Archive for the 'Small Plates' Category

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Jonathan Gold’s Scouting Report #1: AltaEats

Altaeats - Altadena

Chef Paul Ragan’s cookin’ up a little somethin’ somethin’ in the foothills of Altadena and it’s got a whole lotta soul. Filing my first Scouting Report, “At AltaEats, seafood paella and a duck egg for your duck hash,” on the Los Angeles Times‘ Daily Dish. Bon appetit.

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Sitka & Spruce – Seattle

Sitka & Spruce - Capitol Hill - Seattle

When Sunday rolled around, it was time to pack up our bags and bid farewell to Seattle.

Since The Astronomer and I had enjoyed such a stellar meal at The Corson Building on Friday night, we decided to brunch at another of Chef Matt Dillon’s restaurants before leaving town: Sitka & Spruce. I loved that our #2DaysinSeattle stay was bookended by thoughtful, Pacific Northwest-inflected meals, with a winning mix of booze and biscuits in between.

Sitka & Spruce - Capitol Hill - Seattle

Chef Dillon opened the original Sitka & Spruce in a nondescript Eastlake storefront in 2006. The restaurant relocated to spiffier digs inside Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market in 2010. While I can’t speak to the ambiance of the first spot, the current one is absolutely gorgeous, with tons of natural light streaming in.

Sitka & Spruce - Capitol Hill - Seattle

Brunch, which is served on Saturdays (10 AM to 2 PM) and Sundays (10 AM to 3 PM), is a beautiful affair. The menu features a selection of small and large plates that encourage family-style sharing, and the offerings go far beyond basics like French toast and eggs Benedict. It’s the kind of interesting and delicious fare that I would gladly sacrifice sleeping in to experience.

I wanted to order the entire menu, of course, but our party of four could only handle so much, especially after last night’s never-ending feast at Staple & Fancy.

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The Corson Building – Seattle

The Corson Building - Seattle

The moment The Astronomer and I landed in Seattle, we hailed a cab and high-tailed it to The Corson Building for dinner. We usually take a train from the airport into the city, but we didn’t want to waste any precious time since we only had #2DaysinSeattle.

Here in a stone building on an industrial stretch of Georgetown, about five miles from downtown Seattle, Chef Matt Dillon serves wonderfully rustic fare using locally sourced ingredients prepared with Northwest flare. Previously, Chef Dillon was named the James Beard Award winner in the Northwest category in 2012 and Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chef in 2007.

My friend Jessica recommended this restaurant to me years ago, but I never made my way here until this most recent jaunt.

The Corson Building - Seattle

While Saturday and Sunday evenings are communal affairs with multi-course pre-fixe menus, the restaurant serves a “small, hand-written menu inspired by the writings and philosophies of Angelo Pellegrini” on Friday nights.

According to Wikipedia, Angelo Pellegrini was “an author of books about the pleasures of growing and making your own food and wine, and about the Italian immigrant experience. He was also a professor of English Literature at the University of Washington.” How cool is that?

The Corson Building - Seattle

I sipped two glasses of wine with dinner, one  light and white and the other full bodied and red, while The Astronomer chose an Indian lager.  He was initially entranced by the hints of honey in each sip, but ultimately decided that the beer tasted too watered down.

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Allumette – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Allumette - Echo Park

Chef Miles Thompson, who launched The Vagrancy Project last summer, has found a permanent home in Echo Park in the building formerly occupied by Allston Yacht Club. During his twice-a-week pop-up in this very space, the former executive sous chef at Son of a Gun dazzled diners with creative and beautifully plated fare like John Dory with boba, miso, and shiitake and chorizo with grapefruit and Robiola on toast.

While the culinary residency was short lived, it managed to catch the attention of Allston Yacht Club’s owners Bill DiDonna and Charles Kelly. Allumette is a joint venture between the two seasoned restauranteurs and the young chef. Consider this pop-up completely permanent.

Allumette - Echo Park

Allumette’s forward-thinking menu is comprised of two dozen small and thoughtful plates that fall under the categories of “Vegetable,” “Pasta,” “Fish,” “Shellfish,” “Meat,” “For Two,” and “Dessert.” Diners are encouraged to either indulge in the Chef’s tasting menu or select 4 to 6 dishes to create their own tasting experience.

I, along with my dining companions Darin, Pat, and Christina, decided to go the family-style route in order to taste as much of the menu as possible. In certain instances where a dish was literally a bite or two, we doubled, tripled, or quadrupled our order as needed.

Allumette - Echo Park

Before diving into the food, we sampled a few cocktails crafted by Serena Herrick. I selected the “Smoking Gun” ($11), a super-strong brew comprised of Vida mezcal, Cynar, and Calisaya. Since The Astronomer wasn’t around to tow me home safely, I kept my sips to a minimum.

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