Dinner with my Posse...

Last week I celebrated but yet another birthday. 20-something~right...ah yea, that's it! Actually, I do not have issues with my tender young age...some do I know. I don't really think of myself as being old(I am sure my cooks do) and I know my son's do, but what the hell...you are only as old as one feels, and I have always been blessed with the natural feeling of youth. I figure when it is time to move on, then so be it. Whatever...live your life right? ...and be appreciative of what you have, not of what you do not! At the close of the week, I decided that I wanted to treat myself to a cool dinner and so we chose to make an appearance at Spinasse, a trattoria & locale of fresh artisan pasta, or pastificio artigianale as it were. I have heard much to do about this place and how awesome it is. Hell, the chef; Jason Stratton is one of Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chef's just this year, or maybe last...no matter. I finally made the time to venture into one Seattle's hot spots. It is a nice, quaint little spot on upper Capitol Hill area...a new mecca for local hangouts and watering holes. It was reminiscent of times spent in Italy. The vibe...the feel...the noise and atmosphere...the hustle and bustle of the service and the sexiness of the whole place. I dig it! We sat at the counter in full view of the kitchen(cool for me). Upon arrival, we were presented with an amuse of chicken liver toast, with a drizzle of sweet balsamic or mosto cotto(hard to tell). I enjoyed it, and thought for sure my kids would turn and run for the door. They didn't, and in fact, they both indulged. My oldest ate and could take it or leave it. My youngest made a face. Figured that would happen. I was soooo impressed that they even got it to their mouths. Things are looking up. We started with several Antipasti...Trippa con ceci e fegato grosso...tender braised tripe with savory chickpeas, nuggets of foie gras and italian parsley leaves all bound in a light broth. Cool homey and rustic and fully reminded me of my trip to Tuscany. The foie gras for me though needed to be much more bountiful, but I understand that this is not what the dish was about. My loss as I just love foie. Give me more! We also had a plate of Soppressata con mostarda di Cremona...Fra'mani pork soppressata, flecked with pepper and hints of fennel and spice, with a mandarin mostarda. Tasty for sure, but I will put mine up against it any day. We also had a nice Porchetta tonnata...his version of a classic of chilled thinly sliced (by way of a Berkel) pork loin with tuna mayonnaise, capers and pickled carrots. Nice, subtle and rustic. For the Primi courses~ we opted for the ravioli di melanzane...fresh thin raviolis filled with eggplant puree, olive oil, hint of garlic it seemed and a light braised walnut essence, although a bit acidic and undetectable. Nice, but as an entree...the price was too freakin high. My youngest didn't care for it much. Second choice was the Maltagliatti con ragu di agnello...nice "scraps" of fresh pasta as it was described with a light lacing of lamb ragout. Nothing else. No frills. No baggage. As it should be. Very delicate pasta and tasty. Again...for the price of an entree portion I would expect at least a some extra love, and these were SCRAPS!!!! Staff meal comes to mind. Don't take this the wrong way though...I did enjoy the flavor and I am in full agreement about the cost of excellence and craftsmanship and skill of the chef. But...! I had the special feature of pasta(as an app-$12.), which was a light, summery fun Tajarin o burro e funghi...fresh hand cut noodles with chanterelles, herbs and butter and touch of light stock and wine. very nicely done and well worth the price. We then settled on sharing a Secondi course of Polpetti di coniglio...three nice size rabbit meatballs, wrapped in caul fat with roasted baby turnips, pickled horseradish(although I did not taste a single "hare" of it) and a few wisps of turnip greens in a light jus. These were quite tasty and probably the best thing we had all night, although all were nice. My kids ate it up. Maybe it was the recognizable comfort, maybe the fact that the pasta was not their cup of tea or maybe they just did to appease me. Either way, we enjoyed. Lastly, along with a espresso "naturel" we shared a gianduja and coffee bombe(frozen gelato dome) with dark chocolate crema, candied hazelnuts and white chocolate caramel sauce. What a way to round out a nice meal...a very tasty sexy tasting dessert full of chocolate. Word on the street is that one of pastry team who used to work for me is now there. Fitting and appropriately so. I can see it. All in all, it was very fun and very special to be hanging with my buds enjoying a special meal and celebrating a day of life. The cost was high, and I am questioning the whole thing, but that was then...this is now. The moral...need to get back to Italy for sure!


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