Sunday, February 27, 2011

Comfort Food: Lamb & White Bean Stew

I have to say one of my favorite meals is lamb shanks with white beans.  The lamb shank is not pretty and it's not a quick fix either.  If you have the time and a slow cooker, lamb shanks and white beans...mmm DELICIOUS!
Lamb Shanks and White Bean Stew

I large Lamb shank
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
1-1/2 cups diced carrots
1-1/2 cups diced fennel
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp  dried thyme
1 cup dry white wine or sodium-reduced chicken stock
1 cup sodium-reduced chicken stock
2 cans northern white beans
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomoto
1/4 cup rosemary


Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. In large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; brown lamb, in batches. Transfer to slow cooker. 
Add all the other ingredients. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours or until meat is tender and separates easily from bone. Transfer lamb to plate. Skim off fat in slow cooker.

Spoon into shallow bowls; top with lamb.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Eastside Eats: Just another Bar & Grill

I have to admit, these photos were taken during the "soft" opening many months ago.  However, nothing much has changed.  Everything is ok.

We had this cheese, tapenade, wierd dip.  The extra buttered grilled breadwas good.

My friend had the Santa Fe

My burger was practically raw, I asked for RARE.  Borderline gross.

Another patron couldn't stop oogling and googling over the ice cream sandwich.  Again, just ok.
So why do I bother blogging about this place.  I went to Crossroads Bar and Grill again.  Same dirty menus and same bad stuff.  I don't know.  You be the judge.
Crossroads Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I love a good SNOW DAY!

It doesn't always rain in the Northwest.  Sometimes we are lucky to have a SNOW DAY.  The fiunny thing is, we never really know when they are coming and we're never ready to handle them.  For the last 2 days the Northwest has been under a "Winter Storm Alert"...joke.  I sat at my desk for 2 days looking for a single snow flake...nada.  Until last night!!!  Whoo-Hoo

Too much snow on the roads to drive, so I worked from home and admired the beautiful snow from my warm house.  The snow is begining to melt and everytime it falls from the trees, I think it's snowing again.  "They" say we aren't getting anymore snow, but it's VERY cold outside.  I will admire the snow from inside.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eastside Eats: Le Grand Bistro Americain

So I loved this place the first time I ate there, great location.  The second visit, was fine.  The food is fine, the tap water is horrible, so order a bottle of Evian, the prices are reasonable, but the service was a miss and the space was not quite what I wanted in the cold winter.  Don't get me wrong, I'll keep coming back here.  Good Menu.  The Charcuterie Plate is a must have with one of the interesting cocktails.  YUMMY!

The steak tartare was quite good.  Huge portion, way too much, but very good.  I had the vegetarian entree.  Four years of French in high school and I couldn't figure out that my entree was potatoes au gratin with a side salad.  Good, but not what I wanted.  John had the Trout Almondine...delicious.  On a recent visit I had the Onion Soup, salad and a pichet of their french wine...PERFECT!
I don't think Le Grand will be a special occation eatery for me, but more a good choice for a weekday dinner and when the weather gets better, it'll be great to try out all the other creative cocktails.  I can't wait to eat at Le Grand this summer!!!Le Grand Bistro Americain on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 21, 2011

A dumpling a day... House of Hong

Shrimp and Scallion Cake
 House of oldie but a goodie.  House of Hong has been around for a long, long, long time.  I always wanted to go to Houe of Hong as a child, "but everyone else gets to go there!!!"

My family always went to Sun-Ya when I was younger, becaue my mom swears they stopped using MSG before anyone else.  Anyway, now I can go where I want, still choose Sun-Ya, but I can go to House of Hong too.

Pork and Shrimp ShuMai
You can usually get a seat for Dim Sum at House of Hong.  The space is pretty big and turnover is fast.  Great choice if you're catching a matinee on the weekends.  Many families arrive all dressed up, I suppose they are coming after mass or celebrating a birthday or something.

The cart pushers hesitate to offer the more "exotic" stuff, ya know what I mean, but if you want it, chicken feet, tripe, etc... they always have it.
Sesame Balls
Overall, the dimsum at House of Hong is just what you expect.  It's a little greasy, but most of it (not all) is, no matter where you go.  Just like all the other dimsum places, you never know what you're going to get.  I don't mind that at all, however, I have to admit, I always order the Chinese broccoli with garlic sauce.  I try to make a meal out of dimsum, and it's always lacking vegetables.  Dimsum isn't the healthiest choice, but I don't really care.  Oh, don't forget dessert.  I have to say House of Hong always has the best selection; rice cakes, mango custard, egg tarts, and my favorite, sesame balls.
Try the Sesame Balls...YUMMY!
House of Hong Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mt. Bachelor, Bend, OR

I can never take a picture of myself, but I try to do it all the time, mostly to irritate my husband.  Out-of-focus, but who cares.  Anyway when we were at Mt. Bachelor, we spent most of the morning cross country skiing. I wore my heart rate monitor.  burned 1250 calories...whoo-hoo!  It was a beautiful sunny day and we spent most of our time climbing and sprinting, great workout.
 You'd think that after burning so many calories, I might want to eat something healthy...hell NO!!!
 I went straight for the chili dog with everything!!!
 Um, I didn't know there was a healthy option in the ski shack...seriously.  John ordered the very healthy vegetarian wrap with black beans.  I'm sure it was delicious!!! 

I was exhausted by the time we hit the pub.  OK, the pub was PACKED!!!  There were great local beers on tap and the one "Coors Light".  Fun, fun, FUN. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Eastside Eats: Tutta Bella

Back when Tutta Bella was brand new in Columbia City, I would never have dreamed there would be a Tutta Bella on the Eastside.  I really prefer the more intimate, squished, dining room in Columbia City.  Rustic in a funky neighborhood.  Why did we start going to the Eastside Tutta Bella?  Air conditioning!!!

Oh, and here's a nice touch: Beers are served with Marcona Almonds and wine with marinated olives.
A few summers ago when we had 100+ degree weather and were looking for a place we could hang out for a little while and have a nice casual meal.  Tutta Bella in Issaquah.  We really like coming here, always parking and easy to get to after work. 
There's always a seat at the bar and there is a nice patio for the warm summer nights.
If you decide to come early for Happy Hour, there is a great anitipasti selection.  If you get there early, you can order the Salumi E Formaggi off the Happy Hour menu, a nice selection of cured meats and fresh mozzarella.  Another nice choice would be the Bietola Marinata on the regular menu; Roasted beets, red onions, pistachios, goat cheese tossed in a red wine vinaigrette.  YUMMY!
Don't just go to Tutta Bella for pizza, check out the salads.  My favorite salad is the Insalata di Salerno.  The fresh mozzarella, crunchy fennel, grape tomaotes, romaine, cucumbers and a dijon vinaigrette are such a greeat combination, why bother with the other salads?  A small salad is enough for two people, unless you're starving and didn't get any antipasti. 
We always figure we're going to take some pizza home, so antipasti is always welcome.
This was the pizza special, italian sausage, mozzarella, and broccoli rabe...outstanding!
My favorite pizza is the Giovanni.  I've loved this pizza since the first time I had it 6 years ago and I know all the other pizza places copied...Yes, I am talking to you Via Tribunali AND Pagliacci.
The Giovanni is simple, extra virgin olive oil, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, prosciutto di parma, fresh arugula, and shaved parmesan, that's it and so delicious.  Another favorite is the Tutta Bella.  Basically it is the Meat Lovers Pizza, but better, of course.  The Neopolitan style pizza is so good since the crust and gobs of sauce and cheese aren't overpowering the whole experience.  I like the "other" types of pizza too, but not all the time.
So let's talk about dessert.  Gelato, gelato, gelato.  There are always good flavors available.  We had the Tiramisu once, nothing special, but good.  I'm not a fan of their Panna Cotta, but that's only because I think I make the best Panna Cotta (It's true!).  When in doubt, get gelato.
CANTUCCI...I love you!  They say these "little stones" are similar to biscotti, I think they are biscotti.  Anyway, you get 1 almond, 1 chocolate hazelnut, and 1 cranberry almond Cantucci.  I was looking for Vin Santo, but didn't see in on the menu.  However, I didn't ask if they had it.  Yummy, yummy, yummy.
Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria - Issaquah on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sunriver Resort and Mt. Bachelor, OR

We took a ski trip recently to Bend Oregon.  We stayed at the Sunriver Resort, great place if you like the seclusion.  I thought the resort was very peaceful and beautiful.  We had a very nice suite; right on the (frozen) river, view of the mountains, robe, slippers, big tub, fireplace, you know the type.  Great for peaceful relaxation, however, I can only take a little of that!  There are a few places to eat at the resort, so we sat and had a decent lunch in the main lodge while admiring the view. 

The Spa and Fitness center was nice.  I was able to get a little run in, to get me ready for a long day of cross country skiiing the next day.  I am glad we came in the deserted winter, I know the resort is a popular destination for families, so I REALLY enjoyed the QUIET.

Pine Tavern Restaurant on UrbanspoonWe went into Bend for dinner.  We ate at the Pine Tavern Restaurant.  We ordered a few appetizers, not my choice, calamari and the coconut shrimp.  They were ok.  Dinner was nothing to brag about, I barely touched my ribeye. I should have ordered chicken or pasta, that way I would have nothing to compare my steak to.  Anyway, I had a pint of Deschutes beer...not bad. 

Can't remember which beer, sounded like terra "something".  'LIGHT BULB WENT OFF!!!"  Bend is a great place for a BEER!!!
We headed back to SunRiver Resort and grabbed a nightcap, or in my case a Night Flight!!!

Here they are in this order...

Oakshire Amber, Oakshire Brewing, Eugene, OR: This was my favorite!  A refreshing Amber Ale.  The Oakshire Amber is brewed with five malts and tree hop varieties.  Good beginner beer for people who are new to the world of microbrews.

Organic Survival "Seven Grain" Stout, Hopworks Urban Brewing, Portland, OR:  I wanted to like this one the best, mostly because it is organic.  I have to say this beer screams out "NORTHWEST".  Brewed with barley, wheat, oats, amaranth quinoa and kamut.  Besides the very funky blend, what puts the northwest kick in this beer?  Well it's finished with 15 punds of cold-pressed Stumptown Hairbender espresso.  YUM.

Believer Double Red Ale, Ninkasi Brewing Co, Eugene, OR: Not bad.  This ale had a very rich malty flavor and a little hoppy.  I am glad I tasted this 3rd, the first 2 were heavier, but good.
Blonde Bobmbshell, Cascade Lakes Brewing Company, Redmond, WA:  I couldn't resist, but I needed to have something light, just in case the other 3 were too heavy.  I really like the Blonde Bombshell, light and refreshing.  Just what I needed.

Owl's Nest Pub on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Desperately Seeking Dinner

I have to admit, sometimes I just don't feel like eating out or cooking, but WE HAVE TO EAT!!!

OK, easiest thing to whip up... an omelet.  We always have eggs, baby red potatoes, sweet onions and frozen peas. 

Heat olive oil in a pan, saute the onons and thinly sliced potatoes, add salt and pepper to taste.  Turn heat to low.  Add 2-3 beaten eggs and a hand full of frozen peas.  Stir the eggs around slightly, so the raw egg cooks through.  OK, be brave, flip the egg.  You can slide it on a plate and flip it that way too.  Or, you can put a lid on and turn the heat way down.  Almost done...  When all the egg is cooked, EAT!!!

Easy, right?  If you have sour cream, chevre, or chives or all three, you can put that on top.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Late Night Bites: Flying Fish, Seattle, WA

I finally made it to Flying Fish's new place...VERY NICE. 

It was late so I thought, keep it light, but as soon as I saw oysters on the half shell, forget it.  Pink champagne and oysters!!!

I have to say, I love the new space.  Huge.  Very Cool.

We shared the Salt and Pepper Crab.  Delicious, but we'll never order this again.  Don't get me wrong, I love crab and I love to dig right in with my hands, but I'd rther do it in the privacy of my own backyard with a newspaper table cloth.  You know what I mean, right?
I guess we'll have to come back soon a try some other things on the menu.  Can't wait.

 The cold asian noodles were a nice side.  The cold caught me off guard.  I think overall, I would love this dish if I was sitting outside on a hot summer day, not in the middle of the winter.
Awesome ending!!!  Caramel Pot de Creme.  
Flying Fish on Urbanspoon


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