A plate of out of this world pasta is a reason to celebrate in my book. When those plates just keep coming and each dish is better than the next, my head starts spinning with delight. No, make that my stomach, not my head. This is the beauty of Spinasse.
I dined there last week with my friend we have known forever, Lissa, who loves her pasta as much as I do. You might be sitting in the Pike/Pine neighborhood, but you feel transported to Italy. To a little magical spot that just feels good–you see folks cooking, the space is divided into two which makes it cozy, and the staff is warm & welcoming. My favorite dining experiences tend to be when you feel like you are in someone’s home. They always hit the mark. Spinasse has quickly become a classic. Yum.
I have not written about a dining experience in awhile. Time just gets away from me and I realize it has been ages since I wrote about a tasty meal we have enjoyed. Which leads me to Aragona. Many of you know of our love of Spinasse–Chef Jason Stratton’s eatery on Capitol Hill not too far from The Gainsborough. Where the house-made, handmade pasta is so good we have another order of it for dessert. So when he opened up Aragona smack dab in between the two Watson Kennedy shops downtown, I knew we were in for a treat. It is a culmination of his longstanding relationship with and love of Spanish cuisine and culture, drawing inspiration from the regions of Catalonia, Valencia and Andalucia, as well as the waters & land of the Pacific Northwest. We had dinner there the other evening with friends and we each had the tasting menu so we were able to try many of the house specialties. The evening was filled with much laughter, many stories, good wine, and bite after bite of culinary goodness.
Here is what we enjoyed so you get some idea of what you are in for if Aragona is on your menu. Jamón Serrano croquetas and house-made potato chips with wildflower honey to start. Next came a salad of potato and peas with cured salmon. The above photo is of the local albacore tuna en escabeche, marinated with Riesling vinegar, capers, currants and spring onions. Yum! Apologies. That is the only photo I snapped. Similar to dinners and parties we host or attend, once it all gets rolling I am so taken with the moment that I rarely remember to take photos. I am so happy I did of this course, because it was one of my very favorite.
Then baby lettuces, arugula, and mint with a Riesling vinaigrette with toasted garlic. I gotta say, one of the better vinaigrettes I have ever tasted. Next, wild sockeye salmon with cider sauce and mussels. Then a grilled half chicken with salsa piri piri and fried potatoes. As well as, baby turnips with their greens with pimentón and fresh sheep’s cheese. All so incredibly delicious.
Dessert was Torrija, which is bread soaked overnight in sweet anise custard, caramelized on the plancha, served with sherry caramel and bee pollen. As well as, Xuxos Caseros, which is crispy fried pastry stuffed with vanilla cream and truffle salt.
I hope that gives you a good idea of all the depth of flavors and detail that is involved at Aragona. I am still dreaming of that vinaigrette…