Thursday, July 3, 2008

Serafina Osteria & Enoteca

Serafina Osteria & Enoteca
2043 Eastlake Ave East
Seattle, WA 98102
Serafina on Urbanspoon

Sassy R had to try the calamari at Serafina after hearing how good they were from the guy at the Waterfront. It was around 9 p.m. after a long day's work. Sassy R met her "friend" in the lovely arbored back patio lit with white lights. It's a hidden garden paradise right off of busy Eastlake.

We ordered calamari, of course, with two campari and soda drinks on ice, and the oh-so-satisfying "plin" - one of my true loves. I fantasize about the plin at Serafina just a little too much. See, Sassy T and I had them last week, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about them since. They are delicate little handmade stuffed pasta pockets (angolotti), filled with braised pork shoulder, savoy cabbage and Reggiano. They are approximately the size of a small walnut. Smooth, rich, robust pasta with some umph, some texture, some chew - like your Italian or Eastern European grandma would make. These lovely little darlings are arranged in a shallow bowl in elegent butter chive sauce and can be ordered as an appetizer (small bowl, but plenty) or entree (big ol' bowl). The butter sauce is abundance and lovely for bread dipping. But the plin...oh the little plin. It is hard to eat these things slowly. They are so damned satisfying.

But this post was about the calamari. The calamari? Also good. Unlike calamari almost everywhere else in this town and on most appetizer menus in the US, these are sauteed, not deep fried. Garlic. Bread crumbs. Lemon. Salt. Parsley. A little red chili flakes. None of that overly chewy previously frozen texture. No fishy stench. Pretty great. Best in town? Not hard to accomplish, so yes, perche non?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

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The Waterfront Seafood Grill

Waterfront Seafood Grill
2801 Alaskan Way, Pier 70
Seattle, WA 98121
Waterfront Seafood Grill on Urbanspoon

Yeah, so it started out with a strong desire for Kumomoto oysters on the half shell. Seattle has been sunnier than usual the last few days, and these two sassy ladies knew that the view, service, drinks and the oysters at the Waterfront are pretty hard to beat. Super fresh oysters...super sweet views from the patio of Puget Sound. You pay a hefty price for that view and have to sit amongst the conventionally beautiful and botoxed (women and men), a sea of $350 sunglasses and brand new never-been-worn-before business casual attire, and some older folks on vacation from the midwest and Florida, but it's probably worth it once or maybe twice a year (the number of days outdoor seating in Seattle is even an option!).

The oysters were beautiful. Sweet, fresh, slippery, fresh and ocean-y. I like to squeeze just a little lemon juice on mine, then slide it into my mouth straight from the shell. Sassy T does the same. Puget Sounds smells salty sometimes in the summer sun, which was a nice complement to the oysters. Glass of dry white. View of the Olympics, the water. Doesn't get better.

It started with oysters but moved quickly into ruby beet and arugula salad, tuna tempura, ceasar salad, and chevre potatoes gratin. Of course, when the four guys discussing, some kind of new website, ordered calamari, we eyed their plate. Looked good. Sassy R asked for a bite. One of the boys, ahem, men, immediately issued the disclaimer that it was not as good as Serafina's calamari. I hadn't realized that Serafina was famous for its calamari. He said this was too greasy. It was. Deepfried, batter dipped. Not great. Some guy ordered a plate of calamari behind us later and the whole patio stank of rotten fish for several minutes until the steam stopped floating off the little tentacles. Well, the calamari was fairly standard and not at all worth its price. Oh well.

The highlight of the evening (second to the oysters) was the strawberry rhubarb tart. Rustic crust folded artfully around the perimeter, covering the filling...with a small gentle soft opening in the middle sprinkled with streusel in the center. It wasn't too sweet, and was oven-warmed just enough... and it was served with delicate homemade vanilla ice cream. Perfect. Our calamari neighbors eyed it and commented. One guy stood up and came over to our table. He wanted some. We gave him a clean spoon. He took a bit. Then he ate more. We chatted. We chatted about their start up, how to find investors, where he grew up (Seattle). He was handsome and in his early 40's. He was charming. He was polite. He had another bite. We paid our bill and before our luscious green-eyed server could take away the wedge of tart we hadn't finished, we passed the picked-apart leftovers over to our friends' table. They even accepted our bowl of melted ice cream and thanked us. They ate it! Testiment to how fabulous this dessert really is.