Munchbar – located at the Bellevue Collection (Bellevue Square) in Bellevue, WA, this chain is lively and rockin’. Love the music heard above! Don’t come looking to be too healthy as there are some pretty good-looking comfort foods here, like crispy mac ‘n cheese bites and sloppy jack sliders. As this was my first time here, I tried the Burger in a Bowl – YUM! A really nice mix of crisp iceberg lettuce, beef, shredded cheddar cheese, crispy onions, chopped tomatoes and smoked bacon. It comes with a “fancy sauce” but I asked for blue cheese instead. They do a really nice job of not adding too much dressing, it was just enough. This is a really tasty dish. My friend and I thought the beef was a bit too charbroiled, regardless of how it is cooked. Overall, I would definitely have this dish again. Check out their menu at http://www.munchgroup.com/bellevue/
Re:public – located at 429 Westlake Avenue N. in the vibrant South Lake Union area of Seattle, this is a hot spot for happy hour! I had not been to this area in awhile (although, I didn’t realize it when I stopped in at Serious Pie in early March) and was surprised to see the new growth – Amazon’s new headquarters, Tommy Bahama headquarters, Microsoft, PATH, others… While at re:public, I must have seen 5 different people run by, as it seems that people tend to seek recreation in this area as well.
Now on to re:public. Really like the decor…the ability to open the windowed “garage” door to the street outside is always a draw, especially during the summer months. There is a nice variety of seating options – booths in the dining area, tables and high tables/stools. I am glad I was able to try this newbie…happy hour consisted of good mix of professionals, although I must say, it is one of the noisiest places I’ve been to. We pretty much had to yell to have a conversation. But, as the evening went on, the clientele diversified and the atmosphere was more dining casual with flair. I was surprised to see that they had one server taking care of the dining area of the bar. Best happy hour in the area a friendly gent sitting next to us noted. If ordering wine by the glass…it was nice that the server would bring over the bottle to taste. A variety was had this night. Appetizers…Pomme Frites, Artisanal cheeses served with bread. Dinner….Baby Lettuces, Pan-Roasted Alaskan Halibut, Pork Angoloti. Dessert….Ricotta Fritti (really good carmelized bosc pear with cinnamon cream), Chocolate Budino (toasted marshmallow gelato, graham cracker crumbs). I think the consensus was that is was good but lacking a distinct flavor. Sandwiches at lunch are recommended. http://www.republicseattle.com/
Olive You! Olive You, located on Kirkland Ave. in Kirkland, WA. A lovely sunny Friday in June for outdoor dining, with a view of Lake Washington and the hustle and bustle of downtown Kirkland. Kirkland has to be one of the most inviting areas of Puget Sound. It is near the water, has good quality restaurants and boutique shopping. There is the gallery walk on the second Thursday of every month. http://www.explorekirkland.com/ At Olive You!.. have you tried their Spanikopita yet? This is not your ordinary spanikopita – baby spinach, sheep milk feta, and carmelized onion wrapped in a delicious phyllo dough pastry. The devilish Prawns (ok) and Dips Love (hummus and the like) – pretty good . The spanikopita was my favorite. Olive You! has a really nice sangria – not like any other I have had…would love the recipe. The service is so-so, reviews are so-so. They serve breakfast too! http://olive-you.com/
California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) – I am adding this group outing as it is one of my oldies but goodies. I first went to CPK in Atlanta at Lenox Square in the mid-1980’s. The BBQ Chicken Pizza was the hit at the time. It is still good…but now, although I don’t get to CPK but once a year or so, my real fave is Pear Gorgonzola pizza! This can’t be beat in my opinion! It is made up of caramelized pears, gorgonzola, fontina and mozzarella cheeses, caramelized sweet onions and chopped hazelnuts. Topped with field greens tossed in a gorgonzola ranch dressing. As our server, Tong was excellent – very observant and timely. Our entire group enjoyed their selections. http://cpk.com/
Boom Noodle is located in both Bellevue Square (Bellevue), University Village and Capitol Hill (Seattle) and brings you great flavors from all over Asia. Boom Noodle is airy with a modern and “green” decor. Items tried were Yaki Udon, a decent selection if you like the Udon noodle, which is thicker and not so much round yet might have a flat edge to it. The dish was especially interesting as they top it with the “dancing” bonito flake which looks like “something” is moving on it. A bit weird, but it calms down after a bit. The second dish ordered was the Beef Yakisoba. I will say that I would probably order different dishes if I go again. Check out the nice variety or items at http://www.boomnoodle.com/v2/food.html