This week, the Laotian restaurant Taurus Ox and the Indian fusion spot Zaika both hit Capitol Hill. Read on for details about that and more of this week’s restaurant news, like the upcoming closure of three Ethan Stowell restaurants, and food-related events, like the 2019 Winter Beer Fest. For more ideas, check out our list of boozy winter drinks to try, our list of beer events and releases for this December, our winter holidays calendar, and our full food and drink calendar.
Ballard Yard Bar
This Saturday, the Ballard doggie daycare Downtown Dog Lounge will open a bar in their backyard, so you can enjoy a drink while watching your pup frolic. The grand opening will include beer, wine, apple cider, and giveaways—humans and dogs are both encouraged to wear sweaters.
The family-owned Columbia Gorge winery Cascade Cliffs, which specializes in the Piedmont grape varietals Barbera, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo, has opened a tasting room in Georgetown.
Chung Chun Rice Dog
This popular chain selling “Korean corn dogs” (hot dogs dipped in rice flour batter and fried before being rolled in crunchy coatings) soft-opened last week and will celebrate its official grand opening on Saturday. The first 100 customers will receive a free rice dog of their choice.
Teatro ZinZanni, Woodinville’s circus/cabaret dealing in dinner-theater hijinks, has opened a restaurant and bar called the Wheelhouse serving up “farm-to-table gastropub” fare to showgoers, as well as beer on tap and local wine and spirits.
Mango Mango Dessert
This popular New York-based chain specializing in Hong Kong-style mango desserts like sundaes, pancakes, and panna cotta, as well as other fruity treats, has opened an outpost in Bellevue.
Republic of Cider
This cider taproom featuring unique flavors such as winter melon, roasted hatch chile, and hibiscus rose julep will have its grand opening inside Sodo’s Gateway Center this Sunday.
Laotian food is coming back to Capitol Hill for the first time since the closure of Lao Bar in Broadway Alley: A new Laotian restaurant called Taurus Ox “celebrating Lao culture through food” opens in the former space of Little Uncle today, December 6. The project comes from three chefs with expereince in the Seattle restaurant industry: Sydney Clark is the former chef de cuisine at Poppy, Jenessa Sneva spent time at Lucinda Grain Bar, Salare, and Poppy, and Khampaeng Panyathong previously worked at the Herbfarm. The restaurant’s Instagram account teases dishes like thom khem (a sweet and savory stew with caramelized pork belly, egg, and optional additions of mushrooms and vegetables), khao ji (a Lao sandwich with sour fermented pork jowl, ham, liver paté, pickled vegetables, garlic, and herbs on a baguette), and Lao pork sausage with jaew bong (a spicy chili sauce), cold steamed vegetables, and sticky rice.
This colorful Indian fusion bar and restaurant from the owners of the defunct Chutneys in Queen Anne has moved into the former space of the tapas spot Tango and will preview its dinner menu today. The concept aims to bring an Indian influence to the happy hour scene, with drinks like eggnog lassis and bites like apricot chicken seekh kebabs and mozzarella-stick-like “cottage cheese sticks” with chili-celery sauce. Thali platters (an Indian-style meal composed of a variety of small dishes) will be available for lunch by Monday, and after that, the restaurant will officially open and serve its full menu by next week.
Capitol Hill’s spacious Mexican restaurant and tequila den in the former space of Dilettante Mocha Cafe closed this week. Owner Edgar Pelayo sold the space, which already has a new project slated to replace it, to focus on his White Center restaurant Viva Mexico.
Bramling Cross, Marine Hardware, and Super Bueno
According to a press release sent on Wednesday, chef and restaurateur Ethan Stowell is opting to close his Ballard restaurants Marine Hardware and Bramling Cross and his family-friendly Wallingford restaurant Super Bueno at the end of the year. In the release, Stowell said, “We love these concepts. But if I’m being honest, they’ve all been challenging from an operational perspective and never been as successful as they need to be.” Marine Hardware and Bramling Cross will transition into becoming dedicated event spaces, with Marine Hardware eventually serving as a space for aspiring chefs to host pop-ups (not unlike chef Eric Rivera’s experimental culinary incubator Addo), while Super Bueno will re-open as a new location of Stowell’s popular Italian restaurant concept Tavolàta in late spring 2020. (Stowell is also opening a location of Tavolàta downtown soon, in addition to bringing a new outpost of his well-liked Queen Anne restaurant How to Cook a Wolf to Madison Park in 2020.) The announcement coincides with some other major culinary heavy-hitters deciding to close restaurants this year: Just last week, Tom Douglas announced he was closing three of his projects inside the Via6 building at 6th and Lenora by the end of January, including the modern Asian-fusion restaurant TanakaSan, the neighborhood lunch spot Home Remedy, and the casual cafe/bar/juice bar Assembly Hall, and Matt Dillon’s famed Sitka & Spruce will have its final service on New Year’s Eve.
Ballard and Wallingford
The Grizzled Wizard
Quirky neighborhood bar the Grizzled Wizard is closing up shop on December 31, and the beloved Korochka Tavern, which Stranger contributor Meg Van Huygen praised earlier this year for its “cozy, unpretentious chill” and which closed without warning this fall, will re-open in its place after a successful crowd-funding campaign, hopefully sometime in February 2020.
Kurt Farm Shop
This week, the food writer, farmer, and cheesemaker Kurt Timmermeister announced via Instagram that he will be closing up his adorable Capitol Hill ice cream shop, where he made ice cream with Jersey milk from his own cows, after almost five years of business, as he is retiring to focus on cheese-making and photography on his dairy farm. Author Amy Ettinger, who journeyed across America on a mission to find the best ice cream in the country for her book Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America, proclaimed Kurt’s product the “perfect scoop.” Fans are encouraged to come by to pay their respects before the final day of service on December 29, and Kurt is making pints so that everyone can stock up their freezers. The silver lining: Kurt also dropped the news that Sweet Alchemy will be opening a new location in the space in 2020.
After 13 years, this Italian restaurant and longtime neighborhood fixture will close on December 18. Owners David and Lily Kong originally opened the establishment in Queen Anne in 1992—the name means “Why not?” in Italian and refers to their decision to open an Italian restaurant despite not being Italian themselves. The Kongs, who have sold the property, are retiring and plan to pen a book about their time in the restaurant industry.
This casual Capitol Hill pub (and neighbor to The Stranger) shutters today. Owner Paul Reder cites a lack of traffic and a shortage of available employees as reasons contributing to the closure.
OTHER FOOD NEWS
Fowl and Offal pop-up opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant
Chef Evan Leichtling of the pop-up Fowl & Offal, which focuses on whole-animal, “nose-to-tail” cooking, small plates, and natural wine, announced via Instagram that he has signed a lease on a restaurant space and will be opening a permanent location in Columbia City. If you want to preview his food, the next Fowl & Offal event will take place at Prima Bistro on Whidbey Island on January 21.
New Cosmic Crisp apple variety makes its debut
The “Cosmic Crisp,” a variety of apple that took over 20 years to develop at Washington State University, was introduced at supermarkets this week. A cross between the Enterprise and Honeycrisp varieties, the hybrid is the first apple variety to be bred in Washington (despite the state growing 70% of the apple crop sold in the United States). It’s also supposed to not brown as quickly as other apples and work well for baking.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6
Adult Milk & Cookies
From the word “adult” in the title, I thought Adult Milk & Cookies was some obscure fetish that nobody (not even anyone at The Stranger) knew about. Turns out, it’s an event hosted by the Growler Guys along with TV writer/cook Scottie Jeanette Madden, author of Recklass in the Kitchen, during which Fremont Brewing beer is paired with cookies. Fremont Brewing’s 13.1 percent ABV Imperial Oatmeal Stout already tastes like an incredible cookie, but this is an exciting opportunity to learn about (and enjoy) some less obvious pairings. DAVID LEWIS
2019 Winter Beer Fest
There are so many places brewing craft beer in Washington, it is almost ridiculous. But there are fewer places where you can get a taste of this breadth of beers all in one place. Enter the nonprofit trade association Washington Brewers Guild and its winter tasting event/fundraiser. More than 50 local and regional breweries will be represented, pouring sips that range from “dark malty stouts” and “robust winter warmers” to seasonal IPAs and barrel-aged “rarities.” Food trucks and vendors will be on hand serving warm eats, and attendees can vote on their favorite beers and booth decorations for each of the three tasting sessions (one on Friday, two on Saturday), with award winners selected daily. LEILANI POLK
This festival exclusively featuring barrel-aged beers and ciders will boast over 40 barrel-aged creations on tap.
Miracle on 2nd
In 2014, New York bar owner Greg Boehm temporarily transformed his space into a kitschy Christmas wonderland replete with gewgaws and tchotchkes galore. Now the pop-up has expanded to more than 100 locations all over the world and will be returning to Belltown’s Rob Roy this year. The specialty cocktails are no ordinary cups of cheer: Beverages are housed in tacky-tastic vessels (a drinking mug resembling Santa’s mug, for example), bedecked with fanciful garnishes like peppers and dried pineapple, and christened with irreverent, pop-culture-referencing names like the “Bad Santa,” the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F**r,” and the “You’ll Shoot Your Rye Out.” New this year: At nearby Vinnie’s Raw Bar, there will be a spin-off holiday-tiki-themed pop-up called “Sippin’ Santa,” which asks you to “imagine Santa on a surfboard instead of a sleigh and palm trees instead of pine.” Drinks include the “Kris Kringle Colada” (dark Jamaican rum, Cynar, allspice, lime and pineapple juice, and cream of coconut) and the “Christmas Eve of Destruction” (dark overproof rum, herbal liqueur, nutmeg syrup, lime juice, and Angostura bitters). JULIANNE BELL
DECEMBER 6-28, FRIDAY-SATURDAY
Instead of gazing at a virtual Yule log video, take your tea beside an actual roaring, crackling hearth at Hotel Sorrento’s Fireside Room, a Mad Men–worthy old-school vision in opulent ochre mahogany paneling. You can nosh on posh teatime fare—like freshly baked chocolate-filled croissants with butter and jam, cucumber and cream-cheese finger sandwiches, and chocolate espresso pots de creme with strawberries—as you sink into a squishy high-backed leather chair and enjoy sounds played on a baby grand piano. If you’re lucky, you might even spy the ghost of Alice B. Toklas, who is said to roam the halls of the hotel. JULIANNE BELL
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7
5th Annual Champagne Showcase
Sample a symphony of sparklers at this tasting, which will feature 48 different kinds of bubbly wine from a dozen vendors.
Annual Holiday Celebration
Enjoy a taste of the finer things with some caviar canapés from Seattle Caviar Company paired with champagne.
B-Bomb Variant Release!
Fremont Brewing will unveil the coconut and coffee cinnamon variants of this year’s release of their highly coveted B-Bomb, a bourbon barrel-aged ale.
Sour Beer Day
Try a new batch of pucker-forming brews from Lucky Envelope (including barrel-aged options). The food truck Chicago West will sling Chicago-style street nosh.
Captain’s Reserve Bourbon Launch Party
Chambers Bay Distillery is working to create a distinctively Northwest bourbon that will finally strip Kentucky of one of the few things that state is famous for. Following the success Fran’s had with salted caramels in the world of Seattle chocolate, Chambers Bay is perfecting a salted-caramel bourbon. The sweet caramel flavor comes from Grant County wheat, and the slight saltiness from aging the bourbon in barrels stored in a floating boathouse on Puget Sound. While their regular Chambers Bay Straight Bourbon has already won the double gold from Sip Northwest magazine, the distillery is finally launching its Captain’s Reserve, the first bottled-in-bond whiskey released by a Washington distillery since craft distilling became legal in 2008. DAVID LEWIS
Champagne & Sparkling Fete 2019
RN74 executive chef Shawn Applin and award-winning sommeliers Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen and Paul Swanson will create a luxurious five-course meal with specially paired champagne. Expect match-ups like sparkling brut rosé with fried chicken and waffles and king grand cuvée with duck fat fries.
First Anniversary Krampus Fest and Bottle Release
Help Future Primitive Brewing celebrate their first year around the sun by enjoying a special bottle release of their barrel-aged barley wine. Plus, in light of the holiday season, kids can cozy up to Krampus—the anthropomorphic figure who is different from Santa Claus in every way—and guests can win prizes in a holiday costume contest.
Sample plenty of holiday beer and cider, and buy a flight for the chance to win a brewery swag bag.
Holiday Cookie Extravaganza
Add gumdrop cookies, cold dough cakes, snowflake cookies, and other sweet treats to your holiday baking repertoire. Gift-wrap materials (including boxes, ribbon, and paper) are included in the class.
Ravenna Brewing Chili Cookoff
Local restaurants Lecosho, Arriba Cantina, Latona Pub, and SoSo Good New Mexican will face off to see who can concoct the best chili. You can vote on your favorite as you enjoy beer from Ravenna Brewing Co. Plus, bring a non-perishable food item to donate to a canned food drive for the University District Food Bank for a raffle ticket and a chance to win a $25 gift card.
St. Nick’s – Taste the Season
Spend a weekend swiveling, toasting, and tasting wine from over 25 Woodinville tasting rooms decked out in holiday cheer.
Chuck’s Hop Shop pledges to pour the “biggest, booziest Imperial Stout we can get our hands on.”
Three Ryes Men Bottle Release
The 2019 version of Reuben’s award-winning barrel-aged barleywine Three Ryes Men, which is brewed with multiple types of rye, comes bearing not frankincense and myrrh but malt-driven caramel and chocolate notes. Try it on tap, as well as the 2018 vintage, and take home wax-dipped bottles.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8
Beer Ranking Party at Peddler Brewing Company
Learn about ranked-choice voting, which purports to offer a “simple but meaningful change to elections” by making democracy “more fair and functional,” by trying a flight from Peddler Brewing and ranking your favorites on a ballot.
Cedar & Spokes Coffee Pilsner Beer Release
Try a new coffee pilsner beer created in a collaboration between the Belltown coffee shop Cedar & Spokes and local brewery Hellbent Brewing Company, using a dark roast called Myanmar, Myin Dwin and a Northwest Pilsner.
Cookbook Social & Holiday Bazaar
At this gathering at the Palace Ballroom, you can sip wine, browse wares from local vendors, purchase cookbooks, sample recipes inspired by the titles on display, get autographs, and visit with the authors of some of the season’s most vaunted cookbooks.
Cookie Crawl 2019!
Pick up a cookie tin and make your way to participating shops to fill it with baked goods. It’ll make the perfect gift for someone you love, or the perfect snack for you.
Motif Seattle Holiday Market
Santa, cocktails, cookies, and locally made gifts await you at the downtown hotel.
The Perfumer & The Barman – A Sensory Journey Through Taste & Smell
Tap into both your olfactory and gustatory senses at this event hosted by perfumer Molly Ray and mixologist Chase Cornell, where you can design your own custom fragrance, then enjoy custom cocktails and food pairings created specifically to complement your new scent.
We Are Witchy Presents: The Basement Bazaar
Browse handmade gifts from local makers, dance, snap pics with Santa, and inhale cheesy slices in the basement of the New Jersey-inspired pizzeria Dino’s Tomato Pie.
Wild Ginger’s 30th Anniversary Dinner Series
To celebrate 30 years of business, Seattle’s Southeast Asian mainstay Wild Ginger will host a multi-course meal with favorite dishes from over the years, vintage wine pairings, and tales from their past.
Winter Feast Food Truck Fest
Snap up some street food while you shop for gifts at this holiday festival, with food trucks galore and a market with over a hundred local vendors.
Winterfest Market at Skål
Norse up your belly with beer, mead, and gløgg as you shop for Nordic- and Viking-related goods.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9
Alcohol Infusions with Intrigue Chocolate
Pioneer Square’s Intrigue Chocolate will demonstrate how to press-infuse alcohols with whole spices, fresh fruit, and herbs to create flavors like juniper berry black lime. You’ll take home a 4oz. bottle of alcohol you infused yourself to use in cocktails.
Delancey Feast of the Seven Fishes
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a traditional Italian American supper featuring seven kinds of fish or seafood, usually served before midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. This lavish spread from Delancey promises the freshest catches the Ballard pizzeria can procure, with albacore crudo, handmade Il Corvo pasta with lobster, Dungeness crab, Penn Cove mussels, anchovies, roasted oysters snatched from Delancey’s roaring wood-fired oven, and a steady flow of wine throughout. They’ll finish with some delightful-sounding butterscotch pots de creme for dessert.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10
Experience the fiery theatrics of a feuerzangenbowle—a traditional German drink in which a rum-soaked sugar cone is set aflame and drips into Glühwein (mulled red wine).