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OMG – Grinders

When talking with colleagues, the subject of food always comes up. And more than once, various people kept talking about this Grinders place. Grinders, Grinders, let’s go to Grinders. After B started going off about it and how we had to go on Friday, a whole slew of us made the trek all the way down there to get some giant honkin sandwiches.

They have a ghetto website. It’s so darn ghetto, just look at it! And they have odd hours. Or namely, only certain days that they’re open. So be sure to check before you go. Judging by the website, I thought the actual Grinders would be a ghetto dump. Boy, was I wrong! The place is adorable! So dont’ let the website fool you. It’s like an adorable little bistro, complete with lots of b&w photos of musicians. It’s a really cool place with an open kitchen.

So you go for their ginormous sandwiches, or their grinders. Like this one, the chicken pesto grinder, with chicken, fresh pesto, tossed with grilled onions, portabella mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, finished with feta and mozarella. All on an italian roll from new jersey. Seriously, new jersey.

It seems like their meatball grinders are extremely popular, as the majority of our party ended up getting one. I wanted to get a taste of everything I could, so I got the sauball, which has meatballs and italian sausage. What can I say, I’m now a big Grinders fan. Everything about this sandwich was delicious, especially their east coast roll. And they have to give you a knife and fork because there isn’t any way you’re going to be able to eat this, like a regular sandwich. So just be dainty and go bite by tie.

Don’t worry, they also have soups and salads and desserts. In fact, one of our other colleagues raves about their chili. These grinders are big, and so they have big pricetags, but trust me, you will be eating it for days. It’s enough to feed a small family.

Grinders Hot Sands on Urbanspoon

V8 Roll Rules

The last time I was in Seattle, I’d gone to a local sushi chain spot, Blue C sushi, and gotten a roll that I absolutely fell in love with – the V8 roll. Since there was one near the local mall, I got some to go one night for dinner.
The V8 roll is a thing of beauty. Your standard nori and rice, but with deep fried green bean, carrot, and cucumber in the middle, topped with avocado, basically what is a variant on pico de gallo, and a spicy sauce. It’s completely vegetarian, and is like a cross between veggie sushi and mexican food. And oh what a perfect combo it makes. Blue C in and of itself is only ok, but this roll is just about the best thing ever. I could eat these all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.

Queen Anne’s Betty

Whenever I’m going to a different city, I like to do a little restaurant research on Yelp. Yes, I yelp. I find it super handy wherever I go. It’s not spot on all the time, but I’ve eaten at many great places because of it. I trust it like someone might trust zagat’s, except it’s free, which makes it even better. One of the spots I found on this trip was Betty, in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. One key facet of this restaurant and why I chose it is that it has a chef’s counter, so you can not only feel comfortable that a place is confident enough to have an open kitchen, but you can literally watch your food being made. This sounded perfect to me. Betty has a small menu, which I find to be a smart idea. If you can only cook a few dishes all the time and cook them perfectly, I’d choose that over a giant menu where everything is done half ass. They have 3 chefs, two who do the hot food, and one who seems to stick to salads, sides, and final prepping of the plates before they go out. I’ve been watching Kitchen Nightmares lately, so I find watching a working professional kitchen to be fascinating. And it was amazing to watch such a well-oiled machine that was the Betty kitchen. They barely talked, but it’s like they didn’t have to. They all just knew what to do, and they never missed a beat. There was no yelling, no freaking out, just calm cooking. While I waited for my food and watched all the other food being cooked, I munched on some bread. It was a little crusty this night, but I did a good job of scooping out the soft insides. And I loved the simple balsamic olive oil dip.I got a warm spinich salad as an appetizer. This salad is pretty big and could probably be a good meal on its own. It’s tossed in a sherry vinaigrette and also has bacon, onion, and egg. This was a good salad, and I especially enjoyed the egg. It was sprinkled with a tiny bit of salt and pepper which made them just perfect. You can tell everything is fresh here. I saw them take everything out of the fridge, and nothing was frozen. Everything is cooked to order, except for the lasagna which is precooked. All the sides are made to order. And speaking of sides, I was watching one of the chefs intently, and I’ve never seen anyone use so much butter in my entire life. It seemed like he just kept adding and adding and adding and adding, and I had no idea where it kept going. Not the bastion of health, so for those of you looking for a lite meal, keep on moving. They have a $30 fixed priced menu during the week, which is a great deal. I decided to go with the fish of the day, which was a whole trout stuffed with fennel and lemon. Here’s some of the trout on the grill. I told you that I watched my food get cooked. I really did.
This fish was so simple and so good. They really didn’t do anything to it, and they didn’t have to. Fresh fish is pretty much good on its own, or with maybe just a touch of salt and pepper and maybe a little squeeze of lemon. It was grilled just right, not overcooked at all, so the fish was flaky and hearty. The lemon and fennel on the inside added just a touch of flavor. They left the skin on, and the skin got crispy and made each bite even better. I thought about taking it off, but after I got my first bite, I left it all on. After the big salad, I couldn’t eat too much of the fish. But trust me, this is a pretty sizeable portion. After all, it is a whole entire fish. The accompanying potatoes were also pretty good. I wouldn’t have minded if they’d cooked it just a bit more.
Service was ok. When you sit at the chef’s counter, it’s cool because the chefs serve you themselves. They make it and then blammo, they give you the plate. I like this lack of middle man. The only service issue of note was that while I ordered a lemonade, it didn’t come out until after I’d gotten my salad, which was way after I’d gotten my bread. It certainly shouldn’t have taken that long. Be aware that the food here does not come out quickly. This is not factory chain restaurant. Everything is cooked to order so it takes time. So it’s a place to come and hang out, enjoy a drink, enjoy good company, and eventually, enjoy some great food.
Betty on Urbanspoon

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