Sunday, February 21, 2010

Eat Here. Bill Gates Does.

The Seattle restaurant scene continues to impress me. Two weeks ago, I was looking for a nice spot to have dinner with my work team from Dalberg. It needed to be laid back enough to facilitate bonding, but cool enough to match my colleagues' sophisticated east coast tastes. . . .

As luck would have it (and with a lot of help from Yelp), we found a gem of a place in the heart of Belltown, Restaurant Zoe. It's been around for a while, and it has all the understated charm of a restaurant known among locals as a delicious secret. Time to share the news.

Two dishes in particular stood out here:

One, the ricotta gnudi. They're light and fluffy and served with this tart and tangy red onion puree. It's like eating a cheese cloud sprinkled with truffles.
Make sure you order them.

Second, the banana macadamia cake (see photo!). The cake itself is fine, an upscale take on banana nut bread. But the sides on this one really shine. It's served with this macadamia toffee, which is crunchy and salty. Also, a milk chocolate semifreddo, which is amazing. I could have easily eaten an entire pint of that on it's own.

By the way, the dessert was so delicious it prompted me to learn what a semifreddo actually is. The secret? Heavy whipping cream is added to ice cream and turned into a semi frozen delight. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but the smallish serving size makes it ok, right?

Anyway, Zoe was a fantastic find and made for a great dinner. I'm not alone in that assessment, either. Just ask other usual diners, like Bill and Melinda Gates, who were eating here that evening too.

Restaurant Zoe
2137 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Popping mango balls: strange, but tasty

No, I did not just discover tart fro yo. But for those of you ready to write off this frozen fad, don't think you've exhausted the realm of fruit-and-yogurt toppings just yet.

San Francisco chain Tuttimelon has a new topping that will rock your original tart world. They're called popping mango balls and they're pretty special. Even though the name is a bit strange.

What are they? I couldn't tell you. My attempts to Google them has turned up very little information. But think of it as a dabble in mass molecular gastronomy. They're little balls of mango juice coated in a silky sugar coating. The texture is much like a bath ball. The taste, far less soapy. Delicious even. And they're so pretty!

If you have any insights on what these things are, please share. In the meantime, I'm walking down the street to get another cup of them. I may ask for some frozen yogurt to go with, too.

2125 Polk St.
San Francisco

Monday, February 15, 2010

2 for 1 deal: Four Barrel coffee & Humphry Slocombe ice cream

You could spend an entire day jumping from one magical eatery to the next in the Mission. But Four Barrel's recently made the task a little bit easier for you. They're serving an affogato that combines their absurdly good coffee with Humphry Slocombe's delicious (if unusual) ice creams. Last weekend, it was HS's beer-inspired 8 ball stout. Because there's nothing better than the taste of alcohol when you're actually sobering up, right?

For the image conscious, think of this as a prime opportunity to be uberhipster. You'll have coffee in one of SF's hippest joints, topped with the chicest ice cream in town.

Four Barrel
375 Valencia St
(at 15th St)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 252-0800

(PS - hands too jittery from caffeine! The coffee's that strong. . .)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sweet !

While walking around the Mission and the Castro in an attempt to burn off some of the massive brunch we had just finished at Mission Beach Cafe, my friends and I bumped into this cute confectionery.

The name's pretty easy to remember: Sweet.

And it is. I'd especially recommend the fleur de sel caramels (although everyone's carrying them these days, they really are awesome here). Or if you're craving something of the more baked variety, try the mini cupcakes. At $1.80 and two bites a piece, you can even have two!

218 Church St
(between Market St & 15th St)
San Francisco