Monday, December 28, 2009

Piatti Ristorante & Bar - Seattle, WA

My cousins came down from BC to visit us during Christmastime. We decided to take them to U-Village and have lunch at Piatti's. To my surprise, Piatti's is actually a chain restaurant. We realized after we saw the Piatti's logo that it was exactly the same as the one in San Diego that we went to over the summer. The food at the Piatti's in San Diego was delicious so I thought the quality of the food at the Piatti's at U-Village would be comparable.

We ordered the Di Parma appetizer which had prosciutto di parma, mozzarella, arugula & grissini.  The proscuitto was finely cut and authentic; the mozerlla was fresh and light; the bread sticks and black olives, however, were too salty for my liking. 

We also shared the funghi pizza.  It was supposed to have porcini & chanterelle mushrooms, garlic, roasted tomatoes, fontina & rosemary.  I say "supposed to" because all I could taste was the cheese and the grease, which is not my idea of an authentic Italian pizza. 

For my lunch entree I ordered the Pappardelle.  It had wide ribbon pasta, prawns, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, arugula, garlic, white wine & basil.  This was probably the best dish out of the entire meal.  The wide ribbon pasta tasted like it was freshly made.  It almost had the texture of a cross between lasgna pasta and Chinese egg noodles.  It was well done.  Unfortunately, the prawns were not fresh and rather dry.  The sauce and vegetables were fine so just stuck to eating the noodles.

My cousin had the Rigatoni and she said it wasn't very good. I tasted a little bit of it and the sauce was too salty and the noodles were undercooked.  And the spaghetti that my husband ordered was like your typical spaghetti dish. He said it was decent and would order it again.

I guess not all restaurant chains are equally the same. It's basically a hit-and-miss at this one. I would probably go again with friends, but I'll stick to the items I know are good. If you're willing to take a risk and try the other items let me know how it turns out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Carrot Cake that Hits the Spot!

There's something about carrot cake that makes you believe it's good for you.  Maybe it's because I'm getting my daily vegetable intake or maybe because it tastes so light and not too sweet that you just can't stop eating it!  Regardless of however many calories are in this cake, it is just so good that I am willing to do an hour of Jillian Michaels work-out to burn it off. 

I usually make carrot cake in a square cake pan, but today I was feeling adventurous and decided to make an entire round cake with two layers.  I didn't add any coconut inside the cake, but toasted sweetened shredded coconut on the sides and top after I spread cream cheese frosting over it.  I think the coconut flakes add a nice finish to the cake and a great texture when you bite into it.  Below is the recipe:

Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups peeled and shredded carrots
1 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with flour.   In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together.  In a another bowl, beat the eggs, oil, granualted sugar, brown sugar, and buttermilk until completely mixed.  Stir the flour mixture on low speed 1 cup at a time into the egg mixture until just combined.  Fold in the carrots.  Pour the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake for about 40 minutes.  Place 1 cake layer on a plate.  Spread the cream cheese frosting over the top (see recipe below).   Place the second cake layer on top.  Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.  Press 1 cup toasted sweetened shreeded coconut evenly onto the sides and top of the cake. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb cream cheese
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature.  Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth.  Reduce the speed to low, add the sugar, and beat until smooth.  Beat in the vanilla.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Metropolitan Grill - Seattle, WA

My husband is a meat lover so for his birthday we took him to the Metropolitan Grill in downtown Seattle for dinner.  It's been at least 3 years since we've been there and I found that some things have changed, while others have stayed the same.

After we were seated, the waitress gave us a basket filled with sour dough and pumpernickel rolls.  I'm not a huge fan of the sour dough bread, but the pumpernickel wasn't bad.  (It doesn't compare to the Cheesecake Factory's bread, of course)  For an appetizer, we ordered a side dish of the Cedar Plank Roasted Wild Mushrooms ($12).  I was excited to try this dish because I love chanterelle mushrooms.  However, I was pretty disappointed as the mushrooms were dry and flavorless.  Also, the complimentary baked potato that came with my steak was a disappointment.  The baked potato itself was fine, but the choice of complimentary toppings was pretty sad.  We were offered cheese, sour cream, and butter.  The last time we were there, I remember they had a choice of chives and bacon bits.  What happened?  They definitely need to bring that back.  Onto the the star of the show -- the  STEAK.  I ordered an 8 oz. Filet Mignon ($45).  The meat was so tender, juicy, and rich (that's probably all the butter they use).  And it was still as good as I remembered it 3 years ago.  I would still recommend going to the Metropolitan Grill for the best steak in Seattle....just don't waste your money on the sides.   

The Metropolitan Grill
820 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA  98104