Restaurants »Skillet Diner

skillet1400 East Union Street, Seattle, WA

We’ve been told the closest thing to Brooklyn in Seattle is Capitol Hill. Meaning: hipsters and their hip bars and restaurants dwell there. One restaurant always associated with the neighborhood is Skillet Diner. Notorious for long lines, famous for great food in the “now” – like bacon jam bloody Mary’s (which was very good).

The simple but considered presentation and delicious chicken fried steak I had – big, tender cuts of choice meat with a salty, flavorful crust – did indeed remind me of home and made me feel better about all the great restaurants we left behind there. The entire menu was full of promising dishes with lots of pork belly, fennel and beets.

Like so many places in Seattle, Skillet diner is exceptional but there was not a promised hipster in sight. I kind of wanted to see people that dress up for brunch but at 8am, it’s families and olds. Same everywhere I suppose. At least there are no lines at that hour.

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Posted on May 28, 2013

Restaurants »Portage Bay

portage4130 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle

We arrived in Seattle a couple weeks ago (we are still settling, hence the lack of posts). We stayed at the comfortable and friendly Watertown Hotel until our things arrived. A few blocks away we found Portage Bay, an most appetizing welcome to our new home city.

Everything we tried on the menu (yes, there were return visits) was delicious. They had Swedish pancakes, made with fresh, real ingredients that I didn’t have to embarrass myself with a trip to IHOP for! They had a vegetable hash that had Jim, yes Jim, shoveling vegetables into his mouth! There’s a fruit and toppings bar, a number of omelett options, and Benedicts of all kinds that will impress (I had to try the salmon, a food I’ll always associate with the Northwest since a visit here years ago) but the dungeness crab was remarkable too.

The space is huge and child friendly (though admittedly I am coming from Brooklyn, where spaces tend to be pint sized and hating children is a new pastime) but I’ve read it can get very crowded with long waits on peak brunch hours.

I imagine this will be a favorite of our family in the years to come as we settle into our new town. It’s service with a smile and incredible food with a conscious: ingredients are local and organic.

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Posted on April 17, 2013

Restaurants »King’s Crumb

at the Saturday Smorgasburg, East River Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Even though it seems all sorts of wrong, and despite middle of the night wakings, I tend to be the first person up in our household.

This morning I woke up daydreaming of the King’s Crumb biscuit I was going to have with jam and fresh cream.

It’s been the only time I’ve actually wanted Van to get an early start, but with limited patience, it all worked out and by noon I was stuffing my face with the delectable treat.

The biscuit is big enough to share, the jam is delicious, the fresh cream adds a sweetness, and for lack of a better culinary word – a softness to it all.

As far as I can tell, they are only available at the Saturday Smorgasburg at the East River Park (lucky us!) and those not in the mood for sweet will be pleased with fried chicken and sausage egg biscuit options.

The sweet tea with some sort of fancy bitters is also pretty killer, especially when made into a fantastic Arnold Palmer.

And, as the cherry on top of a great eating experience, the staff is incredibly friendly.

I was so narrowly focused on getting my jam biscuit that I forgot to take my own photo, so the one to the left is from their facebook page.

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Posted on June 18, 2011

Recipes »Caprese Eggs

Easy Breakfast

This is my own recipe, an eggy breakfast take on the classic Caprese Salad – Caprese Eggs. I first fried the grape tomatoes, sliced in half, in a tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper, and a couple splashes of balsamic.

Once they broke down a little, I added four scrambled eggs, cooking slowly on low heat. Last I added a thick slice of mozzarella chopped up and cooked until it was melted and the eggs were set. Next time, some basil would be a nice addition.

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Posted on November 14, 2010

Recipes »Dutch Babies

Puffy Pancake

Puffy and slightly custardy, my friend Shaun bakes a mean Dutch Baby, a breakfast treat that we concluded must be simply called “Our Children” in Holland. While Shaun’s recipe is his own, you could probably safely start with this Alton Brown one then add in any fruits you desire – we had fresh blueberries.

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Posted on July 25, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Brunch Party!

Sunday Perfection

Break out the mimosas, the bellinis, and the quiche – it’s a great time to have a brunch party! If you’re lazy like me, you can get the quiches from Fresh Direct and the world’s greatest donuts from Peter Pan. It took me a mere thirty minutes to get the whole shebang together. Throw in a few party games – Apples to Apples and a new game (to me) called Celebrity fit the bill nicely, and invite friends as awesome as mine who bring adorable babies, smoked oysters (!), homemade exquisite lemon meringue pie and it’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Posted on June 6, 2010

Recipes »Broiled Grapefruit

From Kitchen Parade

Broiled Grapefruit may be a simple recipe, but it’s one that adds a new spin on the grapefruit which I have been enjoying for months now and enjoy this new way to eat it.

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Posted on May 16, 2010

Restaurants »Flatbush Farms

76 Saint Marks Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

You’d never know it from the dark, stark exterior, but Flatbush Farms hides a sprawling, lovely back yard garden, perfect for an early brunch surrounded by Park Slope babies. The food here is simple and yummy: omelettes with fresh ingredients and sharp cheese, fluffy eggs with potatoes (which feature apples thrown in, or as my friend called them “invisible raisins”), thick slabs of bacon and over-sized banana foster pancakes that sat someplace between a pancake and banana bread. I recommend getting a stack for the table to enjoy.

While the restaurants online manifesto is an obnoxious read “The philosophy is one of simplicity, masked in a complexity matched by none. The gastronomic rogue abounds with numerous philosophies and a mash of cultures, though one aesthetic… etc” the sustainability and use of local and seasonal ingredients shines in the food.

It’s a leisurely place, where brunch can take an hour, so call friends, and get there early to start to a relaxing weekend. And don’t forget to order pancakes for the table!

Click here for the rest of Flatbush Farms

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Posted on May 9, 2010

Restaurants »Beco

45 Richardson Street, Williamsburg

Beco may be hidden behind McCarren Park but, judging by the full house at brunch last Sunday, the secret is definitely out. Featuring Brazilian specialties and more traditional favorites, the food here is pretty excellent and I can’t stress enough how filling and satisfying the Feijoada was: rice, veggies, and a bean and meat stew with toasted flour for thickening. All meals come with a coffee drink (they have yummy lattes served in glasses – which I always find pleasant) and boozy or juice beverage. My friends can also attest to the steak and eggs and the benedict.

The dinner menu looks just as enticing with Linguiça, banana, hearts of palm and chorizo peppered throughout the unfamiliar (to me) dishes, and I’ll be back to try more soon. The staff is courteous and very agile given the limited space they’re working in; the kitchen is barely bigger than a small mini apartment one, but the chef’s astound. From time to time they have live music too.

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Posted on March 28, 2010

Restaurants »Moto

394 Broadway, Brooklyn

More romance can be found among the trash-stuffed-pillars, fried chickenries and noisy dollar shops underneath the roaring JMZ track than one might ever expect at the cozy, Europeanesque Moto. It’s been ages since I headed down there for their impressive menu, jazz and hand cobbled together ambiance, and delicious desserts (years ago I praised their grilled donuts).

We ordered cappuccinos, despite a strong curiosity (particularly on my part) of the breakfast beer listed on the menu (Guinness plus espresso) which, unlike angry reports on Yelp, did not take forever to arrive at our table. Moto’s weekend brunch offers much to choose from and we were both very happy with our entrees: ham and cheese baked eggs for Jim and a fresh Turkish breakfast with olives, figs, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, and soppressata for me.

The real highlight of our meal was the warm date cake with toffee sauce and whipped cream; it was absolutely heavenly and is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes (it’s even on the menu at all meal times). Order it!

Click here for the rest of Moto

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Posted on February 7, 2010

Recipes »Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole and Brie Strata

from The Kitchn and Cooking Light

Want to throw a brunch party right? Start with one or both of these crowd pleasing egg and bread dishes. My friend Lindsay served this delicious Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole at a recent birthday brunch while I served this Brie and Egg Strata (successfully substituting french bread for ciabatta). Late morning perfection, both.

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Posted on January 31, 2010

Recipes »Classic Scones

from Cooking Light

These scones are easy to make; these scones are lower in calories than most
out there; these scones have dried blueberries (if you follow my lead); these
scones taste rich and flaky. In short, these scones are just plain awesome

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Posted on January 24, 2010

Restaurants »Sarabeth’s

sarabeth's green and white75 Ninth Avenue

Sarabeth’s original uptown location is a breakfast institution for some, but aside from her super yummy spreadable fruit that I’ve picked up from grocery stores, I had never partaken in a Sarabeth Levine meal. A recent visit to the Chelsea Market, a spot I always wonder why I don’t visit more often, changed all that.

The market location is small, with a couple small tables and some stools, but the flavors were big. I opted for the “Green and White”, scrambled eggs with scallions and cream cheese. It may seem like an odd combo, but trust me, drop some cream cheese and fresh scallions in your next batch of morning eggs and then try to tell me it’s not fantastic. There are several Sarabeth’s locations throughout the city.

Click here for the rest of Sarabeth’s

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Posted on January 17, 2010

Recipes »Baked Grits with Country Ham, Wild Mushrooms, Fresh Thyme, and Parmesan

grits with ham and mushroomsfrom Cooking Light

With my very limited patience as a cook and a human being it’s impressive that I spent nearly two hours preparing this Grits, Ham and Mushroom dish the other night, and thank goodness it was all well worth it or I’d never spend that long ever again. I could seriously have served this in my own little country farm, Egg-style restaurant and make a killing, even nabbing a spot on all the Time Out and New York best of lists… but I digress.

The only trouble I encountered was that my grits stayed liquidy rather than congealing into a cake like the recipe intends (though it didn’t affect the magnificent taste one bit). I would probably follow the box directions for the grits part rather than the ones listed in the recipe for more predictable results.

The sauce, by the way, is incredible and must be able to be utilized in other recipes. And don’t skimp on the ham, go for the best you can find.

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Posted on January 17, 2010

Restaurants »Aquavit

It's been years since we have indulged at the amazing Aquavit restaurant. Since then, it's changed locations and gone is the Rockefeller indoor waterfall. It was not missed in the face of their 48 dollar epic buffet brunch.

As you go through the offerings, one plate at a time, you'll start (if you follow the suggested order explained in the menu) with eight different kinds of herring. The pickled and the garlic were my favorite. Next comes my favorite section: both hot smoked and cured salmons with sauces. Move on to cold cuts including a supreme salami and cheeses including a sharp swiss. Next are the hot entrees and no matter how full you are, the meatballs and lingonberries are no to be missed. But you won't be done until several of the bite sized and larger desserts are consumed.

It's decadent and indulgent. We had to rest between platings and left stuffed with the cuisine of Sweden to the brim. A crisp beer or a danish mary (made with dill infused auavit) accompany the breakfast.

The atmosphere is sophisticated but more laid back than I expected which was nice. You'll be sharing space with tourists with more adventurous palettes and old moneyed people who embark on this pricey brunch regularly. For us it's a once a year extravagance that I hope to turn into a yearly tradition.

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Posted on August 3, 2009

Recipes »Supreme Melt in Your Mouth Pancakes

bisquick supreme melt in your mouth pancakesOne of the downsides of my neighborhood is that almost nothing is up as early as me on Sunday morning. When I wake up with a craving for pancakes and want to try a delicious sounding recipe from Serious Eats at seven in the morning, I pretty much have to wait until the normal people roll out of bed closer to ten to get the ingredients from the grocery store. Well, this past Sunday I was not willing to wait and I opted instead to see what Bisquick had to offer using ingredients I already had.

There are two “melt in your mouth” pancake versions that differ from the traditional. I tried the “supreme” which includes sugar, baking powder, and vanilla. The result is a lighter and sweeter pancake that took maple syrup well and didn't leave me with a rock in my tummy, despite the fact that I made a hulking stack of them just for the two of us.

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Posted on April 27, 2009

Recipes »French Toast

French Toast 1 egg
1 cup half and half
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tap. Nutmeg
3 or 4 drops Vanilla extract
1/4 tap. Salt
6 slices thick white bread or French bread

Beat eggs with half and half. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg , vanilla extract, and salt. Soak both sides of bread in the mixture for a couple of minutes. Fry in melted butter or shortening until brown on both sides. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with butter and syrup or honey.

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Posted on December 26, 2005