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Posts posted by Schielke

  1. The Tortilla Factory has just recently completed its metamorphasis into a tortilla factory/restaurant. I tried it out today and they did not fail to please.

    Here is the nitty gritty:

    Casa El Dorado

    Tortilleria and Restaurant

    205 E. Casino Road Suite #12

    Everett, Wa 98208

    Phone: 425-265-1186

    Hours: M-Sun 10:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

    First off, this place is very affordable. Tacos are $1.00, Sopes $1.70, Burrito $4.99

    I had 2 steak tacos, 2 pork carnitas tacos, and 1 chicharrones sope. Much more food than I should have eaten.

    Both tacos were the best I have had yet. The meat had a fantastic texture and was still moist on the inside. Everything was very flavorful before salsa was added. The verde salsa was slightly sweet and a bit spicier than others I have had. I loved it.

    My chicharrones sope was really great. If you don't know, chicharrones is basically deep fried pork fat. So tasty. They might have put a shade too much sour cream on the top, but that was easily adjustable. If you need a pork fat fix, this is your prescription.

    The rest of the menu looks great and the tortillas alone are reason to go there. I forsee many more lunches in my future.


  2. I drove by Mistral last week in the evening and noticed the Sea Sound Lounge. They had a projector showing computer generated sea turtles on the wall... :wacko: I am interested to try out the little bites Mistral provides. It does seem like an odd pairing though. I certainly hope the noise level isn't affected by techno music.

    Not that I don't like Techno music...I just don't like it with my dinner. :smile:

  3. If you do go east of Genoa, I will second the vote for Osteria Tumelin in Levanto. It was easily the best meal we had during our stay on the coast. Second best was at Gambero Rosso in Vernazza. I am sorry to say that Gianni's was not all that great when we went.

    If you are in Vernazza, you also must go to the Pirate Tavern at the top of town.

  4. Preperation question:

    What is the cleaning process?  Is it ok to just toss em in whole and sort out the de-veining stuff when you eat it?

    Don't Do That.

    Clean, then cook, please.

    That is what I thought, but when I was eating a bunch of shrimp on the coast in Italy, most of my shrimp were whole and un-de-veined. I ended up picking out the vein and wondering if that is what most people do there.

    I am glad I am not crazy!


  5. Sorry for the delay! I have been lazy in my posting duties! :smile:

    Our time in the Cinque Terre was great. The place is so beautiful and the slow paced style there really does throw off your internal time clock. Because of this I will do my best to remember our food there.

    The first day there we walked up to the top of town to pay for parking since the attendant had already gone home when we arrived. On our way we stopped in at Il Pirate della 5 Terre at the top of town. This was one of our best decisions of the trip. Two sicilian twin brothers run this place and they are fantastic hosts. One is a pastry chef and makes fantastic creations fresh every morning. My favorite was the ricotta filled donut like one... oh man. They also will fresh juice blood oranges for you if they have them. They are very particular about making things fresh and don't hesitate to let you know. We went there pretty much every morning from that point on as well as a stop in sometimes for an afternoon granita. The food here combined with the fantastic company makes it a must go if you find yourself in Vernazza.

    I think we had lunch that day at Giani's, which turned out to be good, but very overpriced. I still can't figure out why 5 grilled shrimp should cost 17 euro when they come out of the ocean less than 50 yards away.

    We had dinner that night at Il Pirate della 5 Terre, which was quite nice. I had the mixed appetizer, which was 7 small dishes on one plate. Everything was fresh and of good quality, but some of the dishes just didn't hit the mark. The main course was much better. Katie had a really great lasagna bologenese and I had a nice cheese ravioli. We got our first taste of Sciacchetra dessert wine, which was very well made. We couldn't help but chant Chaka kahn!!!! after hearing the correct pronounciation of the wine.

    We left the next morning to check out the other towns and hike back to Vernazza. We had a lovely time stopping at a cute little bar with an amazing view in Manorola. Katie and I shared slices of Riso Torte and Verde Torte with some local wine before our hike to Corniglia.

    When we reached Corniglia, I could only find two wine shops even though the town is supposed to be the wine center of the area. I am sure I just didn't know where to look.

    Dinner was at Gambero Rosso in Vernazza. Our service started out very poor when the waiter pretty much forgot we were there. He forgot to give us menus and then took 15 min to get a wine menu. It did much improve after all this though. Katie, not being much of a fish person ordered the trenette with pesto and a salad I forget. They were both very good though. I ordered Fish Ravioli, Anchovies, and Swordfish. The Ravioli were the best I had my entire trip, They were filled with a smooth ricotta mixture and the sauce had chunks of mixed fish in a creamy base. The Anchovies were traditionally prepared with olive oil, potatoes, and I think rosemary and sun dried tomatoes, this was also a fantastic dish that spoke of the quality of ingredients. The Swordfish was simply prepared, but I think I am just not a big swordfish fan. It was good, but I think just too firm of a texture for my liking. We ended the meal with more Chaka Kahn. :smile:

    The next day, we hauled ass out of town to Levanto where we got a great apartment for the night. We needed to leave early for Milan the next day to return the Rental Car and the roads getting out of the Cinque Terre don't make for an easy getaway. We were, however, able to go explore the Cinque Terre more that day with the easy train access to the towns.

    We had Lunch at Belvedere in Monterosso. There were a bunch of local workers eating really great dishes when we showed up. :biggrin: I had the mixed fry and Katie had a really fantastic pasta with tomato and basil.

    While running around Levanto, I asked the man at the Salumi Shop where to go for dinner and he pointed us in the direction of Osteria Tumelin. When I went to find it and make reservations, I was drawn into their amazing Enoteca to browse for a while. We made it back later on for dinner after drinking wine and hanging out on our terrace for a while. I had the mixed house appetizer and Grilled Shrimp. Katie once again had Pesto. :wacko:

    She was not disapointed, however, as the Pesto was the best we had in the region. I barely got two bites! My mixed appetizer was incredible. I was brought dish after dish of fantastic fish to gorge myself on. I remember two dishes of cured fish; one was swordfish and I think the other was tuna. There were a couple anchovy dishes as well. I also remember a marinated octopus and a "tuna salad" type dish that was the best damn tuna salad I have ever had.

    Just as I was getting set to call those dishes the best part of my meal, the grilled shrimp arrived in all their glory. The flesh was firm and swelling out of the halved shells. It was barely dressed with lemon and olive oil. The shrimp were huge as well. I couldn't believe how succulent and sweet they were. Just thinking about them now make me want to hop on a plane. I pleaded with Katie to try some and she confirmed that they were incredible. And shrimp is one of her stronger fish dislikes! Go Katie!

    We went home that night very happy and nicely drunk from the fantastic house wine.

    The next morning was a mad rush to get out of town and on the road to Milan. The autostrade between Genoa and Milan is not quite as easy of a drive as the one from Florence to the Coast. It was very curvy and had quite a bit of trucks filling up the road. The drive was mostly slow and not dangerous. Fourtanetly, things straightened out about 1/3rd of the way there. I even managed to get pretty good at the local driving.

    We stopped halfway at an Autogrill and had a great time buying random snacky treats and such. We both had tasty grilled sandwiches that kick the pants off of any US truck stop. Outside the stop, however was kind of sketchy... there was a cup and ball game going when we waked in and it was still going as we left. Have some Italians not yet figured out that this is the oldest scam in the book? As we were leaving, some creepy guy tried to sell me a "rolex". :wacko:

    The next stop was Malpensa Airport to drop off the rental. I am pretty sure the rental companies had something to do with there being no acessable gas stations for 30+ miles before the airport. We had to turn around and go back to one on the other side of the highway to fill the tank back up. Grrr....

    We got the car returned easily after that and hopped on the train to downtown Milan.

    More to come on Milan!


  6. Tried out Savoy this weekend for lunch with a buddy. We had a very nice time and I ate too much Indian food. There were roughly 12 to 15 hot dishes and a salad/cold bar available. Most dishes were quite nice for buffet fare. The naan was mediocre as were the vegetable pakora. I remember liking the lamb stew as well as some kind of a good dal dish.

    Overall, it was one of the better indian buffets I have been to. Good Rec!

    My buddy, who works in the area told me of another indian place nearby that consistently has lines out the door. I need to press him further for info!


  7. Your mention of foccaccia at Giusti in Lucca brought tears to my eyes. I have decided to take credit for turning you on to Giusti, whether I actually did so or not!

    It was your rec that guided us to the sweet sweet manna at Giusti.

    The sweet foccaccia they sell is also quite tasty.


  8. To Villa Minozzo we go!!!!

    Our last moning in Florence, we grabbed a quick breakfast at the local cafe and caught a taxi to the Rental Car place. The lady pulled up with our cute little Daewoo and my heart began to pound. I had been warned about driving in the city, there were unimaginable tales of woe floating in my head. I had poured over maps and street sign references in preperation for our driving adventure. My palms were sweaty and I was nervous as hell...

    For no reason.

    Driving in Florence was pretty easy. We made one wrong turn on our way out of town, but got back on track and breezed away.

    Driving in the mountains of Emilia Romagna, however, proved to be a very different experience. I became intimately familliar with the capabilities of our Daewoo Kalos. Many of the switchbacks required first gear and a watchful eye for Fiats in the other lane of traffic coming at you in your own lane. This combined with the Audi TT riding your tail and passing you in the oncoming lane provided endless white knuckling of the steering wheel.

    The view was spectacular though!

    Also worth the drive was our final destination of Villa Minozzo where Katie's family came from. The town was dead due to it being a Sunday and Holiday, but we managed to find the Graveyard and some of the long passed relatives. It was pretty neat to be halfway around the world in the middle of nowhere standing at the gravesite of your relatives.

    The town is quite cute and in a perfect setting. Unfortunetaly everything was closed and we decided not to stay the night.

    Yay! More driving! Mostly downhill this time.

    We made our way down without too many near misses and over to La Spezia on the coast. We were crossing our fingers that there would be signs to get to Cinque Terre and we got lucky! But as we drove along, a Police barracade blocked our progress and were diverted to the side. I made my best guess at how to get around it and back on track and we managed it perfectly! Phew.

    The road to Cinque Terre starts out pretty nice to the first few towns, but it quickly became a flashback of the prior mountain adventure. We finally made our way down to Vernazza (one of the 5 towns on the coast that make the Cinque Terre) and parked at the top of the town. As Katie got out, she smelled burning brakes from coming down so many hills. We smelled it on pretty much every car that came down too.

    All I cared about though is that we made it to the Cinque Terre. I was hungry and tired from driving all day and eating only little bites of salami, bread, and cheese in the car. We managed to find a room up way too many stairs, but it was clean and acceptable. A very good Dinner was at the place across from Gambero Rosso in the Square whose name I am forgetting at the moment. Katie had troife with pesto while I had the Mixed Fried Seafood. The pesto was very fresh and bright, one of the better examples we had. I really enjoyed my mixed seafood fry and had trouble giving into the pleas of my wife to share it with a local begging cat. We shared a carafe of the local white wine which would be our first of many since it is so nice.

    After all the adventure and a good meal I slept very very well.

    More Cinque Terre to come!

  9. A good Jewish deli where we good buy REAL bagels as well as cornbeef on rye sandwiches.

    Also....a terrific little Northern Italian restaurant...light on the sauces...clear and delicate flavors.

    Oh yeah...and maybe Armandino roaming around between the tables...LOL

    Would Cafe Juanita fit your bill for northern Italian?

  10. The first time I had it was when I was about 6 years old at a christmas party back east. That was about 19 years ago.

    I became my favorite food immediately.

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