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crcowden's Profile

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Tri-Cities 2012

In March we're leading a group of 8 wine-lovers to the Prosser/Tricities area for wine tasting. We have a lot of leads on the wine end, but need help with food choices. We were there about 4 years ago, and PIcazo in Prosser was excellent, but I've heard they closed. Ate at Tagaris, which was fine, but not a stand-out. Anything else that's above the usual run-of-the-mill?

Jan 05, 2013
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Great Chinese lunch in Seattle

Thanks for recommending Henry's Taiwan! We went there for lunch and were very pleased. I can't say I eat Chinese much (have been driven away by industrial Chinese), but this was unlike anything I'd had before. We both had soups (one your beef noodle) and they were excellent! But you didn't warn us how big they were--they were as big as a pho bowl. The wantons and dumplings were freshly made and also excellent. It was fairly busy--considering it only has about 12 tables--and we were the only round eyes (a good recommendation for an ethnic restaurant). While the conversations were in Chinese, I had the impression that others diners were locals/regulars, and there was a casual vibe to it. Thanks again.

Nov 27, 2010
crcowden in Greater Seattle

Tacoma: Looking for not-to-miss, kid-tolerant restaurants AND (separately) excellent PNW cuisine

I would recommend Two Koi for Japanese food in downtown Tacoma, across from TAM (Tacoma Art Museum). They have an extensive array of sakes.

I don't think fish restaurants in Tacoma reach Seattle standards.

Oct 03, 2010
crcowden in Greater Seattle

downtown Seattle special occasion

We live a bit of a distance from Seattle, but for our anniversary will be coming up and staying downtown, so we don't have to worry about drinking a bottle of wine. What would you recommend for a special occasion restaurant? Considering the circumstances, price is no object but it needs to be downtown as I don't want to try and learn the bus system. I have eaten in some good places before (Steelhead Diner, SAM Taste), but want to try something new. Two options are Campagne and Barolo. Any feedback or suggestions? We have good Thai and Indian at home, so I'd rather skip that. Is there anything on the waterfront or Belltown that's worth it? Thanks in advance.

1940 Westlake Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101

86 Pine, Seattle, WA 98101

Oct 03, 2010
crcowden in Greater Seattle

Victoria restaurants Summer '09

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! We had a fabulous weekend in Victoria. We had a great meal at Aura--top notch in every way--great food, great wine service, great waiter. The bill was also "great", but I can't really complain--I felt I got what I paid for. But definitely an anniversary restaurant.

Lunch at the Tapa Bar--also excellent. They had Joie Rose on special, which was perfect. It's on this shady alley, which was perfect for a hot day. The portabella mushrooms were the star--came marinated, on a bed of salad.

Dinner at Ming's. Since there's a Chinatown my partner was convinced Chinese was a good idea. Yikes! One of the worst meals we've had in ages. We agreed that McDonald's would have been better. While the shrimp were overcooked, it was mostly just Bad 1950s Chinese. I'm not actually sure I've had Good Chinese, but a cuisine with its reputation can't be oversalted, blunt, greasy, and unappetizing. Spoke to some tourists from Texas who loved it, but then my parents would have too--that's their era, and they're not foodies.

Victoria restaurants Summer '09

Wow--thanks! Comprerhensive!

Victoria restaurants Summer '09

In a couple of weeks my partner and I are coming up from Tacoma, WA, for a weekend trip. Using this site and a copy of Eat magazine I've discovered some of the principal restos in town, but haven't been to Victoria in 5 years. We'll probably have only 2 dinners in town and would like one of them to be West Coast/fish, with the other being anything. I'd be glad for people's impressions. Since it's only two nights cost is not an issue, but I believe a restaurant doesn't have to be fancy to be great. A good Canadian wine list is a plus.

Zentri's--is it worth it? Seemed to be some disagreement in customer reviews on another site. Their website is classy but so minimal there's nothing to judge it by (no menu, no wine list).

If we go French, do we do Matisse or Brasserie L'Ecole? Both seem to get good reviews.

Blue Crab seems to have a fab location, but often a fab location and fab food don't go together. Would you go there? Got a better fish restaurant?

We'll have a car so a center city location is not a requirement.

Thanks in advance for advice!

Port Angeles 2009

Just made a trip to Olympic National Park and Port Angeles. On the recommendation of chowhounders, went to Bella Italia and C'est Si Bon.

Bella Italia was a home run hit! Great food, great atmosphere, attentive service. Our duck was excellent and the calamari (not the usual preparation) was also notable. Terrific wine list, not just for a small town but even a big city. We ordered off the "by the glass" list, which is usually just ordinary, but here was excellent. When we said we'd like some cheese to go with our left over wine, the kitchen prepared a cheese plate, even though it wasn't on the menu. We were stuffed and sated. At one point all the tables were full (it was a Friday night), so they seem to have a following. The atmosphere is somewhere between bistro and fine dining. The noise level was high enough to be fun but without being intrusive.

The next night we went to C'est Si Bon, which is OK, but suffered by comparison. It's the soft music and soft conversation kind of place. Even though it was a Sat. it wasn't that busy. The food and the decor look like they were set 25 years ago and haven't changed. Our lamb tenderloin was excellent and the wine list decent and well-priced. However, the food took forever (amazing for a restaurant that wasn't that busy) and there were other quirks. For instance, we were given different wine glasses even though we were drinking the same wine. (For winos, we were drinking a Rhone, and I was given a Bordeaux glass and my partner given something like a chardonnay glass). I commented on this but wasn't given an explanation or better glasses. The potatoes au gratin were cold and the green beans were lame (they look like ones the kind I have at home when they are twice left over). The salad was tasty but was simply butter lettuce with a couple of very thin tomato slices. This restaurant isn't bad, but it isn't reaching its potential, nor is it the high end place it presents itself to be. Half of what they're doing is right, but being both pretentious and slapdash is not the way to earn repeat customers.

Jan 19, 2009
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Recommendations for Sequim & Port Angeles

Henry66, what did you find? I'm about to be out in the PA area for the weekend. From previous posts and their websites, Bella Italia and C'est Si Bon look good, but websites can be misleading. :)

Jan 01, 2009
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

2 Days in McMinnville, OR

Make occasional trips down there, so my impressions are all at least a year out of date, but:

> Joel Palmer was terrific, especially if you love mushrooms.
>Tina's serves good food, but only so-so in the atmosphere dept.
> Red Hills Provincial Dining was also excellent.
> Scott Paul would be my best rec of the wineries you have listed. However, Carlton has 5+ within about 5 blocks, so I would encourage you to explore. I'm also very fond of Penner-Ash and Hamacher.

Dec 09, 2008
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Vancouver: BC wine

We are coming up from Washington State this coming weekend to visit Vancouver and want to get our hands on some of that great British Columbia wine we read about, but can rarely get this side of the border. Can anyone recommend any restaurants (can go up to expensive, but not super-expensive) with good Canadian wine lists?

West Sound anniversary

In November we have an anniversary coming up, our first since moving to the Great State of Washington. Is there any place really good on the West Sound, like in Port Orchard, Bremerton, or even Port Townsend? I'd be willing to make it an overnight if the place were good enough. Could go to Seattle but the traffic--yuck!

Sep 04, 2007
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Tacoma Bistro preview

Since then my partner was there twice when I was out of town plus I've been back once. The kitchen continues to perform excellently, the bread is better, and they continue to do good specials (e.g., steelhead). There are now about 3 Oregon pinots. There's a bit too much California wine on the menu for my taste, but that's true of most restaurants in America, by my taste. The cheeses on the cheese plate change, but have continued to be well ripened.

Jun 24, 2007
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Tacoma Bistro preview

I will have to try that. Was back at Sofia Bistro tonight and had a yummy shrimp-and-artichoke rigatonia dish. Very lighly sauced but very yummy. Nice to get an Albarino to go with it, too!

May 25, 2007
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Tacoma Bistro preview

Sofia Bistro just opened 2 weeks ago in University Place on 27th and it's an auspicious beginning. Since it's so new I've only been there once, but it impressed with food (especially) but also decor and service. It's a small place, that has been a wine bar in a previous incarnation. It's food could be described as New American, though that doesn't tell us much except for using good raw materials well and not having a special theme, such as Italian. I had a salmon cake, a wonderful cheese plate (including Humboldt Fog), and a delicious potato/bacon soup. The wine list seems to be intelligently designed and reasonably priced. Everything I had was good or great, but now for the necessary cavil section: the bread seemed kind of heavy, and if memory serves there was only 1 Oregon pinot on the wine list. Wine glasses were good but not Reidels. I encourage other people to support this worthy local effort, and to post their views as well. The closest restaurant I know to this in Tacoma is Il Fiasco, but I thought Sofia Bistro did a better job in meeting its culinary goals.

May 18, 2007
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Italian in Tacoma

Is there any good Italian food in Tacoma? I moved here 3 months ago and have found good fish, Japanese, Thai, and steaks, but there are very few Italian restaurants. I found Il Fiasco of spotty quality and thus not worth the price, but price is no object for a restaurant with the cooking to back it up. Though it would be nice to find a weekday trattoria like I had back in the "other Washington".

Dec 26, 2006
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

seeking wine shop/Tacoma

Thanks! I'll give it a try. Will be out for good in about a week.

Aug 22, 2006
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

seeking wine shop/Tacoma

Are there any good wine shops in Tacoma? Moving to town in about a month. Was in Pairings, which seemed OK, but small and rather New World oriented. Anything better in town?

Aug 07, 2006
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Fish with a View in Tacoma

A month back I ate at Harbor Lights, I think it was, for fish down on Ruston Way. The view is fabulous and I absolutely have to take my partner there (if it's sunny). But Harbor Lights is a very old-fashioned fish restaurant (breading and deep frying seem to be their thing). The adjacent restaurant was a brewpub which doesn't sound promising. Is there any restaurant in Tacoma (or possibly Gig Harbor) where I can get fish done well and still have a view of the water? For this request, any price range is OK. Thanks in advance for any info.

Jul 12, 2006
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Willamette Questions

We've stayed twice at Wine Country Farm ( Good, unpretentious, spectacular view, especially at the end of the day. Quiet location but close to many things. You can walk to Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Domaine Serene, but need a car to get to restaurants. Fortunately Dundee and Dayton are within 5 miles.

Jun 29, 2006
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

wine law in WA

I'm moving from VA, an unenlightened state in many ways, to WA, and hoping that it has more enlightened wine policies. Does WA law allow you to bring your own wine to a restaurant, as DC's does? I understand about paying a corkage fee--but think it's a nice option to have. Some other state recently started allowing people to take home bottles they hadn't finished, on the grounds that there would be fewer soused drivers. What does WA do in this regard? Thanks in advance!

Jun 28, 2006
crcowden in Wine

Weekday Restaurants in Tacoma

Thanks! That's very helpful.

Jun 26, 2006
crcowden in Pacific Northwest

Weekday Restaurants in Tacoma

A couple of weeks ago I was in Tacoma for a job interview and, thanks to chowhound, had a couple of good meals at Il Fiasco and Indochine. My partner and I will be back in mid-July on a house buying trip and will be staying at a hotel that only provides breakfast. What would chowhounders recommend for everyday meals? Sandwich shops? Dinners that cost $10, not $30? Once we are relocated to Tacoma we will gradually explore the expensive restaurants, but in the meantime we need good "everyday" restaurants. We will be in North Tacoma, Fircrest, and downtown, though anywhere in the city limits or the Mall area is reasonable. Thanks in advance!

Jun 25, 2006
crcowden in Pacific Northwest