the consensus was that is was good but lacking a distinct flavor.  Sandwiches at lunch are recommended.  http://www.republicseattle.com/

Olive You!  Olive You, located on Kirkland Ave. in Kirkland, WA.  A lovely sunny Friday in June for outdoor dining, with a view of Lake Washington and the hustle and bustle of downtown Kirkland.  Kirkland has to be one of the most inviting areas of Puget Sound.  It is near the water, has good quality restaurants and boutique shopping. There is the gallery walk on the second Thursday of every month.   http://www.explorekirkland.com/   At Olive You!.. have you tried their Spanikopita yet?  This is not your ordinary spanikopita – baby spinach, sheep milk feta, and carmelized onion wrapped in a delicious phyllo dough pastry.  The devilish Prawns (ok) and Dips Love (hummus and the like) – pretty good .  The spanikopita was my favorite.  Olive You!  has a really nice sangria – not like any other I have had…would love the recipe.  The service is so-so, reviews are so-so.  They serve breakfast too!   http://olive-you.com/

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) – I am adding this group outing as it is one of my oldies but goodies.  I first went to CPK in Atlanta at Lenox Square in the mid-1980’s.  The BBQ Chicken Pizza was the hit at the time.  It is still good…but now, although I don’t get to CPK but once a year or so, my real fave is Pear Gorgonzola pizza!  This can’t be beat in my opinion!  It is made up of caramelized pears, gorgonzola, fontina and mozzarella cheeses, caramelized sweet onions and chopped hazelnuts. Topped with field greens tossed in a gorgonzola ranch dressing.  As our server, Tong was excellent – very observant and timely.  Our entire group enjoyed their selections.   http://cpk.com/

Boom Noodle is located in both Bellevue Square (Bellevue), University Village and Capitol Hill (Seattle) and brings you great flavors from all over Asia.  Boom Noodle is airy with a modern and “green” decor.  Items tried were Yaki Udon, a decent selection if you like the Udon noodle, which is thicker and not so much round yet might have a flat edge to it.  The dish was especially interesting as they top it with the “dancing” bonito flake which looks like “something” is moving on it.  A bit weird, but it calms down after a bit.  The second dish ordered was the Beef Yakisoba.  I will say that I would probably order different dishes if I go again.  Check out the nice variety or items at http://www.boomnoodle.com/v2/food.html