The other day I saw a thread on Chowhound, discussing which restaurants people were most concerned about closing. One that was mentioned several times was Dinette, a place on lower Capitol Hill that has been on my must-try list for far too long. We were in town this weekend for a dance concert, so we made sure to make it to Dinette for dinner.


There was some difficulty finding a parking space, and we ended up in the Diamond parking lot at John and Summit, which impressively listed about four different rates for weekend parking. Pick your favorite?

Finding the restaurant was no problem, and getting a table was definitely no problem, as the place was nearly empty the entire time we were there. I hope for the restaurant’s sake they do a much brisker business later in the evening, because this is a wonderful place. Continue reading

Poppy: a slightly grumpy report


I was really excited about this place when I first heard of it. Not only is it owned by the former chef at the Herbfarm (a place we’ve never scraped together enough moolah to go) but the central conceit of the place revolves around a daily tasting menu served all at once, called a thali. It sounded really cool, a very gourmet take on Indian food, like Vij’s in Vancouver. That’s not really what it was like, though.

Just to get them out of the way, I’ll tell you the three things I didn’t like about Poppy. I felt rushed, my drink wasn’t very good, and I didn’t think the different items on the thali went together very well. There, I said it. Most of the food was very good and the service was attentive, but I just didn’t have the dining experience I was hoping for. I admit, though, my expectations were pretty high.

Poppy Continue reading

drink of the week: Dragon's Toe

Liberty bar

I’m not always a big fan of cocktails. I love the idea, and the fun of watching a bartender put something together for me, but so often the end result just makes me wish I’d ordered a glass of gin on the rocks. Too sweet, too bitter, or just plain weird – what’s the point? I generally stick to one of a few old-style drinks (whiskey sour, sidecar, gin martini, etc) unless I feel like the bartender really knows his or her business.

Last week we stopped into a bar on Capitol Hill called Liberty. We were on our way to Poppy for dinner (more on that later) and wanted to spend some quality time with a good drink first. Liberty has one of the longest cocktail lists I have ever seen, and it’s real stuff – not just sugary vodka in martini glasses, one of my major peeves. It looked promising, so we boldly ordered off the menu. Being the gin hussy that I am, I ordered the Aviation Old-fashioned (gin, two kinds of bitters, a big honking strip of orange zest), and Jon ordered something called a Dragon’s Toe.

Liberty bar

I liked my drink; in fact, it grew on me as I drank it to the point that I really missed it once it was gone. But the Dragon’s Toe was love at first sip. See the ingredients on the menu in the picture? Bourbon, ginger water, ginger ale, and cucumber. Sounds weird, tastes magnificent. The spicy sweetness of the bourbon is magnified by the spicy ginger and sweet ginger ale, and the cucumber cools it all down without clashing. Who woulda thunk?



We like to celebrate the beginning of summer with a nice dinner out, and this year we decided to finally try out Lark for the occasion. We’ve been to Licorous before, but never Lark – I was expecting the two places to have much more similar vibes, but Lark was much more rustic and comfortable than I would have thought. It’s a small plates/local/seasonal kind of place, and we were very happy with what we got. We ordered all of our plates in advance, and the waitstaff brought them in whatever order they saw fit, one at a time. With most of the meal we drank a McCrea Sirocco Blanc, a beautiful white Rhone blend that made us really happy.


First we got a plate of Yakima Valley asparagus, thin and perfectly cooked, with a little mizuna salad and drizzles of cheese sauce and tomato vinaigrette. The flavors were straightforward, but very pleasing and fresh.

yellowtail carpaccio

Next came the yellowtail carpaccio Continue reading



After a late-afternoon trip to Uwajimaya (one of the best places in the world to shop for stocking stuffers), we decided to head up towards Capitol Hill and see what we could find for a drink or an early supper. After a little searching, we landed at Licorous, the lounge next door to Lark. I wasn’t sure I was hungry enough to tackle Lark for the first time, so the bar and small-plates menu at Licorous sounded perfect. We came in dripping from the rain and settled ourselves at the bar.

I’ve been working on my appreciation for bitter flavors lately, so I ordered the house negroni, along with the matched “tasting” – a small plate of serrano ham with sliced pears. I liked the pairing well enough, but wasn’t stunned. Love the concept, though. J got a bourbon cocktail called a Barbaro that came with two adorable “whiskey popovers” whose flavor really did go great with the bourbon. Continue reading