The last year brought a number of regrettable bar and restaurant departures in Seattle—Bisato, Bad Albert's, Le Gourmand, the two I Love New York Delis, All-Purpose Pizza, the Shipwreck Tavern, emmer&rye, and Skelly and the Bean, to name a few. In the not-so-regrettable category: Trattoria Cioppino in Green Lake, where the food was uneven (to put it charitably) and a bird died right outside the window one summer evening (not their fault, but it didn't help); Kiki on Capitol Hill, a confusing pan-Asian place that is now the unconfusingly awesome Fogon; the Local Vine in University Village and Capitol Hill, which was started by two MBAs and always felt more like a business plan than an actual place; Bako on Broadway, which served just-edible "new modern Chinese" and has now become Linda Derschang's Bait Shop.
In other regrets: The word "foodie" still refused to go away, Kansas kicked the US-born children of illegal immigrants off food stamps (joining Arizona, Nebraska, and Utah—seriously?!), Chick-fil-A was anti-gay, the CDC found that pretty much everyone in the US is now fat, California banned foie gras, Candy Corn Oreos happened, the venerable Hostess company was killed by mismanagement (which was, of course, blamed on workers), and local oyster larvae started dying because increasing CO2 levels are corroding their tiny baby shells (tell them climate change isn't a thing). We asked local restaurateurs/chefs/et al. to share their 2012 regrets. And here they are.
I regret my one extra large shot of Fireball at the Reignwolf show recently. I know all the kids drink it, but I'm no kid. I regret making the time to watch every episode of Gossip Girl but not finishing even half of my New Yorkers this year.
—Linda Derschang, Linda's Tavern, King's Hardware, Smith, Oddfellows, Bait Shop
So sick of all the Top Chef blabbity blah when they were filming, of people constantly coming into the market asking for the lowdown on when and where they were, like I knew. And I wish I had secretly recorded Padma when she came into the shop and said she'd been drinking wine all day, acted stupid, and shoveled a huge slice of triple crème in her mouth. I actually loved her for that—it humanized her—but then she came back another time sober and was kind of a twat. And I should probably regret the thousands of hours I've spent putting one foot after another in my mouth, but fuggit.
—Sheri LaVigne, The Calf & Kid
I regret not sending the blistering e-mail I wrote to the LivingSocial people about how fucking awful Le Gourmand's experience with their customers was, which was pretty fucking awful.
—David Butler, Le Caviste
We regret that Seattle does not have more affordable commercial kitchen hole-in-the-walls to occupy. Seattle has so much kick-ass food being prepared by our colleagues and not enough pocket-sized spaces to start a low-risk and sustainable business.
—Poncharee Kounpungchart and Wiley Frank, Little Uncle
I regret the evening this place was full of beautiful burlesque babes and I chose to go home instead of taking advantage of the invitation to the Zig Zag because I had to be in for brunch the next morning. #notthestudiusedtobe
—Zephyr Paquette, Skelly and the Bean
I regret that California voters failed to pass Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of food products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whether or not you believe that GMOs are a health hazard, polls show that it is likely that you want to know if they are in the food that you eat. California's economy is so large that passage of Proposition 37 would have likely caused food manufacturers to rethink their use of GMOs throughout the nation. It would also have been a first step toward catching the US up with other nations that already require labeling (the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, China, Australia, etc.). Unfortunately, a flood of money from Big Ag and industrial food companies turned the election in the final weeks.
—Jim Drohman, Le Pichet, Cafe Presse
I've regretted all year that I did not spend more time with the beautiful Christina Choi... although my regrets are accompanied by wonderful memories.
—Matt Dillon, Sitka & Spruce, the Corson Building
skillet regrets all our staff not learning gangnam style for our flash mob dances during street food service. maybe 2013----we'll see!
—Noah Cooley Conquorgood, Skillet (general manager)
I regret recording Judy Bennett's name as Janice in the essay I wrote on Rockridge Orchards for the Edible Seattle cookbook, leading one of my favorite farmers to have to repeatedly insist that he does not have a second/secret family. I also regret sharing the pork tamales I made at El Centro de la Raza's tamale class, because that was three less for me to eat.
—Jill Lightner, Edible Seattle
**picks up cocktail for first sip and wants to say**
No bartender ever finished drinking this cocktail. You had an idea, took a sip, but never actually thought about finishing that mishmash of flavors. This is a clusterfuck cocktail. Good chefs cook to the dish, not to the bite.
—Andrew Bohrer, The Best Shots You've Never Tried
I regret not having snarky, colorful regrets, which tells me and everyone that I have worked too much, played by the rules, and/or maybe didn't speak my mind when I wanted to. I regret not having the cojones that artists and musicians have. I regret that I know my way around my attorneys' offices at least as well as they do and that the receptionists say, before I am even at the desk, "Hi, Tamara!" I regret not drinking the 1961 Lafite Rothschild before it turned because I didn't take care of it. I regret that for my 50th birthday, I thought the best thing would be to lie low. Not a good idea, but the Rothschild went down just fine.
—Tamara Murphy, Terra Plata
I regret not going on a work trip to San Francisco. Everyone got tickets to go see a Giants game, and it happened to be Matt Cain's perfect game. And I coulda been there! I was thinking that I missed out on my one chance to see a perfect game in my life. Words cannot describe how bummed out I was. Luckily, I was six rows behind home plate when Felix threw his perfect game at Safeco a couple of months later.
—Ethan Stowell, Anchovies & Olives, How to Cook a Wolf, Tavolàta, Staple & Fancy, Rione XIII
I regret that voters didn't read the details in I-1183 to understand that taxes on spirits would be going up by 27 percent.
—Steven Stone, Sound Spirits
Regrets... regrets... I MUST have some regrets this year, right? Hmmm. There's GOT to be something. I mean, it's been a pretty good year for me—Liberty's doing well, my knocked-up gal pal is peachy... Hmmm. Well, there are surely things I can whine, whinge, and express regret over, but... Sorry, sucka! I'm pretty stoked about 2012!
—Andrew Friedman, Liberty
I regret not taking my daughter out more often. I regret putting my work over some other things. But I mostly regret not getting my sandals on more often this summer and burning my toe tops. I missed the flap strap suntan this year... I'd still be picking the sand out from my toenails.
—William Von Schneidau, BB Ranch
I REGRET NOTHING! HAHAHAHA!
—Russell Flint, Rain Shadow Meats