Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dissertation celebration

"... so... do you want to go to ..." he asks me when I tell him I passed my dissertation defense.

YES YES YES I DO. I'm ready right now. We're at the door when they open at 5pm for dinner.

Cafe Juanita in Kirkland is our "very special very very special occasion" restaurant. He's saying, "This is a big deal and I'm proud of you" by offering.

CF is a little place with exquisite seasonal food. The exterior is plain and squat. The ceiling tiles, if painted mocha, would disappear into welcome oblivion. (yeah, I'm that visual and it's that ugly; bugs me every time.) You'd never dream that such a jewel lives in Kirkland, WA, especially driving by.

We never know what the menu will be but it's always interesting. Creative. Mind-blowing, even. And that's before we taste what we order. The chefs are in love with flavor, color, and design, thrilling the senses. The servers are attentive, too.

We start with a small plate of four kinds of bread and crackers. I sigh over the potato bread. They bring replacements ... twice.

We share Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Escarole, Pinenuts and Currants. I barely remember to snap a photo before eating it all, rolling it around my mouth to capture all the flavors. My husband and I smile at each other and remember why this is a fantastic place to eat.

It's an a la carte menu, so we order Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin, Lime and Pinenuts

and Lacinato Kale with Garlic and Chili Flakes

to go with our splurge, the Blackmore Wagyu Flatiron with Gorgonzola, Cipollini Agro Dolce and Caramelized Endive. 

For a usually vegan foodlover, it's a taste of heaven.

Toasting a place that never disappoints, thank you to Holly Smith and the staff at 4-star Cafe Juanita! And company that loves and encourages, thank you hon!