Road trip, day one

image

Got back a few days ago from our annual west coast road trip.

image

We stopped for lunch at Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland. Funny place – much of the beer tended towards too sweet for me, but I liked the pale, and the fish sandwich on whole grain bread was very wholesome. Continue reading

Advertisements

Outback experiment

wpid-img_0007.jpgLast summer I was working with a LOT of different contractors to get my folks’ new place fixed up, with varying degrees of success. The one that was most irritating was of course also the most expensive, and when I told them how annoyed I was on their customer survey they sent a rather nice apology note and two gift cards to Outback Steakhouse. We don’t generally go to chains like Outback, but hey! Free food! So last night after meeting with a tax advisor we rewarded ourselves with an outing into darkest Burlington, where the steakhouse is tucked into a hidden cul de sac between Target and the freeway.

I had done a little research on Chowhound on what our best bet might be (and what absolutely NOT to order), so after fighting off offers of a Blooming Onion, we settled on one Porterhouse steak to split, with blue cheese wedge salad for me and Caesar salad for Jon.

wpid-img_0008.jpg

The steak was ostensibly 20 ounces but that includes bone, so it really wasn’t that big. It was cut quite thin but was done more or less to our specifications (although the waitress was careful to make sure we knew what “medium rare” meant so we wouldn’t freak out at the pink center.) It was tender and salty and quite edible.wpid-img_0006.jpg

The Caesar didn’t seem to be anything special – lots of garlic, little or no anchovy, dull croutons. No big surprises. wpid-img_0005.jpgThe wedge was quite fun, as I have a personal fondness for this sort of thing. The bacon was incredibly sweet, though, like candy. Between the dressing, tomatoes, raw onions and iceberg lettuce, it balanced out pretty well, but it was still a bit too sweet for my taste.

It all turned out to be plenty of food, plus two glasses of cheap wine, so we still have another gift card. We haven’t decided whether we’ll go back, and if so, what else would be safe to order. Any suggestions?

 

chat noir

wpid-img_0003.jpgWe’ve been taking swing dance lessons in Bellingham every week, which is occasionally a fun excuse to go out for an early dinner in town. This week we decided to try the Black Cat (AKA Le Chat Noir) in Fairhaven, which recently came under new ownership and has undergone some renovation.

The Cat has always been a fun space, perched at the top of several flights of stairs with a view down Harris Street and the bay beyond, but it had a history of long waits, expensive watered-down drinks, and rather bad food. We had heard a good report of the new Cat from the staff over at The Real McCoy, and I’m happy to say we’re pleased with the reboot so far.

wpid-img_0001.jpgWe tried the burger special, which had avocado and bacon jam, and the fish tacos, which were done in classic Baja style with a nice amount of cabbage and salsa. The portion size was perhaps a little small for anyone larger than me, but the fish was nicely fried. I liked it a lot. I also had a very good glass of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and Jon tried one of the house cocktails, an unusual sounding blend of Mezcal, cherry heering and a few other things. We will definitely be back, I think Le Chat is heading in the right direction.

 

Coupeville

20141128_132235

The day after Thanksgiving we went with friends on a field trip. The idea was to take the ferry to Port Townsend, eat fabulous clam chowder at Fins on the water, then come home, but things didn’t go quite as planned. First, the weather was disgusting and there were rumours at the ferry dock that the power was out in PT, and second, we discovered that Fins was closed for remodeling (which was not mentioned on the restaurant’s website or FB page. WTF, Fins?)

Stymied, we gave our ferry tickets away and headed back up the island to Coupeville, where we found a very satisfactory lunch at Christopher’s, a rather nice place I’d heard about but never actually been to before. Their clam chowder was declared acceptable, Jon had some really good fish and chips, and I had a bowl of linguine with perfectly fresh Penn Cove mussels (not entirely debearded, unfortunately, but still excellent). We watched people putting up holiday lights in the rain, checked out a local arts and crafts fair, then walked around the downtown and waterfront before heading home.

image

image

Yellow Church

Yellow Church Cafe

Usually when we drive through Ellensburg on our way back from the Tumbleweed Festival every year, we end up stopping for dinner at the Valley Cafe, one of our very favorite restaurants back when we lived in Eburg. This year we decided to throw caution to the winds and try out the Yellow Church Cafe.

Yellow Church Continue reading

west coast beer tour

driving the Gorge

We just got back from our annual road trip down to Santa Cruz, and as usual we planned our route to include visiting as many new-to-us breweries as possible. Not hard to do on the west coast these days.

Bert's Pub in Yakima

Our band played a concert in Wenatchee, so we used my parents’ house as our starting point and headed down Hwy 97 to the Columbia Gorge. We stopped for lunch at Bert’s Pub in Yakima, which had some good reviews online. When we got there we realized it was the same space that used to be Grant’s Brewpub, where we’ve played music before. Weird. In any case, they had a great selection of local beers and some surprisingly good food. I had a Bale Breaker IPA and Jon had a Yakima Craft. Continue reading

Staple & fancy

image

We happened to be in Seattle earlier this week for a consultation for my new tattoo (I’m so excited!) so we took ourselves out for a belated anniversary dinner. We had gone out with friends on the actual day, so it was fun to do something just the two of us. We decided to try the chef’s choice tasting menu at Staple & Fancy in Ballard.

Continue reading