Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016

Seattle Food: Copine (again!)

I know, a second post about Copine restaurant. It’s embarrassing except that we fell in love to such a degree that we wanted to try everything on the seasonal menu. As that can’t be done in one sitting (or even two) we had to go back. Plus, August contains both our birthdays and the beginning of September is our anniversary. Three times in one month is a bit aggressive, but when you see these photos you’ll wish you lived in Seattle (even though they’re taken with a phone). OK? 

It’s also important to note that this food love on our part is not the result of any kind of preferential treatment. In fact, we waited too long for our anniversary and couldn’t get a reservation so we just showed up and sat at the bar. Which worked out well as the bartender was fabulous—and we could still order from the full menu. Win-win.

First up, my birthday dinner two weeks ago.

Such a simple thing and yet, it's not. Not only is the bread a delicious challah-- soft and tender, but the composition on the plate is lovely.

Mr. G started with a chilled romaine lettuce soup with Yukon gold potatoes and black truffle. Lettuce soup? Chilled? Yes and it is delicious.

At this time of year, it's a crime not to order anything on the menu that has heirloom tomatoes because it's what any decent food lover yearns for the rest of the year when we're stuck eating root vegetables. Here they're paired with grilled bread and sweet corn panna cotta.

 Mr. G had the sablefish with a crispy skin and a bonito consumme with pickled vegetables.

 I opted for this gorgeous rack of lamb with jus, falafel and roasted cauliflower. Golden raisins gave the slightest bit of sweet to balance the richness of the lamb.

When I find something I love, I'm going to stick with it. There is no other dessert for me but the dark chocolate gateau (if you need to see it uneaten, click here). That would be my birthday candle at the side of the plate. I think I deserve extra points for not scraping the chocolate off of it.

Last week we headed back for our anniversary and can now say we have sampled almost everything offered on the menu. To our delight.

I've seen beautiful food, but this plate is outstanding. It looks like a Matisse painting. Still, it's only one part of the equation-- the food must taste good as well.  No surprise, it did. A round of watermelon, compressed, with ahi tuna crudo on top and finely sliced jalapeños. Plus, some slightly crunchy small white beads that  I could not identify, but loved. The flavors combined were fabulous.

This may look like dessert but it is actually a foie gras terrine with duck confit, huckleberries, and candied hazelnuts. The sweet with the savory balanced the earthiness of the foie gras.

My entree and a perfect way to end the wrap-up the summer sweet corn. Agnolotti (pasta pillows) filled with sweet corn mousse in a brown butter sauce with lobster mushrooms and figs. The al dente pasta was perfect against the creamy filling and the accent of the figs with the sauce--heaven.

That is it for Copine (for now). We've had three marvelous meals and are thrilled to have this restaurant in our neighborhood. If you're in Seattle and love locally sourced, beautifully presented, delicious food then you must stop by.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Italian Vacation: the Duomo in Siena

Today it’s all about the Siena Duomo, a cathedral that’s grand and beautiful, filled with works of art in all forms. Built in the mid-1200s it is Gothic in style with white and greenish-black marble stripes throughout. Originally, we’d thought that, due to the summer crowds, we would not even be able to go in, but the outside alone is awe-inspiring.

The grandeur is almost impossible to compare to anything we have in the United States. For as much as Americans think 'we're all that', we really have nothing to compare to this kind of scale and visual impact.

A closer in view of the front facade with more Gothic carving and sculpture than I can possibly describe.

This is the top portion of the facade close-in. This is a mosaic of the Coronation of the Virgin, made in the late 1800s.

The bell tower. And this may seem like a minor point, but I'm not using any filter on this photo. The sky is truly that deep and bright a blue.

The entire floor of the cathedral is marble mosaics, one of the largest inlaid mosaic floors in Italy. There are over 56 panels all told and because they are so delicate they are covered for a majority of the year. Below are just two that we were able to see.

This panel is of the She Wolf of Siena, showing Romulus and Remus and the confederate cities of Siena. It was made in 1373.

Pintoricchio's Allegory of the Mount of Wisdom- at the very top left is Socrates.

With so much beauty and history at your feet it can be hard to remember to look up, but when you do it is well worth it. Every inch of the Cathedral is exquisitely designed and decorated, often by masters of their times. 

The ceiling:

The entry vaulted ceiling, leading to the main altar and the dome. At the top of the arches are busts of 172 popes.

 The dome of the St. John the Baptist chapel is made of gilded stucco.

Close-up of the center of the dome and Bernini's golden lantern. The opening is surrounded by cherubim.

Works of art:

Saint John the Baptist by Donatello (sorry so blurry, the crowds made stopping for a photo difficult)

Saint Paul by Michelangelo

The high altar, by Peruzzi in 1532

Friday, August 12, 2016

Seattle Food: Copine

I know I promised photos of Siena's beautiful cathedral today, but when I have an amazing meal all bets are off. Mr G and I went to a new restaurant, Copine, for his birthday and it was the best meal we've had in Seattle. So good, in fact, that we made a reservation for my birthday before we even left (which means there may be even more photos soon).

The meal started with this lovely little bite: 

Tempura fried salmon topped with creme fraiche and salmon roe

For our starters Mr G had an heirloom tomato salad that looked like a piece of art:

 Heirloom tomato on top of ricotta, sliced zucchini and yellow squash with caramelized hazelnuts.

Given that we are fully into summer I went with a chilled sweet corn soup:

Creamy sweet corn with tiny braised chanterelle mushrooms, chives, and whole corn kernels

At this point, we were in love, but hesitant because entrees are where things can go wrong. Not in this case, thanks not only to the food, but to our server whose descriptions and explanations of each dish helped us make the best choice.

 On the menu this is: Pithiviers de Canard. What? I had an idea that canard means duck but the other word? No idea. Well, a pithivier is a small round pie made of puff pastry. So...this was duck confit in puff pastry with grilled nectarines and turnips.

I had the pork loin with cabbage slaw,  spätzle with tiny slices of apple and a maple-bourbon jus. The combination of bright crunch from the slaw against the earthy flavor of the pork and spätzle was wonderful.

Because it is physically impossible for me to leave a restaurant without dessert AND it was Mr. G's birthday:

A dark chocolate gateau on a crisp crust with strawberry ice cream and fresh strawberries. Absolute perfection.

This really was a marvelous meal, with fresh, local ingredients, and enhanced by the kind of service that is attentive but not annoying. The fact that it's only been open for less than a month and is already running this smoothly is a good sign for Seattle foodies. I'm already planning what I'm going to order for my birthday dinner...

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