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Posts Tagged ‘Pizza’

Snoose Junction Pizzeria – 9/12/11 – Closed

Website

Location: 2305 NW Market St

Hours:

Sun-Thurs: 11am-11pm

Fri-Sat: 11am – 3am

Within the boundaries and rules of this project, there are really only two pizza joints in Ballard, Flying Squirrel and Snoose Junction. Sure, places like Palermo and Zayda Buddy’s offer pizza on their menus but it isn’t the main thing. So when J and I decided we felt like pizza for dinner, we chose Snoose Junction so we could declare our favorite pizza in Ballard … kind of a foregone conclusion.

Snoose Junction is located on Market Street right next door to India Bistro. The non-nonsense interior includes a few wooden booths and a couple long picnic tables in the front seating area. There are a few more tables and chairs in the back area along with a couple of pinball machines and a wall of gig posters from Seattle’s heyday in the music world.

Snoose, especially in the back seating area, is not a quiet restaurant. Something about the acoustics magnifies everything. Music. Pinball machines. Any sort of noise above normal speaking level. If you want a quiet dinner, I’d suggest going elsewhere.

Along with a large menu of specialty and build-your-own pizzas, Snoose offers appetizers beyond the usual breadsticks, salads, calzones and Panini. They have a couple of good lunch specials as well. Soda, wine and beer, both on tap and bottled, are available.

Honestly, possibly the best thing about Snoose Junction are their weekend hours. On Friday and Saturday nights, they are one of the few … if not only … places in Ballard open until 3am. It’s a perfect place to grab a late night slice after Ballard’s many bars have closed.

The Service:

Our server was very friendly and helpful. She turned down the music when we started to move because it was so loud. After I ordered wine, she noticed the cork was askew and came back to make sure it tasted okay. Also, the pizza came out very quickly.

The Drinks:

J chose a bottle of Wyder’s Pear Cider, which he said was okay, and very “Peary”.

I ordered a glass of Naked Grape Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine turned out to be very mild with a slightly sweet flavor. Not bad.

The Food:

In order to bring some variety to the review, we opted for a specialty pizza with each half being different.

The half I chose was the Aglio di Capra, mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves, goat cheese, and fresh tomatoes on a garlic oil base. I liked this half quite a bit. The garlic oil base gave the crust a salty, garlicky flavor that was subtle. The huge roasted garlic cloves were a neat addition but they were just too big and completely overwhelmed the other flavors. I set the bigger of the cloves aside most of the time. The goat cheese was a nice alternative to the usual pizza cheeses but I wish it had been a bit stronger. Both J and I were impressed, though, by the fresh and not at all mushy tomatoes.

J chose the Porcellino, prosciutto, provolone and red onions on a tomato base, for his half. He felt it was a “serviceable” pizza but I wasn’t all that thrilled. The red onions could have been distributed better. Instead they were clumped together in overly sweet piles. The prosciutto was bland and, oddly enough, too fatty for my taste.

The Price:

Wyder’s Pear Cider: 4.00

Naked Grape Cabernet Sauvignon: 7.00

½ Aglio di Capra: 12.00

½ Porcellino: 12.00

The Verdict:

Snoose Junction does have a number of things to recommend it. Their specialty pizzas, with fresh ingredients and a good crust, are certainly better than Domino’s or Papa Johns. They do bike deliveries in Ballard, which is nice when you’re too lazy to leave the house. And being open until 3am on weekends is not only a good move financially, but a slice is a good option for after hour’s munchies. It’s not bad pizza …

But it’s just not as good as Flying Squirrel Pizza at the Sunset Tavern. Their pizza is sublime and a far better deal. For the price of our pizza and drinks at Snoose, we could have easily ordered either an appetizer or a couple extra drinks at Flying Squirrel.

Yes, we’ll order pizza from Snoose again. Their hours are far better than Flying Squirrel and the fact that they deliver mean we will be repeat customers but we both agree that we feel a bit of relief having finally reviewed Snoose Junction if only so we can go back to Flying Squirrel for our pizza fix without feeling guilty.

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Palermo – 3/26/2011

Website

Location: 2005 NW Market St

Hours:

Sun: 9:30am-10 pm

Mon-Thurs: 11am-10pm

Fri: 11am-11pm

Sat: 9:30am-11pm

After having seen Sucker Punch at the Cinerama, J was in the mood for Italian for some reason, so we decided to visit the cheaper of the many Italian options in Ballard. Odd that. There are as many Italian restaurants in Ballard as there are Thai.

Palermo is in a storefront right on Market Street tucked in between a dry cleaners and the now empty storefront that once housed Epilogue Books. It’s a very unassuming little place. Light. Airy. Not at all pretentious. It feels like the family run restaurant it seems to be. The menu is long ranging from calzones to pizza to hot sandwiches to pasta and all with an Italian flair with hints of Greece here and there.

The Service:

Our waitress was very friendly, pausing to describe the special in great detail. She willingly answered our questions about the content of our dishes. Once we ordered, the food, a salad course followed by pasta, came out with amazing speed. Especially the pasta course, which came out virtually the minute we had finished our salads and was piping hot.

The Drinks:

J and I decided to share a carafe of the house red wine. It wasn’t the best red wine I’ve ever had but it was fine. Obviously a red blend, the wine had a bitey grape flavor with a surprisingly smooth finish. J commented that the wine tasted like it was made in the back of the restaurant … in a good way.

The Food:

The meal came with a huge house baked roll and a dipping oil of olive oil and paprika. The roll was hot, tender and delicious. J loved the dipping oil with its spicy, almost curry tasting bite.

I ordered the Penne alla Vodka with Seafood, vodka sauce with clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, octopus, garlic, basil and parmesan with a side Caesar salad. The Caesar salad was heaped high with romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese and a creamy Caesar dressing. While the dressing lacked the anchovy flavor I’m so fond of, I enjoyed its  slightly salty richness.

The seafood pasta, naturally, had a strong, almost overwhelming, fresh “seafood” taste. I could pull out the distinctive flavors of the clams, mussels and calamari with each bite. The seafood portion was quite tasty with its freshness with each creature well cooked.

My issue with the dish was that the seafood flavor almost completely masked the vodka sauce. With ach bite, I was nearly unable to taste the sauce and what of it I did manage to taste was bland. I ended up squeezing lemon juice, from the lemon wedge that came with my Caesar salad, onto the pasta just to cut the seafood taste. This did bring forth a little of the sauce giving it a brightness it lacked. I would have enjoyed the pasta dish more if the sauce had been bolder. Perhaps a stronger kick of tomato or basil.

J ordered the Baked Fettuccini with Meatballs, in a classic Alfredo sauce backed with feta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese with a side salad. He was pleasantly surprised. It reminded him of Italian restaurants in Pennsylvania, where most of them were run by Greeks. He loved this dish finding the smallish meatballs perfect, delightfully moist with a hint of sweetness. His comment was “I don’t need a meatball the size of a softball.” He felt the addition of feta to the baked cheese topping added a interesting dimension to what could’ve been a common baked pasta.

The Price:

Carafe of House Red Wine: $17.95

Penne alla Vodka with Seafood: $14.25

Baked Fettucini with Meatballs: $13.50

The Verdict:

Even though I felt there was a certain blandness to my pasta, I would be willing to give Palermo another shot. I tried a bite of J’s fettuccini, which was far more flavorful than my penne. I wouldn’t mind trying one of their baked pastas or their calzones, for that matter. The prices are good for the amount and quality of food you receive. It’s a really nice family style restaurant with homemade, inexpensive Italian-Greek food with just enough unexpected touches to make it interesting.

Once this project is done, we’ll go back to Palermo whenever we feel like a good, homey Italian meal that won’t break the bank.

Flying Squirrel Pizza in The Sunset Tavern– 1/23/2011

Website

Location: 5433 Ballard Ave NW

Hours:

5-9:30 everyday

Happy Hour:

5-7 everyday

This time we visited the newest pizza place in Ballard. The Flying Squirrel Pizza Company opened up in the Sunset Tavern a few months ago bringing with it what is the best pizza in Ballard. Period.

J and I visited Flying Squirrel for the first time at the beginning of December and were very impressed. Tonight was the fourth time since then and we will return many more times in the future.

The Service:

Pretty good for a place in which the bartender is your server. There are no other servers. The dude who helped us was quite nice and relatively attentive considering there were 4 or 5 other parties there.

The Drinks:

J got rum & coke and I had a glass of tempranillo. Both were totally serviceable.

The Food:

Ah, the pizza. This time around we went with a ½ & ½ pizza. Full pizzas consist of 8 slices.

First half: Homemade sausage, chopped fresh garlic, mozzarella and sauce. Delicious, slightly sweet tomato based sauce. Spicy sausage that was not greasy. A light coating of mozzarella. And oh, so garlicy without being overwhelming. A little sweet and a little burn. It was nice to eat a pizza in which every element was identifiable rather than becoming a mass of tomato and cheese.

Second half: Zoe’s bacon, organic arugula, fresh tomato, mozzarella and sauce. The bacon was in quarter slices rather than bits which let the bacon flavor seep into the cheese and sauce. The arugula gave a nice, fresh but bitter accent to the rest of the pizza. Sure, the fresh tomato was a little pale but that’s to be expected during the winter.

One of the best things overall about Flying Squirrel’s pizza is the crust. Flavorful. Stays crispy on the edges and holds up in the center. So good that we ate the pizza, crusts and all.

About the only con about these pizzas is that, as is indicative of thin crust pizzas, it tends to get cold quickly. But even cold, these pizzas are delicious.

The Price:

Rum & coke: $5.00 normally, $3.00 during happy hour.

Tempranillo: $7.00

First half: $8.25 ($16.50 full)

Second half: $9.25 ($18.50 full)

$3.00 off of pizzas during happy hour.

The Verdict:

Run, don’t walk, to try this pizza. Fresh ingredients. Local meats (Zoe’s, Salumi, homemade sausage). Interesting choices (we’ve had their roasted potato, blue cheese, chive oil, spinach pizza as well). There’s a rotating selection of specialty toppings/pizzas. J, as an East coast native, says it is as close to eastern style pizza as you can find in Seattle. This is our choice of pizza places in Ballard from now on.

And if you do go, drop us a line and we’ll be glad to join you.