Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Hour at Toulouse Petit

Toulouse Petit in Queen Ann has one of the best Happy Hours in the nation.  Now I know why.  My husband and I ate there with my brother and his wife and the four of us had a delicious meal, filled with small plates and yummy cocktails.  Because of the Happy Hour pricing, we were able to try a bunch of unique foods.  Toulouse Petit is a restaurant specializing in Creole and Cajun food.  This was my first time trying Creole so I was excited to introduce my palette to some new things I've never tasted.  I loved all the spices and various textures.  Fried Green Tomatoes and Tuna Tartare were my favorite plates and now I can say I've eaten them.    


 My sister-in law and I adored the votive candles on the walls.  We also liked the warm colors and feel of the restaurant. 

 The four of us started off with drinks before we even looked at the food menu.  Happy Hour started at four so we wanted to relax and spend a couple of hours tasting different items.  I started with a Toulouse Sangria that had Tequila.  I was so refreshing and fruity.  The Tequila gave the cocktail more a Margarita taste.  It was delicious so I sipped it slowly and the drink paired well with my food.

My husband drank a Sazarac.  It had rye whisky, absinthe, bitters and sugar.  The drink was super strong and it took him a while to knock it back.  Absinthe was something we'd heard about what never tried. 

Their Happy Hour menu is quite large and it took us a while to decide what to order.  So we got whatever sounded good and when the four of us polished that off, we would order more.  There's over fifty items on the menu, with nothing priced over eight bucks. 

We started with a couple of salads.  This one has yellow beets and haricots verts with toasted walnuts, olives and stilton bleu cheese. 

The other salad had bibb lettuce and arugula. 

Next, we ordered the beef sliders with pomme frites and aioli. 

Then it was time to try some true Cajun dishes.  This is the Classic Shrimp Creole.  It had a lot of spices and the shrimp was juicy and tender.

We also ordered the Tombo Tuna Tartare with a Horseradish-Truffle Vinaigrette.  It came to the table with a tiny quail's egg on top of the tuna tartare that was interesting.  I liked the salty flavors with the soft texture of the tartare.  I was really good spread on the bread. 

The Tuna Tartare with the egg out of the shell.  Definitely an interesting dish and yes, I'd eat it again.

 Then it was time to try some fresh oysters so we got the Lucky Pierre Oysters Three Ways. 

The Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade.  I loved these and always wondered how they'd taste.   Green tomatoes have a light, salty flavor and in my opinion, anything fried is good. 


We also tried something new, the Savory Crawfish Beignets.  They had a hot pepper jelly and spicy 'louis' sauce that added a ton of flavor. 


One more view of the Fried Green Tomatoes.  Take a bite!

Then it was time for dessert.  With all of us just trying a bite here and there of each plate, we actually still had room!  The dessert menu was great looking and it took us a while to make up our mind.  We ended up all sharing the Ice Cream and Valhrona Brownie Sundae with pear caramel, carmalized bananas and candied pecans. 

We all loved our dessert.  The vanilla ice cream was very smooth and creamy and there was two kinds of rich caramel.  We each got just several bites, but they were perfect bites.  What a way to end an incredible meal. 

Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lunch at Blue C Sushi in Fremont

After walking around Pike Place Market we were ready for some lunch. My brother and my sister-in law wanted some sushi during their visit so we took them to Blue C in Fremont. Fremont is a funky and artsy neighborhood in Seattle that I thought might be a fun place to show them. Plus, the Fremont Troll is always fun to see. After eating sushi, we walked around and did some window shopping and browsing.

Blue C Sushi has a cool concept at its restaurants. The sushi revolves around the restaurant on a conveyor belt. When you see something that looks good and you want to try, you just grab the plate. Then you stack each plate and pay at the end of your meal depending on the color of the plate. The four of us sat at the counter so not only could we watch the food being prepared but the sushi went by right in front of us.


A cup of hot green tea is the perfect way to begin a sushi lunch.

I started with my favorite kind of sushi, a California Roll.

My husband started with a plate of Sesame Noodles. 

I ate some Spicy Tuna Tacos which were very unique and interesting.  I really liked the flavor of the tuna with the housemade guacamole. 

My husbands' Cucumber Roll.

Some Pork Gyoza's which I thought were kind of spendy at four bucks. 

For dessert my husband and I split the key lime pie tart.  It was pretty small but a couple bites of the  and sweet tart was the perfect way to end the meal.


The Fremont Troll which is always fun to see.

We walked around the Fremont Antique Mall, a huge space of all kinds of intersting things to look at.  I was intrigued by the old cameras on display. 

A neat looking bike parked in front of a shop.  You never know what you'll find around the corner in Fremont. 

Blue C Sushi on Urbanspoon

Sunday Morning at the Market

Where do you take guests from out of town when visiting Seattle? Pike Place Market of course! This past weekend, my brother and his wife stayed with us and we covered quite of bit of ground.  On Sunday my husband and I took them to the market to walk around.  They loved looking at the fresh seafood, the colorful and local produce, all the different specialty foods to try and browsing for homemade gifts and crafts. 

When you're walking a lot and sightseeing, one works up an appetite.  So we had a snack at the Daily Dozen Doughnut Company.  The doughnuts are small and covered in either powdered sugar, cinnamon or sprinkles.  My brother and I each bought a half dozen which were only about $2.50 for each bag of the sweet, fried treats.  If you're lucky, they'll make your doughnuts fresh to order and they'll make a show of throwing them in the air and catching them with the small paper bag.



 
 
Another popular place in the Market is Beecher's Cheese.  They are famous for their macaroni and cheese and their fresh cheese curds.  Beecher's supplies their cheese to local restaurants and stores and its not uncommon to see their cheese on burgers, poutine and more.  Beecher's is a pretty big store with tons of cheese to purchase, samples, and a large window where you can see it being made.





Here are a few more images of Pike Place Market.  As far as places to bring out of towners, you can't beat this spot. 




Daily Dozen Donut Co on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Wowza.  These strawberry crumb bars hit the spot.  They tasted like strawberry pie with the added flavor of almonds.  I just ate a bar, still warm from the oven, and it was scrumptious.  It isn't strawberry season but frozen worked just as good as fresh berries. 


The recipe makes a whole 13x9 pan so I wouldn't recommend making them for just yourself.  Way too dangerous.  Nope, instead I'm bringing them over to dinner at my aunt and uncle's house.  Hope they're a hit!

                                                             Strawberry Crumb Bars

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen), cut in half
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the shortening and mix with a pastry cutter, fork, or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs and almond extract. Press 2/3 of the mixture into a greased 9x13 pan.

Note: If you're using frozen berries, don't thaw first.

In another bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch. Stir together. Add in the strawberries and gently stir until coated. Spoon these over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the strawberries.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

Recipe from shemakesandbakes.com. 


Happy Baking! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A visit to 3.14 Bakery

Did somebody say Cake Balls?  Yum! I was reading about a bakery in White Center that carried Cake Balls so I figured I'd go check it out and do a taste test.  3.14 Bakery is the place for pie, cookies and all kinds of homemade desserts.  I thought the name 3.14 was pretty original for a pie place. 

I got a chocolate, a lemon and a red velvet one and they were very sweet and very delicious.  Luckily my hubby was with me so he helped, otherwise they would've been too rich.  They went well with his americano coffee.  Cake balls are just like Cake Pops but without the stick.  My favorite one was the lemon.  Supposedly, these are pretty popular and they recently had a Groupon, which of course I missed out on.  But for only $1.50 each, I didn't mind paying full price. 



A Chocolate Cake Ball from the 3.14 Bakery.  It tasted just as rich and moist as it looks. 


The Lemon Cake Ball which was very sweet and flavorful.  The perfect dessert for after lunch. 


The Red Velvet Cake Ball.  Wow, all that icing on the outside and the rich filling was a lot to handle.  But what a treat! 


Some of 3.14 Bakery's mini pies on display.


Their regular fruit pies looked delicious, too!
3.14 Bakery on Urbanspoon