Vacation from Seattle: Leavenworth

I recently went to Leavenworth with Ryan and my big Golden Retriever, Rinzler. The two hour journey from Seattle was well worth time, even when we were sitting in traffic for 20 minutes. I just wanted to point out 2 restaurants that I thought are worth going to. So here are the reviews:

South Restaurant:

 http://www.southrestaurants.com/menu/#south-fresh-modern-latin-food-and-drink-1-1-1

We were wandering around looking for somewhere that wasn’t completely packed on a Friday evening in July. We stumbled across South and were so glad we did. We were seated right away. The meal prices were moderate ranging from 8 – 17 dollars. The server asked if we wanted chips and salsa, so of course we ordered it. Who is going to turn down homemade chips? We did not realize those chips would cost us 7 dollars later as the server did not mention this.

I ordered a Cubano Burrito. It had all the normal fixing of a burrito with the addition of fried banana for $11.95. Fried bananas in burritos is like grilled cheese dipped in tomato soup, amazing. It came with a cabbage salad side, which was pretty bland but edible. It also came with more homemade chips, so we probably didn’t need the initial basket we ordered.

I also ordered an Icicle Brewing amber brew. Surprisingly, it was very good with a nice light malty taste and not too dark, perfect for the 80 degree weather we were hanging out in.

The server was very young and seemed unfocused. She barely checked on our table and was pushy to give us our check. I was only halfway done when she gave the bill to us. Although, I believe other servers were on their game as the restaurant was bustling. I wouldn’t let this one incident deter you from trying South.

Ratings (1-5):

Overall: 4 – Recommended

Atmosphere: 3.5 – Slightly noisy due to the place being crammed. We sat in the aisle where lots of people were walking back and forth.

Food Quality: 5 – Yum!

Services: 3 – The server was distant and not very communicative.

Bikeability: n/a

Dog Friendly – Dogs are not allowed

Watershed Café:

http://www.watershedleavenworth.com/#about

We passed by the Watershed Café for dinner, but decided it was a bit too pricey for us. We did notice a brunch that is only served on Sunday that was reasonably priced. Brunch is our thing! We were sat immediately outside on the deck on a warm Sunday morning and drank our delicious coffee. Our server was prompt and very informed of the menu.

Ryan decided to go healthy and order the egg white omelet (right above). I went the other direction and ordered the biscuits and gravy. Both meals were made from fresh local ingredients and sure tasted like it. My sausage gravy was thick and delicious. The spices in it were perfect. My homemade biscuits were fluffy and fit well with the gravy.  It also came with melon, home fries, and a side of eggs. I wish I could have the recipe for all of it, but I know I would never be able to make it like they did.

Ratings (1-5):

Overall: 4.5 – Recommended for brunch, dinner is very pricey.

Atmosphere: 5 – Nice deck with shade to relax on.

Food Quality: 5 – Yum!

Services: 5 – The server was knowledgeable and available.

Bikeability: n/a

Dog Friendly – Dogs are not allowed.

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Vidiot (West Seattle)

I just had to write a post about this place as it is one of my favorites! Picture this; all of those arcades you used to play when you were younger all in one place. Okay, got it in your head, now add beer. Okay, now one last thing, all the games are free (except pinball). Yeah, you can find me there at least once a week.

jake

Jake (brother) and Katy Almer – we like to take out-of-towners here. 

Here’s the low down:

The Games:  They have several machines with 1000 + games from Mortal Kombat to Frogger. They also have several racing games. You will also find an original XBOX and a Sega Genesis. The Sega has Sonic – which I did dominate Ryan at. They have several pinball machines each costing 50 cents, but well worth it. I could play pinball for hours. Not into the arcade games? No need to worry they have several board games you can use also. 

 sonic
The Beer: Surprisingly, Vidiot has a decent selection of beer on tap. They do change with the season, which I love since fall is coming up. Pumpkin beer time! My favorite summer beer was the Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer. It is a light, not overpowering beer. I would recommend giving this a try. Beer is only $4.00 – “one more please”. 
Other Drinks: They also have a large selection of hard liquor on display. I must admit I always get a beer given the decent price and selection. I did watch the bartender pour a drink and he was very generous with is liquor pour.  Just want a coke? They have a selection of non-alcoholic drinks available also. 
Service: I have noticed the same people working at Vidiot. And each of them are very nice in explaining any drinks and explaining any games that you have an interest in. My first time in I was confused on how to use the machine with over 1000+ games and the employee showed me how to select games and get started. He even recommended a few I might like. 
Atmosphere: Vidiot used to be a small, space but recently moved into where the Benbow room was. Good choice! There is more space and seems a lot brighter. 
 ryan
Ryan playing street fighter on the machine that has over 1000 games. 
Ratings (1-5):
Overall: 4.5 – because of the food option
Atmosphere: 5 – relaxed, perfect spot for a first date
Food Quality: n/a – would be nice to have a small snack option
Services: 5 – Very friendly helpful employees
Bikeability: 5 – there is a bike rack right outside the front door

Fado Irish Pub , Seattle (Pioneer Square)

It has been too long! Almost 6 months since my last post.
Trivia nights are usually a monthly occurrence with my friends. We like to try new trivia places around Seattle and the most recent trivia night was at Fado Irish Pub.
The Trivia (Wednesdays) with GeekswhoDrink:
Trivia started at 6:30pm. This is actually a perfect time for me. There is enough time to stroll out of work and find parking downtown (free parking after 6pm). There were about 8 rounds with one round as an audio round. The categories were broad and relatable. This trivia was the best trivia I have been to around Seattle.
The Food/Drinks at Fado:
During the week, happy hour goes from 4-7pm, which is perfect timing for trivia. You can get all happy hour food for $4.00 and drinks $3.00+. The draft beer of the month was $4.00 and was an amber. Some other happy hour drinks included Jameson and Ginger Ale, and a house red and white wine.
The happy hour food menu is one of the best I have seen in Seattle. There is a variety of good choices from delicious Guinness BBQ Wings to Slow Roasted Pork Belly. Our table of 6 people split the Rosemary and Parmesan Thick-cut Chips and was plenty for us. I also ordered Pork Belly and a Hummus plate. The Pork Belly came with 3 small pieces. So it was a bit small, but full of flavor and very tender. I could eat about 10 of them if they were in front of me and I would have no regrets. The Hummus plate was a very nice surprise. It came with Red Pepper Hummus, feta cheese, olive paste, and plenty of warm pita bread. This $4.00 option is usually $7.95 and great to share with up to 6 people.
Service at Fado:
The restaurant was packed for trivia (make sure you make a reservation!). The restaurant seemed to be well staffed. Our server was very good. We had many of our group stagger in at different times and she was prompt at serving each of them. Our food came out in a reasonable time and she was nice enough to let us know when happy hour was going to end. I wish I had got her name, because I would request her every time!
Atmosphere:
I am a bit biased on giving Fado a 5 star atmosphere score. They have a soccer theme and always have a soccer game playing on their television, if possible. Since I love soccer more than any other sport they already have a leg up on other restaurants. But other than that, the restaurant has a relaxed feel. During trivia it was loud, but I have been there other times with it being very casual and just a great place to hangout. I could easily stay there for a few hours and not even realize that much time had gone by. I also have to mention that Fado is walking distance to Safeco and CenturyLink Fields.
Pork Belly
Pork Belly
Hummus Plate
Hummus Plate
Ratings (1-5):
Overall: 4.5
Atmosphere: 5 – Full of energy during trivia. Casual and relaxed during other times.
Food Quality: 4 – I only had happy hour food, but it was delicious.
Services: 5 – Great service during a busy night.
Bikeability: 4 – Riding from West Seattle is very easy and close. Bike racks are easy to find.

Tavern Hall (Bellevue)

Hello Again!
I have been lacking on my restaurant reviews the past few months. I will get back on track now!
I met Ryan in Bellevue for happy hour at Tavern Hall. It just opened, maybe 3 months old. It sits at a great location right next to the Bellevue Square Mall. As I walked in, I noticed the polished look with many taps on the wall; probably 100. In my mind, you cannot go wrong with a place with a lot of beer. The place was packed, but luckily I found a spot in the corner.
As I waited for Ryan to arrive, I wanted  to order off the happy hour menu. The drink selection had 5 choices, with 2 being beer choices. This was a bit disappointing seeing all the taps. I ordered off the regular menu, a 16oz Octoberfest beer. I also ordered a sausage flatbread pizza and chicken wings. These items were reduced for happy hour.
The service was a bit slow, but the place was packed, so it was understandable. My server was very nice, but seemed new to the job. She delivered the wrong beer; luckily it was another decent beer. I did not say anything, but something to note.
The food arrived about 15 minutes later, right on time for Ryan to show up. The flatbread was a bit smaller than expected. The quality of the flatbread was only okay. It tasted a bit like it was reheated at some point and not fresh from the oven, The chicken wings were also only okay. They had the taste of coming from a fast food restaurant.
As you can see, I am not impressed with Tavern Hall. The atmosphere was fun and full of energy, but the food was only okay. The service was good, and I am sure with time our server will be really great.
I would like to go back for dinner and not happy hour to compare, but at this point I would not recommend Tavern Hall for food. I would suggest it for drinks only.
Ratings (1-5):
Overall: 2.5
Atmosphere: 5 – Full of energy!
Food Quality: 2.5 – I only had happy hour food, and would not recommend it.
Services: 4 – My server was very nice, but I could tell she was new.
Bikeability: 2It may be difficult to find a bike rack and the roads near the restaurant do not have bike lanes.

Brave Horse Tavern (South Lake Union)

Hello! Seattle Foodies ~

By now, you know my love for food, but I have not told you about my love for my bicycle. I ride it as much as I can. That can be difficult here in Seattle, with the whole rain thing going on constantly. I’ve learned in my 2 years being here, that you just have to suck most things up you want to do outside and go for it, even if it’s raining. But, raining and riding is different. Once you get wet, the wind against your cold skin and wet clothes can be torture. I learned this a long time ago. My family was one of those that went on family bike trips all the time. One of those bike trips was in Elk Rapids, Michigan. We decided to go on a 30 mile bike trip. The day started out nice, but towards the end I was tired and soaking wet from a 20 minute thunder storm. These random storms happen frequently with no mention from the weatherman. After, the sun came back out, but I was still freezing. This is why I hate riding in the rain. Luckily, I had an awesome Grandpa who came and picked me up before the end leaving my brother and parents out. Nice being the youngest sometimes.

But let’s get back to food review. Ryan and I decided to ride our bikes on June 1, 2014 to Smash Wine Bar and Bistro in North Seattle. We leave in West Seattle, so this was not just a hop, skip, and a jump away. It took us 1 hour and 12 miles to get there. The last stretch of the ride was a long road that slowly kept getting higher in elevation. I got passed by a few people on this stretch; my legs were burning. I finally made it with Ryan waiting by the door. “Where should we lock our bikes?” I asked. He looked at me and pointed to the “Hours” sign on the door.

Monday – Thursday – 5:00pm – 10:00pm

Friday – Saturday – 5:00pm – 11:00pm

It was Sunday…

My stomach started punching me from the inside, and the inside of my legs grabbed hold of my muscles and didn’t let go. Luckily, Ryan loved the 75 degree weather and the sunshine so he agreed to go somewhere else.

We hopped on our bikes flew down the giant hill we just rode up and headed to Brave Horse Tavern.

Good thing that other place was closed, because this is an awesome tavern with an indoor and outdoor space. By the time we got there (Sunday, 5:00pm) we were both starving and ready for a beer. We sat outside with a view of our bikes and enjoyed the amazing weather for the next hour. I ordered their burger of the week (Loco Moco) which consisted of a burger patty, turkey gravy, rice, over easy egg, between 2 toasted buns. This burger just melts in your mouth, and the flavors all come together and make you want to not eat it so you can have some forever. I had it with the Espresso Stout from Boneyard. I recommend this beer for anyone who likes dark beers. It’s really smooth and has a lot of nice coffee flavor.

I would also recommend ordering a pretzel. They make them fresh and you can tell. It was very, soft and great to split with one other person.

Here are a few pictures:

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*Brave Horse Tavern is located in South Lake Union, Seattle. Check out their website here: http://bravehorsetavern.com/ *

Ratings (1-5):

Overall: 4.5

Service: 4 (Service was a bit slow in the patio area, we didn’t mind, the sun was out)

Atmosphere: 5 (very relaxed, great for a date or hanging out with a bunch of friends/coworkers) (21+ Only)

Food Quality: 4.5 (Burger and pretzel were great) (Note: burger does not come with fries, I was too full and would not be able to any anyway)

The Lodge (Pioneer Square)

Good Evening Foodies!

I saw a coupon for The Lodge on Amazon Local and decided to go for it. The coupon does not work during happy hour, which this place has a pretty good happy hour, with 2 dollar fries, 6 dollar popcorn shrimp. Ryan and I were there at the end of happy hour at 6pm, to watch the march madness Michigan State basketball game. They weren’t playing it, but changed the channel on one tv no problem for us. The place had several people in it, but not overly crowded for a Saturday. The atmosphere was very nice, with a cool waxed wooden bar area.

Ryan and I both ordered beer first before our meal. Ryan ordered an IPA. The beer had a lot of foam, so when it settled it was not all the way to the top, the bartender grabbed and filled it up, that never happens at bars! I ordered the Fettucini Alfredo with chicken, while Ryan ordered the fish and chips. Both meals came out quickly and were very good. The alfredo sauce is homemade, and you can tell. Ryan gave his fish and chips and 8 out of 10, based on no prior knowledge of this type of food, meaning it was really good. 

If you see this coupon buy it! 

Also, make sure to get the Hazelnut Brown Ale by Rogue. Best dark beer I have ever had!!

Sorry, I didn’t take a picture, I will next time, because I will be back. 

 

Ratings (1-5):

Overall: 5

Service:5

Atmosphere: 4.5 (bathroom is shared by 2 bars, could get crowded)

Food Quality: 4.5