Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Free breakfast at IKEA through January 3rd

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, is worth approximately 22 billion dollars, and Forbes magazine considers him the fifth wealthiest person in the world.
From 1942-1945, Ingvar Kamprad recruited and fund raised for the Nazis.
Having said all that, IKEA is giving away their small breakfasts absolutely free through January 3rd. You don't have to buy anything, and if you get there before 10 AM, coffee is included. We're talking eggs and bacon.
I don't boycott IKEA, some of the furniture is pretty nice looking. But the store is too big and gives me a headache, so I go there infrequently.
Just sayin': You don't need to feel bad taking a breakfast from these people. You won't be taking money or food from a cash strapped charity. You'll be taking food from a billionaire ex Nazi. Eat hearty.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Is the Renton Village 8 Cinemas Gone?

Their movies are not listed in the paper or online. They are not answering their phone.
Yes, the theatre at the Landing is lovely. Yes, maybe there were too many screens in Renton with not enough population to support it, and something had to give. Yes, having the three dollar theatre at the East Valley cinemas is awesome.
But the Renton Village Cinemas go back a while, and I'm sad to see them go, if they are truly gone.
Then again, I was pretty sad when the Roxy Cinema in downtown Renton closed, even if, at the time they were only showing Indian films with no subtitles.
If I understand things correctly, the East Valley Cinemas was recently for sale. It would be terrible if they closed too.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Any restaurants you just want to root for?

The Picaroon, a fine Renton blog, recently had a post about how important it is to support your favorite local restaurant. Recently, a number of Renton restaurants have disappeared. Touchdowns, Fin and Bone, Calico Chesecakes/Cafe Lure/Tapestry Saloon, and most recently Billy McHale's..You'd think there was a recession going on or something.
Some restaurants I may like a lot but don't really feel they could benefit from my cheerleading. For example, there's a fairly recently opened pizza place in Seattle at 50th and Genessee called Flying Squirrel. The food is awesome, but every time I've been there the place has been full, with people waiting in line. This place doesn't need my cheerleading, in fact it would be counterproductive to me personally to see the lines to get in get any longer. So stick to Domino's, folks.
In the Picaroon post, Miss P recommended people go to to A Terrible Beauty Irish pub on 2nd in downtown Renton, and indeed the food there is great and it's a fun place to go, but unlike the pizza place in Seattle, it's not always crowded. The people who own the place are nice and the place deserves business.
Along the same lines, Lakeside Bistro on Rainier Avenue, at the north end of the Renton airport, is another place with amazingly good food and it too is not always crowded. They've got a happy hour 3-6 PM seven days a week, live jazz on Tuesday evenings,a lunch menu, calamari spring rolls ( how cool is that?)and fresh seafood that doesn't get any fresher. The basil clams are absolutely awesome,and they cater to vegetarians.
Some places I'll go to and like. I'll go to Chang's Mongolian Grill and have a good meal, but feel no urge to root for the place.
But A Terrible Beauty and the Lakeside Bistro are two businesses that deserve to stay in business for a long, long time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Freddie's Club?

Omigod! Have I never reviewed the food at Freddie's Club in Renton?
Well, it's time. The food is better than one might expect, the service is pleasant, comfortable and quick, and the prices are generally pretty good.
It's normal American food, Vietnamese food, and sushi. I had something great there today, the beef short ribs sub. Something you never see anywhere else, and awesome. A tad pricey at eleven dollars, but it came with excellent house made waffle fries.
You know what else? They have a happy hour, 5-8 Monday thru Saturday, with three dollar nigari and sashimi, and four dollar rolls. I had the Seattle roll: smoked salmon, cucumber, and avocado, and it was a helluva deal for four bucks. california Rolls and Spider rolls beckon on future visits. Breakfasts are available 24 hours a day, so technically you can get pancakes, pho, and raw tuna together. I don't know who'd want that combo, but hey, it's available.
I like the place, the food quality is above average, and it's pretty mellow for a casino.
Freddie's Club
111 S 3rd St.
Renton 425-228-3700

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Izakaya Sushi in the Landing

First, full disclosure: I'm not Freddy--although I certainly wish I was :)

Second, my wife and I are currently obsessed with Izakaya Sushi in the Landing. It's a kaiten-zushi bar and they also serve Yakitori -- basically barbequed meat skewers (which we have not tried yet).

We love to sit at the kaiten which is, quite literally a "Sushi train" (this is also what we call the resturaunt--i.e. "want to go to sushi train tonight?"). It's a conveyor belt of increasingly interesting sushi selections, everything from salads to exotic rolls (Boeing Roll anyone?) sushi, and even desserts. Each plate has a different price (from $1-5) and you just pay by the plates at the end of the night. The food is really really good (although, I'm not sure if it surpasses Renton staples like New Zen). The novelty and the atmosphere are amazing, however. We'll definitely be back to try the tempura and the Yakatori.

I see it's getting some mixed reviews on Yelp. Anybody else been there? What do you think?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Naan N Curry's New Menu

Of all the Renton eateries that Freddy has discovered and shared over the years of writing Displaced Hipster, my #1 favorite hands-down is the fabulous Naan N Curry in downtown Renton. We were for years a loyal Pabla customer, shunning the red-and-yellow McCurry looking awning that cried out "food court Indian". But Freddy convinced me to try it when he first wrote about it in 2006 in his post "Moses and Krishna vs. Mohammed".

We've never looked back. We eat there regularly and sample widely -- Chicken Tikka, Lamb Handi, Gobi Gosht, Kareli Gosht, Chicken Jalfraizi -- good lord, they are all good. So very, very good. Part of what makes it so good is the attention to the spices, part is the dedication to broadening the standard Indian restaurant fare through numerous Pakistani dishes (cf. Lamb Handi).

Lately they have built on this strength by adding a one sheet of new recipes, which I've ordered from both the last times we were there. Tonight I ate the Achra Gosht, a curry with a mango base and chunks of tender lamb. Although the first bite I thought it might be a touch on the sweet side for me, three bites in I was hooked. Also notable is the Chicken Tikka prepared with a green sauce -- mint and coriander -- a delicious departure from the also excellent Chicken Tikka on the regular menu. The one and only downside is the steady creeping up of the dinner prices.

If you are a fan and haven't checked out the new menu, it's definitely worth a trip. Or two. Or three. Additionally, if you are a fan, Naan N Curry has been nominated for Best Indian in Western Washington -- you should add your vote!

I voted from my table, as I sopped the last bits of Achra Gosht with my naan.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Terrible Beauty is not terrible at all

I've now been to the Irish Pub A Terrible Beauty at 201 Williams Ave S.
a few times now, and like the place quite a lot. The place was once a bank, I think, and since then has had several incarnations. It was a brewery( and a good one!), and then several incarnations of Irish Pub. When it first opened as an Irish Pub, the food was astoundingly bad, and as fellow blogger Tin Foil Hat asked " How can you screw up corned beef and cabbage?"
Well, that was several ownerships ago, and I'm happy to report that A Terrible Beauty has really good food now. In fact, they make their own corned beef, the fries are skins on and hand cut, they serve breakfast on weekends, and reasonably priced above average quality pub food the rest of the time.
They had chocolate cheesecake the last time I was there, and it too was great.
Many pubs and taverns have food as an afterthought, and the patrons are too drunk to know the difference.
Not A Terrible Beauty. This place takes their food quality seriously. The place is a comfortable place to hang out in, and service is mostly just fine, though when I was there for breakfast they were understaffed, and the poor server was running around frantically trying to keep up. Go there.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Primo's Tacos

A scary thought occurred to me. Many of the restaurants I've reviewed in the last 3+ years are out of business. Some of them I've loved and miss dearly. One such restaurant that recently changed hands is now called Primo Tacos, and is at 239 Sunset Ave N. It most recently housed Antojitos La Villa, and before that was a Colombian place. It has hardly changed in it's most recent incarnation, and that's a good thing. It's friendly, it's cheap, and it's good. Renton is blessed to have many, many places to get tacos. Primos has more thn tacos, and has items not commonly found in more typical Mexican restaurants, such as huaraches ( not the sandals).
One of these days I'll do an extensive " best tacos in Renton" post. Until then, why not suggest taco places for me to try, not including Taco Bell and Taco time?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'Mo 'Cue!

Ribbins Bar-B-Q has opened in the location that formerly housed Bill's Bodacious BBQ, at 3813 NE 4th Street in Renton.
Ribbins has a history. A sister restaurant of the same name was in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood as early as the early 1980's, and although I think that branch is now gone, they also have an Auburn branch. It's Kansas City style barbecue, and it's good.
The pork ribs stand out, almost fall apart tender, and the sauce is slightly sweet and slightly hot. Too many barbecue sauces disappoint me. They're overly sweet, gloppy, and seem to be a blend of ketchup and Elmer's glue. But not Ribbins. The greens ( (which I'm guessing are a collard-mustard blend) are the very traditional style of cooked for a long time with some pork fat, and nicely spiced. I'll be back to try the brisket, chicken, sweet potato pie, and peach cobbler.
Prices are a little high. Pork ribs dinner is 12.95, and includes two sides (choices include candied yams, greens, fries, beans, potato salad)... It's an improvement over Bill's Bodacious. I didn't hate Bill's Bodacious, I just thought the sauce was too weird.
But Ribbins is good.
Yes, I realize if I got to the gym more, and stopped eating ribs so often, my body would thank me. But it's my duty to eat these things and blog about them. Y'all don't simply want me to blog about tofu and alfalfa sprouts, do you?

Ribbins Bar-B-Q
3813 NE 4th St
Renton 98056 425-255-5565

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bally Fitness in Renton is closed

Renton's Bally Fitness gym in the Cascade neighborhood closed at the end of June.
Some may see this as a sign of progress. Bally's was an old gym. It had been the Cascade Athletic Club and World Gym before Bally's took over about twelve hours ago.
Although I'm not currently a regular gym goer, I'd been going to Renton Bally's for about ten years, off and on. Bally's in Renton was kind of refreshing due to what it was not. To me, some gyms are intimidating, too full of young, trim, athletic people working out on the most modern equipment. Bally's wasn't like that. The place smelled, you could always find older and fatter folks breathing hard on the cross trainers, and you could hear Spanish, Russian, and Hindi commonly spoken as well as English.
It's now empty, just like the QFC in the same complex. Cascade Lanes bowling alley is also closed, slated to become a Hooters. Hillcrest Lanes on Sunset is also closed, changing ownership and remodeling. Are there currently any open bowling alleys in the Renton city limits at all? Skyway Lanes is open, but that's not quite Renton. And Renton has plenty of other gyms to work out in, cleaner, more modern, more expensive, less smelly places than Ballys. Progress, I guess.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Chapinlandia Open, Touchdowns Tackled

Chapinlandia Guatemala Restaurant and Bakery in beautiful downtown Renton is now open.
Today was their first day in business, and if for no other reason than to claim to be the first blogger to dine there and post about it, I had to try it.
First day in business a lot of places aren't going to have their stuff together, and Chapinlandia is no exception. But you know what? The food is awesome! Although some of the items have names in common with their Mexican neighbors, there were some strong differences. The tortillas are homemade and thick, not at all like their Mexican counterparts...The carne asada was mind bogglingly good, tender and nicely presented served with half an avocado and tomato and onion slices. The pipian was a chicken dish served with a pumpkin seed mole sauce, and was served with turnip and string beans and spinach.
Coffee was Guatemalan and smooth. Prices are low, and they open seven days a week, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As of today, they don't have menus, but whether you're a meat eater or a vegetarian, there will be something for you, even if you just want to sit and have the in house made Guatemalan pastries and coffee.

I'll go back, and I think it's really cool that Renton has such a place.

Chapinlandia Guatemala Restaurant and Bakery
916 S. 2nd St.
Renton 98057

On a sadder note, Touchdowns is out of business and for sale. This is the former All City Diner and former Schumsky's Brass Rail. In it's most recent incarnation as Touchdowns, the place had Beef on Weck sandwiches (an upstate New York specialty), very low priced lunch specials, and great beer. I liked the place, but evidently didn't get there frequently enough to keep them in business.
I can never figure out what's going to survive and thrive. I've been to some restaurants that have been around forever, are always crowded, and have never been any good, but I've also been to absolutely awesome places that should be very popular but just don't make it.

Freakazoid Freddy spouts on politics

The primary election is August 18th, and although I mostly care about food, I also have an interest in politics. I'm not here to make endorsements, but if you're in Renton and don't cast a vote for for Rich Zwicker, you're a frickin' idiot....

But I did want to discuss the King County Executive race. Whoever gets elected will have some impact on our everyday lives. If you're a homeowner, your property taxes will be affected by the direction the Executive takes. If you're a renter, your rent will be affected by the taxes your landlord pays. And there's a lot of interaction between the County and cities such as Renton, such as annexation and just how much money will it take to bribe Renton into accepting Skyway?

So, without much further ado, here are some of the candidates for the Executive position, and what you might want to know about them:

1. Susan Hutchinson: Used to be a news anchor at KIRO. Pretty, smiles a lot. Should do well with the male demographic. Refuses to state positions on anything, other than platitudes like " Taxes and gang violence are bad."
Was suspended from KIRO for canoeing when she called in sick on a holiday weekend, before getting fired from KIRO. Has been a contributor to Republican candidates ( like Mike Huckabee) and has been on the board of the Discovery Institute, which disputes evolution.

2. Larry Phillips: Seems to have been on the King County Council since World War One. Goofy, smiley guy. Represents Queen Anne, Magnolia, downtown Seattle on the council, during which time a lot of bus service got reallocated from Seattle to the eastside. Never had a lot of disputes with Ron Sims, but did choose to run against him when it appeared that Ron Sims would run yet again...
Phillips has been council president, and has been one of the major county policymakers, so if you think everything is hunky dory in the county, Phillips is your man. He also dyes his hair except for his sideburns, so you can think he's distinguished or something.

3. Dow Constantine: I always thought of Greek Americans as lively and interesting, but then Michale Dukakis and now Dow Constantine come along. Dow Constantine is also on the King County council, and represents Greg Nickels' former district of West Seattle, Vashon, White Center, parts of downtown Seattle, Tukwila, and I think his district comes very close to and may incorporate part of Renton. He's dull, and like Phillips, has been on the council a long time. He praises his mentor Greg Nickels frequently, and speaks of Nickels as though Nickels is wise and effective, when in fact Nickels is a petty tyrant, owned by Paul Allen, and who'd sell his grandmother for a few votes... Constantine is taking a new tack this election. Since he realizes that there are a lot of people who consider themselves " progressive Democrats", he's suddenly touting his "progressive" credentials, and is trying to get the youth vote ( why? because he's under 50?) by appearing at hip music clubs in Belltown...What's the word often used to describe politicians? Smarmy?
I do like the fact and he's taken on the role as Hutchinson's major attacker, but I'm sure not excited by the guy. Snoozefest.

Fred Jarrett: Former Mayor of Mercer Island and member of the state legislature. There's just something creepy about the guy. Looks like he should be in a Harry Potter movie. No sense of humor and weird eyeglasses. Certainly an intelligent guy, and a longtime Boeing employee, but really comes off as cranky old guy.( " You kids get off my lawn!")

Ross Hunter: Microsoft executive and Medina resident. Running as an "outsider" even though he's been deeply entrenched as an insider being part of the state legislature. Known for being combative, and running on a platform that county employees need to pay more for medical benefits. Um, isn't that something that gets negotiated with unions?
If you find Microsoft products to be reliable and user friendly, maybe Hunter's your man.

Stan Lippman: He's run for many, many offices over the years. I just love these perennial fringe candidates, they really add a little interest to the races. A few races ago, he was running on the evils of immunizations. Now he thinks all government debt ought to be paid with silver coins. Disbarred attorney with an absolutely wackshit look in the eyes.

Alan Lobdell: Long time county employee who hasn't gained any traction whatsoever. Very minor candidate who might have good things to say, but isn't nearly as much fun as Lippman or...

Goodspaceguy: Another perennial candidate who's run for almost every office in the past. I loved watching this guy on the government channel doing the candidate presentations. Complete monotone voice, coke bottle thick eyeglasses with a blank stare, talking about how we need to colonize space right now! When they say "Anybody can run for office" it should be illustrated with a picture of Goodspaceguy.
I think it would be really fun to actually see him elected. Pandemonium ensues!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

You can so grow big red tomatoes 'round here.

My backyard doesn't realize it's unincorporated King County, two blocks from the Renton city limits. My backyard thinks it's in Arizona. Last year the Tilth organic gardening group canceled their tomato taste off in Seattle because there weren't enough red tomatoes. But my backyard produced 'em.
This year, it just turned August and I'm already producing large red tomatoes that are not supposed to grow in these parts. It's nothing I'm doing. This particular tomato is a Jetsetter, which I've never grown before.....And maybe it's the long hot summer we're having, but I'd like to think it's the magical backyard.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Lakeside Bistro

Just this past week the Lakeside Bistro has opened at 11425 Rainier Ave S near the northwest end of the Renton airport. The place describes itself as " Modern Vietnamese", and I don't know whether that's true or not, but it's unlike any Vietnamese restaurant I've been to, and it's very good.
Soups are an especially good value, about eight dollars for a bowl large enough to feed an army. We had the " hot and sour whitefish with pineapple and Asian rhubarb" and it had a delicious slightly sweet slightly sour but not too spicy broth, and was loaded with fish and veggies.
An intriguing salad for next time will be the spinach salad, Asian pear, mandarin orange, pitted cherry, and Teriyaki chicken.
Entrees include a few noodle dishes and some others including a Garlic filet mignon served on a sizzling platter, chicken cordon bleu, pan seared diver scallops, and Tamarind curry glazed salmon.
There's a lot of seafood on the menu including whitefish, halibut, scallops, shrimp, and salmon, and desserts are homemade. They also happily accommodate Vegetarians.
This place is more elegant and continental than most Vietnamese restaurants, and a bit more expensive. Noodle dishes are 8-10, entrees are 12-16.
But they are obviously trying to go for something ( upscale, gourmet, fresh ingredients, but cozy, friendly and welcoming), and at this point are succeeding. I like the place a lot. If you go in the month of August you'll get 20% off your total bill, excluding alcohol.

I think this a very welcome addition to the restaurant scene in the Renton area, and I think right out of the gate they're up there in the top five.

Lakeside Bistro
11425 Rainier Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98178

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rubattino's Rocks!

808 S 3rd St
Renton, WA 98057-2736
(425) 255-3143‎

Renton is becomingly increasingly full of gourmet restaurants, where management has spent on a lot of money on designing these places so that they look like warehouses. Cool, I guess. The trend is toward places that serve "small plates" of things like "free range wild harvested marinated pigeon entrails served in a pesto beurre blanc reduction" for 25 dollars.
You won't find that at Rubattino's. Dating back to the 1920's, with the most recent remodel maybe only 40 years old, Rubattino's may be one of the oldest continually operating restaurants in the Seattle area. It's so not a pretentious place, and seems to welcome borderline homeless folks who've been coming in for coffee for the last 40 years...But y'know what? The food is good! The omelettes are the best in Renton, and the atmosphere is a joy to behold. The world may be changing as we increasingly lose beloved icons in the name of progress.
May Rubattino's defy this trend and keep going forever. Go there.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Any restaurants you hate to admit you like?

C'mon. We all have at least one restaurant we'd hate to be seen in, especially by our friends, yet we make these sneaky trips there and hope nobody sees us actually enjoying a meal there.
For me, it's Billy McHale's. Oh my god! is that place out of date, so 80's, with it's tchochkes galore and the little train overhead and the fake festiveness. But you know what? I like the place. I know, most of the people who eat there are at least in their 60's, and the place maybe ought to be updated to at least the 90's, huh?
But the food is good, and it's a good value, especially the early bird dinner special, served 7 days a week from 2 until 5:30. That's blue hair time, but you get a large selection of entrees or entree salads that include dessert for 8.95!
The early bird specials, among other choices, offer steak, chicken, salmon, Cobb salad, Lasagna, and quite a few others. The dessert choices include hot fudge sundae, apple crisp ala mode, and a frozen, very rich and delicious peanut butter pie.
I know. The ultimmate hipster isn't supposed to dine until 10PM, then go out and hear music or something.
But if you want to know the truth, I haven't been hip since Joni Mitchell was in her heyday, and 10PM! That's almost bedtime!

Billy McHales
241 SW 7th St.
Renton WA 427-271-7427

Monday, June 08, 2009

Thai restaurants in Renton

I remember back in the day when Seattle had one Thai restaurant. We're talking 25+ years ago. It was in downtown Seattle, somewhere around 2nd and Virginia, and it was awesome. Shortly thereafter Thai restaurants started sprouting up like mushrooms after a rain, and not all of them were awesome.

Renton's got some good ones. Royal Orchid's been around for years and is consistently very good and kind of elegant.
Thai on Highlands up the hill on Sunset has also been around for years and serves up some mighty fine salmon curry. A few other places are not Thai restaurants per se, but serve Thai food.
And now there's a new kid on the block, Thai 65, in the Landing. The place is artistically done, both the decor and the food. Prices are less expensive than Royal Orchid but more expensive than Thai on Highlands. Food quality is great. The Garlic Prawns didn't skimp on the garlic or portion size, and the salmon curry held it's own.
I wouldn't say it's necessarily better than the other Thai places in town. But it's quite good, and likely worth repeat visits. I'll be going back.

Thai 65
920 N 10th, #A
Renton 425-207-8687

Friday, June 05, 2009

Dog & Pony Benefit for RUFF

On Saturday, June 13th, from 5-9PM, The Dog & Pony Alehouse and Grill will be hosting a benefit for RUFF, Renton's Unleashed Furry Friends. As of last night, tickets for the benefit were still available at thirty dollars a piece.
This is going to be a fun event, and the price of admission will include 2 beers and your choice of a hamburger, a cheeseburger, a Karma burger (dude!), or a hot dog.
Tickets are only available at the Dog & Pony, and parking for the event will be available at the Satori School, a few hundred feet away. The entrance to the parking lot is on N 4th Street, via a driveway directly behind the happy Hound. There is also a driveway entrance on Park Ave, just south of 4th Street, after the blue house at 336 Park Ave.

So why go to this event?

1. The Renton City Council is matching funds up to 50,000 dollars, and once 20,000 dollars is raised, that will assure a quick opening of the gorgeous new off-leash dog area at the old Narco site adjacent to the Cedar River trail, across from the Renton Community Center.

2. The Dog & Pony is a great place to go anytime, with a huge selection of beer, and far better than average pub food ( their burgers absolutely rock!).

3. Connect with your fellow dog owning freaks and build community!

Dog & Pony, 351 Park Avenue N, 425-254-8080


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tandoori Wars

If you combine Renton and Kent, we may have more Indian restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the Seattle area, and that's another big positive for living in or visiting these parts.
Officially, Renton has just two, Pabla in the Fred Meyer shopping center downtown, and Naan and Curry on 3rd Street downtown, both good places.
But there's another player in town. Great India just opened a few months ago just south of the city limits near Ranch 99 and Ikea.(Right behind Harbor Freight Tools)
I've been there a couple of times and deem it a worthy competitor. The menu is fairly extensive and has all the Indian faves, but the spicing makes it unique and delicious.
They do some things especially well, like vegetables. The Bengan Bharta (eggplant) was fantastic, and they have several mixed veggie dishes as well as saag(spinach) alone or mixed with cheese, chicken, or shrimp.
The folks there are nice and trying hard to please. When I was there yesterday and asked them about the naan, they invited me into the kitchen to watch it being made! And they didn't even know that I was a celebrity blogger :)
They're open seven days a week, with time off in between lunch and dinner, and have the 7.99 lunch buffet seven days a week. This is definitely a place worth checking out.

Great India
18126 E Valley Hwy
Kent, WA 98032
(425) 251-6966

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Slow Pokes Brisket and Pork

I'm a sucker for good BBQ, and nowhere in Renton is great barbecue. We've got some pretty good barbecue in Sandie's Place and Cedar River smokehouse, and Gabby's in Skyway.
There's a new player on the BBQ scene, Slow Pokes, located near the Great Wall Shopping Center. Technically, they are not "real" in that the meat is slow roasted rather than smoked. Still, the meat is good, and the sandwiches are a very good value. The sandwiches are all served on sub rolls, or maybe Vietnamese Banh Mi rolls? And they are stuffed with meat. The place is part of a gas station building, always a good sign. Choices include the original with it's natural juices, or Texas Style ( with BBQ sauce) or Philadelphia cheese steak style, or Mexican, or Italian. The place has maybe three tables, but for 6.99 you will get a good tasting very large sandwich on a good fresh roll.

18010 E Valley Hwy
Kent, WA 98032
(425) 251-6820‎

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where is Renton's Best Pizza?

The Rock Wood Fired Pizza and Spirits has opened in The Landing, and among many other things has a lunch buffet featuring a variety of pizza, pasta, soup, and salad. Not a bad deal for 8.49, including soft drink, but how's the pizza?
The place is a fun, rock n'roll themed restaurant. The music's great. The servers were attentive and welcoming. One of the soups, a creamy chicken with wild rice, was outstanding.
The pizza? It's good. Almost all wood fired pizza is going to have a good crust, and crust is so underrated in general.
I've had better wood fired crust before, but just the fact that this is a wood fired crust is a big plus. Toppings were pleasant and there was a good variety of them. Sauce was a little too thin.
Is this Renton's best pizza? No. Renton is blessed with a few really good pizza places including Angelo's, Armando's, Vince's, and Amante.
But the Rock is pretty good, and some people really like odd themed places. I'll go back.
The Rock Wood Fired Pizza and Spirits
830 N 10th St
Renton 425-255-0334

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pssst, wanna buy a house?...OR Playin RUFF!

Two things today which are related:

1. Renton's Off Leash Dog Area, to be located behind the Renton Community Center across the river and near the Cedar River trail, is aiming for an August opening if the user group, Renton's Unleashed Furry Friends can match the city's 20,000 dollars. They're off to a good start, have a wine and auction benefit scheduled for tonight at Vino in the Landing, and a later event being scheduled for the Dog and Pony Alehouse and Grill. They're looking for donations and volunteers and are a wonderful group of people.

2. I'm a real estate agent. It is seldom revealed here because I have to keep up the image of uber cool blogger, and face it, real estate agents aren't cool. They're thought of as people who will sell their grandmother if they could earn a commission, and you can tell they're lying because their lips are moving. On the evolutionary scale, they're thought of as somewhere between a leech and a tick.
Two years ago many real estate agents were suggesting that if you didn't buy a house right then, you'd never be able to afford one, you'd be priced out forever.
Fast forward two years, and many Renton area homes are now worth 25% less than they were. But now, many of these same real estate agents are suggesting that you'd better buy a house right now because we've hit bottom and that interest rates won't fall any more.
What am I suggesting, and what does this have to do with dog parks?
I'm not suggesting that people buy houses or not buy houses. Prices have come down and interest rates are low, but I'm not going to be like many real estate agents and pretend I can predict the future.
But....if you already want to buy a house, and use me as your real estate agent, I'll donate two thousand dollars for the Renton off leash park. I'll donate it in your name if you like. Buy enough houses and you can probably have the dog park named for you or your German Shepherd- Basset Mix.
I'm not going to suggest that if you buy a house you'll get rich. In fact, the opposite happened a couple of years ago after some real estate agents referred their clients to their loan originator buddies to make sure they could qualify for a loan they couldn't afford, and then prices went down.
There are lots of good reasons to own a home. Over the long haul homes usually keep pace or exceed the inflation rate. And when you own a home, it's yours, meaning you can do with it what you like. Tear out all that grass and plant blueberries. Or paint the house purple. Use the garage for your heavy metal band to practice in.

If you want to buy a house, and also want to support Renton's Offleash Dog park, I'm your man. How cool is that? 206-349-2574 or
Ira Sacharoff Seattle office

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Breakfast at Ikea

Have I mentioned how much I hate shopping at Ikea?
I know, it's almost disloyal to Renton to say that. Did I mention that the place is too big,the parking garage is insane, I can't find anything, it's too crowded, every piece of furniture or kitchen nicknack is named Sven or Lutefisk or Dritsek, and it just gives me a headache almost every time I've gone there? Not that I'm the type who complains :)

But....they have the best breakfast deal around in their restaurant, if you get there before 10 AM...Your choice of Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and coffee, or two eggs, potatoes, bacon, and bread ( kind of a sweet bread/donut hybrid)and coffee, for $1.99!

If you get there early enough, the store is not open but the restaurant is!
So the parking lot will be empty, you'll even be able to park right next to the entrance, and you won't have to be distracted by some teak veneered magazine holders named Torvald.

601 SW 41st St.
Renton, WA 425-656-2980

Friday, April 03, 2009

A short ramble on Annexation

Some of your neighbors who you think live in Renton don't actually live in Renton. They may live in unincorporated King County very near the city limits. I am one of "those" people. I live in Earlington, about two blocks from the Renton city limits. King County wants to rid itself of administering and providing services to unincorporated areas adjacent to cities,is urging adjacent cities to annex them, and Renton has a bunch of those. Benson Hill was annexed to Renton in 2008, and Springbrook Terrace is going to be annexed in April, 2009. Fairwood residents narrowly voted last year not to become an independent city, but annexation to Renton is still a possibility, and within the Fairwood area is a smaller area known as the Red Mill area, where there is a movement afoot to have this smaller area annexed to Renton, regardless of what happens to the rest of Fairwood. Then there's the West Hill and Earlington.
On Monday, April 6th, 7PM at Renton City Hall, there will be a hearing on the Earlington annexation proposal...But wait a minute, you say? Isn't Earlington already a neighborhood in Renton? Yes, it is, just not all of it. Some of Earlington is in Renton ( annexed to Renton in 1948),some is in unincorporated King County, and The Earlington annexation would add to Renton about 100 acres, 127 dwelling units, 292 people, and Minter's Earlington Greenhouse....But wait a minute, you say? Isn't Earlington part of the West Hill, and aren't they also being considered for annexation to Renton?
Yes, the Earlington that isn't part of Renton is part of the West Hill, which also includes Lakeridge, Bryn Mawr, and Skyway, and yes, there is a separate effort going on to annex that whole big area to Renton, but the Earlington area has some different issues. We, the unincorporated Earlingtonians, unlike our fellow West Hillers, have Renton phone numbers. Unlike our fellow West Hillers, we are served by City of Renton water. And we're closer to the Renton Fred Meyer than to the Skyway bowling alley.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not only a resident of the Earlington and West Hill annexation areas, I'm also on the West Hill Unincorporated Area council.
I don't have an official position on the overall West Hill annexation. But I'm in favor of the Earlington annexation. If nothing else, I'd get annexed off the West Hill council, a much more honorable way of leaving than being diselected.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Renton Annexes Kent

April 1, 2009

In a surprise announcement, Renton Mayor Denis Law announced to the City Council today that the City of Renton was unilaterally annexing the entire City of Kent.
" Enough of this studying stuff", he said, "Annexing unincorporated areas is simply not enough if we are to become the second largest city in King County. Kent is now ours, and Tukwila is next."
Despite objections from Councilmembers Zwicker and Corman, the council assented to the Mayor's action.
Asked for her reaction, Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke displayed a certain finger and said "Annex this!"
She also reported that Kent was sending forces to protect it's boundaries, and that roadblocks would be set up near the Great Wall Shopping Mall as well as along the boundary separating Kent from Renton's Cascade neighborhood. Mayor Cooke also announced that Renton residents would be charged ten dollars to enter Kent.
Asked for their opinion, a representative of the Skyway Business Association stated " Please annex us. We won't set up roadblocks, and it's pretty unlikely you'll even get shot."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cafe Lure has it's allure

Some restaurants have menus that go on for pages. Those restaurants have got nothing good to eat, but the menu is like an encyclopedia, and the menu goes on and on.
Cafe Lure is different. The menu is small, but the food is really good. I went for the first time this evening. Cafe Lure has been open since early December, alongside it's sister establishments the Tapestry Saloon and Calico Cheesecake.
Cutting to the chase, prices are reasonable, the place is pleasant, and service is very competent.
Entrees run from 12-17 dollars, and range from Fettucine to short ribs to salmon to bourbon steak to ciopinno, amongst other items. Also on the menu are sandwiches, salads, and burgers.
Burgers and sandwiches run about 8 dollars, and come with soup or fries or a side dish. I had the Jamaican jerk chicken burger served with sweet potato fries. Anyplace that has sweet potato fries can't be all bad. Two of my companions had the portobello mushroom burger, and the other companion had the salmon, which he proclaimed as moist and succulent.
I also had some vanilla creme brulee cheesecake for dessert, which I shared with my wife, but I hoarded most of it.
Cafe Lure is a nice addition to downtown Renton, and between Happy Delusions across the street, where you can buy adhesive bandages that appear to be sliced bacon, and the fun new Liberty Cafe, it appears that this corner of downtown Renton is evolving into one very cool area.

Cafe Lure
917 S. 3rd St
Renton WA

Monday, March 23, 2009

Papaya is open and good

Papaya has opened in the Landing, directly across from the Regal Cinemas. It's not what I expected. For whatever reason, I was expecting elegant Vietnamese ala Lemon Leaf, but Papaya is casual and inexpensive. I don't recall anything on the menu over 7.95. I had the Lemon grass chicken and carmelized onions over rice noodles, and my wife had a salmon baguette, a first cousin to sub sandwiches and Vietnamese banh mi. The salmon was very fresh, and the lemon grass chicken was very nicely done, maybe not as spicy as I usually like, but there's a large selection of sauces available to add.
I didn't order dessert, but they sure look tempting. Either I didn't read the menu correctly (that's entirely possible) or they have a maple bacon cream fritter, amongst other things.
It's a fun place with good food, and I hope they do well.

830 N 10th st, Suite 11
Renton, WA 425-917-1417

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is the Landing just full of characterless chain stores?

When the Landing first opened, I didn't really get what the excitement was all about, other than to provide tax revenues. Lowes, Target, Red Robin, Petsmart...these kind of places are found all over the United States, and I wouldn't go around proclaiming my pride in Renton because they have a Lowe's.
But, Papaya is set to open soon in the Landing, across from the movie theate. And it's owned by Gene and Hoang Sens, my favorite Renton restauranteurs...How might you have heard of them or experienced their food?
30 years ago, you might have eaten Gene's pizza at the old Renton food circus, which was across the parking lot from where the downtown Renton Fred Meyer now stands. Then they opened Gene's on 3rd, an awesome Italian restuarant...Then they opened Jubilante, developed the menu for the Dog and Pony, opened the Red House, and then Blossom Asian Bistro. I remember when they were selling Gene's, tired of being in the restaurant biz. That sure didn' last, or maybe it's all they know how to do. But damn, they do it well!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Greenfresh gone, Thriftway going, Uwajimaya coming?

Greenfresh Market, Renton's closest thing to Whole Foods, closed it's doors a few months ago.
Unbeknownst to many, they happened to serve the best burger in Renton at their deli, but it's a vacant storefront now, and I miss them
Renton Village Thriftway is having a 20% off inventory reduction sale, but it appears to be going the same route as Greenfresh. Renton Village Thriftway has been a pleasant, if somewhat overpriced place to shop, with a lot of consistently high quality items, very similar to the Metropolitan Market chain, and I'm sorry to see them go.
These aren't easy economic times for Renton nor a lot of other places. It seems that upscale supermarkets have reasons to worry.
But today's P-I (also likely shutting down in a couple of weeks) had a blurb stating that Uwajimaya was eying the Thriftway site. I've been to the International District store many times and I think they'd be a great addition to Renton.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Pulcinella Pizzeria

I'm really the wrong guy to be reviewing a pizza place. Having grown up in Central New Jersey, the land of tomato pies, amongst the best in the world, I just have a low tolerance for bad or mediocre pizza. Seattle may have many wonderful things, but there aren't very many good pizza places. Pulcinella Pizzeria, at 10003 Rainier Avenue S, Seattle has recently opened to big crowds.
And for good reason. The pizzas, and salads are clearly a cut above. The flour and tomatoes are imported from Italy, and the pizzas are baked quickly in a wood fired oven.
From what I've read, this is a venture for the owner of Vince's and a partner. For years I've thought of Vince's as an above average Seattle pizza place, so when Vince's is going upscale, it's worth checking out.

......and yet, while it's good pizza, it's not like some of the amazing jaw dropping, awe inspiring pizza I've eaten in the past. It's pretty comparable to Tutta Bella in Columbia City...It's in the old Lakeside Tavern space, and it's a cool, nicely renovated space...

....and yet, it's crowded and noisy, a little too expensive and a little "precious".
Also, for me the crust means a whole lot, and while I do prefer wood fired pizzas like Pulcinella does, theirs is a little too thin for me. I like thin crust, but not this thin.
People are obviously loving this place, it's generating buzz, and yeah, it's good.
But it ain't THAT good.

Pizzeria Pulicinella
10003 Rainier Ave S., Seattle 98178

Friday, January 02, 2009

East Valley Cinema now a discount theatre

Now that the Landing Cinemas have opened, Regal Cinemas has designated their other Renton theater, the East Valley Cinemas at 3751 East Valley Hwy, as a three dollars at all times theater.
They're not showing first run films, but they are currently showing 11 different films, including Batman, the Dark Knight and the Coen Brothers Burn After Reading, which I saw and loved, a frequently hilarious film with a great cast.