Eat ‘till you’re broke

What do you usually spend your money on? I mean, after rent, electricity, and other bills. What do you spend your leisure money on? Put it away into a savings account? I should probably do that more often. Spend it on a relaxing spa day? That sounds nice, but I still can’t drop that much money at once.

The best way to spend buttloads of money without feeling too bad about it?

Seattle Restaurant Week.

(Mistral’s perfectly-cooked sea scallop)

Ohmygoodness. The most beautiful, perfectly-cooked dishes for a steal of a price, for us hometowners to enjoy for 8 days. A variety of restaurants participate, offering 3-course lunches for $15, or 3-course dinners for $28. These are restaurants that usually charge $20+ for a single entrée, so it’s awesome that we can get a whole meal for $28 (or $15!!).

So, if you couldn’t tell, I get really excited about this. I look forward to it every half-year, and splurge like none other on delicious, quality food that I’d otherwise only be able to ogle at (until my eyes burn out from the computer screen, that is). And for some reason or another, the presence of Seattle Restaurant Week seems to open the floodgates to a whole slew of other delicious food. I end up eating my poor little tummy out for two weeks until I’m so happily sated that I agree to wait another 6 months before it happens again. Instead of talking you through all I’ve been having, I guess I can just show you (I got a new camera! I’m so happy with these raw photos, as compared to my rather lacking phone camera):

(the 24-hour braised beef at Mistral)

(their chocolate stout cake with a burnt banana ice cream and stout foam)

(the bartender working his magic for J-)

One of my favorite restaurants in Seattle is Mistral Kitchen. The food is always perfectly cooked, and the staff is awesome. I can’t afford to come normally, though, so I almost always end up coming during Restaurant Week. The man you see is the bartender. My friend J- became fast friends with him, considering he had 4 cocktails to go with his lunch. They were all delicious though, so I don’t blame him.

(I mean, really, who could say no to that??)

Now if only I could get chummy with the pastry chef… the restaurant’s last pastry chef left and opened up his own bakery, Crumble & Flake, that’s been received outstandingly, with crowds lined up around the block when it opened, and sold out shelves consistently even almost a year later.

(Lemon asparagus with brioche croutons and a interestingly jelly-like poached egg)

(Chocolate black sesame cake. A very nice subtle sesame taste under the chocolate, albeit a touch on the dry side)

This was at Barking Frog, in Woodinville. The chef there used to work at the renowned Herbfarm, which is, interestingly, right next door.

And of course, I couldn’t eat all these yummy things without trying my hand at some of my own:

(orange-lemon curd in biscoff tart)

I made these tarts for my friend’s going-away party. They turned out well, a really sunny bright citrus flavor. The only thing was that it was served after this:

(Costco tres leche cake)

look at those delicious milky silky custardy gooey-ness! How are my dainty tarts supposed to outshine this??

And then later on… because Restaurant Week wasn’t enough apparently, I had the audacity to go to happy hour at Serious Pie:

(Mushroom and truffle cheese .Well HEY there, how you doin’?)

(Asparagus, prosciutto, and soft boiled egg)

What I found really great about Serious Pie, actually, is the crust. Slightly different on each pizza, depending on where it was in the wood-fired oven, it was crisp, yet still chewy. The only time I’ve wanted more crust on my pizza. Not that I’d trade the filling part for it, though!

(a cornmeal almond paste cake with chocolate mousse and a chocolate ganache for my friend F-‘s birthday. Weird lighting, I know, I’m sorry)

(How the inside looked, for the most part)

And then, there was Pink Door. A small restaurant in Pike Place’s Post Alley, whose only sign is it’s pink door (I know, right?). They hold some circus-type shows in the restaurant sometimes, which seems rather intimidating, to have performers flying about above your head as you eat. Overall a very quaint feel.

(My fennel-crusted rockfish with a citrus pesto on top. Delicious and light)

(Orange Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Pistachio Gelato)

Ok honestly, I almost died having that dessert. I would’ve been happy to sit and eat plate after plate of that pistachio cake and gelato. I don’t know what it is about pistachios, I just go nuts! (sorry, the pun was right there, I had to do it) This cake was crumbly, not too dense, and full of pistachio chunks. And the gelato? Oh goodness. As good as any I had in Florence. A bright pistachio flavor, not artificial-tasting, not too sweet, goodness I’m dying for some more right now. I almost couldn’t bring myself to finish it. As long as I don’t finish it, I can still have more, right? That outer crust, too, was just absolutely awesome. Almost like a shortbread, it was crisper and sweet deliciousness. Imagine my appalled reaction, though, when the table next to ours didn’t finish their dessert! Blasphemy!!

Unfortunately, Seattle Restaurant Week is coming to an end. I’m squeezing oooone more in on the very last day (at Luc, the new Thierry Rautureau French bistro), but otherwise, it’ll be a long 6-month hibernation until the next Restaurant Week in the fall. But It’s weeks like this when my desire to create (and eat) good food rises again. I want to make a pistachio olive oil cake, and figure out how to perfectly sear a scallop on both sides without overcooking it. I want to try my hand at pizza dough again, and even try some cocktails with some egg white foam. Fortunately, it’s much easier on my wallet to try and make these things than it is to eat them all the time.

So here’s a glass, or a scallop, or a cake, to challenges in the kitchen, and to looking forward to the next round of Restaurant Week!

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