Thursday, June 26, 2008


I went to Quinn's a few months ago so my brother could try their burger. Somewhere he read that their burger was one of the best in the city. I took pics of our entire spread which included a wide array of starters, salads and entrees but when I got home I realized it was so freakin dark in there that the photos were garbage.

L. and I went the other night because he was craving a burger and I got some better pics. We started with the pretzel snack and the starter bread salad. I love this savory pretzel and welsh rarebit dipping sauce...I am not sure what to make of it but it is like a creamy cheese and mustard. It is so bomb. The pretzel was very hot and had a crispy outside and a soft inside. I love bread! We also started with the bread salad which is just alright. The bread is way too soft and the lettuce was a little brown. My favorite bread salad is the one at Dahlia Lounge and that is because the bread is crusty and the amazing cheese and spices make it the perfect mix...Quinn's could take a lesson in that.

So below is the coveted "snake river farms" wagyu beef burger with cheddar and bacon. Note the kick ass cow pick alerting you that your burger is cooked to your preference, nice touch. The fries are bomb and someone told me they cook them in duck fat. Wow. L. commented on the bun several times and was impressed how the bread just soaked up the juices and cheese. Overall this looked like an amazing choice. This burger is no joke, it will set you back 12bucks.

Last time I was at Quinn's I had pork sausage. This time I went for the buttermilk chicken breast which came with potato salad, coleslaw and a biscuit and a nice little touch of foie gras gravy. At first the thought of foie gras gravy through me off but I knew it would be rich and tasty if I just didnt think about those fat little bird. The potato salad was WAY too salty and the coleslaw was subpar...but that chicken was very tasty and hearty. I wanted to stop eating it so I could have leftovers, but I could not help myself. The coating on the chicken was light and not greasy at all. Perfect.

Quinn's gets really busy on the weekends and at regular dinner hours but you can catch a meal here until 1am. They have large selection of beers and a full on bar with some really nice whiskey choices.

1001 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jak's: It's What's for Dinner

while in the u-district/laurelhurst neighborhood to pick up some tennis gear at avanti, m and i decided to sample the nearby jak's grill's lunch menu. though not for the faint of beefy heart, there was one vegetarian-friendly item on the menu.

the decor was pretty standard steakhouse/bar and grill: glossy, wood booths; a classic, dark bar with attached barstools and brass footrest; heavy, well-worn glasses; cloth napkins were a nice touch.

since we're always trying to make some small, more healthy choices, m decided to get the starter salad while i ordered a side of fries. the salad was under-dressed and pretty mediocre. though the greens were a pleasant mix of butter lettuce, frisee, romaine, red endive, and an herby, unidentifiable leaf, the housemade vinaigrette lacked salt and zest. how do you make a vinaigrette lacking vinegar? black magic.

m selected the chophouse dip; a 3/4 pound, grilled loaf of prime rib and new york served on a toasted hoagie with a side of au jus. as you can see, it was perfectly medium rare, tender, flavorful, and all-around amazing. it was, as the menu clearly states, "legendary." so legendary that m mentioned returning to jak's for the chophouse 'wich several times over the next couple weeks.

i ordered the only real vegetarian offering on the menu. the italian portabella sandwich was a grilled, balsamic/olive oil-marinated mushroom cap layered with pesto mayo, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato, and red onion bookended by a soft brioche bun. i held the provolone since cheese and i have a love/hate relationship.

the portabella was tasty with a robust, woodsy flavor, but the roasted red peppers were so sweet that they overwhelmed the rest of the sandwich. the sweetness of red pepper combined with the oregano made it taste like a pizza sandwich; something i didn't really expect or enjoy all that much. don't get me wrong, s, i love effing pizza, but this was just not right. also, the ingredients were all fairly wet, making it difficult to eat as all the fillings squished out of the bun with every bite. i hate messy, unorganized foods, and sadly, this was one of them. i think the sandwich would have benefited from a heartier, less soft bun. in fact, it seemed like this dish was conceptualized on (butcher) paper by a carnivore and never actually sampled.

though my criticism sounds pretty harsh, i am a *bit* of a nit-picker. i will say, though, that if you want a beef dish cooked to perfection, jak's is your best bet for a fair price.

ps, fries were bomb. i asked for freshly-cracked black pepper on top which nearly elevated these fries from bomb to norm's-bomb.

jak's has several locations for all your beefy needs:

sandpoint: 3701 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA - (206) 985-8545

west seattle: 4548 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA - (206) 937-7809

issaquah: 14 Front St N, Issaquah, WA - (425) 837-8834

Jak's Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Serafina.......Worth waiting for!

Premium vodka, muddled with cointreau, fresh cucumber, & lemon juice
This was a hit all the way around the table.

Our server, Colleen, was a rock star! She started us with some fresh rustic bread and a stellar mixture of olive oil and pepper spices for dipping. I could have made a meal with just this! But that would have made this the end of the review. Of course that wasn't the case.
We had to have their renowned Bruschetta. This selection has
grilled Tuscan bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil. Alongside the bread were several toppings that had us all voting for our favorite. My favorite was the Spanish Bonito tuna flavored with capers, lemon and fresh herbs. I really like quality tuna, but this was like nothing I have ever had before. This has to be tried to appreciate the great flavors that explode in your mouth! The green olive tapenade was bomb. The over all winner was the Laura Chenel goat cheese with Hungarian Goat Horn pickled peppers. The creamy texture of the cheese and the slow burn of the peppers were outstanding. This app was more than enough for the four of us with bread left over.

Upon ordering our main courses, we called on Rock Star Colleen to recommend a wine. Their cellar contains over 300 different wines, mostly Italian. She quickly summoned Serafina's Executive Chef John Neumark. His recommendation was a 2005 Aglian Macari.

This Italian red wine is much like a Barolo and was a perfect pairing to our entree's.

Polpettine di Vitello
Housemade veal meatballs simmered in a green olive-tomato sauce; tossed with penne rigate, topped with ricotta salata
The pasta was perfectly al dente'. The veal meatballs were surprisingly light and extremely flavorful as was the sauce.

Ravioli di Carciofi e Spinaci
Handmade ravioli filled with fresh artichokes, ricotta, and spinach; served with braised baby artichokes, black olives, cherry tomatoes, pancetta, fresh herbs, and extra virgin olive oil
I absolutely loved this very simple dish.

Their house specialty: Melanzane alla Serafina
Signature dish; thinly sliced eggplant rolled with ricotta cheese, fresh basil, and parmesan; baked in a tomato sauce, served over cappellini aglio e oli tho

We finished with some gelato (my favorite desert next to frozen custard), and grappa. This was served to us by Executive Chef John Neumark who wanted to make sure we enjoyed our meals and his wine selection. I thought this was a nice touch.
If there is any criticism I have , it is with the noise level. Conversation is difficult. Fortunately the food is so damn good, you are too busy eating to want to talk.
They are known to have an excellent Sunday Brunch. I am sure we will be trying it soon!

Serafina Osteria & Enoteca
2043 Eastlake Ave E . Seattle 98102 . 206.323.0807

Serafina on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 9, 2008

hillside (not-so)quickies

when i was in school, hillside quickie, a goofy, tiny, somewhat-ramshackle sandwich shop on the corner of brooklyn and 41st, provided me with countless delicious, vegan lunches. however, don't be deceived! don't expect to go to hillside quickie for lightening-fast takeout; it generally takes 10-15 minutes to prepare any of the sandwiches on its lengthy menu.

recently i convinced my coworker that these sandwiches are the bomb, so i called in an order from work, then walked down to the shop just in time for the seitan to come hot out of the pan.

i went with the jamaican seitan sub with light vegannaise. this was served on a toothy, seven grain roll with a tangy red cabbage coleslaw, caramelized onions, potato salad, tomato slices, and hot (temp), jerk seitan. although quite messy, this sub was delectable and filling. i suggest slowly unwrapping the foil to maintain the sandwich's integrity.

my coworker went with the TLT (tofu, lettuce, tomato). she said it was refreshing, tasty, and perfectly satisfying. she said that it was incredibly flavorful and the perfect size for lunch.

i really enjoy hillside quickie, i just don't love the wait. i always have to make sure to plan ahead if i want HQ for lunch since it's perfectly timed to walk there from my work if i call in an order.

HQ also offers non-sandwich items such as pizza, macaroni and yease, fries, soups, salads, burgers, breakfast, and even sweets! i think even the most anti-meat-free diners will find something to enjoy here.

Hillside Quickies Vegan Sandwich Shop
4106 Brooklyn Ave
Seattle Wa. 98105
11 am - 9 pm Monday - Friday
12 pm - 9 pm Saturday
closed Sunday
(206) 632-3037

Hillside Quickie's Cafe
324 15th Ave E.
Seattle WA 98112
12 pm - 8 pm Monday - Tuesday
12 am - 9 pm Wednesday - Friday
12 am - 7 pm Saturday
closed Sunday
(206) 325-6429

Quickie Too
1324 So MLK Way
Tacoma, WA 98405
11 am - 8 pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday
11 am - 5 pm Tuesday, Tursday, Saturday, Sunday
(253) 572-4549

Hillside Quickie's Vegan Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Saint

We arrived to The Saint at about 4:45pm....they do not open until 5pm and after we waited for a few minuets outside we were invited in and told we could wait until they were ready. awesome. The service was fun and casual...our bartender and self-proclaimed capitol hill rock star made casual convo and provided entertaining banter with me and my friend. We started with the Flight to Tequila, which features 3 selected cocktails. Our flight consisted of the Honeysuckle (tequila, lemon and honey), Fresas (strawberry infused tequila) and the Sayulita (tequila, campari and elderflower). My fave was the honeysuckle...I did not taste the fresas (i do not do strawberries)...but my co-diner happened to really like it! The presentation was fun with the wood tray and the small cocktail glasses.

We started with the guacamole which also comes with three fresh salsas. I really liked the smokey flavor of the red sauce and the tangy taste of the green. The pico was also really nice and had a strong cilantro back. The chips were hot and perfectly salted.

We also got down on some of the ceviche. The fish was tilapia and it was very mild, not fishy at all! The citrus marinade was also very mild. I think this dish could have used more heat but overall it was very tasty. The marinated slaw in the center of the plate also served as a nice salad not just a garnish.

We also shared the empanadas with chicken. I thought they were a bit greasy and not the baked flaky pastry that I truly tend to love about them. They were also served with the marinated carrots, onion and cabbage slaw and some of that nice smoky salsa.

Other menu items included camarones, tacos, carne asada and chicken mole. The overall menu is very small but I think it is perfect for the size of the place. The food is simple but tasty, I am happy to know that chips this good are available on the hill. The happy hour from 5-6pm allows you to cash in on their dishes for half price. The 11 or so specialty cocktails do not go down in price and will set you back about 11-14 bucks or 16 for the flight. If you really want a to cash in on your deal you can drink the tecate and that will only drain you 3 bucks. I hear this place gets pretty busy on the weekend, but at 5pm weekdays it is still a quiet place to grab a drink and head home. RIP Wingdome, you were good but this food is way better.

1416 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98127
They do take reservations, and I would do it...the place is small.
(206) 323-9922
Saint on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Mark: Olympia

Do you crave for Italian, Spanish, Basque Influenced Rustic Cuisine? Then the next time you are in Olympia check out The Mark. I dont even know how to describe what this food was about because it was perfectly simple, yet very flavorful and delicious. The simplicity of the dishes and the use of fresh, organic ingredients fired on their apple wood grill created a tasty dining experience. The space itself is also worth talking about because the wood interior was beautiful and rich. I felt like I was in a upscale wood paneled basement from the midwest.

I was in Oly to check out a tour date that some friends had in our states capital. I use to live in Olympic circa 97-99-and I am pretty sure I only went back one time since I packed up and moved to the 206. I really don't remember much about the restaurants back then because I was a student and I rarely went out to dinner. Anyway, this is a friend of a friends restaurant who was also on the party train down south--we arranged to have dinner prior to the show just to give you some context on how we made it to The Mark. Her friend was out of town but had arranged for us to get seated which we did and started in on the drink menu.

Drinking out of Seattle is a nice treat when well drinks set you back a cool 3 bucks all the time. We went with cuba libre. Hell yeah. rum and coke plus lime...very fancy.

I was really interested in trying a few things so we decided to share a starter salad. This salad was made up of mixed greens and a light vinegar/oil dressing topped with some breaded and toasted goat cheese. The fresh grilled bread was a nice addition to the salad. This salad was my first taste on how the rest of the items would be delivered simple yet full of flavor. When the salad was put down on the table you immediately smell the wood grill. I was very excited to get down on the cheese too.

We decided to share two entrees. The first being the italian turkey sausage and roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic. The dish tasted very fresh, but the sausage was way too dry. Again, I was really enjoyed the simpleness of the plates because it truly allows you to taste the main elements not covering them up with sauces or salt.

We also shared the butternut squash ravioli. The pasta was perfectly cooked and filled with a very sweet squash topped with two big slices of butter. You really cant go wrong with butter and pasta. The fresh cheese our server added was also the missing salt element the dish needed.

We talked about dessert but at this point the richness of the food and the sugar from our drinks was starting to set in. While we were waiting for our bill we received a small plate of apple slices which ended up being exactly what we needed. How did they know??? The apple was crisp and refreshing...exactly what we needed before going to the bar down the street for some more drinks and music.

Menu is all fresh prepared in the moment. Menu contains vegetarian friendly food as well as items for wheat intolerant folks. Plates run $6-$24. Other things on the menu included a wide range of pasta dishes, steak, salmon, chicken and veggies. The cocktail menu is large and offers wine and standard as well as creative drinks.

I want to go back to this spot again and spend more time at the venue and meet the owner. The Mark is also a gallery space which features a rotating array of local and regional artwork...might be fun to go to an upcoming event--maybe I will go back down there sooner than 10yrs.

The Mark
407 SW Columbia
Reservations Recommended. 360-754-4414
Open Thur-Sat 5pm-2am (Dinner until 10pm)
Private Hire Mon-Wed (oh boy!)