Sycamore, Flat Branch & home-grown tomatoes


On our first day in Columbia, we had dinner at Sycamore in downtown. This is my in-laws’ favorite restaurant, and I had to promise I wouldn’t say anything mean about it – but honestly, it was wonderful. The menu is seasonal, with an emphasis on local products, the service is truly excellent, and they make a very decent martini. We started with a nicely done fried calamari plate, then we all split the green salad with goat cheese and roasted beets.


My mother-in-law got the gnocchi, which she really likes (she was very smitten by their autumn version with butternut squash). These were served with asparagus and shiitakes, and lots of garlic. I got to finish her leftovers for breakfast and they were extremely good, deceptively light and fluffy. Continue reading

a hot day and a dark pub

Everett Marina

After spending an afternoon playing music in the middle of a bustling farmer’s market on a hot sunny day, we were feeling the need of a cool dark room to sit in, preferably with a glass of good beer in hand. Where we ended up was Nell Thorn in La Conner, the restaurant owned by Casey Schanen, one of our very favorite chefs from Gretchens Cooking School.

It was perfect: the pub area is dark and small, but most of the customers were out on the deck, and we got some excellent beer (Stone IPA and Flyer’s porter). The menu was hard to choose from, but we settled on an oyster sandwich for me, and hanger steak with frites for J.

oyster sandwich & salad Continue reading

weekend food

We packed in quite a bit of interesting food over the long weekend (thanks to the Folklife Festival), much of it completely undocumented, alas. There was dinner for six people at the Palace Kitchen, including a wonderful wood-fired chicken with rhubarb sauce, a beautiful herb-crusted whole trout, and a really odd but neat dessert consisting of a soft pretzel, a glass of beer and a scoop of hops ice cream. There was a dinner at home of Javanese grilled chicken and herbed rice salad (I’ll have to do that again for a future post). We checked out the new ice cream place in Wallingford, and had post-Folklife drinks at Ten Mercer. There were, however, two places where we did get around to taking pictures: Paragon and Quinn’s.


Quinn’s, a gastropub opened by the owners of Restaurant Zoe (where we have never been), has been getting lots of good press, and I’ve been very keen to see what it’s like – I do love a good pub. After spending the morning busking at Folklife, we went hunting on Capitol Hill and, much to my astonishment, managed to find Quinn’s. As it turns out, I like it -a lot. I like the space, the decor, the vibe…and ohmigod, the food. Four of us went and had sandwiches and it was nearly a religious experience. My parents had the steak sandwich, which the waitress claimed they had pretty much “nailed.” They said it was incredible. J and I split this:

wild boar sloppy joe Continue reading