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National Coffee Day, the caffeine scene of downtown Renton, and a fish taco update.

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Somehow, it escaped me that National Coffee Day was just a few days ago.  A day late and a dollar short, I do want to praise coffee.  I begged Grandma Sylvia to give me coffee when I was 5 years old. She eventually caved,  gave me a small cup that was 80% milk, and I was hooked.  At this point, a few years later, I generally drink coffee at home, coffee that I've roasted myself outside on the back porch. Coffee roasting can be an acrid smelling, smoky endeavor, so many years ago my coffee roasting was exiled outside, which is where it should be unless you've got some pretty powerful exhaust fans. Despite my roasting and drinking most of my coffee at home, I've been to all of the places in downtown Renton that serve good coffee,  have seating, and it's acceptable to just have coffee. I'm not counting giant coffee chains that start with the letter S, even though Renton has a bunch of them. I'm talking about the independents. Like anywhere else in the Seattle area,

Shameless self promotion

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  When I started Freakazoid Freddy Eats seven years ago, it was with the rule that the only thing that could be discussed was food. Not discussions of politics, religion, sex, literature, or the weather. Vegetable gardening would be okay, as well as recipes and restaurants. I've kept to that rule strictly. Until now. Why now? Because I wrote a book(under my real name), and I'm trying to hawk it. It's a science fiction/genealogy novel. And food does play a part in the book. How could it not, being written by someone so irreparably food obsessed? Also, you know where you can buy a copy? Smoking Monkey Pizza, 613 S 3rd St, in beautiful downtown Renton, Washington. How cool is that? The pizza is good, they have pickup and delivery, as well as dining in. Whether you can have a copy of my book delivered along with your pineapple and blue cheese pizza, I couldn't tell you.  If you're nowhere near Renton, or are allergic to the smell of garlic and pizza dough, you can also

The best fish tacos in Renton

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 I have liked fish tacos since forever.  In fact, I've rarely eaten a fish taco that I haven't liked. And I feel very lucky that the town I live in, Renton, Washington, has a huge number of restaurants that serve fish tacos.  So it's been my mission the last six months or so to try as many different fish tacos as possible. This list contains my top ten finds. There may be others I haven't tried, so if I've missed any, point me in that direction and I can update this list. So which place has the best fish tacos in Renton? I couldn't decide. I had to go back and retry places several times( a good excuse to eat more fish tacos), and I still couldn't declare one place's fish tacos as the absolute best. Instead, I've broken it down into tiers. I did not dislike any of the fish tacos on this list, and if you brought me a plate of fish tacos from any place on this list, I'd happily gobble them up. So, without further ado, the top tier, in no particular

Panang curry waffle fries with soft tofu? Did I dream this?

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 Spring is in the air. Baseball spring training is underway,  people are starting to get Covid vaccines, and restaurants are either re-opening with some indoor seating, or opening for the first time.  One of those places is El Muchacho Alegre, 111 Airport Way, Renton. The location, built as a burger joint in the 1950's, has gone through many incarnations. It was most recently a hookah bar, before that a Bangladeshi restaurant, before that Vietnamese, and had a long run as Lermond's, a diner-like place. El Muchacho Alegre opened a couple of weeks ago.  I often like to wait a couple of weeks before trying a new restaurant, to give them a chance to work out the kinks. But this time, we went on their second night of business. I like seafood, and I like Mexican food, and the place is close by.  Anyway, the place is good, and they had their act together even on the second night of business. They make a green salsa that is served with warm chips, that is both flavorful and quite hot.
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  CHEESECAKE, MEXICAN SEAFOOD, GOOD RYE BREAD, AND MORE! As a kid, I had really good eating habits. My mother would offer me candy, and I would ask if I could have some cucumber instead. I didn't like sweets, and I didn't like rich foods. Unfortunately for my waistline, my tastes have changed. I now like sweet, rich foods.  Like cheesecake. It took me years to appreciate cheesecake.  But here we are, in a land( the Seattle area in general) not known for cheesecake. So I could easily avoid indulging. Until now... River Valley Cheese, at 826 S 3rd St in beautiful downtown Renton, was, until the Covid 19 pandemic, a place to take cheese making classes. Kristi, the big cheese of the company, liked to make cheesecake out of cheese that she made. She didn't teach people how to make the cheesecake, but she taught people how to make the cheese. And then because of Covid-19 related regulations, she was not allowed to teach classes in her facility any longer, in order to ensure socia

I'll take "fried noodles" for 200, Alex.

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 I do like my fried noodles.  Whether it's Chow Mein, Chow Fun, Phad Thai, Filipino Pancit, Indonesian Mi Goreng,  Yakisoba,or Jap Chae, pictured above.  Jap Chae is a Korean stir-fried sweet potato cellophane noodle with vegetables and either meat, seafood, or tofu. Jap Chae might be my favorite of all of the stir fried noodle dishes. It's comfort food.    A few years ago, Jap Chae could not be found in any restaurant in Renton. Now there are at least three places.  Yummy Kitchen is on SW 43rd near Ikea, and is Korean and Hawaiian. Exit 5  BBQ is on N 10th Place in the Landing. And Pho Box is across the parking lot from the "downtown" Renton Fred Meyer, at 364 Renton Center Way. Given the uncertain status of a lot of restaurants these days, I'm not certain if either Yummy Kitchen or Exit 5 are operating on reduced hours, but I think they're both open, and I know Pho Box is. When Pho Box first opened a few years ago, it was a Vietnamese restaurant serving Viet

Babka and bagels

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                                                              BABKA AND BAGELS                                                                                                                                                                                         As many people have done during the pandemic, I've been experimenting with sourdough baking. I've experimented with baking many things I've previously not baked before, and my baking game has improved. My most recent experiment was cinnamon babka. What is babka? It's traditionally a yeast raised, sweet, buttery braided bread/cake, typically done in either chocolate or cinnamon. It's time consuming but easy to make. And ridiculously addictive. It's much more commonly found in New York area bakeries, particularly Jewish, Russian, and Polish bakeries. There are many babka recipes on the internet, sourdough and otherwise. When you're trying to keep a sourdough starter alive, you have to feed it regularl