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  1. Au revoir to Saint Germain, in Madison Park. The darling little cafe will be open for just 3 more days. If you haven't had a chance to eat there yet, it is worth a special trip this week. Saint Germain's menu (and owner) are French, offering exceedingly tasty tartines, salads, soups along with classic french desserts and an extensive wine list - especially considering it is such a small place. They are open for lunch, happy hour and dinner. We split a croque monsieur today, along with a bowl of of a rich but delicate cream of zucchini soup, and coffee. The croque monsieur tasted as though the bread had been soaked in butter before being grilled to a light crunch, just the right crispy texture to offset the goo of the melted gruyere inside the sandwich. Yum. I wish I had left room for a poire belle helen for dessert. The owner is off to another adventure, and Saint Germain will apparently be reinvented as a creperie. I wish I had eaten there more often - there won't be another place quite like Saint Germain. http://saintgermainseattle.com
  2. Villa Victoria indeed! Bless you T-Square for this post - now I can't wait until Tuesday - it's been a long, long, long time since she stood behind her little window on the sidewalk on 34th...and now she's back and even closer to home!
  3. For a weekday breakfast, I am very fond of the lightly cumin spiced corned beef at The Dish on Leary Way between Fremont and Ballard - I think it is much tastier than Geraldine's. On a weekend, Etta's is also good, but still not quite as good as The Dish's version.
  4. If you go to Spanish Table, ask for Catherine in the wine section to recommend an assortment of meats and cheeses for you, or for tastes of this and that. Although we do buy an occasional interesting cheese there, we go to Spanish Table for their selection of port, not for picnic food. I'd go to DeLaurenti's at the southeast end of the market for a far greater selection of breads, cheeses, meats, fantastic grilled artichoke hearts, marinated beans, etc. They also have a take out counter at the east end of the store. Hit Three Girls Bakery for dessert and you'll be all set to make the train trek back to Eugene.
  5. Stevea, I agree with Kiliki - go for it and plant winter vegetables and/or winter flowers. In addition to her suggestions, you could also plant a cover crop of winter rye or clover, and then turn it over in the spring for added nitrogen and nutrients to your soil. That's somewhat labor intensive, and not really necessary if you fill your new beds with a mixture of compost, peat and other soil amendments. Or, after you harvest, you could lay down landscape cloth and put layers of freshly cut evergreen boughs over the top to give it a winter look, then toss them in the yard waste in the spring. Last winter I dedicated one of the raised beds to growing lots of different varieties of kale, broccoli, garlic, and spinach. The kale did very well, and lasted all winter and into the spring. The spinach and broccoli plants didn't die, but they didn't thrive either. In the other beds I put down a layer of compost and covered them in landscape cloth, and this spring, after pulling the cloth back, adding more compost and digging a bit, I was able to start gardening in late February by planting the first crop of Sugar Snap peas without having to pull any weeds out of the beds. Dedicating space to asparagus sounds great. Maybe you will consider other tasty and lovely perennials such as rhubarb, strawberries, artichokes and blueberries? I don't have space for asparagus, but I wish I did!
  6. We planted sugar snap peas early, so now we're eating them by the bucket full. The cooler temps have made them really happy. The strawberries are ripening at the rate of a quart a day, and the first buds from the artichoke bush were eaten for dinner tonight. Lettuce and kale and rhubarb and herbs are thriving, but, hey, kale is so easy it grows year round in Seattle, it is seemingly weather immune. Garlic is harvest ready but I have not pulled them out yet. All of the tomato plants have at least blossomed, and all but two of the 13 tomatoes have green fruit on them. Due to the cold temps, they are progressing much more slowly than last year. Some demon possessed me and I planted 5 different kinds of summer squash, and we are harvesting baby squash and blossoms from two of the bushes and one of the climbing vines. I should have a plethora of squash and no friends left by the end of summer. The pole and bush beans are not the least bit happy - between the cold weather and hungry slugs, they are looking pretty pathetic and I will probably replant half again. The beautiful green and purple leafed heat loving eggplant is the most miserable of all, but for some strange reason, the peppers seem to be thriving. Go figure. Fig tree and blueberry bushes both have fruit, but won't be ripening any time soon. It is a great year for flowers and honeysuckle - the peonies, roses, clematis and poppies are lasting much longer than in a hot year. Lilies are literally chilling out in bud stage. Our huge honeysuckle blew down (trellis and all) in the windstorm last winter, and it seems to be happier than ever for having been cut down to a quarter its former size. Dahlias are getting big and setting blossoms, but nothing has popped yet. The first orange aloestemeria bloomed today. If it weren't so labor intensive, I would do a good imitation of Tighe's neighbor and dig up the rest of the place. Eating out of the garden, and cooking with what makes it back into the kitchen, is pretty darn sweet.
  7. Good question. After having a great breakfast (fantastic potatoes) before the annual Tilth Garden sale in May, we went by the Ebb & Flow the past two Sundays hoping for a repeat, but to no avail. They were closed both days. I am beginning to wonder if the Ebb 'n Flow has Ebbed & Flown? There is only a "CLOSED" sign on the door - but no other information.
  8. If you need a little something to tide you over in between Seattle and Portland, swing into La Tarasca in Centralia...it is an easy mile or two east off of I-5 at the Harrison Avenue exit. Of course, you drive right by the Centralia Burgerville on your way to La Tarasca...but don't give it a second thought. Save your appetite for: La Tarasca 360-736-7756 1001 W Main St Centralia, WA 98531 P.S. While you are there, buy a stack of tortillas for your journey, they can easily double as travel size tasty pillows.
  9. Unknown variety - green when ripe, but soft and droopy, reddish inside. ← Your fig tree is most likely a Desert King. By the way, RaintreeNursery.com in Morton, Washington is a great source for figs. I wish we had room in our yard for more fig trees - I'd plant several more varieties. http://www.raintreenursery.com/catalog/pro...roducttype=FIGS
  10. The Seattle P.I. states the Bourdain's trek around the NW will air at 10pm this Monday, January 15 on the Travel Channel. The close encounters with geoduck beach segment should be amusing... http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/food/298975_tf210.html
  11. RR is ba-a-a-ack! My daughter and her beau were Christmas shopping in Ballard and decided to stop in Volterra for an early dinner tonight. In walked Rachel Ray and crew to film a new Seattle segment. Who knows when the show will air, but I will be curious to learn where else she visited during this trek to Seattle. I, too, wonder who does her advance research...
  12. We live in Seward Park, where there is lots of Pho and BBQ but no Thai. When we want good Thai, we make the trek across I-90 to Issaquah to the Noodle Boat. Sometimes we stop by Siam on Broadway for the Tom Ka Gai if we are on Capitol Hill. But recently, with the bad weather, early dark hours and not wanting to deal with the interstate and trekking around for take-out, we have been going to Royal Orchid at 104 Rainier Avenue South in Renton. Is there such a thing as an "uphill alert"? Good grief, they have been turning out some superb dishes - and yes, it is from a very unlikely place. Like all Thai restaurants, the Royal Orchid entrees come with your choice of tofu, fish or meat. Our current favorites are "Emerald Garlic" - crispy bright green broccoli with fresh medium-soft tofu and lots of garlic, "Stir-Fry Coriander" with chicken, cabbage, carrots, onion, and lots of coriander, "Angel Eggplant" and "Pud Kee Mao" the wide noodles taste and smell like they have been cooked on an outdoor grill - I know this sounds odd, but there is a sort of roasted quality about the dish. There are a few bizarre sounding appetizers that we haven't tried yet - but if someone tries the marinated chicken breast wrapped in Pandan leaves and deep fried...clue us in. I am especially happy with the high quality of the vegetables in the dishes - they are definitely NOT overcooked, and the individual flavor of the entrees - they don't all blend together, they clearly use very different spices and sauces in each dish. So - for south Seattle folks who have tried Royal Orchid in the past and thought "enh?", consider trying it again. Whomever's in the kitchen is to be commended.
  13. Okay, so it's November in Seattle. The basement is flooding again, the splendid summer garden produce is way over, and it seems to get dark before it gets light these days, but wait - there's compensation, there's hope, there's a reason to be happy - PECAN PIE IS BACK AT ESSENTIAL BAKERY! I had lunch with my daughter at the location in Madison Valley on Saturday, and lo and behold, I about jumped up and down for joy to see one little pecan tartlet sitting in the glass case. Of course, I wanted a whole regular sized pie, but they didn't have a big pie available (I'll be ordering one or two or three soon), so I happily settled for the pecan tart. It was even more delicious than I remember from last year, and believe me, I have fond memories. Last year Essential only offered pecan pie at their bakeries between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but I wish they had it on their menu all year round. Of course, I would probably gain a pound a month if they did....so maybe it is a good thing I'm restricted to six weeks out of the year. I don't normally buy pie from bakeries, because if I am going to eat pie, I want it to be right-out-of-the-oven delicious. After years of practice, I've found that if I set aside the time, I can make excellent pie. So yes, even though I'm old (and getting older) and have been baking pies for years, no pecan pie recipe I've ever made has even come close to Essential's version. Essential's pecan pie just may be the best reason for putting up with November in Seattle I can think of...
  14. Sharding - Etta's has an accomodating bar area, with both small table and bar seating. Unlike most places mentioned thus far, Etta's does have a low (or no) volume television at the end of the bar, which, depending on your preference, is either a plus or a minus. Last week it was a plus for me to watch a few innings of the Cards/Tiger World Series, but usually I am not interested in watching televised sports.
  15. I also need to be down by the Market early in the evening two nights a week. For quick bites, I have really enjoyed the food at Porta (just east of First on Virginia - I like everything I have tried from the menu so far), the bar at Campagne (had a crock of cassoulet last week). I had a decent bowl of chowder at the Pike Place Bar and Grill one night, but didn't go back, the place was too dreary. Check out the various bars for happy hour quick small plate specials - most are not crowded with drinkers that early in the evening, although the restaurants in the 25 for $25 group will likely be packed in November (Etta's and Campagne). Le Pichet's bar is also pretty full by 6pm, better to get a table if you dine there because the bar is high and narrow and set up in a way that makes dining a bit awkward. Campagne's bar is a great place to dine early - very comfortable to dine alone, personable bartender. I keep meaning to try the Virginia Inn. Since they were one of the first non-smoking pub and ale houses, I used to enjoying having a beer and eating there - but I haven't stopped in for several years.
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