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

 

 

Advertisements

Recipe – Creamy Cajun Chicken and Chorizo Linguine

This is my recipe for Creamy Cajun Chicken and Chorizo Linguine, be forewarned, this isn’t health food. I like to make this on a rainy day or when it’s cold out, the heat is a little much for a hot day but you can adjust that to your own taste.

Things you will need:

Some prepared ingredients
Some prepared ingredients
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into cubes or small strips.
  • 2 whole Chorizo sausages chopped into small pieces
  • 2 ounces of linguine cooked al dente.
  • 1/4 cup of Cajun seasoning.   http://bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/r/bl90515b.htm
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
  • 1 bunch thinly sliced green onions.
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. (not the stuff in a plastic can…) .
Just before the cream is added
Just before the cream is added
The cream is almost thick enough
The cream is almost thick enough

 

Toss chicken and seasoning in a mixing bowl until chicken is coated. In a large pan, preferably a deep frying pan, add the butter and sauté chicken over medium high heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat and add green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper and Chorizo and sauté for a few more minutes then add the heavy cream. Let simmer stirring often until cream starts to thicken and it is heated through. Add to pasta and toss with Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!

Enjoy!
Enjoy!

If you like more heat you can add chilli powder to the Cajun seasoning. Hope you like it, it’s kind of a Louisiana twist on an Alfredo sauce. Not sure where I found this recipe but it’s awesome.

Scott



Slingers Mobile

When ever I am able to I will always choose street food over fast food for lunch. My most recent street food lunch was at Slingers Mobile located on Burrard street in the heart of Vancouver’s Business district. They offer comfort food in it’s purest form. Case in point the Veal Parmesan Sandwich and hand cut fries I sampled.

The Veal (please don’t send me nasty comments about Veal, if you don’t want to eat it that’s your choice) was a full breaded cutlet that was cut in two making it a double. There was cheese, marinara sauce, peppers, onions and mushrooms all served on a fresh bun. This is a very messy sandwich so if you’re a suit and tie person be warned. Over all it was a tasty sandwich but the breading on the Veal was a little soggy. It’s also a very filling, rich sandwich, the fries I ordered were too much to finish after eating the sandwich.

The fries were a letdown, soggy and lacking any seasoning. Fries from a food truck have yet to impress me. Slingers does get bonus points for having “The Dude” displayed on their truck. Any friend of The Dude is a friend of mine. As is the case with every other food truck I have visited in this city the staff were great and the truck itself looks amazing.

On to the next food truck!!

Scott.

Booze Reviews – Russell Brewing Company Brewmaster Series

Craft beer, really good craft beer, has been the sole property of the Pacific coast of the good old USA for a few years now. Enough hops to punch you in the face from the inside, Porters darker than night time at Mount St. Helens and every other bizarre infusion your could imagine have become commonplace in Washington. Oregon and Northern California. Canada has been left in the dust by a nation known for Bud Light and spray cheese.

Russel Brewing Company, located in Surrey, has posted a serious challenge to the supremacy of the Pacific North West of America with its Brewmaster Series. The only issue with these wonderfully crafted bottles and kegs filled with liquid gold is that they are limited quantity. From the Blood Alley ESB to the Black Death Porter every beer in this series is outstanding. My personal favorite is the Guuud! Ale designed specifically Kitanoya-Guu Izakaya restaurants as a palate cleanser.

Like I said these beers are limited quantity releases and are available at select private liquor stores including Central City in Surrey and Legacy Liquor Store in the athletes village. Get them before they’re gone, or contact Russell and demand they be put into full production!!!

Cheers

Scott.

Abigail’s Party

Have you ever gone somewhere, walked in the door and said to yourself “If I owned a restaurant it would be just like this.”? Abigail’s Party oozes cool, it’s small and intimate and has great atmosphere and the food holds up against its visual appeal. Located at 1685 Yew street in Kits, right across the street from the (in)famous Kingshead Pub this little section of Yew street is as cool a block as you will find anywhere in Vancouver.

Being Jersey Shore fans Lyndsey and I had to try the Deep Fried Pickles served with paprika aioli which were as good as Snooki promised they would be. We also tried the Tuna Tartare which was cured in grapefruit and served with avocado and cucumber with sesame wonton crisps. Very light and fresh, I could have eaten a lot more of this dish. Apologies for the picture quality in this post, it’s time for an iPhone, sorry Blackberry, we had a good run.

For our mains we shared the Aged Cheddar Mac and Cheese which was so good I’ve had dreams about it. The aged cheddar was very sharp and kicked what is normally a sad letdown at restaurants in to a winner. Lyndsey had the Herb Crusted Halibut with asparagus, clams and fingerling potatoes in a curry cream sauce. The fish was great judging from the small bite I had. The herb crust was made up of almond, basil, italian parsley, chervil and tarragon.

I had the Steak Frites, a staple of French Cuisine in North America. It consisted of a medium rare flat iron steak from Pemberton Meadows served sliced over triple fried Kennebec fries with an arugula salad. Everything about this dish was great, the steak, the fries, the peppery arugula salad, everything.

I’ve been told that I can be too positive in my reviews, I will say this once, I give praise where praise is due and I’m not in the business of going to eat at restaurants where I have heard others had poor service or bad food. I will always tell you straight up if I enjoyed my experience or if there were areas that needed improvement. Abigail’s Party is the real deal, go there and find out for yourself. Follow them on twitter too, they’re good times.

Scott.

Booze Reviews! Cocktails in a can

It’s a good thing when 2 days after a conversation about whether cocktails in a can exist they show up on your kitchen counter. They may not be the exact kind I was looking for but Jack Daniels and cola along with Jack Daniels and lemonade are close enough to the rum and cola that I was searching for. Why haven’t these pre-made drinks in a can existed until now? I don’t know but I’m glad they’re here.

Jack Daniels, as I’m sure most of you know, is a Tennessee Whiskey which is a type of bourbon made in…wait for it…Tennessee!! The Jack Daniels brand is arguably the most well known type of Tennessee Whisky and is very popular among the mixed drink crowd. The canned version of the popular JD and cola tastes just like it would if you mixed it yourself and a can comes in at a healthy 6% abv. There are 2 minor issues I have with this beverage, the first being that it was a little flat. I’m not sure what would cause the lack of carbonation but it would do this drink wonders. The second issue is that back when I was a young lad, in my early 20’s, I got sloppy drunk on JD and cola at the now defunct Marble Arch Gentleman’s Club and ever since I’ve had a problem with JD in general. The fact that I enjoyed this drink means that my aversion is weakening or I’m getting old.

The JD and lemonade was flat as well but that’s ok because lemonade is supposed to be flat. Overall these canned drinks surprised me with their apparent quality and lack of the chemical taste that plagues coolers and “hard” lemonades. I could see this replacing beer in my cooler on hot days at the cabin or playing softball because it’s more refreshing and less filling.

Yay for Booze Reviews!!!

Scott.

Potato Chip Showdown

Is this for real? A blog post about potato chips? It’s as real as a swift kick in the beans, and hopefully will show that while I enjoy writing about (and eating) really fancy things I am not a food snob. The humble potato chip is considered a major food group to those who watch a lot of sports on big screen HDTV’s and pairs well with wonderbread-esque mass produces lagers pumped out of mega factories the world over. The “store brand” chip has always been the ugly duckling of the dog eat dog chip market but Presidents Choice is aiming to crush those stereotypes by introducing bold, out of the box flavors.

The first of these unique flavors is BallPark Hot Dog. A thick cut ripple chip made with “hot dog, mustard and relish seasonings”. The term hot dog seasonings frightens me. These things actually tasted like hot dog. I’m not sure if I liked them though, I like hot dogs and I like chips but a hot dog flavored chip is a stretch. As with most bags of chip left open and unattended around me they did not last long. The actual chip was nice and thick and would have been great for dipping sans wiener flavor.

The second chip sampled, and by sampled I mean devoured and by devoured I mean I ate the whole bag, was Sweet Chili Thai. These were more along the lines of a traditional chip flavor, so much so that they probably should be called BBQ because that’s what they taste like. They were good but the name doesn’t suit the flavor. While I’m on the subject of “Sweet Thai Chili” flavored things…ENOUGH ALREADY!! Every restaurant has something on its menu with these 3 words in the title and quite frankly I’m getting sick of it. Sweet Thai Chili is to the new millennium as cilantro, mango salsa and Wolfgang Puck were to the 90’s.

So the title said showdown and this really wasn’t one. I had to get your attention somehow right? Long live chips and beer.

Scott.

Wine Down With Delta!

Wine, food and charity in a hotel/casino? Yep, life is rough… As I walked in to Wine Down With Delta at the Delta Burnaby Hotel the song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound Of Music was playing in my head. This was my first event invite as “Media” so I wanted to keep a low profile, ha ha ya right! Low profile and Scott are not compatible.

Wine Down was in support of Habitat For Humanity which is an amazing charity that builds houses for low income families. It featured the 3 Greater Vancouver Delta hotels  and their respective restaurants and many BC wineries. Check out the pictures below and prepare to drool all over your keyboard. For the record my personal favorites were the chicken croquettes with black truffle puree from the Delta Burnaby, the lamb meatballs with chorizo from the Delta Vancouver Suites and the chilled Manhattan Gazpacho from the Delta Vancouver Airport.

La Casita

Mexican food!! I’ve said it before, I am not an expert when it comes authentic Mexican food having grown up in a culture that considers Taco Bell “Mexican” food. I hear there are a few places in Vancouver that offer up true Mexican food and one of those places is La Casita in Gastown.

Raul Pacheco, aka Hummingbird604 has said he likes La Casita and he’s from Mexico so that says a lot. My wife and daughter met me downtown recently and we ended up at La Casita mostly due to convenience. We grabbed a table by the window so Hayley could watch the world go by but we still ended up be the people in the restaurant with the randomly screaming baby…joy.

I ordered the Chorizo Chimichanga which may or may not be authentic Mexican but it was damn good. A deep fried tortilla filled with cheese, beans and chopped Chorizo sausage and covered with salsa and sour cream. The presentation was 100% better than any “Mexican” restaurant I’ve been to, it looked like someone cared how the plate looked instead of being a pile of rice, a similar pile of beans and a tortilla on a plate. The sausage was mild and tasty and cooked just right with a nice crunch from the tortilla. The beans were good, not great and the rice was the same, not outstanding but very good. The vegetables were really quite good though, usually an after thought in a dish like this they were fresh and seasoned with a savory salt and spice mix that took them above and beyond what you would expect from a side of veggies.

Unfortunately we forgot to unhook Hayley’s toys (rattle, ball, rings etc. ) from the highchair when we left. Oh well, I’m sure a less fortunate little one can benefit from them as they are easily replaceable for us.

Mexico, I like the way you cook.

Scott.

Davidson Pitstop

I promised a while ago that I would try and write about more Fraser Valley restaurants and lately I’ve been to a few good ones. First was Five Doors Down in Whiterock and now after years of living 6 blocks away from it I have finally tried Davidson Pitstop. Located at 16225 Fraser Hwy in Surrey it  is a throwback burger joint with Harley Davidson motorcycle imagery dominating the theme, hence the name.

I’ve been told that the burgers here have been named best in Surrey but I’ve never personally seen that in writing. I asked what the best burger they was and I was told to order the deluxe with cheese and bacon. The burger patty itself was good, nice and juicy and not overcooked with a nice amount of seasoning and good texture. The cheese was of the processed American variety so no fireworks there and the bacon was thick cut and noticeable in both flavour and texture. The veggies were fresh but the bun failed to live up to the rest of the burger. It was a typical sesame burger bun that you can buy at the local grocery store and could have used a little time in a toaster.

The fries were double fried and hand cut and should have been quite good but they were over cooked in old oil causing them to be a dark brown color and quite greasy. Fries need to be cooked in fresh oil where as onion rings and other deep fried goodies actually benefit from used oil. Most restaurants have 2 fryers, one for fries and one for everything else so I’ll assume that Davidson Pit stop only has one.

So the overall verdict is a little mixed. The burger was good but let down by a mediocre, soggy bun and the fries would benefit greatly from some fresh oil. I’ll definitely go back though as this food is 10 times better than any fast food joint. Davidson Pitstop is a small tweak or 2 away from having a destination worthy burger.

Scott.