White sandy beach @ St John's Trunk Bay!

Happy Thursday all!!

Time for a little beach bliss action!! The prettiest beach in USVI aka US Virgin Islands definitely have to be St John's Trunk bay!!

White powdery sand, stunning tourquoise water, amazing snorkeling in that national park. Can we say Paradiso?? We totally can!! It's #Heaven!! 

 

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Dining by the sea in Cinque Terre- ❤️❤️❤️

Enoteca Dau Cila

Via San Giacomo 65, 19017 Riomaggiore

Buon giorno, Riomaggiore!!! Mi mâché tu!!

Best view + delicious seafood +the nicest people = Best place in Rio Maggiore!!

My lunches were phenom thanks to this place in Rio Maggiore! I took the train daily just to eat here. Food & stunning water view ? Can't beat it anywhere in the other villages of Cinque Terre!

When you arrive to Rio Maggiore train station, you'll most likely follow the tunnel in town. A lot of walking btw. But when you so arrive, you might be charmed by the cute /stunning town and forget to climb the stairs down to the beach. Don't do that! You can always explore the town after. It is a hike but hike down those little stairs to the beach stat!

There's 2 or 3 restaurants once you climb down. This being one of them with really big patio/deck seating. Eating pasta & seafood while the waves crash right by you? Yes please!!

My love affair with Italy has been going on for several years now. People are always always so friendly. This place was no exception! They were slammed for lunch rush yet they were so friendly here. I see some tourists cranky-ing at the other table. Or some going bazooks for slow food. Seriously?? Our waiter was still quite gracious and fast to make everyone happy. 

We ordered 

1. pasta with tuna - delish!

2.anchovies pasta - yummm

3.frutti di mare (fried seafood), 

4. swordfish salad with oranges and olive oil and of course. A bottle of house white- Pinot Grigio! 

And as always, I  requested some peppers. Normally they give me peppers flakes in other places but this place, the waiter brought me a single fresh red pepper. Red, plump and almost look like habaneros but not quite. But one? I laughed. He said if I can finish one, he'll give me as many more as I want. Done!! Omg...he wasn't kidding! That Cinque Terre heat, sitting in the hot sun, and that single pepper! I broke a sweat. Wow!! But you know those endorphins! Makes me want more. So much more. Damn it. And he delivered. 

In the end, we were invited inside, a tiny little place with tiny kitchen and tiny bar for some appetitivo & drinks with all the waiters. Some have family in Rome as well. What do you know! We had dessert, jäger like shots and some other licorice like alcohol on the house!! This only happens in Italy . And got invited back for the party at night right there. There's no clubs /night life in cinque Terre but this place was it! Over all, great food, great service and fantastic views. Felt like I was visiting my long lost ( and very good looking ) family!! And I didn't eat anywhere else in Rio Maggiore for rest of my stay. Well, why would I??? Mama Mia maybe but for a snack. Grazie voi Enoteca Dau Cila! Tutto bene!

 

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Correttos @Corretto

416 Broadway Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

New kid on the block- on broadway block to be exact! 

Pane vino got took over and I went from being a ok with this place to love!!

Gretchen & Emily?(I think it was Emily): thanks for making our night special! Definitely appreciate the birthday love. 

Came here on day 2 of official opening. Busy bustling Saturday night. We were a little late for our reservation but the GM made sure we had our spot still. Thanks Gretchen. I saw some people got turned away because it was FULL! It would've been sad if I didn't make that reservation. 

It's still the same spot but with a little more oomph now. I like how they made over the walls with pretty wall papers and such. It has that dim lit thing still. Did I mention it was full??!

What to drink in a place call Correttos??  Correttos is italian for a shot of something and espresso. And one must drink exactly that!! So we did. They had the $5 special correttos!! Whaaaa. So exciting. They were perfectly small and tasty. I had the biscotti one with grappa, fereti , espresso and cream! Yummers. 

On to food- there were many tasty looking things on the menu. Pasta primis, secondi with plenty of meat and a special ravioli section with 3 tasty ravioli options. 

**Vongole! Clams appetizer - nice and brothy with specks. Yumm

**Chef special prawn ravioli- it has that very lemon-y flavor. I liked it. 

**Golden beet salad- pretty! But I'm trying to quit veggies.

**Lamb chops!!! Yummmm. I love lamb chops. These were medium with polenta cakes. My polenta was still kind of bouncy though. As my Italian mom would say- it's jus not the ready!! :) 

Drinks- Liquid biscotti!! Pretty epic. So good, I had it thrice!! Yep :)

And that one cocktail with rosemary- so tasty! Strawberry something. 

Overall, it was a fun and tasty meal. Glad now I get to Love this spot. Not just like. Looking forward to returning to try out other things on their menu. And of course- I see more Correttos in my near future :)

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my tasty lamb chops!

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Very lemony prawn ravioli!

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Sea urchin & soba love @ Miyabi

 

Miyabi on 45th

2208 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Love at first bite!! 

Finally got a chance to put my fork down to write this review. It only took like a year.

Miyabi @ the opening 2013 = total madness. It took over a few weeks to get that reservation last year this time. It's much better now though. I can actually do a walk in!  Chef Soma is pretty amazing. She worked in places like Harvest wine and Saito. She got the sake sommelier award and she moved back to Japan just to learn how to make soba. In short- she's a total badass!!!!!!! 

I love all things noodley. And that cold soba in Tokyo last year got me craving for more!! This was the place for it. Came with a few friends ready to dine on a busyyyyy weekday night. And oh boy. Many love at first bites moment here. Many!

Drinks -

You can make your own tasting flights - $8 each or  3 tastings for $14. Naturally, I chose the latter. 

Kurokame- made out of sweet potato

Kagura Tensho- made out of barley

Yokaichi kome- made out of rice

Korean chilli garlic shochu- house infusion! I like the kick. 

Shishito Tequila- oyeee!

Mexican chocolate shochu- fuel for my chocolate loving taste buds! 

Food--

Starters--- this is one of those places that have a fantastic and stellar starter menu. I mean really. How can one choose?  How about everything? Yes. That's pretty much what I did.

Chawanmushi aka Steamed egg- custardyyyy eggyyy yumminess with fish cake, shrimp and matsutake. So tasty!

***Uni Beef tartare- regular beef tartare melts in your mouth. Uni Beef tartare? Beef tartare with sea urchin on top? Well, it explodes your taste buds. 

Duck tsukune - house-made duck meatballs with fried duck eggs and sunchokes. whattttt!

Shishito suage- deep fried shishito peppers. 

Foie Gras Tofu- you heard that right. Foie-gras-Tofu! Just try it. You can thank me later.

Beef short rib kastuzuke -tasty

Oyster on half shells- shigoku, kumamoto since they are my favs!! I love the straberry mignonette that comes with the oysters. 

Soba

You can get  the soba in cold dipping version or hot with broth. I really appreciate the taste of the cold soba, the hot broth is nice as well but I feel like you lose all that work of art in the hot broth.. 

Fukagawa Seiro- tasty!!! 

Oxtail Nanban- yummm

Duck Soba- I don't see this on the menu anymore but this was pretty tasty. I love the broth that came with it.

Now last but not least- my favorite thing on that entire menu. The reason I made reservations for, the reason I wait patiently to eat my food for. And the reason I kept going back for!

Behold the SEA URCHIN!!!!!!!!!!! 

****Famous Uni Shot- beautiful sea urchin on a spoon with quail egg, wasabi and ponzu. 

It's a perfect bite size, perfect spoon size happiness. At $7 each, they aren't cheap but worth every flipping pennies. 

Four of us had 5 shots each!!! Yea- That's 20 uni shots @ $7 each. $$$$$ That's four bites of happiness for me, for you, your friend and her friend. And that's what we started our meal with. I mean...yeaaa!! Madness??? Total madness!!!  Add the rest of the items after? Ouch and ouch. it was a very expensive dinner!! But it was also rather memorable and tasty. I even got to meet Chef Soma after our 3 hours long food porn fest. She was so nice :) 

In short- love this place. If I can manage to sell my 20 something kidney for $$$$$$, I'd dine here every night till they run out of Uni. And that beef tartare with uni. And more uni that melts in my mouth...Hmmm hmmm hmmmm!!! Just call me sea urchin!

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Nong's Khao Man Gai- aka best chicken & rice in Northwest!

 

Nong's Khao Man gai

609 SE Ankeny St, Ste B, Portland, OR 97214

Chicken and rice obsessions- proudly displaying it since 2012!

This location is rather new but I've been obsessed with Nong's Khao Man Gai since 2012. Coming up to Portland purely for food...well that's been my thing for a few years now. It was hard in the beginning to get this chicken and rice goodness from the carts. Limited time, long lines! Huge demands!

But no longer. They've opened this last year (2013) and now I can get ma chicken and rice on all dayyyyyyyy everyyyyyyydayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Without any distruptions. Wah??? They've even added tables and chairs on my last visit back in Feb. Now you can order your chicken and rice and eat right here instead of eating on or in your car. Less chance of spilling that yummy tasty broth on the side.

What to get? Obviously chicken and rice!! 

Obviously! Best things in life are the simple things. And it is as simple as it gets. Chicken steamed beautifully. Serve with rice, sweet garlic sauce and chicken broth. Add liver!! Or chicken skin ( if they don't run out of course).  For a large $11- you get the best tasting hainan chicken and rice. It is as good as it gets. I remember eating this out of paper wraps in my car gazillion times. Aint no shame in wanting it right there!! But now I get to be like the cool civilized kids and sit down at a table right there. What else can a fat kid ask for? Nothing!! Well..maybe alcohol but that's what takeouts are for. In the mean time, my obsession will live on!!  YUmmmmm...Can you guys ship some to Seattle?? Postmates it for me will ya? :)

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IL Corvo - best pasta in all of Seattle

iL corvo

217 James St, Seattle, WA 98104

IL corvo!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for one year of epic pasta(s) happiness.

Before this James street location was open , IL corvo's pasta seem like a dream and fantasy that I'd rarely get to eat! And pasta snob in me was slowly dying. Thanks to the epicness that is Mike easton, I've got my pasta Mondays, Thursdays and even some Fridays! 

Nothing beats fresh made pasta! That amazing batch of beautiful strings, layers, ear shape, butterfly shape, lasagna sheets, gnocchi! So manyyyyy! I  make them at home but a whole lot of effort for very little return. Or go to Italy and have it all around. And you don't need oodles of crap on top of it make it taste good. It's all about the pasta and the taste of it! Mike knows it, he got it and he owns it!!!!

The menu goes up every morning at 10:40 am. It is simple. 3 pasta dishes~ usually one dish of the day, one bologenese and one vegetarian. The shapes of pasta change daily but you can always count on that oh so good texture in each bowl. You come here, you order your food and sit on the communal tables!! It is simple, tasty and perfectly efficient. They are only open for lunch so the lines will get mad long. But what wouldn't you do for a perfect bowl? 

I would get parking ticket for that perfect bowl of pasta. I might even order a second bowl! ( Gasp, sorry mom!!!). Portions are perfect. It's not monstrous like your favorite faux Italian  basement place ( ahem ,yes beppo). If you're expecting Americanize flavors(barf),  all you can eat crap on the side, this isn't for you. This is also a reasonably priced place for pretty excellent dishes. And I absolutely LOVE Mike's daily menus. My only complain is that they are not open for dinner. But that's what makes this place even more amazing. Gotta work for that pasta if you want it! And I'll work for it every time. Thanks for countless bowls of pasta in one year! Both my expanding waistline and happiness meter thank you for all those happy bites!! Can't wait to taste more happiness this year. Yumm yumm.

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casarecce with spring garlic and lemon!

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Tagliarini with sardines and Calabrian peppers!

Altura- Italian dining at it's best in Seattle

 

Altura

617 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102

My favorite Italian in all of Seattle!!! 

Altura is as good as it gets to all things truffles, pasta and italian dishes. It's also the only place  you'll find authentic dishes outside of Italy. And it also helps that it is located right up my street. 2 minutes drive to all things pasta, truffle and delicious things. Oh the joy of it all :)

Chef Nathan Lockwood has taken all things fresh in PNW and created an amazingly tasty Italian meal. The menu changes weekly but it's a set menu. You can get 3- 4 or 5 courses. And if you are really hungry or want to try it all, try the 7 course tasting menu! Each dish will be presented in an ooooh worthy fashion.

The place- cute little tiny place on the south end of the Broadway. You might have passed by and never noticed it. But it is the warmest adorable place you can find in this area. From the moment you walk in till the moment you walk out, everything is magic.

Food- whether you get 3, 4 or 5 courses, you will get pampered with little amuse bouche in between. They are all so perfectly portioned and tasty. Wine pairing is a must. 

*First bite- beet soup! So refreshing!! I love beets and this was just perfect. 

*Albacore crudo- capers, anchovy, lemon! Yummm.

* Wild red peppers  with quail egg and anchovy thumbs up

*Corn panna cotta with truffles! Eeeeee this is where I start squealing with excitement. Omg....it was sooo beautiful and tasty! Like magic on drug. So goood. It looks nothing like what it should taste but you can taste every single ingredient in here. I can have this as my meal and be pretty happy with it. Luckily, I didn't have to stop here :)

**** Pastaaaaa- you can add fresh shaved truffles for $25 on your dish. And you know what. It is worth every penny! My advice- always do it when truffles are in season. The rule of thumb? Black truffles are in till Summer (end of summer ish), white truffles come out in October and then some. Altura obviously will carry whichever one is in season! 

** Ravioli with truffles and olive oil- divine!  Truffle on top of this was divine. 

**Bolognese sauce with goat and kobe beef! Yummmm ( be mindful that these are all tasting portions. Everything is about a few bites. But great few bites are better than plenty of mediocre bites.)

***Rolled up pasta with tripa!! This is a classic roman dish and oh so tastyy!

** Alaskan Halibut - with anchovy crust, artic charr and fried artichokes! YUmmmmmmmm!

**Magnolia Farm Wagyu with potato , bone marrow crisp and chantrelle mushrooms!  On nom nom nommmmm!

** Clabrian chilli- roasted with sea salt. 

**** Slow Roasted Duck Breast with mustard green, confit budino and cherry mostardo!  My favvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv! Such a stunning and tasty dish. It's super light. 

**Mozzerella di bufala - with sun gold tomatoes, watermelon and basil! So refreshing. 

Every bite was better than the next. And since I opted for the truffles on my main dishes, I get the Chef coming on by my table every few minutes! In the end, I got to go into the kitchen and go nuts over the truffles with both Chef Nathan and his souchef!  Woot woot :))) 

Oh yea, ended this phenomenal 10 courses with a perfect dessert! 

House Made Mascarpone Gelato  - with beautiful figs, pears, peaches + drizzle of traditional aged balsamic on top. 

Food was solid 5 stars all around. Wine pairing was right on the spot! And the service and atmosphere? Just fantastic. People next to our table was so friendly and intrigue with my food picture obsessions, they offered me to taste their food. How cool was that? Such nice ladies!! Love it when that happens :) This place is and will always be my favorite place to go celebrate any birthdays, occasion, non occasion, dinner dates , girls night and then some. 

The only problem? Large groups are kind of hard since they only seat about 32 people. So no 22 people dinners here. Altura is such a place that you want to enjoy your every bite. And you'll get to if you have less distractions :)  5 stars all around!! Thanks Chef!!!

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