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.

JOULE (FREMONT)

Happy Friday!IMG_20160213_112719.jpg

Joule… you have won my heart. I recently took my parents (from MI) and Ryan to Joule. We had read reviews that brunch was good and was worth trying. So, we did just that.

Located in Fremont, Joule has a nice modern, hip feel to the restaurant. Right off the bat it was welcoming. We made reservations for 4 people on Saturday at 10:30AM. If you are planning on brunch on the weekend, I would recommend making reservations as this place will be packed.

Now to the food – Joule is unique in that they have a buffet; the buffet’s theme changes every month. On top of the buffet, you also get to choose a meal. This is all for $19.00. Our buffet was Asian themed which included a noodle salad, tofu bites, red bean cookies, and other veggie and fruit dishes. It was amazing; A + .

For my meal, I chose French Toast made with Green Curry and topped with Apple Chutney. I wanted to try something unique, but not too crazy. The presentation of the dish was very appetizing, and I did not wait for others to dig in because it looked so good. The unique flavor of the Green Curry batter of the French Toast was delicious. It was not spicy and overall worked well the Apple Chutney.

 

I was able to sneak a piece of Ryan’s Chicken Fried Steak and Waffles. The Chicken Fried Steak was cooked and cut perfectly. This is the best I have ever had. The portion size was large, so come hungry for this dish.

I also need to point out that our server was amazing! She knew the menu so well that when she explained the items I wanted one of everything. She was very attentive and did a great job. I wish I got her name, because I would request her next time.

Joule also had really good looking Bloody Mary’s and other cocktails, but I did not indulge. Next time I will! I cannot wait to go back 🙂 Anyone want to join me for Sunday Brunch?

 

Ratings (1-5):

Overall: 5 – Highly recommend it

Atmosphere: 4.5 Slightly noisy due to the place being so popular. over very hip, cool setting.

Food Quality: 5 – I can’t wait to come back next month and see what is on the menu!

Services: 5 – The hostess sat us right away and our server was great!

Bikeability: 5 – there is a bike rack right outside the front door

Dog Friendly – Dogs are not allowed.

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

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.