Sunday, September 02, 2007


We went to Cascadia last week. Cascadia is located on 1st Ave. in Belltown. Cascadia's physical space is lovely. It's open and airy, with large windows through which one can see slivers of Puget Sound. Our table, however, was kind of dark, which turns out to have been because there was a light bulb out way up in the ceiling.

We both had the three course "set menu." I started with a mozzarella and tomato salad, which was pretty good, and then I had seared scallops with lotus root, corn, and a ginger broth. The scallops themselves were tasty enough, but there were only two of them. I thought the thinly-sliced lotus root was extraneous, and the broth was almost without flavor. Debbie started with a melon soup, which was pretty good, and a proscuitto, rice and melon "sushi," which was extremely odd. For a second course she had thyme-smoked squab, which was OK. It was on a strange tasting sauce, with some nondescript polenta. For dessert, I had poached peaches with vanilla ice cream and rasperry sauce. The ice cream was fine, the peaches were somewhat better than what you get out of a can, and then there was a little dollop of raspberry sauce with a single raspberry on top of it. I didn't see the point of it. Debbie's dessert was lemon sugar beignets with I guess was supposed to be a perfect half peach. The beignets were OK, could have been hotter, and the peach was watery and flavorless. If you're going to put out a naked piece of fruit at a higher-end restaurant, it had better be spectacular.

After the main course was cleared, I realized that the somewhat sparse breadbasket had never been refilled. I was still kind of hungry, and so was Debbie. Dessert was puny and disappointing. We ended up having a snack elsewhere later.

Bainbridge Island Update

I haven't blogged for a while, and in the meantime there's been lots of action on the local food I'll do a quick recap of what I've found.

When I posted on BI BBQ in 2006, it was a deliver-only outfit. Since then, BIBBQ has opened a full-service restaurant, in a converted old house behind the building that houses Madoka. In fact, the owner, Greg Epstein is a certifiable nutcase, because he opened a restaurant, his wife had their first baby, and he had surgery all in the span of a couple of months. Somehow, he managed to pull it all off and still remain in his usual good spirits. The restaurant goes for the roadhouse BBQ vibe--bales of hay, restroom door painted like an outhouse, funky tables covered with vinyl tablecloths, linoleum floors, etc.. All it needs is a black-and-white TV with an antenna held on with tape at the front counter to complete the ambiance. The menu is expanded, but the big ol' BBQ rig is still parked out front, putting out slow-cooked meat. They still do delivery as well. So giddyup if you want a big pile of meat.

Casa Rojas Express is a new taqueria in the shopping center where the Safeway is, operated by the people who own the Casa Rojas restaurant in the Pavillion. The filling is either from steam-table bins or, in the some cases (carne asada, carnitas, machaca) comes from little pre-baggied portions that are then microwaved. It's not Roberto's, but the burritos are better than most you find around here.

The Living Room is a wine bar in the new Seabreeze development at Bjune Drive and Madison. The interior is fairly minimalist, with several groupings of modernist living room furniture (sofas, chairs, coffee tables). When we went a couple of times shortly after it opened, the menu was very limited, and I thought a bit uninspired. Their website claims a new menu, so we'll have to check it out, so consider my opinion on the food out of date... The wines are described as "eclectic," and that's a good description.

There are three other new food/drink-related places in the same development as the Living Room. First, there's August Moon Tea House, which is behind the Living Room. It's a Japanese-style teahouse, with a large selection of teas and a few food items like Pot Stickers, Pork Buns, and some housemade desserts. I thought the tea was on the expensive side ($4.95 for a pot of tea) but it was exquisite. The desserts are good, and the Pork Bun we tried was really tasty. It's open until 10pm, I think.

Then there's Adante, a coffee house that just opened, owned by the same person who owns Dancing Paint, the you-paint-it pottery studio next door. It has a very modern interior, with quite a bit of wood to make it warm and inviting. I think we went on the first or second night. My cappucino was good, but took forever to make. I'm sure they'll get quicker as they get some experience. Pastries, free wifi, a nice patio, and open until 10:00pm...what's not to like? I'm very happy about the trend toward later closing times.

Next to Adante on the corner of Bjune and Madison is Bon Bon, a candy store. My daughter and her friends are big fans of the place. Bon Bon sells housemade fudge, high-end confections, and hard-to-get old timey candy like Necco wafers that you can't find at the corner store anymore. Their fudge is really good.