Thursday, May 29, 2008

Melena's Taco Shop (uqa)

Hungry? On top of Queen Anne Hill? Have a pocket full of real paper money? Melena's Taco Shop is the place for you.

Melena's Taco Shop sign
Malena has a taco shop

It's totally a hole in the wall, which as we all know, is an asset. The whole place is about the size of a closet. They manage to fit six tables and a lunch counter in there. It's a bit like tetris to get in yourself in, get through the ordering line and then get seated. That's half the fun. The conversations tend to be like "Oh, I'm sorry. Oops. pardon me. Oh, I'm just ... headed there. Ah, thanks."

Melena's Taco Shop chips and salsa
Of course you can have some chips and salsa

The food's good, but there's a strange mix of homemade and purchased components. The chips are obviously out of a bag; the cheese appears factory shredded; the salsa is seems like it's made there. The salsa, by the way, is very tasty. It's thin, pulpy and spicy and I like it a lot.

My lunch companion had Tacos. The taco shells get fried right before they're served. Fresh is awesome! Also, that guacamole was fantastic (I swiped a taste, for science. you know how I do).

Melena's Taco Shop - chicken tacos
Tacos are in the name for a reason. they're the business.

I had tamales. They're ok. Not the best. I'd get them again, but not next time, if you know what I mean. I want to try some of those tacos.

Melena's Taco Shop - chicken tamales
Chicken Tamales are not bad

There's another Melena's in Ballard. I've been there too. It's bigger but everything else seems just the same. I've had the chicken burrito there, which was good. And some other stuff, all good. Except for the veggie burrito, which was rather bland. Nothing that some Tapatío can't solve. Lucky that there's some on every table.

Malena's Taco Shop on Urbanspoon
[where: 620 W McGraw St, Seattle, WA 98119] [map]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Twede's Cafe, North Bend

Twede's Cafe is famous for being the diner from Twin Peaks. The fact that it was gutted by fire and now looks completely different than it did in the show has little impact it's ability to attract fans. Though, it must be said, they ham it up a bit.

Twede's Cafe Home of Twin Peaks Cherry Pie
Home of Twin Peaks Cherry Pie

Lest you forget it's the twin peaks place once you get inside, all the wait staff wears tshirts that say "Twin Peaks something something" in big bold letters.

But I'm not here to talk about the roadside attractionism of the place. Ok, I am, but let's pretend it's about the food, at least. It won't be difficult; the food is worthy of conversation.

So, Twede's is a diner. A real, proper diner. The portions are massive. I wasn't that hungry during my visit, so I went for the two egg breakfast. "Oh, two eggs," I thought, "isn't a lot." Little did I know that they use a whole sack of potatoes for each order of hash browns.

Twede's Cafe two egg breakfast
The Two Egg Breakfast is not small

My breakfast companion also went for small. A half order of biscuits and gravy sounded just right. It went unfinished due to it's overwhelming volume. The flavor was reported as 'like home'.

Twede's Cafe half order of biscuits and gravy
Half an order of biscuits and gravy, and it still manages to make the
cutlery look like it's from a doll house

I usually stay away from sausage, gravy or otherwise, but for you and for science I tried some. It was good when doused with much salt.

Of course, as Twin Peaks fans we had to have some cherry pie, with ice cream, with a damn fine cup of coffee on the side. At this point we were stuffed stupid. Even with our desert stomachs we had trouble finishing it all.

Twede's Cafe A damn fine cup of coffee and cherry pie
A damn fine cup of coffee. It's where cherry pie goes to die.
[photo by rakka]

A note about the damn fine cups of coffee. Twede's is a diner, remember. This is diner coffee. If you come out to North Bend from Seattle there's a 90% chance you'll be a coffee snob. Just, you know, turn that off for a little while; you'll make it through.

Twede's Cafe A Damn Fin Cup of Coffee
Wait! A damn fin cup of coffee?

D'oh. A typo on the mugs! A damn fin cup of coffee doesn't sound quite right. Even after Josie Packard put a fish in the percolator. Looks like I'm not the first person to notice that.

Twede's Cafe Twin Peaks Sign
Did I mention that Twede's has some connection to Twin Peaks?
I think it does...

All silliness aside, it's a nice diner with good food at out of town prices (that means it's cheap). To top it off everybody is really nice. They don't mind if you're a tourist; they thrive on it. They don't even mind if you make art at the table. Stop in sometime.

Don't forget that Snoqualmie Falls is right up the road (you know, from the opening credits). Also, the big log.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bonus: Lockspot pics from a perfect memorial sunday

I've already done the Lockspot Cafe in Ballard, so I won't bore you again with another review. But the pictures came out so well I had to post them.

fish sandwich at the lockspot cafe, ballard, seattle
On the menu this is a Fish Sand

halibut and chips at the lockspot cafe, ballard, seattle
Halibut and chips

prawns and chips at the lockspot cafe, ballard, seattle
Prawns and chips

the lockspot cafe, ballard, seattle
The sign even looks tasty

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lets you, me and your friend have a Ménage à Trois

No. The wine... What did you think I meant? You have such a dirty mind.

Ménage à Trois wine, or Menage a trois

I love Ménage à Trois wine. Not because it's particularly good or anything. It just makes me feel like I'm getting away with something slightly dirty. It's the same reason I like Wife Swap Ale and Sex Orgy Shiraz.

Friday, May 23, 2008

parking garage teriyaki

One of the things I love about downtown Seattle is its way of putting restaurants in really weird places. Down random alleys is child's play. I'm talking, like, the basement of a labor union (technically, that's belltown). Underneath a bank of america. Or my favorite, upstairs in a parking garage.

Community Grocery & Deli is one isle of a convenience store, about six little tables left over from a western movie set, and a kitchen. It's called a deli, but they serve teriyaki. The doors open, from inside some random parking garage, directly on some stairs, which in turn lead right up in to the middle of everything. There are no windows. At the counter is a little old asian dude that doesn't speak any english. It's fantastic.

The food is good for a parking garage. What sort of surprised me is that 'good for a parking garage' is a little above average for Seattle teriyaki places. I don't go out of my way for it, but when I'm in the area I love to stop in. It's my second favorite parking garage restaurant.

Community Grocery & Deli on Urbanspoon
[where: 1102 5th Ave, Seattle, Washington, 98101]
or [where: 415 Seneca St, Seattle, WA ]
[map] []

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mai Phim Thai Restaurant

Mai Phim has it all: blaring Taiwanese pop, waitresses that sound like anime characters, and most importantly, good food. It's an unassuming little place near the market.

Mai Phim Exterior

It's menu is typical of Thai restaurants. Swimming Rama, Phad Thai, Pad Kee Mao, curries, etc. I had the Panang curry with chicken. I asked for spicy, and it was just right. It made my lips burn, but the flavors still shone through.

Mai Phim Panang Chicken Curry
Panang Chicken Curry

My lunch companion had soup. The Tom Kah Kai with coconut milk and mushrooms. I got to try some, and it was very tasty as well.

Mai Phim Tom Kah Kai
Tom Kah Kai

It is a bit of a hole in the wall. Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Mai Phim Interior

Oh, remember the Thai Pop music? I took a video, just for you.

And so we come to the conclusion. Was it good? Definitely. Was it reasonably priced? See for yourself.

Mai Phim Receipt
17 something. That's awesome for two people

I was listing the wrong location. The place pictured above is the one on Pike. The one on Columbia is good too though.

Mae Phim on Urbanspoon
[where: 213 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101] [map]
Other location: [] [where: 94 Columbia St, Seattle, WA 98104] [map]

Friday, May 16, 2008


Have I not talked about Ivar's? Bad food blogger! Ivar's is great summer food. The kind that feels like vacation. Probably because you're literally in a mob of tourists for the duration of the ordering and purchasing process.

It's just fish and chips. And clam chowder. And other kinds of fried fish.

Salmon and chips from Ivars
Salmon and chips

It's a little pricey. For bits of salmon (3 pictured, oops), chips, and a drink came to $12.50. This puts it outside the everyday lunch range maybe. But on a fantastic day like today, I'll make an exception.

Order of Salmon and chips from Ivars
Order of Salmon and chips

The one on the waterfront is right by the fire boats. The seagulls come and demand their tribute. I didn't get a great shot of a chip catch, but here's an expectant luncher.

Seagull catching chips at Ivars
Seagull catching chips

Some gulls scream at you for food. Jerks. This one asked nicely.

Ivar's Seafood Bar on Urbanspoon

[where: 1001 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104] [map]

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Phở & Bubble Tea Express

Phở is Phở; there aren't any huge surprises here. The hot and sour veggie adds some variety, with it's extra spice and pineapple chunks.

The perfect meal is a small phở and a Vietnamese sandwich. The thing about getting take out phở is all the packaging. Each one of these items came in it's own plastic bag. I try not to do this too much, because each time I do it feels like I'm punching the earth in the kidneys.

But the soup is gooood. Yum. But no hot sauce makes frowny emoticons float in front of my eyes.

Coworker got the pork vermicelli, which I though was weird. It's a phở place dude. Phở!

But he seemed to like it. I had to knock him down so I could get this picture while there was still some left.

The place is your typical hole in the wall phở place, stuck in what appears to be an old mexican deli. Or something, I don't know.

The thing I'll never understand is, what's the deal with the astro-turf stage counter?

There's tons of phở in Pioneer Square, and you're only a few blocks from the ID. I keep going back to this one for the sweet and sour veggie. It's good.

Pho Ha on Urbanspoon calls it Pho Ha.
[where: 90 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98127] [map]

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Nielsen's Pastry

The pastries are great at Nielsen's, obviously. Somewhat surprisingly, the sandwiches are really good too. I usually get the tuna salad sandwich, because you have to get there really early for the chicken. I'm not a morning person. One day I'll have one, even if I have to stay up all night.

Anyway, down to the pictures. First up, my favorite pastry, the cheese and berry danish.

cheese and berry danish

The have all kinds of stuff, some of it depends on the season. Like this hot cross bun from Easter time.

hot cross bun

And here's the sandwich. Look at that bread. There sure is a lot of it.

tuna salad sandwich

Nielsen's is an unassuming little place, in the bottom of some crappy condo building. But that's no reason to not stop by. Just get there early.

Nielsen's exterior

[where: 520 2nd Ave W, Seattle, WA, 98119] [map]
Nielsen's Pastry on Urbanspoon