NFT Radar: Blue Dog Kitchen

Living in the UD, I sometimes miss the old IHOP and pancakes at my beck and call. But then I remember the Blue Dog Kitchen and I remember just how much I was slumming it with those nasty gut-bombs and sugary syrups. Blue Dog does “build-your-own pancakes” with an extensive array of bases (like buttermilk, oat bran, blue cornmeal, and poppy seed) and toppings. Fruits, nuts, chocolate chips and syrups combined any way your little heart desires. They’re even available wheat-free for more delicate digestive systems. If pancakes aren’t your thing, they’ll also do an omelet for you, and throw in a piece of fresh bread for good measure. Cafe D’arte supplies the coffee but the Dogs brew their own chai in 10 different varieties, including ginger spice and lavender. If you prefer lunch, they’ve got that too: Deli-style sandwiches in 20 different varieties. The dog may be blue, but your stomach won’t be. The only downside to this place is that the pancake service is limited to the mornings. But I suppose an adult has to adhere to a meal schedule sometime.

5247 University Way NE 98105

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: The Counter

So it’s not a mom and pop burger joint. It started in California with franchises springing up in some unlikely places across the country (and the world). And maybe I’m just falling for the glamor of an evil empire on the rise. But when a place boasts 312,120 different possible burger combinations (any mathematicians want to contest this figure?) how can you not? Because of the insane array of choices, their Build-Your-Own-Burger forms can be a little overwhelming. I find it’s best to start with a sauce and go from there. You can be simple as you please (beef burger, American cheese, lettuce, regular bun) or highly experimental (turkey burger, soft ripened brie, hard boiled eggs, ginger soy glaze, dried cranberries on English muffin). It’s all up to you. They just provide the high-quality ingredients. Especially impressive are their house-made veggie patties, an ingenious combination of grains and veggies mashed together and fried to a golden brown. Don’t miss their Wednesday happy hour, which pairs 4 sliders with 4 microbrew samples for $4. Save room for a milkshake, which can also be combined however you please. It doesn’t get any more “have it your way” than this.

4609 14th Ave NW 98107

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Chiang’s Gourmet

It certainly looks sketchy from the outside and its proximity to the dodginess of Lake City Way certainly doesn’t help. But if you can put look beyond appearances and venture inside, you most certainly won’t regret it. With three different menus (American, Chinese, and Vegetarian) it’s difficult not to find something you like. The house-made noodles are the perfect combination of chewy and salty and come in a number of different dishes. The vegetarian sweet and sour ribs are a saucy bit of fried heaven. If you’re feeling adventurous, order something off one of the colorful signs by the register. Those are the owner’s suggestions and are sure to be amazing. Don’t miss the weekend brunch with eggy pastry delights and some dim-sum type items. The steamed bun selection (apart from the lackluster vegetarian bun) is outstanding. However, be prepared for spotty service. Depending on how busy they are, (and often, it’s VERY) you may wait a long time for your food. Fortunately, there’s always take-out. Trust me, it’s worth the hassle. This is some of the most authentic (and delicious) Chinese food you will find in Seattle. Just ask the authentic Chinese families who crowd the dining room!

7845 Lake City Way NE 98115

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Roxy’s Diner

Roxy’s website states that they’re “Seattle’s only NY Jewish Style Diner.” But this is not a case of beggars-can’t-be-choosers. Roxy’s is the poo. Their gargantuan menu lists an endless array of delights for chosen people and Goys alike. Have a burger (or veggie patty) any way you like it, eat breakfast all day (bagel sandwiches, latkes and eggs, tater tot omelet), or go the traditional sandwich route with a Rueben, Patty Melt or enormous Pastrami on Rye. Naturally, it all comes with a crispy pickle. Wash it down with a pitcher of beer or the bubbly chocolate goodness of an Egg Cream. Weekends bring $2 Champagne Cocktails or Mini Marys. As for sides, they’ve got ’em in spades. Potato Salad, Slaw, Matzoh Ball Soup, Sweet Potato Fries, and Tots just to name a few. If you’re still hungry after all that, you can get some pie or Rugelach from the glass case. It doesn’t hurt that the decor, with the cushy booths and colorful mural, is as sunny and inviting as the wait staff. The only downside is that they close at 7 pm every day. But they’re Seattle’s only NY Jewish Style Diner so you’ll eat when they’re ready.

462 N 36th St 98103

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Po Dog

I’d actually been craving a hot dog for quite some time. With so much build up, my first trip to Po Dogs was either going to be deeply satisfying or profoundly disappointing. I’m pleased to report that my Po Dog completely hit the spot. You’re going to shell out a few more bucks than you would at a standard hot dog cart, but these are not your standard hot dogs. Not by a long shot. Toasted brioche buns add a bit of sweet decadence to each gourmet dog. And their unique selection of specialty dogs is outstanding. Among the wacky offerings is the Deep Fried Danger Dog (bacon wrapped and deep fried), the Wasabi Egg roll Dog (wrapped and fried in an egg roll, smothered in wasabi aioli), the weirdly successful PB Dog (Elvis-approved peanut butter and bananas). Along with an outstanding veggie dog and the opportunity to “dress your own wiener,” there’s just no way won’t find the dog of your dreams. Complete your meal with house-made chips or fries and wash it all down with a brew from the cooler. Best of all, you will leave fully satisfied, if somewhat jealous of their badass six-shooter wallpaper.

1009 Union St 98122

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Meza

Maybe the space is cursed. Meza occupies what was once vegan nightmare, the Globe. Now it’s a tapas restaurant. Unfortunately, though the prices are reasonable (for tapas) and menu sounds promising, it’s just not that good. The sangria is only passable. The tortilla portions are so small that the waiter admitted they should be giving them away (and then, kindly, he did just that). The food is incredibly bland and uninspired. At $12, the Vegetales is nothing more than a glorified salad; a disappointing one at that. The corn cakes in the Arepitas resemble over-sized Communion wafers from both a visual and textural standpoint. I had to ask for a dish of salt to make it palatable. In fact, you’re going to need that dish of salt for pretty much everything you order. The only thing that works out is the Morrocoy Bocadillo (pulled pork sandwich). But there’s no shortage of good pulled pork in this town. You might as well patronize a place that also does other dishes well. It didn’t help our experience that the waiter took every opportunity to bad-mouth the food. Unfortunately, he was right about everything. Sorry Meza, but you’re kind of a mess-a.

1515 14th Ave 98112

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Portage Bay Cafe

Maybe it’s because students aren’t known as early risers that there’s a disturbing lack of breakfast options in the U. District. Sure, you can get a coffee and pastry just about anywhere. But what happens when you want some damn French toast? Make it yourself? Fat chance. Fortunately, there’s Portage Bay Café. Their sweet breakfast menu includes several types of Challah French toast (double down on the protein) and hearty buckwheat pancakes. Every order includes a trip to the toppings bar where you can smother your organic goodness with fruit, nuts, whipped cream and syrup to your inner child’s heart’s content. If you’re after something a little more savory, they also offer 4 Benedicts and 6 Hashes. Some breakfast items are available all day but you can also move on to sandwiches and salads if you’re so inclined. Their organic offerings are a whose who of Seattle heavyweights including Essential Baking Company, Bseecher’s Flagship Cheese and Jones Soda. It’s never too early (or late) for a mimosa and theirs are fully customizable via their vast juice selection. If you prefer to steer clear of the UD, you can also visit their South Lake Union and Ballard locations. Toppings bar!

4130 Roosevelt Way NE 98105

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar – Fainting Goat Gelato

Forget everything you know about gelato! It doesn’t have to be made by Italians (which came as a surprise to this half-Guido). It doesn’t have to be made from Cows milk. It doesn’t even have to be made from milk at all! The Fainting Goat throws all of your gelato preconceptions out the window. This Turkish family-owned business sits in the heart of Wallingford, giving that Molly Moon person a run for her money. (Plus, at least for now, the line at F.G. is MUCH shorter). So not all their gelato comes from a goat, just their titular flavor. But it’s a must-try. Maybe the goat is fainting because it can’t believe that something so delicious came from its own body. Those nice people also offer several dairy-free Sorbetto flavors. Finally, there really IS such a thing as vegan gelato. Don’t worry purists. They also do a mighty fine cow’s milk gelato in the usual coffee, chocolate, coconut and pistachio varieties, served with the familiar mini plastic gelato shovel. For funzies, they maintain a rotating menu of more adventurous flavors like Strawberry Shortcake, Kasaba Melon and Peanut Butter (duuuuuuuuude). As a bonus, their scoops are enormous. Goat get some. (Sorry.)

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

1903 N 45th St 98103

NFT Radar: Osteria La Spiga

The beautifully decorated converted warehouse in which La Spiga resides, with its exposed beams and romantic lighting, will certainly make you think you’re in for a good meal. Depending on what you order, maybe you are. You may also be hugely disappointed. Either way, you’ll be paying out the nose. Around the time you’re ready to eat your own face, they’ll bring you some complimentary flat bread which is conveniently dry enough to persuade you to shell out an additional $4 (per condiment) for some olive oil and balsamic. Considering the price of an entree, these things should also be free. The Caprese salad, with its buttery fresh mozzarella and white balsamic, is delicious so long as you can score a little salt and pepper. They’ll try to talk you into the $35/person tasting menu, boasting its value. But it will be way more food than you need. Many of the pastas are decent, including the Gnocchi, but steer clear of the Tortelli Spinaci which tastes like it was boiled fresh from the freezer and plopped unseasoned onto your plate. Desserts are slightly less of a mixed bag but the Tortufu is basically just an $8 bowl of ice cream.

1429 12th St 98122

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant

The folks at Tamarind Tree bring their culinary badassery to downtown Seattle. The dark, gorgeous interior is cool and inviting. Little decorating delights are everywhere, including the bathroom. The fish tank is full of mesmerizing jellyfish. But the decor is just a bonus to the kick ass food. There’s some menu crossover from Tamarind, but there are loads of new dishes as well, inspired by regions all over Vietnam. “Long” could easily refer to the menu which is page after page of deliciousness. It’s times like this I’m extra happy to be a vegetarian. A “v” clearly marks all the veggie and make the overwhelming selection a little bit easier. Usually, I’m suspicious when a waiter says everything on the menu is a winner, but in this case it wasn’t lip service. Libation-wise, they serve exotic non-alcoholic Vietnamese drinks made from every juice you can think of, as well as the usual cocktails. The prices aren’t too bad either, and 2 daily happy hours make it even more affordable. It’s not often you find a place that can impress both your date and your parents, but Long does the trick.

1901 2nd Ave 98101

X-posted from Not For Tourists.