Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Antojitos La Villa

I love Mexican food, and it shows. I love authentic taco trucks and I like mediocre Mexican places.
Antjojitos LaVilla is at 239 Sunset Ave N in Renton, exactly where the Colombian restaurant was located, across from Burger King, and in the same complex as Westernco Donuts.
I liked three things especially about this place.
1. Menu was only in Spanish.
2. Menu tops off at seven dollars.
3. Menu has lots of things I've never heard of.

Huaraches, for example. I thought those were sandals, but no...they are kinda like a thick home made corn tortilla in the shape of a shoe sole topped with beans, Mexican cheese, onions, and meat. Yum!!! They also have many tortas, migas, sopes, and tacos. Tortas are sandwiches served on bolillos, and they have a huge variety. I didn't have one, but saw others dining on them, and they looked great. I don't know what a sope or a miga are, but I think a miga is an egg dish made with tortillas.
The place is packed with atmosphere. A large flat screen TV on the wall blares Mexican soap operas.
It's cheap, the food is good and unusual, and I'm happy they are in Renton.

On a sadder note, it appears that Jubilante is out of business. They'd been around a while, say 7 years or so. They were originally a product of Gene Sens, Renton's resident culinary genius , now of the Red House, and formerly of Gene's. Jubilante was "global cuisine" and when it first opened, this former Chevy showroom was called the best restaurant between Seattle and Portland. But service was inconsistent. I've had some good meals there, and some glacially slow ones as well. It seemed to go downhill a bit after Gene sold it. I didn't go there much but I'm sorry to see them gone. They were one of the first signs of the "Renton Renaissance", and I like it when places have stamps of originality, and I don't like it when what we have is what every place else has, be it Applebees or Denny's or some other corporate, soulless place.
Speaking of which....The Target Store in Renton is now open. It may be corporate and soulless, but hey! I like Target!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Noble Perssons

I just received my voter's pamphlet in the mail yesterday, and just wanted to note a couple of things.

1. King County Assessors race: The candidates are Noble and Nobles. Scott Noble, the Democrat, is the incumbent. Jim Nobles, the Republican, is not. Either way, they're making a noble effort to get elected.

2. Renton City Council: Terry Persson, who is not currently on the Council, is running for position number 4, while Don Persson, currently serving on the council, is running for position number 7.
Is it hard to keep the Perssons (people?) straight?

I could never get elected to anything myself because I have an unusual first and last name, and look like a cross between Osama Bin Laden and Buddy Hackett, but...if I changed my legal name to say...Brad Pitt and didn't submit a candidates photo, maybe I'd stand a chance.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bill's Bodacious

Ten years ago, there was only one BBQ joint in downtown Renton. It wasn't the Cedar River Smokehouse which seems like it's it's been there forever. It was Bill's Bodacious BBQ, which shared the former gas station at 2nd and Main with Jet City Espresso. It was a popular mainstay, but after many years the owner got a job in the tech industry and found that he was making too much money working, and didn't need to keep the BBQ joint open.
Fast forward a few years, and lo and behold, he's baaack! Not in the same location, but up the hill at 3813 NE 4th St, Renton 425-255-0535.
Some people claim that this is the best BBQ around these parts. I don't know whether that's true, but it's a comfortable place to dine, service is friendly and fast, prices are good, and so is the food.
The ribs are about as good as anyone's, including Jones' in Columbia City. The greens are vegetarian and incredible. Corn muffins are delightful. The menu also features Brisket, chicken, catfish, pulled pork, sometimes Jambalaya, sometimes smoked prime rib.
I only have one minor quibble. The sauce. It's this weird sweet thing, closer to an Asian sweet and sour sauce than a traditional BBQ sauce. I guess they think it's innovative and creative and different and you have to applaud people for taking chances, but I'm almost tempted to stop at Fred Meyer on the way up there and bring a bottle of Stubb's sauce with me.
Nonetheless, it's probably just me because many people like the sauce, they sell it by the jar and sell a lot of it.
And, all in all, it's right up there amongst Renton's best BBQ.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

McLendon's Hardware

Any talk about culture in Renton should include McLendon's Hardware, 440 Rainier Ave S, Renton, 425-235-3555. McLendon's has been around in Renton since 1921, and even though it is a mini chain (6 stores?) and even though the Renton store is huge, it still has the small town hardware store feel.
Sure, I shop at Lowe's and Home Depot once in a while, and it seems as if almost every time I'm at one of those stores, I deal with an employee who has no knowledge of hardware. A typical conversation goes something like this :
ME: I'm looking for a good hammer to buy. Do you have any recommendations?
HIM: Just a moment. (Gets on phone) Do we sell hammers here?

It's no like that at McLendon's. At McLendon's, employees have knowledge and are happy to share it. McLendon's is a fun place to shop. Employees tend to be a little eccentric, but friendly and helpful.
At Home Depot, they almost seem to be trying to recruit the stupid.