on the fly

Flying Fish is my favorite recommend to those out of town visitors that ask for a Seattle seafood restaurant – especially those with foodie tendencies and aren’t necessarily needing a water view.  But, I myself haven’t been able to go there for quite some time in this “current economic climate”.  Their new digs in South Lake Union seem to be a refreshing jolt to their business, which is great to see.  And exciting for me and my current price point – they’ve added a take out/retail side business just next door, called On the Fly.  The day I dropped by, I couldn’t decide between the shrimp salad or egg salad baguettes – when my neighbor in line said “hands down, my favorite egg salad”.  Must agree with him – homemade mayo and lots of herbs did indeed make for a great egg salad sandwich! I am looking forward to heading back to try the others – prosciutto and fig also looked tasty for those of you that lean that way – as well as their salads and the famous crab cakes from next door.  300 Westlake Avenue, N.

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south lake union park

I took advantage of a beautiful sunny day to go check out the new park on South Lake Union.  This park has been in the works for many years (I tangentially worked on this park when I worked in the model shop at Mithun in 2004).  Maybe it was just the sunny disposition of the day, but it seemed like a very lovely public space, and it’s hand-boat launch and beach area for kayaks and such lends a much-needed connection to the water (in a place surrounded by it, it is amazing how few spots there are in this city for that).   It happened to be Wednesday – the day of the week that they are beginning to have a Floating Farmers Market – with a Seattle twist of classic wooden yachts.  In their second week, I believe, there were only about 4-5 vendors, but I got the sense from all those milling about, they would gladly support more.  I think this is a great idea, and hope that it takes off.  The park also marks the official completion of the 6.2 mile Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop trail – a great urban hike.

kurtwood farms

Our anniversary dinner was spent at Kurtwood Farms – Kurt Timmermeister’s (formerly of Cafe Septieme fame) beautiful little slice of farm heaven on Vashon Island.  An incredibly wonderful way to spend an afternoon and evening, as the courses slowly unfold and the wine is poured.  This place is at the pinnacle of local offerings – everything is from this 13-14 acre farm but a few key ingredients (important things that just can’t be done there, despite his efforts –  such as coffee, salt, sugar, wine).  This week he had chef Matt Dillon (of Sitka & Spruce and Corson Building – which as a side note, we had as a second choice for dinner if we didn’t get to go to Kurtwood – we were in luck!). We started with wood fire oven pizzas while we mingled around the farm (one was oregano, peppers and bacon with olive oil base, the other was a mushroom and tomato sauce – both heavenly).   At the table, we started with a summer squash soup, with bread and the infamous butter – unpasteurized, you can taste the fields that the cows graze on – so different and almost worth the whole adventure.  Then on to an antipasti plate –  his house-made farmstead “Dinah’s” cheese, with tomato jam, pickled lemon cucumbers, crackers.  Followed by a beet salad, with herbs and artichoke hearts, then a 6-min egg, zucchini, herb-y dish (center image – dang that was good), then this carrot ricotta herb dish that was sweet and earthy at the same time (probably my favorite), then pork loin and sage butter yukon gold potatoes (ooh wait – another great one), and then strawberry milkshakes for dessert (which my allergy to said berry didn’t allow me to partake in, but with homemade ice cream – said to be de-lish).  All very simple, but oh so good, fresh and intensely flavorful!  Knowing that you are steps away from where everything was grown and processed, sitting with a gathered group of strangers-turned-friends, it is an incredible experience, and right up there as an all time favorite meal.

Unfortunately for all of us, Kurt has decided to not do the 20-person,  family style sit-down on his farm after December, and you have to be on his ” list” to be eligible to go.  So, if you are on the list, please don’t miss your chance – his last dinner for the unforeseeable future will be December 26th.  If you don’t get his emails – find a friend that does. And if all else fails, buy his Dinah’s Cheese in select markets in Seattle – it is heavenly – and/or support his upcoming adventures by purchasing his soon-to-be released book:  Growing a Farmer, How I Learned to Live Off The Land and reading his blog. Always in the leading edge of things in the Seattle food world, I am sure only great new iterations are coming!

d’ambrosio gelato

If you have not been to the new gelateria, D’Ambrosio, in Old Ballard – go.  Hands down my favorite flavors had since San Crispino in Rome (the one near the Trevi Fountain).  This family is serious about their in-house gelato making, and all of the ones I’ve tried have had intense and wonderful flavors.  I highly recommend the Pistachio and the Hazelnut – both have the essence of the nuts down.  Others of note have been the Woman’s Kiss (Baci di Dama) and the Meringe & Chocolate (Meringata). But my personal favorite has been the Fig & Caramel (Fichi, Marscapone & Caramello) – a beautiful combo of earthy and sweet.  But you will have your very own favorite very soon….