While I was hanging out in Seattle for a day last week, I decided to have another go at a very nice restaurant and further my research on food that makes me feel really good. (You can read about my initial epiphany here.) I’ve eaten brunch at Crave before, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, so I knew that they were pretty good, and they use all free-range, humanely-treated meat products. It’s a popular place, but I managed to get there just after the lunch rush. There were a few people finishing up when I got there, and I had the place to myself by the time my food arrived.

I ordered the cheese sampler, which came with three kinds of cheeses, some almonds, pears, strawberries, and pureed apricots drizzled with chocolate sauce. And some bread of course. Just like the last time, I left the restaurant on a happy food buzz. The food was simple, but perfect. It was created by people who could see and interact with the customers, and who didn’t seem to mind their jobs.

Inspired by this experience, I decided to cook a really nice meal for The Girls, as a thank you for letting me crash at their house all the time when I’m in Seattle. I think that simplicity is the key for me at this stage. While I’m okay with this being my hobby for a while, as I learn to combine ingredients and stuff, I don’t want it to be completely time consuming. I did a little searching around for gourmet recipes with few ingredients, and I found Ravioles a la Creme, with Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Cheese Curls, and Baked Pears with Vanilla Cream Sauce. I served the pasta on top of the spinach and drizzled the white sauce over the top. While we ate the pasta, the pears cooked away in the oven.

Alas, something went not quite right with the pears.They were still okay, but the cream didn’t set up the way it was supposed to and it ended up being more of a Baked Pears in Butter Slurry sort of a desert. I’m learning that I need to generally cut in half the amount of butter called for in most recipes. But they were still better than edible, and the pasta/spinach entree was fabulous. I think it took me about 30 minutes to make it, even in someone else’s kitchen, and I ate leftovers for about three days (it’s very filling!). The leftovers were really good too. I used Gruyere cheese instead of Comte, since I couldn’t find that at the store. Let me know if you decide to try it.