|My passion, hobby and addiction...|
Throughout the year I eat in as many of someone else's restaurants as I do mine. Not only does it help my cooking and hospitality skills, but it helps me stay current on what's happening in the food world. An added bonus is the "Cheers" affect where quite literally, everybody knows your name.
People are somewhat surprised by how we choose to eat at our own joints, since it's really the same way you might. For example, when I have friends or family in from out of town, it's a given we're heading to the Dahlia for what I consider the quintessential Seattle dining experience. After a late catering or show at the Paramount, the Palace Kitchen is automatic. At the same time, over the years, Wild Ginger and Rovers have become places I feel just as comfortable dining in as Lola or Etta's.
My point really is, after 25 years of running them, my passion, hobby and addiction are restaurants. I still get a kick out of someone saying to me "we've been thinking of where to celebrate my 40th birthday or my 25th anniversary and we chose the Dahlia Lounge." I crave meals that won't be served again from closed Seattle classics namely Labuznik, Cafe Sambika, and the Copper Kettle. Places that felt like family whether Jackie and I owned them, dated there or just ate there a hellofalot.
This brings me to Dinette, a small little gem at Denny and Olive. It's not often a restaurant strikes me the way Mel's charming café has. Spare, in a good way, homey but urban. Floors creak, lights dim with every dishwasher load. Such a welcome addition to this vintage Capital Hill setting. Toast laced with slivered herb omelets or chicken livers are the only way to begin. The blackboard menu reeks of "joy of cooking" enlisting cabbage rolls, veal cannelloni and coq au vin. And while that might seem mundane to more snooty types, I have had two of my favorite meals here in 2007. The kitchen is the size of a postage stamp anchored by a Silex toaster and electric stoves surely bought on sale from Home Depot. The wine list is well chosen and reasonable and service spotless. There is just something about Dinette and Mel's food chops that remind me of a Seattle gone by and yet the bright future we need in out city's dynamic restaurant scene. She has got it going on!