Category Archives: Did You Know

What Turns Gorgonzola Blue?

One of the problems with cheese is that it has a tendency to go off rather quickly if not taken care of. Most of us know the frustration that comes with discovering a big, fuzzy patch of mold on a block of cheese in our refrigerator. Nobody wants to eat moldy cheese, after all. Or do they? It may surprise you to learn just how many people eat moldy cheese every day at our Seattle Italian restaurant, and are happy to do so!

No, this isn’t a result of bad sanitation in the kitchen. This is the magic of gorgonzola, the famous Italian blue cheese. Like all blue cheeses, this blue-veined food is infused with mold spores as it develops, specifically the Penicillium glaucum variety. The end result is a distinctive, salty cheese that many people find irresistible.

It’s important to remember that, though many molds are toxic to humans, the molds used in blue cheeses like gorgonzola are perfectly safe to eat. This is because, unlike harmful molds, the Penicillium glaucum does not allow for the production of mycotoxins and aflatoxins. With that in mind, feel free to partake of one of our many delicious gorgonzola-based dishes at IL Bistro!

The Properties of Goat Cheese

Most of our customers are only accustomed to cheeses made from cow milk. This is why, when they come to our Seattle Italian restaurant, it can be quite a treat to try goat cheese in the form of our goat cheese ravioli or goat cheese crostini. Many people find that this cheese offers a distinctly different experience over its more conventional cousins, with a rich, satisfying taste that many find irresistible.

What makes goat cheese stand out from cow cheese is the composition of the fats in goat milk. Goats are much smaller than cows, and they do not produce the agglutinin protein which causes the fat in a cow’s milk to clump together. Therefore, the fat globules in goat milk stay more dispersed. The milk is also naturally homogenized, giving it and the cheeses made from it a creamier texture.

Goat cheese is also characteristic of a wonderfully tangy taste, which is brought on by the strong presence of caproic, caprylic, and capric acids. Each of these are three times stronger in goat milk than in cow’s milk. Come and taste the difference it makes at IL Bistro today!

The Many Benefits of Salmon

Who doesn’t love salmon? If you’re a fan of this delicious pink fish, then you’ve got a friend in IL Bistro. Indeed, our Seattle Italian restaurant enjoys a special relationship with this classic fish that comes from operating in the Pacific Northwest. It is for this reason that we are happy to offer you salmon fresh from the nearby Pike Place Market in our delicious Linguini di Maré so that you might enjoy its great flavor and impressive health benefits.

Nutritionally, salmon is head and gills above the average fish. In fact, it is one of the healthier food substances you can add to your diet. Representing both a “fatty” fish and a low rung of the food chain, it provides you with a high dose of the crucial omega-3 fatty acids we all need without exposing you to a high level of mercury.

On top of this, salmon is a source of lean, low cholesterol protein and a great supply of many valuable nutrients; a single four-ounce cut of salmon can provide you with more than your entire daily recommended value of vitamin D, as well as half of your requirement of vitamins B2 and B12. Make salmon a bigger part of your life today, with IL Bistro!

Pike Place’s New Evening Farmers Market

Produce at Pike Place MarketPike Place has always been a popular destination for food, crafts, and entertainment. This summer, Pike Place is making it easier for locals to support local growers and benefit from the quality fare of the marketplace.

Every Wednesday, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, come down to the Pike Place cobblestones to participate in the new Evening Farmers Market. It is here that you will be able to purchase freshly-picked fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other goods from over a dozen farmers.

There is also live music, family-friendly activities, and special events to look forward to. Come on the second Wednesday of the month to experience Family Fun Night, complete with cooking demos, arts and crafts, and local children’s books.

Reserve a seat for At the Table Culinary Adventures, where you can partake of the fare of regional chefs. Check out the Pike Place Market website to learn more about the upcoming Evening Farmers Market.

After checking out the wares at the Evening Market, consider taking in a quality Italian meal at IL Bistro. Our restaurant is located conveniently in Pike Place, offering you a delicious way to complete your shopping experience.

The Benefits of Spinach

If you know absolutely anything about health food, you probably know enough to recognize spinach as one of the better vegetables you can eat. But could you explain why this classic green leaf is such a favorite for many health nuts? There are many benefits to a diet rich in spinach, including but not limited to the following:

  • Flavonoids: The phytonutrients found in spinach have been shown to help prevent skin cancer, stomach cancer, and prostate cancer.
  • Antioxidants: Spinach is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, manganese, and zinc. These serve to protect your body’s cells from the damage associated with aging.
  • Dietary Fiber: A single cup of spinach provides you with 20% of your daily dietary fiber recommendation. You need this fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system, keep your blood sugar steady, and curb your appetite.
  • Vitamin K: One cup of spinach gives you fully 1,000% of your recommended intake of vitamin K. This nutrient helps keep your bones, brain, and nervous system healthy.

IL Bistro makes use of spinach in our pollo cannelloni, our vitello marsala, and more. Come make this valuable veggie a bigger part of your diet at our Seattle Italian restaurant tonight!

The Benefits of Free-Range Chicken

A free-range chicken is a chicken that has not been confined to a cage for its whole life. They have been given access to an outdoor environment, where they are able to stretch their legs and graze. There are numerous benefits to eating free-range chicken, including the following:

  • It’s often forgotten that chickens are not strictly herbivorous, so chickens in cages aren’t being fed the protein they need. Free-range chickens have access to the insects they need to eat to stay healthy, which means their meat has more omega-3 and other important nutrients.
  • Chickens raised in cages are highly prone to stress, which puts them at risk of disease. They can therefore be raised without the antibiotics that other chickens need, which provides for a healthier meat.
  • Many people find that free-range chicken has a richer, more pleasing flavor compared to more common chicken meat.

When you come to IL Bistro, you can enjoy free-range chicken in the form of our pollo arrosto. Come and taste the difference at our Seattle Italian restaurant today!

Marinara: The Sauce of the Sailors

Marinara is a popular type of Italian red sauce made from tomatoes, onions, herbs, and a variety of other ingredients. It is characteristic of a somewhat spicy taste that comes from the garlic, basil, oregano, and occasionally chili peppers. It is commonly used throughout the world, well loved for its simplicity and great taste.

The familiar marinara sauce can be traced back to the 16th century, when the Spanish explorers introduced the tomato to the Mediterranean region. Seafarers in Naples first used the tomato to create marinara. A simple and meat-free sauce that could be easily prepared and stored in a time before modern refrigeration techniques, it was a very appealing sauce for sailors to consume during long sea voyages. it was therefore named for a derivation of marinaro, an Italian word for “seafaring”.

Many Italian-style dishes make use of marinara, as it pairs well with the mild taste of chicken and many pastas. In Italy, it will often also be used as a dipping sauce for fried mozzarella sticks, calzones, and other finger foods. At our Seattle Italian restaurant, you can experience this classic favorite on our lasagne, our grilled Italian sausage crostini, and more.

Almonds: The Most Nutritious of Nuts

Almonds are a great addition to any diet. These tasty nuts boast an impressive list of vitamins and minerals, making them the most nutritionally dense variety of nut on the planet. They are a strong source of unsaturated fat, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin C. Because of this, a diet rich in almonds gives you the following benefits:

Heart Health: The healthy fats in almonds reduce your levels of bad cholesterol, and the flavonoids in the nut’s skin protects your artery walls from damage. It has been found that those who consume almonds five times a week have only half the risk of suffering a heart attack.
Healthy Bones and Teeth: The phosphorus and calcium found in almonds is important for building a strong skeletal system.
Weight Loss: Though almonds are high in fat, it has been observed that those who eat nuts are over 30% less likely to gain weight.
Neurological Health: The riboflavin and L-carnitine in almonds enhance your brain power and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alkalize: The almond is the only nut, and one of the few proteins, that serve to alkalize the body. This prevents osteoporosis, fosters good immunity, and provides you with energy.

At IL Bistro’s Seattle Italian restaurant, you can enjoy the benefits of almonds in our panna cotta, our torta mascarpone, and more. Come and join us for one of your favorites tonight!

The Sweet Taste of Cipollini Onions

The cipollini onion is a small, flat onion with a pale yellow coloration. They have many of the nutritional properties seen in the more common varieties of onion, including small amounts of calcium and vitamin C and a healthy dose of fiber and antioxidants. What makes them special is the higher residual sugar content, which gives them a sweeter taste that many people love. Their small, flat shape also lends them very nicely to roasting. These properties have allowed the cipollini to transcend the status of a mere seasoning agent, occasionally serving as the main ingredient of a dish.

If you’re looking for cipollini onions, you’re not likely to find them at your neighborhood grocery store. They remain an uncommon specialty item, found mostly at gourmet food markets. Or, you could come down to IL Bistro in Seattle for a taste of this fascinating onion. Our Italian restaurant cooks a delicious pollo arrosto, which comes in the form of a roasted chicken served with couscous, pancetta, tomatoes, and cipollini onions.

Italy’s Famous Provolone Cheese

Italy has produced many famous cheeses throughout the years, one of the biggest being provolone. This well-loved choice comes in the form of a pale yellow cow’s milk cheese, characteristic of a mild flavor and a firm, grainy texture. These qualities make it pair well with many meat-based dishes, which accounts for its great popularity in such dishes throughout the world.

The first provolone was created in the southern area of Italy back during the time of the Roman Empire. Its name translates to “large provola”, in reference to another variety of cheese that bears some resemblance to provolone. The cheese grew in popularity throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, eventually spreading throughout the globe. Today, it is primarily the product of the Po Valley region in Italy, but is also created in South America, Japan, and the United States.

If you’re looking for a good way to enjoy provolone, come to IL Bistro. Our Seattle Italian restaurant offers a number of quality provolone-based dishes, including our delicious four-cheese pizza.