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Richie’s Burger Urge

I made the mistake of passing on this ‘burger joint’ and ventured on down to Front Street a few weeks ago for a weekend lunch.  Today I decided to satisfy my ‘burger urge’ at Richie’s.  I must say – I was most pleasantly surprised!

For any readers who have ever tried Dick’s in the Seattle area, you’re going to love Richie’s!  Our own little slice of burger heaven right here in Kitsap – how cool is that?!  Burgers made of freshly ground chuck (single, double AND triple), veggie burgers for those who desire, shakes for those with the craving… let’s not forget the best part….  natural cut greasy fries with fry sauce to die for.   French fry lovers are very particular about the type of fry they love, just as pizza lovers are picky about their pizza.  For me, it’s crinkle or natural cut/greasy…  preferably the latter and Richie’s did not disappoint.

Apparently the rest of Poulsbo agreed, because for a small burger joint located in a strip mall across from a national burger fast food franchise if you can believe it…  traffic was definitely not an issue – although parking was.  The seating is limited, hopefully come summer a few tables will be added outside because Richie’s is definitely worth the trip in my book!

A few last words — as expected this a serve yourself establishment, but the counter help appears to be very happy to be working at Richie’s, making the experience all the better.  It gives a 50’s diner sort of feel with the decor.  The prices are very reasonable and worth the drive I took from Silverdale.

http://richiesburgerurge.com

How do you Pizza…

pizza

 

Since my first slice of pizza at a very young age, I knew I was in love with this wonderful food we call pizza.  Since that time I’ve discovered that nobody makes this dish the same way.  Growing up in Montana, I grew attached to my family’s favorite pizza venue where a very thin crust made in a brick oven was made.  My brother and I were awestruck as youngsters in this pizza joint because not only was the pizza great, but you could also watch them toss the dough in the air, see it slide into the oven and watch the whole process transpire before our eyes.

I’ve learned that everyone has their idea of what is the ‘perfect’ pizza.  For me it is a thin, crispy crust with just a cheese topping.  Everywhere I’ve lived I’ve tried the pizza joints in search of a pizza close to the one I grew up on… usually disappointed but occasionally pleasantly surprised.  In Kitsap I’ve tried the typcial Round Table, West Side Pizza, Tommy’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Papa Murphy’s but have one stands above the rest.  I’ve found that quite often the small single owner shops give better service, have better food and just need a closer look sometimes… and I have found such a place.

Today I present once again…  Poulsbo Wood Fired Pizza.  I am never disappointed here, unless I arrive and they are closed of course!  A small operation with single slices prepared at the ready for those wanted to eat right away…  there’s nothing like wood fired pizza in my opinion.  The first time I walked in to this venue several years ago, the crust seemed a bit thicker than I prefer so I requested a thin crust.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was almost identical to the pizza I was raised on and I was instantly taken home again… a place they say you can never go.  A particular server remembers me every time and what I order, even though I only visit them 1-2 times per year.

So I ask you…  How Do You Pizza???  Chicago? New York? Pepperoni? Meat Lovers? Vegetarian?  What is it?  Do you have a favorite place in Kitsap for pizza?  For pizza lovers this is a ‘serious’ issue.

 

All You Can Eat Sushi – Trapper’s – Bremerton

Simply put, I love sushi!  If you’re a sushi lover you know that one piece will never do.  Sushi eating is like eating chips, no one can eat just one – just check out any sushi hang out and see the plates stacked up at the tables as the customers order plate after plate of their favorite fish and roll favorites.

A dear friend of mine recommend to me quite some time ago that I try a newly opened ‘all you can eat’ sushi restaurant in East Bremerton that she felt was quite good, comparable to our usual sushi hot spots.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of lunching at Trappers in Bremerton (other locations around Puget Sound as well) and was pleasantly surprised.  The all you can eat luncheon special will run you $17.95 and if you are a nigiri fan, you won’t be disappointed.  Many other items on the special menu as well or items can be ordered a la carte priced piece meal.

As we dined at the sushi bar, the sushi chefs serving us were more than entertaining and quite friendly making the experience even more enjoyable.  For anyone who has dined on sushi at a sushi bar, you are well aware that dining on sushi is a social experience and you never dine alone when you dine on sushi making it a fun and delightful experience when the chef interacts.

Trappers is located in the Safeway plaza in E. Bremerton making it an excellent location, service is wonderful, price is very reasonable for sushi as it is all you can eat (we all know you can never get enough sushi!) and the environment is very social and fun.  The diner definitely leaves Trappers feeling like they had just left a dinner party and had some fun with friends while they dined, even if dining solo.

http://trapperssushi.net/

 

Old Town Bistro – Silverdale

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is quite popular in the Puget Sound area and this year was no exception.  I decided this year to test out a new ‘watering hole’ to celebrate the ‘wee bit’ of Irish I have in my ancestry, as it is quite minute indeed.

I was lucky enough to enter Silverdale’s Old Town Bistro before the end of Happy Hour this evening and have the wonderful opportunity to taste from their new happy hour menu.  Although the updated happy hour menu is not extensive, the prices and food was definitely cost effective.

My sample from the menu this evening was Seared Ahi Tuna.  This flavorful taste creation is served atop a mini tortilla and veggie slaw with spicy thai aioli on the tuna.  The appetizer comes with three of the mini tortillas, priced at $5 during Happy Hour.  My guest for St. Patrick’s Day dined on Edamame and was equally pleased for the same price.

Although we didn’t stay for the entertainment, it is my understanding that Old Town Bistro offers salsa lessons and later in the evening, a DJ with a good sized dance floor.  Considering the limited number of venues in the Silverdale area for Happy Hour and nightclub entertainment, I highly recommend Old Town Bistro for food, drinks and evening entertainment.

http://oldtownbistrosilverdale.com

 

Wish List for Dining Out

I’ve been reviewing restaurants for over a year now and very much enjoy it.

Just this week I was dining in a local restaurant when I got to realizing how particular I’ve become due to my reviewing.  I think this is partly due to comparing venues and partly due to refining expectations for restaurants plus the media I research on the same subject — what makes a restaurant successful and what are the do’s/don’t’s for said success.

As I sat having lunch, I started to develop my ‘wish list’ as it were for what I hope to receive when I dine out – what my expectations are for making the meal a success and this should go the same for any caliber venue be it casual, fast food or fine dining.

First and foremost, I don’t like to be kept waiting when I arrive – a friendly hello is imperative even if I can’t be seated immediately.  I also expect to have just as good a table as a larger party if I’m dining alone – for example, if the table has issues with it (wobbly legs, etc.) find me another one even if the only one available is destined for a larger party – that makes me feel like I am a less important patron and the tip will reflect it I assure you because I will be very anxious to dine expeditiously and depart if I can’t dine in comfort.

Second, I am a firm believer in the bottomless soda, water or coffee… or whatever I’m drinking – don’t hover but make sure that I always have something to drink.

Third, this is a big pet peeve of mine – appetizers are to be served ‘before’ the meal not at or after the meal.  This has happened to me many times and on what planet does one want their appetizer with their entree??  Unless I am ordering only an appetizer – use your common sense because I will send the entree back to the kitchen if I haven’t yet received my appetizer or request it removed from my tab.

These are all little things but they make a dining experience that much better — for people like myself who thoroughly enjoy dining out – make it an experience for us because it’s not just a ‘meal’ for us, it should be seen as an event and we should be treated like you would treat a guest for dinner in your home.  Along that note — smile, converse, be friendly – it’s not too much to ask to present yourself as if you enjoy being there.  There are restaurants I go to frequently just for the servers – but I know when the ‘good ones’ are serving and when I shouldn’t attempt to dine.  A frequent customer should always be remembered and the excellent servers remember you with a smile every time even if you’re not at their table.

These are just a few little things that I thought of…. what’s on your wish list…. diners deserve the best from restaurants and when you don’t get it — say so or it won’t be corrected.

Happy Dining!

Where have all the happy hours gone?

When I think of “Happy Hour”, I am fondly transported to my college days at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT during the early 1980’s when Happy Hour meant drinks were 2 for 1 or 1/2 price and appetizers were free.  Not only were appetizers just free, I recall most of the bars we went to for happy hour had an entire spread – one could have an entire meal from the appetizers given.  If you’ve ever been a college student, you know how important “free food” is to your budget… not to mention 1/2 price drinks.

Now I am transported to present day and my quest for decent happy hours in Kitsap County.  My daughter is living in Northern Minnesota where I moved here from and raves about her new hang out which she dubs the new “McLarin’s” – her take on the pub in “How I Met Your Mother”.  She raves about the appetizers and often eats her dinner off that menu because it is so great according to her.  However, it is far from free – gone are those days… the high economic times we experienced in the 80’s clearly are with us no longer… and as a dear friend often reminds me, nobody rides for me any more.

So what of Kitsap?  While work hours have been extended, happy hour times have not and the average worker bee who puts in a 9 to 5/6 will have trouble making it to a happy hour during the week I would suspect… or perhaps that’s the plan?  I have discovered that some venues have happy hour 7 days/week which is nice.  Just last night I went to Applebee’s with some friends for their “Girls Nite Out” specials which occur every Wednesday until closing.  Although the drinks on the menu of specials didn’t appeal to us, the Wednesday night specials did so we got a good deal on Margaritas and they were spectacular and I must say, I’ve not run into so many flavors anywhere else.  The choice of appetizers on special was quite adequate as well.  As a happy hour venue — the Girls Nite Out at Applebee’s scored high marks with us.  Our server did a fantastic job considering we had such a large group – we were never lacking for anything we requested/needed.  The only issue/complaint we had was that the music tends to be quite loud for a restaurant/bar – it had more the volume of a club scene which was a bit intrusive.  I do put this on my recommend list however.

I’ve been to Bremerton Bar and Grill on the weekend for happy hour and was totally dissatisfied.  The food was not made to order or satisfying and wait times were overlying excessive.  Although the environment and ambience is very metropolitan and what I miss from Seattle, I would be inclined to not return and recommend others not either…. unless of course you have several hours to sit and wait.

I’d love to hear recommendations for happy hour in the area… word of mouth is always a better referral!

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Cosmo’s Ristorante & Delicatessen – Port Orchard

Quite a few years ago, I worked with a woman from New Jersey who introduced me to wonders of east coast deli’s.  At that time I was living in a suburb of South Seattle and we discovered a gem near where we worked that served the most wonderful deli soups and sandwiches.  It was at this deli that I discovered and developed my love for the “grinder”.  A well made grinder with its wonderful combination of meats and cheeses, coupled with a lovely vinaigrette will keep you coming back time and again.

Since moving to Kitsap, I have to say the best grinder I’ve tasted can be found at Cosmo’s Deli.  Cosmo’s is quite unique in that it has a full deli in the rear and an italian ristorante in the front.  I lunched at Cosmo’s on Saturday with a group of friends and we dined on sandwiches, salads and pasta and everyone in my group was just as pleased as I was.  We followed up our lunch with dessert and I must say, the finest triple chocolate mousse ever!

The decor is very quaint, very italian and transports one to another country… or what I would expect it to be.  The service was spot on – something that is sometimes lacking when a group is dining.

This was my second visit to Cosmo’s but I hadn’t been there for a couple years and my second visit was as wonderful as the first.

This is a high recommend on my list!

Cosmo’s Ristorante and Delicatessen

1821 SE Lund Ave.

Port Orchard, WA  98366

(360) 895-3138


The Loft at Latitude Forty Seven Seven

For some time now, I’ve been wanting to dine at The Loft in Poulsbo.  The deck overlooking the waterfront has always looked so appealing to me as an ideal way to spend an evening with friends and for me, my dinner last evening was no exception.  Greeted by the friendliest and most accommodating of hosts, as she was to all of the guests to came in as well, The Loft is a very comfortable atmosphere where one can be at ease dining in shorts and sneakers or dressed to kill, something we in the Seattle area are famous for.  I have found that with a few exceptions, most restaurants are come as you are and the casualness is accepted, much unlike it would not be were we to be further east.  What a relief!

I so wanted to dine outside but mother nature was just not cooperating with my temperature preferences, however the view was wonderful regardless.  We were served almost immediately, something I very much appreciate compared to where I reviewed last as you may recall.   Although I was tempted to have fresh oysters, I opted to try the loft burger and I was not disappointed at all.  There were two sauces ordered for the table, both prepared fresh by the chef.  The wine offered to us came from Bainbridge Island.  I have stated before that I am always in support of staying local and with so  many wineries in the area, this made me quite happy to hear.  Everyone at the table was quite satisfied with their meal, including myself.  One of my guests strongly recommended the Happy Hour which I  may take up on the weekend.  Happy Hours can be quite fun, but I have found that they are difficult for those like myself with work schedules that end at 6 pm, gone are the days of 8-5.

This is a restaurant I would return to again, it was a very positive experience in every way.  Prices were moderate, environment was wonderful, staff was very friendly and accommodating.

 

Hale’s Alehouse

I’ve been wanting to try Hale’s Alehouse for quite some time now – I was living in Silverdale during construction, but it was not complete when I moved to Minnesota so was anxious to get a taste of what I was missing.

I found the atmosphere to be quite what I prefer, catering to adults in that it is basically an alehouse with dining seating on the perimeter.  I am always surprised to see young children in what I feel is in essence a bar with menu items – placement in the mall does not make it family fare in this writer’s opinion.  But that is for another discussion.

As I sat down with my friends at our reserved table, we waited quite some time just to get service for our beverages and when they arrived, the orders were not correct.  The wait staff assigned to our table was clearly not having the best day and chose to take her aggression out on her clientele as she most angrily placed every item on the table each time – I was very much hoping she would cool off each time she went to the kitchen.  I’ve worked many different types of jobs and known people in the food service industry and all would say that you should always leave your troubles in the kitchen or at home for as in this case, it definitely had an impact on the pleasure of our lunch.

As we ordered, that went fine although again the waitstaff was again a bit brisk.  When our food arrived mine was ‘to order’ but I had made no special requests but my friends weren’t so lucky – anyone who had requested anything special or different from the written menu didn’t get it and had to have their order corrected.

As for the food – I had a plain caesar salad which was very good and I must say the bread served was worth the long wait we had.  My friends each had burgers and they both enjoyed theirs as well once their orders were corrected.  I do like that Hale’s tries to use local ingredients wherever possible.

I like to think it was just a bad day for the kitchen and the wait staff, but two strikes and you’re out for me.  I’d be interested to know if anyone else has had this problem with Hale’s before.

 

On the Lighter Side

My adventures in culinary dining through Kitsap have taken a turn as of late as I not am trying to open my palate up to foods I would not normally try and experience even vegetables I normally am opposed to.  As I write this, I can hear friends and family chuckling loudly for I have been forever vehemently opposed to the greenery that hits any table I dine at.  It has become increasingly aware to this writer however, that there comes a point in our lives when our health is more important and if so many are satisfied eating the little green monsters, why can’t I.  I should stand corrected, because these evil food plants I speak come in all colors of the rainbow.

Today, I new friend of mine invited me to dine at Applebee’s in Silverdale.  Normally I cringe at the thought because I’ve not had pleasant experiences with burgers at Applebee’s or with their steaks but I’ve good things of their lighter fare so we thought we’d give it a go.  I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised.

My choice today at Applebee’s was the Sante Fe Chicken Salad.  I have a penchant for pico de gallo so was hoping it would be done properly and it was spot on.  Being that I was looking for a lower caloric meal, I had mine sans the guacamole, sour cream and ranch dressing and it proved to be the most tasty salad I’ve had since I can’t recall  when. This salad was full of color, flavor and texture and made me forget I was eating so many things I ‘thought’ I didn’t care for like red onions, tomatoes and chicken.

As an additional note on the service, the waitstaff and hostess was excellent – we never had to wait for anything once we walked in the door and for a busy Saturday afternoon, that is a compliment in itself.

I’ve been here before and swore I’d never go back, I am so thankful someone asked me to try something else.  Some restaurants are better at some things and not so good at others, I certainly found this out with Applebee’s.