Tag Archives: Seattle

Luc (Seattle, WA)


All the parents we know have given us the same advice: “watch movies and go out to dinner as much as you can before the baby arrives.” Given that Lauren and I watch at most a few movies each year, we’ve been focusing on the other half of the guidance. Tonight we took advantage of our beautiful July 4th weekend weather and took a walk down to Luc.

Luc is the casual bistro that Thierry Rautureau (of Rover’s fame) opened last May, while we were away on our sabbatical. There is a long, narrow dining room surrounding a large bar along with seasonal patio dining. While I liked the indoor space a lot, we couldn’t pass up an outdoor table with weather like today’s.

Suli, our waiter, was very warm, friendly, and knowledgeable. At his suggestion I started with a glass of rosé and a cup of bing cherry gazpacho. It was a great summer-time pairing. The gazpacho was amazing – a smooth mix of cherry tomatoes, cucumber, celery, garlic, chilies, and bing cherries. And it did go quite well with the rosé.

Based on recommendations I’ve been meaning to try Luc’s burger, but tonight that was not meant to be. I think it was a combination of the heat and the description of the day’s special, but I wound up ordering the Neah Bay salmon, which was pan seared and served on a bed of orecchiette and English peas, topped with a spinach sauce. I was very happy with my choice. The salmon was perfectly cooked; pink on the inside, crispy on the outside, and just enough salt to bring out the salmon’s full flavor. The spinach sauce and orecchiette made for a great pairing, and overall it was the best fish dish I’ve had in quite some time.

Lauren ordered the crab sandwich, which was simple but delicious. The local crab was mixed with a little lemon and served on rustic sourdough bread.

We didn’t have any room left for dessert tonight, but we’ll do so next time. We had a great time at Luc, and I can’t believe we waited this long to try it out. We’ll try and return at least once more before the baby is due.

Neah Bay salmon
Neah Bay salmon, orecchiette, spinach sauce

crab sandwich 
Local crab sandwich, preserved lemon aioli

rose and gazpacho Lauren and her sandwich

2800 E. Madison 
Seattle, WA 98112

Revel (Seattle, WA)


Last night Dan and Leslie introduced us to Revel, which opened in Fremont last December. Revel is the latest endeavor of Rachel Wang and Seif Chirchi, the chefs who left Coupage a few years back to start Joule. The theme at Revel is Korean street food, but not your typical bulgogi fare. This is chic, upscale Korean, like our friend Karen.

The menu is organized into six sections: salad, pancake, dumpling, rice, noodle, and ice cream sandwich. Between the four of us (including Dan’s extra-healthy appetite) we were able to sample about half the menu, as well as the daily special.

Rachel cooking
Chef Rachel at work in the open kitchen


We started our meal with a few drinks. Leslie ordered a greyhound, and about 10 minutes later our waitress returned with her drink, apologetically telling us that the delay is because her bartender accidentally made a grapefruit martini (with citron infused vodka). When we commented that this mistake sounded tasty to us, the waitress brought it to us compliments of the house, one of many nice touches by the staff. Lauren partook of the house-made sodas, enjoying her spicy ginger beverage. My glass of pinot was just ok – I’ll stick with mixed drinks next time.

Leslie double-fistingLauren enjoying her drink
The ladies with their drinks

Our food arrived progressively. First came the salads, which were divine. The spinach salad was a simple mix of fresh greens, sunchoke, and raisins with a mildly sweet miso vinaigrette. I’d never tried corned lamb before, but it made for an excellent combination with mizuna greens and fish sauce.

Next came the dumplings and pancake. The earl grey dumplings were dreamy. The noodles were a perfect chewiness and the ricotta/raisin filling had a soft sweetness that was addictive. By contrast, the pancake was blasé. I’m sure we got an iron boost from the kale, but overall the dish, while attractive, was also fairly bland.

We also enjoyed the special of the day – a whole grilled chicken with spring onions and enoki mushroom ragout. The chicken was moist and had absorbed the mushroom flavor well.

Our last dish was a bowl of noodles, tinged green with coriander and served with large, perfectly grilled gulf shrimp. The whole dish tasted very fresh; soft noodles with crunchy shrimp and vegetables. I quite enjoyed the noodles, and it would have been a large enough dish to satisfy my hunger if I was dining solo.

I’ve never been to Korea, but I bet you won’t find albacore tuna/fennel kimchi/escarole rice bowls on the streets of Seoul. However, I don’t think the clientele are here for the authenticity. Revel’s inventive, tasty small plates are drawing quite a crowd, with the main room already filling up when we arrived at 5:30. Lauren and I will return soon for another round of the salads and the earl grey dumplings;  we’ll make sure to save room and try the ice cream sandwiches.

mizuna salad
Mizuna salad with corned lamb, spicy nuoc cham

Spinach salad
Spinach salad with sunchoke, miso vinaigrette

Ricotta dumplings
Earl grey ricotta, golden raisin, candied pecan dumplings

Kale pancake
Kale, walnut, arugula, pecorino-romano pancake

coriander noodles
Coriander noodles with white gulf shrimp and cilantro pistou

Chicken with mushrooms and spring onions

403 N 36th St
Seattle, WA 98103

Thai Tom 2011: Match 4

Garlic and Pepper vs. Eggplant Ginger (Passover versions with tofu and no rice)

Match 4

A few Passovers ago, Lauren discovered that if you order a dish at Thai Tom without rice, they will happily serve it to you over spinach instead and it’s delicious. So when my mother-in-law was craving Thai Tom on her visit this weekend, we were prepared.

Today’s match involved two of my favorite stir fries. #10 (Eggplant Ginger) was my first love of Thai Tom, with thin slices of Japanese eggplant that soak up the ginger-soy goodness. #9 (Garlic and Pepper), while not quite the crack-like-version I had in Mae Hong Son, still uses a heavy hand of both garlic and pepper to whet your taste buds. In the end, it was a very close call, but the nod went to Eggplant Ginger. If you have a group of three though, get both (with a curry as your third dish of course)!

Updated results of the Thai Tom 2011 Tournament

Red Mill Burgers (Seattle, WA)


While we were out and about enjoying the spring sunshine this afternoon, Lauren got a craving for Red Mill Burgers. We hadn’t been in quite awhile, but our friend Fiona must have fanned our cravings when she was reminiscing about Red Mill yesterday.

Red Mill has two locations, though I favor the one in Phinney Ridge, where I feel transported to small-town America in the middle of Seattle. The place was still packed at 3PM, but the line wasn’t too bad, and we got a nice view of the grilling action.

Waiting on line
Lauren would sooner be found eating this shirt than an actual pile of bacon


I’ve sampled most of the menu over the years, and you can’t go wrong with the beef, veggie, or chicken burgers. Today we ordered a Verde Chicken Burger, made with in-house fire roasted, hand-peeled Anaheim peppers, and a Red Onion Garden Burger, piled high with grilled onions. Red Mill’s burgers are served on a fresh Kaiser bun, with generous toppings.

Usually I also save room for a milkshake and their amazing cornmeal-crusted onion rings, but as were already on our third meal of the day we kept it simple. We’ll be back soon for the onion rings though!

Verde Chicken Burger
Verde chicken burger

Red Onion Garden Burger
Red onion garden burger

Lauren digging in
That Verde Chicken Burger is a mouthful!

Greenlake view
View of Greenlake and the Cascades from Red Mill’s porch seating

Red Mill Burgers 
312 North 67th St
Seattle, WA 98103

Thai Tom 2011: Match 3

Yellow Curry vs. Cashew Nut Chicken

Match 3

Today we needed to make another trip to UVillage (yes, we are still Crate and Barrel whores). After finishing our errands, we decided to make the most of the winter-break student lull and headed to Thai Tom for match #3. Yellow Curry was the first dish I ever had at Thai Tom, and I remember it fondly. While it was good, today it did not quite live up to my memories. I think in the future I’ll stick to having my Yellow Curry in soup form at Jamjuree. Cashew Chicken, while not quite as good as Mr. Poon’s, had a generous helping of cashews in a sauce that got better with every bite. Sayonara Yellow Curry!

Updated results of the Thai Tom 2011 Tournament

Thai Tom 2011: Match 2

Panang Curry vs. Pad Thai

Match 2

After a morning gym class, we had a leisurely brunch at Volunteer Park Café. Afterwards, as we were driving home, I turned to Lauren and asked “is it crazy that I’m a little hungry?” She smiled and responded “what’s next on the Thai Tom face-off?”

Shortly thereafter we indulged ourselves with Panang Curry and Pad Thai. The Pad Thai was fantastic, reminiscent of some of the renditions we had in northern Thailand, with tamarind juice instead of the ketchup that is so common in most American Pad Thai. Against most other dishes, that would have been it, but Panang Curry is the big dawg, the reigning top dish at Thai Tom, and it did not disappoint. So the Pad Thai is out, but it will definitely be a standard in my rotation once the tournament concludes.

Updated results of the Thai Tom 2011 Tournament

Thai Tom 2011: Match 1

Opening match: Swimming Rama vs. Big Rice Noodle in Thai Sauce

Match 1

To celebrate my birthday today, we had a delicious brunch at Tilth and front row seats at the Thai Tom counter for dinner. George was cooking up a storm and the flame levels kept us warm.

Tonight’s contest was a blow-out. While it’s been a few years since I’ve had Thai Tom’s Swimming Rama, it was every bit as good as I remember, with a rich curry-like peanut sauce. While I love sen yai, Big Rice Noodle in Thai Sauce had way too much fish sauce, and as a result was the big loser tonight. Next up: Panang Curry vs. Pad Thai.

George at work
George at work

Updated results of the Thai Tom 2011 Tournament

Thai Tom 2011 Showdown

It’s been almost five years since our original Thai Tom showdown, where Lauren and I methodically ran through a subjective set of face-offs across the 16-item menu. In the hopes of making the rotation more viable as an annual event, this year I’m only including the top eight seeds from that original tournament. Here are the 2011 match-ups, which I aim to complete in time for March Madness. For consistency, all of the dishes will be ordered with chicken and a spiciness of four stars.


Poppy (Seattle, WA)


I’ve been meaning to write about Poppy for a few years now. After taking shelter at home all day from the snowpocalypse we took a long walk down to Broadway and I committed to following up with a review tonight.

Poppy opened in Fall 2008, after Jerry Traunfeld left his 20 year post at the Herbfarm (and its $250/person dining tab) to open a more casual restaurant in Capitol Hill. It took us a few months to make our first visit, after listening to Gio rave about his perpetual (almost weekly) dinners there. Once we did though, I was hooked.

The food at Poppy centers around the concept of a thali. Contrary to the Indian curries + rice on aluminum tray (or banana leaf), Poppy’s thalis are a Pacific Northwest-inspired assortment. They usually include a soup, a few salads, a pickle, naan, and one or two larger “mains” (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options). Lauren and I have found it best to split a thali, which leaves us some room for an appetizer and/or a dessert (both worthwhile).

The appetizer list has a few mainstays, including one of our favorites, eggplant fries with honey. Lauren normally hates honey, but cannot refuse these fries. Sometimes we recognize items we’ve make from the Herbal Kitchen (which Jerry will sign for you if purchased at Poppy).

For the thali, Poppy is very flexible about letting you mix and match between entrees, sides, etc. in order to fully customize your plate. If available, the scallops and black cod are both amazing, and they do a great job with yams and mushrooms. Here are some of what you might get if you are lucky:

vegetarian thali 
Full (10 item) vegetarian thali (clockwise from top):
  nigella-poppy naan 
  goat cheese blintzes with chestnut and chanterelles
triple celery salad (celery root, celery stalk, celery seeds) 
persimmon, radicchio, and citron salad
local black truffle, leek, and sunchoke risotto
cauliflower, sesame and fennel soup 
wild mushroom-marjoram bread pudding
nigella-poppy naan 
center-left – brussels sprouts with crisp shallot
center-right – gingered burdock pickle
(hidden behind naan) – fingerlings with lavender and mint

Alaskan scallops with pork belly and vanilla-thyme quince

Thali for chilly nights 
A thali for chilly nights (Jan 2009, clockwise from top):
  four-seed chickpea salad
  carrot soup with start anise and cinnamon
  black cod with beet-wasabi sauce and burdock  
  Yukon gold potatoes and cashews with clove and cardamom
  yam and sesame fritter 
  Berkshire pork ribs with pear, parsnip, and sunchoke
  spot shrimp, endive, and grapefruit salad
  center-top – lemon fennel pickle
  center – cauliflower gratin
  (not pictured) – nigella naan

quail and spot shrimp thali
A thali for December sun (2008, clockwise from top):
  five-seed kale
mushroom marjoram bread pudding 
quail from the tandoor with pomegranate walnut sauce  
  shaved cauliflower salad with Buddha hand 
  persimmon, fennel, and chervil salad
chestnut soup with cardamom, vanilla, and bay
spot shrimp and fingerlings in garlic almond sauce
center-left – satsuma mustard pickle
center-right – rosemary-ginger yams with spiced coconut, cranberry cigar

Tonight we had room for one last bite. Usually we opt for Poppy’s house-made ice cream, which is the best on the Hill (sorry Molly), but given the chill outside we opted for chocolate. The torte is petite in size, but quite rich and satisfying.

chocolate torte
Chocolate caramel torte with orange peel and cocoa nib crunch

Lauren enjoying dessert
Lauren enjoying dessert

It’s great to have a restaurant of this caliber on the Hill. I’ve taken a number of guests there for the unique presentation, rotating menu, Northwest flair, and fun setting. We still haven’t managed to get there for happy hour, but I’ve heard rave reviews on that as well.

622 Broadway E (at Roy)
Seattle, WA 98102

Tu-Th, Sun: 5:30PM-10:00PM (Dinner)
Fri-Sat: 5:30PM-11:00PM (Dinner)
Bar menu for an extra hour each day

Le Fournil (Seattle, WA)


Le Fournil is a little French bakery and sandwich shop located under the I-5 bridge (and just south of the U-bridge). We’ve made a number of trips to U-Village since moving into our new house, and each time we passed Le Fournil we would wonder why we didn’t time the trip appropriately for a lunch stop. Today we avoided that mistake, and boy was it delicious.

My go to at Le Fournil is their “lunch special”, which includes a sandwich, drink (coffee or juice), and a pastry for just more than the price of a sandwich.  The sandwiches are served on their house-baked baguettes, and are primarily classic French choices like camembert or ham and cheese. Today we had tuna (one of my favorites), made with some light herbs and spices.

The hardest decision at Le Fournil is which pastry to get (the only wrong answer here is to abstain). When we took our friend Shivani here, she found the mille-feuille orgasmic. The croissants are flaky and perfectly buttery, but today we were drawn to the fruit tart section of the case and chose the lemon tart. Perfect if you’re in the mood for the tartness of lemon, it was a sizable portion (though of course we finished it all).

As this special is available as early as 7AM, I’ve also been known to stop in on the way to work and enjoy freshly-squeezed orange juice and an almond croissant (with a sandwich for later). If you are craving a little taste of Paris, get yourself over to the Montlake cut and linger over a meal at Le Fournil, you won’t regret it!

Lauren and her lunch special
Enjoying the lunch special: latte, tuna sandwich, and lemon tart

Sweets on display
A large selection of goodies, from peach tarts to mille-feuilles

Le Fournil
3230 Eastlake Ave E (just south of the University Bridge)
Seattle, WA 98102

Tue-Sat 7:00AM-6:00PM, Sunday 8:00AM-3:00PM