Posts

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

Image
 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.
Image
  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.

Image
 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

Image
                                                              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
Image
BAGELS IN RENTON?  Although I've lived in Western Washington for 43 years, and in Renton for the last 22 years, I was raised in the Garden State, New Jersey, a place where people take bagels very seriously. And as much as I love living in Renton, it's not a place famous for it's bagels. In fact, Renton does not have a single place that calls itself a bagel bakery. Safeway bakes their ghastly version, and Fred Meyer's aren't much better. Uwajimaya and Top of the Hill market carry the products of Seattle Bagel Bakery, baked in nearby Tukwila. They're a little better than Safeway and Freddy's, but they're underwhelming. A few years ago, the late, great Flour, Sugar, and More bakery in the Renton Highlands made bagels, and they were surprisingly good. But now, alas, gone. Now there's a new bagel player in town. The Red Tea Room is offering hand made, boiled, authentic 'New York' style bagels once a week,  available for pickup. I bought a dozen la

If you open a brand new restaurant during a pandemic, does that qualify you as nuts?

Image
If you open a brand new restaurant during a pandemic, does that qualify you as nuts? It might. Opening a restaurant when there's no pandemic around is something that requires a little insanity in the first place. Even when the economy is just buzzing along, restaurants fail. A lot of them. What I think I read was that for every ten restaurants that open today, five years from now, eight of those ten restaurants will either be out of business, or owned by someone else. And that's when the economy is going good. Some people shouldn't be in the restaurant business. Some don't start out with enough of a financial cushion to start out with. Some open restaurants in "jinxed" locations, and the curse doesn't reverse. Some are great cooks but can't run a business. Some have health issues, or the economy implodes. There's all kinds of reasons why restaurants have to cease operating. And yet, here we are.  People are still opening restaurants. Restaur

Kitchen Sink Enchiladas

Image
KITCHEN SINK ENCHILADAS If I'd known how good these were going to taste, I'd have made them prettier. Thrown some avocado slices on top, and some red onion. Or sliced black olives. It was a " use what's in the refrigerator" meal, and we had a lot of vegetables in the refrigerator. So I sautéed  some mushrooms, onion, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, and Asian eggplant. I happened to have some leftover green enchilada sauce. I'd made the sauce a few days earlier, but if you're less ambitious, the canned green enchilada sauces taste pretty good also.      I also had some leftover cooked kasha, roasted buckwheat groats. And threw in some chopped hazelnuts, which were hiding in the back of the refrigerator, but till tasted good.  And Ballyshannon, an Irish cheddar from Kerrygold, which was both inside the enchiladas and also on top of the outside. It was vegetarian and delicious. Definitely not low fat. I found a bottle of  coconut aminos, a soy sauc