Thursday, May 2, 2013

Aqua, Seattle WA

This one will just be a "she said" since, well, he wasn't there.

For background, this one was a business dinner, so I didn't send back thing I normally would have (in a heart beat)

Being this restaurant is owned by El Gaucho (who I love and adore) I was excited about trying their seafood sister.

First of all, this restaurant is amazingly gorgeous. It was a sunny day, you could see the Olympic Mountains, boats on the Sound. Truly, it was breath taking.

We all convened at the bar for our pre-flight cocktail. I had a serviceable pear martini. Just OK  (Salty's on Alki makes the best pear martini ever. Period. End of discussion)


We we ordered several things and shared. The Ahi tartar was amazing. fresh, crisp and delicious.

Oh, how I wished I'd stopped.

We shared crab cakes. I took one bite. One bite right into a large piece of cartilage.


Being the adventuresome type, I figure to give crab another go and selected the crab bisque.

Looked and smelled amazing. Rich creamy soup with large chunks of crab clearly visible.

The first taste...

BLECH! SALT LICK! So clearly over reduced.

Regaining my composure (business dinner and all) I figured "hey, at least enjoy the pieces of crab!"

"YUM!" I think as the spoon full of crab approaches my mouth.

"DAMMIT!" I think as another piece of crab cartilage assaults my dental work.

Seriously? This is a junior level mistake.


Halibut Cheeks were one of the specials of the day. If you've never had them and get the opportunity, don't pass them up. They're the sweetest most succulent part of the fish.

These were done with a beurre blanc and capers.....and almonds. I did not understand the almonds at all. Maybe to add texture? I just picked them off.

Overall the fish was OK. But at the price, I want awesome.


The view, location and decor, all stunning. Really truly stunning.

The service was excellent. Attentive without being cloying. The waiter was truly horrified by my continuous crustacean challenges.

Food? meh. Seriously, I've had much much better and half the price.

Overall I'd rate it a C+

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lone Star Cafe, San Antonio

Oh, San Antonio.......

She Said:

So, I had never been to the great state of Texas, and after enjoying a celebrity chef experience, we decided to hoof it around the River Walk and get dinner (well, that and we didn't have a car, so bi-pedal locomotion really was our only option)

That said, it Texas! It's BIG! Ranches! MEAT!


That was my first mistake.

As it was a Saturday night, we expected a wait. Hey, what's that? A bar? Well, alrighty then. I had my first Coronarita.

It won't be my last.

Hello Lover.

We were finally seated at the farthest table from the entrance. It was really freaking cold. In the whole place, outside, there were 2 working heaters (That were near the front. People were huddled around them like characters in a Jack London novel)


We decided to share the stuffed jalapenos. Please note, I'd had my first stuffed jalapeno the day before (yes, I'm a hot food sissy) and liked it. A lot. So, we decided to try them again.

I get that it's a busy restaurant, but these were so obviously frozen (and not good frozen) I could pick these up in the grocery store.


Wow, iceberg, a tomato wedge, ranch dressing and some dead bread. Last time I dined that well I was having lunch in the cafeteria at North Farmington HS.

Seriously, why did they bother?


So I had the rib-eye (my absolute FAVORITE CUT EVER), the big guy had a strip.

My Steak was cook properly, but paper thin. Kudos to the chef who can get a mid-rare on a steak you could read a newspaper through. Seriously, I want that guy at my next BBQ.

Side was a baked potato. It was so steaming hot the butter wouldn't even melt. Seriously. Or, it may have been piping hot but froze on it's journey through the wasted tundra; the location of our table.

The Big Guy's steak was also a perfect medium. Their grill-man is a genius.

We decided to splurge and go for the extra charge for his side to be mac and cheese.


This was a disaster. Cold (perhaps again the tundra effect), pasty, unseasoned drek. Awful.


OK, we're in the south...Peach Cobbler! Perfect!

Yea, not so much. OK, when 2 people who are still hungry can't finish their dessert, it's bad.



Seriously, we had trouble identifying the peaches they were so overpowered by starch and sugar.

Luckily, one thing did manage the passage to the tundra successfully, the ice cream on the cobbler! Yes, it was still perfectly frozen!


Major suckage, and that's not the residual effects of hypothermia talking.

NOTHING except the cocktail was good. And the service. Our waiter was pretty good. Oh yea, and the bartender was kinda cute. But I came for dinner, not to find a date (had one!)

Overall, D- (because neither of us got sick afterwords. I figured they deserved a little love for not giving us food poisoning)

Luke, San Antonio TX

Ok, I think we can all unashamedly admit we're suckers for a celebrity chef. Along that vein, being in San Antonio, we decided to try Luke.

She Said:
 Admittedly, we were early for our reservation, but the restaurant wasn't full yet for Friday service, so they were easily able to seat us immediately. Big point there.

They showed us to likely the worst table in the dining room. Seriously, in what appeared to be an atrium in the middle of the room. Cozy? Intimate? Not so much. Feeling like a monkey at the zoo? Yep, that captured it.

My beloved, though, stopped the hostess in her tracks, and requested another table. Whew.

Our server greeted us promptly, and took the order for our pre-flight cocktail. Off to a great start!

I need to preface this whole review with a bit of knowledge on one of our dining idiosyncrasies.

I know this is not the feminist point of view, but I like it occasionally when I don't even look at the menu and my beloved makes all the decisions. I know, I know...but it's true. I ask, and he delightfully obliges.

So, for my appetizer, Gulf Oysters on the half shell.

They were OK. Serviceable. I guess I just like our NW variety better. Not bad, nothing to write home about.

He had the lump Blue Crab Salad with Avocado.

This was so freaking good we almost came to blows. We share, but I didn't want to share this. I would have happily wrestled him (and potentially added a few illegal jabs and pokes to get more than my fair share). It was perfectly seasoned, clean fresh and crisp.


He ordered me the Shrimp Etouffee. Now, Etouffee is defined as "Étouffée or etouffee (pronounced: [e.tu.fe] ay-TOO-fay) is a dish found in both Cajun and creole cuisine typically served with shellfish over rice"

This came on penne pasta. Why not call it a Cajun Shrimp Pasta? This in no way resembled etouffee. It was, OK. Again, serviceable, but not worth ordering again or the price. Maybe a step above Olive Garden. Maybe.

And yes, so you know, I don't have a beef with Olive Garden.

He had the steak. It was flavorful and cooked perfectly. The sides...oh so so sad.

The kale was a horrible drab greyish green. Taste matched. There was also this weird piece of marble rye Bread on the plate under the kale. It was like a piece of bread trying to escape "Midnight Express" style from the kitchen, just peeking out to make sure it hadn't been followed by the Sous Chef.


So we decided to share, even though we were hoofing it back to the hotel (CARDIO!) but hey, there are limits.

We had the lemon tart with candied cranberries and fresh ginger ice cream. Each component was really really good. The ice cream was amazing. Together though? The ginger ice cream with the lemon tart was just...weird. Not too bad, but not completely pleasant. The tart, however, rocked.


Our server was just a delight. Amazed us when we found out it was her first solo night on the floor (we only discovered this when we flummoxed her on the wine list).

Wine selections were nice. We actually ended up having a great conversation with the manager about Russian River wines vs. Napa. He was delightful, and the service was top notch. Really. And I can be a bit of a bitch when service sucks.

Overall, Service A, food B. Feeling generous, I would rate the whole experience an A-.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Prohibition Gastropub, Everett, WA

We'd heard Gordon Ramsay had done his schtick here, so we thought we'd give it a try. What can I say, we're suckers for a restaurant on the edge!

She Said:
First, I hate the term "Gastropub". I know it's the chic new term for upscale comfort food in a casual setting, but to me in just sounds like a medical term for intestinal blockage. I hope this trend ends soon. I really do.

The decor was really nice. Felt like a 20's speak easy and the place was hopping!

Had a very nice cocktail at the bar, although the bartender seemed hesitant to give suggestions. Not sure why. Cocktails were also a bit spendy but not enough to make me choke.

I had the fish and crab cakes. They were really really good. Perfect, crispy and just yummy. The yummy where you don't want anyone to talk to you while you're eating kind of yummy. Yummy I just wanted to eat more of them yummy.

My husband had the duck salad. This is listed as a starter, but be warned, it's REALLY big. A leg and a thigh on the bed of greens big. This is an entree sized salad big.

That said, it was freaking delicious. Duck was beautifully done; golden and crispy. I don't remember much about the greens, I was really focused on the duck, it was that good. Not to denigrate the vegetarian's out there, but we like meat and unless someone has done something new! amazing! fresh! greens are pretty much just greens in my world.

Except Arugula. I LOVE arugula. retrospect how we wish we'd stopped after the starters. Great cocktails! Amazing starter! Lovely Wine! Intimate fun atmosphere! But no......we went further.

I had the Short Rib Stroganoff. I love Short Ribs with a deep and abiding passion that transcends all understanding. I felt personally betrayed by this dish.

This tasted like shredded bit of Chuck is weirdish sauce over store bought egg noodles. I really wanted to love this, I truly did. For $16 I wanted more than a bowl of egg noodles with a really small portion of what tasted like pot roast. Seriously, this was like Denny's food. I left most of it in the bowl.

My husband had the Salmon. While I've previously discussed our individual takes on Salmon (and to their credit, they wanted to cook it mid-rare). So, that said, Salmon had a weird mealy texture. Flavors were nice, texture was not nice. He'll doubtless have more too add here.

But did we stop there? Nope. We forged ahead to dessert!

Ok, by this point we were really full, but wanted to try a dessert. We decided to share the apple crumble.

Weird, mushy and tasted slightly burned. My husband actually made the waitress try a bite.

Overall, I think a great place for a cocktail and maybe a nibble. I really enjoyed everything up to the entree. So half the evening? I think overall that rates a solid C.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bay Street Bistro, Port Orchard WA

We've been coming to this place basically since it open. Time to share....

She Said:
This is a small cozy restaurant. While parking can be a moderate challenge, there's plenty of parking just across the street. I've heard people complain but really, it's less than a city block. This is a 21 and over only restaurant which I both love and hate. I love being able to have a quiet grown up dinner with the man, but I'd also like to be able to bring in my foodie teenage boys.

Never wait more than about 30 seconds when you walk in to be greeted. It's a small place where they get to know you.

They always greet you at the table with an aperitif. I love it. I don't always love the choice (although the apfel liquor was yummy) I just love the concept. An aperitif just seems so....civilized.

I almost always order off the specials sheet. It's inevitably interesting and super fresh.

We shared the grilled bruschetta with red onion marmalade and goat cheese. HOLY CRAP! I didn't chip a tooth! Bruschetta always scares me a bit (well, it's actually the fear of a large dental bill. Seriously, I've had some you could drive a nail with). There was a little too much of the onion jam and not enough goat cheese for my taste, but it was still yummy, and I just removed some of the jam. The toast was crispy, warm and nicely grilled.

This appetizer DID NOT work with my glass of Pinot Gris but my husband's Merlot was great with it. Yes, I likely drank too much of his wine, but it was goooood and he loves me so I can get away with it.

The winter greens, pear and pecorino salad was good. Not amazing but good. While whole rings of sweet onion look pretty, I hate having to take a knife to a salad. Could just be me. I think I just may be a bit of a salad snob. I get the concept of charging for a salad since, for most people, it's a bit of a throw away course. I just want it to be special or not at all.

Ok, yea. I'm a salad snob.

I ordered off the special sheet, ignoring my go-to rib-eye which, while spendy, is yummy when you just need a beautiful hunk of meat. Occasionally you just have to obey the inner carnivore. Well, at least I do.

The local Arctic Char was grilled with just sea salt and olive oil and served over wilted greens. It was perfect. I wanted to rub it in my hair and on my face. Roll around in it and purr. In just retribution for the earlier Merlot incident, my husband ate what was likely too much of my dinner. I considered this open warfare and dove into his steak.

They also serve the garnishes family style, putting the plate of roasted veggies in the middle of the table. I love this. I loved the carrots. I loved the potatoes. I hated the broccoli. Seriously, roasted broccoli is gross. The flowers are just dry, brown...yuck. And I truly and deeply love broccoli. Not like I love a great martini or a beautifully cooked steak, but as veggies go, it's in my top 5 and I will openly pursue it.

We decided to share one of the home made ice creams. This was not a good choice. It was freezer burned and crystallized. They offered us something else and removed it from the bill. Couldn't really ask for anything more. At this point we were both uncomfortably full, and passed on further sweets.

Always great. Servers are sweet, knowledgeable and don't hover. I hate hovering. I come for dinner to relax with my husband. I hate it when I feel stalked.

Chef owner always comes out and does a spin through the dining room. Always eager to hear feedback.

Overall, I'd rate it an A-. A tad spendy, but you know you're going to get something fresh and well prepared, receive excellent service in a cozy environment. If something's wrong, they make it right. To me, a good restaurant is not about everything being flawless, but how they recover. We'll definitely be back.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Whiskey Creek Steakhouse, Keyport Washington

So, we'd tried it before, and it was so bad, that we it was unlikely we would ever go back.  It was "the blue hair club" dining experience.  While the live music was was entertaining, it wasn't for us.  The food was awful, and the decore was more dead then the food.

We saw "Kitchen Impossible," (KI) and thought the changes were in the right direction.  This is our first experience visiting a Kitchen Impossible fix.

She Said:
Sooooo confusing when you walk in. Apparently, I went in the "wrong" door (it was the closest to where we parked) and landed in the bar. Hmmm, could be kismet, but I digress.

Once I found the hostess stand (and I use the term loosely, since it was a table on a post, by the kitchen door) and the hostess (several staff just stared at me in my confusion, clearly willing me to the right spot. Non-verbal communication never my strong suit, I no doubt looked like I was doing the hokey-pokey as I turned myself around) we settled into the bar for a pre-flight cocktail. Highly recommend the key lime martini. A tad sweet, but fun.

I was surprised they wouldn't transfer the check to our table. Had to cash out at the bar. Makes me think the staff doesn't play nice with tipping out.

He Said:
Called ahead for a reservation, but all the reservations were full for the night.  However we were told to just come on in, the wait shouldn't be bad.  I found this lovely lady waiting at the bar, she looked she might be interested in a date.  I asked the bartender what was on special or what she recommended.  After a bit, she mentioned the Key Lime martini.   It was really frothy, not quite what I was expecting but still very good.  I recommend it.

Our wait was very short, about 10 min.  The bar was not crowded.  We did have the option of having our meal at the bar, again not our style.  After closing out our bar bill (annoying), we walked the 10 feet to our table.

Atmosphere (decor):

He Said:
Gone are the dead animals and the live band - YEA!.  However there were still some strange items around - some colored stick trees with yarn wrapped on them?  Lighting is good, and overall the new decor is very pleasing.   The sliced log wall, show on kitchen impossible is very nice.

She Said:

We had the calamari and seafood chowder.

She Said:
Calamari was greasy. REALLY greasy. There was a puddle in the bottom of the bowl. Sauce was nice, but we didn't finish it. Did I say it was greasy?

Seafood chowder, YUM! I could have made love in this soup.

He Said:
Calamari was good,  a tad greasy, but not inedible I thought a bit under salted therefore slightly bland.  Seafood chowder was good.  Slightly odd flavor seasoning.  Good, but a little over salted.  The fish was lost in the salting and seasoning.

She had the Rib-eye.  I enjoyed the Salmon

She said:
I had the rib-eye. Ordered medium, was medium well. I didn't send it back, so I'll take the blame on that. Taste was OK, but nothing I couldn't have done at home.  Mashed potatoes has a weird pastiness to them. Couldn't place what it was, but it wasn't good. Green beans were perfect. I could have made love in those beans.

My beloved had the Salmon. We have always fundamentally disagreed on the proper way to cook Salmon. I say anything over medium is a abomination. He likes it well done.

I think he's wrong. Because of this fundamental difference, I will abstain from comment.

He Said:
Woman have no unexpressed thoughts!  I'm sure she is having a few right now.  The Salmon was WONDERFUL.  Great flavors and beautifully cooked.  It's a steak and seafood place, not a sushi bar.
I agree on the green beans, just lightly cooked on olive oil.  YUMMY!  The wine selection is good, and was easy to find a match with the food.  I sampled her steak.  I found it well seasoned and very tasty.

We each ordered our own dessert, very rare for us.  She had the brownie sundae, I had the creme burlee.

She Said:
I had the brownie sundae. The brownie had so obviously been nuked, it was still screaming from radiation burns when it got to the table. Too hot to eat when it got there, too dry to eat once it cooled down. Blech.

He had the creme brulee. We got the creme part, but there was no brulee. The custard (which is my favorite part) was really good but there was no ceremonial cracking of the sugar. It was just soft discolored sugar that was kinda sad actually.

He Said:
I got nothing.  What she said is accurate.


She said:
While I think everyone was trying hard, I have to give it a "meh".
We ordered wine and appetizers, and it was a looooong time until she came for our dinner order.
2 people brought our desserts, one of them thought my dessert was hers (since she's apparently ordered dessert for herself during dinner volume?)

He Said:
Service was okay.  I would describe it as bit confused.  Waiters running around to service their table at opposite ends of the restaurant.  Everyone was friendly and they would chat with you and offer their comments if asked.  I found it interesting that the owners were not present, even after "Robbie's" recommendations from KI


She Said:
Overall, I'd rate it a "C". I've had worse, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again. A bit on the spendy side for a very average meal.

He Said:
And here all this time I thought I was the judgemental hard ass.  I would give this a B.  Definitely room for improvement, but all in all not too bad.  Then again, I get spoiled by very good cooking at home.  (thank you dear).  I wouldn't mind going again to try some other items.  The fish and chips looks very good. 

As usual for me, and much to her horror, I decided to talk to some other guest.  This other couple apparently had been coming there for a long time.  They enjoyed it before.  They thought the changes were good, and the food was better, especially the fish and chips.  BTW, the fish pieces were exceptionally large for fish and chips, and looked very nicely cooked.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The purpose.....

So, my husband and I are HUGE foodies. We read Yelp, Travel Advisor, you name it, we surf it.

Then we try.

Then we disagree (too salty, no it's delicious......),

We thought we'd start an anonymous blog to hopefully help and amuse other foodies.

While we live in the Pacific Northwest, but you never know where we'll be eating next.

I hope you enjoy our musings (and agree that well, I'm usually right.)