Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eastside Eats: Azteca

It's been years, but I recently had dinner at Azteca.  For many years, Azteca was the place to go for family dinners, workday lunches and Happy Hour on the Eastside.  Now that downtown Bellevue has grown and many Seattle eateries have opened Bellevue locations, we seem to have forgotten about Azteca.
Nothing has changed.  The menu looked about the same to me.  Kid Friendly and a good place to watch sports.  Another plus, Negra Modello is on draft!!!

I decided to get something other than combo A, B or C, like every Mexican restuarant menu has.  I had the Molcajete.  I was hoping it was the entree my friend had at Guadalajara in Tucson, AZ, that looked so GOOD!  The Molcajete is a stew of both chicken and beef sauteed in a spicy sauce with mushrooms, onions and tomato sauce.
The stew is topped with cheese, fresh green onion, jalepeno and served with either corn or flour tortilla, rice, beans, and avocado.

The food is pretty good, just the way I remembered.  Azteca isn't one of those super authentic or new edgy Mexican places.  Just good food, friendly service, comfortable place. and the pricing isn't ridiculous.  You know what I mean.  If you haven't been there in awhile and you don't feel like cooking tonight, give it another visit.
Azteca Mexican Restaurant (Bellevue) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Night Bites in Seattle: Bistro Turkuaz

I don't know why Bistro Turkuaz hasn't been on my radar, but I LOVE this place. 
My husband tells me that he thought of going here about a year ago, but forgot about it...OMG, Bistro Turkuaz is so great!!!

Turkish Beer
Bistro Turkuaz has turkish beer.  Yippee!  I have been interested in beers more lately and I love it when I can have beer from the area that the food I am eating is from.  Hmmm, the beer was ok.  I still have a lot to learn about beers, so maybe I should stick to my favorites, a good IPA.

Great Starters
So, we started with the Mediterranean Platter with hummus, feta, olives, pita, and a bunch of other YUMMY stuff.
The Grilled Lamb

Beef Kabob

I ordered the Kofte Kebab.  All the entrees come with a salad and rice or tabouli.  I chose the tabouli.  The best tabouli I have ever had.  Fresh, great texture, a little tart, a little salty, a lot PERFECT. 

My Favorite: Kofte Kebab
I had a little nibble of the Beef Kebab, Grilled Lamb and my Kofte Kebab.  All three entrees were so good, but I think my entree was the best.  The meat on the Kofte Kebab are marinated in the perfect blend of "Oh so good!!!"  I didn't like the little carrot salad, but I don't like carrots.  My husband, carrot lover, said the carrot salad was DELICIOUS. 
Which dessert is better?  I don't know.  I say Baklava.  For those of you who don't like rosewater in rice pudding, you'll like this.  There was a touch of spices, no cardamom that I could notice, but I am comparing Turkish rice pudding to Indian rice pudding.  Regardless, the texture was creamy, but maybe a little bland.
mmmmm...Rice Pudding
Bistro Turkuaz on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winger's...a little game watchin' in Moscow

 I'm not gonna lie, I am not a fan of "sports viewing" establishments.  I am not a football fan, but I always like a good Super Bowl party...for the trashy food!  OK, our beloved Seahawks were playing the Saints for a spot in the playoffs, I think.  Whatever!  We were visiting our son at WSU and HAD TO WATCH THE GAME!!!  Destination: Winger's in Moscow, Idaho.
 A couple good things: Winger's had their own microbrew (thumbs up), several plasmas, trashy food!!!
 I have to say, "Not Bad".  My beer was freezing cold and they bring popcorn to the table...good idea!  Also, there is a little galvanized tub on the table.  Ice bucket?  No, garbage can.  Isn't that funny?
I didn't even bother trying to get something healthy, so I ordered the Wings and Things Sampler.  Why not?  OK, the wings were fine - a little too sweet & sticky for me, loaded potatoes, and Stick Fingers - breaded chicken strips.  I have a feeling the chicken was frozen processed stuff, but I could be wrong.  The potatoes were fine.  I kinda didn't care that I didn't care for the food...we were there to watch the game.

Good place to watch a game.  The service was pretty good.  The crowd was rowdy, just the way it should be.  Trash talking...YES.  If you happen to be in The Palouse and need good cold beer and a place to watch the game, Wingers.
Winger's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cafe Moro

Right when I was about to brand Pullman as a "no character" college town, I found Cafe Moro.

I had the same snobby attitude towards Pullman as I did many years ago when I was a student at University of San Diego.  "This place" I thought, "is no city!"  Many years ago when Starbucks wasn't an overcommercialized, retail coffee chain, I use to brag to my friends in college about the cool coffee places in Seattle.  I was talking about places like B&O Espresso and the Starbucks in the market.

These days, Starbucks is never my first choice, unless I am in a rush, need one of their overpriced snacks or don't have a choice.  I prefer the cafes that don't feel like McDonalds.  B&O Espresso however, I still love, these days mostly for their desserts...YUMMY!
Cafe Cubano: Espresso, caramelized sugar and steamed milk
Anyway, Cafe Moro has that real cafe feel, toasty smell of coffee and a random selection of sweets, that aren't really the focus.  The barista WAS a real barista, not a button pusher, you know what I mean?  The layout was a little wierd and divided, but I loved it.  I think it's great that Cafe Moro was able to take a chopped up space and make it a great place for conversation, reading, people watching, or just sitting.  It reminded me of the days when I lived in Lower Haight in San Francisco.
I can't wait fo the next visit to Pullman.

Flyboy: Chai, espresso, vanilla and steamed milk
I kissed my cup "Hello" and "Goodbye" until next time!

Cafe Moro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yes, he cooks too! Scallops and Risotto

I think it is so funny when women tell me that their husbands/boyfriends/partners "don't cook".  Years ago, most chefs were men, yet men always brag about their mother's home cooking.

Hot pan + Butter + Scallops=YUM

Well, in my home everyone cooks, even my son (although he's enjoying dorm food at college these days).  I started teaching Ty how to handle a chef's knife when he was in kindergarten.  I didn't have him chopping much, I just wanted to make sure he knew how to handle a knife safely. 

My husband is a great cook.  He likes to say he's the chef & I am the prep cook, but we all know who rules in the kitchen...right?
We picked up scallops the other day and John decided to whip up risotto and VIOLA...awesome dinner!!!
Here's the deal with risotto, it's easy!  Everyone says, "don't make risotto if you don't have time".  No true.  However, you can't leave the risotto once you've started cooking it.  Producers of "instant" food have really brainwashed us into thinking food should only take one minute in the microwave.  Shame on them.  Anyway, here's the basic recipe I've used to make risotto for years.  John and I took a risotto class one Valentie's Day (romantic right!)
I don't know if this recipe is traditional, but it works.

Basic Risotto
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium-size sweet onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups Italian arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

1/2 teaspoon saffron (or herb of your choice)

4 1/2 cups hot well-seasoned stock (or more)

Heat a 3 quart sauce pan on Medium-High, add butter and onions.  Stir onions and reduce heat when the onions are slightly cooked.  Add Rice.  Stir for a minute or two.  Add the wine and saffron.
Add 1 cup stock and stir, stir, stir.
When the liquid is incorporated and partially evaporated, add another cup of stock.
Repeat until the rice is barely tender.  The cooking process will take about 20 minutes.
That's it...done.  Easy right!
A little note about the stock.  I will use fish stock when serving seafood, chicken stock with pork & chicken, and beef stock with beef & lamb.
OK, now get cooking!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 7 - End of 1st week

So I need to make up for bad behavior.  I decided to run 5k today.  I need to prepare myself for the St. Paddy's Day Dash.  I am running with my cousin Justin.  I ran, but had to walk a little at 1.5 miles, then pretty much ran the rest.  I didn't run that fast, at this point, I just wanted to have a starting point.

B: 1/2 Luna Protein bar/(1-water)
Cardio: run 5k
S: coffee vanilla via w/cream
Watching the Seahawks game...I hope this doesn't lead to emotional eating!!!
L:arroz caldo/(1-water)
OK, why am I eating arroz caldo everyday?  I like it.  Also, when you make arroz caldo, 1 cup of rice makes gallons of arroz caldo.  John doesn't eat it.  Not that he doesn't like it, well, maybe he doesn't like it, but it's not his thing.
S: handful of raisinettes
D: vegetable curry/ 1/2cup basmati rice/ 1/2 naan/ (1-water)
John saw the America's Test Kitchen episode where they made vegetarian vegetable curry, so he (and I) made it for dinner.  I'll post the recipe later, if he sends it to me.  It was really good. 

Vitamin: Multi & vit D

Brew, brew...Microbrews!

Fun times at Nimbus Brewing Company. I love a good microbrew.  I really enjoyed the first brewery I went to in Tucson, Barrio, I REALLY like Nimbus.  I wish I hadn't been on the way to the airport, but, now I'll have to get to Tucson again soon!!!

That's's a bigg ass mug.
  Nimbus was in kind of a weird place...out-of-the-way place.  Well, who cares.  Nimbus is a cool venue, big, looks rustic like it's been there since the Wild West, yet with the last remodel they added cool industrial and a touch of Planet of the Apes.  I don't expect you to get my visual.  Anyway...the beer at Nimbus is delish-ie!!!
 Pool tables are definitely a plus, the artwork on the walls...interesting,
 Cold Beer.  Nuf said.
I couldn't decide, so I got the sampler.  I don't know why I always do this, because I know I won't like the dark stuff...Porters...YUCK.  I try to like them, but no.  Everything else at Nimbus...YUMMY!
Nimbus Brewery on Urbanspoon

Day 6 - Saturday

I had to go into work for a couple hours this morning to meet with a client, but I still got to sleep in.  I should have gone to the gym, but...stayed out late...excuses, excuses.

B:arroz coldo/coffee-vanilla via with cream/(1-water)
L:arroz caldo/(1-water)
I decided to watch movies in bed all day.  What are Saturdays for???

That's it.  not a very impressive day!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 5 - Sleeping in and watching Julie & Julia

AM Workout: NONE
B: Arroz Caldo/ coffee with a little eggnog
S: (1-water)/handful of berries/1.4 oz Kashi Heart to Heart cereal (without milk)

Side note about Kashi cereal.  It's not bad.  I have to admit, it looks like dog food, but with 5 grams of fiber, who cares!?

L: Goat Cheese and Couscous salad/ chicken/ pepermint ice cream (1-water)
I shouldn't have had ice cream...ugh.
S:1 square of chocolate/(1-water)
D: champagne/oysters/crab/a little pasta/(1-water)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 4 - Rainy, rainy, rainy.

B: 1/2 LUNA chocolate cherry Protein bar/decaf coffee
Cardio: 15 ROW/ 5 RUN/ 5 ROW (2 water)
B:B-fast sandwich w/english muffin/pineapple & berries/(1-water)/decaf coffee...MEETING
L:French dip/Fries/pelligrino/(1-water)...MEETING
S: 1 square Lindt orange dark chocolate (1-water)
D:arc de (cocktail) /steak tartars/bread/potatoes au gratin/frisse salad/chocolate cake & mint ice cream/(1-water)

Vitamin: yes

So, I should focus on eating more fruits & veggies. Ugh...tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 3 - What...not a snow day???

 Last night there was suppose to be snow.  Well, a little came down, but by morning, nothing but SLUSH.  I was really hoping the road would be so bad that I could sleep in and skip the gym.

CARDIO: 40 Arc Trainer (3-water)/decaf coffee w/half&half
B: Kashi Heart to Heart cereal/ handful raspberries/ whole milk/ chamomile tea
S: 10 almonds/16 pistachios/ (1-water)
L: Chicken Caesar Salad/Pelegrino Water/Bread wit BBQ Butter/2 slices ahi tuna
S: 1 square lindt chocolate
D: Roast chicken/couscous&goat cheese salad/pita/tzatziki
S: toffee peanut

By the way, to keep me honest, I have asked my co-worker, Neil, who is also a personal trainer, to check my food/exercise log.

Eastside Eats: Paddy Coynes if you're cravin' a little pub grub

Here's another reason why I have to go on a food and hard cider.  If you're in Lincoln Square or in downtown Bellevue and you want to have good, not-so-good for you, food.  Go to Paddy Coynes.  I was going to get the Shepard's Pie, then maybe the Bangers and mash, but I finally settled on the Fish and Chips.  OK, huge portion.  This wasn't the beer batter, or maybe not the batter that I am use to, none the less...YUMMY!
Paddy Coyne's Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 2 - A little better...

So, at least I went to the gym, right?

CARDIO: 20 Step Mill/ 10 Row/ 10 RUN (2-water)

B: decaf coffee with whole milk/ handful of almonds
L: (1-water)/ seared Ahi Tuna Salad
S: 1 chocolate crunch chocolate heart
S: 2 squares of Lindt DARK Orange chocolate
Dinner @ Tokyo: Tempura Soba Soup/ 1-Kirin Draft/ (1-water)/coffee jello
S: toffee peanuts/ (1-water)

I probably could have done without the toffee peanuts.  I kept telling myself to stop, but toffee peanuts sounded so good with re-runs of Law & Order.

Eastside Eats: Anthony's HomePort Kirkland

So, I'm just going to start with dessert.  Anthony's is the same as always.  Fish, fish, fish, served a million ways.  To be honest Anthony's is the place for so many proms, amateur night, first dates, and tourists, I'm not interested.  OK, back up...  Memories are made at Anthony's.  A place where friends meet and a place that most people in the Northwest remember on one occasion or another.  I don't really remember what I ordered...Ahi Tuna, I think.  Good, but sharing the Wild Mountain Blackberry Cobbler with my husband...PRICELESS.
Anthony's HomePort (Kirkland) on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 1 - Here we go again!

Workout: NONE

B: coffee with half&half and sugar, 12 almonds
L:sparkling water, 1/2 steak & frites, 1 BBQ Shrimp, 2 slices ahi tuna
Snack: milk chocolate ball (lindor), banana chips, chocolate covered fruit, wasa & hummus
D: pork roast, white corn, hard pear cider
Water: 3 glasses
Vitamin: yes

Bad Start...could have been worse, I guess.

The long road to Cougar Country

So no more visits to warm University of Arizona, my son transferred to Washington State University...brrr!  Ty flew into Pullman earlier in the week.  John & I decided to take a road trip and visit. 

Gas up and get coffee, it's a long drive.

After a few hours, the coffee we had at home was beginning to wear out.  The only place we could find was McDonald's...don't laugh.  John got the Iced Mocha and I had the Iced Latte.  The Mocha tasted like a coffee shake and my iced latte, boring.  I forgot to ask for sugar.  Oh well, it's caffeine.
So we got ICED coffee drinks.  Um, is that snow on the ground?  Yikes!
So, we drove for a few more hours.  Not a bad drive.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Best Breakfast in Tucson...Cup Cafe

The perfect Cappucino.

Start with Pappas.

"Break" the "Fast" with this breakfast feast, a little bit of everything.

Baked Eggs with leeks...YUMMY.

Great Patio for people watching.
The Croque Senor
I am a big fan of the Croque Madame, so I did not take Toby's advise and order the Croque Senor...What was I thinking??? The next time I am in Tucson, I will order this at every meal.


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