Monday, August 27, 2012

Grilled Zucchini with Balsamic Vinegar


3 small zucchini, cut into 1/3 inch thickness slices
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar


Preheat the grill. Rub zucchini generously with olive oil. Salt to taste. Grill zucchini 3 minutes a side. Take zucchini off the grill and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Canon is popular these days

Two months ago we were heading back home from dinner at Cafe Presse and saw a bar next to Lark. It looked cool inside - I thought to myself. Few weeks later I was talking with a friend who asked me if I have been to Canon yet, which has been rated as a top bar in Seattle these days. I googled it and realized it was the same bar I saw earlier.

My husband and I went to check it out last week. He just read a review about it on - it was named one of the top 10 new bars in the country. We got there around 9 p.m. - early? No, we had to wait outside for about 20 minutes for a standing room at the bar. It was busy. Once in we got couple drinks - me "all imperial", he - "the swagger." We soon got a seat at the bar and spent an hour or so enjoying our drinks. The place is happening. I am not a decor expert but it reminded me a bit of Tavern Law - old school cocktail bar - dark wood. We peeked at their liquor list online - impressive!

Last week I went here again for a friend's birthday celebration - we got in right at the opening time (5 p.m.) and did not have to wait. This time I ordered a cosmopolitan. My friends had sangria type drink and hanky panky. Yes, cool miniature bottles make the drinks even more appealing!

They also have a good selection of bar food - oysters, popcorn-pretzel-nut mix, pork belly sandwiches, salads and etc. We ordered a few: steak, fromage blanc with fixings, cod and watermelon salad. I only had some steak, which was good. Portions are small.

We stayed there for couple hours and had a great time - place filled up pretty fast. I will go back here for a drink again. As always, great company is the key!

Figs and Dahlias

It is time for some fresh figs. I bought a package today from Trader Joes and had it with Chobani plain greek yogurt and a little bit of honey.

We later went for a walk to Volunteer Park where Dahlia Garden is starting to bloom. Here are few shots of dahlias.

Three Days Three Cities – Portland Hood River and Seaside

Day 1: Portland

We decided to visit our friend in Hood River last week. Since the drive from Seattle to Hood River is 5 plus hours a break from a car is a must, especially when you are bringing a 7-month old with you.

Our first stop was Portland. We got there around 1:30 p.m. – just in time for a lunch. Per friend’s recommendation we went to Bluehour for lunch. We sat outside and enjoyed a nice lunch. I had smoked trout salad. Nice place to people watch I would say.

Then we walked around Pearl District – I love area around Jamison Square – new urban architecture with benches to sit on. Who knew this was a kiddy area on a hot day?! We stopped for some ice-cream at Cool Moon.

Then we headed to the Rose Garden in Washington Park. Roses were in full bloom and so many. After a short coffee stop we went for a walk along the river in the Waterfront Park. Bite of Oregon was taking place. Smells of barbequed food made us hungry so we thought it was time for dinner.

Our friend suggested we go to the Little Bird Bistro – a French restaurant in Portland Downtown area. Restaurant is not very visible from the street – we had to drive 2 times around the block to find it. The place was full but luckily they had some seats outside – not the best outdoor sitting view – right in front of a bus stop and max transit route plus it was windy that night. None of these stopped us from enjoying our delicious meal – I had pork shoulder braised with apricots and served with a big onion ring on top and my husband had a spin on trout almondine. Of course we had bread, desert and salad. The staff was very attentive and we enjoyed our dining. After we were done I had the same feeling of satisfaction when I went to Spinasse the first time. We headed to Hood River next.

Day 2: Hood River

Our friend’s house had an amazing view of Columbia River and Mt. Adams.

The forecast was for low 90’s so we decided to escape on a hike along a creek/river. We were recommended a 4-mile round-trip hike to the Tamanawas Falls. The hike was rated as moderate and is mainly in a shade and has a long stretch along a creek which we found to be refreshing on a hot day. Final destination was the falls. The only sad things is that there is no very good picnic area near the falls so we had to sit on few awkward stones to have lunch. It took us 2.5 hours to do a round trip.


Once back in Hood River we took a nap and went out see our friend windsurf in the Hood River Waterfront Park.

The park is fairly new and has a nice paved walking trail along the Columbia River and a Pfriem Brewery across the street. And that’s where we went for dinner. Brewery specializes in Belgian-style beers and I ordered a flight to try. Ended up needing help from my companions to finish the sampler. Food was your typical pub grab with the exception of one semi-healthy vegetarian item – bean – quinoa salad. Onion rings and a burger with a glass of beer sounds more attractive to me after a day of hiking, skiing or windsurfing. So, my feelings were not hurt but I opted for a hanger steak and mixed salad greens instead.

Day 3: Seaside

We decide to drive to Seaside, OR to take a walk on a beach before driving back to Seattle. As a Seattleite I cannot live without a cup of good coffee. In Hood River I was getting my caffeine from the 10-speed roastery coffee shop. They also have good breakfast.

The drive from Hood River to Seaside took us about 2.5 hours. We left Hood River in 90+ degree sunny day and arrived to a cloudy below 70 degree Seaside. We stopped for prawns and picked up fresh sturgeon, clams and oysters at Bell Buoy. We headed for a walk along the beach. It was foggy as we started but within an hour skies cleared up and sun broke out from the clouds. After a walk we headed back to Seattle.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whole Wheat Pasta with Basil Pesto Pine Nuts Cherry Tomatoes and Pecorino Cheese

I love making my own pesto and summer time is a good time for it because you can buy inexpensive basil at the Farmers Market. Of course my preferred method for eating pesto is with pasta. Since I am a nutrition conscious I made my pesto with whole wheat pasta. See the recipe below.


1 (8 oz) package of whole wheat pasta (I use PCC made fresh pasta)
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
2 oz of Parmesan cheese
1/4 -1/3 cup of olive oil
Salt to taste

For serving: pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese


1.      In a blender chop together garlic, parmesan and nuts. Start adding basil leaves and olive oil – a little bit at a time and chop well until all ingredients are blended well together before adding more
leaves. Continue until all leaves are gone. At this point I usually taste pesto for salt and add more if needed. Transfer pesto into a separate bowl. The color is amazing; however, it starts to darken
pretty quickly. Some people add acid to prevent this but I don’t. I usually make more pesto than needed and keep it in an air-tight container in a fridge and use it later on sandwiches or pizza.

2.      Boil pasta following instructions on a box – since I use fresh pasta I only cook it for 4 minutes. I drain pasta and mix it with 3 big tablespoons of pesto in a bowl.

3.      To serve I add about 1 cup of pasta to a plate, then sprinkle it with pine nuts and grated pecorino cheese and add few cherry tomatoes sliced in half. This makes for a very easy dinner and great leftovers. I served this pasta with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes grown in my garden.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Only Mango Sorbet

It has been hot in the last few days in Seattle and the best way to cool off is to have something cold. Ice-cream perhaps? Too many calories. Hmm… How about mango sorbet?

Idea came from trying to feed my infant son pureed mango, which he did not like!!! I was left with bunch of pureed mango. And then I had a thought I could freeze it and eat it later – like a sorbet. It worked. How to make it? Just peel ripe mango, slice and put it in a blender, puree, pour into a container, seal and put in a freezer for a day or so. Enjoy!

One-day Trip to San Juan Island

Last Friday we decided to take a one day trip to San Juan Island. We got up at 6 a.m. to catch 9 a.m. ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor. Drive from Seattle to Anacortes is about 1 hour and 40
minutes. We left Seattle at 7 a.m. We made it to the ferry but were put on a stand-by list since all guaranteed car spots were already taken. We were #2 on a stand-by list. I got a bit worried since the next ferry was in 3 hours! Luckily, we made it to the ferry and few other cars did too! We tried to see how many on a stand-by list were let on a ferry – about 10.

Ferry ride was smooth and nice – so relaxing. We got to Friday Harbor in a little over an hour. My plan was to visit two places on the island: Lavender Farm Pelindaba Lavender and Lime Kiln Point State Park and walk around Friday Harbor.

We headed first to the Lavender Farm. The weather was sunny but windy. As we strolled through the fields I could smell lavender.  I found it calming to watch lavender wave in the wind. You can pick lavender at the farm too and there is a shop with products made from lavender – from soaps to gourmet dog biscuits.

Next stop was Lime Kiln Point State Park where on a lucky day one can watch whales. It was not our day and so, we did not see any whales but we saw a lighthouse and took a short walk in the park.

We hopped back in the car and drove to Friday Harbor to catch 1:50 p.m. ferry back to the mainland. We had an hour and a half to spare - we walked around the town and ate some oysters and prawns at one of many seafood restaurants located near the ferry dock.

Trip back on a ferry was nice – sun was out and passing the islands was mind-clearing. We got back to Anacortes around 3:30 p.m. On our way back to Seattle we stopped at Seattle Premium Outlets and did some shopping. Pretty good day I think!