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Madrona report, part 1


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I had to go to a rehearsal in Madrona on Saturday afternoon. Since I absolutely never find myself in Madrona, I decided we would eat dinner there if I could find an interesting place. I decided on Dulces Latin Bistro because I had read many glowing articles about it.

Before Andrew met up with me, I enjoyed walking along Madrona’s tiny business district on 34th Avenue. It has an artist's colony feel to it. I stopped at Villa Victoria and chatted with the owner, Naomi Andrade Smith. Villa Victoria is a walk-up window serving take-out Mexican food made with great skill and heart. I believe catering is a large part of their business. Chef Naomi was the subject of a Pacific Northwest Magazine cover story on 02/09/03. The food in the display case was gorgeous. Since I had reservations at Dulces and will be back in Madrona at least twice in the near future, I bought just a small tub to take home of some slow-cooked pork. It was cut into cubes and in a thick reddish-brown sauce, very smoky (possibly containing chipotle?). Other offerings in the display case were marinated, grilled chicken on skewers, grilled tofu adobo on skewers, chipotle-rubbed chicken thighs, and tubs of guacamole and several types of homemade salsa. Behind Chef Naomi was a beautiful platter of shrimp that had just been made. I strongly urge everyone to get to Villa Victoria for take-out when you don’t feel like cooking dinner. I’m trying to justify throwing a party so that she can cater it!

There are several other restaurants on 34th that I’d like to know something about: Supreme (interior is sparse, urban, and trendy; menu looked alright), St. Clouds (I believe Mamster wrote something about this recently, but I can’t find evidence of it; they present a lot of live jazz/folk/bluegrass), and Café Soleil (tiny, pretty, and homey-looking, but unfortunately empty on a Saturday night).

It's worth taking a peek inside the purple laundromat.

Madrona Auto is a great moderne stucco structure. I wonder how it escaped Seattle's penchant for tearing down cool buildings.

I met Andrew at the Madrona Eatery & Ale House before making our way to Dulces. This place serves good microbrews, wine, pizza, and other meat and fish dishes. It’s a friendly, welcoming place that boasts a nice fireplace. Madrona Eatery (always hated the word “eatery”) & Ale House actually caters to people with children, and the parents who would really like just to get out of the house and have a cold one. Andrew remarked that only in Chinese restaurants had he seen so many children welcomed. I think it’s great that there’s a non-chain/non-fast food place like this for parents to take their kids. A funny quote from “Waiting for Guffman” kept nagging unkindly at me: “We don’t associate with creative types. We have a Scrabble club. We associate with people with babies.” However, if I ever have kids, you can bet I will be frequenting this place.

Villa Victoria

1123 34th Ave.

Seattle, WA

http://www.villavictoriacatering.com/default.htm

Madrona Eatery & Ale House

1138 34th Ave.

Seattle, WA

Edited by MsRamsey (log)

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Wasn't me talking up St. Clouds, since I've never been there. I do like the eatery; the only times I've been there it was on review meals (it's not exactly conveniently located for us), but I was impressed with the menu. I had a flank steak entree that was awesome--cooked perfectly, loaded with flavor. The pizza and burgers weren't as good as the other entrees, I thought.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I strongly urge everyone to get to Villa Victoria for take-out when you don’t feel like cooking dinner.  I’m trying to justify throwing a party so that she can cater it!

Uuuh... what's that word? Oh yeah, "housewarming"! :wink::biggrin:

Thanks for the report MsRamsey. I've only been in that area a couple times and knew nothing about what was available there.

My former office had their Christmas party at St. Clouds and it was quite nice. If I remember correclty I think we had a buffet of southern-style food. The people were also very nice (except the bartender, who didn't know what he was talking about :hmmm: ).

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  • 9 months later...
I I stopped at Villa Victoria and chatted with the owner, Naomi Andrade Smith.  Villa Victoria is a walk-up window serving take-out Mexican food made with great skill and heart.  I believe catering is a large part of their business.  Chef Naomi was the subject of a Pacific Northwest Magazine cover story on 02/09/03. 

This, from the Seattle Times, December 28, 2003, of interest. I hope it is okay to quote the entire piece, as the link would have been difficult to decipher.

"A truly talented cook can whip up a memorable meal with whatever ingredients life throws her. So it is with Naomi Andrade Smith, a professional chef and amateur historian who mixes her passions for food with a love of history.

When we last chatted, Smith's business was booming at Villa Victoria, her Madrona catering and takeout shop, and she was delving deeper into her family's African-American, Mexican and Chickasaw roots.

In June, Smith shuttered the tiny storefront in order to move her growing business to a bigger building. But just before closing the deal, she had severe abdominal pain that turned out to be pancreatic cancer.

"My stomach hurts me sometimes, but I'm still alive," she said this past fall while recovering from major surgery. Friends brought soup to the woman who before had always cooked for everybody else. "It feels wonderful to accept those gifts," Smith said.

Smith won't reopen her business. Instead, she plans to spend time with her daughter and husband and hopes to study anthropology with an emphasis on Afro-Mexican cuisine. "I want to go to Mexico and find out more about my family and why I'm here. I've never gotten my degree, and if not now, when? If I can run a restaurant, getting a degree is going to be like eating candy."

— Paula Bock

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Thank you for posting this update, S. That makes me so sad. Pancreatic cancer is extremely serious.

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having recently purchased a house in Madison Valley (moving Friday, aieee!), we've just started seriously exploring Madrona food in the last couple of weeks. Here's what we've got so far:

St. Cloud's

Dinner once and brunch once. Dinner with friends varied from not-so-good to yummy. The atmosphere was great: very cozy, although a bit *too* warm -- we were seated in one of the booths next to a window and were happy to open the window a crack to get some air.

Dinner was a mixed bag. The salads were competent but unremarkable. Appetizers of hot wings (tasty and spicy, although the rub tasted like Shake 'N' Bake) and calamari (breading a bit underdone/gluey) were good. My main was a "Saffron-Fennel Seafood Stew": boulliabase in all but name and good. Anita had BBQ ribs w/greens and cornbread. The ribs were good. The cornbread had been made (or more likely finished on the griddle) with what had to be rancid oil. The greens were very sour and uncomfortably spicy -- and we're both registered Friends of the Capsicum. Our dining companions ordered the Parmigiano-crusted pork tenderloin which was crazy good and worth returning for. Dessert was ice cream in various flavors -- very good.

Brunch is definitely worth coming back for. I had house-made corned-beef hash, which was pulled in long strips and cooked with red and yellow peppers and thin wedges of potato. Mmmm! Maybe a bit too "pickly", (tasting of vinegar and pickling spices), but that's a picky, personal opinion. Anita won that morning with soopa-yummy chicken fried steak with bacon gravy. It tasted every bit as good as it sounds, with crunchy, well-seasoned batter, delicious gravy, and even good-tasting meat. Coffee (latte) was good and plentiful.

***Madrona Eatery & Ale House***

Somebody needs to take the Tabasco bottle away from the chef. Nearly everything that we ate there at dinner had that unmistakeable vinegar/red chile zing, including Anita's spaghetti bolognese (complete with nearly a pound of meat in a single serving), AND the bleu cheese dressing on her salad. My french onion soup was passable, although I could have used less thyme. Service was friendly and low-key. BE WARNED -- the Eatery is aggressively kid-friendly. If you go for dinner during prime time (6-8), you run a fair risk of eating dinner in the midst of a full complement of screaming, running rugrats. Total Romper Room.

We're aiming for Dulces next, hopefully this week, although you never know with the moving schedule.

cameron

Edited by seacrotty (log)
i play the rock. you shake the booty.
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If you go to Dulces, let us know if they still point to each dessert with a pen light as they are describing it. That was hilarious.

Edited by MsRamsey (log)

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Share on other sites

Will do. Missed your comment about the kid-friendly Madrona Eatery in my rush to get the post up. <blush>. Yeah, if I had kids (or plans), I'd be stoked about that place as well.

c

i play the rock. you shake the booty.
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