Archive for August, 2011

Kiss Café – 8/24/11


Location: 2817 NW Market St


Mon-Thurs, Sun: 11-11

Fri-Sat: 11-12

J took the day off on Wednesday so we decided to do a rare lunchtime review at Kiss Café, a sandwich place at the west end of Market Street, in the same warehouse/strip mall as Portage Bay Café. It’s a small restaurant with a bar, some tall bar tables and a handful of regular tables. The most interesting thing about the restaurant is the monthly rotation of art on the walls that coincides with Ballard’s Second Saturday Art Walk . When we visited large, colorful pet portraits adorned the walls.

Kiss Café’s menu features sandwiches, wraps, salads and a few breakfast items. Their real specialty is a huge selection of microbrews. In fact, the first thing you see when you enter the café is two large coolers of bottled and canned beer.

The Service:

Kiss Café is a seat yourself place. Once J and I found a table, the friendly and knowledgeable server took our drink then food order quite quickly. Both of us commented on how fast our food came out once we had ordered.

The Drinks:

I had a glass of Fox Barrel Blackberry Pear Cider, which was crisp and tart.

J chose the Original Sin Hard Cider. His comment about it was “Passable” but he did like the tall, cold glass in which it was served.

A note about the water at Kiss Café. They place a slice of cucumber in the water carafes so the water tastes a little odd. Both of us thought the water was off until we realized it was just the faint taste of cucumber.

The Food:

I ordered the Famous Angus, roast beef, provolone, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato, and green bell pepper on a toasted hoagie roll with Maui onion chips and house made dill pickles. The sandwich was so large that I ended up taking half home. The roast beef was tender. The veggies were fresh although I could have done without the sharpness of the green bell pepper. The flavor of the provolone was lost against the thick bleu cheese dressing. Overall it was an okay sandwich but not something I would order again.

The winner, though, was the house made dill pickles. The server brought us a jar of thick pickle chips with our sandwiches. These crisp, vinegary chunks of pickle were amazing. Fresh tasting and still looked like cucumbers. I had a very hard time not emptying the entire jar. As it was, I took some home with my leftover sandwich.

J chose the Fun Guy, a hot roast beef, provolone, and mushroom sandwich with au jus and potato chips. He felt the meat was a bit dry but the au jus helped with this problem. Overall, an okay sandwich but he’s had better.

The Price:

Fox Barrel Blackberry Pear Cider: 4.50

Original Sin Hard Cider: 4.50

Famous Angus: 10.50

The Fun Guy: 11.00

The Verdict:

Kiss Café was okay. Other than the good service and fabulous pickles, Kiss Cafe wasn’t that memorable. The food was merely okay. We’ve both had better sandwiches elsewhere in Seattle for a significantly lower price. I think that was part of my issue. The prices seemed really high compared with other sandwich places in Ballard.

J doesn’t think he’ll go back. He just felt there is no reason to. I, on the other hand, may go back someday for a beer and a jar of pickles because they were that good.


Hamburger Harry’s – 8/20/11


Location: 2409 NW Market St


Mon-Thurs, Sun: 11am-10pm

Fri-Sat: 11am-2am

In our continuing search for the best burger in Ballard, J and I chose to try Hamburger Harry’s. Located just west of the Market Street and 24th intersection, Hamburger Harry’s is one of the bigger burger joints with ample outdoor seating and a large, open interior. A long bar lines one side of the interior, a large screen TV used for karaoke and sports dominates one wall and the other walls are covered in huge collection of autographed sports photos. Our server explained that the owners have collected memorabilia over many years. J and I wondered between ourselves which of the photos was the most rare and/or the most expensive.

Hamburger Harry’s, as the name suggests, specializes in burgers, though they offer salads, chicken and sandwiches as well. Their menu included a number of burger toppings I’ve not seen elsewhere in Ballard. For beverages, they have the usual suspects (soda, coffee, tea) along with milkshakes, beer, wine and a full bar.

The Service:

We had dinner around 5 o’clock on Saturday so the place was pretty empty. Our server was very friendly and the food arrived quite quickly.

The Drinks:

I ordered a Manny’s Pale Ale, a tried and true draft beer you can find practically everywhere in Seattle. I like it because it’s not too bitter and goes well with a lemon wedge.

As usual, J had a Long Island Iced Tea, which he declared was “Quite good”. He said the proportions of the ingredients were a prefect mix with neither the sweet and sour or tequila overpowering the drink. He could barely taste the liquor in it, his test of a good Long Island.

The Food:

I chose the Gyro Burger, a beef patty topped by lettuce, tomato, red onion, feta and house made tzatziki sauce, with a side of garlic fries. When it arrived, the burger was stacked about 8 inches high with a skewer stuck through it to keep it from toppling over. It was a pretty good burger. The beef was flavorful, moist and just slightly charred. The ingredients were all fresh, especially the salty feta which contrasted with the sweet red onion nicely. The bun was too flimsy to hold the burger together and the tzatziki sauce was a little lost in the other flavors though. In the end, I felt like the burger needed an extra punch of flavor to take it beyond merely pretty good. I think adding pepperoncini or some garlic aioli would have improved the burger.

The garlic fries were just okay. The garlic was fresh and tasty but the fries seemed limp and greasy. Not that good.

J ordered the Jalapeno Popper Burger, topped with roasted jalapenos, cream and cheddar cheese, guacamole and garlic aioli. He really liked his burger, finding it interesting that they chose to top it with the components in a jalapeno popper rather than taking the easy way out by just putting a real popper on top of the burger. The garlic aioli was especially good. To him, his side of fries was just an afterthought. He ignored them so he could finish his burger.

The Price:

Manny’s Pale Ale: 4.50

Long Island Iced Tea: 8.50

Gyro Burger: 11.79

Jalapeno Popper Burger: 11.99

The Verdict:

Hamburger Harry’s presented us with another Ballard restaurant surprise. These were, thus far, the second best burger in Ballard, just behind King’s Hardware … mostly on account of the limp French fries. Interesting toppings, flavorful beef and, at least in J’s opinion, one of the better Long Island Iced Teas he’s had so far on this project, make Hamburger Harry’s some place to which we will return whenever we’re craving a burger and King’s Hardware is too crowded.

It’s also nice to know that Hamburger Harry’s is open late on Fridays and Saturdays. It may become a choice for dinner after an evening movie at the Majestic Bay Theatre.

Ocho – 8/14/11


Location: 2325 NW Market St.


Mon-Fri: 4pm-2am

Sat-Sun: 12pm-2am

Happy Hour:

Mon-Fri: 4-6

Sat-Sun: 12-6

J suggested Ocho for our monthly “nice” meal because it had been over a year since we’d eaten there. Since neither of us knew what Ocho’s hours were on the weekend, I checked online and was pleasantly surprised to find they opened at noon and offered Happy Hour from noon to six on the weekends. We head out around 1:30 on a rather nice Sunday, not sure whether it would be crowded.

Ocho is located in a tiny space on the corner of 24th and Market Street. Once upon a time, Matt’s Hot Dogs occupied the space until a cop car made it into a drive-thru during a car chase a few years back. Now it’s a romantic little spot offering Spanish style tapas and specialty cocktails. There is limited seating both inside and out so Ocho tends to fill up very quickly. If it hadn’t been a nice enough day for outdoor seating, J and I would have been out of luck. As it was, there was a small table free indoors, along the wall across from the bar.

The Service:

Considering our server was acting as both bartender and server and was the only server working in the very busy restaurant, our service was pretty good. We didn’t feel rushed and she was quite friendly and knowledgeable about the menu.

The Drinks:

J chose a Death in the Afternoon, a concoction of La Hora Verde, Ocho’s housemade absinthe, and Cava Rose. He found it interesting with a strong, traditional absinthe flavor only slightly cut by the crispness of the sparkling wine.

Ocho is known for their $10 Margarita made with El Tesoro Anejo tequila so I chose that for my beverage. I am a fan of margaritas, especially when they tend toward limey sour rather than sweet. This margarita, however, was way too bitter, even for me, to the point where I could barely taste the tequila. I’m not sure if the limes used were bad or if, in the rush, the server forgot an ingredient but this was not a very good margarita. Certainly not a $10 … well, $8 happy hour price … margarita.

The Food:

Ocho specializes in tapas, small, flavor packed plates. We ordered seven items from both the Happy Hour and regular menus.

Our first choice was the Tostada de queso y pimentos, toast spread with herbed goat cheese and topped with roasted peppers. This morsel perfectly combined the sweetness of the peppers, the tang of the goat cheese and an overall saltiness to a wonderful effect.

At the same time, we were brought two toothpicks of Chorizo Merguez, spicy lamb sausage with potatoes and saffron aioli. Each component complimented the other. The spiciness of the chorizo, which sat just at the back of the throat without being too strong, was tempered by the starchiness of the potatoes and when dipped in the saffron aioli, melded into a creamy, spicy bite. Nothing overwhelmed. Lovely.

Our next set of tapas started with Huevo del Diablo, two amazing deviled eggs filled with a mild aioli, sprinkled with tomato dust and topped with pickled onion, salmon roe, fried capers and dill. Delicious. Awesome. Nearly indescribable. A flavor bomb that floored both of us. The firmness of the egg melted in the mouth in a creamy mix of flavors. A hint of tomato. A touch of dill. Then the punch of the salmon roe. Each salmon egg seems to hold the flavor of a whole salmon steak. J described them as “the Cadbury Egg of deviled eggs. You want to eat a dozen but it’s so rich that you can’t.”

The closest thing to an entrée we ordered was the Carne Lengua, beef tongue and sautéed onions with green beans, potatoes and walnuts in a pimenton sauce. We chose this since neither J nor I have ever had beef tongue. It turned out to be a very delicious surprise. The tongue, with its strong beef flavor, was sliced super thin in order to make it meltingly tender. J called it a high-end Steak-Um and waxed poetic about having a Philly cheesesteak sandwich made from tongue and gruyere.

The warmth of the tongue and onions contrasted nicely with the cold green bean and potato salad with the walnuts adding an interesting textural counterpoint.

Along with the Carne Lengua came Pa amb tomaquet, a piece of toast covered in house made tomato jam and melted manchengo cheese. Like eating a really good cheese pizza in one bite. Salty. Cheesy. Tomatoey.

For our dessert, we had our favorite tapas at Ocho, La Carolina, dates stuffed with bleu cheese, wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Heaven on a toothpick. A perfect bite of sweet, salty and tangy. The cooking process makes the date taste like caramel candy and the tangy balsamic reduction adds just the right note of sweet and sour. I have tried to duplicate these bites at home yet have never gotten them quite right. Delicious almost beyond words.

Our final tapas was a Queso plate, three cheeses with toast and a date sauce. First was the Drunken Goat, a creamy goat cheese soaked in Doble Pasta wine. Then the Leonora, a soft goat cheese with a tangy flavor that went perfectly with the sweet date sauce. Last was the dry, strong Manchengo, a sheep’s milk cheese with a buttery, salty flavor. A nice ending to a lovely meal.

The Price:

Death in the Afternoon: 8.00 (6.00 Happy Hour price)

$10 Margarita: 10.00 (8.00 Happy Hour price)

Tostada de queso y pimentos: 2.00 (Happy Hour price)

Chorizo Merquez: 2.00 ea. (Happy Hour price)

Huevo del Diablo: 2.50 ea.

Pa am tomaquet: 2.00 (Happy Hour price)

Carne Lengua: 8.00

La Carolina: 5.00

Queso: 3.50 per oz

The Verdict:

I’ll be honest, Ocho is one of our favorite restaurants in Ballard. It’s been over a year since we last visited and the quality has not diminished at all. Yes, it can be hard to find a seat, especially when the weather is not so nice, making outdoor seating not feasible. Yes, the service can be a bit slow. Yes, all those small plates can add up. But it’s worth it. Totally worth it.

The food packs layer upon layer of flavor, no matter how small the serving. The creativity of the offerings and the small sizes make it easy to try new things like we did with the beef tongue. Other than my margarita, everything we had was amazing.

We will return to Ocho, no doubt about that … especially now that we know about the weekend Happy Hour. For something a bit different in Ballard, try Ocho. You won’t be disappointed.

The Monkey Bridge – 8/13/11


Location: 1723 NW Market St


Mon-Sun: 10:30am – 9:30pm

For a change of pace, we invited our friend, Fonz, to be a guest reviewer for the project. He’s a great cook, a lover of good food and the guy who introduced J and I. When I gave him the list of restaurants we had yet to review, Fonz, who loves Asian cuisine, chose Ballard’s only Vietnamese restaurant, the Monkey Bridge.

The Monkey Bridge is located in an odd, triangular, corner storefront right on Market Street, across the street from the Old Pequliar. It’s a small, rather tidy restaurant with stylish décor with hints of an Asian theme. There are only a few tables so the Monkey Bridge does tend to fill up quickly in the evenings.

Their menu contains a number of dishes with ingredients you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere in Ballard. With interesting choices like Vietnamese Rhubarb and Beef and Crab Paste and Pork Noodle Soup mixed with more familiar Vietnamese fare, Pho and Bahn Mi, the Monkey Bridge is a refreshing change from the usual sushi, Thai, and teriyaki choices.

The Service:

Our server was polite and knowledgeable. When Fonz and I stared to order Sapphoro, she suggested we try a Vietnamese beer they had just received. During the meal, each dish came out at a nice pace. Good service overall.

The Drinks:

J, who was getting over a mild stomach bug, opted for a pot of refreshing Jasmine Tea.

Fonz and I tried the Vietnamese beer suggested to us by our server. Sabeco turned out to be a rather mild, Pilsner style beer with roasted malt overtones. A nice, light beer that wasn’t too hoppy but had enough character to keep it from being bland. Surprisingly awesome.

The Food:

First we were brought three bowls of Congee, a rice and chicken soup with ginger, scallions and topped with dried onion chips. J and Fonz thought the creamy soup was “off the hook”. I wasn’t as fond of the soup, finding it a bit gluey in texture, although the dried onion chips did give it a little texture. The boys liked it so much that not only did Fonz finish my bowl but also they declared it the best thing of the meal.

We ordered two appetizers. The Fried Tofu, lightly sprinkled with salt and pepper, was quite good. There was a nice contrast between the crispy fried exterior and the creamy, moist interior. Personally, I thought it could have used a little more salt and pepper but the boys thought it was perfect the way it was. The tofu came with a plum dipping sauce that was so tasty, we used it throughout the meal for other items.

Our second appetizer was the Garlic Mini Chicken Drumsticks. All three of us felt these drumsticks were a bit dry and lacked flavor. If an item is given the adjective “Garlic”, one would think the garlic flavor would be at the forefront. There really wasn’t anything garlicy about this appetizer. Pretty disappointing.

Fonz ordered the Vietnamese Curry Chicken with potatoes and carrots, served with jasmine rice for his entrée. After taking the first bite, he admitted that, while not a fan of curries in general, this dish was quite good. The curry sauce was surprisingly sweet in a pleasant way, with a subtle, spicy curry flavor. Everything, from the tender chicken to the slightly crunchy potatoes and carrots, was cooked perfectly. Fonz definitely seemed to enjoy his choice.

J had the Monkey Bridge House Special Rice Noodles, a bowl of rice noodles topped with sautéed pork and onion, a sliced egg roll, and a prawn skewer. Even though there was a lot of food in this dish, J found it surprisingly light. Every component was quite tasty. The pork was fork tender. The egg roll was good and crunchy. He did feel like the prawn skewer was kind of overkill though. It was flavorful but he ended up eating it like an appetizer rather than as part of the entrée.

My entrée of choice was the Garlic-Lemongrass Beef Ribs with Vietnamese salad and brown rice. The kalbi cut ribs were quite good. Tender and seared just enough to give a caramelized flavor to the marinade. While the marinade did have the soft, bright lemongrass flavor I was hoping for, the garlic flavor was far too subtle, just like it was with the chicken drumstick appetizer. I’ve made my own garlic-lemongrass marinade so I know how well these flavors compliment each other when of equal strength and this dish was missing that delicious mix of tastes.

The salad was forgettable other than it had way too much shredded cabbage and the brown rice paled, both in flavor and color, in comparison to the brown rice at Thai Thani.

The Price:

Jasmine Tea: 2.00

Sabeco Beer: 4.00 ea

Fried Tofu: 4.50

Garlic Mini Chicken Drumsticks: 7.15

Vietnamese Curry Chicken: 10.15

Monkey Bridge House Special Rice Noodles: 10.40

Garlic-Lemongrass Beef Ribs: 10.65

The Verdict:

Overall I would say our meal at the Monkey Bridge was pretty good. The service was fine. Other than a couple of missteps, the food was tasty enough for us to explore other dishes. I’d especially like to try their version of a bahn mi (Vietnamese Baguette on their menu) since I’ve see those mentioned on many a food/travel program.

I think what it has going for it is it’s diversity. J put it best, Monkey Bridge is “a nice alternative to the millions of Thai places and lack of good Chinese food”. Sure their entrees run a couple of dollars more than the typical Asian fare in Ballard but the variety of choices, portion size and fresh ingredients make up for that.

We’ll be back to try something new and different after the project ends if not before. Now if only Ballard would get a good Korean restaurant …

And a big thank you to Fonz for joining us. Feel free to do so again anytime.

Updates to the Blog

I spent some of this past weekend making updates to this blog in order to make it easier to view and use.

  • I changed the format to make the posts easier to read with darker font and a simplified format.
  • Added an “Email Subscription” widget on the right to make it easier for people to subscribe to the blog. As it says, you’ll be sent an email whenever I post something new.
  • There’s also a RSS feed thing on the right and a button linking the blog to the Facebook Page. I’ll have a Twitter feed going sometime soon.
  • I’ve made an extensive Tag Cloud to make searching much easier.
  • I’m updating past posts with photos and updating the tags as well.
  • The posts will not only be tagged by the type of cuisine and what meal we had there but with information like what other meals during the day places offer, whether they’re 21 and Over or have a Happy Hour, etc.

I’ll have a couple new posts up this week. Including opinions from our first quest reviewer.

Categories: Restaurants Tags:

Ballard Smoke Shop Restaurant – 8/6/11

No Website

Location: 5439 Ballard Ave NW


Mon-Sun: 6am-2am

Nearly everyone to whom I mentioned the Ballard Smoke Shop Restaurant went on to ask where it was. Even J couldn’t remember where it was when I suggested we have breakfast there on Saturday. It seems to be perpetually overshadowed by the dive bar nature of the attached Ballard Smoke Shop Lounge.

The Ballard Smoke Shop Restaurant resides in a building from the 1920’s although the restaurant itself has only been there since the 70’s. It’s an old school Ballard holdout on the trendy north end of Ballard Ave with a blue and white Mission style façade that stands out among chic, renovated places like Bal-Mar, La Carta de Oaxca and Volterra. The Smoke Shop is a non-descript diner in the style of Vera’s but a lot quieter and, frankly, cleaner. Their menu includes the usual breakfast, lunch and dinner selections you’d find in a traditional diner, eggs and bacon, sandwiches, burgers and other sorts of comfort food. There are also a handful of Greek style items.

No matter what time of day or night, I swear I’ve never seen more than five or six people in the Ballard Smoke Shop restaurant. Mostly they appear to be older Ballardites. J and I were not sure what we’d find there when we went in for breakfast.

I’d like to note, I swear they have the slowest closing front door I have ever witnessed. I found myself oddly fascinated by it.

The Service:

Our server was extremely friendly and personable. In fact, she may be one of the friendliest servers we’ve had so far during this project. Service was quick … which may have been because there were only four other people in the place. We even became party to some Ballard gossip and drama while there.

The Drinks:

Good, diner quality coffee. The server was nice enough to brew up a new batch of decaf for me since the current pot had been sitting there for an hour.

The Food:

J ordered the Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs with hash browns, over-medium eggs and gravy. The gravy was tasty but needed a little extra salt. The eggs were well cooked and the hash browns were not greasy at all. The steak itself was pretty dang good, with a nice crunchy coating, and only need a little more seasoning to be perfect.

My breakfast choice was the Greek Omelette with green pepper, onion, tomatoes and feta, which included hash browns and toast. The hash browns had a nice exterior crust but were a little too mushy inside for my taste. The omelette was very good. Surprisingly the vegetables tasted like they’d been sautéed in a separate pan to the point of delicious, sweet caramelization. Matched with the heaps of salty feta and fluffy eggs, this turned out to be one of the better Greek omelettes I’ve had in Seattle.

The Price:

2 Cups of Coffee: 1.50 ea

Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs: 7.25

Greek Omelette: 6.95

The Verdict:

The Ballard Smoke Shop Restaurant turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It’s a lot less scary and more approachable than it looks from the outside. With one of the friendliest servers we’ve had so far in this project. A clean and bright interior decorated with photos of old Ballard. A quiet clientele. Super cheap prices for Ballard. Simple, good diner food.

Honestly, having eaten at the two other diners in Ballard that are the most similar to the Smoke Shop (Vera’s and Salmon Bay Café), I don’t understand why the Ballard Smoke Shop is usually empty on weekend mornings. The atmosphere and food are far better than the apparently more popular Vera’s.

If you’re looking for a traditional diner breakfast in Ballard, you really can’t go wrong with the Ballard Smoke Shop Restaurant. It’s been put on our personal list of weekend breakfast places now that Bad Albert’s is closed.

Ballard Mandarin Chinese Restaurant – 8/5/11


Location: 5500 8th Ave NW


Mon-Thurs: 11:30-9

Fri: 11:30-10

Sat: 12-10

Sun: 4-9

After watching a “Foodography” program about Chinese food, J and I decided it was time to try one of Ballard’s other Chinese restaurants, Ballard Mandarin. Located on the corner of 8th and Market, it’s hard to miss Ballard Mandarin’s rather large, yellow building. Oddly, when you enter, it seems smaller. We were seated in the dining area directly inside the door. Off to the right seemed to be another dining area but we couldn’t tell since the lights were out.

Their extensive menu consists of the usual Chinese fare and flavors, chow mein, fried rice, Mongolian beef, General Tao’s Chicken, with a number of dishes I hadn’t seen before. Snow White chicken. Palace beef. Yu Hsiang pork. They also have a couple of dinner combos that give you a choice of soup, entrée and a couple egg rolls. Their prices are on par with other Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood.

The Service:

Our server was a friendly, older Chinese woman who asked after us during each stage of the meal. When we started to order egg rolls and two entrees, she quickly suggested we order the Citron Dinner combo for a better deal. We were even able to use the entrée J wanted, which wasn’t included in the choice of entrée, as part of the combo.

At the end of the meal, she insisted on boxing everything left for us to take home. Even the items we really didn’t want. She had such a grandmotherly manner in the style of “If you don’t clear your plates, you WILL take what is left home” that neither of us could refuse.

The Drink:

Water and a huge pot of molten Green Tea.

The Food:

Our meal stared with an enormous bowl of Hot and Sour Soup. The soup was quite spicy, more warm than burning, with a tangy, vinegar after flavor. A great number of firm tofu pieces floated in the broth with scallions, peas and little bits of corn. Pretty good but way too much for just the two of us.

Next came two very hot Egg Rolls with an orange based dipping sauce. Since I have sensitivity to oranges, I dipped my egg roll in soy sauce. It was pretty good. Crisp on the outside without being greasy. Lighter than many egg rolls I’ve had. The vegetables inside did taste a bit flat, though.

For my entrée I chose the Salted Pepper Chicken with green pepper, onion, garlic and no sauce. The batter-fried chunks of chicken were flavorful and surprisingly moist considering the crunchiness of the exterior. I’ve had other entrees cooked in a similar style that were dry yet pretty greasy. I can easily imagine how well this style of chicken would hold up to a sweet and sour or General Tao’s sauce. The peppers and onions, wok fried in a savory and delicious mix of garlic and pepper, held onto their natural crispness without getting mushy. All in all, a really good entrée.

J ordered the Braised Tofu with Beef, pea pods, corn, cabbage and carrots. The braised tofu had a nice springy texture with just a touch of pan-fried flavor. Otherwise this entrée was not as good as my chicken. The chewy beef and mushy vegetables were drenched in a bland sauce that needed something … garlic, pepper, salt, or some sort of spice … to give it definition.

The Price:

2 Citron Dinner Combos: 12.35 ea

The Verdict:

I’m finding Ballard Mandarin hard to review. On the one hand, the food was mostly good other than the need for a bit more flavor in J’s entrée. The salted pepper chicken was exceptional. Frankly, it was far less greasy than the Chinese food we’ve gotten at Louie’s. J, who is originally from Pittsburgh, described Ballard Mandarin as reminiscent of an East coast Chinese restaurant with less grease and MSG.

On the other hand, the restaurant itself was off putting. The dining room was plain, a bit worn and kind of dirty. Worn benches. Greasy windows. It was sort of off putting to be honest. If we go back, we’ll get our meal to go.

I have a feeling that, while the food is better at Ballard Mandarin, the convenience of Louie’s to our apartment will cause us to skip going back anytime soon. It may be one of those places we go back to every once in a while, whenever the memory of the salted pepper chicken brings it to mind.