Seattle Bars Staying Open Later?

bar drinksSeattle Mayor is pushing for extending Seattle bar services hours.  The vast majority of Seattle residents agree (although I am not sure I am one of those – I will try to blog about that later) that extending bar service hours would help make Seattle’s streets safer because if there was no mandatory close people would not all pour out in the street at once.  Over 80% of people who responded to the city survey agreed with the Major Mike McGinn and his initiative to extend Seattle bar hours.  On Tuesday, Seattle inhabitants packed the Washington Hall to support McGinn and his plans.   The proposal may take years to go in effect, but McGinn continues to gather information to support the cause.

Next month the city will start enforcing the Nighttime Disturbance Ordinance.  This Ordinance makes loud noises, threats or fighting between midnight and 5am a civil offense. Anyone caught will be the recipient of a hefty $100 fine.

Esquire Magazine Names Seattle Restaurants in Top 10

Canlis

Canlis

Esquire ranks Seattle the 10th best restaurant city in America.  In the introduction it says if you want seafood go to Seattle’s restaurants and in the details it credits the Pike Place Market (and local vineyards) for giving our restaurants access to the ingredients to make great meals.  The article specifically mentions Queen Anne‘s Canlis; Downtown Seattle‘s Dahlia Lounge and Etta’s Seafood; Ballard‘s Ray’s Boathouse; Kirkland‘s Cafe Juanita; Pioneer Square’s Salumi; and Capitol Hill‘s Anchovies and Olives.

Some are classic Seattle restaurants, some are newer, but all had a part to helping Seattle to be ranked in the top 10 for best restaurant cities.

Madison Park’s Bing’s Bar & Grill

Bings

Bing's Bar & Grill

Bing’s Bar & Grill, located in the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle is a great place to eat if you’re looking for classic American dining. Bing’s opens Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 am, as they serve breakfast only these days. The Seattle reaurant’s menu has a wide variety of choices from waffle cakes to steak and eggs. Monday-Friday, Bing’s is open from 11:00 am-9:30 pm. Every day they offer delicious lunch and dinner items and are known for their expertly grilled burgers that can be topped with bacon, bleu cheese, mushrooms and even eggs, just to name a few. Salads, barbecue dishes and sandwiches are also popular choices. Bing’s Bar & Grill, open since 1999, is a moderately priced Seattle restaurant and has a large variety of foods the whole family will enjoy. If you’re in Seattle, take a trip down to Madison Park and have a taste for yourself!  Please visit their website for more details and complete menus with prices.

Fast Food Restaurants and Mayo sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Hamburger

Hamburger with lots of Mayo

What is with fast food restaurants and their love affair with mayonnaise?  If I have a barbecue at my house and make burgers generally I put out ketchup, mustard, and maybe relish and do not think about putting out the mayo.  I can’t think of a time anyone has come up to me and said: Do you have mayo for the burgers?  But I go to a fast food restaurant in Seattle and it seems every burger other than the standard cheeseburger and hamburger comes with mayonnaise.  And if you order a chicken burger it nearly a 100% guarantee they will slap a bunch a mayo on it.  And when I say they put mayonnaise on the hamburgers and chicken burgers, they really put it on.  They do not hold back one bit.

The other day I went Christmas shopping at Big Five in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and I saw Jack in the Box across the street.  So I went an ordered a small #4: Sourdough Jack with curly fries and half and half Diet Dr. Pepper and Dr. Pepper (might as well save a couple calories).  And the second I pulled forward, I thought “Oh, no!  I forgot to tell them no mayonnaise.”  I would have put it in reverse if someone had not already taken my place at the microphone.  So when I got to the window I asked for a plastic knife and pulled over after getting my order and scraped off the mayo.  But that made me think: how often do fast food restaurants, whether in Seattle or where ever, put mayo on their burgers.  Since I just went to Jack in the Box, I went to their website to find out.

When you go to Jackinthebox.com, and click on “Nutrition” the first option is “Burgers and Steaks” under which there are 15 items.  The first item was a Steak Teriyaki Bowl which I did not even look at because if they put mayo on that, then we have a real problem.  That left 14 items, but even then I felt some of the items needed to be eliminated because they were basically the same thing as another item.  For example, there is a Sirloin Cheeseburger and a Sirloin Swiss & Grilled Onion Burger which are basically the same thing except they change the type of cheese and grill the onions instead of red onions, so I only counted those two burgers as one burger.  The same with Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger (just added bacon), Jumbo Jack with Cheese (just added cheese), and a Hamburger Deluxe with Cheese (just added cheese).  Interesting enough I counted the Sourdough Steak Melt and the Sourdough Jack as two separate burgers since they had different condiments on them (Steak Melt did not have ketchup on it).  Finally, the Bonus Jack has “Secret Sauce” on it, so I did not count it since I have never had it, and I have no idea what the secret sauce is.  Thus, that left 9 burgers, and this is what I found:

Yes No
Mayo 8 1
Ketchup 7 2
Mustard 1 8

So out of the nine burgers, eight had some type of mayo on it (for example, some have “Peppercorn Mayo”); seven had ketchup on it, and only one have mustard.  Only one mustard – I love mustard!

I do not know why fast food restaurants love mayo so much.  Maybe another day I will take more time to figure it out.  Thoughts go through my head: Is mayo cheaper than mustard?  Do Americans really like mayo this much?  They must have done studies and mayo scores really well?  But right now those are just my thoughts.  My last thought is: If fast food restaurants love mayo so much, why don’t they marry it?

Lunchbox Laboratory Moves to South Lake Union

Lunchbox Laboratory, is hailed for serving up some of the best and most unique burgers in Seattle since its opening in 2008. The Ballard-based experimental eatery serves anything from American comfort food like tuna casseroles and fried foods, to specialty burgers made with tender-loving trial and error. The man behind the grill is chef Scott Simpson, who also created the Blue Onion Bistro. At the lab, Simpson serves up memorable beef, turkey, lamb and dork (a mix of duck and pork) burgers with a wide variety of toppings and sides. Their current small, retro location in Ballard at 7302.5 15th Avenue N.W., has a chalkboard menu; diners formulate their burgers from a number of columns choosing thier preferred meat, cheese, condiments and toppings. That same pick-your-burger chalkboard is soon to be hanging on a different wall come January. John Schmidt, the owner of Southlake Grill, has partnered with Simpson to open Lunchbox Laboratory’s new location in Lake Union where the Grill currently sits. At 1253 Thomas Street, the new Lunchbox Laboratory will have two levels and nearly 5,000 sf to amaze customers with its creations. Just as the square-footage, the menu will be expanding as well, incorporating dishes that were served at Blue Onion Bistro. The restaurant is set to open January 24th. Sadly, Ballard will have to say farewell to the one-of-a-kind burger joint and head to South Lake Union if they want another taste. SLU residents get ready-something good is coming your way!

It’s not us! It’s the cheese!

Milk CanOne of the most memorable T.V. commercials growing up was the Glad Lock Bag commercial where the onions are upset because they feel they are being blamed for making the refrigerator smell, when all of the sudden the butter says: “It’s the cheese!”

Unfortunately, “It’s the cheese” again.  According to the Seattle Times, one of our state’s most sought after cheese, Sally Jackson, has be recalled due to E. coli.  Sally Jackson cheese is coveted not only be local Seattle restaurants but by gourmet chefs nationwide.  Her cheese has been served in most of Seattle’s most exclusive restaurants.  And her cheese is credited for putting Washington State on the map for artisan-cheese.  Sally Jackson started her cheese in the 1970’s and is still a small operation.  She and one part time helper milk 40 sheep, 12 goats, and a cow.

Hopefully, this issue is resolved soon and she can continue to sell her cheese safely to both Seattle restaurants as well as other restaurants and retailers across the county.

Seattle Restaurant: South Lake Union’s Re:public

re:public

re:public

re:public

re:public

I went to re:public restaurant and bar for lunch today with a group of friends to celebrate the Christmas Season.  Re:public is in South Lake Union on Westlake near the cross street of Republican.  It is located in a cool old brick building that has probably seen a 100 year of changes in the Lake Union neighborhood.  The inside of the Seattle restaurant shows off the brick and the beams of the old building.  The restaurant has a large bar and you could tell that place probably is packed at Happy Hour with all the people that work around there.  I asked my friends and they confirmed it.

The menu looked good.  Not too many items to pick from, which I like when the options are good.  The top of the menu had 3 or 4 salads to pick from, the middle of the menu had about 5 sandwiches, and the bottom of the menu had about 4 items for entrees.  I concentrated on the middle of re:public’s menu where they featured a Kobe burger, Kobe bacon burger, Reuben sandwich, crab melt, and I think a tuna salad.  They all looked good; and I was having trouble deciding between the bacon burger, Reuben, or crab melt.  I went for the crab melt on the condition that my wife ordered the Kobe bacon burger, so I could try it.  Then we started to order and after going around the table, 5 Kobe bacon burgers were ordered and one crab melt.

The crab melt was very good.  I have talked about my love of cheese before, but I have to admit, I often shy away from crab melts because, dare I say it, a lot of times they have too much cheese on them when I order them in restaurants in Seattle.  This crab melt was perfect: it was light on the cheese and I could taste the crab (which often gets drowned out).  It was served on grilled sourdough, and it looks like it was made in a Panini maker.  I order the side salad which was light, but good.

I was not impressed with the Kobe bacon burger.  The burgers came on those buttery type rolls, which looked good but the buns dwarfed the meat.  It seems they make their own patties at the Seattle restaurant, since the burgers were all shapes and sizes, but all on the small side.  The restaurant also overcooked nearly every burger – the largest one had a sliver of pink in the very middle.  The cheese was very light (unlike on my crab melt, I think this is a big mistake to go light with the cheese on a burger).  Finally, they came with two strips of bacon.  Although there was ketchup on the side, there was nothing else to add (tomato slice, lettuce, mustard, etc).  I do not know if that stuff was need or not, but just an observation.  Really the most disappointing thing about the burgers was their size and that they were overcooked.  I did not hear the waitress ask how to cook them, but maybe you could order the burgers medium rare and at least that issue would be solved.

I will say the burgers came with fries, and the fries were pretty good: salted with sea salt, cut thicker than say any fast food restaurant in Seattle, but not too thick.  And you could see the potato skin on the ends.  They kind of reminded me of Seattle’s famous Dick’s Drive-In fries but thicker.

It was my first time I was at re:public, since I do not make it down to South Lake Union for lunch very often, so I hate to judge the burgers so critically with one visit.  I guess all I am saying, is the Kobe bacon burger looks real tempting (5 out of 6 ordered it), make sure you order it the way you like it cooked and do not go with an empty stomach.

Bacon Explosion

Ok, this is not about a Seattle restaurant, but I just can’t help myself.  I have to talk about the Bacon Explosion.  Growing up there are two foods that have always been close to my heart: bacon and cheese.  (Heart please forgive me – I can feel my arteries harden as I utter these words).  You put bacon or cheese on anything and the chances are my mouth will water as if Pavlov has just rang his bell.  My obsession with bacon and cheese, I thought while not completely unique, were well kind of unique.  Maybe I was a misguided youth, maybe I was too busy eating cheese and bacon to think about it, but obviously, I was completely wrong.  Now a days there is Bacon Salt, Baconnaise, Bacon Vodka, and every kind of bacon burger you could think of at every fast restaurant from Seattle to Timbukto.

My love of bacon is no secret so a while back my brother in law sent me the recipe to Bacon Explosion.  I am sure many of you have come across this recipe through email or through legend.  But even with my love of bacon and cheese and my pure delight that such a recipe existed, I look at the link and then deleted the email thinking in the back of my head some day I will Google it and make it, but I was in no big hurry.  The day had yet to come……but then, I went to my friend’s house to watch football and something was cooking on the porch.  I was not really hungry, so I paid little attention until this arrived at the table:

Bacon Explosion

Bacon Explosion

Oh, the excitement.  Bacon crumbles, rolled in Italian sausage meat, wrapped in more bacon.  Next to it was barbecue sauce, but surely so much flavor did not need any such thing.  (The bell in my head had been rung; I was salivating).  The Bacon Explosion was sliced (cut like a yule log) and I tried a slice.  Now my expectations were through the roof, so we must realize that before I say my next words: I was a little disappointed.  It was good but it was not great, but that did not stop me from my second slice.   This time, I drizzled some barbecue sauce on it, and that was much better.  I definitely recommend the barbecue sauce.  And I did not stop there, I had a least two more slices (more came out – one with jalapenos diced in the middle) and of course I ate some bacon crumbles that were left on the cutting board.

It was a good meal, and I would recommend everyone to try it, and I hope a Seattle restaurant starts serving it (if they have not already).

One of these days I will make it, and when I do, I will add plenty of CHEESE!  How could that not be heaven on earth?

Happy Hour at Il Fornaio in Downtown Seattle

Il Fornaio Seattle

Il Fornaio Seattle

I went to the Il Fornaio restaurant in Downtown Seattle last night for their happy hour.  Their happy hour went until 6:30.  I do not know what my thoughts were of Il Fornaio before I got there.  I have been there before, but it’s in a mall (Pacific Place), it’s a chain from I presume California and I am a little prejudice against that whole situation.  So I entered from the street level and went upstairs to the bar area and it was packed.  A friend of mine had grabbed a table in the bar area.  We happened to be near a buffet table filled with free appetizers: bread with a spinach dip, bread with baked tomatoes and a slice of cheese, and crackers with baked brie.  (I was told the appetizers vary at happy hour depending on the day).  I ordered a beer which was $3 during happy hour, and then looked at the menu.  Everything was $5 on the happy hour food menu.  We ordered a pizza, which was their full size pizza with sausage etc.  Our other friend called and said he was on his way but he was going to miss happy hour so before 6:30 we ordered calamari and carpaccio (thinly sliced raw beef with thinly sliced parmesan cheese).  Out of the appetizers and the three things we ordered, my favorite was the carpaccio.

My friend thinks it may be the best happy hour in downtown Seattle and Belltown area.  I do not know if I agree, although I think you get a lot for what you pay for for a happy hour in Downtown Seattle.  Overall, it was a good experience and I would go again for happy hour.

Il Fornaio is in Downtown Seattle at the northwest corner of Pacific Place Mall and can be entered from the street.

Address: 600 Pine Street

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30