Pritty Boys Family Pizza Opening in Madrona

Madrona PizzaPritty Boys Family Pizza had a food booth at Madrona Mayfair this past Saturday – which was not only a good place to get pizza, but also a place to find the scuttlebutt about the restaurant.  First of all, the pizza was very good.  The peperoni were small (about half the size of peperoni on typical pizza) and flavorful.  I did pat it with a napkin to soak up some grease, but to me that is not a bad thing.

Since I have been anxiously awaiting their restaurant, I asked when they expected to open.  They told me that there was no official opening date because they have had some delays, but they were trying to open next weekend.  So whether it is this weekend or not, it is good news that Pritty Boy Family Pizzeria is coming soon to Madrona.

In addition, to speaking to the pizzeria employee at Mayfair, I walked by the restaurant this weekend.  The place is really shaping up.  In the northwest corner of the restaurant, they have a play area set up with a various toys for small kids to play with.  In the south end of the restaurant, they had a video game machine.  This portion of the restaurant is set up for young teenagers.  With about 20 tables, the Madrona pizzeria should be a popular place for Seattle families to hang out whether their kids are 2 or 14.

The Ruins – Seattle’s Best Kept Secret – The Way He Wanted It

The Ruins Seattle Outside

The Ruins from the Street

The Ruins Seattle

A Horse of Course

The Ruins Seattle

Orchid in Dining Room

I recently had the chance to go to one of Seattle’s great restaurants: The Ruins.  Located at the base of Queen Anne near Mercer Street and Aurora Avenue, not a place to hide, but that is what this private restaurant has done from most of Seattle since it opened in 1993.  And that is how Joe McDonnal, who opened the restaurant with his partner in business and life, Virginia Wyman, wanted it.  The Ruins website proudly states “Seattle’s Best Kept Secret.”

When I was invited to The Ruins recently (inquire about membership to The Ruins here), I had no idea Joe McDonnal, 79, was very sick with pneumonia in Palm Springs, CA.  Mr. McDonnal passed away on January 31st.  During his lifetime, he not only created The Ruins, a restaurant as well as a base for catering and a place to host weddings and corporate events, Mr. McDonnal was a mentor to many of Seattle’s restaurateurs.  Both Ethan Stowell, who owns four Seattle restaurants including Anchovies and Olives, and Joanne Herron, who opened the French bistros Le Pichet and Cafe Presse, worked under and were encouraged by Mr. McDonnal.

Mr. McDonnal is survived by his “unmarried spouse” of 32 years, Virginia Wyman, his sister Maribel Cadmus, and his brothers Bill and Fred.

Hale’s Ales

Hale's AleI always drive by Hale’s Ale’s in Ballard, and Friday night I finally decided to check it out.  The local brewery, inspired by founder mike Hale’s visits to different pubs around England, moved from Kirkland to Ballard in 1995.  Hale’s Ales has been serving a variety of homemade (brewed in the building) ales for nearly 30 years.  I went to Hale’s Ales with the intention of dinner and some good beer.  It was not as busy as I thought it would be though, which I guess is a good thing.  When I walked in, I truly thought the interior and feel of the place was pretty cool.  There were front and back dining areas, and even further back was the brewery.  The only barrier between the two was a glass window, through which you could see the brewing process while enjoying your meal.  I’ll be honest, even though I liked the beer, the “brewery smell” really got to me while I ate my blue cheese burger.  Speaking of, although the food wasn’t great (between myself and other we had salmon chowder, Caesar salad, fish and chips and the aforementioned burger), you can’t expect five star cuisine from a place with the motto “Think Globally. Drink Locally.”  I probably would have liked the typical pub grub more if it claimed “Enjoy your beer.  Enjoy your food even more.”  All in all, if you’re looking for a good beer and a place where (I can only imagine) is a pretty fun joint to watch a game with your friends, then check out Hale’s Ales.   The brewery is located at 4301 Leary Way NW.  See their website for more information.

Madrona Eatery & Ale House

Madrona Ale HouseIf you do not have young kids, I do not know if I would recommend Madrona Eatery & Ale House between 5 PM & 7 PM.  If you do have young children and live in Seattle, then there is no better restaurant to go AND I would recommend you go there often.

We went to Madrona Ale House this Saturday night and got there just before 6 PM.  The Seattle restaurant was not extremely busy, but within no time the place was packed.  We ordered our food and while we waited I went over to the fireplace area.  The fireplace area has a coffee table, a couch, and about 4 large milk crates of random toys.  The toys look like they come from the island of misfit toys or toys from a garage sale (the toys that did not sell), but the couch is crawling with kids and they treat those toys like they just opened them from under the Christmas tree.  While I was there with my children, I took the time to scan the restaurant and I counted 30 kids under the age of approximately 8 years old.

Our food came and we had a good meal.  They have about 6 items on the kids menu, and the food for adults vary from tacos, to pasta, pizza, burgers, steak, etc.  I generally either get the tacos (which is actually an appetizer – but good enough for dinner if not too hungry), grilled chicken burger with bacon, burger, veggie sandwich, or whatever the special is.  I felt like I had to be healthy so I ordered a veggie sandwich….but instead of getting side salad…oops I ordered french fries and even tartar (they have good french fries – kind of thick with potato skins on some of them).  Now their food is good, but some of their foods I am not a huge fan.  Their wings I do not love (If you like wings read my previous blog about The Attic in Seattle’s Madison Park) and I have ordered their entree salads in the past and I was not impressed.  But saying all this, we go to Seattle’s Madrona Eatery & Ale House a lot because it is a great atmosphere if you have kids and the food is good when you order the right thing and really when you do not, it is not bad, just not great.

Click here to read more about Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood where you find the Ale House.

Madison Park’s Attic Ale House & Eatery

The Attic has been a staple in Madison Park for over 50 years.  As their website says: ‘Your grandparents drank here, why not you?”  If The Attic was anything back then like it is now, they probably went to UW and drank beer / wine.  While The Attic probably has college students that hang out there, the Seattle restaurant / bar definitely has UW alum hang out there and if a Husky game is being played somewhere it will definitely by on several of their numerous televisions.  They also have 20+ beers on tap and several wines and while they have hard liquor you probably wouldn’t know it since it is hidden in the corner and rarely ordered.    Thus, it is probably the most appropriate to refer to the Seattle restaurant’s full name “The Attic Alehouse and Eatery” but that only explains the beer.   What about the eatery?

The Attic Seattle

Wings after I had a couple - I couldn't wait

Now, The Attic has a lot of good food.  Some swear by the taco salad, some love the breakfast, I am a huge fan of their wings.  Now, I have had wings at several restaurants around Seattle, but I think The Attic’s are the best.  I can’t really pinpoint why they are the best.  There is nothing too fancy about them.  They come with buffalo sauce, side of blue cheese, and a couple sticks of carrots and/or celery.   Maybe it is the smattering of sesame seeds or chives they put on top.  I am not sure how they cook wings in most restaurants, but in this Seattle haunt, they deep fry the wings.  Maybe that is the difference.  Either way, if you make your way to Madison Park then maybe make a stop and get some wings……and if you are looking for a late snack the wings taste especially good after 10 pm since the wings are $6 at Happy Hour which starts again at that time.

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.

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

Hi Spot – Bacon and Cheese Biscuit

Hi Spot Cafe

Hi Spot Cafe

Biscuits and bacon and cheese, oh my.  Hi Spot located near the corner of 34th and Union in Madrona is famous for their breakfast, but equally as good is their bakery and the scones, cinnamonrolls, and biscuits.  My favorite is the Savory Biscuit.  The Savory Biscuit at the Hi Spot is a biscuit with bacon and cheese baked inside with a little cheese melted on the top.  At the Hi Spot it is usually served at room temperature, but when I take it to go I heat it up whenever possible.  Either way a Savory Biscuit and a latte from Hi Spot and I am on Cloud Nine.

Seatown Reuben

Last night, I went to a fun event at Seatown, Tom Douglas’s new restaurant across from the Pike Place Market and Victor Steinbrueck Park.  At the event they were serving some appetizers.  I tried a wing and then later I tried a finger sandwich which was the sage rubbed turkey.  But then it came, I could swear a moon beam came through the window and shined on this sandwich.  There it sat on the counter, cut up in about 6 slices: the Reuben.  Admittedly, I am a fan of Rubens, so I made my way over to it across the crowded room talking to people on the way.  I started getting nervous though because as I made my way over there the 6 finger sandwiches quickly was down to 3 but after a few hellos I made it over with 2 left.  Like I said I am a fan of the Reuben, so I expected to like it….but man was that sandwich good.  I feel sorry for anyone who wanted the last finger sandwich, because I ate that one too.   (Don’t worry more came out).   Technically, I do not think the sandwich was a Reuben rather a pastrami sandwich, but to me I will just call it a darn fantastic sandwich.  The only problem is when I looked online at the menu today, I realized it was a happy hour sandwich, which you would think is good, but in this case it is not because they change those sandwiches daily.   All I would say, if you find yourself in the Pike Place Market, poke your head into Seatown and ask if the Reuben or pastrami sandwich is being served, and if the answer is yes, tell them you will take two.

Is Canlis Expensive?

CanlisThe other day I was out and someone brought up Canlis Restaurant, which I believe is the best restaurant in Seattle.  There are many restaurants that I enjoy, but to me, when it comes to ambiance, food, and service, there is none better.  The discussion about Canlis that night had varied opinions, but no one could sway mine.  Then the inevitable argument against Canlis came up: “But it is so expensive.” I realize the economy is struggling, so my argument is much weaker than before.  Nevertheless I argued, as I have for years, that Canlis is not expensive, at least in comparison to other top Seattle restaurants.  So this time, I decided to back up my assertion with a simple search.

I personally love to order the New York or Filet Mignon at Canlis, thus I thought I would see how their steaks compare to other restaurants where I have enjoyed a great steak.  The competition was chosen from memory with relative ease: Daniel’s, The Met, and El Gaucho.  I know I am leaving out some great steak houses, but these were the first that came to mind.  When I checked each of their websites, I found the following:

Restaurant New York Filet Mignon
Canlis $48 $48
Daniel’s $44 $45
The Met $48 $49
El Gaucho $59 * $45

* 14 oz steak

Some of the restaurants stated the size of the cut, others did not.  I cannot remember what sides come with a steak in one restaurant versus another.  And like I said, I only compared the price of two different steaks and nothing else on the menu.  But to me, this proves my point that Canlis is not expensive when contrasting it to what I think are comparable restaurants……but really does any restaurant compare to Canlis?