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Archive for October, 2011

The Boar’s Nest-10/23/11

Website

Location: 2008 NW 56th St

Hours:

Mon-Sun: 11am-9pm

Right after our terrible dinner at Golden City on Saturday night, we noticed that whatever had taken over the space next to Malena’s Tacos had opened. We investigated and discovered a BBQ joint called The Boar’s Nest. The delicious smells wafting out into the street made us decide to go back the next day to try it out.

The name, The Boar’s Nest, apparently comes from the name of Boss Hogg’s watering hole in the Dukes of Hazzard. It’s a tiny place with a distinctly southern flavor to the décor and three TVs playing sports. On one wall is a long chalkboard with the simple menu of various BBQ meats and sides and next to the order counter is a tall cooler filled with odd bottled sodas and beer. At each of the tables are five squeeze bottles of house-made, regional BBQ sauces.

The Service:

The guys at the order counter were friendly and knowledgeable about their menu and the sauces available.

The Drink:

J was pleasantly surprised to find Dad’s Root Beer in the cooler and I had a bottle of Shiner Bock, a nice, light beer.

The Food:

I chose the Smoked Beef Brisket Plate with fried pickles, baked beans, and cornbread on the side. The slabs of a little more than room temperature brisket had a pink smoke ring around the edges, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a BBQ joint in Seattle. The fork tender beef had a lovely, smoky flavor. Very good.

The Fried Pickles were really good, better than any others I’ve had in Ballard. The breading was just the right consistency, being neither too thick nor too tough. The pickles were a little limp when bit into but that was evened out by the nice, vinegar flavor that went well with the spicy aioli that accompanied them. The Baked Beans reminded me of my mother’s with a little added heat. They were good but could have been improved with a dash of BBQ sauce. The Cornbread had a nice density, holding up well when sliced in half. It came with a honey butter that contrasted well with the corn flavor.

J ordered the Half-Rack of Pork Ribs with coleslaw and fried mac and cheese. The meat on the ribs was so moist that it literally fell off the bone. J said he could have easily eaten the ribs without sauce, they were so delicious. The coleslaw looked like it was homemade with nice, big chunks of red and green cabbage. He also mentioned the fact that the fried mac and cheese was the best he’d ever had, the filling being neither dry nor soupy.

Considering the selection of sauces available, I should mention our favorites. After trying all but the mayo based Alabama sauce, we agreed that our favorites were the Kansas City, which is the most traditional of the sauces, the Kentucky Bourbon for it’s sweet, whisky flavor, and the Memphis, a spicy sauce with a cumin aftertaste.

The Price:

Dad’s Root Beer: 2.50

Shiner Bock: 4.00

Smoked Beef Brisket Plate: 12.00

Half-Slab of Pork Ribs: 15.00

The Verdict:

The Boar’s nest is a fine addition to Ballard’s growing array of BBQ Joints. Better than the Lock & Keel and The Viking. The guys running it were friendly. Its location, interesting sides, different sauces, and moist, flavorful meats will have us returning to try more. I hope this place sticks around.

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Golden City Chinese Restaurant– 10/22/11

No Website

Location: 5518 20th Ave NW

Hours:

Daily: 10:30-2

Golden City Chinese Restaurant sits between Market Street and 56th on 20th Avenue. The front spans three doorways underneath a fading red awning. Door number one leads to Golden City, the restaurant. Door number two, goes to Golden City, the dive bar that was picked out of all the Chinese restaurant dive bars in the city to be mentioned in the Seattle’s Best Dive Bars book. The third door, where once there was a Scream barbershop, opens to a gaming off-shoot of the bar, a long room with ping pong tables and video games.

To be honest, we’d heard tales of Golden City that made us leery of eating there for the project. Bad service. Stabbings. The type of place taken right out of a John Woo movie. With this in mind, we chickened out, by-passing the bar for dinner in the slightly less sketchy restaurant that looks like every Chinese restaurant ever depicted in movies or on TV. Bright white walls with dark wood accents. Red vinyl booths and Formica tables. Wall decorations straight out of whatever restaurant store caters exclusively to Chinese restaurants across the US.

The menu has all the usual cheap Chinese restaurant suspects. Chow Mein. Pot stickers. Egg rolls. General Tso’s chicken. Sweet and sour pork. All available in various permutations of combos. You could go to virtually any cheap Chinese restaurant west of Mississippi (barring San Francisco) and find exactly the same menu.

The Service:

Our server was super friendly, answering questions and making suggestions. Our order came out at a pretty good pace.

The Drink:

We both just drank from the large pot of hot Green Tea. It didn’t taste as grassy as some green tea I’ve had. Kind of a generic green tea.

The Food:

J ordered Pot Stickers as an appetizer. The plate arrived with six large pork pot stickers. After taking one bite, J said they reminded him of the traditional pot stickers he’d gotten on the East coast. The exterior dumpling had a nice contrast between the doughier top and a nicely seared, crispy bottom. The pork filling wasn’t too greasy and actually tasted like pork.

For my meal, I ordered the Garlic Chicken Individual Combo which included egg drop soup, an egg roll, BBQ pork, pork fried rice, and chicken and vegetables in a garlic sauce. The Egg Drop Soup tasted like it had come from a can with a heavy, salty broth, strings of egg white, and translucent, flavorless, orange-colored chunks of what I assume were carrots. J and I split the small Egg Roll. It was greasy and over fried to the color of cardboard. The filling consisted of limp, hot cabbage or lettuce … couldn’t tell which … and some unidentifiable meat. It came with a large bowl of red, sweet sauce that was oddly bland. With the egg roll came four pieces of BBQ Pork that was actually okay. The red rimmed and moist slices looked and tasted like pork.

My main dish was Garlic Chicken, chunks of chicken breast, carrot, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and dried chips of garlic in a brown sauce. Initially, the dish tasted okay but after a few bites, the overly sweet tomato base turned me off. The thick, syrupy sauce overwhelmed everything it touched to the point that I could barely distinguish the other elements, except for the garlic chips, which tasted spoiled and funky. The chunks of chicken were moist and the vegetables weren’t overcooked which is pretty much the only good thing I can say about this entrée.

My garlic chicken came with a huge scoop of Pork Fried Rice. Terrible. Awful. I took one bite and left the rest because it was musty, dry, and two minutes away from being spoiled. J tasted it and declared, “Tastes like it was cooked in an old shoe. How can you screw up fried rice? This is an abomination.”

J chose the Chef’s Special Lo Mein, chicken, pork, and shrimp over noodles. He has been searching for good Lo Mein ever since moving to Seattle from Pittsburgh … and continues his search. This dish tasted as if they had cooked our two entrees together, added pork, shrimp, and broccoli to half and called it the Chef’s Special Lo Mein. The worst part was, instead of using actual lo mein noodles, they merely poured the meat, vegetables, and sauce over spaghetti noodles. He hated it.

The Price:

Pot Stickers: 6.50

Garlic Chicken Individual Combo: 10.50

Chef’s Special Lo Mein: 8.25

The Verdict:

J made an interesting observation after we left Golden City, “It’s almost worse when a restaurant does one or two things well and the rest is horrible than when a place is overall bad. It means they just don’t care enough to try to do everything well.” Golden City didn’t even try. The horrible pork fried rice. The “garlic” sauce that was interchangeable. The over fried egg roll. The spaghetti lo mein. This place made Louie’s seem amazing. Needless to say, we won’t ever go back.

Frankly, Ballard just doesn’t have a good Chinese restaurant. Louie’s is clean and has okay food. Ballard Mandarin had good food but was not particularly clean and Golden City was terrible. Since clean trumps good food, whenever we’re too lazy to take the bus down to the International District, we’ll probably end up at Louie’s when the craving for Chinese food hits.

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Pasta Bella Ristorante – 10/14/11

Website

Location: 5909 15th NW

Hours:

Mon-Sat: 4:30pm-10pm

Sunday: 4pm-9pm

Another 14th comes along and it’s time for another trip to one of Ballard’s nicer restaurants. We chose Pasta Bella Ristorante, a smallish Italian restaurant in an old brick building on 15th Ave. With its rich wood paneling and dark green walls, Pasta Bella feels like an old school, almost East coast Italian restaurant. The type of place straight out of The Godfather or Goodfellas.

The menu at Pasta Bella is refreshingly large compared to most of the nicer restaurants we’ve been to lately. They offer virtually any Italian dish you can think of with just about any type of meat. Spaghetti. Ravioli. Gnocchi. Lasagna, as well as a fine selection of Italian wines and desserts.

The Service:

Our server was so Italian, he could have been a bit player in one of the Godfather movies. Very friendly. Very helpful giving recommendations about what was especially good.

The Drink:

I chose a half carafe of Stella Montepulciano, a fruity, red wine that went extremely well with everything we ordered. J liked that it was served at room temperature.

The Food:

For antipasti, we ordered Italian Bruschetta, slices of garlic ciabatta with fresh basil. Tomatoes, onions, capers, and balsamic vinegar. The char-grilled bread was neither soggy nor brick hard as some bruschetta we’ve had over the course of the project. The topping was rich and fresh with strong tomato and slightly sweet balsamic flavors.

J chose a Spinach Starter Salad of spinach, gorgonzola, caramelized roasted walnuts, onions, and red peppers. The spinach was crisp and fresh and the gorgonzola didn’t overwhelm all the other flavors. The dressing added just a hint of sweetness.

For my salad course, I had the Mozarella Caprese, fresh mozzarella served with Roma tomatoes, fresh basil on a bed of spinach with balsamic and extra virgin olive oil dressing. The mozzarella was so incredibly fresh and moist that it nearly melted in my mouth. The tomatoes were a bit pale and unripe but the spinach was very fresh and crisp.

J had the Pesto Gnocchi con Pollo, house-made gnocchi in a pesto-marinara sauce. The gnocchi were incredibly light. The marinara wasn’t sweet, rather very acidic and tart. J really liked the sauce although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The pesto also had a nice bite to it. The entire dish reminded him of something an Italian grandmother would make for her family.

For my entrée I ordered the Linguine con Gamberi al Diablo, linguine with black tiger prawns, Roma tomatoes, capers, fresh basil, garlic, and hot chili peppers in a light, tomato-lemon-wine sauce. Very good. The prawns tasted briney and like actual prawns rather than bland rubber. The lemon-tomato sauce complimented the briney prawns quite well with a faint tartness and an undercurrent of spice. The tomatoes were well cooked adding a bit of texture to the sauce. It was so good that, although I had eaten all the prawns, I still took the leftover linguine home for lunch the next day.

The Price:

Stella Montepulciano: 14.00

Italian Bruchetta: 6.95

Spinach Starter Salad: 5.50

Mozarella Caprese: 9.00

Pesto Gnocchi con Pollo: 14.50

Linguine con Gamberi al Diablo: 17.95

The Verdict:

We had a very fresh and traditional Italian meal at Pasta Bella. “Fresh” was the adjective both of us kept using through out the meal. The salads were fresh. The sauces were fresh. Even the wine was bright and fruity. A really good meal for a reasonable price in an atmospheric restaurant. Pasta Bella is a neat little joint that would be great for anyone who wants to feel like they’re stepping into a gangster film.

We were so full that we didn’t have a chance to try their desserts but both of us want to go back for dessert and coffee at some point. We’ll more likely than not return to Pasta Bella when we get a craving for traditional Italian food especially since it’s only a few blocks from our apartment.

The Viking Tavern – 10/8/11

Website

Location: 6404 24th Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Sat: 11:30am-2am

Sunday: 11:30am-12am

On the window of The Viking Tavern, it proudly announces “Opened in 1950”. Walking through the door feels a bit like going through a time warp. Vinyl booths line one wall with a row of mirrors and black and white photos of the Viking over the years above them. The bar runs along the other side with old school, spinning bar stools under the chipped counter. The Viking is another piece of Old Ballard that has managed to survive. On one wall near the entry is one thing I, as a former library worker, can appreciate, a shelf of spy, detective, and romance novels.

The Viking Tavern is a bar with food rather than a restaurant that serves booze. While their specialty is house-smoked meats, preparation isn’t of primary import since the food is warmed up in a microwave.

The Service:

When we came in, the bartender was acting as server as well. He was friendly and bus but the food came out fairly quick.

The Drinks:

I ordered the Silver City Hefeweizen, which was pretty good even though it had a slight, musty flavor that I’ve noticed in a few other Hefeweizens.

J had a Long Island Iced Tea that he could smell before even lifting it to his lips. It was so well mixed that he dubbed it the third best Long Island in Ballard.

The Food:

I chose The Number One, hickory smoked, thinly sliced beef brisket, with house sauce and served with Tim’s Cascade chips and a pickle. The brisket was fairly tender and nicely flavored, even if it was warmed up in the microwave. It was okay but I like my brisket a bit moister and in thicker slices. I liked the onion roll on which it was served. The sauce was just the right consistency, with a nice, delayed spicy kick. A good barbeque sandwich for the price.

J had The Number Two, slow-smoked, shredded pork butt with house pork sauce on an onion roll. He thought it was really good barbeque. The pork was less shredded and more like moist, flavorful chunks of meat. He was kind of surprised how good it was.

The Price:

Silver City Hefeweizen: 4.75

Long Island Iced Tea: 7.00

The Number One: 8.75

The Number Two: 8.75

The Verdict:

The Viking Tavern provides good barbeque and drinks at a very reasonable price in a neat piece of Old Ballard. We liked the barbeque better than what’s sold at the Lock & Keel, the only other barbeque we’ve had thus far in this project. The meat was smoky, fairly moist, and flavorful. The sauce was really good. Their Long Island Iced Tea, surprisingly, comes in at third best in Ballard.

Our opinions of the remaining Ballard barbeque joints (Smokin’ Petes and the maybe opening before the end of the year, Bitterroot) will determine whether we return to The Viking. It is a bit out of the way from where we live in Ballard but if it’s the best, we’ll be back.

Sunny Teriyaki – 10/7/11

No Website

Location: 2035 NW Market Street

Hours:

Mon-Sat: 11am-9pm

As this project enters the home stretch, J and I are regretting leaving so many of the restaurants we weren’t exactly thrilled about on the list. So, in an effort to cross these off the list, we got dinner from Sunny Teriyaki, located in a little strip mall on the corner of Market and Leary.

Over the course of this project, Sunny Teriyaki closed for a few months then reopened under new management. I had take out from Sunny Teriyaki a couple times when I first moved to Ballard six years ago and thought it was mediocre. I was hoping under new management the food would have improved. At the very least, the interior seemed cleaner and better organized than it had been. The clear menu, consisting of teriyaki, yakisoba, and a few Chinese dishes, hangs over the order counter. There are a few tables for eating in the brightly lit restaurant but neither of us felt like eating there so we took our dinner home.

The Service:

The lady at the counter was friendly and our order came our relatively quick.

The Drinks:

J and I each had a can of Coke.

The Food:

J chose the Pork Yakisoba, pork, yakisoba noodles, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, and white rice. The noodles and sauce were okay, even though the portion size seemed rather small compared to other teriyaki joints. The pork just wasn’t good, tasting like the refrigerated, red barbeque pork found in grocery stores rather than like freshly cooked pork.

I ordered the Mongolian Beef, strips of beef, onion, scallions, and thai peppers with rice and a salad. Even though the salad was actually cold and crisp, the dressing was rather bland. I still don’t get why they include salads with teriyaki …

The Mongolian beef was okay, though there wasn’t a lot of it compared to the huge amount of rice they gave me. The sauce was spiced just right and wasn’t too sweet. The onions were cooked well without being mushy. The beef tasted kind of like beef but had strips of gristle running through it.

The Price:

Pork Yakisoba: 7.99

Mongolian Beef: 7.99

The Verdict:

Having running through all the teriyaki joints in Ballard, we have come to the determination that it’s impossible to find good teriyaki in this part of town. It’s just varying degrees of meh. Sunny Teriyaki was slightly less mediocre than Tony’s Teriyaki and more mediocre than Anne’s Teriyaki. None of these places are restaurants to which we would return. Frankly, if we’re in the mood for cheap Asian food, both Uma Thai and Thai Thani provide food far, far superior to any of the teriyaki joints for a comparable price.

Paratii Craft Bar – 10/1/11 – Closed

Website

Location: 5463 Leary Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Sat: 5pm-2am

Sunday: 5pm-10pm

Happy Hour:

Mon-Sat: 5pm-7pm

Sunday: All Day

Paratii Craft Bar is a Brazilian themed restaurant located on Leary in what used to be Mr. Spot’s Chai House. It’s a wide-open space with large windows, space for a band in one corner, a relatively small selection of tables and chairs and a tall bar lining the far wall. Décor tends toward a nautical theme with miniature and life-sized boats hanging from the ceiling.

Paratii boasts a large selection of alcohol with an array of creative cocktails. The food, naturally, has a Brazilian bent, leaning heavily toward peppers, coconut, and seafood. The night we were there, around 7pm on a Saturday night, it was rather empty.

The Service:

Our server was friendly and the food came out quickly but once we had finished our meal, it took a long time to get our check. Way too long, since we were the only ones in the restaurant by that time.

The Drinks:

J was in a piratical mood so he ordered the Captain’s Blood, bourbon, cherry brandy, and lemon. He liked it, saying it tasted like a Jolly Rancher.

I chose the London Sunrise, cumari pepper infused gin, lime juice, and tonic water. The cumari pepper flavor overwhelmed the entire drink and added an intense spiciness that prevented me from finishing it.

The Food:

We ordered two appetizers. First, Mango and Gorgonzola Crostini, slices of mango and melted gorgonzola on a goat-buttered baked crostini. We found these little bites very interesting, with a lovely contrast between the sweetness of the mango and the sharp, stinky cheese flavor of the gorgonzola. I would have never thought of putting these elements together and plan on attempting my own version at home.

Our other appetizer was the Scheherazade Steak, seared bites of urfa biber pepper marinated beef with onion and served with crostini. The steak was tender with an odd, pleasing peppery spice. The only problem was the presentation. The bites of steak were far too big for the too few pieces of crostini provided.

J ordered the Crab and Shrimp Sandwich, crab meat, bay shrimp, green onion, cilantro, and parsley mixed with coconut mayo, topped with napa cabbage on a French baguette. He felt the crab and shrimp flavors were lost in the coconut mayo. The filling was too light and too sparse for the heavy baguette. It would have been better served in a pita. Overall, he thought the portions were too small for the price.

I chose the Misto Quente, a Chicago ham and Dubliner cheese sandwich on a Macrina brioche roll with herb tomato relish and served with sweet potato fries. The roll was quite good, giving a sweetness that complimented the salty, prosciutto flavored ham. The flavor of Dubliner cheese, which I usually enjoy, was lost in the overly large roll. The tomato relish did add a nice punch of vinegar. The sweet potato fries were really good. Crisp, sweet, and salty. I’d say these were some of the best sweet potato fries in Ballard.

The Price:

Captain’s Blood: 8.00

London Sunrise: 9.00

Mango & Gorgonzola Crostini: 4.00

Scheherazade Steak: 5.00

Crab and Shrimp Sandwich: 12.00

Misto Quente: 11.00

The Verdict:

Paratii Craft Bar was disappointing. It’s a neat space, in what should be a good spot but other than the mango/gorgonzola crostini and the sweet potato fries, everything was not that great. The admittedly interesting flavors overwhelmed my drink and J’s sandwich. The portions were rather small for the price, feeling more like lunch rather than dinner items. The service was uneven and, at times, unreasonably slow.

Neither of us expects to return to Paratii, which is too bad. The space is great and there was such potential for something unexpected and interesting being added to Ballard’s array of restaurants. To be honest, considering there was hardly anyone in there on a Saturday night, I don’t expect Paratii to last long.

Shelter Lounge – 9/30/11

Website

Location: 4910 Leary Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Fri: 4pm-2am

Sat-Sun: 11am-2am

Happy Hour:

Mon-Sat: 4pm-6pm

Sunday: All Day

Shelter Lounge is located on the south end of Leary, near the Ballard Bridge, in a building that once housed a garage before being converted into a small bar called The Station, for a short time. When The Station went under, the building went through an extensive renovation, adding a large, glass enclosed seating area to the previously small building. The wood and stone lined interior features a cozy row of booths at one side, the bright enclosed patio on the other side with a huge circular bar separating the two. They serve beer, wine, and a full bar with a creative specialty cocktail menu. The food menu is rather small, with a few interesting appetizers, sandwiches, and just three entrees.

J and I had never gotten around to visiting Shelter Lounge. It’s in a weird spot, off the main drag of Ballard’s food scene with only the 2 Bit Saloon, across the street, to keep it company. It always seemed the sort of place where douche bags and frat-boys would hang out, which added to the reasons we avoided going there. According to one of the servers we spoke to, our assessment is correct at least on Friday and Saturday nights when the place becomes something akin to a club.

We decided to go early on Friday night, expecting it to be crowded. Instead, we found a comfortable, friendly place that, much like the Bal-Mar and Ballard Loft, turned out to be a huge surprise. So surprising, in fact, that we took a couple of friends back to Shelter Lounge on Sunday afternoon to try the food and watch the end of the Seahawk game. For the first time in this project, we’ll be reviewing two visits to the same place in one post.

The Service:

On Friday, we arrived just before a second server came on shift, so service was a little erratic but friendly. On Sunday the place was nearly empty so service was quick and the server was friendly and chatty.

The Drinks:

On both visits J, as usual, ordered a Long Island Iced Tea. In his opinion, Shelter’s is now tied with Shiku’s WMD for the best Long Island in Ballard. Both times it was mixed perfectly.

There were a number of interesting selections on their specialty cocktail menu, so I tried a different drink each time. On Friday, I chose the Ballard 75, Aviation gin, fresh lemon, agave nectar, shaken, and topped with champagne. It was cool and refreshing with a nice contrast between the piney gin and the crisp, dry champagne.

On Sunday, I decided to try the Jalapeno and Cucumber Margarita, Hornitos tequila, lime, chopped jalapeno peppers and cucumbers topped with Sprite. The spiciness of the jalapeno and the coolness of the cucumber played off each other quite well. Unlike some pepper infused drinks, the jalapeno did not overwhelm the other flavors.

The Food:

Appetizers:

On Friday night, out of sheer “WTF???” curiosity, we ordered the Avocado Fries appetizer, slices of avocado breaded with panko, deep fried, and served with chipotle aioli. Surprisingly delicious. The texture contrast between the crunchy panko and the creamy avocado floored us. The spicy aioli gave the fries a flavor punch that melded well. I will admit that I’m a fan of People’s Pub’s deep fried pickles but I would choose these avocado fries over them any day of the week. These were so good, we ordered them again on Sunday in order to share the wonder with our friends.

On Sunday, J ordered the PB&J Jalapeno Poppers, panko breaded jalapeno peppers, deep fried, stuffed with cream cheese and peanut butter and served with a sweet, spicy jelly. J loved these, especially the above-average peanut butter used. I’m not usually a fan of peanut butter but I soon found the flavor combination oddly addictive, especially the sweet jelly that gave them a spicy, fruity kick.

Entrees & Sandwiches:

On Friday, J ordered the Carne Asada entrée, marinated steak with pico de gallo, corn on the cob, and mashers. When it arrived, he said the loaded plated looked like something you’d get at someone’s home. The carne asada was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, tender and flavorful. The marinade gave just a hint of spiciness while the well cooked side of corn on the cob, dusted with cayenne pepper, added another note of spice. J loved the mashers. Perfectly mashed potatoes that were neither lumpy nor pasty. The huge portion tasted extremely creamy from either the addition of tons of butter or, perhaps, a cheese or some sort. Even though he was full, he forced himself to finish the mashers because they were so good.

I chose the Rum Marinated Chicken entrée, chicken breast rubbed with cumin then marinated in Sailor Jerry’s rum, served with pico de gallo, corn on the cob, and mashers. The chicken was moist, its flavor a lovely mix between spicy cumin and caramel sweet rum. I took half home since the portion was so big. My corn was just a touch tough but that was barely noticeable through the spicy cayenne pepper and cilantro flavor. The delicious mashers went surprisingly well with the spoonful of fresh pico de gallo included on the plate.

On Sunday, J and I shared a Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwich, pepper jack cheese, avocado, red onions, and chipotle aioli on grilled sourdough bread and served with shoestring French fries. The sourdough was perfectly toasted, retaining just a bit of softness. The avocado added a cooling note to the creamy, peppery cheese and the spicy aioli. The fries were awesome as well, staying crispy and hot the entire time.

The Price:

Friday:

Long Island Iced Tea: 8.00

Ballard 75: 8.00

Avocado Fries: 6.00

Carne Asada: 15.00

Rum Marinated Chicken: 14.00

Sunday:

Long Island Iced Tea: 8.00

Jalapeno & Cucumber Margarita: 9.00

Avocado Fries: 4.00 (Happy Hour price)

PB&J Jalapeno Poppers: 3.00 (Happy Hour price)

Spicy Grilled Cheese: 5.00 (Happy Hour price)

The Verdict:

Considering J and I went back on Sunday, with friends in tow, our opinion of Shelter Lounge is overwhelmingly positive. Over the course of this project, we have had few meals that were, across the board, as good as both of the meals we had here. The drinks are great and well priced, including a Long Island Ice Tea that is one of the best in Ballard. The menu may be small but the quality and portion size is worth every reasonably priced penny. Creative touches, like the avocado fries, are deliciously well executed. Though it sounds like weekend evenings are hopping, the atmosphere during the day and early evening is genial and relaxed.

Shelter Lounge has been added to the list of our Ballard haunts. No question. We have been singing its praises to everyone who asks how the project is going. I will not be surprised if it ends up on the project’s top ten list at the end of the year.