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Deux Tamales in Columbia City


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Among the many bizarre things I did on my vacation (yardwork, freezing cold camping at Mt. Rainier, played a 5-hour game of rummy with hubby), I chowed down at Deux Tamales in Columbia City. I thought it was pretty boring, surprisingly! I had heard so many great things about its sister restaurant in W. Seattle (Les Tamales... never been there), so maybe I was expecting too much.

We ate grilled prawns with an almost flavorless and alleged saffron aioli (boring), a mango and brie quesadilla (yawn on the smoked tomatillo salsa) and a snoozer of a pork chop dish that no amount of the OK glaze could have awakened. The only thing we thought worthy were the mojitos.

It was a Friday night and we got there at 6 (had to rush because we had tix to Hairspray) and the place was dead. When we left a little after 7, the place was still pretty empty. Could this be an indication of where we went wrong? I spent the last half hour staring at Le Medusa, which is across the street. They had a line out the door.

Did I just have an off night? Is this place really good? What about Les Tamales. Blue Heron, ever been there?

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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I haven't been because I can't get past the concept. It sounds like a fusion idea leftover from the 80s. And unless Blue Heron says great things about Les Tamales, now I'll probably never experience this particular fusion.

I really enjoyed my last meal at La Medusa, it will break your heart to know. They passed around some free focaccia while people were waiting, and then I had a nice dish of spaghetti with chicken livers, and some of those Grandma's Greens, a soupy bowl of tender greens with little corn muffins.

Where you should have gone, however, was the newly redone Salumeria on Hudson, because then you could have told me about it. Anyone else been?

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I haven't been too tempted to try Les Tamales, as I'm not keen on tamales (to begin with). The couple of times I have checked out their menu, nothing on it drew me to go inside. I didn't like their fusion concept, either, mamster. I even had some kind of discount coupon for it once that still wasn't enough to draw me in. It's rather expensive for what you get (ie $15 for basically tacos, beans & rice).

For fusion Mexican, I would rather go to Galerias on Broadway. Although I've only been there once, I enjoyed their Nachos w/caviar and and a chicken dish.

That said, I have some friends who love Les Tamales and drive over from Bellevue to eat there.

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In retrospect I'm not sure why we didn't go to Le Medusa. I think it might have something to do with the fact that my friend couldn't get reservations? I can't remember.

Yeah, we should have gone to Salumeria ... we drove by after and it didn't look terribly busy (at least not as busy as La Medusa). Next time I'm visiting my pal in Columbia City, that's where we'll be going.

I think it's amazing what's happening in that neighborhood -- as far as all the great little restaurants go. They also have a fantastic market there that has all kinds of interesting things (see farmer markets post for more).

Other things on my list: Malay Satay Hut Eastside (been on my list forever), Seastar in Bellevue (ditto) and Bahn Mi 88 (although not for a lack of trying). I think I may have to pick up a second job to fund my eating plans.

A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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I hear that, this is an expensive lifestyle...but the only one worth living! heh heh heh.

I recently went to seastar for a small birthday celebration. We had the appetizer tower (Scallops, shrimp, crab cakes), oysters, porchini rissoto, and coconut cream pie.

The apps on the tower were very nice, but nothing to write home about. Everything was nicely prepared and presented, but the flavor stopped short of impressive.

The oysters were very good and I would reccommend them if you like oysters. They have three types available and they were all great.

The rissoto was pretty average, but I was not suprised since we were at a seafood place. I would skip it.

The coconut cream pie was awesome! It had a very thick texture, which was unusual, but turned out very well.

I hear that they have really great lunch specials from their raw bar.

Enjoy!

Ben Schielke

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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For fusion Mexican, I would rather go to Galerias on Broadway.  Although I've only been there once, I enjoyed their Nachos w/caviar and and a chicken dish.

We've eaten at Galerias easily several dozen times. I'm sorry to say, though, that they've gotten really lazy and have managed to let the food slide. And why should they even care? The new location seems to be very popular. In case you didn't see it, here's a Nancy Leson review from 5/02:

http://datebook.seattletimes.nwsource.com/...l&venue_code=85

Kathy

"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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True Kathy!

I've been baffled by Galerias lately and just before they moved. I mean, I always enjoyed the decor in a cheeky sort of way (Them Menus!), but the food has really gone downhill. And people still cite it as their all time favorite Mexican restaurant. What's up? For shame! with El Gallito right up the hill! wink, wink.

I'm with Mamster, I must admit severe curiousity about Salumeria. Has anyone gone yet? I'd like to, but somehow it just always seems so far . . .

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Thanks for the update on Galerias, but sorry to hear it's gone downhill. I havent' been there since well before their move. I haven't heard of El Gallito before. I've been hitting Taqueria Guyames a few times lately.

On a side note, on a recommendation from the Southwest board, I have checked out an interesting cookbook from the library called A Real Texas Cookbook by Matt Martinez. I hope to try a few of the recipes. Jaymes, from Texas has been a treasure trove of great tex-mex ideas, as well.

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El Gallito is on 20th and Madison. So, it's not exactly the convenient Capitol Hill restaurant like Galerias, but it isn't far at all. If you ask, your server will give you a little El Gallito calendar with a smiling girl who proclaims: ¡Por La Pátria! (!) Check it out!

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  • 3 weeks later...

girl chow, perhaps the reason you didn't go to La Medusa is that they don't take reservations for groups smaller than six. When we went there in January (same meal described by Matthew earlier), we had a reservation, but then Matthew's brothers couldn't come, so we had to cancel the reservation. Matthew, his parents, and I still went, but had to wait a long time for a table (around an hour, I think). They did serve us focaccia, and also gave us a complimentary antipasto platter when we were finally seated, which was nice as well as tasty.

La Medusa has a pleasant atmosphere and the food was good, though not necessarily worth waiting in a long line for. It's a little heavy on sardines and anchovies for my taste. (Batgrrl, you should check it out.)

And we still haven't made it to Salumeria! I'm moving it to the top of the dining list.

Hungry Monkey May 2009
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