Friday, May 30, 2008

little thai: a u-district favorite

a little while back, i had the craving for thai food, and where else would i go but little thai, an underground (literally), family-owned restaurant i've been going to for years. i needed that green papaya salad!!!

this photo doesn't do it justice, but the green papaya salad is the bomb. shreds of crunchy papaya are mixed with iceberg lettuce (yeah, so what, i like iceberg), carrots, tomato, cucumber, onion, red cabbage, and green beans. the salad is super simple; topped with peanuts and dressed with chilies and mirin (rice wine vinegar + simple syrup). damn, it was so perfect.

m was in the mood for rice noodles, so he ordered another oldie but goodie, the phad see iw, which is basically wide rice noodles stir-fried with broccoli, beef, and egg in a thick soy sauce. i love this dish as well; shoot, i even eat the egg it's so deliciously-imparted with that sauce.

instead of ordering my usual (crispy fish in red curry or broccoli in basil sauce), i selected the green curry with white fish. i'll be forthright and tell you that i have no idea what kind of fish i ate, but it was damn good. the curry was immaculate; the fish was tender and clean-tasting; the coconut milk sauce was light, tangy (galanga root), and complex; and the bowl was full of bamboo shoots, green beans, carrot, mushrooms, spring onion, and zucchini. the green curry was a fantastic choice. after i had eaten all of the "stuff," i dumped my side of brown rice right into the bowl to sop up all the curry juices. delicious.

little thai
4142 Brooklyn Ave NE # 105
(206) 548-8009

Little Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Half Ass Ranch

Since I spent the entire holiday weekend away from restaurants this post will feature Uncle Bob and his outdoor cooking at the lovely Half Ass Ranch. The Half Ass Ranch is a amazing place located just off I90 on Killmore Road. A group of friends of mine spent the weekend camping at the ranch when we were in visiting eastern washington for Sasquatch.

Upon arrival on Saturday late afternoon we were greeted by Bob and friends. Bob was in the process of setting up his grill and preparing lots of bbq. When the grill was lit and Bob was cooking, I knew this would be a top notch food weekend. Our first meal included ribs, chicken, corn, bread, potato salad and lots of beer. I wish I had a picture of my plate...but I was way too busy eating and fighting off bugs to take a flick.

After a late night of partying we were woken the next day from the smell of burning wood which meant it was time breakfast.

We enjoyed bacon, sausage, grilled potatoes with onion, hard boiled eggs and pancakes. This special sausage was thin and perfectly crispy. It is amazing to have a greasy breakfast cooked on a wood fired grill after a late night of drinking. It truly couldnt have gotten better than this.

We left after breakfast and headed to the festival where we had a blast enjoying local rap-rock group Cancer Rising among others.

After another late night, we woke up to MORE breakfast. Monday we enjoyed some 5.5 icehouse, omelets (made to order), sausage and hash brown potatoes. I gotta say this omelet was so tasty with cheese, green onions and peppercinis...I ended up eating 2!

I had a great time at the ranch and plan on going back again this summer. Uncle Bob was such an amazing host and one of the kindest people you will ever cross paths with. Amenities at the ranch included a huge hot tub, tractor rides, gun range, unlimited beers, fire pit, horseshoes and more property than you knew what to do with. I had an amazing weekend with friends and made a couple more along the way (not including the bugs). Big shout out to the Half Ass Ranch!

Monday, May 26, 2008

My parking lot prejudice did me wrong

a few nights ago, one of my best friends, who was visiting for her sister's graduation, invited to me to enjoy italian food with her lovely family. for several reasons, i had never dined at grazie in all my years living in the area. first, this place is located in a lonely corner of the giant factoria mall parking lot; i never heard anything, good or bad, about this place; and it was in general, just off my radar. little did i know that it was my bff's little sister's favorite restaurant! what a treat!

as we were parking, S noticed that there was smoke billowing out the top of the small building....apparently they roast their own coffee there; no cause for alarm. the restaurant was filled with that rich, intoxicating coffee aroma. our party of 5 was seated in a mafioso-style corner booth; complete with quilted leather cushions.

the requisite bread and oil appeared on the table soon after, and it was very pleasant. the bread was pretty standard, nothing special, but the red pepper flakes and fresh garlic in the olive oil were a nice touch. one thing i did notice about the table was that our server cleared the salt and pepper shakers off the table after she brought the antipasti plate, never to return. very interesting.

E ordered the antipasti plate for the table, which is a chef's choice sort of deal. that day we had a variety of cheeses, including an emmental of some sort, a smoked provolone, and asiago; a couple different kinds of salame; a caprese salad; a skewer of grilled chicken seasoned with pepper and oregano; and some spreads, including a salmon mousse, olive tapenade, and a chopped roasted peppers. the plate was pretty impressive and tasty. i don't think we even finished it all before our entrees arrived.

S ordered the pesce special, which was a medium-grilled salmon dish served with a white wine sauce and grazie's signature risotto. S said it was delicious. i had a bit of the salmon and it was perfectly grilled; soft, moist, and flavorful. mmm.

since M was the grad girl, she ordered her absolute favorite dish ever: filetto gorgonzola, which is a seared, balsamic-marinated tenderloin topped with a gorgonzola pan sauce and a nest of fried onions. this dish is usually served with rosemary patate al forno, but M requested the risotto, which is also her favorite. there were no words when it came to this plate; it disappeared entirely, and that was testament enough.

E and i ordered the halibut genovese, which is a grilled fillet topped with basil pesto over tomato fonduta (like a par-cooked salsa). the halibut also came with the parmesan risotto. the halibut was nice. it needed a little bit of salt, but the lemon wedge helped with the overall zestiness of the dish. i'm a little finicky with white fish; it was a little underdone for me in the thickest part, but it would be suitable for most diners. the only thing that i thought could use reworking was the risotto. it was fundamentally well-cooked, in terms of texture and doneness, but it needed major salt and flavor!! i mixed up the tomato fonduta with the risotto, and that was much more enjoyable.


below S ordered the pannacotta; her favorite. we were all pretty full from our main courses, but it was a special occasion so we just went for it. the pannacotta was deliciously cool and smooth; the perfect contrast to the fresh berries served with it.

i love sweets, but i'm in general not much of a dessert orderer at restaurants. this place was so old school. everyone else knew what they wanted since they had been to grazie several times before, but i made the mistake of asking what they have. our server was very friendly, so it wasn't her fault, but what ensued was something i had never experienced before. she went over to the front of the house and grabbed the dessert display tray, then went on to explain in great detail all of the different (approx 8) desserts that were available and was able to show me what each one looks like in the process. :) i don't know why this was so hilarious to me at the time, but i could not stop smiling as she directed all her efforts toward me since everyone else was familiar with grazie's offerings.

i went with the torta di frutti, which she explained was imported from italy, oh my!! :) it was quite tasty; a basic pastry shell with a thin layer of creme anglaise overflowing with various frutti di bosco (raspberries, blueberries, marion berries, and blackberries) and then served on top of a generous helping of their house special, marsala cream sauce. mmm. that actually sounds pretty good right about now.

M again went with her favorite; the pistacchio canolo. the waffle tube was filled with tasty, sweetened ricotta, pistacchios, and chocolate. what a great finale to a great evening with friends and family. grazie, i apologize for letting my parking lot prejudice stand in the way of a beautiful friendship.

NB: there are three different grazie locations in the greater seattle area: factoria, southcenter, and canyon park.

Grazie Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 19, 2008


unfortunately, some friends and i were hungry before a show in fremont several weeks ago. the worst part about heading to a show around 9 is that if you forget to eat or don't have time to before you leave, you have to eat some crappy bar food right before the performance. we were all pissed to have to order something, but dammit, we were hungry.

the nearest food haven happened to be norm's, and since we had eaten here loooooong ago, we figured it would be our best bet. we arrived a little bit after 9, and the place was nearly empty. we chose a table in the rear of the restaurant next to an area with couches surrounding a low table.

at first we just ordered drinks from the bar, but then we decided to eat. big mistake. there was one waitress running around serving both everyone and no one, since she looked assiduously busy, yet she never acknowledged our presence. in fact, we had to walk to the bar to ask for menus.

after about 20 minutes of sitting with our menus, we finally flagged down the waitress who took our order as if we slapped her in the face and then asked her to polish our shoes. needless to say, she was not a happy camper.

L ordered the meatloaf prior to our arrival, and below is what he received:

the meatloaf was an intriguing choice for a pre-performance meal, but hey, to each his own. L said the loaf was tasty, the asparagus was well-cooked, but the mashed potatoes were more like a wet, gooey mess than actual food.

by the time we got our order in and received our food, the couch area next to us was quickly filled with a gang of douche-/ho-bags; very loud, obnoxious, tequila-and-then-jaeger-shooting a-holes. at least the fries were so bomb that i could focus on how hot and delicious they were rather than the loud idiots next to us.

the fries were super hot, perfectly golden, and served with substantial salt and freshly-cracked pepper. there's just something about potatoes with fresh pepper. wow. i'm getting hungry.

S ordered the veggie burger. little did she know that she would receive an overly-toasted, dry-ass bun with a lone, tasteless, crusty, freezer-burned veggie patty on top. a slice of tomato, pickle, and lettuce were served on the side, which is a nice touch, but there wasn't a damn element that added any moisture or richness to the sandwich!!! THERE WAS NO CHEESE NOR MAYONNAISE, WHAT THE HELLL?!?! her fries were bomb, as were mine, but shoot, what a sorry excuse for a veggie burger!

thank god we quickly finished our meal, then departed for the show; away from the traveling band of D.B. gypsies taking random shots and clinking bottles of bud light together. thanks for the fremont friday night experience, norm's.

460 N 36th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 547-1417

Norm's Eatery & Ale House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Senor Moose Cafe for Brunch

A few weeks ago before going to see Ironman we had brunch at Senor Moose Cafe. Yeah, I said was awesome and so was brunch. As you may have read we have reviewed the dinner at senor moose, which was also quite amazing. Since it was brunch it was time to start with some mimosas. They were tasty and came in nice big cold glasses. perfect.

Then out came the esquites with some tortillas and lime. The cheese was overflowing the bowl and the corn was soaked in rich cream and spices. Damn, it was so good. It was gone in minutes.

We also enjoyed some of their guacamole, which came with fresh chips. I love this guacamole because of its simple spices allowing the flavors of the vegetables to really come through. I sincerely love these chips.

Since it has been too long since we went out, I cannot for the life of me remember what the people had who I was with....sorry. Enjoy the photos and peep their menu online.

A. and R.

I had scrambled eggs with chorizo. This dish was perfectly spicy and rich. I also enjoyed the potatoes and beans. All around this was a good brunch dish, I have even thought about making this at home.

After brunch it was off to more cocktails and then the movie which at this point, I have already seen twice. I seriously need to stop writing these posts before I eat. I am tempted to take a cab to this spot for some esquites.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

La Casa Del Mojito

La Casa Del Mojito...

Upon invitation to dinner from our friends who hold down the Wallingford/U-District area they picked this spot they've had many a good time at... including Valentines Day...awwhhh. They have been talking about it for months and finally our schedules all lined up for the night. From the outside you would not be able to tell the amazing menu they have inside. The restaurant was filled with some college kids and some obvious regulars. Colorful artwork lined the walls, everything from paintings to tapestry stuff. I could tell moments after sitting down that the food was gonna be really damn good.

We started with some cocktails. The clear winner for me was the mojito...which was exactly what I needed. As my lady friend put had the perfect amount of mint- making it not just a rum and soda. L. had the Caipirinha, which if you didnt know is the national drink of Brazil made with Cachaca (basically distilled fermented sugarcane). I thought it was nice, but a bit too sweet for me. These drinks were strong and will only set you back 7bucks. I am pretty sure we had more than one round.

Since we were all starving we started with Luam's Platter. This plate came decorated with Yuca Frita, Tostones, Maduros and Guasacaca. I can try and translate this appetizer for my non latin food experienced readers. The Yuca Frita is on the top right, kind of like a fried potato but a lil' more sweet, but still kinda starchy. The Tostones are on the top left of the plate and are fried plantain cakes, they were my favorite!! I love anything that resembles a chip. The bottom of the plate were the Maduros, which to me was just like a pan fried banana but more chewy. I thought it was nicely prepared, but a bit too sweet for me. And right in the center was the Gusacaca which is basically guacamole... Oh snap, I have no idea or I cannot remember what is on the bottom of the plate side left!!!! Someone who was there who might be able to help...???

So onto the Entrees. Below was the coveted Vaca Frito, which two of my fellow diners ordered. This meal consisted of shredded beef mixed with some garlic, onions and lime. Hell, I do not eat beef but was convinced to just taste I did and it was so BOMB. The beef had a crispy deep flavor which pretty much melted in your mouth. The rice and beans (Congri) were also nice and spicy and carried the best flavor which was most likely the juice from the Vaca Frito. This fabulous dish also came with a few more of those plantain cakes and will set you back about $12.95.

RB got down on the Milanesa Carne. This dish looked awesome because it pretty much came with fries (Papas Fritas) and some tasty white rice. I didn't taste his dish, but it looked simple but solid, also $12.95.

I love fish, especially when I do not have to cook it. After some advice from others who had visited this spot...I was steered towards the Pescado Frito. I loved this dish, simply because all of the elements on the plate had their own place. The white fish was dusted with a some seasonings and flour then pan fried. The white rice was again, very tasty and the ensalada was very simple but perfect for the meal. I really like hot sauce so we asked for some and we ended up getting two great sauces, I wish I would have taken a picture! The one that I favored was made with habanero peppers, and it was amazing. I ended up asking what all was in the recipe and come to find out it was just peppers, garlic and oil. I need to make this.

The service was good, the owner was chill and the atmosphere was perfect for date night.
I will go back....soon.

5253 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Reservations: 206-524-4615

La Casa Del Mojito (U-District) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I kinda forget about The Deluxe Bar and Grill which hides out at the end of Broadway...and I kinda have forgotten if I have ever written about this spot. Over the years of living on Cap Hill I end up at this spot when someone wants to eat a burger and get down on some happy hour that isnt Broadway Grill. I have never had one of their burgers, but locals claim they are some of the best on the Hill. The Deluxe feels overpriced to me...and if you are not getting down on their happy hour, which includes half priced appetizers, then you will pay for it in the end. For a casual neighborhood bar with lots of local beers they certainly do not cater to the alcohol drinkers in the mix. They have plenty of 7 to 8 dollar specialty cocktails but you get no love if you want a well drink, they are equally as expensive. The food is good, but sort of what you would expect from a tavern of sorts.

Strangely, my co-worker had never heard of this spot or been there so we stopped by after a work event. I will tell you this was the first time I have been to the Deluxe during the day time for when they run a lunch menu. The Saturday lunch includes a nice bloody mary drink special...and they were not that bad! They were nicely packed with vodka and veggies but needed a bit more heat.

I ended up going with the cobb was tasty, a little too much dressing and cheese and not enough lettuce...but lets be real, a cobb salad is not the healthiest salad to eat! I enjoyed the sweet helping of bacon, avocado as well as the crispy greens.

R. got down on a lunch special which included a half sandwich of the day and a cup of soup. The sandwich was simple and we both agreed that was perfect because all to much people over do it with the sauce and random pacific northwest infused presentations. The chicken breast was topped with tomato and basil on a roll. The soup of the day was clam chowder...and from the picture below, you will notice that R. was feelin it.

Deluxe Bar and Grill
625 Broadway Ave E

Deluxe Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bricco della Regina Anna

As so often happens with us on weekends, bnopen and I find ourselves with little or no food in the kitchen and no desire to shop and cook. Thus the quest for good food, good wine and not too far from home led us to the top of Queen Anne Hill and Bricco. A great little wine bar with an interesting menu. We were there pretty early in the evening and had no problem getting a coveted seat at the bar. This place is not very large with only 6 tables in the restaurant and seating for about 20 in the bar. The staff are generally very knowledgeable about wine and the select import beers they serve. They also do a good job of making you feel welcome and comfortable. This is very important when the bill comes and you see that you are going to plunk down 2 bills for wine and cheese!
The wine list is decent, with good selection of moderate price wines. We have been introduced to several that have become favorites. Tonight we started with a French wine, mostly because I am trying to expand beyond Walla Walla and Napa. This is a Chateau St. Georges 2002 ($65). It is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet, and 20% Bouchet grapes. This makes for a "big" wine , but is very smooth with little acidity. I recommend letting it decant for at least 15 minutes as is the case with most French wines.
This wine went well with our starter of Delice soft cheese, Rogue River blue cheese, Gouda cheese, and hot Sopresatta ($16). Bricco has an extensive selection of speciality cheeses and meats from Salumi Cured Meats. The list can be a little intimidating, but the staff are well versed on each item and can make great recommendations. The plate also includes bread, a grape jelly and a marmalade that goes well with the cheeses. I have yet to figure out how meat and cheese can leave you wanting more to eat.............
This Salmon Brusschetta is a bnopen favorite. Bricco uses -Ceci, Pesto, Sweet onion with goat cheese, Pepper-garlic smoked salmon w/crème fraiche & dill ($4). In previous journeys I have enjoyed the Polenta cakes with marinara, mozzarella and basil ($8). It could easily serve as an entree.
Bricco also serves up some terrific salads made with fresh local products. Prices range from $5 to $14.
Also on the menu are 5 different Panini that is served on Macrina olive bread with a small side salad for $11.

At this point our wine was gone and we (I) felt another bottle along with en tree's were needed!
We selected a little less bold wine from Australian Bird in Hand ($62). Their 2005 Shiraz has flavours of plum, blackcurrant and cracked black pepper and aroma of dark cherry, smoky oak and blackberry. This selection complimented both the baked ziti with marinara and a four cheese crust ($10) and my choice of a natural porkchop in a raspberry-apple marinade ($15).

The menu also offers:
Fresh Dungeness Crab Cakes ($16) Lamb Sausage with Marinara ($11) Veal and Spinach Manicotti with marinara and béchamel sauce ($13) Vegetarian Lasagna- eggplant, ricotta, four cheese blend, basil and marinara ($13) White Truffle potato gratin ($11) Orzo stuffed tomatoes with cheese ($8) Roasted Acorn Squash with brown sugar and butter ($7) Roasted Brussel Sprouts with bacon & a honey- mustard vinaigrette ($8)
With a little wine left, we finished with an excellent production of chocolate soufflé with molten chocolate center & a scoop of panna cotta gelato ($8)
Bricco della Regina Anna
1525 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
Monday thru Sunday 5 pm to 1 am
Bricco Della Regina Anna on Urbanspoon