Locanda Verde and Staple and Fancy: On Restaurant Design

The other day, as I sat in Staple and Fancy Mercantile and tried to pin point exactly what was so pleasant about where I was, it suddenly hit me: Like Locanda Verde in Manhattan, it seemed to be perfectly designed as a restaurant. Staple and Fancy is the latest addition to Ethan Stowell's restaurant empire in Seattle, while Locanda Verde is my favorite stop from an epic eating adventure I recently had in New York From the moment I stepped into Locanda Verde, I felt like it was the best designed restaurant into which I had ever stepped. Each design element (like, say, the random silver … [Read more...]

The Meat and the Moose

It all added up to me having no desire to go there. I didn't need another "Mexican" breakfast that involved American style egg dishes dressed up in sombrero and sarapi, or their edible equivalents. Sometimes I hear so much about restaurants that I begin to resent them, to make assumptions about them and the people who like them, so much that they cease to have any draw for me. Señor Moose in Ballard was one of those places. For a time it seemed like everyone wanted to know, had I been there? Did I know how wonderful their Huevos Ahogados were? Why hadn't I been seen standing in the hour plus … [Read more...]

A Summer Soup for a Winter’s Day

What to do with one of those rare winter weekends in which I'm not on the ski hill? I had a birthday brunch for a best friend that just happened to be in perfect position for me to stop at the Ballard Farmer's Market on the way. As a close friend of mine, she's spent over ten years of birthdays with me having to bail early or miss out because I'm never around on weekends, so I was a little thankful for the day off from coaching. After hitting up the farmer's market, I was very thankful. Maybe it was just being away from the markets for so long, maybe it was that there really were a million … [Read more...]

A Swedish Feast

B comes from Swedish stock, a culinary heritage I know mostly from my mother making cracks about lutefisk when we drive through Ballard. But actually, I find it more and more interesting the more I know. Don't get me wrong, I'm not nominating them for world's most complex flavors or anything, I'm just saying it has been fun learning a bit about a new culture through exploring their food.In truth, Swedish food holds a lot of similarities to a cuisine I know a bit more about...Jewish foods. What you've got right up here is a bit of pickled herring. This is the Swedish herring, because, you … [Read more...]

Ballard Bike and Brew

Warning to Mom, Dad and Grandma: Read at your own risk. I really don't need a safety lecture later. Thanks. "See, the difference between driving drunk and biking drunk is that your not going to injure or kill anyone else" What happens when you get woken up by your boyfriends text message alarm repeating the line from the Big Lebowski "You don't fuck with the Jesus" then again three hours later by the alarm going out on your smoke alarm? Well if you are me, you sleep till two and then start drinking. Thus begins the adventures of the infamous Ballard Bike and Brew, complete with bar … [Read more...]

Does Serious Eating Run in the Family?

My little brother is coming to town this weekend. Here is the conversation between the brother and myself: from N to B date Tue, May 13, 2008 at 9:59 AM subject Schedule of Events Ha! I'm scheduling you in for events since  my usual partner in crime will have abandoned me for Japan for the week. Please let me know what you do or don't want to participate in. Sunday: There is a cheese festival at the pike place market. It's supposed to be nice out. And there are cheeses. And wine. Should be a good time. I'll need you here, you don't want to be at a cheese festival with a wussy … [Read more...]

Volterra: An evening out: (8/1/07)

Apparently the suggestions my boyfriend recieved from his coworkers as to where to take me for our dinner last night (looking for fancy Italian, I was being mean and testing his knowledge of me and not helping) were a cabaret show at the Can Can and the Melting Pot. Luckily my man knows that what I want is serious food, no frou-frou tricks or the such, and he had narrowed it down to the Pink Door (eliminated by virtue of us not wanting to go downtown) and Volterra. So he passed the test, because serious food it was, as well as seriously good. We sat out on the patio, just far enough removed … [Read more...]

Wingmasters: Revisited

Many months ago I wrote about a favorite bar here and here. Due to being a bit more conscious of what I'm eating and no longer living in Ballard, it has been a while since we were there. I had written of the leaving of Todd, THE wingMaster. But last night we went back and things were great. A slimmed down, far less alcoholic looking version of Todd was back in the kitchen. The jerk wings were as spicy and tasty as I remembered and the mozzarella sticks (pictured above) just as huge and melty. The place appears to have been cleaned up ("There isn't a trough in the bathroom anymore! There is … [Read more...]

The Old Peculiar

I love pub trivia, and I had heard that the trivia at the OP was legendary, so I decided to give it a shot. I recruited the man and a friend and her man and the four of us went. I got there at 615 to snag a table, though if you stood around and got lucky, you could snag them up until right about 7. But this isn't about trivia.We mostly drank and enjoyed ourselves, though I got hungry and ordered a mac and cheese. I don't expect much from pub grub. In fact, I don't even need the veggies to be on the plate. I liked my mac and cheese--penne and cheese with garlicky bread crumbs on top, to be … [Read more...]

Sam’s Sushi

So I have been to Sam's before and have always enjoyed decent, even good, cheap sushi there. We went for the BF's B-day, though and I was thoughroly dissapointed. Our sashimi was frozen. I could see the ice crystals in my fish. We pointed this out to the waitress, who took the fish back, switched that one fish out, and gave us a different kind. Not more, not switching out other types of fish (which were also frozen) but simply the one piece I had pointed out. She was also unapologetic. When you consider it was a birthday dinner, and we were spending over $100 for a two top, which I'm guessing … [Read more...]