Saturday, April 28, 2012

Memorable Seattle Bakeries

Seattle has tons of bakeries.  There are many delicious and sometimes hidden spots popping up all over the city.  I've visited lots of bakeries and there's still lots more to check out.  In the meantime, here's a few gems I've discovered in the last couple of years. Three of my favorite bakeries are Sweet and Fresh Bakery in Chinatown, Honore Bakery in Ballard and Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle. 


Sweet and Fresh Bakery

Sweet and Fresh Bakery is located in Chinatown at 610 8th Ave S.  Their phone number is 206-682-7030.  They are a Chinese Bakery but not only do they have a wonderful selection of traditional Chinese pastries but French pastries too.   I love being able to buy a box of Palmiers, Croissants and then some Chinese Egg Tarts.  You also gotta love how the whole box of treats only comes to around ten bucks.  I visited this bakery last year for some treats for my Birthday, and enjoyed it as always.  Sweet and Fresh, some things are really all in the name. 

A box of pastries from Sweet and Fresh Bakery in Chinatown.

A Chinese pastry with with cream and coconut on the left and a French Palmier on the left. This was my Birthday breakfast last year, but I shared half with my hubby.  Otherwise I would have been stuffed, their pastries are big!


A slice of cake from Sweet and Fresh Bakery. 

Honore Bakery

Before I went to Paris, when I was obsessed with the idea of going to Paris and indulging in all the Parisian pastries, I wanted to try macarons.  Americans have the coconut macaroon and the french have their macarons with buttercream.  In France, they are everywhere in window displays. They are beautiful and artfully arranged, colorful meringue based sandwiches and they come in many flavors.  But at the time, I couldn't get to Paris.  So I went online and researched where the heck I could find some french macarons here in Seattle, and Honore Bakery popped up with great reviews.  So off I went to Ballard, and you betcha, I found some to try.  Of course now that I've been to Paris, macarons have made it big here and you can find them in tons of stores and bakeries.  But at the time, Honore Bakery made my day. I took the macarons home and ate them, and even got to try a french Canele. A canele is a custard type dessert with a dark, thick caramelized crust.  Click here for more info on the Honore Bakery.

French Macarons from the Honore Bakery in Ballard.  Chocolate, Raspberry and Salted Caramel.  They fulfilled my expectations. 


A French Canale.



Bakery Nouveau


Some friends told me about this bakery in West Seattle.  How on the weekends, people line up for the twice baked almond croissants.  I was curious, so one weekday afternoon, I took off for West Seattle and gave the croissants a try.  Yes, there was still a line.  No, the croissants at Bakery Nouveau didn't disappoint.  My first visit there, I tried the twice baked almond croissant and on my second visit, I tried the chocolate croissant.  The chocolate croissant was pretty standard, that was the first one I'd tried.  However, I loved the twice baked almond croissant.  These are why the lines are so long and the bakery is so popular.  These croissants don't come cheap at around $4.50 each, but they're so fresh and good that it doesn't matter. 


The twice baked almond croissant from Bakery Nouveau

I took my treat to the nearby Lincoln Park to relax and watch the ferries come in.

The chocolate croissants from Bakery Nouveau.


                                    For more info on Bakery Nouveau, you can click this link. 

This re-cap of bakeries has made me hungry!  I hope you've enjoyed reading about some of my favorite bakeries in Seattle. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Heavenly Filled Strawberries



Heavenly Filled Strawberries

I have seen many of these strawberry filled recipes all over the web and thought they looked fun to make.  The recipe is simple and they are yummy, plus they are bite sized.  They tasted like strawberry cheesecake and made a good afternoon snack. These filled strawberries would be perfect for a baby shower or a Mother's Day Brunch.  This recipe from Taste of Home, called for chocolate shavings to garnish with but I used cocoa powder.  Believe it or not, I didn't have any chocolate on hand.  After I made them I realized I could have sprinkled graham cracker crumbs on top instead, then they would have tasted even more like cheesecake.  The recipe also calls for almond extract but I used vanilla extract instead.  

Recipe from Taste of Home







  • Prep/Total Time: 20 min.







  • Yield: 36 Servings
  • 20 20

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound fresh strawberries
    • 2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    • Grated chocolate






    Directions

    • Remove stems from strawberries; cut a deep "X" in the tip of each berry. Gently spread berries open.
    • In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and extract until light and fluffy. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons into each berry; sprinkle with chocolate. Chill until serving. Yield: about 3 dozen.









    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mt. Vernon, WA

    Yesterday we drove to Mt. Vernon to visit the lovely tulips which bloom from April 1st to the 30th.  I think everyone else in the Seattle area had the same idea because the traffic was at a stand still the whole drive there.  Mt. Vernon is about seventy miles north of Seattle.  What was supposed to be an hour and a half drive took almost three hours.  Having never been to the Tulip Festival, we didn't know what to expect and we felt silly for spending so much time in the car to just see some flowers.  But oh, we were blown away when we first spotted the colorful and blooming tulips.  As far as the eye could see, the tulips bloomed in the distance.  I loved all the colors, from red to purple and pink, these tulips were worth seeing and worth the drive from Seattle. 





















      For more information about the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival go to http://www.tulipfestival.org.  Remember, every April this place is packed with people checking out over 300 acres of tulips.  So take your time and leave early in the morning for less crowds. 

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Memorable Visits to some of Seattle's Restaurants


    Seattle has many wonderful restaurants and I have decided to highlight some I have visited in the last few years.  One of them is Sky City at the Needle, the Space Needle's revolving restaurant.  This photo of the Seattle Space Needle, I took from Kerry Park on Queen Anne hill last August.  I've always been fascinated by the coolness factor of the Space Needle plus my husband proposed to me on top, on the observation deck. This post about Sky City is from the second time we ate there, in 2007. 

                                                                  Sky City at the Needle

                I started off with a cocktail while I enjoyed the 360 degree view, overlooking the city. 

                                Downtown Seattle from the Space Needle's Sky City Restaurant.

                                                  The view of Belltown from the restaurant.

    I ordered the crabcakes and yes, they tasted delicious.   Sorry, not too many photos of the food. Back in 2007 when we ate here, I wasn't as into shooting everything in front of me like now. 

    The view to the North of Lake Union and the University of Washington.  Look at all the boats on the lake. 

                          The view of Elliott Bay from the Space Needle's Sky City Restaurant.

    For dessert, we ordered the Ice Cream Orbit Dessert with dried ice.  Something fun to order once, but too spendy and touristy to repeat.  All in all, that's how I feel about the restaurant in general.  But you gotta love the views that the experience offers. 


                                                             Kylie's Chicago Style Pizza



    Chicago style pizza was always something I had heard about but never tasted.  I've never been to Chicago and I didn't know I could find that type of pizza here in Seattle.  Turns out, you can find pretty much anything here.  So I just went on Yelp.com and typed in Chicago style pizza and Kylie's popped up with great reviews.  So my husband went and checked in out in June 2010 for our Anniversary.  Kylie's didn't disappoint.  We loved the pizza and its thick toppings and how a knife and fork is always used to eat it.  Don't get me wrong, we love New York style but Chicago is now a favorite too.  I always said I could eat pizza every night of the week.  One night, Chicago style, one night New York, then frozen, homemade and so on.  We ordered the classic style, with green peppers and sausage.  I would love to return and try some more with different toppings.  I would probably love them all. 

                     Kylie's is located in Fremont, a unique and fun neighborhood in Seattle. 

    I ordered a Thomas Kemper root beer with my pizza.  I loved the fizz, cold and sweetness with the thick Chicago style pizza. 

    The Classic style pizza from Kylie's.  The crust is very thick and its all about the toppings-from the cheese and tomato sauce to all the goodness on top.  Careful though, one or two slices will fill you up!

    The Fishermans Restaurant and Bar



    The Fishermans is located on the Seattle Waterfront and is known for its fresh, local seafood.  We ate there Labor Day Weekend 2010. 


                                         I tried fresh oysters for the first time and loved them. 



    Guests at the Fishermans Restaurant and Bar, enjoying a seafood meal on the Seattle Waterfront.  Labor Day Weekend 2010.

                                                     A Mango Bellini with fried oysters.

                            Seattle, bathed in the late summer's magic hour, from the Waterfront.

               A ferry makes its way back from across Elliot Bay while the sun drops behind the Olympic Mountains.

    We had a memorable seafood dinner on the Seattle Waterfront and the sunset wasn't bad either when we took a stroll along the water after we ate.  For more info on the Fishermans, go to http://www.fishermansrestaurantseattle.com.


    Purple Cafe and Wine Bar


    For our Wedding Anniversary in 2011 we dined at Purple Cafe and Wine bar, located in downtown Seattle on 4th Ave.  I loved the winding staircase with all the wine bottles.





                                           We started our meal with a glass of Bordeaux wine. 

                          The Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese went perfectly with our Bordeaux.

                                                          Curried Lamb Empanadas.

    Swedish-style Meatballs with Sherry Mushroom Veloute and Gorgonzola stuffed dates with pine nuts and Saba.



    Now time for dessert!  Maple Bread Pudding with Butterscotch, Blackberry Compote and Candied Orange Zest. 

     There are several locations in the Seattle area. Go to http://www.thepurplecafe.com for more on this lovely restaurant and wine bar.


    Chandler's Crabhouse

    For Labor Day Weekend 2011 we had brunch at Chandler's Crabhouse on South Lake Union. 


    The entrance to the restaurant is on the left.  The brunch is really good and recommendable, we loved it and the view of South Lake Union, too.

    My husband had a Bloody Mary and I sipped a Mimosa.  Bring on Brunch!

    Each item on the brunch menu comes with fresh fruit, scones and fritters.  Can you say yum!



    I ordered the Omelet with Bacon and Sausage.  The Omelet was so huge that it was my dinner that night too. 

     The view from our table.  We were lucky the weather was so sunny too.  With the Seattle weather
    you never know.  September has a reputation of being nice and sunny though.


    The area around the restaurant called Chandler's Cove on South Lake Union.  You can see the Space Needle in the distance with a Sea Plane flying over and getting ready to land in the lake.  There are also very nice boats and yatches which are parked all around the cove, making it fun to walk around and look.

    Chandler's Crabhouse's website is http://www.schwartzbros.com


    Seastar

    For my Birthday this year in October, we had Happy Hour at Seastar.  Seastar is a seafood restaurant and raw bar.  I saw on their website that they had Kobe Beef Sliders, which I had never tried, and knew I wanted to go there and check it out.  The Bar was packed so my husband and I sat right at the bar and started with a glass of Cote De Rhone wine. 



    The Kobe Sliders didn't disappoint.  We had never eaten a more tender and juicy beef. 

    The homemade Truffle Potato Chips were yummy and went well with the red wine and Kobe sliders.  The happy hour at Seastar is one of the best and you could tell that my how busy the place was. 

      For more on Seastar go to http://www.seastarrestaurant.com