Half Baked in Seattle

A blog about dining in, dining out and everything food.

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Archive for the ‘Dining Out’ Category

Louie G’s Pizzeria & Pasta & Local Music for All Ages

There  is a new hotspot in town. Fife that is, located conviently between Tacoma, Federal Way , and a short drive from Auburn, Kent, and Puyallup.

 Louie G’s Pizzeria and Pasta offers killer pizza and pasta dishes, music for all ages and a decent selection of beer and soda. It truly has the feel of an old time Pizzeria and Arcade with a small selection of classic video games and pinball.  It is a safe place to let your kids play and have a family dinner without the Cheesy cardboard (and just as Cheesy atmosphere) of other arcate pizza joints.

I first visited last year and was pleasantly surpised that the unassuming looking outside of the building, squished between the VFW hall and the ancient, but iconic, Poodle Dog Restuarant, contained a very large and very worthy Pizzeria.

I was even more surprised that it was fully wheelchair accessible in every way. I notice this because of my husband’s disability, but I mention it here because sometimes even places that say they are accessable overlook minor details that make getting around difficult for the mobility challenges.  The restroom doors are wide, the floor is open and the doorway is level.

Our first trip, we chose to sit at the back bar and little did we know that our server was Louie himself and we very much enjoyed our food, visiting with him and hearing about his dreams and goals for the business and just shooting the bull.   He is almost always around and he is usually busy doing something but if you see him, he will always be happy to stop and chat witha customer and he will remember your face when you come back.

It is nothing fancy and atmosphere wise, aside from the small arcade, it is just a pizza place, until you venture to the bar in the back and the larger back room. They have several beers on tap and a selection of wines available at reasonable prices.

The menu is large and really does have something for everyone, from the Mini pie starting at $3.99 for 8 inches of cheesy goodness cooked in a NY brick oven for the smaller appetite, to a ginormous 28 inch Little Italy that starts at $39.99 for cheese and could feed a mob of teenages until they experience the ultimate food coma.

If pizza isn’t your thing, screw a $5 footlong ..go for Louie’s longshore subs that come in 12″ and 24″!  There are also other sandwhiches, Gyro’s, a good selection of pasta dishes and salads, salad bar and appetizers. Oh, and burgers too if that was not enough.  Pizzas range from your basics to the slighly more adventurous like Giancarlo Cashew Chicken with Pesto Sauce, Grilled Chicken, Cooked Tomato, Bacon, Red Onion, Feta Cheese & Cashews.   The pizza crusts are perfecly crispy yet pliable and homemade and hand thrown. The toppings are always fresh and generous.

On our last visit (we actually made two visits in one day), I had an order of fried chicken gizzards (a guilty pleasure of mine). Not all like them and everyplace I have ever had them does them differently. Since I ordered them with my meal, I was hoping to get them first but they came after I was half done with my food due to a kitchen mix up (it was busy during a show so I will be a little forgiving on that one), but they were not the best thing on the menu. They were tough and rather bland. (Gizzards , if marinated and pressure fried can be tender and juicy).

My lunch meal consisted of a small Lucky pizza with artichokes added. This pie comes with Garlic Alfredo, Grilled Chicken, Red Onion, Black Olives, And Mushrooms.  All I can say was perfection on a plate. Just the right amount of toppings, they were fresh and juicy and the taste was wonderfully mild with a perfect amount of alfredo sauce to make it not messy or too rich but let the othe flavors blend well with the garlic.

Dinner, for myself was a full sized order of chicken parmeasan. Again, perfect! I am very picky about marinara sauce. I don’t like tomatoes, so a sauce that is too bland will turn me away and there should be spice but not overpowering. I am used to my own or my mothers homemade ..cooked all day with  meat and vegetables in a cast iron dutch oven or slow cooker. Because of this, I rarely order past with red sauce. Louies in of the few places I will not hesitate to order it. Yum is all I can say! This meal is big enough for two to split with two pieces of chicken breast breaded and smothered and a side of spaghetti. DJ had the veal parmesean sandwich for lunch and I had trouble getting an opinion out of him becuase he was too busy chewing and enjoying the beast of a sandwich he had in front of him.

My teen daughter ordered the chicken and mushroom fettucine and though she was not feeling 100%, she managed to eat some of it. It was smothered in magically delisous fresh mushrooms.

Feeling like comfort food…I saw a burger on the menu that is a burger patty between two grilled cheese sandwiches! 

Now, add to the excellent food, live music from some of todays most popular up and coming local bands in an all ages venue, you have a great place to take family, a date or just sit back relax after work on a weekend.

A current list of shows can be found on reverbnation.com , but I recommend following on facebook as well as there are sometimes improptu sessions by such artists as Rane Stone of Klover Jane. (Rane likes to stop by on occasional random evenings and do some solo acoustic sets to try out new music).

Upcoming shows include Rush and Heart cover bands and local artists like Dudley Taft and Amadon.

The Louie G’s story (from the website)

Its simple really... I've been cooking for over 15
Years. I took a break from it for a few years but
the passion was always in my heart. When my
Father's dying wish was for me to get back into
it, I did. I opened Louie G's in Fife, WA in 2007
after 2 months remodeling which included true
New York Ovens and putting up everything I own
as collateral. Here we are. My lovely wife Andrea
are in this together as owners & Operators. I work
80-100 hours a week to make sure the quality and
service is #1. We are not here to make Millions, we
are here to simply to feed hard working Americans.
That's what you all deserve, and you'll get it at
Louie G's Pizzeria.

"Welcome to my Dream... You're all in it."-Louie G  

My advice? If you are looking for good food and pizza and a cold mug of beer,  stop at Louie G’s while cruising I5 in Fife.

 If you want some fun live music on a full sized stage with great lighting and sound, take the whole family. There are not a lot of great venues in the south King, Pierce are that teens can hang out with friends or family and that offer quality live artists and local music.

 

Louie G’s Pizzeria
4802 Pacific Hwy East #B
Fife, WA 98424

Phone: 253-926-9700
Phone: 253-926-9701
Fax: 253-926-0147

Hours
Monday-Friday: 10:30am – 9:00pm or later
Saturday: 11:00am – 9:00pm or later
Sunday Closed: Louie needs a day to rest

 

An Indian restaurant, A hole in the wall dive bar and some Rane that I love!

Last night I had probably one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I have been following a man on facebook who caught my attention both because of his look and sound. Growing up in the 70’s & 80’s through today (Am I really grown up yet?) Seattle has always had a great music scene and I can even remember listing to some of my mother’s old 45’s from the 50’s and 60s with bands like “The fabulous wailers“, “The Ventures” and “Paul Revere and the Raiders“… She had many others, but it always seemed these were the ones I latched on to before I even began to understand the significance of the Great Northwest contributions to music. As I got older, I started listening to some of the other NW greats, like Queensryche and on through the 80’s and 90’s with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains.  Since these bands, I haven’t been too enthusiastic about the local music scene. I thought maybe this had to do with my aging and tastes changing or just the style changing, but I now realize that true talent is not dead, it was just lurking in the shadows waiting to be discovered.

I found Rane Stone and Klover Jane after hearing about them on the radio on KISW and started to check them out on facebook. I like many styles of music and many singers, but my husband is the picky one and has pretty much one type of music he likes and a few favorites that he really likes and follows. Like me, he thinks the local music scene felt as if it had just turned to cover bands and top 40 or some gawd awful “Hip Hop Club Mix Autotune no real talent needed” sounds ( I am not calling it music). We are too old (and married) to want to hang with the ravers and booty shakers. We love the sound of raw, real rock. I decided to take my chances with Rane Stone and drag my husband out to an unknown venue in Woodinville last night for an acoustic show of unknown quality and see if I could get him interested and excited about something new.

We saw the link on facebook for an event promoted by Mad Mike Presents  at The Cookhouse in Woodinville. I was not sure about this venue as:

 A. I have never heard of the place.

 B. We drove by the location an didn’t see it at 13330 NE 175th St Woodinville, WA 98072 from the street and didn’t see any signs.

C. Google gave me results such as it was closed, it was nicknamed “the crackhouse” and virtually no reviews on any of the restaurant sites.

We decided to drive up early try to find it , have a drink and see what the flavor was like before going back later for the show. We entered by the Shuck’s /O’Reilly autoparts off 175th and drove to the strip mall in the back as this is where Google Maps pointed me. BUT…wait, there is the address…but it is not The Cookhouse? It says Indian Palace? But there is the promo poster in the window. We decided to drive around back and check it out. The cookhouse is located in back of the Indian Palace and it is very small (Max capacity is 70) . It really appears to be a dive, but upon entering, the staff was very friendly and best of all, the drinks were poured well and they were inexpensive. ($3.25 wells).   It was very small, but we were not totally discouraged and decided we would take our chances and come back later. We arrived early for the show and saw  Mad Mike and Rane Stone getting ready for the show.

Mad Mike looks a lot like the kind of sleezy guy you might expect as a music promoter (big sideburns, fancy shoes and a big talker), but looks can be decieving. He is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. We had communicated via Facebook prior the the show to verify that it would be wheelchair accessible. He made sure we had a spot reserved just for us and made sure we were cool the entire night. The staff also looked out for us all night and kept the drinks coming. (Well, ok they forgot a couple times, but they were busier than they expected to be, and we got those drinks on the house.). 

We started off with dinner and since my hubby is the picky eater, he had chicken strips and fries off the standard bar fare american menu (they serve breakfast all day if you look for that sort of thing, which I do on occasion) . I chose to order off the Indian menu as The Cookhouse used to be part of a bigger restaurant. It was bought out to become the Indian Palace, but the customers were used to The Cookhouse and so the back half of the building (the bar) remained untouched, thus both menus. 

The Butter Chicken was some of the best I have ever had. Mildly sweet and spicy, smooth texture and mouthwatering taste. The Pulao Rice was cooked perfect and you can never go wrong with garlic naan to soak up the extra sauce.  I give the food, the drinks and staff all 5 stars.

The surreal part of the night was meeting a soon to be Seattle legend of the music scene. Yes, Rane, you don’t know it yet (though I know you dream it) but I think you will be known and respected in the local industry with the likes of the late Layne Staley, the late Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder and Mike Mcready, and Chris Cornell . You have the pipes and the personality to carry you far. Tragic as it may be, there are some good lessons to be learned from living the lifestyle like Staley and Cobain, and I hope you can keep your head above the muck and continue to be yourself.

Rane Stone is an amazing performer, especially for a very small venue, which lent itself well to the acuoustic set up last night. He is involved with his own solo acoustic show, with guitar back up by an amazing J.T. Phillips, as well as the local band Klover Jane, an Alice in Chains cover band called Jar of Flies, and a project with Michael Wilton of Queensryche called Wratchet head. His voice has a quality seldom heard these days and I love the fact you can listen loud and still understand the lyrics. This made it easy to start singing along with his original songs as well.

My husband told me the last time he had that much fun was the night of our wedding! I think I might be a little jealous of Rane now, but it was all worth it and we are already looking at future dates, such as April 15th at the Liquid Lime in Kirkland,  April 29th at Hard Rock Seattle and May 28th at Louie G’s in Fife  (which will be an all ages event and has some of the best pizza south of Seattle!). 

If you want to hear some good local rock, have a good time with a fun band and just get out for the night, check out Rane Stone and Klover Jane at one of these venues. The future is yet to be seen for this powerhouse man with amazing gift of voice, guitar and songwriting, but I will be happy to say that I was there in the beginning and hoping that just a few of you who read this look him up, buy some songs or go to a show! Support our local musicians; it is what makes Seattle bearable during our long winters and pouring rain!

Taste of Tacoma 2010

 eqc_taste_of_tacoma_home

The sun finally came out on a weekend in the Puget Sound and after a fairly cloudy morning I was beginning to think that heading out to Taste of Tacoma was not going to make for an exciting day yesterday, but as the morning progressed it sun started to burn off the funk and the temperature started to rise.

The trip to Tacoma from Kent should not be too troubling, however it seemed the GPS unit, the traffic light controllers and even a tunnel were out to get me  to change my mind. GPS decided the fastest way to get there was down HWY 99 through Fife…hmm ok , I will play along. I must have hit every red light possible , but since we needed to make a stop for some spa chemicals at Olympic Hot Tub Company anyways, we were on the right track…so we thought. Just was we got close to our stop, the traffic light turned green for 1 car to go through, then red again…WTF? Turns out the File police dept and some pilot cars were coming off of I-5 and trucking in something that looked like part of the Port of Tacoma! It was huge and it moved at snails pace around the corner and took up two lanes of 99!  Finally, after the stop was made,ruston tunnel we made our way into Tacoma. Traffic back up around the Tacoma Dome be damned…I was going to get there! I decided the scenic route down the Ruston waterfront was a better plan than Pearl street…it was until we hit the tunnel…and I mean HIT the tunnel! Yes, I scraped the passenger side on the way out and my hubby will not let me forget it!  Coming out of this minute tube while two cars were coming in turned out to be trickier than I expected in a wheelchair modified (lowered) mini van! Luckily it is only a little cosmetic damage to the trim beneath the sliding door that has already been chewed up by speed bumps and potholes through the years. 

Traffic into the Taste of Tacoma was also tricky, but with the aid of a wheelchair designated plate I was able to bypass the long line and get straight to the handicap parking area. The staff was wonderful about getting us parked quickly and clearing pedestrians from our path that didn’t seem to have any idea that a car was coming through and that they should probably move way lest the reckless, tunnel banging, van driver might run them down! 

PiroshkyThe first stop for Deejster always must be for Piroshky. Normally we see Kaleenka Piroshky at food events, however there was Russian Piroshky here and he decided to try this since it was different. He chose an onion and beef version and it was first and foremost, very hot!  One bite into the steamy goodness and I could smell the beef and onion mix and I could tell he was happy with his choice. Of course I had to swipe a bite or two for myself.  Rather than a ball of dough with filling, this was a real pastry, buttery and fluffy and flaky! 

My personal favorite is Southern Kitchen. I knew about this place well before it was on Diners, Drive In’s and Dives. This is probably the best kept secret in Tacoma, though it is not really a secret. Anyone that has lived in the area knows it is there and if you like southern hospitality and food, this is the place to be. I big plate of jambalaya and some sweet tea and I was on my way to a tummy full of foodie heaven.

DSCN1119

From there we headed over to Smokey’s BBQ for a $3.00 pulled pork slider to split.  Great tasting pork. We were giving a taste of their sausage as well…it was very mild and had good flavor but I like things with a bit more spice so I wasn’t in a hurry to try a full order of it. 

Deejster waned desert! He found Ben and Jerrys and downed a cookies and cream waffle cone. I went for the strawberry shortcake and that was all I could do! 

Deej had never been through the Point Defiance rose gardens so we decided to edge away from the crowded food and vendor areas and take a little walk though. The roses in full bloom, the smell was so pretty and sweet!  Deanroses

  This is probably one of the largest rose bushes I have ever seen.

It was a nice way to spend the day with my hubby, not as crowded as Bite of Seattle gets and not as many food vendors, but plenty to choose from. I got a bit sunburned, but that means there was actually sun so I don’t mind a bit,

DSCN1121 red rose pink yellow rose

Food News: McDonalds told to remove toys!

Ronald McDonald
Creative Commons License photo credit: usuallyjusta
When I first heard that the Center for Science in the Public Interest was threatening to sue McDonald’s over toys, my first thought was that there was some lead or chemical substance that made the toys harmful if children had them, then I read on further and started shaking my head and wondering who’s responsibility is really is in this case.

The letter states :

By advertising that Happy Meals include toys, McDonald’s unfairly and deceptively markets directly to children. When McDonald’s bombards children with advertisements or other marketing for Happy Meals with toys, many children will pester their parents to take them to McDonald’s. Once there they are more than likely to receive a meal that is too high in calories, saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium and devoid of whole grains.”

My first thought is HOW is this deceptively marketing to children? Deception, deceit, lies, misleading? I think not, they are very clearly marketing to children. They aren’t hiding this fact. The meals are child size and for children.  They market them to adults though the children, yes, but also they have options for milk and apples  that are healthier than soda and fries and I have never heard a Happy Meal toy tell you to eat the fries instead!

Children pester adults? REALLY? If the child throws a temper tantrum, deal with it as a parent!

If they feel that McDonald’s must stop with Happy Meal Toys, then there should be no cartoon characters on cereal boxes, no toys in Cracker Jacks, and Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network might as well shut down because there can be no marketing to children at all.

Who is ultimately responsible for the health of the children? If there were no happy meals, would parents stop taking their kids? If I put a toy in a bag of carrots would the kids pick them over  cheeseburger? I think not most of the time. If McDonald’s must get rid of toys, they should get rid of Ronald McDonald and the Play Place as well, where kids at least get to run off some of the calories they just ingested.

Who else can we target? Disney? I doubt you find many healthy food options in their parks. Why just McDonald’s?  Burger King had toys last I checked.

Jack in the Box?

Well, I think they have changed their target market from children to 20 something stoners, so there are no issues there right? Who will protect them from eating unhealthy food?

Children are children and they will pester adults, but since it is the adults who are in charge, it seems the adults need to learn to take control of the situation.  I used to take my daughter to McDonald’s when she was happy meal age, but it was usually as a treat or special event, not a daily occurrence.  She  is now an athletic, healthy teenager who still goes to McDonald’s with her friends and knows that a salad is a better option than a burger but sometimes will order the burger anyways and knows it means an extra lap around the track at the end of the day.

I think that Michelle Obama is on the right track with educating kids about growing food and helping the schools provide healthier options, but the key is education, not in taking away a businesses ability to operate in a manner it has been doing for many years.

I am in no way endorsing that we feed our children McDonald’s on a regular basis or that the meals are healthy and I have a child so I know that nagging and tantrums are not fun, but they are part of being a child.

Restaurant Review: Hard Rock Cafe Seattle

The sun was shining on Saturday and we decided to take a family trip down to Pike Place Market to see what was available for fresh produce and I had been wanting to check out Papperdelle’s Pasta for some dark chocolate linguini and I also bought some Garlic Chive Papperdelle because the recipe for Garlic Chive Pappardelle al Limone sounds so wonderful. I can’t wait to make this.

I didn’t get to spend as much time at the market as I had hoped because I was out voted for lunch. I wanted to nibble my way through the shops at the market, Deejster and my daughter wanted to eat at Hard Rock Cafe.  I didn’t object to this choice since we had visiting the ones in Miami (my favorite so far) and Las Vegas.

Seattle’s Hard Rock seems much smaller than I would have expected, but as I expected there was some awesome local music memorabilia adorning the walls, such as a well used looking set of drums from Alice in Chains.

and a guitar from Pearl Jam.

I reached for the drink menu first and figured it is never a good sign when there are no prices on the menu!  But alas, they had a Waborita and my daughter chose a smoothie that came with the souvenier glass. They were great about giving us a boxed one rather than having to take the sticky one home.Waborita and a smoothie

I must say that this was one of the best margaritas ever! Kudos to the bartender for this beautiful concoction that was perfect for a sunny day on the waterfront.

Both my daughter and my husband would eat cheeseburgers everyday if they could. They are not terribly picky about this either, though Deejster usually prefers Red Robin and the child likes …well an AM/PM gut bomb will do the trick there, but it agreed that certain burgers do stand above the rest. Places like Five Guys with the simplest menu on earth to Red Mill ( a hole in the wall once featured on Diners, Drive ins, and dives)are among the favorites.

First I saw the price! A $16.00 burger? I asked if we wanted to share an appetizer plate, but again, I was outvoted so we dove in wholeheartedly.

They both ordered the Hicory Bacon BBQ Cheeseburger. I am pretty sure the child inhaled hers because before I even got through my first onion ring, she had it half gone.

I believe the term she used to describe it was “napkinny” as it took at least 3 to keep up with the juices flowing out of this beast. Deej struggled to finish his though he was determined, I think he lost the battle in the end. When our waiter, flamboyant and fun Sean, returned and asked if we wanted desert, he got a “Hell no!” from him.

I tend to be more adventuours when it comes to flavors and I like hot and spicy, so the Red, White and Blue buger appealed to my senses. The menu says ” Laced and grilled with our spicy Buffalo sauce and Cajun Seasoning then topped with crumbled blue cheese and a crisp fried onion ring.”

Not only did it smell amazing, it was a beauty on the plate. I started on the onion rings and of course while I was in awe of the hot , crunchy , yet tender and sweet rings, I had to share bites reluctanty so the other two could get a taste. The buger was a blissful combo of a generous amount of blue cheese crumbles (not overpowering ) and cajun spice combined with a milder/not to vinegary buffalo sauce that came on the side. I told our waiter the worste part of the meal was that I actually ate the whole thing and wasn’t sure I could move.

I would not recommend Hard Rock Seattle for daily lunch, but take a group and get the large table/booth with the Microsoft Surface that you can play with interactivly. It set us back over $85 for three drinks and three bugers, so it is not someplace to go on a budget, but for a special occasion, I would surely recommend it.  The burgers were worth the price. We were full and the plates were clean!

Food: [Rating:5.0]
Price: [rating:3.5]
Atmosphere: [rating:4.5]
[Rating:Overall]

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