Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Sound of Spring: CheapCheap, CheapCheap

i love seattle deli. it's cheap. it's tasty. it's simple. and it's consistent. (omg, hilarious that this came up in a google search for "cheap, tasty, consistent.") seattle deli's major downfall has nothing to do with the food; it's the parking. the lot is tiny, compact, and just off of 12th and boren, which is a cluster eff on the weekends. however, if you're brave enough to weather this s-storm, a green papaya salad with shrimp is in your future for only $3.50.

above is the cold case, which is full of tapioca, rice desserts, banana leaf-wrapped steamed rice and meat, and a bevy of other unidentifiable items.

the hot case houses several prepared meat and vegetarian dishes which vary daily, but often include some sort of fried chicken stir-fry, a saucy, chili-spiked tofu, various fried rices, soups, sizzled green beans, and seafood dishes.

right at the cashier is the spread of plastic-wrapped, room temperature foods, such as vermicelli salads with beef, tofu, or shrimp, green papaya salads, fried onion tofu, and several glutinous rice desserts. in addition to the shrimp green papaya salad featured below, i also picked up some coconut-covered, glutinous rice strips that come with a dime bag of a salt, crushed peanut, and sugar mixture for dipping. it's the tiny package that looks like pink, white, yellow, and green gummy bears in the front row, if you're curious.

this salad is great. i almost forgot to take a picture because i was so excited to eat it. in fact, this picture is taken about 3/4 of the way through it. damn you, appetite! the simplicity of this salad is exactly what i love about it. it's only shredded green papaya, cilantro, purple basil, and butterflied, boiled shrimp. it's dressed in the traditional epitome of sweet/savory sauces: fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and chili. delicious.

the salad and dessert set me back about $6.00. i wish i saved the receipt so i could tell you exactly how much it all was, but i handed a five and two one's and there was a handful of change.

Seattle Deli on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 24, 2009


the other day my coworker and i were shopping at tj's and had a mini cup of the day's sample: chipotle ranch fries.

simultaneously, we both had a hankering for some serious, hot french fries, and agreed that blue moon burgers just around the corner from our office was exactly what we needed. i wasn't aware of this, but BMB offers half priced food every wednesday during their happy hour.

since both G and i stay at work on the later side, we decided to snack during the day and snag burgers at 3 (hh from 3-6). after an excruciating wait for BMB's happy hour, G rang me up about 5 to 3:00 and asked if i was ready. i already had my coat on with wallet in hand, and we dashed out the door.

the interior is pretty classic burget joint. the walls are covered in local show and event posters, and the floor is checkered red and white. there are two levels; the first is lowered with plenty of tables and chairs (note: no booths); the second is elevated about 6 steps with a soda fountain, condiment station, a few tables, and the kitchen.

though this picture is from blue moon's fremont location, it reminds me that yes, they DO serve beer (what's the point of happy hour without special beverages, right?!?). also, take note of the chalkboard menu, which is also available for viewing on their website.

i ordered the southwest burger with a grilled original garden burger. i'm not a huge garden burger lover, but with all the accoutrements, i needed a clean slate to taste the combo of buffalo mayo, jalapeno bottle caps, and onion/lettuce/tomato. the jalapeno caps were THE SHIT. holy cow, thick buttons of battered and fried jalapenos should be added to everything. they were juicy, not too hot, and fresh.

my burger was juicy, incredibly flavorful, smoky, and hot (both temp and spice). the kaiser bun was fresh, tender, and not too bready (i usually end up picking off some bun because it's too big and overlaps the burger like a fluffy curtain). the patty and fixin's lined up perfectly with the edges of the bun, a characteristic i never knew i wanted but now am in love with. the buffalo mayo and jalapenos were the perfect amount of heat for me. i thoroughly chewed each jalapeno to release all the of the flavor and spice, leaving my mouth tingly for several minutes (yay!). this burger was transcendent. i was glowing and couldn't stop talking about it!

G ordered the classic hamburger with a kobe beef patty. the funny part was that we took our orders to go and ate them at our respective desks. i ate mine so quickly that i was embarassed to get up and see how hers was. about half an hour later, i walked over to her desk, and she said it was amazingly delicious and she devoured it like a vacuum.

and how could i fail to mention my check total: $3.79 (and that includes the extra $.50 for the veg patty!)

blue moon burgers, i love you. i love you so much i made you my FB status (nerding out, admittedly) and i told all my friends. G and i are even starting a new wednesday tradition: BMB happy hour.

thanks for the memories, BMB, i'll see you in a few days.

Blue Moon Burgers on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 23, 2009

Oddfellows Cafe & Bar

Although we had to wait for a seat in the packed cafeteria it was worth it to try out the new spot on Capitol Hill called Oddfellows Cafe & Bar. The owner, Linda Derschang, also operates Linda's, Viceroy and Smith. I guess this place is still considered new even though it has been on 10th for over a month. I was there for dinner, but I couldn't help but be thankful that they also offer an early breakfast menu starting at 7am. We need more casual breakfast spots on the hill much more than another 21 dollar burger.

When you walk in, you immediately realize you are about to be seated in a dining room filled with a lot of cafeteria style tables on a small benches really close to other people. However, when we sat down I didn't seem to care we were sharing a table with someone....thank god, they don't pull that shit where they sit a random person across from you. I cannot stand that crap, its like eating in the dining cart on the Amtrak train. No thanks. The decor is very Capitol Hill, whatever that means...lots of random nods to the past including a large vintage war photography and a huge American flag. It definitely felt a little Men's or Eagles Club. The exposed wood, brick and white paint next to the large open windows made the room feel huge but it was also very warm. The bar area seemed awkward because it didnt allow for people to be corralled so they were just standing along the front of the restaurant waiting to be seated.

We started off with a few drinks. My brother was the only one who went with something off their specialty cocktail list which contained about 5 drinks. He was surprised at the pink color and the old wine glass it was served in. This was basically an 8 dollar gin and juice. I knew I should have written this down because just like a lot of Capitol Hill spots they have a pointless website with no information about the menu just the address and hours. Hopefully they will update it soon, so I can figure out what to have for breakfast on my way to work.

Very similar to other dining experiences with my brother he ordered a lot of things to get a good idea of what the menu had to offer and if it was going to be a place he would return too. So we ordered all the sides including Crispy Pork Nuggets, Fries (with special sauce) and Mac and Cheese.

Hands down those pork nuggets were amazing. I mean deep fried pork? That has got to be a winner. Come to find out the side came with 8 nuggets, b. and I both only got one each before my bro and L. ate them all up. Jerks. The fries were thick cut and salty, not too greasy and pretty hot. The special sauce was like a sweet marinara, not bad. The biggest disappointment was the Mac and Cheese. I swear...what is the problem with restaurants and their sorry attempts at Mac and Cheese! I know I am capable of making it and it isn't hard at all. Use more cheese and better quality and I think you can make it work. Stop serving luke warm, dry pasta with basically a white non tasting sauce. Gross. I am done ordering it out. That was it.

For dinner we all ordered an item but shared them all with the table. I wanted to try the chicken salad sandwich with tarragon, b. went with the grilled onion and gruyere panino, L. tried the rotisserie chicken and my brother went with the braised pork shank.

Everyone raved about the chicken salad sandwich. My biggest problem with it was the hard panini bread it was served open on. I had to cut it up to eat it and I needed a steak knife to get through it. It became quite messy but it was very good tasting, very flavorful and the tarragon was perfect.

b's sandwich was not very good, it looked like they over oiled it and put it in a sandwich press complete with ridges on the soaking weak bread. It was just boring and overpriced for a shitty grilled cheese. If you want a good grilled cheese with onions go to Smith.

L.'s chicken and greens were tasty. Just a simple baked half chicken dish along with mashed potatoes and decent flavors. Kind of boring.

Ending out the entrees was my brother with the pork. It was so tender it fell off the bone, this tasted quite good and you could tell they put a lot of love into it. The creamed cabbage mixed up with crispy bacon on the side was nice but the lentils under the pork were killing the dish, they were amazing and full of pork juice.

The service needs some help because we waited really long for food and had a hard time tracking anyone down for additional drinks. Several servers graced our table, one who took the order, one who brought the food and one who brought the water. It was confusing. They were all very nice however, I think they just need to get it together while they move through the newness of the restaurant. I will go back and try other things including breakfast and lunch. You might be interested in checking out their salads, shepard's pie, beef stew, blt and so on...just be prepared to pay around 8 dollars for sandwiches without the 6 dollar side. Or go for the 14 dollar full entree.

1525 10th Ave
(between Pike St & Pine St)
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 325-0807

Mon-Thu. 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Fri-Sat. 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Sun. 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Oddfellows Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

in honor of president obama's inauguration...

seattlejew.blogspot.com provided two patriotic cakes for my building's inauguration viewing "seminar" (read: party). the inauguration speeches were great, as expected, and the orin smith auditorium in my building is pretty sweet, too!

i hope you all enjoyed the induction of our 44th president this morning. i wish i could share this cake with you!

nb: if you look closely, uncle sam is actually black!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Emerald Queen Casino: The EQC

No we didn't gamble because we were there to see a concert. An awesome concert to be exact. I have been a fan of Musiq Soulchild for years, he is always putting out quality music and I absolutely love his voice. The venue was packed and he sang for almost two hours. It was a great show. Overall, an amazing ladies night.

After the show we all needed to get some food, and since EQC has a few restaurants we took to the grand staircase to see what the International Restaurant had to offer. We were seated fairly quickly in a dining room very reminicant of a Old Country Buffet but were spoiled with the maroon cloth napkins. Classy. The menu had everything from salads to sandwhiches along with a fairly large section dedicated to chinese american.

First up was the drink order. I was surprised to see the prices under 5 for most drinks. Well A. and I splurged and went with the 5.50 Electric Ice Tea. I think it tasted like sour lemonade and needed more alcohol, but I also heard it may have come out of a gun. Oh no. Not awesome.

They messed up K and M's order but they sent out the mistake while they prepared their appetizer. If I remember correctly they were crab cakes, but I didn't taste them or get a pic. I was worried that security would take my phone because they sent a few people to let us know that photos inside the casino was an absolute no. Point taken, especially when they sent the female security guard complete with a headset and a green windbreaker. I was unable to get photos of the other ladies food without drawing attention to myself but "straightened hair" M. got a burger and A. had a chef salad and everyone enjoyed a few sides of the steak fries.

After the crab cake mistake, K. and M. got their portobello mushroom caps and side of fries. M. said she was impressed by the quality of food at EQC...and the app prices were not that bad.

And, I went with the club sandwich, the roasted turkey was very tasty and the perfect amount of salty. The bacon was crispy and had just enough black pepper to give it a kick. I think the thick slice of cheddar was a nice touch and made the sandwich the perfect drinking meal. I liked the fries but didnt think they were hot enough. I also tried not to eat too many beccause I wanted to eat my sandwich! I do like a good club and this one makes my top ten for sure. And, it was reasonably priced at 8.95.

Not sure when I will go back to EQC but, I would eat at their restaurant again...and who knows perhaps with some gambling we could take on their Surf and Turf buffet complete with crab legs and iceberg lettuce salad bar.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy New Year

Well Happy New Year, sorry for the lack of posts on my part. Might as well explain myself, for those who care. A few things contributed to this...First came the start of the holidays which if you are going out to eat then you just haven't gotten invited to enough holiday parties. This time of year is perfect for overeating small snacks and hearty comfort foods. So, first there was Jive Turkey 2008 an annual holiday party that I have attended for the last few years hosted at T's posh West Seattle digs. This year was pretty amazing...nothing like over eating, drinking and dancing in someones living room.

appetizers included m.'s special deviled eggs, they were bomb

picture of my plate mac and cheese, stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes,
brussel sprouts.
so glad my friends can really cook! Shout out to the amateur chefs

Second up was the great Seattle Snow Storm of 2009 which caused me to barely leave my home for a week and a half. Therefore going out to eat wasn't a top priority. Now, I love a snow day here and there just as much as the next guy. Waking up and running to the window in hopes that school would be closed is a fond memory of mine from growing up in Wisconsin. My current job operates on the same schedule as Seattle public schools, so I was out of work for a week and a half. Wow. I will give the city a D on how well they performed in this weather.

picture of snow at cal anderson park by my house
later that week i shared a nice cup of hot chocolate spiked with everclear with l.
ps. dont ever try this drink

One thing we did do during the blizzard was make a gingerbread house...it was a lot harder than I thought and quite messy. L. was not sure what the point was but by the end, we ended up making an amazing piece of artwork and having a good time.

if you cant tell from the theatrical lighting this was inspired by the
infamous stop motion animation flick Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Third, it was Christmas Day dinner at my Mom's. Everyone in the family was in charge of bringing a dish. I seem to have forgotten to take a pic of the apps, by B. which were really nice spreads as well as the kick ass sundae bar prepared by little B. Great job by all, I must say.

I made cornish game hens stuffed with bacon cornbread, L. made broccoli mashed potatoes,
other L. made polenta with veggie chorizo, and B.'s mac and chesse and squash.

And FINALLY, I have been on a detox since January 5th, a raw food detox to be more specific. The eve of starting the insane detox I shared a "good-bye cooked food" meal with some close friends at Honey Court. I also purchased some of their chili hot sauce to go. I cannot wait to eat that after the detox.

you know the regular stuff: chow mein, honey walnut prawns
aka mayo covered swimming rats and a few other things like
interesting ginger chicken that is front and center of the photo.

Now on a solid day 6 of this raw diet I feel pretty good, a bit tired but not hungry. I also got a cold, which I am sure is because all the stuff is trying to leave my body. Needless to say it makes it really hard to go out to eat. A quick idea of what I have been eating includes: raw cereal made up of raw almonds, shredded apple, shredded coconut, a little honey, cinnamon and a splash of almond milk. This is actually so good, I do plan on eating this when the detox ends. If you want to check out some of the recipes check this site. I mean Rawchos? WOW. Another item I enjoyed was the raw spaghetti I made the other night which is pictured below.


A final, big shout out to Juice It in downtown Seattle who hooked me up an amazing raw lunch today. I did however forget to take my phone for any pics. The place is a hidden gem for those trying to eat raw or healthy downtown. I will be back to dining out soon enough. I have a list of places I have wanted to check out.

See you soon.

happy hour surprise

i've been to i love sushi several times over the past ten years but have only recently discovered their new (as of 10/27/08) happy hour. a few months ago, my coworker took me out to lunch as a thank you for watching her dog, so when my girl, M, asked if i wanted to happy hour-it for dinner, i thought, "wtf, why not try out i love sushi's hh at lake union?!?"

$3.00: we started with a wakame salad. i was surprised when three different kinds of seaweed came out on the plate! they were all tender, briny, and tasty. there's one type of seaweed that is kind of rubbery that i absolutely cannot stand, but none of these were of that variety! i loved that they were simply tossed with white sesame seeds instead of overwhelmed with oil or any type of sauce.

$5.00: usually i go for the spicy tuna roll at any sushi spot just as a litmus test. instead, we ordered the spider roll (fried soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber, tobiko, radish) which was tasty, but not as out-of-this-effing-world stellar as mashiko's. the crab was super fresh-out-of-the-fryer hot but severely under seasoned. it just needed a hit of acid, vinegar, lemon, something!

$8.00: the priciest item was the variety sashimi plate which comes with your choice of albacore, salmon, maguro, and/or yellowtail. this was by far my favorite dish of the afternoon. in the past i've wonder if ordering sashimi at any given place around the city would be significantly better or worse than anywhere else. i'm delighted to let you know that i love sushi's chefs are real pros. each cut was smooth and free of any connective tissue. i usually don't like salmon sashimi because i can never bite through it without looking like a slob pulling silly putty out of her mouth. the albacore was un-effing-believable, too. to be completely honest, every bite of sashimi was better than the one before.

if you're in the SLU area or even downtown and in need of happy hour with a parking space, hit up i love sushi. the food is on point, the prices are fair, and the green tea flows freely.

I Love Sushi on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 5, 2009

a questionable appetizer

i love pickles. i love fried food (who doesn't?). fried pickles seem like a no-brainer, non? over the years i've shied away from this novelty simply because my favorite part is the refreshing snap of biting into an icy cold pickle. a hot, sour pickle sounded disgusting.

along comes the people's pub's fried pickle appetizer. OMG. after a chilly afternoon of shopping post seattle winter apocalype, J and i met up with M and G in ballard for some simple german food.

THESE. PICKLES. ARE. BOMB. get thee to a fried pickle purveyor.

we also ate real people food, but i was so hungry, and the lighting was so dim, that i didn't capture my field roast sandwich, J's spaetzle with cheese and rotkohl, and the boys' meatfest.

People's Pub on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 3, 2009

exquisitely expensive

a little while back our friends (who actually worked on the space) invited us to dinner at spinasse since they had been there several times, raved about it, and told us we should all go some time. the interior is intimate and warm with a handful of small tables and one long, communal table. i love the old lady lace curtains which lend a homey authenticity to the space. the menu is brief, but well designed.

we asked the server for a wine suggestion, and she recommended a nebbiolo since it would be medium-bodied and drinkable before and during dinner. J and i decided on a Vietti 2006 Nebbiolo. fruity and delicious.

the house started us with some bruschetta. the first was fresh ricotta and olives.

the second was spinach and garlic. both were tasty and crisp, whetting my appetite for pasta. i was really into the ricotta bruscetta because it was also dressed with rich olive oil, my favorite.

since we had a party of 5, we decided to get two orders of antipasto misto della casa. below are the chicory/guinea hen/parmiggiano/balsamic salad and spinach fritatta covered in tiles of black truffle.

the other half of our antipasti course was pure meat, well almost: a cherry tomato stuffed with anchovies and dressed with a parsley pesto, vitello tonnato, prosciutto and grissini, and salame with roasted leeks. i liked the anchovy/pepper deal, but there was only one, and there were five of us. even though we got two orders of antipasti misti, that meant splitting two peppers among five guests. what the hell?!? is it really too much to ask for three peppers per $28 plate? i didnt eat any of the meat, but i was told it was great. M's favorite was the vitello tonnato, which is a traditional dish of tender veal topped with a smooth mixture of tuna, olive oil, and capers.

we also ordered a couple of vegetable sides. the first was a simple ceci con limone e prezzemolo (garbanzos with lemon and parsley). it was simple, tasty, and well-prepared, but J also made this dish a few days later at home, and it was just as good. i know spinasse is a whole experience, but sometimes it makes you question the bang-for-your-buck factor.

the rape saltatti (sauteed turnips) were tender and savory, sauteed in their own greens. also pictured are the ravioli di tapinambur al burro e salvia con pignoli, or jerusalem artichoke ravioli with butter, sage, and pine nuts. they were delicious, fresh, and well-paired with two of my favorite ingredients, sage and pine nuts.

J chose the maltagliatti (wide irregularly cut pasta) with hedgehog mushrooms and butter. i really enjoyed this dish as well. the pasta was perfectly toothy and obviously handmade to order. there is no substitute for fresh pasta.

unfortunately i didn't capture G or M's pasta choices, but they were tajarin al ragu and tajarin al burro con salvia, which are both thin, handcut pastas with a meat sauce and sage butter. the tajarin was also tasty, toothy, and refreshing. however, i don't know if i would return to pay $19 for a small bowl of pasta with butter and sage.

after we had all finished our pasta courses, we completely forgot that G and M ordered the braised goat! it came significantly after the pasta simply because it took that long to cook, but M and G said it was worth the wait. the goat was falling-off-the-bone tender, naturally sticky sweet, and perfectly reflective of fall flavors. we asked the chef how he cooked it, and he said it was only salt, pepper, and garlic on a bed of onion, carrot,and celery. it was really the standout star of the evening.

the overall quality and taste were extremely high, but i don't think i would go there again after G made pasta at home. it was about $400 without tip (i think) including two bottles of wine. despite the taste factor, spinasse is not a good value. $19 for a small bowl of pasta is pretty ridiculous, and c'mon, only one anchovy-stuffed pepper per antipasti plate?!?! no thanks. spinasse is great, just not worth it.

Cascina Spinasse on Urbanspoon

nb: it's super busy at any given time, so if possible, make reservations!