Category Archives: Wine

Seattle: Tàvolata & Le Pichet


Craving an Italian reso to qualm comfort food cravings, I settled on a recommendation for Ethan Stowell’s Tàvolata. Located in Belltown (and a convenient 5 minute walk from my hotel), Tàvolata serves up Italian eats in a simply chic setting. On this particular evening I posted up at the bar, where I was able to gaze in the dozen or so mirrors behind the watering hole and peak at my fellow diners enjoying the large, wooden communal table.

Ethan Stowell is a Seattle fixture and a 2009 Rising Star Chef. Naturally, I read up on this place before I moseyed on over and learned that the pasta is made in-house and is a menu must. Unfortunately I was still a little full from that Beecher’s mac ‘n cheese, so I went with the Crispy Semolina Gnocchi from the Antipasti section of the menu. I figured this would cover the [pasta] bases and not leave me feeling overly carbo-loaded. I loved the subtle hints of anchovies, the dusting of parsley and the fresh marinara dipping sauce, but I felt that the dish was a little heavy on the salt and believe me, I have a tough time saying that as I usually enjoy more salt than most.

Crispy Semolina Gnocchi

I was feeling like I needed a little meat on my bones, so I settled on the Smoked Pork Belly, also from the Antipasti section. I learned that the preparation of the pork belly began with grilling and pressing the belly into the meat, however I felt myself saying “where’s the belly?” The dish was a bit dry, but the apricot puree, fennel, red radish and white balsamic provided complexity to the dish.  Lastly, for some greens I went with the Rapini with chile and garlic, however I felt this dish needed some lemon to offset the bitterness of the rapini.

Smoked Pork Belly


Tàvolata | 2323 2nd Avenue, Seattle | 206.838.8008

Le Pichet

I wandered over to this neighborhood French bistro based on the recommendation from the bartender at Bathtub Gin & xxx (more on that later). I was glad to sprinkle in some French cuisine with Le Pichet. I began with an Amuse of radish and white bean toast – very nice. Then I moved on to a combo of cheese plate and Merguez sausage. Normally I don’t like to order cheese from a resto because it’s difficult to judge based on that, but I was seriously full from my previous [food] endeavors – so give me a break! I was balancing it out.

Radish and White Bean Toast

Anyway, absolutely LOVED the spicy lamb-beef sausages, served on a salad of summer plums, cucumber, celery and a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette. Very delicious – and I think we are noticing a theme here with salty/savory paired with sweet.

Lamb-beef sausage

Stilton, le chevnot and a sautratus (though I don't think I got the spelling right on the last one).

Another thing I loved: the Demi Pichet. Eight dollars and fifty cents got me a mug of Sauvignon Blanc – what’s not to like?! And last word of advice: I heard the Fallafels aka crispy chickpea fritters are AMAZING so get in on that if you are ever in Seattle and stop by Le Pichet.

Le Pichet | 1933 1st Avenue, Seattle | 206.256.1499


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SF Chefs 2011 Recap [PHOTOS]

My, my how time flies! It seems like just yesterday I was stoked to see my favorite chefs and taste their delectable creations for SF Chefs 2011. Now that the week of seminars, tastings and parties is over, all we have are faint and distant memories. And oh yeah…pictures! See below for my awesome iPhone 4 shots. Someday I’ll get a better camera and stop subjecting you to the madness!

I only went to the Grand Tasting on Sunday and the Industry After Party at Jasper’s this year, but one thing that stood out at the Grand Tasting was PORK PORK PORK every which way, thanks to the National Pork Board (Pork: Be Inspired!). Some things that I didn’t manage to get a photo of (but still tasted outta this world) were the Pork Confit with Summer Fruit from Frances‘ Melissa Perello, ceviche two ways from La Mar and Absinthe’s Smoked German Sausage with potato-corn salad and a spicy onion marmalade. Oh and Munch from Burlingame had a tasty Buttermilk Panna Cotta and I managed to make out Chefs Gary Danko and Joanne Weir discussing BLTs. Without further adieu….

eVe. Watermelon, squid, cucumbers, cumin, dill blossoms

Scala's Bistro. Jen Biesty. Petrale Sole with heirloom tomato, saffron, artichoke and herbs

Nombe Izakaya. Sansho pepper pulled pork salad, toy box tomatoes, red frilly mustard, okura, taro chips, yuzu cream

Sons & Daughters. Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara. Agastache marshmallow foie

Bix. Bruce Hill. Opentop pork sandwich with fresh tomatoes

Driscoll's berries!

Cool desserts at Jasper's from Rose Rodriguez

And last but not least….

Dominique Crenn. Hottest female chef ever!

Hope you had fun at SF Chefs as well and see ya next year!



Filed under Food, SF, Wine

flour + water

flour + water is by far one of San Francisco’s top Italian restaurants. Nestled on the corner of Harrison and 20th Streets in the Mission, F+W is doling out the goods — and it is a well known fact, as we all have heard the notorious story that Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself  was denied a table one fateful night.

The Summer Pasta Menu couldn’t be more representative of this time of year — when it actually feels like summer! So hurry up and get your bootay in there to try Chef Thomas McNaughton’s hand made, perfectly al dente pasta. This stuff is seriously outta this world and we would expect nothing less from Chef, having held sous positions at both Gary Danko and Quince. I didn’t get a chance to try any of the Neopolitan style pizzas straight outta the Italian wood-fired oven but I’ve heard great things, so if you have an opportunity to try some of these pies, do!

cured duck with summer squash, blossoms, pine nut and basil

crispy pork trotter with cherries, pistachio, wild arugula & saba - so tasty

eggplant & smoked mozzarella triangoli with squash blossoms - delicate, yet the flavors complemented perfectly

orecchiette with goat sugo, broccoli di ciccio & rosemary. talk about goat-y goodness!

rigatoni verde with pork polpettine, taggiasca olives & chili. by far my favorite dish of the night - so rich and decadent, yet somehow finished every last bite

dense little pasta pockets filled with roasted pork, caramelized onion and parmesan cheese

rabbit confit & loin with artichokes, carrot, mint, preserved lemon & olive relish - bring on the protein! this dish was fun and inventive

The restaurants keep half of the tables open for reservations and half open for walk-ins, so either get there early or consult OpenTable. It’s also fun to stand in the bar/door area with a glass of wine in hand, giving each table the evil eye and betting with your dining companion on which will be the first to pay the bill and vacate the premises.

Another cool addition is the Dough Room, which by day moonlights as a prep kitchen and by night morphs into a great pace for parties of 8 to 10 with either an 8 course tasting menu option or a family style menu option.

They first Monday of every month are Guest DJ Nights (heeeyyy-o) so if you feel like listenin’ to some smooth beats while indulging, stop in on Semptember 5th when Thao Nguyen of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down makes an appearance. Your taste buds will be happy and your eardrums buzzin’ — heck, you might even get up and get your groove on!

Warning: Flour + Water may cause massive amount of delicious food consumption and you most likely will need a digestif after dinner (Fernet anyone?!), but the carbo loading is definitely worth an extra cardio sesh in the morning.

flour + water. 2401 Harrison Street. 415.826.7000.

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Filed under Food, Restaurants, San Francisco, SF, Wine

SF Chefs 2011

I know that I’m a bit late posting on this (hello Ashley, where have you been?!), but I wanted to at least note that YOU MUST BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW for SF Chefs 2011. In its 3rd successful year, SF Chefs is a food/wine/spirit extravaganza that you simply do not want to miss where culinary-admirers, oenophiles, cocktail aficionados and anyone in-between descend upon Union Square to indulge to their heart’s content.

If you’ve [hopefully not] been a slacker like me, you might have missed out on some of the sold out events — however I think the real bread & butta’ are the grand tastings. It’s so fun to socialize, meet other like-minded foodies, sip some great wines and taste bites from some of the best chefs around. Keep an eye out and drool over culinary innovators and trendsetters such as Hubert Keller, Ty-Flo and Chris Cosentino.

Credit: Robin Jolin, courtesy SF Chefs

Once you’ve had your fill (and are feelin’ a little tipsy), be sure to kick back and check out some of the chefs demos that take place on center stage throughout the day. Or check out a seminar or two — I know The Secrets of the Sommeliers or The Real Restaurant Wives of San Francisco both look very intriguing.

One of my morning seminars last and food pairings at 10am!

If you want to skip the events all together but have been dying to check out hot spots like Dosa, La Mar or Ragazza, be sure to hit up SF Chefs Restaurant Week which kicked off yesterday and goes until August 7th.

The epic bread display from the inaugural year.

The tickets are a bit expensive for a twenty-something on a budget, so the seminars and/or SF Chefs Restaurant Week are two great ways for you to get involved. Alternatively, next year I would highly recommend volunteering some way — the past years I was fortunate enough to attend all events because of my previous jobs with Moet Hennessy and Andrew Freeman & Co. And hey hey, if you are a Visa Signature® cardholder, you even receive 20% off all tickets — score!

Hope to see all of you out there!

SF Chefs 2011. Click here for tickets and more info.

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Filed under Food, Restaurants, San Francisco, twenty-somethings, Volunteering, Wine