On Our Radar



     
 
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Cidre!
Business/Location: La Pétanque
Address: 40 Rue Etienne Dolet
City: Paris
State:
Zip Code: 75020
Phone: 46 36 49 36

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   La Pétanque
"Bonne chance!" shouted the barman as we left the hipster place on Rue Menilmontant where we had just asked the question, "Do you have any cider?" Well, we were in luck because we'd been to a bar a few nights before that did indeed serve cider, and we were going to return. I don't know if cider is seen as a hobo drink in Paris--not quite sophisticated or cosmopolitan enough--but it is hard to find. Certainly, the only place that you will find it on tap is in an Irish pub and it's probably going to be Magner's. But La Pétanque, thankfully had some very good Breton cider, albeit in 25cl bottles, which slaked our thirst. "Where are you from, my friend?" the kindly barman who had remembered us asked in French. "Angleterre, de Londres," I said. I also explained that cider is served in pints in England, hence the fact that my boyfriend and I had sunk three bottles apiece. "Everyone is welcome here," our new friend said, eyes shining, as if we were now part of the club. And it kind of does feel like a club, with a pinball machine in the corner, a few bar flies who never seem to leave, and great music on the speakers; we felt right at home.


Thursday, May 7, 2015
Picture This
Business/Location: Picture
Address: 110 Great Portland Street
City: London
State:
Zip Code: W1W 6PG
Phone: 020 7637 7892
Website: www.picturerestaurant.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Picture
I don't like restaurant critics. They're always snarky. Anger issues. Passive aggression. If I don't like somewhere, I just won't review it. So that's the first thing to get off my chest. The second thing: I'm not overly keen on 'small plates'. I don't like sharing which is what people tend to do with small plates. So Picture, because it's being reviewed here, must be at least good to outstanding, and also, must have converted me to this way of eating. Picture is that rare thing: a quietly confident eaterie in central London that has both style and substance, and it's also pretty damned reasonable for the quality of food and service you're receiving. The tasting menu is six courses (that's six small plates each) which may seem daunting but each dish is so carefully considered and the service timed so well that you never feel overwhelmed only excited about the next course. I couldn't say which was my favourite, everything was cooked to perfection; however, the sea bream elevated a dish which has become ubiquitous yet so often badly done. Closely followed by the pork cheeks. And the sublime chocolate mousse. An a la carte menu is available if you're after a quick bite but I highly recommend the Spring tasting menu. Simple food and flavours done perfectly.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Greenwood's Cozy Nut
Business/Location: The Cozy Nut Tavern
Address: 123 N 85th St
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98103
Phone: 206-784-2240

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
   The Cozy Nut Tavern
Greenwood's aptly named joint delightfully evokes Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Thanks to the reclaimed wood interior and soft lamplight you'll feel like you are enjoying your cocktails or streamlined selection of local and imported brews inside the nicest damned tree trunk imaginable. Every minute spent there is a pure joy from their adorable anthropomorphic forest creature silhouettes to their build-your-own charcuterie plates. The delightfully toothsome texture of their warm, house made corn nuts (complimentary with every drink order) shatteringly transcend the commercial variety. Even the taxidermy seems pleased to be part of it all. Bring a deck of cards and settle in with friends.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Burgundian Brunch
Business/Location: Burgundian
Address: 2253 N 56th St
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98103
Phone: 206-420-8943
Website: www.burgundianbar.com

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
   Burgundian
The Burgundian isn't Seattle's only destination for chicken and waffles. But the malt batter and bourbon maple syrup makes it one of the best. The classic pairing is only one of numerous reasons to become a brunch regular. The wood-laden, 21+ establishment gives discerning grownups a comfortable place to recharge on a late weekend morning. Dishes like the veggie-laden winter hash, bruleed oranges, or fruit-filled steel cut oatmeal prove you don't need a grease-bomb to satisfyingly soak up the previous night's indulgences. Bread accompaniment options include brioche or a biscuit. Enjoy your meal with a hair-of-the-dog cocktail or a flawless latte.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Toronado's 40 Rotating Taps
Business/Location: Toronado
Address: 1205 NE 65th St
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98115
Phone: 206-525-0654
Website: www.toronadoseattle.com

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
   Toronado
Do you love beer, but find yourself let down by the paltry 10-12 options you usually find at a bar? The California-originated Toronado has your back with 40 rotating taps and a giant LCD menu that's just begging for you to make a night of it. View the live beer board on their website so you're not so overwhelmed once you get there. They've got equally massive lists of bourbon, whiskey, scotch and tequila for the more spirited folks. Somehow, they also find time to maintain a farm-to-table menu full of decadent sandwiches and charcuterie plates. Or just get a plate of bacon for $10.


Thursday, March 5, 2015
Oysters, Cocktails, Burgers
Business/Location: Black Market
Address: 110 Ave A
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10009
Phone: 212-614-9798
Website: www.blackmarketny.com

Posted by:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian
   Black Market
Black Market's front window advertises three food items in big letters – cocktails, oysters and burgers – but right on the glass of their front door they throw in an extra superlative: “best burger in town.” There's no shortage of places in town that claim (sometimes quite dubiously) to be the best at something or other, but Black Market has some legitimate claim to the title. They're not doing anything outside the borders of a traditional burger, just doing it well. Their Pat LaFrieda sourced meat is apparently a custom mix. It's well seasoned and finely cooked (to order, of course), with an excellent bun and side of addicting fries to complete the meal. Sure, there are too many great burgers in this town to give the crown definitively to one spot, but it is damn good, and my favorite in the East Village. Beer is the natural compliment to a burger, but if you're feeling a little fancy, they mix a fine cocktail as well.


Friday, February 27, 2015
Everybody's Sushi For The Weekend
Business/Location: Sushi Kanpai
Address: 900 8th Ave
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98104
Phone: 206-588-2769
Website: www.sushikanpai.com

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
   Sushi Kanpai
What's better than an awesome happy hour? How about a happy hour that lasts all weekend and features what is practically a dinner-sized menu at low prices? Order more traditional sushi rolls or YOLO with the Heart Attack (basically a Japanese jalapeno popper). Don't miss the tempura or the gyoza. The catch is a one-drink per person minimum, which means you can't share that Saki unless you get a beer back. It's a convenient spitting distance from Town Hall, so you get your buzz on and fill your belly before catching a reading by that author you heard on NPR. Of course, you can always order from their regular menu, where the food gets fancy but the prices stay reasonable. Kanpai!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sweder Than a Cinnamon Bun
Business/Location: Scandinavian Kitchen
Address: 61 Great Titchfield St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: W1W 7PP
Phone: 020 7580 7161
Website: www.scandikitchen.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Scandinavian Kitchen
If you're a lover of the Swedish cinnamon bun or have graduated to the cardamom bun, then the semla (or semlor in the plural) will blow your mind. A cardamom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream, the semla was traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday. Back in the day, it was a humble bread bun served in hot milk but at some point, like everyone else, the Swedes got fed up with this ascetic regime and the semla as we now know it was born. This pimping of the tradition proved too delicious and semlor became available every Tuesday until Easter. Then they started popping up soon after Christmas--not unlike the Cadbury's cream egg. Let's be honest, Mardi Gras is pretty much the stretch from Christmas through to Easter: after that the days start to get longer and we become aware of our less-than-svelte figures. I can't think of a better place to exercise winter eating than The Scandinavian Kitchen. With its open sandwiches, buns and cakes, and the stash of imported goodies at the back of the café (they have Smash! from Norway! Only the best salty-sweet chocolate hit EVER!), I'll happily take a 'tretar' (translates literally as 'threefill' or third cup) of Monmouth coffee.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Vittles in Belltown
Business/Location: Vittles Neighborhood Bistro & Bar
Address: 2330 2nd Ave
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98121
Phone: 206-448-3348
Website: www.vittlesseattle.com

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
   Vittles Neighborhood Bistro & Bar
This up-and-coming bistro in Belltown is poised for stardom. The soft brown décor makes it ideal for dates and parents alike. The classed-up comfort food and thoughtfully crafted cocktails have something for everyone. For me, the star attraction is the generously portioned Crispy Green Beans with Broccoli, tempura breaded with a truffle aioli drizzle for dipping. Make a meal out of one or two apps or share the love. Also notable: Crab and Corn Beignets and the House Poutine, which uses a cheesy sauce in lieu of traditional toppings. For even heartier fare, venture into the surf and turf laden entrees. The service is just how I like it--attentively laid-back. Things get even cheaper at happy hour.


Friday, February 6, 2015
Je Voudrais un Hot Lunch
Business/Location: Villandry
Address: 170 Great Portland St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: W1W 5QB
Phone: 020 7631 3131
Website: www.villandry.com

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Villandry
From the outside, Villandry is one of those places that could be intimidating. It’s on Great Portland Street where side roads are filled with Maseratis and Jaguars and it is also a Parisian-style grand café. So you would be forgiven for thinking that the service may be a little haughty and perhaps that the prices would leave you out of pocket. In fact, the takeaway counter is pretty reasonable and with this cold weather, for a few more pounds than your usual Pret-Itsu-EAT lunch, you can get something hot and tasty that feels homemade. The soup is hearty and healthy (I had cauliflower and fennel) and you can choose from hot dish of the day for £6.50 (beef and Guinness stew anyone?) or the daily carvery in a baguette or ciabatta for £6.95. Salad is available too from £4.95 and looks vibrant and fresh. Did I mention the juices, smoothies, pizza, and wraps? As for service, the staff were friendly and quick to serve. What really caught my eye though were the patisserie-style offerings and I couldn't resist a large homemade jammy dodger--buttery biscuit sandwiched together with serious raspberriness. That alone put a big smile on my face for the rest of the day. Jammy dodger indeed.