Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dear "the Central" in Pioneer Square,

Fuck you and your bullshit "gas prices" excuse for trying not to hook someone up on their birthday with a free drink. Ok ok, I had the Cascade Carver sando ($9.95), which was smoked turkey with bacon, grilled onions and mayo on toasted bread. I got a salad to go with it, which is another point I'll be bringing up momentarily. My friend, who's birthday it is, got a grilled chicken sando that was served on a burger bun and I couldn't tell you how it was cause all he did was massage the bun since he wasn't feelin so good from an early celebration last night. Originally, I had ordered a pork sando, but guess what, this rinky dink operation they are running had no fucking pork. I've been there before when they had no bacon!@#! Are you kidding me. I think someone is drinking too much of what they should be servin birthday folks to set up their inventory proper. So my food tasted alright, the price, well I've seen better, but the flavor was there.

So when the bill arrived I realized a mistake was made where there was $1 charged for each our salads and the birthday drinks were on there. On the menu you are given the option of a salad or fries, but apparently motherfuckers decided "gas prices" were going up so they are tacking on an additional $1 for salads and she said she couldn't waive it cause her "boss asked her to crack the whip" on this policy. Fuck off. When she came back w/ our credit cards she picked up his shot, but in our earlier conversation that wasn't gonna be happenin.

Well, if anyone is looking for an alternative place to enjoy lunch & drinks in Pioneer Sq that respects and honors a persons birthday feel free to enjoy either the J&M, New Orleans Cafe, or Contour just to name a quick few. Now it's time for me to settle my nerves with some 51.5% Fighting Cock.

Peaceout and enjoy,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Bite 2008

Holy Shit! The Bite of Seattle always creeps up on me and then next thing you know I spend the following day hung over, full for weeks and sad that the Bite reminds me summer wont last forever.

For the last few years it has become an annual tradition for myself, babs, leroy and carbo to over indulge. Apparently over 500,000 people attened the 27th annual event this year over the span of three days, we went on Sunday. Carbo and I attempted to take the monorail to the center to meet our eating partners but it was broken down. wtf. So we walked over to the Seattle Center and all met up by the fountain. As always our first stop was The Alley, now hosted by Mr. Tom Douglas. For $9.50 you can sample seven items from a handful of Seattle restaurants and all proceeds from The Alley benefit Food Lifeline. The menu changed from Fri-Sun and after looking them all over, I really wish I would have been able to sample Friday's menu. Anyway, below is the plate followed with what is represented.

Chocolate Gelato - Delicious, smooth, rich in flavor but low in fat, this is Gelatiamo's Chocolate Gelato
Porchetta Sandwich – Pork roasted with garlic, fennel and herbs on a rosemary roll
Al Boccalino
“Ancient” Roman Meatballs – Meatballs with red wine, honey, cumin, celery and fresh peas
Crispy Skinned Blue Prawns with Corn Soup and Basil
Green Leaf
Grilled Beef with Lemongrass – Thin-sliced rare beef steak and pork belly grilled on a lemongrass skewer and served with an anchovy pineapple dipping sauce
Cumin Scented Leg of Lamb, Pita, Tzatziki
Brasserie Margaux
Smoked Salmon Éclair – Smoked salmon and dill éclairs with goat cheese, capers and Walla Walla onions confit Balsamic glaze

My favorite taste was the corn soup from Crush, followed by the pork sandwich from Volterra...as a group traveling with a Fishatarian, we did some trading of bites too. Another part of The Alley is the wine tasting that we also always particpate in for $6.50 you can sample two Washington wines and listen to some smooth jazz. (Get your grown on. )I do not know much about wine, nor do I really remember what I drank....except for the dare I took to taste the blackberry wine, which was not awesome even though the presentation bottle was covered in medals.

After leaving the Alley we headed to the beer garden but not before grabbing some snacks to take with us. Below are a pork sandwich and beans from Famous Daves and some Schezuan green beans from Twist.

The sandwich was pretty tasty, not very memorable though...and the beans were too sweet

These green beans were really good, and the sesame seeds made them extra tasty!

While waiting for L. to meet us we kept laughing about the horrible California Pizza Kitchen cheese pizza that Babs brought into the beer garden. It was hot mess. I am so disappointed in myself that I dont have a photo. When L. arrived we walked out and he hit up Bambuza to get a plate of grilled chicken skewers and some soba noodles, I also dont have a flick of this plate, but it was good and well....exactly what you would expect. We also grabbed a few egg rolls, which were really nice. Babs rushed off to get in the corn line and when we walked up she was there with 4 ears of corn. Perfection.

After the corn we headed down towards the part of the park we had yet to visit and stumbled upon this small lane of little restaurants with small bites...aka "Just A Bite" This is where we ended up finding the 1st place winner for best entree at Divine for their spanakopita. While waiting in line for the greek feast someone showed up with some pasta...which I never got to taste!!!

Besides the spanakopita (which holy shit, I cant find a photo) we also had some phyllo stuffed with pork on top of arugula... and some lavender ice tea.

I was really impressed by Divine's food and I think I will plan a special trip to dine at their location up on Roosevelt. After this I really thought we were gettin close to being done, but instead we headed back to the wine garden and shared a nice bottle of red wine and got down on some of the free Ghirardelli chocolate squares.

After the wine, we decided it might be time for some dessert and we were on the hunt for some strawberry shortcake. Instead of the shortcake, we ended up at Klaissique Kollections’ where L. got a sundae and carbo ordered us some amazing catfish. The catfish won second place in the best entree competition and it was one of the best things I ate all day! Babs also threw a couple fried mozzarella sticks to the mix, but I really at this point have no idea where all the food was coming from!

Brownie Sundae!

Fried Cheese!


Really at this point we should have just walked home, instead we walked right into another beer garden....and then realized there was an entire section of the Bite that we didnt even visit...oh yeah we needed to find the Alligator on a stick. Too bad they were out of gator but leroy found another replacement. Cheesecake dipped in chocolate on a stick...

I almost died just after taking a few small bites.

Next we went back to Babs and leroys spot and drank some more wine on their deck...this Bite really takes the cake as far as food consumption. I would even venture to say that it comes close in the most alcohol consumed category.

See you next year Bite of Seattle, better bring more gator. Divine your spanakopita better be just as good if I have to take a damn bus to eat it and take a picture.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

North Bend

I totally spaced having these pics on my phone. Last month on our way to spokane and then onto montana we started our road trip with a meal in North Bend. We stopped at the North Bend Bar and Grill and they make a pretty damn good bloody mary and some really tasty sandwiches. I went with the club sandwich and a side of fries. North Bend is an interesting place with several small eateries. I know another contributor to this blog might also have some thoughts on North Bend...

If you are ever in the area, I would stop by if you want something that tastes like a home cooked meal. L. had the meatloaf sandwich which he really enjoyed. My only advice would be to stay away from the chicken strips....they were not on point...straight out the bag. The menu was very large...I am sure you can find something with all those choices and a full bar.

North Bend Bar and Grill
145 North Bend Way

Monday, July 14, 2008

K & S: Extreme Home Edition

the other day m and i were inspired to try out matthew dillon's (sccc culinary program grad and ec of sitka & spruce) "grilled squid with miner's lettuce salad and green sauce" lifted from the best chef's of 2007 issue of food and wine. we're not usually read-and-create people, but it was hot and this salad sounded great. so on the way home from work, m stopped at uwaji's to get some whole squid and the requisite ingredients.

i've never cleaned whole squid, so i just guessed, and i think i did it right. i chopped off their heads and tentacles, squeezed out the innards, peeled out the windowpane cartilage, and peeled off the purple skin. i don't think you have to skin them, but i figured, i don't see too many purple squid bodies in restaurants, so i only left two with their brilliant purple covers.

below i'm rinsing off a cleaned, skinned body. mmm, silky white.

m prepared the "green sauce," which was essentially a flatleaf parsley pesto. he blended anchovy fillets, capers, sweet onion, garlic, green onions, lemon juice and zest, parsley, and olive oil. the entire kitchen smelled fresh and green. i can't even begin to tell you how zesty that sauce was.

here's the remains of some "green sauce" elements.

we were supposed to marinate the squid for at least two hours, but it was realistically more like 30 minutes. the squid bathed in lemon zest and juice, olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, and more flatleaf parsley. wow it looked so good, and i couldn't wait to taste it after 2 minutes on the grill!

m grilled them for (seriously) 2 minutes, then we sliced them up into bite-sized pieces.

while m was grilling, i constructed a simple salad out of arugula (peppery...also my favorite), mini garbanzo beans, and a simple vinaigrette made from lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, and finely-minced sweet onion.

the finished product was both beautiful and delicious. the squid was amazingly tender and sweet a la fresh crab/lobster and was well-complimented by the salad and pesto. i think the squid definitely would have benefited from a longer soak in the marinade, but it was still delicious. it would be a really easy dish to marinate the day before and forget about it...then two minutes on the grill and a salad and toasted slice of olive bread later....dinner.

i hope you enjoyed this special home edition of ketchup and soup....if this recipe is of interest, please feel free to comment and i can email it to you :).

Uwajimaya Village Food Court on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I have been talking about going to Smith for months. For some reason it never happened or I walked in and it was too packed for my taste. I finally made it this past Sunday with some family.

When you walk in, you immediately realize the decor is similar to lots of other hipster dining establishments in the captiol hill area. Whats the deal with the infatuation of taxidermy covering the walls and the dark heavy wood? The thing that makes this spot stand out is that the high ceiling and the open light work well with the somber decor.

The dinner menu is filled with a range of salads, poutine, steak, catfish, soup, deviled eggs, burgers and mac and cheese. This neighborhood pub is very meat friendly but the grilled cheese sandwich for veggies is a definite must. All three of us agreed this grilled gruyere and onion jam sandwich was by far in the top 3 of things we ate.

We started with the deviled eggs which were very traditional but with an extra hint of lemon, the grilled gruyere and onion jam sandwich with butter lettuce and the roast beet salad with mascarpone and horseradish. Like I said the sandwich was amazing, the cheese and bread were very tasty and soaked with butter. The other dish which was on the top of my list was the roast beet salad. The light combination of the mascarpone and horseradish served as the perfect vehicle for the mixed greens.

We also enjoyed the ham n' cheese donuts....which were also very good and salty. I could have used more cheese and less bits of chopped ham but the taste of the pastry was BOMB. They were served in a tasty sauce reminecent of rich béchamel sauce, also a nice touch.

The mac n' cheese was suprisingly the under performer. The sauce was bland and the cheese really didnt shine through. I would not order this again...but I am also biased because I love my own mac n cheese so much that I compare everything to it.

The poutine was interesting, but I ended up really enjoying it. The fries were really nice and cooked crispy but the gravy took a bit getting use to because of the chunks of carrots and ham. With some ketchup the vinegar and salt really brought out more of the flavors.

The cornmeal crusted catfish on top of the hamhock lentils was a really hearty dish. The lentils were nice and complemented the fish very well. I could have used some hot sauce but overall this was a very nice plate.

I totally need to go back to Smith and try the pork shank as well as eat another one of those grilled cheese. I am also interested in testing out their brunch which includes breakfast standards like biscuits and gravy and ham n cheese omelet.

Monday - Friday 4pm- 2am

Saturday - Sunday
Brunch 10am-3pm
Dinner 4pm-2am

Happy Hour Daily 4pm-6pm...and M-Thur 11pm-1am too! Not happy hour food but cheaper drinks!

Reservations for parties 6 or more, call them! 206-709-1900

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

three to tango

recently i met with a couple old friends for a little catch-up time and tasty beverages at tango restaurant located on the downtown slope of caphill. we had hoped to meet at 600 so we could catch the tail end of their 430-630 happy hour, but due to parking difficulties, we didn't arrive until about 630. dammit.

subsequently, we were forced to order small plates off the dinner menu. as for drinks, L ordered a pomegranate martini, M a gingerale, and I a glass of vinho verde. crisp, refreshing, and a perfect accompaniment to three small dishes.

we started with the beet escabeche, which was a plate of red and golden roasted beet rounds topped with a quinoa, tabouleh-style salad. the quinoa was perfectly toothy, drizzled with walnut oil, and brightened with tomato and lemon. when i read "escabeche," i was expecting something more vinegary and spicy, which has been my experience making fish escabeche myself. tango's interpretation, however, was different but still enjoyable.

our second dish was my favorite: green beans and harissa. it was perfectly simple, a little spicy, and just the right amount of nutty/rich with the pine nut sprinkling. the green beans were pan-roasted then sauteed with tomatoes and harissa. my only very, very tiny, nit-picky improvement would be to toast the pine nuts. that's it. and that's super picky, i know.

our final appetizer was a pineapple tuna poke garnished with a fried plantain slice. i thought this was the least successful dish; the tuna was screaming for an acid much stronger than the mild, sweet pineapple; the small wakame (seaweed) salad top hat was a little slimy and bland; and the presentation could have used a little more thought that none at all.

even though the poke was a letdown, the rest of my abbreviated trip to tango was quite enjoyable. the menu is very straightforward, and i would love to spend more time there for a proper dinner, but it is a little on the pricey side for any day of the week. the happy hour is really where it's at, but make sure you scope a prime parking spot so you don't miss it. :)

about a year ago, M went to Tango for a big vendor dinner where they sat at chef's table and he basically prepared an omakase feast for him and his cohorts, capping off the meal with glasses of port. he had a great time and couldn't stop gushing about how great the food was. unfortunately, i don't have a corporate expense account; so until then, i'll stick to the HH menu.

Tango Restaurant & Lounge
1100 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 583-0382

Restaurant Hours
Sun-Thurs: 5pm - 10:30pm
Fri-Sat: 5pm - midnight

Lounge Hours
Sun-Thurs: 4:30pm - 11pm
Fri-Sat: 4:30pm - 1am

NB: half-price bottles of wine every monday!!
Tango on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

mio viernes oaxaqueno

when i used to live nearby, la carta de oaxaca used to be a great option for a quick, inexpensive (early) dinner. the only problem with this place is that it gets so packed so quickly! la carta is open for both lunch and dinner with a two hour siesta between shifts.

i love the dining room: red, brick walls; rustic, white, shared tables; black-framed/white-matted photos of la vida oaxaqueno; rattan chairs; and a salsa bar. sheesh i love salsa bars. the menu (carta) is a simple, well-executed mix of moles, tacos, and seafood dishes.

our party of five started off with chips and guacamole accompanied by a mix of pico, chipotle, verde, and roasted tomato salsas from the aforementioned bar. the chips were hot and, dare-i-say, over-salted. they were good, but not moose-good.

B ordered the mole negro oaxaqueno (the house specialty!). this mole was served with olive-oiled white rice, chicken or pork mole, and freshly-made tortillas then sprinkled with a salty, dry oaxaqueno cheese. delicious and devoured.

A sampled the tamales de mole negro. what made this dish oaxacan is the banana leaf wrapper in place of the traditional corn husk. the leaf imparted a distinct banana aroma and flavor...so much so that A swore there was banana in the masa dough. i tried a bite of the masa, and it was oddly banana-y, but im sure it was great with the deep, umame-ness of the mole.

M and i shared the tostadas de camarones which were simple and straight-forward. the chopped, lime-laced shrimp was mixed with tomatoes, jalapeno, avocado slices, and garnished with queso oaxaqueno. perfecto.

M selected the tacos al pastor filled with barbecued pork chunks, cilantro, chopped onion, and salsa verde. they looked and smelled refreshing and summery and were served with a lime wedge and lightly-pickled radishes (one of my favorite taco accompaniments!).

E also ordered the mole negro oaxaqueno...again, tasty!

lastly i tried the sope caldo, which was a large bowl of fire red, spicy broth filled with bone-in, skin-on fish chunks, carrots, potato, green beans, and zucchini served with fresh tortillas. the broth was spicy-spicy in a good way and especially delicious after i squeezed in some lime and threw in the juice-less body. i really enjoyed cupping broth out of the bowl with pieces of tortilla and would definitely order this dish again in repeat visits.

please enjoy la carta de oaxaca for lunch or an early dinner since the wait can be intimidating in the later evening hours. M's only complain was that the servings were quite small, and he was hungry even after he and B shared a second plate of tacos carnitas.

la carta de oaxaca
5431 ballard ave

La Carta de Oaxaca on Urbanspoon