Best night at Hommage

I've mentioned Hommage many times on my blog such as here, here, and here! Rightly so, since it is my favorite restaurant! So I couldn't help but post again about this amazing place, especially because I got to meet the chef, Nico Borzee, and I totally had a fan girl moment!


We went this past Saturday with Michael's parents as a special occasion, and I have to say out of the times we've gone, that night was perhaps the best. The fact that this place can still surprise me speaks volumes.

With the sun shining, a table with the view of the canal, and excellent wine, it made for a good atmosphere. To start we had the carrots, salad, and a buckwheat crepe. Check out the edible art!


The cool concept with the carrots was that the chef wanted to invoke the sense of new carrots sprouting from the ground like spring, so the dish was warm and cool and the texture felt like the best 'dirt' I'd ever eaten.

 
 The salad was a farm fresh salad with lemon spray and walnut sauce. Yum


The crepe was excellent with the egg yolk and ham. Good balance of savory with nice textures.

For our main dinner we decided do the two specials of the night. A red snapper and pork cut. For all these dishes there were way better names than what I'm coming up with, but you get the idea.


The fish was my favorite part. I love snapper and it was made perfectly, cooked over a piece of wood from a wine barrel with an orange glaze. So succulent and moist, it was delightful.


Equally good and Michael's favorite was the pork served right out of the pot! Savory without being oily or salty with a carmelized sauce, it was definitely a hit.


For dessert we had some chocolate, but the way it was delivered was cool, sweet, with a touch of salt that balanced it out. One of the best desserts I've had.

If you're ever in Seattle, this is my top recommendation. Consistently exceptional, it will certainly surprise you.

24th Birthday Thank You's, Hommage, and the Purple Balloons

A very big thank you to everyone who sent me kind birthday wishes via mailed cards, e-mail, text, phone calls, social media, blog comments, and in person throughout this past week. It meant the world to me and made my day brighter! So bright, it stopped the endless rain streak that was plaguing the Seattle area. Hello sun!

If you know me well, you know I have this aversion to getting older. I obsess about time and I like the idea about being young forever. Peter Pan syndrome for sure. Of course, everyone likes to remind me that I am still young, even at 24. And if yesterday was any hint at what the rest of my 24th year would be like, then I guess it isn't so bad.

 
Of course, like a responsible grown up, I went to work and was surprised to find my cube decorated with purple balloons and cards waiting for me to open. Another co-worker was also kind enough to take me out for coffee. These small acts of kindness and well wishes made work a little bit fun for once ;)


After work I grabbed my balloons and cards in a cheery spirit and went down to the parking garage. I placed all my birthday souvenirs into the back seat, and drove towards Seattle. Lo and behold the sun was freaking shining! This is a very big deal because it's been nonstop grey and raining, and I distinctly remember the bad weather on my Birthday last year. So thinking the Birthday gods were in my favor, I had this brilliant idea to open my sun roof.

The balloons went crazy from the suction. Leaping from the backseat to the front, reaching for escape, they blocked my field of vision just as I was going downhill during traffic hour. I flipped out, reaching for them, hoping to reign them in so I could shut this stupid sun roof. I managed to get my hands on two of them but the third busted free from the car taking my birthday cards with it. Shaken, I drove the rest of the way to Seattle with one hand on the wheel, and the other restraining the balloons. Once I got to my first stop light, I grabbed a pen from my purse and popped the rest of the balloons.

After that, I was pretty bummed. I have a thing for cards and I wanted to add them to my keepsake box, and I really wanted to show my cat the balloons (he's never seen one and I thought it would be a good brain stimulus for him). All was not lost though. At least I would definitely remember this day as the Birthday where I almost crashed from purple balloons. When I recounted this story to Michael, he shook his head, a hint of a smile on his lips, and said, "Only this kind of stuff would happen to you. Now you know, balloons should go in the trunk."

Ha! Like I'd ever put myself in a balloon situation again!

For dinner, Michael spoiled me by taking me to my favorite Seattle restaurant, Hommage, formerly known as The Book Bindery. I've mentioned it numerous times on my blog, but without photos. This post, however, be prepared to drool from my delicious meal! No, but really. This place is amazing. French Nouveau cuisine made by Chef Nico Borzee, it never ceases to amaze me how inventive these classic dishes can be. Beautifully prepared, engaging all the senses, it's like a glimpse into foodie heaven.

We started with the Chataigne, a chestnut soup with a foie gras custard, and burnt onion oil, served in this cute jar. It was really neat because the components were layered, and you could feel the cool layer of the custard and the warm chestnut soup puree. The burnt onion oil was also a really unique touch.


Next was the Trompette de la Mort, black trumpet mushrooms, goat cheese panna cotta, with a mushroom jus. What a savory, creamy, and decadent bite it was. I could eat bowls and bowls of this stuff.


The Carrotte, carrots braised in hay, rabbit jus, and bethmale goat milk cheese was just as good. With such different components that harmonized in such a surprising way, ordinary carrots became extraordinary.

For our mains, we shared the Saumon, cold-smoked kind salmon, with a 35-minute poached egg on a vodka crème fraiche, and the stuffed quail on a thinly sliced gratin. Words cannot describe how delicious they were. They left me speechless.



Everything went well with the bottle of French Pinot Noir. It was such a memorable meal.


To finish we had the tres leches for dessert and cheered with some brut rose. 24 never felt so fabulous!


So thank you to everyone! Just all your birthday wishes leading up to the day and throughout made me feel so loved and the gifts were just absolutely thoughtful. I am truly blessed and count my lucky stars for the fortunate life I have. It's made me realize that birthday's aren't about getting older or wiser, it's about celebrating another year of life. Not everyone is so fortunate to reach a certain age or grow up healthy and happy, so I am truly thankful for another year and for everyone that's come into my life. My encounters with you all have made me who I am and have shaped the life I live today.


My thanks and well wishes to you all <3

RN74

It's restaurant week in Seattle! That means participating restaurants are offering a three course menu for $30! It's a great way to bring in new customers by reeling them in with a good deal and then showcasing what they've got to keep them coming.

For awhile Michael's been wanting to go to RN74, a contemporary french restaurant in downtown, so taking advantage of restuarant week, we decided to go yesterday night.

Right away, we loved the atmosphere. Dark leather chairs, wooden tables, and dropping lights. Bustling and busy with everyone well-dressed, you knew immediately that this was one trendy spot. It also has a master somm, which made Michael and I geek out a bit. Each glass of wine was perfect, like a little taste of heaven. I stuck with a pinot noir from Burgundy the whole night, but Michael paired his meal with a gruner veltliner, chenin blanc, and a syrah blend.

For our first course, Michael did foie grois and I did the pumpkin soup:


I never had foie grois before, so when I took a bite out of this, I really wanted to fall off my chair. It was so rich and savory but balanced well with the powdered donut and fruit compote. It tasted more like a dessert than an appetizer, but I'm definitely not complaining!


My pumpkin soup was probably the best pumpkin soup I ever had. With the rosemary crutons, creme fariche, and seeds, it was well balanced, creamy yet light, and tasted like autumn.

For the main entree, I decided to splurge. And I mean really splurge! Look at that!


The gnocchi parisienne with mushrooms. This was seriously an indulgence and I was only able to finish half because it was so rich.


Michael had the steak frites (not pictured, since it turned out horrible) and it was delicious. The steak was cooked to perfection and the frites were fried in duck fat. Let me repeat, duck fat. And though it's not healthy for my heart, I cannot deny that those fries were amazingly delicious!

And then came dessert. Beignets and sorbet (persimmon and pineapple basil)!


So good! Every last bite! Also please note that Michael and I don't normally eat such indulgenty (not a word, I know) things everyday! We aim to eat healthy too :) This was just not one of those nights!

So our conclusions on RN74?

Wine list? Awesome.
Atmosphere? Trendy.
Contemporary French or Classic French? Classic French cooking all the way. Though this meal was amazing. It was just a bit too heavy and rich for my palate. My favorite French restaurant so far continues to be Brasserie Four. Check out my experience there here.
Will Michael and I return to RN74? Probably for drinks and small plates. Happy hour would be great if we both worked downtown. But for a full course meal? Probably not. Seattle has so many choices. However, I think it would be in our top 5 for fine dining experiences.

Two-year Meet-aversary!

What a weekend! Michael and I got back yesterday night from a great weekend in Hood River, Oregon for a friend's wedding. You bet I'll post more about that later. This post however is a recap of Michael and I's meet-aversary!


As most of you know, Michael and I met in Paris on September 3, 2012. So every time September 3rd comes around we like to celebrate our chance meeting by going to a French restaurant. Last year we went to Le Pichet, but this year we went to Cafe Campagne right near Pike Place Market.

If you haven't been, I recommend it. It was my first time there and I was impressed. It made me so nostalgic of Paris.




 We started with a bottle of wine, escargot, and a salad (not pictured).


For the main I had mussels and fries. Fries were amazing because they were double fried just like I had them in Paris! They were also great to dip into the broth.



 Michael had the duck confit which turned out excellent as well.


To end the meal we had creme brulee.


Another great date night to be remembered for sure :)

Walla Walla Series: L'Ecole, Woodward Canyon, Reininger, Brasserie Four

The past weekend in Walla Walla was one to remember! Since I took so many photos, I'm going to have to do a series of posts like I did for NYC.

A similar interest that Michael and I have is wine. We both love it. It's a part of our lives and something we always enjoy. So for our summer romantic getaway, we decided to hit the road to Eastern Washington's wine country in Walla Walla. It's about a 4-5 hour drive from Seattle, but it's worth it. The contrast from west to east (port city to high dessert) was startling. Slowly the scenery changed from emerald green to dusty yellow. We didn't mind though. In some ways, it reminded me of California.

On our way in to town we did three tastings before getting to our bed and breakfast at Fat Duck Inn.

The first was L'Ecole:


The staff here was so knowledgeable and helpful, giving us so many recommendations during our stay. Not to mention, they had delicious wine that we ended up buying two bottles.

The second was Woodward Canyon:


The great thing about this place was their selection of whites. Since Walla Walla has more of the 'big reds,' this was a special treat. From Woodward we got a nice riesling.

Our third tasting was Reininger:


This was such a cute place! We even came across a rooster on our way in. The owner of the place was so gracious as he introduced himself to us. We got a red blend and a red peppery tasting rose.

For dinner, we miraculously got a reservation at 7 p.m. at Brasserie Four. I say miraculously became this French Restaurant was phenomenal and we were only lucky because their was a cancellation. If you ever head into Walla Walla, make a reservation before hand! Michael and I lucked out this time around, but we know we won't be as lucky next time.

To Michael's glee, the restaurant had this rose:

 
This is supposed to be the best rose, or at least that's what we've been hearing, so Michael was dying to try it. Turns out, it is the best damn rose ever. More please?
 
Michael and I started off with escargot (snails) and instead of being just buttery in flavor as you would expect, it tasted earthy and grassy (in a good way). We couldn't figure out what it was seasoned with, but it was delicious!


The last time I had escargot was almost two years ago in Paris, so right away I knew this meal would be memorable. If someone ever wants to take me back to Paris, I would be extremely delighted!

Alright, next appetizer? Tartare!


This tartare was unique because it was made with sockeye salmon (one of Michael's absolute faves). It was so well-balanced I could eat it forever and not tire of it.

For entrees Michael had the bouillabaisse filled with mussles, clam, scallops, and fish :


He said it was the best bouillabaisse he's ever had. I had the classic moules frites (mussles and fries):


It did not dissappoint! I just wish I had a bigger stomach to finish it!


Here's a photo of Micahel and I. Very blurry, but I think it's a great depiction of the moment: wine drunk. Just kidding! The lighting was just too dark to take a good photo.


To finish off, Micahel had an expresso and we shared a creme brulee.


Such a wonderful meal! As you can tell, wine isn't the only thing Michael and I have an interest in! Food is just as important!

Since our inn was only half a mile away and the weather warm. Michael and I had decided to walk instead of drive. Big mistake! We ended up being followed by a sketchy character who later gave up. Lesson learned. Never walk around at night in a town you haven't been to before.

Recap: Michael's 27th Birthday

I'm going to keep this short and sweet and let the photos recap last night at Daniel's Broiler in Bellevue for Michael's Birthday.
 
Birthday boy making a wish (photo cred: Cristine)

From L to R: Michael's Dad, me, Michael, his Mom, his sister Cristine, and her husband.

Tasted more like a brownie than a cake ;]
 
Michael was very excited about this Bandol wine!
 
Photo cred: Cristine

Presents from Cristine and Tim

Wine I got for Michael

His new gold clubs from his parents!


4th of July Weekend, and Writing Progress

This year was Michael and I's first time spending 4th of July together and I can't believe I didn't get any photos! And Michael only had this one from the weekend:

Top of Poo Poo Point

For 4th of July we went to a friend's barbeque in the afternoon then had a couple over for dinner before going to Volunteer Park to see the fireworks. Michael never know this about me, but I love fireworks. There's just something magical about them and looking at them that night, they reminded me of something from my book that I created.

The next day I met with my critique partner. We're halfway done critiquing each other's drafts! My 4th revision is definitely getting stronger with all of her help. Once home, Michael and I decided to go hiking at Poo Poo Point (Yes, that's actually the name!). We did it last year and decided to do it again this year. Maybe it'll turn out to be a yearly thing for us. I, however, am not athletic as Michael. It was such a breeze for him. I was huffing and puffing the whole way up, but he was sweet enough to encourage me the whole way through.

That evening Michael's parents took us out to Tulio's in downtown Seattle. They spoil us, seriously they do, it was such a treat eating there and it was such a pleasure being in their company as always.

On Sunday Michael and I went out to brunch and then I spent the whole day writing/revising from 10:30 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. That's like a 7-hour shift! If only that could be my full-time job! Perhaps one day.

Though good news is I finished my ending. I've wrote it differently all four drafts, and I finally landed on one that I love. It took me awhile, but I finally got there.Whooo! I still have a lot of editing and revising, but I'll definitely be ready for Pitch Wars and #PitMad in August and September.

I've also been working on my query letter. Man, is that a toughy. I think I've gone through 10 drafts of my query letter now. It's still not quite where I want it though, which is a good thing I'm working on it early. I've also started researching agents to query so that I'll be ready to go when my MS2 is complete.

With all this progress being made, my head is spinning, which means I am in need of a good read. So I'm currently rereading one of my faves, Stolen by Lucy Christoper.