Toulouse Petit – WFLBC in Seattle

Toulouse Petit is a pretty popular place. When I asked my Twitter followers for restaurant recommendations in Seattle there were a lot of Toulouse Petit fans. In fact one person, @cheapbrunch, threatened to kick me in the neck (or something) if I didn’t go. Toulouse Petit was also featured on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” featuring Melissa d’Arabian who won season 5 of The Next Food Network Star. She recommended the Cured Pork Cheek Confit Hash, more on that later.

Toulouse Petit
Toulouse Petit – That blond girl looks impressed that she’s in my picture.

Located in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighbourhood, Toulouse Petit is very inconspicuous as their sign isn’t really that noticeable. It’s easier to find if you look for the line up of people waiting for a table… We only had to wait 10-15 minutes on a Sunday at 11am so it’s not that bad.

Toulouse Beignets
Toulouse Beignets

To start we had some beignets, Toulouse Petit has a New Orleans/Creole-ish inspired menu but it is so much more that a “regionally inspired” place. The beignets are amazing and are made fresh. The chicory cafe anglais is sweet and rich, perfect for dipping or drizzling over the warm fried dough and powdered sugar.

When you order a "cup of coffee" this is what you get.
When you order a “cup of coffee” this is what you get.

Ordering a cup of coffee provides a pleasant and unexpected result. Your very own French Press. The best restaurant coffee I’ve had in ages.

Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with Prosciutto,
Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with Prosciutto,

My travelling companion had the Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with Prosciutto with an Artichoke-Fennel-Arugula ‘Salad’, cestenza bruschetta, with two poached eggs. I had a little taste of, ok I had, like, half of this (she likes to share) and it was awesome. The prosciutto was not quite crispy and wrapped very tightly around the asparagus. The flavours worked very well together and the poached eggs added that runny yolk goodness that every breakfast needs.

Cured Pork Cheeks Confit Hash.
Cured Pork Cheeks Confit Hash.

I had the dish raved about by someone I’ve never heard of on a TV show I’ve never watched, The Pork Cheek Confit Hash. So, was this dish the best thing I ever ate? Well, in a word, no. It may be the best hash I’ve ever eaten, even the best breakfast, and that’s pretty damn good. Obviously this dish has been reviewed a billion times by a billion food bloggers and I read a few of the most popular posts. Some of them are laughable, people like to complain about the most trivial things. Some of them are good, but most of them fail in one specific aspect, they ordered their eggs the WRONG way for this dish. If you ordered this with scrambled eggs I’m honestly confused how you managed to find the restaurant let alone tie your own shoes. Even over easy or sunny side up eggs don’t work here. Soft poached is the only way to eat you eggs with any kind of hash, You NEED that yolk to intermingle with the other ingredients and if you fry the egg you lose a lot of yolk volume. The confit pork cheek was dynamite, the potato hash had some asparagus (possibly slightly pickled) mixed in which most people don’t even mention and the bits of peppery arugula were the perfect garnish for both taste and appearance.

Toulouse Petit, it’s worth the trip. I’d also like to thank the sunshine and our window seats for making these food pictures extra dreamy.

Web – toulousepetit.com

Twitter – @ToulousePetit

Facebook – Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge

Scott.

 

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Local 360 – WFLBC in Seattle

Finding great restaurants is one of my favourite things about travelling. A few weeks before I went to Seattle I asked my Twitter followers for some restaurant recommendations in Seattle. The awesome bearded dudes at Hired Guns Creative recommended Local 360 in Belltown, a few blocks from my hotel.

 

Local 360, 1st and Bell.
Local 360, 1st and Bell.

An Emerson quote on their sandwich board? I approve. Local 360 uses locally sourced ingredients found within 360 miles of Seattle whenever possible. Their website has a sourcing page that outlines their philosophy. So, is the food any good?

Fried chicken* Bacon mousse chicken roulade, cheesy grits, collard greens, sunny-side up egg
Fried chicken*
Bacon mousse chicken roulade, cheesy grits, collard greens, sunny-side up egg

The “Fried Chicken” is actually a roulade made with chicken and bacon mousse. The chicken is tender and juicy, the seasoning of the batter is awesome, We don’t see a lot of collard greens or grits in Canada but they’re both great. The egg was a little over cooked but the yolk was still runny. All in all a tasty dish.

Butcher's grind house burger.
Butcher’s grind house burger.

The Butcher’s Grind House Burger was the Hired Guns recommended dish and it didn’t disappoint. I ordered it medium with bacon and cheese (obviously). The patty was delicious, you could really taste and feel how fresh the beef was. It was seasoned perfectly and came on a fresh bun with the usual burger accoutrements,  lettuce, tomato, onion, etc. I’d put this burger in my all time top 3. The fries are good too, hand cut and nicely salted.

If you find yourself in Seattle and want a good meal you can feel good about eating check out Local 360.

Web – local360.org

Twitter – @Local360Seattle

Facebook – Local 360 Seattle

Scott.

 

SkyCity Restaurant at the Space Needle – WFLBC in Seattle

First things first, park your preconceptions about this restaurant and everything you may have heard about it. Granted most “Revolving Restaurant” tourist traps are all flash and no substance. I could forgive your preconceptions about SkyCIty. I had those very same thoughts when I found out that I’d be spending my Saturday night in Seattle 500 feet above the ground with a bunch of people I didn’t know. It turns out SkyCity is very, VERY good and my dinner companions were fantastic company.

Saturday night at the Space Needle
Saturday night at the Space Needle

The ride up takes just over a minute and the views from SkyCity are amazing. One revolution takes 47 minutes which means you’ll see the whole view at least one time and when your finished your meal you can access the observation deck which is 20 feet above and offers windowless views of Seattle and its surroundings. Try and plan your visit around sunset so you see daytime views as well as night.

Sunset from SkyCity
Sunset from SkyCity

Executive Chef Jeff Maxfield has created a menu featuring world class ingredients that is influenced heavily by Seattle and the Pacific Ocean. Is SkyCity expensive? Yup, very. You do get the amazing view along with access to the observation deck but it’s a pricey meal for sure. Is it worth it? Let’s find out.

Hokkaido Scallops with cippolini agrodolce, celery root purée, white sturgeon caviar
Hokkaido Scallops with cippolini agrodolce, celery root purée, white sturgeon caviar

The Hokkaido Scallops ($49) are big, perfectly seared and seasoned and the little dab of caviar on top is perfect. Did I mention it was perfect? For $49 the plate could’ve been wiped down a little better but I’m grasping a straws to find something negative about this plate. The celery root purée and the cippolini agrodolce (basically sweet and sour onions) matched up well with the scallops and the roasted veg was top shelf.

Pacific Halibut with oregon shrimp and pork dumpling, porchetta, parsley root, english pea broth, flageolet beans
Pacific Halibut with Oregon shrimp and pork dumpling, porchetta, parsley root, English pea broth, flageolet beans

The Pacific Halibut ($47) (flown in from Alaska that day) was super fresh, seared and seasoned just right and was moist and… Ok the superlatives are getting to be a bit much. This is a solid dish with some interesting twists, like the shrimp and pork dumplings that had an Asian character. Again, $47 is a lot but you’re paying for an experience and it just happens to come with great food.

After dinner we wandered upstairs to check out the open air views, have a look.

The Seattle skyline at sunset
The Seattle skyline at sunset
Elliot Bay at night
Elliot Bay at night
Downtown Seattle, the was a Mariners game going on hence the SUPER bright lights to the right
Downtown Seattle, the was a Mariners game going on hence the SUPER bright lights to the right

So is SkyCity worth the money? Yes, yes it is. There’s a $35 minimum per guest but that’s pretty easy to get to given the menu prices. The bill for me and a guest was just under $140 before tip and that included drinks of the adult variety. The wine list is nicely varied and they even have a few tasty local beers in bottles.

Web – spaceneedle.com

Twitter – @space_needle

Facebook – spaceneedle

 

 

Winter Cask Festival at Central City Brewing Co

Photo credit - Central City Brewing Co

Surrey’s own Central City Brewing Co is holding a cask festival Saturday January 28th!! Confirmed breweries are listed below. Get your tickets and join me and the rest of the Beerthirst gang as we sample special offerings from some of the best craft beer breweries both locally and from south of the border!

Central City Brewing Company
Parallel 49 Brewing
R & B Brewing
Granville Island Brewing
Mission Springs Brewing
Howe Sound Brewing
Russell Brewing
Dead Frog Brewing
Big Ridge Brewpub
Whistler Brewhouse
Steamworks Brewpub
Storm Brewing
Longwood Brewpub
Vancouver Island Brewing
Canoe Brewpub
Driftwood Brewing
Lighthouse Brewing
Spinnakers Brewpub
Swans Brewpub
Salt Spring Island Brewing
Tofino Brewing
Cannery Brewing
Moon Under Water Brewpub

Port Townsend Brewing (US)
Boundary Bay Brewing (US)
North Coast Brewing (US)
2 Beers Brewing (US)
Elysian Brewing (US)
Big Al Brewing (US)

I’ll see you there!!

Scott.

Andrew Palooza wrap up post

It’s over, it’s actually been over for almost a week now and I still can’t believe that it all came together the way it did. In total with ticket sales, private donations, raffle sales and 50/50 sales we raised over $10000 for Andrew. I am overwhelmed with emotion trying to say how I feel so I’ll keep it short. Thank you to all the bands, comedians, The Red Room and everyone who supported Andrew in any way.

Here’s some pictures from the show!

Scott.

The Bright Side

Today started out with a bang, Lyndsey set off to work for the first time since our daughter Hayley was born and was promptly fired as soon as she walked in the door. I had planned to write a ranting diatribe about the mistreatment of women returning from maternity leave fueled with extra venom given our situation with Hayley being 3 and a half months premature and all of the emotional and financial hardships we have been through, but I have decided to remain positive. There’s way too much negativity in the world and I fear my words would be lost to those who didn’t want to hear more stories of downtrodden souls.

So positivity is the theme of this post, we will move onward and upward from this minor speed bump and and focus on what makes us happy. Item number one, Hayley crawled for the first time on Saturday! She’s now motoring around the house causing the dog to run for cover and making me put up baby gates and other baby related safety devices. This is a huge developmental step for her as her gross motor skills are delayed due to her prematurity. I cried some very happy tears when it happened. It’s also the first milestone that I’ve seen happen because they usually happen while I’m at work.

Item number 2 is Andrew Palooza!! Things have come together quite nicely for this event with Behind Sapphire and Bodhi Jones performing, Carmen Cruz emceeing and some great local comedians and another local band confirming their participation any minute. The event is at the Red Room on June 11th at 8pm and all ticket $’s go to Andrew and his Liberation Treatment in Seattle. I’m not making a penny from this event, same goes for the bands, comedians, emcee and the Red Room isn’t charging us because the owner knows Andrew and his family. It feels pretty good to be able to pull something like this together for a friend. Please come and have some fun for a great cause and a great man!!

Well that’s it for now, thanks to all of you for reading this blog, caring about what I have to say and for being awesome.

Scott.

Alta Bistro Tweetup for Andrew – May 3rd, Whistler

Event number one is booked! Alta Bistro in Whistler and I are having a Tweetup on Tuesday May the 3rd and 5% of sales are going towards getting Andrew his Liberation Treatment in Seattle. Please spread the word to anyone and everyone who can come out!!! Karma Tuesdays is something that Alta Bistro does regularly and I can’t thank them enough for their support!!

Please share this on Twitter and Facebook and whatever other way that you can!! Event number’s 2 and 3 will be announced shortly and promise to be AWESOME!!!

Scott

Helping a friend, Liberation Treatment fundraising

My friend Andrew Kristoff has Multiple Sclerosis. Andrew is 32 years old and has had MS for over 5 years. He is a great guy who, with his wife Theresa, has twin 1 year old boys. Andrew hasn’t been able to work for a few years now, he’s an electrician by trade but MS has made it very difficult for him to live a regular life and enjoy the little things like being able to chase his boys around or mountain bike which is a passion of his.

Liberation Treatment is a new and exciting development in the fight against MS and has shown amazing results in patients living with the disease. You can get the low down on the treatment here. It isn’t available in Canada but it is available in Seattle and I would like to help Andrew get the treatment so he can live the life he so badly wants and deserves to live.

It costs around $7000 and I want to use my social media connections to help him make this happen. I’m asking for your help in whatever way you can. We would love to hold a fundraising event, maybe get some local bands to perform and donate the proceeds from ticket sales, food and drink sales etc to Andrew. We would also need a venue and some auction items or whatever anyone wants to donate. I know everybody says this but Andrew really is one of the greatest guys in the world.

Please feel free to contact me with any ideas/suggestions you have, let’s make a difference for Andrew and his family.

778-808-4928

whatsforlunchbc@rocketmail.com

Scott.

Mi Mexico in Bellingham

Ah Mexican food, for most people it consists of burritos and tacos stuffed with ground beef and dripping with cheese “sauce”. I admit that I am no expert on central american cuisine but I know that what passes for Mexican food in Canada is actually Americanized dishes not typically found in Mexico. Mexican food actually rarely contains beef, instead focusing on pork, chicken and in coastal areas, seafood. Mi Mexico, located at 241 Telegraph Road in Bellingham, Washington right across from Bellis Fair mall, offers a lot of traditional and “Americanized” Mexican dishes for very reasonable prices.

The decor in Mi Mexico is eclectic and very colorful to say the least which was a welcome sight after a long afternoon of outlet mall shopping. The staff are all fantastic, everyone called me amigo and they all smiled or tried to make my 1 year old laugh every time they walked passed, always stopping to see if we needed more chips and salsa or water. The chips and salsa were average, nothing that most Mexican restaurants don’t have, warmed chips and fresh salsa, with a choice between thin or chunky salsa.

For my main I ordered Tacos Al Pastor, Marinated pork loin flame broiled and sliced with onions and cilantro on warm corn tortillas. The pork was very juicy and tasted fresh with a little heat but not as much as I had hoped for. Over all though they were really good and it’s nice to have a GOOD corn tortilla unlike the ones I’ve had in Canada. The sides were rice, beans and coleslaw. The Rice was quite fresh but I’ve heard from others that this varies by what time of day you eat here…The beans were a little runny but tasted good and the coleslaw was crisp and fresh and very mild. The cheese on the beans seemed a little pointless as it didn’t have any taste, the real star was the tacos.

My shopping companion had the Chipotle Chicken Fajitas, it came with the same sides but she chose flour tortillas over corn. These are “build it yourself” fajitas and came on a huge platter, half of which was chicken and mushrooms in chipotle sauce. The sauce was nothing like chipotle I’ve had before, it actually tasted like smoked jalapenos, which is what chipotle peppers are. If that’s what real chipotle tastes like then I will never eat the stuff we have here again, this sauce was so smoky and savory with a nice amount of spice, amazing. She couldn’t finish it so I had the leftovers when we got home.

The Canadian dollar is high, take advantage of it with cheap gas, outlet malls and Mexican food, you know you want to.

Scott.

The Teacup, Moroccan Mint

I received a gift from a friend a little while back from her girls adventure to the good old U.S of A from The Teacup in Centralia, Washington.  Located at 204 North Tower Avenue I don’t actually know much about The Teacup other than what I’ve been told so I’ll just tell you about the tea. My gift was a blend called Moroccan Mint, I love mint tea. I don’t really drink tea other than mint tea and I drink it without any milk or sugar because I enjoy the raw, unsweetened mint flavor which is very uncommon in our sugar sweetened society. The blend is a secret but it smelled mostly peppermint based with a hint of spearmint and variegated ginger mint.

Loose leaf teas are not the norm around my house but I think a shift in tea philosophy is in the works. I can’t help but think about all the teabags we throw away every year and we have two “tea balls” at home so why not? Plus they look cool and fresh tea tastes MUCH better. Water boiled, I hung my tea ball (lol) in my mug for roughly 5 minutes and then had a taste. Like I said, fresh tea is so much better than store bought tea bags. Peppermint was the predominant flavor and I didn’t get the bitter aftertaste that sometimes comes with mint tea. If you read my last post about being alcohol free for the month of April you’ll see where this post is coming from. The Booze Reviews will resume in May (hopefully) but until then I will be exploring alternative beverages in the 0% alcohol category.

There’s lots of places to buy loose leaf tea in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley so ditch the teabag, pick up a tea ball and start enjoying better tea!

Scott.