A dining club for hip, young Seattleites meets once a month for dinner and drinks. High jinks ensue.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Long Time, No Post!

OK everyone... the dining club is back in effect. After taking June off due to the inability of basically anyone to come (though Lenny, Travis and I did have some fine Ezell's chicken -- as Lenny pointed out it came to about $5/person, which was way cheaper than the Kingfish...), on Sat July 21, the Ladies made a triumphant return at Cafe Presse. Lenny picked Cafe Presse after getting a recommendation from a co-worker (?) and reading some great reviews in the paper.

Definitely had a cool vibe to the atmosphere. It's definitely a hip, Capitol Hill kind of place. I didn't eat much (tomatoes served with olive tapenade; I had to ask for bread on the side though and earned a death glare from our waitress for the request) because I had the jitters from the out of the blue, random "I've been crazy about you for so long" bus stop confession and kiss from this guy who I've known (but not very well) from around the neighborhood for the last couple of years. Sorry, Lenny, but the confession/kiss was actually the highlight of the night for me... although the brownie we shared later at Flying Fish was a pretty close second!! Yum-o! I love brownies! Too bad the ice cream on the side had a weird freezer burn texture. Surprising for such a classy restaurant...

Overall ratings (scale of 1-10):

Cafe Press:

  • Atmosphere - 7/10 (loud, but hip)
  • Food - N/A (I didn't eat enough to actually rate this, but everyone's steak frites looked good)
  • Service - 5/10 (due to the death glare when I asked for some bread and subsequent diss when I asked for a refill on my soda)

Flying Fish:

  • Atmosphere - 8/10 (classy, fun)
  • Food - 10/10 for the brownie; 4/10 for the ice cream
  • Service - 10/10 (our waitress was sweet and fun and personable!)

Yay, thanks for another fun night, Ladies!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Urbanspoon & SevenNites

OK, this must be Wendy-has-bloggorhea day...

This is a newish, super coolest site for people who LOVE dining out! My favorite feature -- you can vote on literally hundreds of Seattle restaurants to say if you like it or don't like it... You can also really easily get reviews on restaurants from local papers and see restaurants in specific neighborhoods. This is the most comprehensive site I've ever seen!


And here's a site that was developed by a UPS alum, who I actually worked with at UPS (not that he'd remember me). He also loves happy hour, so he created this searchable database of Seattle happy hours! You can set certain criteria (neighborhood, hours, days, etc.) and search for all restaurants meeting the criteria.

SevenNites Happy Hour Database

And Speaking of Asian Cuisine...

Here's an article about Burger King adding Spam to its menu in Hawaii. Mmmm, spam musubi...

Who Loves Spam? Asians!

From the Geniuses Behind Blue C Sushi

...... Comes a ramen/soba house on Capitol Hill!! Love it already and it doesn't even open until fall!!

Yay, ramen!

Blue C Sushi team to introduce Seattle to Japanese-style noodle house

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Kingfish Cafe & Steelhead Diner

Two late posts. Apologies, apologies. Life is crazy as always.

Kingfish. Where to start... I'm going to start with dessert because that was truly the most remarkable part of dinner... which isn't to say the rest of dinner was bad -- everything was fantastic, but dessert was unforgettable! We had a party of 8 people (no Tia this month) and yet when we ordered 4 desserts to share, the waitress looked at us and said, "Y'all are crazy."

I beg to differ. I think it's the cake cutting person at the Kingfish who is C-razy with a capital C. The dessert portions are obscene. I don't think we even ate 1/3 of the total mass of dessert that they delivered to our table. If I recall, we had chocolate cake, red velvet cake, white cake, and pineapple upside down cake... each served with a giant mound of whipped cream on the side. The cake slices probably weighed 5 pounds apiece, and probably resulted in each of us gaining 10 pounds within 20 minutes. Sigh, the pineapple upside down cake was the bomb. This wasn't no box cake mix. The fresh pineapple slices were coated in delicious, gooey caramel. Heaven!

For dinner I had the vegetarian griddlecakes and a side of cornbread (the best!). The griddlecakes are tasty, but not necessarily my favorite item on the menu. I really love the rice & beans, chicken salad, and mac & cheese. (Actually, after visiting the Kingfish for dining club and then raving about the desserts to my family, I took them to the Kingfish twice when they visited in May.)

Yay, good pick, Jerrod! Definitely a Seattle classic!

Kingfish Cafe in Seattle

Re: the Steelhead Diner.

This was my pick. And I blew it. And I HATE to blow a pick!!! (That sounds weird, doesn't it?)

OK, so I had heard rave reviews about this restaurant from at least one of the Seattle papers as well as from ex-Bachelor #2. Since he turned out to be crazy, I guess I shouldn't have put so much stock in his opinion, although he was right on about Palace Kitchen.

In any case, this is a restaurant definitely geared towards the tourists. My first pet peeve: even if you tell the server, "No, were not out-of-towners, we're all locals," they still launch into the same totally canned, overly detailed spiel about getting their ingredients fresh that day from the fish vendors, and Uli's sausage, and Beecher's cheese, etc. For the love of God, I know many of the PPM vendors on a first name basis, I don't need a map and menu for every freakin' stall!

Second pet peeve: Our server was conspicuously absent for long stretches. OK, so in every meal, there's a basic order of events. You are seated. Then the busboy brings you water. Then 5-10 minutes later the server comes and takes your drink and/or appetizer order. Then he comes back another 5-10 minutes later with your drinks and takes your meal order, duly noting any special requests. Eventually (ideally within, say, 20-30 minutes) he brings you your food. Then he comes back in about 5-10 minutes to check in and make sure you're happy since he wants a big tip. Then when everyone's given signs that they're done with their meals (i.e., people are no longer eating or are pushing their plates away), he comes back and asks how the meal was and if you want to see a dessert menu.

OK, so my pet peeve is that we had to wait like 20-30 minutes between each visit by our waiter. And I don't think he ever checked in with us after we got our food... Otherwise he would have found out that Lenny's burger, which was ordered "medium well" actually had bits of red, raw ground beef falling out of it because it was so rare. (It actually looked more or less like how I like to eat my burgers - raw meat! Yum!!)

My food (halibut) was actually delicious, though ridiculously tiny... as far as portion size goes, it was a serious contrast to the generous, oversized portions of delectable goodness served at the Kingfish.

My third pet peeve: Instead of comping Lenny's burger, the guy offered to comp us a dessert and said his manager wouldn't let him comp the burger... Which basically meant that instead of all of us going down the street to get gelato (as we decided to do during one of the many lengthy lapses between visits from the waiter) we basically all had to order dessert and fork over more bucks at the Craphole Diner. Dessert was good, though I can't even remember what I ordered, so it couldn't have been outstanding.

My fourth pet peeve: After making a big deal about comping the dessert and Jerrod's glass of wine (which was a $1.25 upgrade and probably just a mispour), he brought the bill and had added a Pilsner to our tab. This was a phantom beer that no one at our table had ordered. Then he did not seem surprised and had the nerve to even seem a little peeved when we brought it to his attention! In other words, I think he tried to pull a fast one on us.

UGH!!!!!!! I'm never going back!!

Steelhead Diner in Seattle

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Steelhead Diner – 19 May 2007

So the month of May had us dining at the Steelhead Diner located in the “touristy” Pike Place Market. Its gimmick is that they try and buy all their ingredients from the “touristy” Pike Place Market, which is a pretty good idea and works very well, especially for the tourists. In fact the first thing our waiter asked us is if we were all from Seattle. The ambiance is really cool. It was very busy when we were there and the noise level reflected it. The décor was upscale diner. The menus were on our placemats which is a good idea at first but we had utensils, water glasses, and bread plates to contend with while trying to decide what to eat.

Wendy ordered a half order of the halibut special as did Aaron who also order the heirloom beet salad to start with. Travis ordered cod and Lenny ordered the burger medium well (remember this for later). I ordered the Beecher’s (cheese shop located in the market) cheese curds flash fried to start and the pork tenderloin.

I also ordered a glass of merlot but my waiter brought me a Syrah because he said it was better wine but told me he would only charged me for the price of the Merlot, a savings of about $1.25. A nice gesture but I think it was a mis-pour.

I was incredibly disappointed by the cheese curd appetizer. I thought it was going to have a sharp taste but what I got were mozzarella sticks no better than one would find on the menu at Red Robin. A mis-order on my part. It was extremely pedestrian for their menu. All our food was delicious except for Lenny’s burger which came extremely on the rare side. I give props to Lenny for grinning and bearing it and eating most of it. Now I like my burgers on the rare side and I wouldn’t have eaten his burger, it was nowhere near “medium-well”. I would like to add here that once our food was delivered that was all we saw of our waiter.

When he finally came back to help clear our plates, Aaron brought the state of Lenny’s burger to his attention. His response was something to the affect of “well I walked by and everything appeared to be fine.” That was not an appropriate response for the type or restaurant that The Steelhead Diner claims to be. The waiter agreed to comp a dessert so we picked out a nice selection. All were delicious.

When we were finished we finally got the check. At the top of the bill was a pilsner. None of us had beer during the evening. We brought it to the attention of our waiter and he wasn’t apologetic. He just said, “Oh, I’ll take that off.” No “I’m sorry”, or even an “oops”. It was quite fishy (no pun intended). So over all, really good food! And really bad service! I think we all agreed we would never go back.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Black Bottle

This is one of Belltown's finest... Have now been there twice. A couple of the dishes from my first visit (with Dan & Hannah) were so amazing I kind of *influenced* Rico & Jerrod to order a couple of the same items.

Dan, Hannah, and I had the mussels, hanger steak, and chicken & dried cherry flatbread. The mussels were good -- but the hanger steak and chicken/cherry flatbread were amazing. But the truly memorable dish was the dessert: a peach and blueberry tart served with a jar of whipping cream. Yum! That dessert is on my list of all-time faves... So Jerrod, Rico and I ordered (very similar menu): hanger steak, chicken & dried cherry flatbread, and fried tofu served with a peanut sauce. We also ordered the peach and blueberry tart along with a chocolate cake that was served with vanilla gelato. I was kinda "meh" on the chocolate cake. I still loved the peach and blueberry tart.

We also had a super hot (straight) waiter who checked in on us a few times. There were many hot guys to check out. Rico, Jerrod, and I have no gay-dar, but I think it was pretty split between straight guys out with their girlfriends and gay guys out with their hags.

Black Bottle would make a great first date restaurant. The food is inventive, but accessible, and there's just a cool, hip but casual vibe. I love all the unique light fixtures and the fuzzy, upholstered sliding barn doors.

Black Bottle in Seattle

Friday, March 30, 2007

Update: Where We've Been and Where We're Going!

Where We've Been:
Aaron - September 23: Paseo Caribbean
Hannah - October 21: Tilth
Tia - November 18: Kabul
Wendy - December 16: Baguette Box
Rico - January 20: The Mediterranean Kitchen
Travis - February 17: Tutta Bella
Lenny - March 17: Lark

And Where We're Going:
Jerrod - April 21: tbd/Volterra??

Wow, Ladies! We've already made it through one rotation! We've had some excellent choices and I'm sure April will be no exception.

So the big question is: Who picks in May? Could it be Dan??? I sure hope so!

If not, then I assume we'll just start the next rotation with Aaron picking in May, Hannah in June, and so on. In any case, everyone should start thinking about their next picks! I've already got one in mind for my next pick, which will be in August/September!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A quick note...

Just an FYI, Seattle Magazine's "Best Restaurants" issue is out on newsstands now... I noticed with a quick glance through that both Lark and Tilth made it into the top ten! We're so trendy!