Another Restaurant I Love

I have been trying to test out more restaurants and the fact that my friend Denise just rejoined Microsoft and flies in from San Diego regularly has given me a perfectly enjoyable excuse to do that. We try to go out to someplace nice each time she is in town. Last night we tried Café Juanita. It's one of those restaurants you hear about a lot. We decided to go impulsively last night. I love to talk about food so if you are anything like me and want all the details, here's what I had:


To drink with dinner: Verdicchio di Castello di Jesi '06 Vallerosa, Marche

Note: super light, buttery and slightly acidic. Paired well with butter/oil based foods.


Baby Beets with Marcona Almond Butter and Gorgonzola Bombolino

Note: I could have done without the Bambolino (not implying that I didn't eat it anyway), but this was my favorite thing I ate (I adore beets). The almond butter had a nice saltiness to balance out the beets and the texture was interesting. I am still thinking about it today, wondering when I can score some again. Amazing.

Then I had:

Tagliatelle with Chanterelles and Parmigiano Reggiano

Note: I am not one of those people that loves mushrooms, but their meat selections didn't meet my boring chicken/fish/beef taste (sorry, I just don't go for the darker gamey meets like rabbit, lamb and goose and we know how I feel about pork. But if you like those meats, this is a great place for you). Anyway, the chanterelles were lovely in this dish; very meaty, not chewy and they were whole so you could tell you were getting the good stuff. The sauce (which I think was the liquid from cooking the mushrooms) was light and pulled it together. Pasta was also light an not eggy like they can be sometimes. Nothing sticky, just the illusion of lightness 🙂

And then we split:

Pumpkin Cake with Cider Caramel

Note: I think it was described differently on the menu and had ginger ice cream and boozy nuts. Great seasonal dessert for when you want something like that. But nothing really surprising on the plate. Still quite good.

Malted Creme Brulee.

Note: This was sick in a good way. Will definitely get this again.You could definitely taste the maltiness. Mmmmm.

And because I was feeling adventurous, I drank some liqueur that was very herbal and eucalyptusy and started with an "F" but I can't remember the name and it was oddly good and weird.

I'm definitely adding Café Juanita to my list of preferred restaurants. The service was appropriate, bordering on charming, but not hovering. And they had the best music piping in. I'm not sure how I would describe it but it was music that you recognize but wouldn't normally think of as dinner music. Loved it.

Big thumbs up for Café Juanita. Plus, I love playing informal food critic!


Comments (8)

  1. CRM Team Blog says:

    Tasty. So many good restaurants and so little time. :o)

  2. Lauren Smith says:

    The staff at the restaurant is exceptional as well. My wife and I used to ride around Kirkland for excerise and one day we stumbled upon Cafe Juanita. (I had heard they had a winery onsite, so I was just pretending to stumble upon it).

    We liked the atmosphere so much that we almost thought to have our wedding reception there. The price scared us away, though. Now, with a kid, I don’t think I can easily visit it for the time being. But once this boy can sit quietly and not dump his drink all over everything, we’re sooo there.

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, I hate to say it but kid noise would definitley ruin the vibe of that place. It is in a kind of strange place where you kind of sneak up on it, or could convince someone you were.

  4. Cafe Juanita sounds like a real dream. Once in a while, it’s good to stray from all the serious business stuff and wander into more fun and delicious topics! I have to admit that I also love playing informal food critic from time to time. I especially love hearing about others talk about food. Even if you’re not a seasoned food critic, there’s something about the excitement and the honest of your experience that is reflected in your entry. I bet a lot of people are now listing down Cafe Juanita as their next meal stop. Word-of-mouth is really good.

  5. Steve says:

    Here are a couple other suggestions for the next time Denise comes up from San Diego (I think I like playing the Concierge role 🙂 )

    Tosoni’s resturant in Bellevue, it’s on 20th near west campus. Tosoni’s is a real hidden gem, you’d never believe there is a nice resturant in a strip mall in Bellevue…

    Of course the Herbfarm in Woodinville… but be prepared to spend some time. The 9 course meal takes 3-4 hours and a little pricey. But it’s definately a memorable experience and worth it.

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Jen, anyone who tries it based on my recommendation is in for a real treat! I love recommending good stuff to other people.

    Steve – I love new recommendations! We will definitely give Tosoni’s a shot. WRT the Harbfarm, that may be a special occassion excursion. Denise hadn’t been to the Barking Frog (my personal favorite) and now she’s hooked! That place has the most innovative food and great local and seasonal ingredients. So maybe Denise and I need to make the step up to the HerbFarm and give it a shot. I’ll talk to her about it. I’ve heard that the prices are pertty high and it takes a while to get in. But perhaps something that one needs to experience just once 🙂

  7. Hey Heather ~

    I’ve read your blog for quite some time…but forgot you are such a ‘foodie.’    

    After seeing this entry, thought you might be interested in a book my friend, Kathleen Flinn, just got published.  The book is titled "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry’.  

    She is a former ‘Microsoftie’ who got laid off while working in London.  She went on to pursue her passion of attending Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris.  

    It’s a really fun read (OK, I might be a bit biased as I got to visit her in Paris through the midst of it all!)  Anyhoo, thought you might want to check it out…should ‘appeal to your senses’ (couldn’t help the pun) on a couple levels..    

    Also, she just started blogging.

    Hope you like it.  If you read it, let me know what you think!

    Happy Holidays,


  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Oh cool! Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely check out her blog at the very least and maybe the book as well! Sounds interesting!

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