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Mr. Bill

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  1. There's a several good Japanese restaurants nearby (196th & 44th). Lately, I've been spending my northend sushi dollars at Edina. It's fairly new, the owner moved here from Colorado. He creates some pretty plates and is a nice, amiable fellow. Sit at the bar. Open till 3pm for lunch! Kind off diagonally across the intersection, in another small strip mall, is Sushi Matsu. It's the only place I know that plays traditional Japanese music in the background. Nice! It's a small family run place, friendly waitresses, but chef/dad stays behind a wall of sushi boats. Lot's of cooked choices, great lunch deals. Really good straightforward sushi. Zen Garden in Mill Creek, just north of 164th, has one of the most beautiful rooms around. Set in/over a Chinese garden. Pretty good dim sum and good service.
  2. O'Asian has free and easy parking in the garage underneath. My friends and I have enjoyed our dim sum visits here, though not quite to the Yank Sing level!
  3. I've been enjoying the products from Brandy Peak for years now. It's quite interesting to taste the individual varietals side-by-side. So, if you ever get a chance to get to Brookings, plan a trip to their distillery & tasting room, nestled in the woods above Brookings.
  4. Yes! I bought some last Saturday. One, small decent looking root equaled $6. It was plenty spread around 4 people, believe it or not. I used a Microplane to grate it, and it worked great. I asked one of the produce fellows about it, and he told me I would get the most flavor by not peeling and grating it whole. I washed it really well and used a veggie scrubber on it. I think I've only had fresh wasabi once before, maybe 10 years ago! It was quite lovely, and truly does start losing it's essence almost immediately after grating. The produce fellow said they get from somewhere in Washington. He seemed unsure and vague about the details. I only know of the place in Florence, OR. http://www.freshwasabi.com/ But, I just did a quick search and found these 2: http://www.realwasabi.com/ http://www.wasabia.com/ Uwajimaya also had some small slabs of bluefin packed a sashimi last Saturday. So, I had to get one ($39.99/lb!). Yummy!
  5. Ughh! Two days not enough! Since you're starting in Brookings, check out Brandy Peak Distillery if you're into spirits. http://www.brandypeak.com/ In Newport, just south of the bridge on the west side of 101 is a pretty good seafood house/shack with a big crab cooker out front. Sorry, but the name escapes me at this time. In Lincoln City there's Barnacle Bill's and Mr Bill's Village Smoke House for tasty smoked seafood treats. It's been a while, but I enjoyed the Bay House. And a friend highly recommends The Blackfish Cafe. http://www.oregoncoast.org/pages/dining.html Cannon Beach is home to two related brew pubs. Warren House Pub in the south end of town offers up some tasty smoked seafood. I also always stop in at Ecola Seafoods. I'd also have to recommend stopping off at McMenamins' Edgefield. Truly unique. http://www.mcmenamins.com/index.php?loc=3
  6. My wife and I visited last month on vacation from Seattle. The more I read about the restaurant and the chef, the more I wanted to eat there! So, I put it on my short "must do" list. Luckily, we were able to get a Sunday reservation on relatively short notice. Once there, I knew it would be difficult not to stray from my strategy of "everything foie", but I did want to try some of the fresh seafood. I was tempted to start with the seafood platter, (after a pair of the cromesquis!) but, my wife was a little under the weather and didn't feel capable of sharing such a bounty. So, I started with oysters and my wife ordered scallop ceviche and a salad. I swear I ordered a half dozen, but the waiter brought a dozen plump oysters. I suppose I could have declined the additional six, but I figured that this must be a sign from above. I thoroughly enjoyed them. They definitely had a different flavor profile from Pacific oysters. I then moved on to the foie stuffed tempura soft shell crab, just because it sounded so over the top that if I didn't try it, I'd always be left wondering about it! It was decadent, but probably would have been nearly as good without the foie. I guess I'd need to do a side-by-side comparison to make sure! For my entree, I was torn between the "duck in a can" and the foie burger / poutine duo. Having never had poutine before, I figured I might as well have that here. Where else would I ever have it topped with foie?! Not in Seattle! It was an absurdist's delight, though the poutine was a bit salty. It was nicely accompanied by an ice cidre vodka martini. My wife rallied and really loved the Lemon Meringue Pie. I now regret not having the Maple Syrup Pie, but I lacked room for dessert. Many lobsters were served that night and the Bison Ribs looked and smelled delicious. But, I'd have to say that the highlight of our meal was the scallop ceviche. So sweet and delightful. Drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and fish roe. Sublime!
  7. As for Cannon Beach, I'll add a plug for Warren House Pub 3330 South Hemlock, Cannon Beach (503) 436-1130 Homemade microbrews and a menu offering steak, seafood, daily soup and entree specials, smoked port ribs and more. Pool table, ocean view, and beer garden. The menu is a little better than Bill's Tavern (especially if you like smoked foods), but I always try to stop in at both places whenever I'm down from Seattle. There's some really nice smoked fish shops along the coast. I recommend trying as many as you can! In addition to Karla's in Rockaway, there's The Old Oregon Smokehouse. In Lincoln City there's Barnacle Bill's, and Mr. Bill's Smokehouse. Hmmmm. A lot of "Bill" references. Purely coincidence!
  8. FYI: Marco Polo (which I liked for lunch) was replaced by The Tin Fish this spring. It's a seafood centric place with plenty of options for non-seafood eaters. A casual, cheaper place than Arnie's and Ivar's. Been a couple times. First time good (house special fish taco), 2nd time, so-so. I've been to the Italian place in Lake Stevens, but alas! I, too, can't remember the name. Is it Lucca's? Some of my other favorite lunch places: Sushi Zen, Wasabi Bay (Mill Creek), Lana Thai (Everett), and, lately, a pho place (sorry! again lacking a name!) in S. Everett, just north of 4th on Evergreen, where I've have the likes of spicy crab paste pho, bbq duck pho, and chicken stew pho!
  9. GF and I had a lovely time at the bar 2 weeks ago, celebrating my birthday. the friendly and attentive bartender (Shea/Shay?) steared me towards a 20 yr old Van Winkle bourbon. Damn him! The mussels were very tasty and their presentation was sweet. We will be back.
  10. I did, indeed, go back for the Barley Wine Fest. I went last Friday, the first day of the event. (I would have preferred going on a slower day - like a Sunday - but this was the only chance I had.) It was packed to the rafters, but after a few minutes of standing around, my friends snagged a table. It took a few more minutes to snag a waitress, but after that, I'd have to say that we got pretty good service considering the conditions - new place, beer fest, Friday night...Especially considering all of the brandy snifter sized glasses that were being ordered. My friends and I were there several hours and sampled 27 of 32 barley wines! Good times! As for food, 4 of us split one order of fish & chips. It was a sad plate. The infamous frites and greasy chunks of fish cooked too long in oil that had been overused. We all left hungry and went elsewhere for more food. Again, though, I had a good time. The beers were great. Kudos to everyone who was pouring. We were ordering 4 or 5 different beers at a time, and our servers always had them sorted out for us. It was a treat having table service like that for the beer! This was in great contrast to any of the events at the Elysian. (Don't get me started!) Yes, I'd agree that information is lacking with regards to the beers (festival and regular offerings). While it is all about the beers, even beer geeks don't know everything about everything! The bartenders were helpful, but a printed description would be greatly appreciated. And, yes, there needs to be a bottle list. As for a sign, I heard that there is going to be a cool, fire-breathing laser etched glass sign installed soon!
  11. I decided to check it out on Sunday night - recon for the barleywine fest. Got there as the sun was setting. I'd say it was less than half full. Staff were milling about most of the time I was there, trying to stay busy. I was surprised to see a nice, wide screen TV between to two bars. So, I sat closest to it (at the end of the beer bar) because they had the Red Sox-Yankees game on! And, I was there by myself. I had very good, friendly service and very good beer. I was a little disappointed that there were only about 8 true Belgian's on-tap, out of the 45. But, I did have two lovely domestic versions (Anderson Valley and Snolqualmie). [i'll be in Belgium in 2 weeks, and in my research, I've read that pubs there typically don't offer very many beers on tap, but do offer extensive bottled selections.] I also had an Erdinger Weizenbock (Germany), and a Gulden Draak (Belgium). All, rich, strong, malty ales! Yum! I'd be foolish to have done all that on an empty stomach, so I ordered the marinated hanger steak & frites as the accompaniment. It took a while to get out of the kitchen, but it was tasty. Though, it was a little too much on the rare side of medium-rare for me. No problem! I ended up with a perfectly cooked 2nd steak! The fries, however, seemed to be missing their 2nd fry. They were cooked through, but not crispy. Do I have misconceptions about Belgian frites? I guess I'll be doing my own research very shortly! I really liked the space. The rock wall is impressive and the hard bar looks cool situated in front of it. The beer bar is nice and long. All the better for looking at all those taps. (I heard that there is capacity for 65 taps/kegs.) There are windows, along the upperdeck west wall, that lent a nice late afternoon glow to the bar. I like the second level, eventhough it's the smoking area. The cigar room is fun (met up with some friends there at the end of the night). I think it'll be a fine location to enjoy a barleywine festival!
  12. I don't have any children, either, and I've been to the Barking Dog when it's packed. I've always wondered why someone would want to bring an infant to a noisy, packed bar. Anyways, I greatly look forward to the Hard Liver Barley Wine Festival. I hope it's as much fun as the Toronado's.
  13. Mmmmmmm. Blue cheese burgers...I live up the street from Piper's Creek Pub (105th & Greenwood) and their blue cheese burger is quite tasty! Especially on Mondays - 2 for 1 burger night! Some years ago I vowed never to spend $10 on a burger. Then I broke down one night at Bick's. Damn them! I really liked it. I actually thought it was worth the price. Even though I haven't had one recently, I'm sure they're still up to snuff. The burger experience I miss the most is the long gone 318 Tavern. Ahhhh, messy goodness, with copious grilled onions, hand cut fries and cold Bud!
  14. I had the sudden urge to try and replicate a martini I had at "727" (Grand Hyatt-Seattle) last year to serve as a special pre-dinner cocktail: "pumpkin spice martini". I know that they mascerated pie pumpkin and spices in vodka. I remember asking how long they let it sit, but I've forgotten what they told me! I think I was told something in the realm of "a few days". Seeing as I have just a week to go (!) I finally began the process tonight. Nothing like an early start. I scooped out the guts and peeled the pieces of pumpkin. It was a small pumpkin. Enough that seems appropriate to nearly 1.5l of vodka. My plan is to taste test over the next couple of days to see how pumpkin alone tastes. (I'm hoping that it doesn't taste too much like plain squash!) And then I'll add some whole spices, figuring those flavors will get extracted fairly quickly. Hopefully, it'll work. If anyone has some tips or advice, I'd love to hear them. As a side experiment, I put a Celestial Seasonings gingerbread spice tea bag in 1 cup of vodka. I let it steep for 2 days. It seems like it might make a good match with the pumpkin.
  15. So many interesting topics to touch on with this thread... I'll start with a quick dining report. GF & I (and several of her co-workers) went to Oceanaire last Tuesday for the 1st time. We had 8pm reservations and they were slammed, so it took a few minutes or so to get seated. I was looking forward to the dinner (several of the items on the menu that was on-line caught my eye), but the offerings that night were a bit different. And became increasingly different as they ran out of certain things! I ended up ordering simply grilled sturgeon, (a fish I've tried cooking only a couple of times) and the salad. GF had the black & bleu coho and salad. Others at the table had the coho, swordfish (subbing for tombo tuna) and, well, I've forgotten! One in the party ordered the seared scallops off the regular menu, along with the red chili squid. I got to try several forkfulls of the squid. It was tasty. The scallops looked impressive and were not shared(!) Apparently, they were quite good. In contrast to the folks who reported being well fed, portion-wise, at lunch, had it not been for the 3(!) sides of various potato offerings that we ordered (all of which were quite yummy), I would have left hungry after my meal. The salad was really good, but "scant". My piece of fish was perfectly cooked, very nice, and small. And desert (key lime pie) was small. I understand the smaller portion economics of a promotion like this, but my dinner plate was a visual atrocity. Had I not been having a giddy, good time (helped by a bottle of wine) I could have cried. I was served a small slab of white fish on top off a pile of boiled white potatoes on an oversized white plate! There was no thought put into this presentation. It was this off-center sloppy mound of white food. I wished I had saved some lettuce from my salad to add color to the plate. Even a sprig or 2 of parsley would of helped! And the potatoes were watery and tasteless. But, at least everyone else seemed to have plates with more color and accessories. And we both agree that the coho was disserviced by it's preparation. But those onion rings were yummy! Our waiter was great, but our table was too big and in an awkward high traffic area. It took a long time to get our orders out. So, despite having good, tasty food, we both left there with the feeling that we'd probably never go back for dinner. I'd like to try oysters in the bar sometime, but if the bar was anything like it was when we were there, I'd have to pass on that, too. Overcrowded and spendy. On Thursday, I was on my way to meet GF (after checking out the excellent Spain exhibit at SAM!) and walked past Union. I stopped to look at the menu. I then secretly wished to have dinner there that night. I'd have to convince GF that this was necessary. We'd been dining out almost every night for a week. But, the tasting menu looked too awesome to pass up. On our walk back to the car I made sure to walk back past Union. "Oh, you should see the tasting menu", I said, trying not to get too excited. "I want to go in". I only had to whine a little bit. I knew the menu would get her interested, too. It was 9pm and the place was booked, though we could dine in the bar. We had no problem with that! In fact, I'd agree with the previous comments about 2 tops in the dining room being awkwardly situated. I found sitting in the bar by the windows nice. Well, dinner was fabulous! We had a couple of glasses of nice wines to round out the whole deal. And spur of the moment, too! The highlight of the meal for me was seared duck breast. I was in taste bud heaven. Or, my taste buds were in heaven! I wish I could recontruct its preparation, but I'm at a loss. Perhaps the other "e-gulleteers" I ran into can remember the details? We also had a cauliflower soup with dungeness crab, a smoked salmon mousse amuse bouche, a pear sorbet with vanilla oil and the previously mention chocolate pots-de-creme. Wow! It was such a treat and in great contrast to our experience at Oceanaire. Here, the portions are even smaller, much smaller, yet I was fulfilled. The great care in presentation, the lovely flow of service, the great flavors, it all added up to a dining experience that was 10 times more satisfying. Well, I've run out of time and space to ramble on further about the other issues that have been discussed recently. Perhaps tomorrow.
  16. It's fun to be able to taste the oils at ChefShop. You can also do some tasting at Oliver & Co at Pacific Place Mall (6th & Pine). And, I think, at The Spanish Table on Western. There's the truffle shop and another flavored olive oil shop on the east side of Pike Place near Stewart St. The one thing I'd seek out would be smoked black cod! Decadence! I don't know if there's a particular season for its availablity, but I don't often see it. But when I do, I buy some! I like Jensen's Smokehouse. I've also had some from Uwajimaya (which should not be missed) that I liked.
  17. I haven't had the Yukon yet, didn't buy any Copper River king this year (did enjoy the sockeye), but I have had really, really good salmon this year. Last week Larry's had troll caught Oregon king. It was awesome! Cooked up nice sockeye last night. Bought it at Whole Foods, and I'm sure it was Alaskan. The prices I've paid were under $9/lb. At half the price of the "branded" salmon, I'm quite happy to eat these alternatives!!
  18. Not far from The Ark is the Shelburne Inn & Shoalwater Restaurant. http://www.theshelburneinn.com/ http://www.shoalwater.com/pages/hubs/menus.html Love the crab and shrimp cakes! At the opposite end of the scale, much farther south, (just south of the bridge in Newport), is the Lighthouse Deli & Fish Company. Had some killer smoked salmon and other yummy fish treats there last summer. Not a destination in and of itself, but it's very close to the Aquarium and the Rogue Brewery. What's not to love about sitting at a picnic table by the highway on a sunny summer day?
  19. GF & I stopped in for a late lunch a couple Sundays ago. We ordered the pork loin and a Salumi. Two observations: 1) The sandwich preparation was painfully slow considering there was just another couple ahead of us. The construction of each sandwich seemed tedious. I'm all for "slow food" and lazy Sundays, but this just didn't seem right. Perhaps it was a new crew behind the counter. I have 7 years of experience in sandwich/ deli shops, and I can't imagine how they would be able to meet the demands of a busy weekday lunch crowd at the pace we were served. 2) I feel funny complaining about a nice piece of bread, but we both felt that it wasn't the best choice for these sandwiches. I come from Philly, so I know all about how important a good roll is to a sandwich. It was very difficult to bite into the sandwich (I can't even imagine dealing with meatballs!), and the flavor of the bread competed with the fillings. We liked the flavors of the sandwich components, but wished it had been served on a softer roll. As my GF explained it, with the French style name she expected a nice French baguette, but instead we got a chewy,crusty Italian roll.
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