Sexy Feast: A Broken Heart Isn’t So Bad at Altura

altura_tunaheart2_640_0649I can think of younger days…when eating like I do would have been unimaginable. As a kid, I was a bit fussy. I actually hated the texture of lasagna.

Now I’m in Capitol Hill at Altura, where Nathan Lockwood serves up seasonal Italian cuisine in the form of multi-course tasting menus. I happily leave myself to the mercy of this cooking maestro.

I enjoy an extravagant feast, including a chance to share all five pasta offerings with my dining partner. Each one is fantastic, boasting unique flavors. With a mission to incorporate locally foraged and grown ingredients, including some from his own garden, Lockwood impresses me with an assortment of herbs and peppers–some spicy–in many of his dishes. Most surprising to this non-gnocchi fan: My favorite dish of the night is the potato pasta, texture simply terrific, topped with a rich Abruzzese ragu of lamb and beef.

Perhaps most intriguing is the tagliatelle. This ribbon-like pasta is served with fried garlic and fried parsley, lubricated with olive oil, and then showered with cured tuna heart shavings. The flavor of the heart is dark and mineral-rich, like the ocean splashing itself on the dish sparingly and yet assertively.

So what does Altura’s tagliatelle teach us about sex?

It’s all about picking up the pieces of a broken heart.

Lockwood hits the tagliatelle with tuna heart just before sending it out to the diner, the shavings dropping from a Microplane grater like tears falling from the eyes of a teen suffering a first break-up.

How do you mend a broken heart? It should start with tears, as it’s okay to be sad. Mourn, but also breathe and be confident knowing you’ll eventually get through the sadness. Reach out to family and friends, find distractions, and take care of yourself. Exercise. Rediscover things you like to do, and discover new things as well.

Don’t blame yourself for failure. And don’t feel compelled to find a replacement for the person who’s gone. Learn the difference between being alone and being lonely.

Seek counseling if you need it, and socialize as you find yourself ready. Be yourself, find yourself, treat yourself, and allow yourself to…live again.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on October 27, 2011.

More photos from the meal:


Amuse bouche: tomato water


Starters: golden jubilee tomato soup (with cherry tomatoes, Genovese basil, and Ligurian olive oil), grilled baby octopus (with butter bean puree, lemon cucumber, and torn mint), and cold smoked kampachi crudo (with shaved celery, preserved lemon, and Beldi oil)


Larger photo of the tagliatelle with fried garlic, fried parsley, and cured tuna heart


Pecorino ravioli with sungold tomato, Calabrian chili, and wilted arugula


Yukon gold potato gnocchi with Abruzzese style ragu of lamb and Whidbey Island beef


Agnolotti with squab and pheasant, black truffle, and sage


Pappardelle with spot prawns, Dungeness crab, tarragon, and lime


Pacific weathervane scallops with fried shelling beans, bitter garden greens, and porcini


Mad Hatcher chicken with farro, roasted grapes, wilted arugula, and fried pine nuts


Columbia River steelhead salmon (including smoked belly) with Maltby corn, fava beans, and Dungeness crab


Cheese plate


Bourbon caramel semifreddo with hazelnut praline, chocolate fondue, and vanilla tuile

Altura on Urbanspoon



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