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Where to buy coffee beans?

If you don't want to roast it yourself, you can usually find some (relative) deals at Whole Foods. The bulk coffee, not the bagged coffee.

1 day ago
lavaca in Greater Seattle

BROCCOLI Rabe or RAPINI

I buy rapini all the time at the Roosevelt Whole Foods and the Sand Point Metropolitan Market. I think I saw it last week at the Queen Anne Farmers Market, but no promises that it's still there.

Jul 10, 2014
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Bar Area at Sitka & Spruce?

Yep. But while Bar Ferd'nand is effectively the waiting area for Sitka & Spruce, they do not serve the same food as the restaurant. The menu is mostly simple Spanish-ish bar snacks.

Jul 07, 2014
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Great beer in Seattle

The best place for beer within walking distance of your hotel is The Masonry. They usually have a lot of interesting stuff on draft, especially novel West Coast beers that you won't be able to get back in Philadelphia.

Although I don't think it's worth a special trip, the McMenamin's pub across the street from the hotel would make a decent nightcap destination. Get the Cajun tots.

Apr 24, 2014
lavaca in Greater Seattle

How Hard, Really, Is It To Provide A Tap List In Seattle?

Of course, even a printed menu isn't perfect. At Quinn's, you should always ask if they have anything that isn't on the list. The answer is almost always "yes". A few places solve this problem simply by printing the next beers to go on draft alongside the current taps.

Mar 24, 2014
lavaca in Greater Seattle

What's New In BBQ?

I like Boar's Nest in Ballard. It's not the best barbecue joint in the region (GreenYoshi already covered those), but Boar's Nest is probably my favorite place in Seattle proper. Their meats tend to be well-seasoned and not too tough or chewy. Furthermore, the prices are reasonable and they offer fried pickle chips as a side.

Pinky's is a lot better if you ignore the barbecue and just order as much deep-fried food as your conscience will allow.

Feb 05, 2014
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Chico Madrid?

I had lunch there a few weeks ago. The food's decent but you don't get as much for your money as the menu may lead you to believe. It strikes me as one of those places that's a lot more enjoyable if you live within walking distance than if you don't.

(Admittedly, I've probably eaten a lot more Spanish food this year than the average Seattle diner so maybe my opinion is tainted by expectations.)

Nov 24, 2013
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Great Mexican and Latin-American Food in Seattle?

I know what you're referring to at La Estacion, but I was thinking of the Argentinian version.

Looks like Buenos Aires Grill does have one, but for $37. From their menu: "Our original Argentine mixed grill, a combination of skirt steak, hanger steak, bone-in short ribs, beef sweet breads, marinated chicken breast and pork sausage served on our table top grill"

Jun 27, 2013
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Great Mexican and Latin-American Food in Seattle?

So, uh, any place I can get a parrillada or a bandeja paisa in Western Washington? Bonus points if I don't have to pay $40 for it.

Jun 24, 2013
lavaca in Greater Seattle

How's That Liquor Privatization Workin' Out Ferya?

I don't know why BevMo even bothered opening in that space at Northgate - it seems to be about half the size of their average California store.

That said, bitters have always been a standard grocery product. Does your local QFC not have a cocktail section?

Jun 24, 2013
lavaca in Greater Seattle

How's That Liquor Privatization Workin' Out Ferya?

Think of it this way:

Pre-1183:
Cost + Overhead + State's profit (the implicit liquor tax) = Your price

Post-1183
Cost + Overhead + Store's profit + State's profit (now an explicit tax) = Your price

Washington may be the only state where a privatization initiative actually managed to increase the state's revenue from liquor sales. That's quite a feat given that we already had one of the highest effective liquor tax rates in the country prior to 1183. Heck, even Anchorage had cheaper booze than Seattle.

Jun 24, 2013
lavaca in Greater Seattle

How's That Liquor Privatization Workin' Out Ferya?

I think the selection issue really depends on where you live. If you had a pretty good local WSLCB store, you are probably a little worse off now. The replacement for my local store was pretty good for a while but is no longer all that exciting. On the other hand, the liquor selection at my local QFC (located in a one-time state store location, no less) is pretty impressive and the only thing the state offered that even remotely resembled Total Wine or Wine World was the store in West Seattle.

Price is another issue. More than any other state, Washington used its state-run liquor stores for revenue-generation and we already had one of the highest effective tax rates in the entire country. 1183 was written such that the new taxes are roughly equal to the profit margin of the state stores but now you also get to pay the profit margin of the retailer as well. There's no way around that other than by buying booze from out of state.

Jun 23, 2013
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Another BBQ Disappointment-long

Honestly, I think the best approach to Bitterroot is a beer and something from the appetizers section of the menu. The fried chicken livers are really good and you get an entree-sized portion for only $8 or so.

Apr 04, 2013
lavaca in Greater Seattle

First trip to Seattle (from Florida), looking for ideas

The Underground Tour falls into the category of things locals actually enjoy when they go with their out-of-town guests. Your nearby lunch options are very good: Salumi (meat), Il Corvo (pasta), and a bunch of highly-regarded sandwich places I haven't tried. A few blocks up the hill from that is Seattle's Chinatown (the "International District", but it's mostly Chinese places west of the freeway).

Near your hotel, I like Tilikum Place Cafe. There is also a pretty good strip of restaurants along Westlake Avenue N between Denny and Republican including Serious Pie, Dahlia Workshop, Re:Public, the Brave Horse Tavern, and various places catering to Amazon employees. That would be a good place to go for lunch or a snack if you want to visit MOHAI but I wouldn't recommend heading over there just to eat a meal.

For seafood on the beaten path, wait in line at The Walrus & the Carpenter. For seafood a bit off the beaten path, head over to The Whale Wins. The latter is probably the best example of Seattle's current dining trends.

Feb 08, 2013
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Beer by the bottle, coffee by the pound

I ended up at the Total Wine in Kendall, which definitely beats the ABC store in Doral and the Whole Foods in Coral Gables. They have a big selection of single bottles, though most are not refrigerated. Next time I'll try Sunset Corners.

So far I've tried and enjoyed two of three Cigar City beers that seem readily available around here (Maduro and Jai Alai). Are there any other decent Florida breweries that sell bottled or canned beer?

Jan 25, 2013
lavaca in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Beer by the bottle, coffee by the pound

I am spending a few months in Doral for work. While I'm fine eating most of my meals at restaurants, there are two things I would prefer to enjoy at home as well: coffee and beer.

Are there any local coffee roasters of note, or at least grocery stores with a better selection than the local Publix?

Although the ABC on Doral Blvd does have a decent beer selection, I am sure that's not the best the area can offer. Since I live out west, where Rogue and Stone flow like water, I'm particularly interested in beers from Florida, the South, and the Midwest/Northeast that aren't readily available on the other side of the Mississippi.

I have no qualms about leaving Doral to buy these things, though I'd prefer not to drive all the way to Ft. Lauderdale just to pick up a six-pack of beer.

Jan 23, 2013
lavaca in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

RN 74 Restaurant Week

I went to the Madison Park Conservatory on Wednesday. I think the food portion of the bill came out to about $75 for three with the discount. We had the deviled eggs, fried brussels sprouts, boudin balls, two quails, scallops, rabbit garganelli., peanut butter ice cream, apple crisp, and the cookie plate (the tongue's still on the menu, but I've had it already). Everything was a hit and I can't imagine we would have eaten this well at most of the places doing restaurant week.

Things may change after the "secret" gets out, but the restaurant was only half-full on Wednesday. $130+tip with drinks is a great deal for one of the most interesting restaurants in the city.

Oct 19, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Hole in the wall seafood recs?

Pike Street Fish Fry serves pretty good fried fish without any semblance of formality. It is a tiny storefront and just about everything comes out of the fryer. That being said, unless you are planning to eat there and then spend time at other places in the neighborhood, you may be better off following Gizmo56's suggestions.

Oct 03, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Solo dining in Spokane

I actually stayed at the Davenport but did not eat brunch due to out-of-town commitments that morning I also passed on Pig Out in the Park. Instead, I did these things:

Wild Sage had calf's liver on the menu, so I figured I'd order it on the principle that anything that sounds weird/gross to most people ought to be good. This was mostly true - the liver was tasty but the accompanying greens and grits were unevenly seasoned. The popovers were probably the highlight.

Flying Goat is very popular, as evidenced by the parking etiquette notice at the door. I enjoyed sitting outside and really enjoyed my pizza with prosciutto, spinach, and pine nuts. They've got a really good beer list, including Black Butte XXIV on draft (as of Saturday). I'll go back.

Sante's website claimed that Sunday evening would involve the breakfast/lunch menu, but they were actually serving a dinner menu with $20+ entrees. The sous vide salmon was very good, if absurdly rich due to the accompanying risotto and beurre blanc. However, I'd come back from a 30-mile bike ride and could've eaten twice as much if I tried. Eating outside was noisy, and I'd honestly recommend against it if there is inside seating available.

In Coeur d'Alene, a Yelp search led me to Hudson's. I appreciated both the minimalism (pickles and onions are the only toppings) and convivial atmosphere. A double cheeseburger is almost too big to eat at first, but I felt suitably accomplished by the last bite. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again, but it seems like a better option than most places downtown. Next time I'll give the Garnet Cafe a shot.

For beer, I visited Laughing Dog (no, it's not in Spokane), No-Li, and Steam Plant. It was surprisingly difficult to find local beer at restaurants in town. Flying Goat had a house beer from No-Li but the closest thing I found to "local" at Sante or Wild Sage was Alpine Pilsner.

Laughing Dog really plays up their canine theme but the only beers that particularly impressed me (from the 8 on the taster tray) were the cream ale, the huckleberry cream ale, and the black IPA. As someone who normally tries to avoid fruit beers, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the huckleberry cream.

Despite the silly name, No-Li's beers were serious business. I liked almost all of them that I tried, especially the crystal bitter. The chocolate dunkel would make a good dessert beer when a stout feels too heavy. The only real bust was the pretzel (think county fair style).

Steam Plant's taster is a whopping 55 ounces of beer, so I decided just to stick to the stout. They're justifiably proud of this beer. It is lighter but more complex than many, almost reminding me of a barrel-aged stout but without the overwhelming alcohol. I agree that the ambiance is much better than No-Li.

All in all, it was a good trip for eating and drinking. I'll certainly be back for more one day.

Sep 04, 2012
lavaca in Pacific Northwest

Solo dining in Spokane

My girlfriend and I were going to spend the long weekend in Spokane and Northern Idaho. However, she is stuck in Alaska for longer than planned so it's just going to be a solo trip. I'll probably be eating three breakfasts and three dinners in Spokane and lunch elsewhere.

I will eat just about anything and am willing to entertain suggestions at any price range. As a WABL member, I would like to visit a brewery or two but am fine with drinking there and eating elsewhere. My primary caveat is that I'm coming from Seattle and am not interested in Asian food in Spokane unless it's something really special. I will have a car but am staying downtown and and am happy walking.

Some places that sounded interesting during casual searching:
Sante
Flying Goat
Chicken-n-More
Frank's Diner

Is there a good place to pick up sandwiches and whatnot for a hike on Mt Spokane?

Aug 29, 2012
lavaca in Pacific Northwest

Box lunch delivery in Seattle

I've tried several. The biggest hurdle is satisfying people with boring palates who think that more is better even if they don't eat everything and aren't paying for it. Gretchen's is probably the best for that. If you co-workers are okay with change, here are my thoughts.

Harried & Hungry is about as good as Gretchen's for fairly similar offerings. I did not think that Ingallina's or Fast Rabbits were all that great. Organic to Go was downright bad, but I think they've made some changes since we ordered from them in 2010 or so.

Homegrown's box lunches are not as good as the sandwiches at the cafes, but they're worth a shot if you want a sandwich. The worst thing about ordering from Homegrown is that they charge a 10% gratuity on top of the lunch prices.

Gourmando is great if you order the entrees. The sandwiches and salads are hit-or-miss. Sometimes they seem to go overboard with lettuce.

Monsoon's box lunches come with a really good dessert. I wholeheartedly recommend them if you are able to sell everyone on Vietnamese food. Baguette Box is a good plan B if someone at the group gets nervous around non-Western cuisine.

Potbelly only delivers if you are within a few blocks of one of their shops, but I think they are worth looking into if you want sandwiches and are either in their delivery radius or can pick the order up.

Someone should order from Bambino's and let us know how it is.

Aug 09, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Liquor at the grocery store

This is even further away from you than Wine World, but I am fairly certain I saw it at the U Village QFC in the special interest section.

(Note that they hide their liquor in a separate storefront south of the main store. Incidentally, it's the former location of the state store on 25th Avenue.)

Jun 04, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Liquor at the grocery store

What have you discovered so far in the brave new world of privatized liquor stores? I don't expect that the average QFC or Safeway will put too much effort into hunting down obscure bottles of rye whiskey, but surely there are some stores out there that are trying harder than others.

Today I was told that the Queen Anne Trader Joe's will not be selling liquor. However, the Lower Queen Anne Metropolitan Market has a wide variety of products from the Northwest. Aside from that, they definitely seem to favor some spirits over others (if you don't like clear liquors, you'd better like Scotch or tequila).

It seems like many/most of the former WSLCB stores will re-open in the same location, at least in Seattle. Have any of them opened up again yet?

Jun 01, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Sorrel?

I haven't done so lately, but in the past I've purchased sorrel in the herb section at Whole Foods. It may not be a better deal than the stuff you can get at the farmers markets, though.

May 04, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Murray's Cheese Shop @ QFC

The U Village QFC has something similar (it was the first of six or seven that they're planning to roll out this year). Although it is certainly better than the previous incarnation of the cheese counter, I admit that I still prefer the selection at the Roosevelt Whole Foods.

May 03, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

restaurant near the marriott courtyard lake union

Re:Public and Brave Horse are good suggestions. Serious Pie (pizza, not mincemeat) is also relatively close. Lunchbox Laboratory is about a 15-minute walk, but the burgers are fun (and huge). I would recommend against visiting the along the lake.

There's also a streetcar that runs from Lake Union to downtown along Westlake Avenue. It provides access to the aforementioned Barolo as well as Farestart and the various Tom Douglas places in Belltown.

Apr 25, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Southern Food (better keep your head)

Having just spent a week in the South, I'm already suffering.

Are there any restaurants in the area that serve Southern food beyond barbecue and fried chicken? I'm aware of the Kingfish Cafe, Southern Kitchen, and various Cajun/Creole places, but I'm not aware of any place that really focuses on meat-and-three or low country dishes. Surely somebody is cooking white grits or potlikker gravy.

Mar 27, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Visiting Bourbon Country

We ended up going to Maker's Mark for a tour. They are doing work in the barrel room and left that out of the tour but the experience didn't suffer too much. At the end, we got to taste a white whiskey (the first I've found particularly palatable) in addition to regular Maker's and Maker's 46. I decided against paying $42 for the mint julep base, but I will note that this is something they only sell in Kentucky and only for part of the year.

For the drinking, we went to Proof on Main in Louisville and did flights. Although not as focused on bourbon, Harvest also had a nice selection despite being out of all but one of the Pappy Van Winkle vintages on the menu.

I also discovered that the restaurant at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill sells bourbons like Knob Creek and Four Roses Single Barrel for $6-$7. Paying Kentucky bourbon prices and then returning to Seattle is sort of like paying Seattle beer prices and then going to Washington DC or New York City.

Mar 27, 2012
lavaca in Spirits

86 Spring Hill, Welcome Ma'ono Chicken & Whisky

Yesterday they made a comment via Twitter about installing another fryer. That should help a bit.

Feb 29, 2012
lavaca in Greater Seattle

Visiting Bourbon Country

Thanks. I admit that's the answer I suspected I was going to get. We are also visiting Charleston, so I think there are Louisville are where I'll do most of my bourbon-tasting (but that's another thread, of course).

Feb 21, 2012
lavaca in Spirits