Seafood Archive

Tuesday

26

August 2014

0

COMMENTS

Exploring Cleveland: Dinner at L’Albatros

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

After a busy morning and afternoon exploring Ohio City, both Charity and I were more than ready for a relaxing evening on Saturday. Charity’s recommendation for dinner that night was L’Albatros, a French Brasserie + Bar in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. I love French cuisine so I was beyond excited to check it out.

University Circle is another gorgeous neighborhood about a 15 minute drive from downtown. It is home to Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and several other impressive cultural and medical institutions. On our way to L’Albatros we drove down Martin Luther King Boulevard so I could catch a glimpse of Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens, a collection of 31 public gardens, each commemorating a different ethnic group whose immigrants have contributed to the heritage of the U.S. and Cleveland. I would have loved to spend more time exploring this beautiful area, but our reservation at L’Albatros was waiting! L'Albatros, Cleveland

When we walked into L’Albatros I immediately fell in love. As soon as we stepped in I was greeted by the intoxicating aromas from the open kitchen immediately to our right. The space is split up into smaller sections, making it the perfect setting for an intimate dinner with friends or loved ones. In fact, my cousin and his wife had their first date AND got engaged here, so I think it’s safe to say that L’Albatros does special occasions very well. They also have an outdoor patio that Cleveland.com named one of the top 10 patios in Cleveland this summer and judging by its popularity on this beautiful summer night, it was no wonder why!

L'Albatros, Cleveland

Once Charity and I were settled into our cozy corner table that looked out to the patio, we got straight to business and ordered a bottle of wine and an assortment of cheeses. L’Albatros has a “cheese guy” (fromager? cheesemonger? we just went with “cheese guy”) who brings out the full selection of the restaurant’s cheeses to your table and cuts off your pieces right then and there. We opted for a couple funky, a couple soft, and one hard, and we were off to cheese-lovers’ heaven! Served with sliced bread and a little bit of honey and fig jam, this was the perfect way to start a very memorable meal.

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Wine

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Cheese

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Cheese

After the cheese came the Escargot. I absolutely love escargot and Charity had never tried it before, so this was a no-brainer. L’Albatros’ version is made with toasted garlic and fennel butter (lots and lots of butter) and we both really enjoyed it. The addition of fennel was a twist that I’ve never tried before and it worked very well. Make sure you have a few extra slices of bread to sop up all of that delicious butter, it’s always my favorite part!

We also each ordered a salad to add in a bit of lightness after our first two courses. Charity ordered the popular Radish & Cucumber salad and I ordered their special, mixed greens topped with heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. These were both cool, crisp, fresh salads that hit the spot.

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Escargot

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Beet Cucumber salad

L'Albatros, Cleveland, salad

For our main dishes Charity and I both went with fish, Charity with the Roasted Cod, a fixture on the menu, and me with the Amberjack, a special for the evening. The cod was served with spätzle, sauerkraut, crème fraîche, and cornichon aioli – I had a bite and can attest that it is very tasty! My amberjack was served with summer squash and several other great seasonal ingredients. This was my first time eating amberjack and I was very happy with my order. 

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Cod

L'Albatros, Cleveland, Amberjack

We were both happily full but just couldn’t say no to dessert. We shared the dark chocolate tart with Meyer lemon curd, not too rich but just enough sweetness to satisfy; it was a great way to end an already fantastic meal.

L'Albatros, Cleveland, dessert, chocolate

Our dinner at L’Albatros was my favorite meal during my time in Cleveland. I would definitely rank L’Albatros as my #1 recommendation of where to eat in Cleveland based on my experience and all the great things I’ve heard from others. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion or just in the mood for some delicious food, L’Albatros fits the bill!

 

*My expenses during my time in Cleveland were paid for by Positively Cleveland. As always, all content on Lion + Maven comes from my own, unbiased thoughts and opinions. 

 

Tuesday

8

July 2014

4

COMMENTS

Glacier Trekking in Juneau, Alaska

Written by , Posted in Travel

Hooray! We’ve finally made it to Alaska – get ready for photos galore! After boarding our Holland America ship, the ms Westerdam, in Seattle, we cruised north towards our first stop in Alaska’s capital city – Juneau. Our first day at sea was a bit rocky but once we woke up the following day near Juneau it was clear skies and smooth sailing! Did you know that there are no roads that lead into Juneau? You can only get there via plane or boat – so crazy! We didn’t arrive in Juneau until 1pm so we had the morning to enjoy the beautiful Alaskan scenery as we made our way to port.

Alaska

Alaska, Cruise

Alaska, Whale

Alaska, Whale

Alaska

Beautiful, right?! Alaska has some of the most impressive backdrops I’ve ever seen and trust me, these pictures don’t even do it justice. We were beyond lucky to have such a clear, beautiful day – blue skies for miles and the warm sun shining down made for a perfect day in Juneau.

Alaska, Juneau

Alaska, Juneau

In Juneau Mike, my brother, his girlfriend Amanda, and I had a scheduled excursion for a helicopter ride and glacier trekking to Mendenhall Glacier with Northstar Trekking. Due to bringing the wrong ticket (me) and an extremely slow moving line to get off the boat (old people) we missed our scheduled tour time, but it worked out for the best. We had about an hour to check out this touristy area of Juneau and made the most of it.

First we stopped at Tracy’s King Crab Shack right next to the port to grab some local seafood. We weren’t sure if this was just a tourist trap with so-so food because of it’s location so close to the boat, but lucky for us Tracy’s was awesome! We tried the crab cakes that come with an amazing spicy dipping sauce, the creamy crab bisque, and the winner of the day (and maybe the entire cruise) the king crab legs. At $24 an order you might think twice, but trust me – they’re worth it! So much delicious crab meat dipped in warm, melted butter – it’s a little piece of heaven from the sea!

Alaska, Juneau, Tracy's King Crab Shack

Alaska, Juneau, Tracy's King Crab Shack

Alaska, Juneau, Tracy's King Crab Shack

Alaska, Juneau, Tracy's King Crab Shack

After polishing off the crab we checked out a few shops near the pier and then met up with our excursion group. From start to finish our excursion with Northstar Trekking was fantastic. They were super organized, friendly, and knowledgable about Alaska and Juneau. We took a large van out to the airport where they helped us put on all of the glacier gear. Water-proof pants, boots, gaiters, windbreakers, and fanny packs filled with a snack and a bottle of water were all provided by Northstar. Once we were geared up we had a quick helicopter tutorial and then headed to our chopper!

None of us had ever ridden in a helicopter before and I don’t think we could’ve possibly picked a better place to check this first off our lists. The skies were so clear that we could see for miles and miles – from green forests to snow-capped peaks, it was just breathtaking view after breathtaking view. Our pilot told us that clear days like this were hard to come by and he was able to show us much more because of it. We saw glaciers and ice valleys and even a few mountain goats on the side of a mountain (they’re the tiny white dots in the third photo below)!

Alaska, Juneau, Helicopter

Alaska, Juneau, Helicopter

Alaska, Juneau, Helicopter

Alaska, Juneau, Helicopter

Once we landed at our final destination on Mendenhall Glacier we were all ridiculously giddy from our helicopter ride and ready for more exploring. We were outfitted with a couple more pieces of gear, crampons and ice axes, given a tutorial on how to hike on the glacier by our two guides, and then we were off.

Alaska, Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier

Alaska, Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier

We had two great guides who were both geologists and they were able to give us a ton of interesting information about the glacier as we hiked. We didn’t have to do any technical climbing, just a few hops and steep climbs here and there – challenging but nothing too scary! We stopped every so often so everyone in the group could stay together and learn about where we were on the glacier. At one point we stopped to fill up our water bottles straight from a waterfall and stream of ice melt – best water I’ve ever tasted!

Alaska, Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier

Alaska, Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier

Alaska, Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier

Alaska, Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier

We were on the glacier for about 3 hours before our helicopter returned to bring us back. We all agreed that this was easily our favorite part of our 7-day cruise and even though it was one of the more expensive excursions, I would save a little here and there to do it again in a heartbeat. Had we come to Juneau one day later when the weather was terrible, I might not be singing the same tune, but we lucked out and had a fantastic day. If you’re thinking about doing a helicopter tour in Alaska here’s my advice – DO IT! We were going back and forth on it for awhile because of the price but in the end we went for it and it was worth it a thousand times over.

Once we returned to town we stopped at Hangar On The Wharf to try their chowder (highly recommended by our van driver who was a local) and had a quick beer at The Flight Deck. We wanted to stay in town a bit longer because our ship didn’t leave port until 10pm but all the restaurants near the pier seemed to close at 8pm so back to the ship it was! Amazing first day in Alaska, and more to come!

Thursday

3

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

The Pink Door

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

We only had one night in Seattle which made narrowing down our choices for dinner pretty difficult! Between reviews online and separate recommendations from my chiropractor who used to live in Seattle and one of Mike’s co-workers, we chose The Pink Door, an Italian-American restaurant in Pike Place Market.

The Pink Door, Seattle

Yes, the entrance is literally a pink door! The restaurant is located down the narrow Post Alley right in the heart of Pike Place Market. When it’s nice enough to dine al fresco the views from their outdoor patio are fantastic! Along with their mouth-watering menu they also offer some pretty lively entertainment on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights – trapeze artists and a cabaret show! We dined on a Friday night so unfortunately we missed it, but it definitely looks like it would make for an evening to remember!  If you look in the photo below on the left hand side you’ll see a swing above the tables – they perform right above you as you dine!

The Pink Door, Seattle

As you can also see from the photo above, the Pink Door is a super charming place. They’re great at accommodating smaller groups (we had 6) but this is also a perfect setting for a romantic night out. I also mentioned the views from the patio – a great place to stop in for lunch if you’re in the market!

Alright now…on to the food! Everything on the menu sounded delicious so it was very difficult to narrow down our choices. With a little help from our server we decided to start with the Sautéed Calamari with spinach, tomatoes, garlic, and wine; the Piatto di Prosciutto with La Quercia Berkshire & Leporati prosciutto di Parma & mozzarella di bufala with extra virgin olive oil; and an order of their Pappardelle al Ragù Bolognese with a slow simmered meat sauce and fresh pasta. All fantastic choices but I was most fond of the pasta – it’s hard to beat homemade pasta topped with a hearty bolognese.

Calamari, The Pink Door, Seattle

Prosciutto, The Pink Door, Seattle

Pappardelle, The Pink Door, Seattle

For our mains the table took a few separate paths – the men went with the Double R Ranch Peppercorn Crusted Ribeye Steak, 2 of the ladies went with a salmon special, and I went off the menu and ordered their Cioppino served over linguine. Everyone loved their dishes. I tried bites of each and can concur that they were all very good, but I will admit that I thought mine was the best. I wanted seafood and I wanted pasta so our server told me they were able to do their staple Cioppino and serve it over linguine – perfect! It was so flavorful, with fresh seafood and a bit of spice…it was everything I was looking for in my first night out in Seattle!

Steak, The Pink Door, Seattle

Peppercorn Steak, The Pink Door, Seattle

Salmon, The Pink Door, Seattle

Cioppino, Linguini, The Pink Door, Seattle

After our plates were cleared we decided we had a little room left for dessert. When we looked over the dessert menu we realized that it was not going to be easy to choose – so we did what anyone would do and ordered a little of everything to share! We had two of their specials – a mascarpone cheesecake and a butterscotch custard. We also had their popular Cabaret Cake, or “Boobie Cake” as it’s nicknamed, and a trio of gelato. I enjoyed each dessert (as I usually do) but if I had to choose a favorite it would have to be either the chocolate cake or the gelato. The chocolate cake was like a flourless chocolate cake (very rich), so you really have to be in the mood for chocolate with this one. Overall, each dessert was fresh and full of great flavors, just like the rest of our meal!

Mascarpone Cheesecake, The Pink Door, Seattle

The Pink Door, Seattle

Chocolate Cake, The Pink Door, Seattle

Gelato, The Pink Door, Seattle

All in all we had a fantastic dinner at The Pink Door and were in agreement that it was the perfect pick for our one and only dinner in Seattle!

 

The Pink Door is located at 1919 Post Alley in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.


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