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Tuesday, April 19, 2011


SEATTLE - “I love how this neighborhood smells like garlic,” said a friend as we walked from Stumptown coffee down into the International District.

Coffee and frying garlic - what a nice way to lead into dim sum.

We’d tried to get into Harbor City last time I was in town only to be discouraged by the line at the door on a Sunday morning. Today, our group of eight got there early and waited it out.

Moments after tea is poured and my nephew Eli is installed in his booster chair, the first cart arrives - hum bow (pork bun), salty long beans, broccoli rabe, shu mai, fried calamari just need to have their little bamboo steamer opened and showed to our crowd   to start a “Yes” chorus.

There’s something about dim sum that makes you forget that more will come if you wait. Whoever thought of the dim sum cart was a business genius: seat the hungry customer then immediately wave hot, fresh food under their nose. You may have a little mountain of dumplings in front of you, but would you like an order of sticky rice with meltingly good meat?

Hell, yes!

Count on $10-20

Harbor City Restaurant – MAP
707 S King St.
(206) 621-2228

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Friday, April 08, 2011


Dear catastrophe waiter
Dear catastrophe waiter
I’m sorry that you seem have the weight of the world over you
I cherish your smile

– Lyrics (with a tiny gender substitution) by Belle and Sebastian

I’m not sure what phase of the meltdown I arrive in, but the sweet-as-honey waitress hadn’t started crying yet.

Walking into at Café Gadagne, a beautiful spot with a terraced patio designed to be a compliment to the newly-refurbished Musée whose name it bears, I’m glared at by the waiter, a walking black cloud whose pants hang a bit too far down the southern half of his rear end for a place this nice.

Turns out he glares at everyone, clanking plates, occasionally pretending everything’s ok, but his whirlpool of bad juju sucks the place down around him. A smart teacher would put this kid in the ‘time out’ corner. Instead, he bosses the hard-working waitress around in front of everybody until she implodes.

Too bad. The food would be good if you could get past his distraction. I would have enjoyed my pumpkin ‘cappuccino’ soup with roasted chestnuts – there was a nice hot/cold thing going on, but it’s lost in the chaos. Ditto for my steak tartare.

Appropriately chaotic jazz warbles out of the kitchen and at one point, the chef comes out, smiling and oblivious. This is where I realize the bigger failure: nobody’s in charge.

Who knows? I was there a few weeks ago and maybe he’s gone by now. We can all hope, but I’m not going back to find out.

Count on about 20 euros.

Café Gadagne – MAP
1 Place du Petit Collège
+33 4 78 62 62 34 60

Follow me on Twitter: @joe_diner and on Facebook.

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