Friday, December 10, 2010

Movin' on up... {Barking Frog}

The very best Thurdsay dinners are those with some unique quality setting them apart from all the rest. Last night, two special aspects made the night memorable and even more enjoyable than usual.

First, we visited a restaurant on the Eastside. We're city people. We're Seattle people. We are decidedly not Eastsiders. While B and I cross the bridge together on a daily basis for work, we also drive back across to our own side as quickly as possible at the end of each day. When I first moved to the area, I was a little confused and amused at the passion people show, not only for their neighborhood, but for which side of the water they live on. I'm not as passionate about my neighborhood as many. I'd just as soon live in Queen Anne or Capitol Hill as Belltown. The more urban areas of the Westside, while each unique in their own way, are all pretty equivalent in my mind. Over the past four years, though, I've adopted a bit of that west-side-of-the-bridge loyalty.
Since our friends, H and K (and their beautiful daughter M) made the drive into the city the last time we shared a meal, B and I ventured into the unfamiliar territory of Eastside dining at The Barking Frog at Willows Lodge in Woodinville this time. Sharing this wonderful meal with some lovely friends was the second special aspect of this Thursday dinner.

Barking Frog was new to us, but a bit of the pressure was off since H and K had visited before. B and I left work almost an hour before our reservation since we're pretty clueless about the traffic between the office and Woodinville. Despite some fairly heavy side street congestion, we arrived just over twenty minutes early. We're almost always early. That's B's influence more than mine, but I've adjusted. It's actually nice to check in a bit early and just sit at the bar for a few minutes. One of the many wonderful qualities H and K posess as a couple is their timeliness (even as new parents). We make a great group! We sat down right on time.

The first feature I noticed at Barking Frog was the beautiful round fireplace with seating all around. I would love to either visit with a huge group and take over the whole space, or share a quiet dinner with B fireside. He's a little bit of a closet pyro, though, so I fear I would spend the whole meal talking to myself while he sat mesmerized by the fire. Perhaps the large group is the way to go.

The menu was a bit small, but it was well rounded and we didn't have any trouble choosing the Popcorn Lobster and Prosciutto and Figs to start.

Service was a bit on the slow side, but I honestly didn't mind since we were having a nice time chatting and it's not exactly the type of meal you want to rush through (we try to avoid those types of meals). Our server was very friendly and just attentive enough. The pace also gave us some time to catch up with our little friend, M.
At nearly five months old, she is quite the lady and lovely dinner company. Dressed to the nines in her adorable plaid Christmas dress, she added some polish to the whole table!

For dinner, B and K went with the obvious manly choice of the pork shank. For those keeping track, this is two Thursday night pork shank dinners in a row for B. Pork shank may have ousted pork belly as B's favoirite part of the pig. I chose the Seared Sea Scallops & Sous Vide Pork Belly and H had Roasted Muscovy Duck Breast. Normally, I try not to invade our dinner companions space by photographing their food, but H and K get it, so I went for it.

Everything was wonderful. My favorite bite, though, was probably the polenta and corn with B's dish. I didn't taste a morsel I didn't love, though. The only disappointment was in Barking Frog's dessert menu. If you've read about most any of our Thursday dinners, you know I rarely skip dessert. I have a major sweet tooth. Nothing on their menu really stood out for me, though. Maybe next time. That's the beauty of local, seasonal restaurants. If you don't fall in love with something this time, as long as the quality of the food is high, just wait. Next time, I might find the dessert of my dreams!

After dinner, we walked across the parking lot to Willows Lodge and took photos in front of the Christmas tree. Despite the continued torrential rain we've had this week, we succeeded in pulling off a great holiday night with even better company. Hopefully they will join us on many more Thursday adventures to come!

Barking Frog on Urbanspoon

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