NFT Radar: Gainsbourg

I’m not crazy about authentic French cooking. I find it heavy and uninteresting. Apparently, all it needed was a Seattle twist! Gainsbourg is among Seatown’s best restaurants. We were lucky enough to dine when mac and cheese was the special. Not too oily, perfectly bread crumbed and Gruyere laden, it was unequivocally the best I’ve ever tasted. Gruyere. Other menu highlights include the Croque Monsieur, the French Dip, and Poutine. They season most dishes with pig, but will make vegetarian versions of practically everything. (Beware. They mustn’t clean the pans. A little chunk of ham was hiding in our Roasted Brussels Sprouts.) Their drink menu is as elaborate as the food, with an entire page devoted to Absinthe. The Lavender Lemonade (spiked with vodka) is as refreshing as it is dangerous. Naturally, they also offer a large list of French wines. The decor is dark and interesting. Real candelabras sit on each table, making you feel like characters in a gothic romance novel. But you might want to move it away from yourself after a few drinks. Francophiles might take issue. But for people on the fence about French cooking, Gainsbourg is a revelation.


8550 Greenwood Ave N

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Curtsy Bella

These days, you can pretty much buy anything on line. But Curtsy Bella remembers when customer service meant something. If you’re in the market for a cute and quirky gift for your engaged friend, your pregnant friend or your girlfriend, 10 minutes of browsing the cleverly arranged displays will yield more viable options than you ever thought possible. Their fanciful inventory includes socks, hats, bags, jewelry, clothing, and plenty of knickknacks you can’t live without. They also have a delightfully snarky greeting card selection to help express your sentiments. It’s like an upscale Archie McPhee’s you’re your recipients will actually use the things you buy them. The easily overwhelmed can take advantage of their shopping service. Call or email with a little information and they’ll work with you until they find the perfect gift to meet your needs. They’ll even gift wrap it (in leopard print paper!) and ship next day or same day by courier. You’ll look thoughtful, whimsical and timely. I’d say that you couldn’t buy service like that. But you could. At Curtsy Bella.


2920 NE Blakeley St
www.curtsybella.com

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Bottega Italiana

People say gelato is better for you than ice cream but it sounds too good to be true. Still, when there’s a gelato place in your neighborhood, it’s difficult to stay away. Bottega Italiana follows suit with being irresistible, but they aren’t exaggerating when they say that their gelato isn’t bad for you. It’s not as healthy as, say, a big bowl of spinach, but indulging isn’t going to negate your time at the gym either. As if that weren’t enough of an excuse, they use only natural, local and seasonal ingredients. Whether you’ve chosen to live dairy free, or nature chose for you, you can still enjoy one of their vegan fruit flavors. Those who can’t say no to creamy goodness will be pleased as punch with one or more of their year-round flavors like hazelnut, pistachio, and caffe. If you feel the need to be responsible, you can make a meal out of it by adding a lunchtime pannini and real Italian espresso. But remember, it’s low fat. So if you’ve had a hard day (or want to make a good day better), go ahead and get that double scoop. We won’t judge.


409 NE 70th St
www.bottegaitaliana.com

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: El Camion

There are a lot of good taco trucks in Seattle, but El Camion is one of the best. This isn’t your standard three-taco deal. Their selection is massive. It’s basically a restaurant on wheels. Taco-wise, they offer ELEVEN different fillings. If you’re not in a taco mood but still want something south-of-the-bordery, they have a about a million other dishes from burritos to tortas to special plates. They make their tamales fresh every day (fillings vary). Breakfast burritos are served all day. If a burrito the size of a baby isn’t enough food for you, tack on a side of rice and beans or chips and salsa. Speaking of salsa, their numerous varieties are also made daily in-house and some of them will really kick your ass. Wash it all down with one of several classic Mexican beverages including Horchata, Jarritos, Mexican Coke, pina coladas or, on those not-so-rare rainy days, Mexican hot chocolate. Bonus for the meat-averse, unlike most authentico taco trucks, they have vegetarian versions of just about everything. While El Camion is certainly worth a special trip, there is no better way to reward oneself after an always grueling visit to the adjacent Home Depot.


11728 Aurora Ave N 98133
206-367-2777
www.elcamionseattle.com

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: The Rat and Raven

On The Rat and Raven has a very Clever Dunne’s vibe. Apparently, that’s not a coincidence. When frat annex, the Irish Immigrant, closed, the owners of the beloved Cap Hill Irish bar brought their cozy dive aesthetic to the U.D. There’s lots of space to spread out here. Big, cushy booths provide a stress-free environment for large impromptu gatherings or just watching the match. Shuffleboard is more interesting on their extra long table. Happy hour is 4-7 daily and all day on Sundays, offering lots of cheap, delicious drafts; among them all-too-drinkable Magner’s Irish Cider. They also take $2 off their heavenly pub food menu. Famished folks can partake of mind-blowing burgers like the Hawaiian or the Big Blue Shroom (all available veggie). The exceptional badass can take the Raven Challenge by downing a four beef patty, cheese and bacon burger. Victors get their photo on the wall of fame. If you’re just in a snacking mood, the Beer Battered Cheese Curds will hit the spot in a way mozzarella sticks never could. The weekend brunch, greasy in all the right ways, will cure whatever ails you (assuming you’re hung over), as will a pitcher of mimosas.


5260 University Way NE 98105
206-524-3166
www.ratandraven.com

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Peaks Frozen Custard

Molly Moon can’t be everywhere at once. And that’s just fine because my neighborhood has frozen custard. It’s like ice cream but smoother and, thanks to an egg yolk infusion, probably worse for you. That’s also what makes it so damned tasty. It’s slow churned to eliminate ice crystals and maximize silkiness. They have to make it fresh every two hours. This delicate process makes frozen custard a little more special. Even if you think their two constant flavors, chocolate and vanilla, sound ordinary, they have an ace in the hole. Alumni Flavors of the Day include Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Salted Caramel Cashew and Chocolate Malt Madness. On holidays, they get sassy with themes. Valentine’s Day had Raspberry Red Velvet Cake. On May 5th, those mad geniuses made Horchata with Abuelita Chocolate. Cinco de Licious! If you really want to be a hero, you can bring a pint or two home. Peaks isn’t just frozen treats. They also do lunch by way of paninis, veggie chili, and stratas. Kiddies can enjoy the rocking moose and the rest of us can scam the free Wi-Fi and occasionally hear some live singer-songwriter types. But isn’t frozen custard enough of a draw?


1026 NE 65th St 98115
206-588-2701
www.peaksfrozencustard.com

X-Posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: The Pig ‘n Whistle

The P n’ W is a decent destination for dinner and drinks. There are delightful twists on classic apps like the breaded green tomato caprese and the revelatory pretzel crusted cheddar sticks. Their sandwich menu offers not only a competent burger (meat and veggie) but also surprises like the brat burger and the fried green tomato, ham, bacon, egg sandwich. They have a terrific list of micro brews and imported beers to accompany your meal. Save room for cobbler or perhaps a root beer float! Brunch, however, is another story. I don’t normally like to give a negative review based on bad service from one individual. But because the food wasn’t all that great either, it feels warranted. Our toast came out late and was still, somehow, cold and chewy as though it had been sitting around for a while. There was a (thankfully) long hair on my omelet and when I mentioned it, very politely to the already bitchy waitress (after I had eaten most of my mediocre breakfast), her response was “Oh.” I wasn’t looking for a comped meal but an apology would have been nice. I’ll be back for those cheddar sticks. But brunch? Never again.


8412 Greenwood Ave N 98103
206-782-6044
www.pignwhistleseattle.com

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

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