Archive for the ‘Florence Ondré’ Category

Not Your Ordinary Burgers At The ‘Box’

June 20, 2011

Truffle Luv Kobe Cheeseburger

Rosemary fries

Today at Lunchbox Laboratory,  in Seattle, Father’s Day was celebrated with a ‘Mustaches Gone Wild’ event.

“Mustaches eat free on Father’s Day!  Any Dads sporting a ‘stach will get a free burger. Don’t worry, if you can’t grow one, we will have one for you to wear during your next meal.” said their poster.

Thinking about how often I felt like both Father and Mother to my kids  when they were growing up, led me to my desk and a pad of  blank paper  and a pair of scissors. The next thing, I’m sportin a full lavender mustache, my purple shades and a grin while Tom has gotten creative with  the curved arrow symbol from an box.  A couple of folds of tape and off we drove to check out the restaurant’s new digs on Thomas Street… and see how many people actually showed up with over the lip wear.

The answer: a lot.

And my paper nose tickler got some laughs.  I fit right in with the waitress, who wore an orange fuzzy over her upper lip, and the Mom next to me, who twirled a supermarket receipt into a Salvador Dali.

One couple had fashioned two versions of  Sweet Adeline /Jerry Colonna handlebars and Tom, in his Nike-like, black line over his lip; ending in an upshot arrow, pointing toward his cheek, stood out in the pack of real hair mustachios, ranging from light to dark; thin to bushy; just the top to full and Van Dykes.

Check out the photo gallery at the above addy.  The fun is on facebook too.

At indoor and outdoor tables, burgers were living up to their Zagat and Epicurious positive gourmet reviews and honorably true to the advertisement, ‘staches ate gratis.

I had the Truffle Luv Kobe cheeseburger with bacon, swiss and truffle mayo and Rosemary fries and Tom had the Smoker, Kobe beef , creamy Havarti, honey cured bacon, Lunchbox onions and smoked pepper mayo and Tater Tots. We were two happy celebrants of the Day of Dad’s, I can tell ya.

When this establishment was in its small Ballard digs, we’d eaten there, enjoyed the cameraderie in close quarters, viewing the collection of vintage lunch boxes and lava lamps and loved the Lamb burger with Blue cheese and sweet potato fries and a homemade mac n cheese to die for. The lunchbox collection, lava lamps and recipes  have travelled well to this larger space; having lost none of any of the flavor.

They serve salads and funky good appetizers and whip up some mighty tasty shakes in a tempting variety with seasonal choices.

The atmosphere is fun and the food good.


Drool factor: OMG! Get me a bucket o truffle mayo to go.

I overheard a bunch of guys at the table behind ours,raving, “That’s the best burger I’ve ever had!”

Oh, yeah.

Still lickin’ the fingers.

See Why At Sea Thai

June 18, 2011

Curry Puffs at Sea Thai Restaurant 

Nam Kao Tod “Crispy Fried Rice”

Kao Soi- yellow curry noodles

Catching lunch at Sea Thai restaurant, one of our all time favorite Thai eateries in Seattle, Wa.,, brought the unusual usual to our table with one of the best Thai iced teas around. We love their Crispy Fried Rice (aka: S11 on the menu of specialities) with slivers of red onion and fresh ginger in a sweet tangy sauce and lettuce leaves to make your own wraps and yummy, light, warm, crispy curry puffs.

Intending to just have a nosh, we spotted a new offering on the day’s specials board: Kao  Soi, yellow curry noodles with a sweet easy on the palate sauce bordering on creamy soup with lengths of  medium egg noodles and crunchy noodles creating a wavy  top knot to the bowl.

The new chef brought this recipe with her from the North of Thailand and, though one may order it as spicy as you like, we chose to stay at the bottom of the heat index.  There was just enough of a zip on the back taste to perk it, yet not over shadow the sweet and multi-layered flavors of the dish.

My Dear Tom had just been saying how he was hankering for a curry/soupy noodle dish and this fit the bill like the Angels must have been listening; ’cause it surely sounded and looked like they  said, “Voila! Here ya go. We heard ya. Have some Heaven on a plate.”

Cue the Hallelujah chorus.

It was that divine.

We’ve enjoyed this place for years now and find they stay true to their consistency of a flavor full menu in quality and variety, using fresh ingredients to create authenticity.

They’ve delighted with Green Curry Beef, Pumpkin Curry with chicken and the best Som Tum (green papaya salad), Tom Yum and Tom Kha Gai soups in the U.S.

Trust us, we’ve tried Thai restaurants all over this country. (We will go off the beaten track along life’s highways and bi ways for Thai food)

Sea Thai in Wallingford, Wa., an area of Seattle near the University district is reasonable, reliable and rockin’ good.

The people who cook for you and serve you here are dear and sweet.  They really do want you to have the most enjoyable dining experience possible. They deliver in their area, do take-out and catering too.

Don’t let the facade fool you.  The physical restaurant is cozy and small but the taste here is big.

Let M set you up and recommend a few dishes.

And if you are lucky enough to drop in when Renoo is in town, making her homemade authentic Thai desserts, you won’t be able to wipe the ‘Ahhh’ smile off your face for weeks.

Drool factor: stratospheric.

Breakfast Of Champions

June 18, 2011

Cupcakes! Not just for dessert anymore!

Especially if they are minis…mere wisps of flavor which linger on palate and in mind..isn’t that half the calories at least?  Or does it count if you just look at the photo and imagine?

Peek inside the pink box….mmmmm….a little slippy slidy looking from the ride home but still got the yum factor intact!

While strolling through the Farmer’s Market, sampling truffle cheese,  vanilla pear jam, local made sausage flavors, crisp freshly picked apples, basil and arugula and warm freshly pulled mozzarella, what should appear before my happy eyes but tiers of tiny clouds of sweet icing atop teensy, one (possibly two) biter cakes. Thimble sizers in a dazzling array of gem colors and flavors.  I could not resist.

It was day’s end, so into the pink box went the remaining 3 mango cupcakes with passion fruit, yellow icing; the single green tea with almond icing and chocolate cardamom sprinkles and the lone BLT version topped with a sun dried tomato which the baker calls, “Kiss The Pig.”

All I can say is, I have tasted them all and kvelled to the max.  In fact, I’m still breathing in the light aromatic passion fruit..or is it my imagination and memory playing the palate’s siren song?

Went to the baker’s website,, and am ready to suit up immediately if not sooner to hunt them down in their natural Farmer’s Market habitats and keep the magic going for at least one more breakfast bonanza.

My friends Carol, Sandy, Monica and Laurene are living vicariously through me from 3 different U.S. states and Lori, my N.Y. sister, who frequently plays Ethel to my Lucy in escapades (which cannot be shared unless you want us to have to kill you),  told me to stop angsting over calories  already and just enjoy myself.

So, I took her advice.

Big G, glad I did!

And as cupcake connoisseur, Niece Natalie, so succinctly and aptly puts it…Yum!

Drool factor: off the charts.

Posted From 30 Thou

December 15, 2010

“Would you like chicken with bbq sauce and corn or bow tie pasta?” she asked with a happy smile in her voice and on her face.

Now where do you think this eatery is?


If you’ve ever flown Delta, this might sound familiar to you.

“Does the pasta have any red peppers in it?” I query. “I’m allergic to them.”

“No. No peppers just red cherry tomatoes.”

“I can survive that.”

We launch into a discussion of what kind of cheese is in the corn which comes with the chicken.  She and her colleagues have not been able to figure out the answer to that mystery.  She likes the bbq sauce on the chicken and says that she tried to replicate the recipe at home and couldn’t quite get it.

I share that I’ve loved the chicken stuffed with cheese and spinach.

She agrees and seconds the chicken love fest on that one.

I add that I tried to duplicate that version in my own kitchen and got close but no cigar.  The cheese they use in the airline version  eluded me too.

We pop  up our tray tables and dishes are whisked in front of us with a flourish.  On each is a green salad with grape tomatoes; a creamy caesar italian on the side and I quip, “Does this salad have arugula in it?”

My dear Tom replies as he digs in to his, “Yes it does.”

What?  I was joking.  It’s airline food for goodness sakes!

“Don’t forget to open the dressing away from you.  I learned that lesson the hard way.”

One taste and sure enough, arugula!

A hot buttered roll.  So far so good.

Bowties bland and a few buffer the acid in my stomach from the stress of having barely seconds of  preboarding before the hordes descended on our keisters;  closing in like bumper to bumper traffic in midtown Manhattan.

Tom’s chicken is rubbery and there are peppers in the q sauce. Blechh, for me.

There are, however, rosemary roasted  red potatoes which are quite nice and on both our trays, there is a mighty fine looking dessert which turns out to be pumpkin cheesecake with a struessel topping and caramel drizzle.


I’m making this for the holidays!

I am the cheesecake making queen and now I will add this to this year’s goodie banquet.  I’m going to pick up the faboo caramel sauce from Whole Foods for the liberal drizzling.

Our flight attendant comes over to see what we thought and asks, “What flavor was that dessert?”

“Pumpkin cheesecake.”

“Ahhh. My colleague thought it was but wasn’t sure.”

Mmmmmmm we drool a bit together.

Outside our window, the sun is setting over the Rockies, all frosted with snow and I feel a nap coming on.  Full tummy. Food, some parts ho hum and some really delicious.

There is free WiFi on board and I’m sharing the restaurant review with you before I caramel crash.

The pilot, who taxied like he was on I 5 with semis chasing him for dear life; revving and passing other planes like a speedster; maneuvering around chop chop like the White Rabbit, late late late for a very important date and then jumped us from 0 to thousands of mph like a warp speed jump, has just announced that we will be landing at JFK an hour and a half earlier than planned. Whoopee!

Some restaurants have great food; some ambiance; some super views…This one’s food was hit and miss and still better than most in the friendly skies (tho, not much has ever come close to Air France) today we’re at Windows On The World and the view is spectacular!

….And the salad has arugula in it!

Not By The Numbers!

December 9, 2010

At the Capital Hill restaurant, Table 219,  on Broadway Ave E in Seattle, Washington, (would you believe at 219?!) the food is anything but by the numbers or cookie cutter in any way, shape or form.

This intimate, little elegant dining spot is warm and inviting for more reasons than decor or seating arrangements.

It is food from a very special chef, who treats the dishes as an artist treats his canvas, except his paint brush is food which tantalizes the eye, nose and palate memorably.

We were introduced via which featured a special offering of a coupon which could be used for a dinner there and the sneak peek at the menu we got through Groupon enticed us to purchase a coupon so we could give it a try.

I drooled as I scanned the interesting assortment of unique dishes organized in small, medium and larger plates…something for every appetite size and I can honestly say that every dish we sampled (and did we ever) lived up to the pre-drooling.

Our server, Justin, was friendly and helpful in answering our questions about preparation and specialties and, like most places we try for the first time, a bit goggle eyed at the amount of dishes we were willing to taste in one sitting.

“Uh, that’s a lot of food…..” is the common trailing off with an incredulous smile reaction as we two take a table for four and fill it with a small banquet.

The talked-about appetizer of roasted garlic and bacon deviled eggs were like none we’ve ever had in our dreams.  They were creamy with incredibly tasty bacon crumbles and served with a delectable side of a confit of sweet savory roasted garlic cucumber ‘omg-liciousness’ to die for!

“An appetizer for dinner?”  you ask with eyebrow raised.

“Holy smokes!  Don’t miss these!!” I reply with the smile of mmmm-pleasure still on my face.

Tom and I decided immediately that next time we visit (and there will be a next time!) we’ll each get our own order.

We noticed that every table had a plate of them plunked down.

Next came a mushroom, truffle oil mac and cheese served in a dear little orange red le creuset individual pot. Just lovely.  (I left enough in the pot for taking home for a bite of lunch the next day.)

Following this, a dish of the lightest, crispiest zucchini fries with parmesan and horseradish sauce.

Tom had a bison burger served with tomato jam and the best sweet potato fries of perfect size and crunch

Now folks, I don’t usually do bison burgers, though my dear Tom loves them and tries to foist them on me whenever possible; touting the health benefits and saying how I won’t know the difference between that and a good beef burger (which I always do and non too pleasantly)….however, this bison burger was the best I ever tasted and I would go back and order one of my own anytime.

And don’t get me started about the tomato jam that goes with the house cured pickles…..ketchup/catsup hooey!  This ‘jam’ is condiment at a higher level of consciousness!

We tried the Scallop Wellington with mushrooms and spinach cream surrounding the center island of pastry surprise!  Gorgeous dish.

And who could resist the sauteed gnocchi with duck, arugula and cranberry balsamic glaze.

How does he dream up this stuff?

Well, Chef Cheffrey tells you all about it in his he plans and what fresh ingredients inspire him and, here, you can see how the artist rises to the feasting occasions talking with you like a good friend having you over for dinner as family.

When you go to  you get, not only a look at the restaurant and it’s unique menu, you have the opportunity to go to the Chef’s blog and enjoy the most interesting thoughts and experiences which take you with him on his culinary journey.


And for sure, Cheffrey, you are not the only one out here looking for the sharing of hospitality and enjoyment of the art of good fresh food and the courage in creating unique and interesting  combinations to please the senses.

Just ask Justin, who is taking art courses.  By seeing Chef Cheffrey work, he now understands that the process of creating masterpieces for the table is very much an art form as visual arts.

I add that the dishes we enjoyed this evening were visceral arts.

Oh, did I almost forget to speak of dessert?

Heaven forbid!

Among the tough choices, we exercised some restraint and ordered one ‘219 ding dong;’ white chocolate mousse atop a bit of chocolate cakey something-something; enrobed in ‘oh-my-mouth-is-still-dreaming-about-tasting-it’ chocolate ganache

…..and 2 spoons please.

This restaurant’s moniker may be  numbers, indicating it’s snail addy, but the food is off the charts in taste and creativity!

Don’t just take our word for it.  We heard the people at the next tables expressing their appreciation and extending kudos of enjoyment too.

Don’t just dream and drool… Go. Eat.  Enjoy.

You heard it here…Fresh Off The Palate!

The Return Of The Grub

March 29, 2010

Was not rushing back to Metropolitan or anywhere for that matter after the Great Sandwich Debacle.  Just wanted to tuck in and regain energy from the flight across country.  6 hours in curbed-movement and decreased oxygen takes the stuffings out of you.

Tom and I ask ourselves, “Is it just us or is it taking longer to recover from those ‘aero-punishments’ that get us to pleasurable spots in the world?”

And don’t get me started on the food!

We used miles to get upgraded to first class to save our bodies and of course they served a meal instead of lobbing a dry sandwich at you and yelling, “Go long!”

I just asked Tom if he remembered what exactly we were served on that flight and he answered, after a brief hesitation for thought, “Uh, no. I try to forget as soon as possible after landing. I think it must’ve been a choice of some sort of pasta or chicken.”

That sounds about right.

Thinking about this, I remember why I love JFK terminals….. they have Balducci’s!

Now, we’re talking quality back up!

My favorite sandwich of theirs is turkey, apple and Brie on ficelle.

It’s perfect crunch and yum factors are delicious and the sandwich is big enough to share or have some left over for the next day when we haven’t yet gone to the market to stock the fridge.

So, of course, I got one and brought along some of my own snack goodies for the movies.  Yes. Plural. Saw two and played the in-flight game of trivia with others in the cabin.  Love that game and the interaction onboard.

Sometimes we just have to take our comfort with us and with airlines’ mishagos, you just have to pretend you’re at a personal growth workshop and self-care.

Went back to Metropolitan Market, explained the return; ragged wrapper and all. Apologies were tendered, sandwich-swamp taken back and money refunded promptly, with attitude of only regret for my inconvenience and disappointment.

“Would you like to try another?” was all that was asked of me.

Since I’d had nothing but good tastes with their turkey, Havarti with lettuce, tomato, Dijon mustard and mayo before, I tried another and it was delicious.  So I guess shift happens.

When one picks up take-out for that meal you don’t want to wind up cooking at the end of the day at home and you are soooo looking forward to shedding your duds, hopping in the shower and kicking back in your comfies and comfort zone for the evening…and you find the food lurking in your take-away container either isn’t what you ordered, missing pieces or another plate from ‘international drek,’ that is another story.

Like some of you have shared, I too get all ‘fertootsed’ and the inconvenience facing me is having to throw stuff on, jam back and waste half of my night dealing with a redo.

Not bloody likely.

Once I’m in the jammies, I’m in.  After the call to the venue, I’m stuck with foraging and making do.  So, the inconvenience meter ticks to higher levels ’cause I now have no food or have to take more time out of my night or next day doing double energy output because they didn’t do…what?

Their job.

Here’s where I feel they not only owe a do-over but a comp for my extra time having to deal with their mistake.

Get creative out there.

That would keep me coming back as a loyal customer.

And there are some really good and honorable places that do that….make it right….show good faith….and want you to come back. These establishments want your business. To them you are not just a number or a cha ching on the register. You are valued and they want you to know it. That ‘s how I do business. My bad?  Your good.

Thanks you guys for your input and sharing your thoughts and how it works for you.

Who has messed up and made it right for you?

In Light & Love,


When Good Food Goes Bad

March 27, 2010

January 20, 2010

Sometimes the food experience is a one time thing and can’t be replicated,

Like today…when we remembered to eat actual food, we went to the refrigerator and pulled out the container of one of Tom’s fav mushroom soups which he’d gotten at Metropolitan Market on Queen Anne hill and my most recent fav sandwich from them of turkey and Havarti with tomato, lettuce, mustard and mayo on a hearty white artisan bread.

I washed and cut up two Pink Lady apples- each the size of a child’s hand- a sweet fruit with a delicate, crisp tartness.

Our paper plates and cups looked like a foraged indoor picnic and we slurped the soup, thick with a variety of mushrooms and herbs then took bites of our sandwiches and spit out the mouthfuls at the same time….yuch!

They tasted like someone’s rancid, awful perfume!

One more bite seemed ok and then Tom bit into a piece of hard-core tomato and I found something akin to plastic webbing in mine.

Upon closer examination -under the good light in the kitchen- the hard mesh-like piece was determined to be more tooth cracking, tough, greenish- yellow top of tomato.

My love affair with this sandwich was doused in more ways than one.

I decided to pack the pieces up and take them back to Metropolitan and let them know that whoever is making the sandwiches needs to be fragrance free and wearing gloves-and there needs to be closer scrutiny as to what goes in between the bread slices.

At $6 a pop, folks, I want the perfection I had the first time I ate this Dagwood.

At any price, I want chemical free and trash free food.

With yuck replacing the usual delicious factor, it was just a waste of money.

Something I don’t want to do.

What a disappointment.

I’d made a special trip to this market in cold and rain just to get this sandwich and would have bought a couple more if there’d been any left.  (We do like to have our favs on hand for days like today when we don’t want to go out.)

Burping at the end of this meal interuptus was toxic.

After some taste bud space, I switched over to baby carrots with my fav accompaniment I’d schlepped across country from Whole Foods in NY: fresh Genji Miso Ginger Dressing for dipping (they have it in the sushi bar section), and a little Cambozola soft spread cheese on Crunchmaster Artisan Cheese Rice crackers from Costco in Seattle.

Safe, known and healthier for my digestive system which is still sensitive from the 6 hour flight and 3 hour time change from NY to Seattle.

Still pounded Pedialyte and water and began to feel less light headed from the dehydration of travel.

Maybe later there will be Thai food.

In Light & Love


Passion Fruit

March 27, 2010

January 19.2010

Eating one beautiful apple or one luscious pear in the warm sunlight on a back porch after a morning of love-making.

Listening to your hearts beat, the wind soughing in the trees, and sharing the simplicity of a piece of Mother Earth gifts.

The feel of the sun on your skin.

Sucking in the juice of the fruit with the appreciation of every drop of life; its and yours.

Every cell of pure joy and gratitude for the miracle and beauty of living meets in these moments.

It cost little or nothing to have these precious experiences and to share a meal like this.

One ripe plum of loving stays with you and fills your stomach and soul forever.

In Light & Love


Food Glorious Food!

March 27, 2010

January 18.2010

I  got busy with the idea for this blog and brainstormed with Tom til after 4 pm.; writing, finding a comfortable position for my body at the computer, laughing, researching words and colloquialisms and phrases. So lunch was not even on the radar.

We actually replaced food with thought.

I remember a time with my sister, Dorothy, where, after a busy day zipping around doing chores and running errands, we decided to take in a late afternoon movie.

“Oliver” was playing in town.

We barely had time to park the car and zip into the theatre.  Hurry. Hurry. The movie had begun.

As we slinked down the aisle, hunkering down as much as humanly possible so as not to block the seated patrons view with our tardiness, up on the screen the orphans in the scene were scooping  gruel from their bowls and the lead boy, fair-haired Oliver, was holding his out in his tiny, begging hands, asking as politely as he could, “May i have some more please?”

Stopping mid aisle, we looked at each other, turned and ran back up the aisle; stomachs grumbling and rumbling.

We’d been so busy all day that we had forgotten to eat!

We hit the snack bar and walked back into the theatre, armed with popcorn, hot dogs, jujubes, something chocolate and carbonated beverages just as the chorus of urchins were singing, “Food, glorious food!”

The lesson of the importance of eating was not lost on us that day.

Have you ever forgotten to eat?

In Light & Love



March 27, 2010

Jan 17,2010

food: a planetary addiction: everything has to eat.

savor every bite

might as well delight.

for every day & nite

we have to eat!

So why not enjoy the daylights out of it?

I don’t mean stuff your face with pork rinds and slather lard on everything in sight til you drop from a coronary.

I mean do this necessary thing with joy or at least some enjoyment,

like making food for your kids fun, interesting and tasty.

Why treat your self with any less care?

Today I began with 36 ounces of water taken in before even brushing my teeth,  then a cup of oatmeal containing a fiber and probiotics stick and a banana cut up in it over conversation with my dear Tom, as we looked out at the foggy Sunday over Elliot Bay, the Space Needle and the city of Seattle.

People were walking up and down the hill all decked out in athletic gear with backpacks, dogs on leashes, head phones in place on caps and, in between musings and noticing the mailman was in shorts on a January day, I took a plethora of vitamins and herbs: for keeping my immune system from succumbing to flu season or winter S.A.D. (really, no lie. It does help the mood dips)

Add to that some calcium to keep me from being the osteo statistic on my block, c, e, alfalfa, zinc- cause I’m stemming off a head cold- Baxyl hyaloronic acid for my joints and spine challenge, B12, Neuro PS Gold and ginkgo for energy and you get a picture of my attempt to keep brain functioning out of the forgetfulness mode and joints happy enough to allow me to ‘move about the cabin.’

The combination of self caring and easing into the day, enjoying our surroundings on a gray misty day felt like being cosseted in a peaceful blanket.

We could take the day slowly and unplanned………..and forage.

In Light & Love


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