Dining at the Navy Yard – Lo Spiedo

loIf you had told me a few years ago that there would be fine dining at the Navy Yard, I would have scoffed at you. Not because I don’t think that it’s a place in the city with great potential, because it actually has unlimited potential to be a destination spot for visitors and residents. But to me, the Navy Yard was where my husband used to work. On a ship. Which sat in the water. Sure, people work there, but the height of dining at the Navy Yard was going to the cafeteria at Urban Outfitters, or the occasional food truck day here and there. Then the new buildings came and the pharmaceutical companies followed. Then came the hotel. And now here we are, a Navy Yard that has a Marc Vetri restaurant. I’d been wanting to go to Lo Spiedo for awhile, but I couldn’t conceive of dragging the husband there. So when M asked to go out to dinner on a random weeknight, I suggested it on a whim. Funny thing is, she was thinking the same thing. So we hopped in the car and headed down good ‘ol Broad St. For those of you unfamiliar with the Navy Yard, Lo Spiedo is right where the front entrance is, just on the left. There is a little parking lot, but also plenty of parking on the street. It was truly bizarre going into the Navy Yard, after hours, without needing special employee access.  lodrinkIt was fairly early, and because it was an impromptu decision, we didn’t have a reservation. The place was fairly packed though, with a heavy happy hour crowd from the companies next door, but we luckily got a table. M ordered the Geisha cocktail, a freakishly strong mix of La Colombe Different Drum Rum, orange, and an actual little rose. I would have been passed out on the floor if I drank one of these. I had a house-made ginger beer which was tart yet delightful. lotartarI am fairly terrible when it comes to ordering food. Too many choices clouds my decisions. So one of my favorite things to do is ask our server for their favorites and their recommendations. This beef tartare with bagnetto verde was not one of her recommendations, but was the only thing that we ordered that wasn’t on her list. The idea of raw beef isn’t necessarily something that would have appealed to me in the past, but after going to Korea last year and eating some amazing raw sliced beef, now I’m totally up for trying some rawness. This was good, but not particularly exciting or interesting, so it’s not something I’d have to try again. This spot is a small plates restaurant, so we ended up getting a bunch of things and sharing, just the way I prefer to eat, where I get to try a lot of different things.  lopastaSo all of these items were recommended by our adorable tattooed server: the spit-roasted vegetables with romesco and sicilian olive oil, the spit-roasted octopus, and the rignette pasta with macellaio bolognese. Man, that girl knows what she’s talking about. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything with romesco sauce before, but damn, I loved it. It was savory and sweet at the same time and a perfect accompaniment for the roasted veggies. The octopus was perfectly cooked and didn’t need any flavoring at all. It was like a really well-cooked steak, meaty and substantive, really quite great. Those two dishes were actually cooked on the spit, as per the name of the restaurant, which means the spit. But my favorite dish of the night was the rignette pasta. I don’t know what rignette is, but it’s long and squiggly edged pasta, chewy, with plenty of surface area for whatever delicious sauce its cooked with, and this bolognese was really awesome. To me, truly a perfect dish on all levels. I cleaned the plate and could have eaten more. Overall, a great meal with a great friend. I’m excited to come back and try other dishes on the menu. Looks like I’ll be back at the Navy Yard some more!  

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Buddakan

This year for my mom’s birthday, she actually didn’t pick sushi! It was a mom’s birthday miracle! Not that I would have minded, but I was excited to mix it up for once. She got to pick, and this time she decided on Buddakan. Can you believe that I’ve never been? So we were all excited to check it out. I was quite surprised at how large the restaurant was inside. When all you get to see from the outside is a big door, you can’t really see what’s happening on the other side. There are a lot of tables here, and several levels. image_2 - CopyWe tried the spicy rock shrimp bao buns. These were like the pork ones, but without the oink, and included pickled slaw and jalapenos. These were nice and spicy and zesty with a sour and sweet crunch. Let’s face it, I love anything with crunchy slaw on it. For those of you non-pork eaters, this is a great way to enjoy a bao experience.image_5 - CopyThese are the General Tso’s Dumplings, which were filled with chicken and a hot & sour broth. M really liked these, and ate most of them, but I only thought they were ok. If I want dumplings, I’ll stick to dim sum garden!image_6 - CopyI’m a sucker for Mao Po Tofu, so I got that as my main entree.  Oh this was really great guys, one of the best mao po tofu dishes I’ve ever had. I have no idea if this is genuine or authentic or whatever, all I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the way Buddakan made their’s. I would come back here just for this dish in a heartbeat.image_7 - CopyThe birthday lady got the miso black cod served with bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and a unagi sauce.  I tend to think that ordering miso cod in an asian restaurant is always a safe bet, and this one was no different. It was also a good sized portion, not too small, not too big, perfect for my mom.
image_8 - CopyM is a sucker for seared tuna. If it’s on a menu, any menu, he’s bound to order it. And of course he did here. This is the wasabi tuna tataki with ginger somen noodles. First of all, look how beautiful the tuna is. It was like looking at stained glass or something. Second of all, M said this is the best tuna he has ever eaten. EVER. IN HIS LIFE. He’s not one for such hyperbole, so for him to say such a thing, he meant it.
image_9 - CopyEven though we were all beyond stuffed, we had to get some dessert, specifically the dip sum doughnuts, which were five spice doughnuts with blackberry jam, chocolate sauce, gingered cream cheese dipping sauces. Oh my word. And the best part was that they’re served in a typical chinese takeout container, so it was super easy to take home, which we definitely did! All in all, this was a delicious and fun meal. I’ve been to a number of Stephen Starr restaurants and had positive experiences at all of them, so far. I’d have to say Buddakan is now my favorite! 
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Random Seattle Coffee Roundup

I go to Seattle maybe once or twice a year for work. My company is based in a Seattle suburb, so the opportunity comes up somewhat regularly. Seattle is famous for coffee, or maybe infamous for coffee. But despite the big brand name that was born out of that fair city, there are plenty of independent shops that serve some fine coffee. One thing that you see regularly is drive-thru coffee spots. We just do not have these around here. And no, Dunkin Donuts drive-thrus do not count. Mercurys was a drive-thru spot that I stopped at every morning before work. Service was friendly, quick, and the coffee was great. I did not, however, see any of those bikini drive-thru spots. 
A wonderful coffee shop in Fremont is Milstead & Co. It’s fairly roomy and stark, but that doesn’t mean it’s cold. It’s still warm and inviting. And their coffee is amazing. 
Their pastries too. It was a cold and drizzly day when we visited, and it felt like the most perfect place to be at that time.
We also stopped by Citizen for the most beautiful latte art I’ve ever received. Behold the swan! 
This spot is in an adorable house type of building. They have a bunch of food too, including crepes! This simple buckwheat crepe was perfect.

Caffe Zingaro is another quiet spot we visited one morning before we left Seattle. This drink here is the shop’s namesake, . sdfa
Caffe Ladro runs a number of shops in the Seattle area, and I stopped at a couple. They not only have good coffee, but I had an amazing hot chocolate. We we stopped at one downtown, the proprietor took a very long time to make it, and it was worth every bit of the wait. It was full of hot chocolate love. And for cold and dreary Seattle days, it was even better than a coffee. 
One last stop worth mentioning on this random post is Caffe Fiore. They are an organic coffee house with several locations. I remember this particular shop in Fremont being very very busy. So you see, just like every other big city in the US, there are plenty of local independent coffee shop options, even in Seattle. 

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