Tavern Law…objection

October 22, 2009

Whew… it’s been a bit hectic as of late, but I’m excited that I was able to try a new restaurant/bar this week. I heard about Tavern Law in Capital Hill a few months ago when they first opened. Shrouded by mystery and a “speakeasy” label, I had to see what the hubbub was all about. Tavern Law is crafted in honor of a time during prohibition when there were dark basements and back rooms dedicated to the art of a mixed drink and the bartenders that made them. I have to say that I am a sucker for a sweet little old-timey cocktail glass. Seriously, they could pour milk in there and I would think it was the fanciest thing ever. Love.

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The decor is dark and a bit quiet. There is a lot of dark wood and leather seating. Shelves filled with old books. A fantastic old refrigerator with the big stainless steel handles and glass windows sat behind the bar. I would love to have one of those some day. Probably not the most energy efficient machine I’m guessing, but super cool! So, to get things started I had a glass of sparking rose’ in a sweet low wine glass. Delish.┬áThe menu is short and sweet. The portions are small and perfect for sharing. We tried the Truffle Risotto with celery root and the Pork Cheek with beans and plum. Mercy… I love a good pork cheek dish.

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The service was fantastic and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable; here is where it fell short for me. Salt. I like salt, but I don’t LOVE salt. I think I have a fairly common palette in that way. So, when you have a dish that is alarmingly salty, it sort of ruins the rest of the fun. I was hoping for a party in my mouth with these dishes. They were beautifully presented. My mouth was watering when they arrived, but both were too salty for me. Truffle is a strong flavor and a little seems to go a long way, so had that dish not been so salty, it may have been delightful. My second cocktail is a favorite of mine. Lillet on the rocks. Very refreshing after the salt lick that was my dinner.

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I feel a little bad giving this place a hard time about the salt, but these are talented chefs. Even though they’ve been getting lots of press (including a recent write up in our old friend Gourmet), I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to try Tavern Law again. They do have a small upstairs space through an old steel door and you have to call up before they let you in. I wonder what the code word is. Water? They had a private party the night I was there, so I was out of luck.

I’m off to the Rolling Huts in the Methow Valley this weekend, so I’ll have another post soon. Off I go…

hori hori dig dig!

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Volunteer Park Conservatory

October 13, 2009

Even if you don’t care for gardening or plants, you have to admit this is kind of cool:

There are plenty of plants at the Volunteer Park Conservatory that are obviously not native to our climate here in the Pacific Northwest. I found out that the Conservatory is a US Fish and Wildlife Rescue Center and when the US Customs seizes illegally imported plants some are given to the Conservatory to display. Which explains why all of the orchids were behind locked screens. Cool, right?

If you haven’t been to Volunteer Park Conservatory in Capital Hill, you need to go. Especially now, because the trees in the park are lit up in their Fall colors. It’s a really nice place to take a stroll. I recommend donating some money if you go, because the Friends of the Conservatory and the Seattle Parks and Recreation department do such a nice job maintaining the plants and the property. On my recent visit to Olympia I was disappointed that the conservatory at the Capital had been closed permanently. I love to see the variety of plants; their colors, texture and climate. Since I am always cold, I’m particularly fond of the fern house since they keep it kinda toasty in there. Go check it out!

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Risotto to celebrate pre-fall

September 6, 2009

I spent the morning/afternoon with a girlfriend shopping downtown, something I don’t attempt often because of the crowds. It was so nice to catch up with her and stroll around the city.┬áThe weather was blustery and the minute I stepped out the door to meet her, it was a dogs and cats downpour! Luckily the rain stopped. I think we are firmly planted in pre-fall. I’m not sure if I am excited about it yet. However, I get to start making fall dishes and that makes me happy. I love nesting and spending an afternoon preparing a new dish, the house filled with the smell of home cooking. So, after shopping today I made Risotto with Chard and Prosciutto. The chard was harvested yesterday when I volunteered in the garden at Seattle Tilth.

My boyfriend is out of town this week (I miss him…) and I went to his house this afternoon to watch movies and cook. Also, he just bought a Le Creuset dutch oven, and I thought I would take it for a test drive! Turns out, it works just as well as mine even though it is a different color. Hehe…

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As always, I treated myself to some wine as I cooked. Listen, I will drink the Rose’ until it is officially Fall you guys! This one happens to be my favorite.

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I’d definitely make this recipe again. I would use a scosh less salt and maybe add another green like spinach or arugula to help balance the prosciutto flavor. The day ended with a bit of sunshine. Perfect.

hori hori dig dig!

I love Cafe Presse

August 29, 2009

I absolutely love Cafe Presse in Capital Hill. This is me, shouting it from the rooftop…of my boyfriend’s house. I love it. Why? Where else can you get an amazing latte so rich and tasty you almost lose control, while reading your favorite cooking magazine that you purchased at the newstand before sitting down, and occasionally catching a glimpse of a world soccer game on the tele, all while noshing on the Oeufs Plats, jambon, fromage for breaky? Lord have mercy… as I live and breathe, this is my version of heaven on earth.

I asked our waitress if the owner would ever consider opening a Presse in Ballard, because as you city dwellers know, we don’t often like to travel all the way across town (less then 5 miles) to go dine. She didn’t think so. In the event that the owner of Cafe Presse (also the owner of the lovely Le Pichet at the Market) ever reads my blog:

Sir, I beg of you, please PLEASE consider opening a french cafe in Ballard! I realize that Bastille just opened here and yes, they do have a beautiful french restaurant, but I’ll tell you this, they don’t deliver when it comes to breakfast. When I want a Croque Madame so good that it makes me speak in tongues, I come to you. Therefore, you should come to Ballard. We Scando’s would welcome you with open arms.

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hori hori dig dig!