Monday, 15 April 2013

Seattle - Some Serious Toulouse Crow Flair with Theo and the Top Pots

So I'm already cheating on Victoria restaurants, 15 posts into my new blog - but sometimes travel just happens.

So we're in Seattle...and we're I'm blogging.

Our hotel is in the Queen Anne district, so I base a few of our meals nearby. Dinner is at Crow (with our other choice being its sister resto, Betty).  It's the last day of Seattle's "Dine-Around" - $30 for an appetizer, main and dessert.

We're seated at the kitchen bar and after seeing the incredible main courses being cooked, plated and sent out, we quickly decide that our stomaches probably couldn't do justice to three courses and opt for just mains (which, refreshingly, are the same on both the dine-around and regular menus). We will be back another time to try the delicious sounding appetizers. We loved being seated at the kitchen bar, it's mesmerizing watching the perfectly choreographed dance of the chefs and their timing with putting out great food.

Crow: view from the bar of the evening's chefs

And after watching these talented guys prep a load of entrees, we were able to narrow down our choices...

We select the wild boar ragu and steak. The ragu is rich, loaded with ground wild boar, tossed with a nice al dente spaghetti and topped with ample parmesan. The steak was de-li-cious. Nicely prepared to medium with a dollop of herbed butter on top. It was sitting on pan-fried red potatoes and brussels spouts with pan jus.

Crow: Wild boar ragu spaghetti
Steak with potatoes & brussel sprouts
But we did leave some room for dessert. A delectable brûléed lemon tart on a macadamia-nut crust with homemade coconut ice cream topped with a fried piece of Thai basil.

Crow: lemon tart, macadamia nut crust, coconut ice cream

I'd be very happy returning to Crow for another dinner soon...and get me a seat at the bar again.

Crow Restaurant
823 5th Ave N.
Crow on Urbanspoon

Breakfast the next day was a short walk for a great deal. The Toulouse Petit offers "happy-hour" breakfast - most menu items are $8 from 8am-11am Monday-Friday - and it's popular - you may have to wait for a table (even though the place is quite large) depending on your arrival time.

We anted up the extra $$ for one entree - the dungeness and asparagus scramble (+$4) and got the $8 deal for the duck confit hash. The crab scramble was worth paying full price for - loaded with rich, dungeness crab and served with hash-browns (close-up pic of the crab in shot). The duck hash was also great - and instead of the usual pile of potatoes - this hash consisted of small, pan-fried cubes of parsnips/apples/potatoes tossed with duck confit and topped with two soft poached eggs.

Toulouse Petit: Dungeness crab & asparagus scramble 
Duck confit hash
Lovely french-press coffee at Petit Toulouse as well.

Toulouse Petit
601 Lower Queen Ave N.
Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge on Urbanspoon

One of the afternoons in Seattle we booked ourselves for a chocolate factory tour. And if the phrase "chocolate factory tour" isn't enough to encourage you to go - I'll say it in white on red: GO! - it's a fun way to spend an hour in Fremont (plus however long you linger in the retail store afterwards). Small batch, organic, fair-trade....all that good stuff. Bottom line? You get to sample chocolate and hear how it's made. Make reservations - these are popular tours.

Theo Chocolates: single sourced beans for grinding
We need to defined this pipeline!

Holding tanks for all the prepared chocolate
Here almonds are HAND-MIXED in!

Theo Chocolate
3400 Phinney Ave N.
Theo Chocolate on Urbanspoon

Before we hit the tour, we grabbed a quick bite at a food truck a couple of blocks away.  Not sure if all food trucks are fabulous in Seattle - or if we were really lucky - but we walked away with some splendid Mexican food. The Flair Taco food truck, parked at Phinney and North 36th. We (over) ordered tacos AND the "passport meal" (as you need to show one to order this "traditional Mexican meal"). The meal consisted of three choices of meat (we opted for beef, pork & chicken) with rice, beans, tortillas and a bacon-wrapped hot-dog. Not sure if the later item classified as traditional - but it didn't stop it from being good (and fulfilled our salt content for the day ;-) Everything was de-licious and de-voured. Great place to grab a quick meal if you're in the Fremont area.  We shoulda stuck with just the meal split between us, as it was enough for two.

Flair Taco: "Passport" platter - 3 meats, beans & rice
The bacon-wrapped hot dog, sitting on the tortillas

Flair Tacos Food Truck
Phinney Ave N. & N. 36th Ave
Flair Taco on Urbanspoon

Last meal - breakfast. A Serious breakfast.  You may have heard of Serious Pie in Seattle - but in the mornings/early afternoons, the South Lake Union location rolls out the biscuits and becomes Serious Biscuit for the hungry masses.

Serious Biscuit: welcome pig

And this being the weekend for us - we started it off right - a good, strong coffee and a mimosa.

Serious Biscuit: proper starting beverages

We opted for the baked eggs (which they kindly scrambled, on request, for us) - with house-smoked ham, cheese & green onions with a fresh-baked biscuit. Our other selection was the special of the day - red-wine braised beef cheeks on an open biscuit topped with a fried egg and finished with radish sprouts and pea shoots. Not enough words to say how good this was.  Every. Single. Bite.

Serious Biscuit: Baked eggs (scrambled) with smoked ham
Special of the day - braised beef cheek

Serious Biscuit
401 Westlake Ave N.
Serious Biscuit on Urbanspoon

And the final food entry for this Emerald City sojourn - an afternoon coffee and donut stop at Top Pot Doughnuts. Flagship 5th Avenue location. I love the high ceilings, glass front wall and bookends of...well, books (looking suspiciously like the exact World Book encyclopedias I used to utilize for writing reports in elementary school). But back to the donuts. Fresh, full of flavour and not chintzy on the size (nor are they overly laden with too much of anything - i.e. sugar, glaze, etc). We enjoyed a glazed and a fritter - but the fritter really stole the show.

Top Pot: Lattes, fritter and a glazed
A delicious fritter close-up

Top Pot Donuts
2124 5th Ave.
Top Pot Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Thanks Seattle, as always, fun times.

We'll be back again with our appetites.

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