Sunday, October 28, 2007

That Time of Year

So, I have been going out to eat at lots of random places for a week or so and have been quite underwhelmed. I am looking for some new places to check is your opportunity to let me know some places you have gone to lately and some suggestions on what to eat. Comment and tell me whats up.

In the meantime...

I went to the Matador in Ballard for a quick bite with a few friends and tried the fish tacos. I'd post a pic but the lighting was so dim the pic turned out a straight blur. The tacos were pretty good, nothing to write home about but very edible. I thought the fish, which was tuna, was cooked well and had a nice flavor because of the fresh pico on the side. I did not eat the rice and black beans because they were cold...and to be honest I rarely eat the rice and beans when it comes to plated mexican food. Back when I was a cook, every time I went to get my food handlers card updated we took a class that stressed the importance of temperature when it comes to keeping bacteria out of rice and beans. For some reason I always think about that instructor when I get a plate with rice and beans on it. My friend k. had enchiladas which she can tell you all about...because she is an avid reader. Our girl r. got down on this bbq chicken sandwich, that looked pretty good mainly because it looked like the chicken was shredded and covered in thick sauce. k. and r. also shared some dessert which I believe was coconut flan...nice.

Few things to keep in mind with the Matador in Ballard. One bartender who works there is a dick. The kind of bartender who doesn't listen to you when you are ordering but lets you order and then says, "you got id"? Whatever dude, don't hate on me because we are the same age but you look like your 40. Perhaps he would look more like 30 if he spent a little more time putting on spf than laying in the tanning booth. The Matador has also been voted a good singles scene and that is very evident. Mainly because of the lurkers standing by the fire pit or the cool guys doing shots at the bar next to the animal skulls. They also put too much ice in their expensive drinks, which is not a good look. Its a great place to people watch...but I would recommend checking out the happy hour rather than the dinner menu. At least you get a good price on the comedy.

2221 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107
Hours: Mon-Fri 4pm-2am , Sat-Sun 11am-2am
The Matador also has a location in West Seattle and in Tacoma.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pizza at Pagliacci

I forget about Pagliacci Pizza because it was taken off the list of places to go after entering a pizza eating competition with L. and this was our last stop. Something about that last piece of pizza just stuck with us. It had nothing to do with the quality of Pagliacci I apologize for the hate.

Did you know you can get bottles of beer at Pagliacci? You can. We started with two Heinekens.

L. loves the pesto salad...but we both agreed it needed more seasoning.

I went for the Pagliaccio Salad...which was fine but I forgot to ask for no red peppers. Damn. This salad which tastes the same every time you order it has a nice dressing and a good flavor. I love the garbanzo beans and the diced onion.

The thing about places that serve slices is that you have to go with what is hot on the counter or wait until the next pie comes out. Since we were both starving and this pizza looked good we both got a slice of the Pesto Primo. This pizza comes with garlic sauce and is topped with fontina, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, peppers and pesto. It was pretty tasty, but those of you who know me...know I wish I woulda just stuck with plain cheese.

426 Broadway Ave East
Seattle, WA 98102


11 am - 11 pm
Sunday through Thursday

11 am - 12 midnight
Friday and Saturday

Sunday, October 21, 2007

All You Can Eat Brunch

Its rare that you will find any type of all you can eat restaurants in the city. A few weeks ago L. and I went to Broadway Grill for Sunday brunch and stumbled upon their buffet. For like 12 dollars you get your choice of cheese eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, eggs benedict, potatoes, waffles, fruit and scones. The topper is that they also give you a glass of mimosa or sparkling cider.

Not a bad option if you can't figure out what you want to eat or if you are really hungry. The dining room was packed but the service was good. Put this on your list of places to go for brunch it runs til 3 on Sunday. And even though I didn't have one this time, the Grill makes a pretty good Bloody Mary too!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Panos Kleftiko

I first was first introduced to Panos Kleftiko in Queen Anne for my girls birthday party. Now everyone is going to have to give me some slack on this one. This place has no website so I am unable to go back and tell you exactly what we all ate.

I do know that the birthday girl had fish.....hopefully she can comment and let you know how it was and, uh what it was.

L. had pork chops... and look to the back of the photo and you can see the big bread bowl which I imagine was filled with meat? mike can help with with this...

I think ndrwmtsn had lamb balls?

I had a chicken dish that came in some foil nest. The boneless chicken breast was split in half and filled with cheeses. The spice covering the meat tasted a bit like oregano but I am sure it wasn't. I was hoping to be blown away by the flavors but they didnt capture me at all. I thought the carrots were cooked to perfection but the rice was cold and bland.

I do not have any pics of our appetizers, but they were really good. The baked feta was fabulous and the tzatziki was some of the best I have ever had. The momentum of the meal was going well until we ended up waiting for a few hours until we got our dinners. After some nice appetizers, I was underwhelmed with our entrees... but overall I can tell why people keep going back to this place. I will definitely go back.

Thanks for the introduction k.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

some more Columbia City

Checked out something new in C - City last night...Lottie's. I've drank there plenty, but haven't jumped into their food menu much. Just breakfast burritoes which have been good....until now!

So, my mom & I shared a cheese platter with some cured meats, and a spinach salad.
The Cheese Platter ($8 plus $2 for the meat):
I recognized the muenster cheese from Costco so that instantly bummed me out cause there are such awesome cheeses in Washington & Oregon. But, I like creamy cheeses so that was cool. There was a hard cheese that was good and the chevre was good too. Served with toasted bread, probably went stale and they needed something to do with it, a toppenade, apple slices & walnuts. The best contributor to this spread was the "balsalmic vinigrette" for the salad. It was much to thick to be a vinigrette and tasted more like a reduced balsalmic with dijon mustard and honey. This was the highlight of the meal. I'm gonna make that at home some day cause that was grubbin. A layer of that on toasted bread with a slice of salami, a smearing of chevre and some toppenade....thumbs up.

The Spinach Salad ($9)
Spinach with carmelized peacans, parmesan, bacon, and....what was that thing again...oh yeah the wire tie used to seal a bag. The bacon and peacans were the highlight in the salad. I was just bummed with the wire tie cause then I knew the spinach wasn't washed it was dumped.

Service was excellent even though she had just started she was very helpful. Food was close, but missed due to quality of ingredients and quality of love. I'll give them some other attempts. Beer selection was above average for a small neighborhood bar. Very impressed with it especially if you enjoy a stout.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

More Mexican Food....El Camino

I rarely make it to Fremont, by choice, but we happened to be in the area on our way to Ballard so we stopped off at El Camino.

We started with a few drinks and the Tostones de Platano Macho con Guacamole. These salty fried plantain chips come with really good salsa fresca & fresh garlicky guacamole. I order these every time I come here because they are so perfect. I have yet to prepare plantain chips myself, but I might need to try it out.
L went with the Tamales con Camarones en Salsa Boracha. This tamale came in a corn masa shell and was filled with shrimp and chiles, covered in negra modela sauce and then wrapped in a banana leaf. It also came with some spicy/pickled carrots and some mild green salsa. I think L. really liked it but it wasn't a very big serving for someone who was hungry. This dish was a small plate, something you could order as a starter.

I went with the Tacos de Pescado, which came with the fresh catch of the day, Mahi-Mahi. The tacos also came with a few shrimps. I loved the cabbage slaw that came on the side, it was BOMB. The fresh slices of jalapenos added the right amount of heat. This dish also came with some black beans and some tasty green rice.

ndrwmtsn who also joined us for dinner went with the Carnitas con Mole Negro. This pork shoulder looked like it was slow-cooked and was just covered in some thick black mole. I tasted the kale that accompanied the dish and it was amazing.

This place is not cheap but the food is always tasty and consistent. I enjoy sitting in the bar where it is a little less stiff and the music is a little louder. They are closed on Mondays but serve dinner until 11pm on the weekend. After reading their website, I noticed they also serve brunch on Sundays...I'm going to check that out.

El Camino in Seattle

something Malay for all you Asian food lovers

While driving home from picking up my gal at the airport late last night we both had a hankerin for some snacks. Who doesn't love snacks? What a ridiculous question. Anywhooo......

I thought of this clean looking restaurant that I've driven past 69 million times. Salima ( Open 6 days a week. Located on MLK (6727 Martin Luther King Jr Way S). And they serve Malaysian food. Prices are SOLID and the food quality is getting a high five from my right hand w/ a thumbs up by my left. I think I only saw 1 item on the menu for $11.95 everything else was $8.95 and down.

We opened up with an apetizer of Roti Canai ($2.95), which is this deep fried phylo like dough bread accompanied with a curry dipping sauce. I'm a greasy kinda guy so this was nice to me. My gal enjoyed it to. I also liked it cause it came out nearly right away and wasn't too filling. Taste was good, but again the curry sauce is greasy too.

My main course, which we shared, was the lamb curry ($8.25). Braised lamb still on the bone, but sort of cube shapes. The curry sauce isn't too spicy and with a couple scoops of white rice underneath this was hands down my favorite dish. Nice servings of lamb, and the curry sauce was right on the money for my taste buds.

2nd main dish was Vietnamese Grilled Beef Rice ($8.95). This was basically a fried rice with grilled beef, a fried egg and a spicy fish sauce. My gal thought it was a touch too fishy for her. The taste alone was satisfying, and so was the portion, but to really kick it home I poured some of the lamb curry sauce onto it and BooYah! Dish complete!

They can get busy, but everyone I've spoken with that has eaten there has enjoyed it. I don't know any Malaysian's to say how authentic it is. But I'd say it's worth a try.


Monday, October 8, 2007

gettin Chili

Even with my socks and cashmere sweater I was feeling the cold today. With no left overs to heat up at lunch I ventured out to the mean streets of Pioneer Sq and found a hole in the wall chili joint. It's actually called "Hole in the Wall Barbecue," (215 James St Seattle, WA 98104-2211 ) but they make a tasty homestyle chili. Nice old school ground beef, with black beans, tomatoes, and with good heat. Nothing crazy. I didn't go through 6 napkins or anything, but my nose got a touch runny.

For a bowl of chili ($4.95 if memory serves me correct), onions & cheddar (50 cents extra), and a Country Time Lemonaid ($1) I spent a total of $6. Plus, they hook you up with some saltines or a sandwich bag full of tortilla chips. You can enjoy a tasty bowl at the counter seating surrounding the place or get it to go. But I'm giving that spot a thumbs up for not being over priced, serving a tasty non gourmet bowl of chili, and for the free baggie of chips!
But now I'm hungry to check out this Mexican joint on Broadway posted by White Pepper.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

New Mexican Spot on Broadway! we go again. I reported earlier that Broadway Wok closed its doors and now in its place is a new Mexican spot.

Welcome El Tajin...Upon entering I kept thinking about Broadway Wok but glanced around and realized some bright orange paint and some mexican themed decor changed the place completely...uh, right. The menu was full of authentic mexican dishes with really long explanations, many of the items I have never heard of! I considered some of the dishes but realized this might be risky since I have never been here and I wanted to take it slow.

The chips were good and salty and I liked the salsa even though it didn't have much heat. The waiter was really nice and the owner?manager? even came out to ask if we had questions about the menu.

I went for the chicken tostadas

and L. ordered a burrito al pastor...

The tostadas were pretty good, they had a mild taste and the potatoes layered on the shell were a nice touch. The serving was large, the plate had three big tostadas with lots of toppings. I liked the chicken but it wasn't spicy enough for me.

Now I am not sure how to put this but while I was eating, I looked up and watched L. cut open his burrito and he had a really awful expression on his face. He was very quiet and didn't say anything for a few minutes. I kept watching him pull out the pork and move it around and then finally smell it. He ate all of the rice and beans on his plate and then ate a few more chips. The burrito was barely touched. He then told me he thought something was wrong with the meat and that it smelled like deuce. I offered to taste the meat because at this point, never having al pastor, I felt like I should try it.

Really, not only did it smell like deuce, it tasted like what I imagine deuce might taste like. I think it was over spiced and overcooked meat to the 10th degree.

After that bite of his food. I was done eating. We chatted for a few minutes and then decided it was time to bounce. For the rest of the evening we talked about how we should go back and try it again because clearly something was not right. But the next day, we put a ban effective immediately on ever going there again.

Someone tell me if you have been here yet, and how it was...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Never Ending Pasta Bowls and Tropical Sangria

"When you're here, You're Family"

So my brother calls me up and wants to take me to dinner...we spend a few minutes exchanging ideas on places we want to go and then he's like, fuck it, lets go to Olive Garden. I paused, laughed and then totally got down. My brother is a chef, someone who knows more about food than the average human. He enjoys getting away from four star quality food and getting in on the mystery of chain restaurants.

We decided to take on the OG by staring in the bar as we awaited our table.I enjoyed an Italian Margarita, which came with a floater of amaretto on the side. This drink was extremely sweet and sticky. The orange sugar crystals on the rim, were a real classy touch.

When we got to the table, we were overwhelmed with the menu and the options so we ordered an appetizer. We ordered the Smoked Mozzarella Fonduta, which was a hot mess of melted cheeses and some bread. I do not think I would order that again. My brother however, enjoyed it. He also challenged me to eat the whole bowl in one minute, I passed.

Next, I ordered my second drink...after looking through the menu I came across the Tropical Sangria. What in the fuck is tropical sangria? Well, I will tell you, it is some cheap ass white wine mixed with passion fruit juice. I found this out later as we were leaving...when I asked the bartendar. Nothing like a wine glass, ice, some cheap wine and a straw to bring it home.

Next out come the classic salad and breadsticks. Always on point, this iceburg salad is the bomb and one of the only times I come close to getting down on some oil and vinegar. Bread was dusted with garlic and came out really hot, so yeah, BOMB. For those who do not know, the salad and breadsticks are also unlimited and never ending.

So onto the entrees. I should add that at this point none of us were hungry. I decided to go with the Chicken Parmigana. My brother went with some Stuffed Chicken Marsala...and his wife took one for the team and ordered the Never Ending Pasta Bowl. Since we were not that hungry we decided to all help B. eat her pasta bowl so we could keep ordering until they said no more. We only got two bowls. The first one had the smoked cheese sauce and classic marinara, the second bowl had alfredo sauce and sausage sauce. The waitress told us that 3-5 people get the second bowl, which for the record is actually smaller than the first. She said rarely do people get a third bowl.
Since we were really doing it up, we even got dessert. We ordered the Tiramisu and the Frozen Tiramisu Drink. This was a bad idea. I tasted that tiramisu but that was it, I did not care for it. I did however drink some of that drink, and got an immediate brain freeze or diabetes, I am still not sure.
After all of this, I could barely talk on the way home. Talk about some serious discomfort from over indulgence. Oh well, it was awesome. I will prolly go back next year.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Aoki: Sushi

I forget about Aoki because it is at the north end of Broadway and when it is raining, its not always the firsts choice for dinner. I need to get some rain boots or a damn umbrella because I really like the sushi here and the ambiance...

We started with the agedashi tofu, which was good, but not as good as the agedashi tofu dish they serve at Hana (mid broadway). The tofu was cooked perfectly but the taste was sort of bland.

Next we sampled several rolls including, spicy tuna, spider and salmon skin. We also enjoyed the sweet shrimp and seared tuna (which is what was served in the bowl). This seared tuna was amazing. I would go to Aoki and eat this everyday. The raw garlic matched with the ginger was amazing. All of the sushi was very fresh and the seaweed was not over powering at all. I am a huge fan of wasabi and I found myself using less than I typically do because the natural flavors were BOMB.

The service is fast and the sushi chefs are cool. Although, we did not have any green tea ice cream during this visit, I also recommend getting down on dessert. Not to mention they have a full menu besides sushi...which I still need to check out!

Aoki Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar
621 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102
Phone: (206) 324-3633
Tue-Thu 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-10pm
Fri-Sat 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-11pm
Sun 5pm-10pm