Olympia Jane's Profile

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Ballard/Fremont/Phinney/Greenwood Searching for Not So Darn Sweet Thai Food

Thanks to all who responded, especially for your personal comments and dish preferences (and Laurella's tip that Saffron Deli skipped town to Whidbey!). We now have quite the line up of Thai food to sample in coming months. Much appreciated.

Aug 12, 2014
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Ballard/Fremont/Phinney/Greenwood Searching for Not So Darn Sweet Thai Food

Thanks, Gizmo, we've enjoyed occasional forays to Noodle Boat for several years and it's right smack up the alley of Thai food we enjoy.

Aug 12, 2014
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Ballard/Fremont/Phinney/Greenwood Searching for Not So Darn Sweet Thai Food

Thanks very much to everyone for your suggestions. Pestle Rock, although it sounds quite delicious, will be last on our "try" list for now due to the lack of soup on the menu. What we really are looking to replace in the NW is a low key, basic Thai restaurant (the Thai version of a red checkered tablecloth Italian joint?). A Tom Yum that is prepared without the sweetness of the soup at Chillies and Thai Thani would be especially appreciated. If we can't find it in the NW, we will continue to make occasional pilgrimages to Royal Orchid in Renton, but with the half dozen suggestions we have from y'all, we will try out all the suggestions in our new neighborhood. Thank you! (And if you stumble across any more Thai places and the food is not sugary sweet, please post).

Aug 10, 2014
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Ballard/Fremont/Phinney/Greenwood Searching for Not So Darn Sweet Thai Food

We have yet to find a Thai food place that is not sugary sweet in NW Seattle (we were successful in SE Seattle, but we recently moved). So far we've had an assortment of soups, noodles, and veggie and chicken or tofu dishes, none with coconut milk, from Chillies Paste in Fremont and Thai Thani in Ballard. Every dish from both places tasted as if made primarily with sugar water. Chillies' food was the more sugary of the two, but not by much. After 2 strikeouts, time to turn to Chowhound. Any suggestions for a Thai restaurant in the Ballard area that doesn't cook with what tastes like simple syrup?

Aug 08, 2014
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Seattle's Best Sandwiches

Q Bakery is not near Tamarind Tree. It is at the southeast edge of a big parking lot with other bakeries and grocery near Columbia City. Address is 3818 S. Graham, but the bakery faces MLK. It is close to the corner of Martin Luther King Way & Graham. Parking is plentiful (did you get that Kaleo?) but kind of tricky driving in there because you can't take a left off of Graham if you are heading east across MLK (you are fine to turn in there heading west off of Graham from Seward Park side), nor can you cross the light rail tracks. Easiest to access it off heading north off MLK, or take light rail and walk. I made that sound trickier than it is, it's easy driving there after you do it once.

Apr 02, 2014
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Seattle's Best Sandwiches

Total agreement, eQuinoise - Q Bakery is my fav banh mi in Seattle. That said, I've just had the chicken and the tofu banh mi at Pho Cyclo (chicken is fine if a little meh, the tofu - yuck - terrible, what was I thinking - tofu banh mi- really?). I will try the Cyclo BBQ pork next time, thanks for the tip.

And, yup, I'm in that river of people streaming through Q for the bread in the baskets by the door...crunchy fresh bread for cents. Kinda fun. 98118. Gotta love it!

Apr 02, 2014
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Any Seattle 'Hoods Where Lack of Parking Keeps You Away?

Kaleo, your taste buds are relying on you to outsmart the dang parking dilemma. I hope you don't let finding a spot for your wheels to hang out be the boss of your dining pleasure - we love reading your reviews.

By definition, popular destinations in most cities, including ours, require strategizing to park a car. Go early. Go late. Use a parking app as acgold7 suggests. Decide ahead of time you will park 3 blocks, 6 blocks, 1 mile, etc away from your destination, park, and enjoy the journey to tasty eats. Treat yourself to a couple of nights at the new(er) Ballard Hotel, and walk to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Or, perhaps we need a new thread about Seattle's chow worthy dining that has EZ parking?

The Taste season two finale Spillage

Marina on Masterchef would be interesting, but I would prefer seeing her participate on the Next Food Network Star. I want to learn what she knows that I don't know. Yes, I very much wanted Marina to win the whole kaboodle. Fascinating person. Loved her feisty, confident and spirited approach to the competition.

Veal stock bones in Seattle?

+2 for Bob the Butcher. Have a couple of pounds of their oxtail bones in the freezer, they'll be in a roasting pan this weekend for stock.

Jan 15, 2013
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Gravity Bar clones?

Fondly remember the Gravity Bar - both the location at First and Virginia - in the old Raison d'etre space that has been through many changes, most recently a "pop up" Baby & Co temporary shop - and their last location on Capitol Hill. Have never found a place remotely like it anywhere. Still miss the attitude and the food - especially the wild combos of fresh fruit and veggie juices, and the avocado, shredded beets & carrots, sliced tomatoes, brown rice and greens salad with lemon tahini sauce. Oddly enough, in a very strange sort of way I think the Paseo salads come closest to the Gravity Bar salads. Must be the shredded beets and chopped red cabbage thing they do. Speaking of Paseo, IIRC, they come off of winter break on January 21. I might make it 6 more days of waiting before lining up for their fall off the bone roasted chicken thighs and Paseo's wildly good red sauce tofu entree, but possibly not.

Locally made jam

I am pretty picky about jam, too, and my "go to" grocery store jam is Trader Joe's house brand Cherry Preserves and Hero Orange Marmalade (I find it at DeLaurenti's but it is available in other places). Last year a local jam maker sold her excellent plum jam at Leschi Market, but I have not noticed it there yet this season (but since we canned close to 40 jars of plum jam this summer I have not been on the lookout for it - neighbor's ancient plum tree fell down from the weight of the plums and, well..., yeah, had to do something with all the fruit). Agreed, summer fruit and berries are done for the season, but tis the season now to make apple or pear butter, quince jam or jelly, or a bit later into winter, citrus marmalades.

Oct 14, 2012
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Food Network Star: "Pilot Greenlights" (7/15/2012) [*SPOILERS*]

I can't wait to find out the answer to the question - Can America Love a Boy named Justin witth kewpie doll lips and ruby red lipstick (an infinitely charming look in my ancient old lady opinion - Justin's look appears to beckon "I dare America to fathom kissing me" in a come hither/go away style) and who prepares burnt green lettuce that is black around the edges (how do you burn anything so watery, that takes big heat) with savory jello dressing as his make or break it/winner takes all dish?



Justin is outstanding in every respect. Gutsy, charming, creative, simultaneously repulsive and intriguing and above all, MUCH NEEDED. Break up the landscape of mediocrity, boy. Yvan is a warm hearted darling, but to heck with mac and cheese, bring on the burnt lettuce!! I want more Pollock, less Norman Rockefeller.

The last time I prepared tomato aspic was in 1966, using an Irma Rombauer recipe. It was disgusting. You GO, Justin. Give us what for, society needs you. Okay, that's a bit grand, make that - this old lady needs you. Very much. Hope to see lots more of you soon, and god forbid they mess with your vibe one iota, son. You have my vote (that is you would have had my vote if I could have figured out how to vote for you....too social media-ted for me).

chicory coffee

This is the time of year chicory is in flower by the side of the road around Seattle, or you can grow your own - it grows quite well if completely ignored and neglected. You can dig the root up in the late fall, slice it, roast it in your oven, grind it and have fresh chicory coffee.

This morning I saw drifts of blue flowered chicory blooming on scraggly stalks amongst the other weeds - blackberries and pink vetch - along Swift Avenue South between Albro and South Myrtle in south Seattle.

If you want more information about roasting your own chicory, here is Hank Shaw's detailed account, especially helpful because he writes with humor:

The last time I had a cup of chicory coffee, my mother made it for me on a hot Ozark night in Reynolds County, Missouri. She mixed chicory coffee half and half with regular coffee, measured into a 1960's style coffee pot, and let it percolate. She carried it on a tray out to the screened in porch, where we drank it with cream and sugar, watching the fireflies and listening to the relentless cicadas. The whippoorwills didn't call until long after bedtime.

Jul 07, 2012
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle


You could do nothing but take your London pal around town for turkey reubens, but if it is a sunny day (despite the frost on the crocus this morning, it's gonna happen), the bright pink Shilshole Paseo shack would double the "only in Seattle" points if you get your sandwich and head across the street to Golden Gardens to settle in and devour it on the beach. We went last weekend in the windy cold snow/rain and t'was delicious. If it really is sunny and you aren't wearing rain gear the day you go, consider schlepping along a tablecloth to wear over your clothes. As you well know, the sandwiches are the epitome of messy goodness.The beverage offerings at Paseo are pretty limited - you might want to bring your own if you go to the beach shack Paseo.

Back to the original request: In addition to the other good T. Reuben suggestions, there is also Essential Bakery: "Rachel" (as copied from their menu:"Pastrami, “Rachel” (Turkey) or Portobella Reuben $8.50 whole / $4.25 half sandwich: Choose cured pastrami, oven roasted turkey or portobella, with gruyère cheese, house-made Russian dressing and red cabbage sauerkraut on our Rye bread". 'Tis my daughter's fav. Essential Bakery also has good soups and salads as well as bakery items and breads. But, coffee/juice/only at Essential - having the option of good beer with the Reuben may make one of the other numerous suggestions more desirable - depends whether your pal wants a pint with her Reuben or wants the options available from a coffeehouse / bakery setting.

Mar 23, 2012
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

What To Do When the Restaurant Boards Disappear

I have to admit, I was a far more frequent user of Chowhound in its formative years (circa 2001ish) so I don't even know what a "restaurant board" is, but glancing through this link on the topic of removing restaurant lists on "Site Talk", I see no mention of eliminating local boards. That said, if I'm wrong, and that is being proposed, I would hate like heck to lose the local boards. It was difficult enough to go through splitting off PNW, Seattle and Portland. If the Greater Seattle board went, we'd just have to start our own...

I imagine this thread may be moved to "Site Talk" soon - but since the chowhound folks have not moved the Olympia pizza thread over to the PNW board, maybe they're out chowing.

Feb 29, 2012
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Heart Shaped Ravioli

I'm curious - did you find heart shaped ravioli in Seattle (or thereabouts)? I didn't find any pre-made, but your post inspired me to experiment with making enough large heart shaped ravioli for a dinner for two. I used a heart shaped mold (see photo) instead of a cookie cutter and a roasted butternut squash filling with a dab of ricotta in the center. I've never made ravioli, and it was kinda fun, but preparation time would definitely win first (or would that be last?) place in a s-l-o-w food contest.

Feb 14, 2012
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

wine shop recommendations?

We appreciate vintage port in our household! There is a birthday celebration coming up, so the purchase of a fine bottle of port make a fine gift. If it is something you have with you, maybe we could meet while you are in the Seattle area?

Dec 27, 2011
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Where to find dried pears

If all else fails, you can buy fresh pears at the store, Google "oven dried pears" and pretty easily make your own in your oven (unless you have a friend with a food dryer and can use that - but schlepping the dryer back and forth is probably too time consuming). Basically you wash, quarter and soak the pears in a water and lemon juice mixture, put them on a silpat, and let them dry overnight in a low oven - 140 to 175. If you do 'em tonight, you'll have dried pears in the morning. (I hope you get to see this post before it is moved to "Home Cooking" ...but maybe the elves will leave it for you since it is a holiday cake in Seattle, and there appear to be no dried pears in our town!)

Dec 20, 2011
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

2 Hours at Sea Tac, enough time?

Unless your plane gets in early and the departing flight leaves late, it's doubtful you would have have time to leave the airport to fetch seafood, return and get through security again. There is an Anthony's Restaurant, primarily a seafood restaurant, at Sea-Tac Airport. The location in the airport is a restaurant with a bar, so if your plane gets in on time, and you have 2 hours, you would have time to dine before your next flight leaves. The Anthony's website doesn't give the menu for the Sea-Tac airport location, but all their restaurants serve pretty much the same menu (with the exception that the Sea-Tac Anthony's also serves breakfast), so if you check out any of the menus listed, you'll get a sense of their range of seafood items.

Jul 10, 2011
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Freshly Relocated to South Seattle. Seeking council from veteran eaters of the area.

We were disappointed by the Georgetown Via Trib's pizza on a recent visit - it was soggy and bland. No amount of doctoring could fix it. Given the growing preponderance of passable pie in the sound end, there's no reason to bother eating a blah 'za. BUT a day does not go by that I don't spend at least a few moments fondly recalling the hyperdeliciousness of Via Trib's exquisite Strega Martini. Whomever is to praise or blame for it, the perfect blend of Strega, gin and muddled mint may prove dangerous to my health. Or cure everything. Either way, what a concoction. I am not sure the cocktail is called a "Strega Martini" - but - the description of ingredients will get you close enough for the V.T. bartender to put one in front of you. - it's on their list of specialty cocktails. And, no, the first one is not free, but it should be. I realistically envision a line item coming soon to my Health and Welfare budget just for 'em.

Jun 01, 2011
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Freshly Relocated to South Seattle. Seeking council from veteran eaters of the area.

In addition to the "10 minutes from Seward Park" suggestions made thus far, here are a few more, moving from Renton northward:

Starting at the south end, Naan 'n Curry is in "downtown" Renton, across from the yeppers, western wear store, (does downtown Renton remind anyone else of downtown Centralia?). I am sure everyone has their N&C favorites, but after trying several menu items, we now get double orders of the Chicken Mughlai - it's that good - no one wants to share. Moving north to Royal Orchid in Renton, closer to the Renton Airport, try the Emerald Garlic Tofu, Kee Mao Noodles, Coriander Chicken, and Panang Curry. The Larb Gai is also good, and the Tom Ka Gai is decent, but not as good as the old Siam on Broadway's (R.I.P, darn it.). Moving further north to Rainier Beach, Maya's Mexican Restaurant (9447 Rainier Avenue South) has marinated lamb shank on their menu, but the food is more plentiful than particularly delicious. A bit further north at Rainier and Othello is Los Tinos - another fairly decent Mexican place (but - speaking of Centralia - no place in Seattle compares to La Tarasaca). Many Columbia City and Hillman City places have already been mentioned, so, skipping north towards the city, you might want to try Rainier Teriyaki, next door to Thien Phat at 3300 S. Rainier (across from old Chubby & Tubby). It has taken me a long time to find good teriyaki, and Rainier Teriyaki has the best I've found so far. I have yet to find good pho south of the International District - if someone has a fav place, please chime in.

Those suggestions should keep you chowing while you unpack your boxes and settle into your new home, but if you want more ideas and delightful writing, try Catherine Reynold's restaurant reviews on the Renton Patch - she's a wonderful source for Renton area restaurants.

Royal Orchid
104 Rainier Ave S, Renton, WA 98057

Thien Phat
3330 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Rainier Teriyaki
3330 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Jun 01, 2011
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Hand-stretched Chinese noodles in Seattle

T'was my birthday today, so I bundled up against the rain with the chowpup and a friend and headed to the ID for the Noodle King experience. Spicy Seafood Noodle was quite tasty, the beef in the Beef Noodle was tender and flavorful, but the Chicken Noodle broth was watery and bleh. Noodles were very tasty. We sat at a table where we had a clear view of the theatrics, but I still can't figure out how he gets the noodles to split into individual noodles at the very end of the process. The process appears to borrow heavily from the physics involved in throwing pizza, winning a jump rope contest and a successful old fashioned taffy pull. That guy should wear a Merlin hat...

Mar 25, 2010
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Recs for a summer produce box subscription (CSA)?

I heartily agree with the Boistfort Valley Farm recommendation. I am selective about organic produce, and I choose Boistfort Valley Farm for all the fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and flowers that I don't grow in my own garden. Great produce, great people, enjoyable all the way around.

Mar 20, 2010
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Marshmallow Fluff?

Okay, being specific about a brand of marshmallow fluff intrigues me so much I just have to ask - how do you use it? Spooned straight out of the jar, or for a standard everyday pb & marshmallow fluff sandwich (childhood joy there)- or do you use it as an ingredient in a special recipe? Do tell.

Mar 20, 2010
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle


Yes, sadly, Justin left Seattle for new adventures. Spinasse is still open, pretty much the same menu. Not sure how many of the same staff are still there, you'd have to call them.


Dec 10, 2009
Olympia Jane in Greater Seattle

Anyone used Boistfort Farm CSA? New Roots?

I can vouch heartily for Boistfort Farm. Over the years we've bought an ever increasingly wonderful variety of produce from Mike Peroni. He started out small at the Olympia Farmer's Market - quite a few years ago (in the 80's?) - as a friendly but determined fellow selling some garden produce augmented by foraged chantrelle and morel mushrooms. Since then, he has married, had a family, and the organic farming business has grown and flourished with the help of his wife Heidi. They were hit very hard by the devastating Lewis County floods in December of winter of 2007, but they recovered well and never missed a beat with their CSA folks. One caveat - we have never subscribed to a CSA (Boistfort included) since we grow a lot of our own vegetables and augment them by going to a variety of farmer's markets in the Puget Sound region - but if I were going to sign up with any farmer, I would choose Boistfort for the quality and variety of their offerings.

Take out lasagna in Seattle

Agreed. Cafe Lago. No contest. Not located in downtown or Queen Anne - but it's nearby in Montlake. Call ahead to let them know how many people you want to feed. A bit pricey but well worth it - there's no lasagna like it in Seattle and it reheats very well. Last Friday we picked up a single order of their quite heavenly fresh pasta lasagna to take to a friend in the hospital who needed some seriously blissful food to nourish body and spirit. We couldn't think of anything in the entire city that would fit the bill better than Cafe Lago's lasagna. But, it's not a meaty, hearty lasagna, so if that's what you have in mind, Cafe Lago isn't it.

Why don't you RSVP? Honestly.

Me three. Except I would not want the original inviter to investigate further. That said, it has to be quite deep for me not to RSVP. As a child of the '50's, I found reading etiquette books as completely pleasurable - akin to reading a mystery novel or a Rudyard Kipling story. I was fascinated by all the customs and protocols and loved imagining myself in the other worldly circumstances described by Miss Post. Couldn't wait to grow up and hopefully receive invitations (oh, my) and be called upon to reply promptly using my best handwriting on the little ecru response card (preferably monogrammed). Oh, dear, we ARE talking about a half a century ago, aren't we? Now I can hear Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention beautifully singing "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" as I write. That said, I do like eVite rsvps...and where's the Facebook RSVP feature? I just found the "inbox" the other day...

Feb 03, 2009
Olympia Jane in Not About Food

Pike Place Market in March?

Oh, by all means, tag along with your friend and come to Seattle in March! Perfect time of year to visit Seattle and environs. In addition to long stalls of produce and arts and crafts, there's cheese at Beechers and outrageous curries and teas at World Spice Merchants and salmon and chips at Jack's Fish Spot counter and vanilla macaroons at 3 Girls Bakery and grilled artichokes at DiLaurenti's and french linen napkins at the original Sur La Table store and a Le Monde at the international newsstand and Pablo Neruda used poetery books at Left Bank Books and beautiful handmade quilts at Undercover Quilts). Pike Place will be bursting with tulips, daffodils and narcissus in March. If your visit will run over into a weekend, there are a number of lovely, smaller Farmer's Markets open year round that feature local growers - University market on Saturday, Ballard neighborhood on Sunday. The Pike Place Market area has a hundred nooks and crannies to explore, the Art Museum is nearby, and - hey - wait - the best reason to come to Seattle Monday through Friday - Salumi's will be open! Let us know if you come and I'll meet you for lunch at Jack's Fish Spot or Salumi if I can - I just made myself very hungry writing this post.

P.S. A very, slow, deep inhale as you cross the threshold off of Western Avenue into World Spice Merchants on a cold, blustery March day is respiratory therapy at it's finest.

Third Annual Ultimate Seattle Restaurant Poll (2008)

We are a precocious pair in the paucity of pennies department so we got a head start in 2008 on the New Economy (or lack thereof). As a result, dining out declined and dining in inclined. 2008 found us dining at some old, some new, some pricey, mostly cheap to moderately priced establishments.
1) Café Lago - all year, any night, antipasto plate, any of the four or five pastas, pizza salsiccia and salad mista and a good wine
2) Salumi - if everyone at the table wasn't in the same situation it would be difficult to simultaneously moan and eat politely
3) Joule – it’s all quite miraculous
4) Pho Cyclo (prefer First Ave location) a steaming bowl of phragrant pho with added fresh vegetables will cure what ails me
5) Etta’s Saturday or Sunday brunch - deconstructed Irish Coffee - mug of black coffee, double shot of Irish, single shot glass of whipped cream and the morning’s seasonal special - pretty nice windows to watch the snow fall, but not as good as Matt's

New on my list to visit before 2008 or 2009 is too far gone are Spinasse and Poppy, hope to return to Lark and La Medusa soon. (How could Monsoon and Vios and Il Terazzo Carmine not be on my lists - they are all wonderful! I hate taking up a spot with Etta's, but no one else will deconstruct an Irish like they do, and some mornings that's all that saves me.)