December 27, 2006

Belltown Bravos, I

Our annual "Best Of" awards come in two sections this year, given the wealth of material. Personal opinions, to be sure; your mileage may vary.

Michael at Cascadia pours Alpines.JPG Parsnip soup w scallop at Mistral.JPG
Pouring Alpine Martinis at Cascadia; parsnip soup with scallop at Mistral


Once again, last year's winner: Cascadia. The signature Alpine Martini now costs $4.50 during happy hour, but it's still a bargain. Mini-burgers are a buck, salmon-burgers two bucks. Can't ask for a friendlier barman than Michael Candelaria.


Brasa, for its unique "Life of a Pig" dinner. In case you missed it, chef Tamara Murphy began by blogging her weekly visits to Whistling Train Farm. For two months, she reported on a growing litter of piglets, following them from birth to humane slaughter, then into her kitchen and onto the table for a full house of grateful diners. Nothing better to bring home the connection between our generous land, the animals it sustains and the hungry humans it nourishes.


Mistral, which no longer gives its guests a printed menu, but sends out one creative dish after another. Still remember flavors from a dinner there in February, especially the kitchen's famous brown-butter and parsnip soup, which came with an orange crescent of carrot foam alongside a seared scallop. Bravo, William Belickis!


Casting my vote here for Whole Foods. Sure, there's a lot of concern that its organic produce is costly, that it's wrongheaded not to stock traditional brands loaded with preservatives. (If you really wanna buy crap like that, go to Safeway, for crying out loud.) Whole Foods is what it is: an alternative chain store. With three delicious eat-it-here cafés, too.

Runner up: get the feeling I'll also be seeing a lot more of Lisa Nakamura at Qube this coming year. Edgy Asian flavors, classical French techniques.


Where'd all the freakin' pizzerias come from? (Exceptions: Serious Pie, La Vita è Bella.) Why are there suddenly six (seven?) sushi parlors along Second Avenue? Which leads me to...


What Belltown really, really needs: a noodle parlor. (Don't tell me about Noodle Ranch; I know Noodle Ranch, and, for me, it's, well, the Dan Quayle of noodle parlors.) I mean a genuine Vietnamese Pho joint with lemongrass and weird chunks of meat and basil and jalapenos and tables surrounded by families with their faces in the steaming bowls of noodle soup.

Tomorrow: da best of da best.

Posted by Ronald Holden at December 27, 2006 3:41 PM

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Awesome, indeed !

Posted by: Ronald at December 27, 2006 3:59 PM

Happy New Year, Ron. I look forward to a new year filled with your concise, funny and right
on reviews. Isn't Mistral awesome. I still talk
about the meal I had there over a year ago.


Posted by: Betty Frost at December 27, 2006 3:51 PM