Puget Sound Bite: Westward & Little Gull Grocery

I first checked out Westward late this summer when the weather was still nice enough to take advantage of the restaurant's amazing outdoor seating.  In addition to the fabulous adirondack happy hour chairs, there are communal-style tables to enjoy a bigger meal, all while taking in the view of Lake Union.
The Alaskan spot prawns were fresh and tasted of the sea.  A little squirt of lemon juice was all they needed.  We enjoyed our oysters as well.
I love a good watermelon salad but I can't bring myself to like fried haloumi, no matter how many times I try.  I find the texture far too rubbery, so I would have preferred the salad with feta cheese or something with a more crumbly texture.  The pistachios were a great addition to the salad however, and this was a nice dish to say goodbye to summer.
I can always appreciate a good lox dish and this one was no exception. The salmon was cured very nicely.  The creamy labneh and crispy toasts provided nice texture contrast.
I definitely enjoyed the dishes I had at Westward, however I think the selling point of this restaurant is the location.  As soon as the temperature hits 60, I'll be bringing out-of-town friends to grab a drink on the sun-filled patio.

Westward is located at 2501 N Northlake Way in Seattle
Westward on Urbanspoon


Ribs 'n Beer in Bruges, Belgium

Ribs 'n Beer, a cozy restaurant in Bruges, does a mean business.  The service is friendly yet brusk and efficient.  On our most recent visit to the city, we had the opportunity to eat dinner here, by the roaring fireplace no less.   I haven't eaten too many ribs in my life, but the ribs here are finger-licking good.  You can have your pick when it comes to the rib sauce--even the sauce made with chocolate is rich and flavorful.  This establishment is always packed so be sure and have a reservation. On a cold winter's night in Bruges, BBQ ribs are just what the doctor ordered.

Ribs n Beer is located at Ezelstraat 50 in Bruges 


Pom & Flora Cafe in Stockholm

My favorite food spot in Stockholm happened to be just down the street from our apartment. Pom and Flora Cafe is the most darling brunch/lunch hangout in Stockholm's Sรถdermalm neighborhood.  We first stopped in on a weekend morning and the owner was so sweet, taking time during the busy brunch rush to help us out, item by item, with a translation of the Swedish menu. Each brunch came with a "bread basket" of homemade biscuits (made on site) and hearty breads sourced from local bakeries. We also got homemade ginger-orange marmalade, yogurt with berries, nuts & seeds, a meat & cheese plate, lattes, and fresh-squeezed juice.  Everything was delicious.  The restaurant is small and fills up quickly with neighborhood residents, children, and babies. We felt right at home.

When leaving, the owner suggested we come back to try the lunch. On our last day, we did just that and enjoyed tasty chicken curry sandwiches, a tuna-sesame-humus salad, and a unique bread salad with mozzarella and pesto that featured three different types of pickled tomatoes. 

The owner mentioned that the cafe has been open for about nine months and she created it because she didn't think Stockholm had a place of its kind. (She was influenced by the idea of the "Le Pain Quotidien" cafes.) I don't know exactly when I'll be in Stockholm again, but I'll make sure my first meal is at Pom & Flora.

Pom and Flora Cafe is located at Bondegatan 64 in Stockholm


Puget Sound Bite: Cafe Turko

The owners at Cafe Turko are like a bonus set of grandparents.  They're old school, friendly, and fun to banter with.  They come from Izmir, a place I didn't have the chance to visit on my trip to Turkey this summer but is definitely on my list for the future.  When I get hunger pangs for Turkish breakfast, Cafe Turko is where I'll head.

I recommend going for brunch and getting: Turkish lemonade w/ sour cherry syrup, the Mother-in-law breakfast (includes warm bread, olives, apricots, cheeses, tomato, and cucumber), and the stuffed bread (pide) w/mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives.  Finish with a dessert selection of pistachio baklawa and orange semolina cake washed down with cardamom tea. 

Cafe Turko is located at N 34th St in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood
Cafe Turko on Urbanspoon


Self-Serve Laundromat in Lausanne

While I'm aware that the subject of this post may not be the most enthralling, I hope it proves useful to travelers passing through Lausanne, Switzerland.  After one too many luggage horror stories, mostly involving Fiumicino Airport, I've reformed over the last few years and become a carry-on enthusiast.  Often times (especially on longer trips or those that involve multiple climate changes), that means having to do laundry while on the road.  I actually enjoy this ritual as it makes me get into the mode of resident not tourist.  Laundromats are great places for people-watching and I've seen a multitude of characters while sitting on washers. I tried to do a search for laundromats before I went to Switzerland but came across discouraging results.  So during my trip last month, I was pleasantly surprised to find this self-serve "laverie" right in the center of town.  

We loaded up the machines and one by one, slowly dropped our franc coins down the slots. My brother's machine started up without a hitch. I, however, was unable to get my next coin down as there was a jam. And too bad the machine doors lock once they've been closed.  I started to panic as our flight out of town was that afternoon. Well, at least I wasn't too attached to the particular clothes in the machine. I called the number listed on the wall and a man said he'd be over "dans un petit moment." That turned into 30 minutes- we asked another woman in laundromat and she said she was a regular and called him up. "He's coming," she said.  In the meantime, my mom went to the kebab place across the street to borrow a butter knife.  We tried to push the franc down the slot but to no avail. Eventually the owner arrived with his son and he proceeded to open up the coin machine and unjam the slot. He put our clothes in for free and apologized for the situation. I heard him speaking Tunisian Arabic to his son and asked him if he was from there. Yes, I shamelessly pulled out my Tunisian card-it's always served me well and this was no exception.  We all had a long discussion about Swiss society, the situation in Tunisia v. Egypt, and of course food.  

When we came back to transfer our clothes to the dryers, he asked us when we were leaving town as he wanted to invite us over for couscous. Had we not had to leave for Stockholm that afternoon, we would have happily dined at Kamel's house that evening. And that, is why doing laundry while traveling can be fun.
Kamel's Laverie is located at 26 Rue du Maupas in downtown Lausanne.  It's self-service, opened 7/7 from 7am-10pm.

Some tips: Bring your own soap because the detergent machine was completely sold-out. It's 6 francs for a wash (7 for hot temperatures) and 6 for a dry cycle.