Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We are home from vacation - just checking in with some reviews!

I just got back from vacation yesterday so I am still fighting jet-lag and the fact that I am back at work isn't helping. While our vacation was not exactly a culinary adventure (picture a unfamiliar kitchen with no basic supplies in the pantry), we did have a few good meals. The following were notable spots that I recommend.

Coeure D'alene, Idaho - BRIX Restaurant. While most of you will probably never end up in Coeur D'alene, Idaho (one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been) I thought I'd recommend this place anyway! We only came in for a snack and drink but that was enough to let me know this kitchen knows how to cook! Great atmosphere with an open kitchen, exposed brick work, tin ceiling and most unexpected, a piano player. Excellent spot in the bar area to people watch & relax. The menu and other details are here

Seattle, Washington - Serious Pie, a Tom Douglas Restaurant. This place is a cool pizzeria with shared tables, an open kitchen/bakery, friendly wait-staff , reasonable prices and the best pizza I've had in recent years. We shared 2 of the seasonal featured local morels, arugula pesto, and taula and the other was an unusual combo of penn cove clams, house pancetta, and lemon thyme. The crust is dynamite. Visit all Tom's locations here:

Seattle, Washington - Savor Seattle Food Tour @ Pike Place Market. In a word, this tour was "delicious". I have never eaten such variety in 2 hours before. Here is a sample of what we had...

The Market entrance...

A huge selection at Piroshky Piroshky

• Alderwood smoked salmon from the famous Pike Place Fish Market.
• Fresh seasonal produce (apples to eggplant)
• Locally-roasted coffee (not Starbucks!) and amazing herbal tea blends
• Cherry-inspired treats and chocolates
• Tom Douglas' coconut cream pie at Etta's
• Russian piroshky pastries from Piroshky Piroshky
• Artisan handmade cheeses from Beecher's
• Nation's best clam chowder (it was!)
• Hot old-fashioned doughnuts

You must go on this tour if you are in Seattle. Reservations are required and you can sign up on their website It is a great way to see the best of the Pike Place Market.
Crab at the famous Pike Place Fish market...

Victoria, B.C. - Lady Marmalade. At first glance this spot looks like a local coffee hangout and not much of an eatery, but this was by far the best breakfast we had the entire trip and probably the best in a few years. The decor looks like your great-gramma's basement but the look is all part of Lady Marmalade's charm. Daily specials change not only daily but hourly. Arrive early so you don't miss out of the offerings. I love their focus on local & organic fare.

The Good Morning Poutine with hollandaise is heavenly. I would eat it every day if I could...The special my husband ordered was a ginger bread chocolate french toast. Unbelievable. Service was fast and with many smiles. Coffee is local and roasted to perfection. I cannot speak to the dinner menu but if it is anything like breakfast you will be in for a treat.

PS - Looks like a Lady Marmalade will soon be opening in the East (Toronto)!

This is the massive piece of French toast from lady Marmalade.

Victoria, B.C. - Blue Carrot Cafe. This spot has bottomless cups of fair trade, organic coffee and some excellent home-made muffins and other baked goods. 188 Basion Square. Friendly staff.

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