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Seattle Food Bloggers

Monday, October 3rd, 2005

Seattle Food Blog Group: Tutta Bella

consumed on 8/3/05

So, um, seeing as how the next Seattle Food Blogger meeting is tonight, I thought I should post something about the last get-together. I’m cringing as I look at the date; it’s been two months since we dined…

This was the smallest gathering yet, just Orangette, Culinary Fool and myself. It was my turn to chose the restaurant and I was feeling pizza-y. Plus I was long overdue for another visit to Tutta Bella.

It was a hot, sweltering day and the wait for a table was long, but the complimentary wine-while-you-wait (wine-so-you-don’t-whine?) certainly helped smooth things over. After about 20 minutes we were seated upstairs where, unfortunately, all the hot, stale air was collecting. Acoustically it was probably the worst location in the restaurant as the ceiling was low and there was nothing around to absorb sound. Ignoring the table of screaming kids behind us, we ordered a bottle of wine and perused the menu.

Knowing the gigantic proportions of Tutta Bella salads, we decided to order just one Caesar ($5.50) and split it. It had a nice, creamy dressing although I wished it came with more anchovies. We probably could have shared this salad with another 2-4 people.

For pizza we ordered the Tutta Bella ($9.95) and the Pancetta e Pomodoro ($9.50) to share. The Tutta Bella came with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, Isernio’s hot Italian sausage and mushrooms. The Pancetta e Pomodoro had golden pomodoro sauce, pancetta, mushrooms, slivered garlic and formaggi di casa. The Tutta Bella was a great, simple pizza, but it just couldn’t compete with the pancetta (what can, really?). The Pancetta e Pomodoro was much more delicate and at the same time more assertive and salty.

Even though the restaurant was hot and loud, I really, really love this place. Maybe it’s because it has that bustling, comfortable, neighborhood feel… or maybe it’s the wonderful pizza… or maybe it’s a perfect combination of the two.

Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

Seattle Food Blog Group: La Carta de Oaxaca

The fourth Seattle Food Blog get-together was hosted by Molly from Orangette and she chose La Carta de Oaxaca for a meeting place. In attendance were:

Accidental Hedonist
Amuse Bouche
Culinary Fool
Tasting Menu

We all started out with tortilla chips and guacamole ($3). The tortilla chips were light, airy and full of crunch. Dusted with salt, they were highly addictive, especially when dipped in the silky guacamole. I think they must add cream and/or whip it because it’s a surprising texture, but has lots of good avocado flavor.

I ordered my favorite dish of Mole Negro Oaxaqueno with chicken ($8). The mole is so dark it’s almost black and coats a falling-apart tender chicken leg. Some people complain that the mole is too sweet, but I think it’s absolutely heaven and hands down the best mole I’ve ever tasted.

I also split an order of Entomatadas ($9), which is now my new favorite dish. It was a thin cut of beef that was marinated and grilled to perfection. It came with two fried tortillas topped with wonderfully salty Oaxaqueno cheese and a choice of sauces. You could choose between red and green, but our waiter highly recommended the red. It was tomato-y-delicious and soaked into the tortillas in the most wonderful way.

I also tried a tortilla topped with shrimp (can’t remember the name of it), which was the only dish I disliked. The shrimp were hard and rubbery from soaking a little too long in a citrus marinade. Plus they had a sour acidic taste that overwhelmed any other flavor that may have been present.

Lastly, I had a bite of a Tamale de Mole Negro with chicken ($6). For some reason I thought I had already tried the tamales here, but then I realized I hadn’t. I kicked myself for missing out on them on all my prior visits. The tamale had the same delicious mole sauce as the chicken I ordered, but it was mixed in with chicken and tender and fluffy masa and then formed into a giant square tamale. It was wrapped in a banana leaf, which imparted amazing fragrance and sweetness. Come to think of it, this may actually be my new favorite dish at La Carta de Oaxaca. I’m already dreaming of my next visit.

La Carta de Oaxaca on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

Seattle Food Blog Group: Mashiko

I missed the second Seattle food blog get-together, but was really excited to attend the third one—hosted by Kate and Tara from Accidental Hedonist. They chose the location of Mashiko in West Seattle for a Japanese Omakase meal.

In attendance were:
Accidental Hedonist
Margaritas and Mad Hatters

We ate our way through nine courses ($40 per person) and finished almost every dish!

  • Rockfish sashimi—This was too fishy for my taste and had a very tough, chewy texture, but most everyone else really enjoyed it.
  • Oysters—These were outstanding, really fresh oysters topped with just a touch of ponzu sauce and a dab of roe.
  • Ono salad—Like the popular tuna sashimi salad, but oh so much better. Made with ono (a very palatable, mackerel-like fish), pine nuts, avocado, fried chow mien noodles and seaweed salad, dressed in a soy / sesame oil / ponzu sauce.
  • Sautéed pea shoots with mushrooms and walnuts—Very un-Asian tasting, but really good, with giant, tender shitakes.
  • Scallops—The whole table gasped when the waitress brought these out. They were halved scallops, stuffed with a spicy, mayonnaise crab mixture, wrapped in… PROSCIUTTO! Beautifully topped with roe and a single chive.
  • Sushi platter—A giant platter with three types of sushi:
    Toro with capers and onion—Melt in your mouth fatty tuna with an unusual (for Asian cuisine), but great combination of chopped onion and capers.
    Saba with pickled mustard greens—I’m not a saba fan, so Zach was so excited to eat my piece, but this was so good I ate almost all of it. Tender saba, with a really light flavor.
    Lightly seared swordfish with spicy crab mayo—My least favorite of the three, only because I didn’t care for the rubbery texture of the swordfish.
  • Tempura salmon roll—A gorgeous, large roll filled with salmon and asparagus, then coated with tempura and flash fried.
  • Hamachi—Hamachi (Yellow tail) breaded in panko then deep fried and served with a rich, luscious miso sauce. Very good, but I thought the fish was a touch overcooked.
  • Roll platter— I think we all agreed that we didn’t need more food, but we were hoping this last dish would be the green-lipped mussels and we didn’t want to miss out. There was a fairly standard avocado roll, an unagi roll with a tissue-paper thin outside skin and a whitefish roll with shiso and pickled plum paste.

It was a lot of fun and very, very delicious. Also a really a great deal considering the quality and quantity of the food. I can’t wait to go back… Thanks Kate & Tara!

Mashiko on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

Seattle Food Blog Group: Malay Satay Hut

A while back, Molly from Orangette and I discussed getting together a group of Seattle Food Bloggers to talk about food, eating, cooking, and blogging. Our favorite topics.

After much planning, we finally met everyone last night:

Accidental Hedonist
Amuse Bouche
Culinary Fool
Tasting Menu

We had a delicious meal at Malay Satay Hut—everyone chose something from the menu and we ate family style:
Roti Canai – Flatbreads with a curry dipping sauce
Fish with Thai Sauce – A whole (delicious) fried Tilapia with a sweet and sour tamarind sauce
Mango Shrimp – A beautiful dish of sweet mango and shrimp served in hollowed out mango shells
Dried Curry Crab РA whole crab saut̩ed in curry sauce
Curry Beef – A spicy and rich beef curry
Nasi Lemak – Not quite sure what this was, but it was good—it came with rice, eggs, some sort of stewed meat and a chutney
String Beans РSpicy beans saut̩ed with shrimp
Noodles with Tofu – This was really good, but I didn’t get the name of the dish

The food was great, but I found it hard to concentrate on both the food and conversation at the same time, so out of politeness, I opted to concentrate on the conversation.

Actually it was great. We had such a varied mix of people in terms of how they approach blogging, how long they’ve been doing it and with what seriousness. It was a little odd at first because we all knew the intimate food-related details of each others’ lives, but had never met. The idea of being anonymous and not-so-anonymous at the same time is really interesting. I had a great time and enjoyed meeting everyone. I hope we can do it again soon…