A solid Cantonese find in Renton Highlands, and "Hipster Vietnamese" opens near Safeway downtown Renton.

We all have our "little quirks". One of mine is that I resist going to restaurants that refer to themselves as bistros. I know it's not fair.  I've sometimes later gone to places with bistro in the name, and had a perfectly good meal. But my immediate inclination is to run for the hills.
A few months ago I went to the Renton Bistro on S 3rd St, the place that use to house gene's, and Pino, and Vino. It's now a Vietnamese "Bistro", and the food was good in the couple of times I've been there, but the service was slow.
Yet one evening about a month ago, it wa getting late, we were tired, nobody felt like cooking, and Diane had a cold and a craving for congee. We passed by the Red Bamboo Chinese Bistro(1306 Union Ave, Renton, in the same complex as the driver's license place) and took a chance, despite my aversion to bistros. You know what? The place is really good! The black bean sauce green pepper shrimp was fresh tasting. That's th…

More beer! Korean Fried Chicken, and Vegetarian Stuffed Portobellos at a hotel bar?

Renton's got a new brewery. It's Bickerson's Brewhouse, (4710 NE 4th St.), in the eastern Renton Highlands, in the complex where the QFC is. Renton now has three breweries. I went to check out Bickerson's on Thursday. A while back I checked out Dubtown Brewing, the next newest kid on the brewery block (201 Main Ave S), and at four years old, Four Generals Brewing( 229 Wells Ave S.) is the senior citizen of Renton breweries, and  is a place I continue to return to.
Anyway, the beer pictured is Bickerson's Five Blind Mice, an IPA. It was delicious.
What astounds me is that the last few times I have gone to each of these breweries, they were full of people drinking beer.  As Martha Stewart said " It's a good thing."
Just a few years prior to Four Generals opening, there were a couple of Renton breweries, operated out of the owner's garages. Herbert B. Friendly was only open one afternoon a week. They were in South Renton, and it was the garage and b…

Where's the best Mexican food in Renton?

First off, I have to brag that this blog is now featured on the Renton Chamber of Commerce's website.  Check it out at  If you'd told me thirty years ago that I'd be hanging out with Chamber of Commerce types in the future, I'd call you nuts. But the Renton Chamber of Commerce is different. Grassroots. Nurturing and promoting the vitality of downtown Renton and other neighborhoods. A bunch of funny, creative people. So there! Go ahead, call me a corporate stooge! That out of the way, let's talk local Mexican food. I'm not going to tell you where I think the best Mexican food is in Renton. Because I don't know, and because my mood changes. But there are some worthy contenders. And what's best, anyway?
For me, the food has to be delicious. And even if it is delicious, it might not be the best if it takes a long time for me to get the food I ordered, or there's very long wait for a table, or the service is unfriendly and incomp…

I Like Bread

I like bread. I know...carbs. I know...empty calories. I know....heart disease and cancer contributing White Death.
But, y'know? We all make choices. I eat no meat other than seafood. I don't smoke. I barely drink. I eat lots of vegetables. I get lots of exercise.
Fifteen years or so ago, I was on a low carb diet. I lost fifty five pounds( and only gained about twenty of it back), so for a long time( six, seven years?) I did not eat bread. Oh, I ate the stuff sold in the stores as low carb bread. And I told people it was pretty good. I lied. It was as if some crazed chemist created some weird concoction out of sponge, sawdust, and melted plastic. And called it bread.
What I'm talking about is real bread, from a bakery( or made at home).
To the best of my knowledge, Renton does not have a bakery that makes bread, other than supermarket bakeries. It's too bad, because I think bakeries really enhance a town or neighborhood. Renton Highlands used to have the Sugar, Flour …

Mystery plant, Food Innovation Network, Mexican weekend buffet, and Chantrelle mushrooms

Today's post starts with a quiz. The flowering plant above is something I grew in my garden. The photo was taken September 7th. What is it?
A. Marijuana
B. Opium Poppy
C. Okra
D. Tomatillo
I'll reveal the answer at the end of the post.

Boon Boona Coffee is hosting some pop up fundraiser lunches for the Food Innovation Network as they try to obtain commercial kitchen space for budding entrepreneurs who need mentorship, guidance, funding, etc. They are raising money to develop the Tukwila Food hall( and I'm jealous that it won't be in Renton.) Nonetheless, it's already started, and on October 4th, they'll be featuring the food of the Congo, on October 18th Kenyan food, on November 1st Soul Food, on November 15th Kurdish, on December 6th Mexican, and on December 20th different Kenyan food.  It's from 11 AM-1PM. You can buy tickets in advance or just show up at Boon Boona, 724 S. 3rd St, Renton. The…

Tacos and beer in Renton. Tacos and beer in Georgetown. And salad in a Skyway tavern.

I didn't go into Dubtown Brewing(201 Main Ave S, Renton) thinking that I would like the place. For a couple of reasons. One is that I'm a Four Generals Brewing( 229 Wells Ave S. Renton) loyalist. I love Four Generals, and have liked almost all the beers I've tried there. Another is that I hate "progress" and development, and remember fondly the former gas station on the site of Dubtown that housed Jet City Espresso, the former coffee shop/junk shop/cool hangout space. I know, I don't sound like much of a real estate agent saying I hate development. But I'm more partial to funky old buildings. Nonetheless, Dubtown makes good beer. And the space is nice, in a modern space/concrete floor kind of way. I've sampled a few of their beers over a few visits, and the Pfudor(less intense IPA) is pretty delicious. I don't remember what it all stands for, but the PFU is Pink Fluffy Unicorns.
Anyway, it appears that downtown Renton can support two breweries. I…

Hot Sauce, Beer, and Portobello Sandwiches

Five years ago, I appeared on KCTS TV's "Check Please Northwest" as a panelist.
Many months earlier, I had been watching the show, and at the end of the show, they expressed interest in having  viewers go on the show for one episode. All you had to do was suggest a restaurant for the panelists to all try , fill out some paperwork, and hope you got selected. I did! With three panelists, you had to try the other two panelists choices. And then get reimbursed for the food, which was really good at all three places. The host was Amy Pennington, who was perfect at the job. She absolutely insisted that the show would go better if we were loose, not tense, and comfortable talking. So we sat around and drank a lot of wine. Diane picked me up after the filming, and I just staggered out of there. But to make a short story long...
The restaurant that I suggested was St. Dames, a vegetarian restaurant near Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood , on the light rail line. I was no…