Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dahlia Lounge Brunch

Yeah, thats right...brunch. Two weeks ago, my chef brother invited me and my family for a sampling of the soon to be launched brunch menu at the Dahlia Lounge. This soft opening allowed the kitchen to go through their menu and close friends and family to give their feedback. I will admit that I had been out the night before partying so the idea of brunch was perfect.

I started with coffee but B. and L. opened with a bloody mary...dont worry I had one after a bit of food. Remember I partied the night before. I have rarely been in the Dahlia Lounge during daylight but the way the sun filled the clean and spacious dining room was really comfortable and pretty.

According to our server we had to try the Monkey Bread so we ordered two for the table. This cinnamon sugary breakfast treat came out warm with a side of caramel. I dont really like sweet but I did sample a piece. B. was not impressed that it was called Monkey Bread because "traditional" Monkey Bread has more of a pull-apart consistency. Perhaps they will take that into consideration as they continue to improve on the menu. Regardless it was a nice treat and the warm caramel was tasty!

The menu was broken up to include Kick Start for the Table, (monkey bread, donuts or scones) Rise and Shine options (Biscuit and Gravy, Benedict, Hot Cereal and Beef Hash etc.) and After 11 Additions (Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup, Burger, Chicken Salad, Mussels). B. and R. both ordered the Eggs Your Way which came exactly how it sounds including smashed fried potatoes, biscuit and your choice of bacon, sausage, steak, trout or a crab cake. L. went with the Oregon Country burger...apparently I didnt get down on pictures of their meals. I'm sure as avid readers they can comment on their plates. Overall it looked good to me! We also ordered the Sourdough Applebread French Toast to share at the table which came with fruit, bacon and a side of pear maple syrup. It was a bit sweet for me, but for french toast lovers, this is a nice dish because the rustic bread is grilled.

I went with the Eggs Benedict (So did the other L.), of which I really enjoyed. I am a fan of Eggs Benedict and have tried as many as I can remember around town. It is just something about the way the egg is cooked and how the fat and creamy sauce all absorbs into the muffin. The ham which was covered with a green scallion hollandaise was very tasty. My only suggestion was that the pork needed more salt, of which I was informed will be included next time because it will have more time to brine. Another part of the dish that was pretty awesome was the Big Island Fruit Cup, full of pineapple, mango and banana in a bath of coconut water. This was the perfect complement to the heaviness of the benedict. I wasnt sure when I read "fruit cup" but this was not your typical lame cup of melon. You can also order the fruit cup, bacon, sausage or ham as additional sides.

Thanks to TD for buying our brunch and for our server for recommending some great treats. Overall the prices are just what you would expect for a nice city brunch, around $11-$14. I will definitely go back for this benedict!

Not sure if the brunch is Saturday and Sunday because their website isnt up to date yet so you better call and make a reservation to find out. 206-682-4142

2001 4th Ave.
At the corner of 4th and Virginia

Friday, December 5, 2008

Buddha Ruksa Thai Cuisine

I rarely get to West Seattle because I dont drive but on the few occasions that I do, I rather enjoy the restaurants. Perhaps because its something new, but I also like to leave cap hill and the pretentiousness that awaits you at several of the new restaurants.

I picked up B & B music factory from the airport and they wanted to eat. We stopped by their place to drop off their stuff and began calling around to find a place to get a reservation. It was Saturday and lots of places were packed for the evening. However, we were able to get in at 7:45pm at Buddha ruksa. My brothers favorite Thai place, so he claimed. The place is small with low lighting and every table was packed with diners. This is a comfortable spot and you could tell it was going to be good, the mood in the restaurant was very chill.

Prior to arriving at Buddha ruksa we had a few wild turkey's down the street (in honor of our band) even though our 4th member was off gallivanting in LA. We poured a little out for him. When we sat down I realized how hungry I was and the wild turkey was eating my stomach. I quickly reviewed the menu, satay, calamari, egg rolls, tom yum, fried tofu, crab wonton...we needed something quick. B said the best app was the crab wontons, so we ordered them immediately. The crab wontons were very hot and perfectly crispy. I love anything with cheese and the cream cheese to crab ratio was right on. Nice spicy sweet dipping sauce on the side too.

When it came time for ordering the meal, big B. took the lead. He decided to go for the pork green curry, which is one of my favorites. My only complaint is that we didnt order it a bit more spicy. Very tasty and again came out really hot. Perfection.

We also got an order of fried rice, which again had great balance of seasoning. It was a nice additon to our meal and the cabbage was my favorite part of the dish besides the grilled rice.

Alas, the reason B & B like to come to this spot is for the Crispy Garlic Chicken and now I know was amazing. I could have gotten a whole plate of this for myself. The fried chicken topped with rich spicy garlic on top of some basil leaves made me unable to stop eating. Damn! B knew what he was doing when he ordered, because lucky for us he got two for the table.

I will certainly go back and sample more of their menu. I was interested in some of their other signature dishes including the wonton pad thai and the prawns & pumpkin curry. And for those of you who like crispy duck, they have six different ways.

Check it out. Its fairly reasonable prices too, you know if you've heard about the economy.

Buddha ruksa
Thai cuisine
3520 SW Genesee Street.
Seattle, WA 98126
T. (206) 937 - 7676
F. (206) 923 - 6470

Tuesday - Friday
Lunch & Dinner 11am - 10pm
Saturday & Sunday
Dinner 4pm - 10pm
Closed Monday

Buddha Ruksa on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

now that bbq season is over...

let's reminisce about afternoons spent on the alki seawall grilling pork loin, mussels, and fresh trout. sigh.

the mussels are my standard recipe: sautee onions, chili flakes, and garlic in butter; once translucent add mussels and heavy pour of white wine; cover to steam for 2-3 minutes; toss with italian parsley and enjoy. i don't know if it was the butter, charcoal, or amazingly fresh shellfish, but this batch of mussels was out of this world. we all feasted on this appetizer standing around the grill. i even ended up cracking a shell in half and scooping the wine/butter/parsley juice out of the bowl. absolutely bananas.

another crowd-pleaser is M's slow-roasted pork roast. he always dresses it with olive oil and whatever spices are lying around R's kitchen...usually smoked paprika, chili flakes, sea salt, pepper, simple stuff of that nature. M then sears it in the center of fresh coals (= hot grill), then moves it out to the perimeter to slowly roast for the remaining life of the coals. it always turns out great a couple hours later, but i couldn't personally attest to that. i can only tell by the glowing reviews from all the c-vores.

here we're cooking by camping lantern light, hence the blue tint to the photo. J grilled up some fresh trout fillets stuffed with onion and lemon slices which turned out great! they just needed a hit of salt before serving, et voila!

a few zucchini halves are hiding in the upper lefthand corner, i think...a barbecue staple.

i also cooked some yams in the cast iron pan with butter, salt, pepper, and garlic. it was simple but tasty. the only thing i worried about cooking with the cast iron pan was the actual temperature of the grill. it was far hotter than i anticipated, and the yams ended up burning on the bottom! eee! it wasn't that big of a deal, though, because we just ate the top few layers.

oh the carefree days of summer are long gone, but i hope this little shot of sunshine grilling will help you through the winter!

"i'll have a dirty bacon martini, rocks, two pearl onions"

have you ever wondered what mutant baby would emerge from a $20 gallon of vodka, a trip to safeway, and an extreme admiration (well, longing. i am vegetariana, mind you.) of bacon? if so, read on...

every year i make a special liquer around the holidays to bring to parties. the first year i made a coffee and brown sugar (oh lord, the hangover!) vodka which was delicious. the next year i made something similar with the addition of cinnamon and a 100 proof base (too strong!). coffee used to be my go-to, but this year i wanted to experiment with some more creative flavors.

i thought about skittles-, apple pie-, lavendar-, caraway-, shoot, even parmiggiano-flavored liquer! in the end it seemed almost criminal not to attempt a bacon vodka. think of the possibilities: bacon bloody mary, bacon martini, bacon shots! who cares, right!?! anyhow, it's only been a day, but we'll see how this monstrosity turns out come saturday.

ah, delectable bacon in all its thick-cut, smoky glory. i cut the bacon into thin slivers to that once fried up, it would be easy to funnel the tasty bites into a bottle.

i started the bacon out cooking on high to start a good sear. after the fat started to sizzle, i turned it down to medium-low to render as much fat out of it as possible. i had no idea what i was doing, but i figured the dryer the bacon, the less unappetizing fat globules would be floating around in my vodka.

after letting as much grease soak into a napkin as possible, i transfered the bacon bits to a glass container, threw in some peppercorns, and drowned the mixture in (80 proof) vodka.

mmm, bacon-quarium.

so i lied. yesterday i made my pathetic first attempt at bacon vodka. as you can see by comparing today's batch with yesterday's, today i rendered out more fat and cooked the bacon more thoroughly.

these bad boys are getting a good shaking at least thrice a day until it's time to unleash these grotesque mutants on the world. and by "the world," i mean "my friends."

hopefully it won't taste like a fart, but only time will tell.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Med Mix

A few weeks ago I ended up downtown in P Square for a killer show at the J & M cafe. Shout out to the guy managing the sweet sound and the crazy bartenders who mixed the worst drinks . My friend M. and I went next door to grab a quick bite before the show and she was shocked to hear that I had never eaten at Mediterranean Mix. Upon first walking in I wasn't sure about this place but she insisted it was really good. I was overwhelmed by the choices because all of the pictures showcasing their menu items made it hard to decide. Do I want pizza, fish and chips, chicken salad, hot dog...!?!?!?!?

After a long deliberation we finally decided and stepped up to order. M. went with the Gyro, which she said is one of her favorite things to get. I went with the falafel.

While waiting I couldnt help but admire the art work on the random,

and so AWESOME!
The soda fountain was broken so we shared a can of sprite and helped it out with a little of beam, M. had in her bag. Such a classy move on our part. We totally fit in though, it seemed like lots of other patrons were enjoying spirits as well.

The falafel was hot, crispy and spicy. It has been awhile since I have had really good falafel and I was very impressed. The entire sandwich was right on the veggies, the pita and the tahini were perfect. I ate it so fast and had no time to focus on what M. was eating, I was in a trance. She loved her gyro as well and we both commented on the nice hot sauce on the side.

This sandwich was like under 5bucks too, and it was perfect. I dont get down to Pioneer Square very often but I will make sure to stop by for some more falafel when I do.

They dont have a website but this place is open LATE.
Pioneer Square
205 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

Mediterranean Mix on Urbanspoon