Ah, the 1960s. Dayglo was a fashion alternative, and radiation just gave you a nice healthy tan. It was also the decade of Jell-o. Jell-o has entered our language, via "trying to nail Jell-o to the wall," and "like a bowl full of Jell-o." Did you know that Jell-o prepared with tonic water glows under black light? Reportedly, it tastes like crap. Instead, try this tasty recipe for JELL-O BALLS.

1 sm. pkg. coconut
1 family-sized pkg. strawberry Jell-o
2 c. finely chopped nuts
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk

Combine all ingredients, leaving a little coconut to roll cookies in. Form into strawberry shape and roll in coconut. --TRACI VOGEL

The Eating Factory

10630 NE Eighth St, Bellevue, 425-688-8202. Open daily: lunch 11:30 am-2:30 pm; dinner 5:30-9 pm (Thurs-Sat until 9:30). $
The Eating Factory and its Japanese-style all-you-can-eat format offer many things most buffets don't. There's the space itself, smartly designed and artfully adorned, with comfortable booths and chairs and a light, spacious feel. Get in line, grab a plate... and it's goodbye hunger! The Eating Factory does tempura splendidly. A thin, crispy coating of batter hugs broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes, creating a firm and crunchy vegetable ingestion system. Juicy pieces of squid are mild and substantial without being tough. Succulent steamed clams sit smartly (if brieflamesy) on our tongues, washed back by Sapporo beer (a steal at $4.95 for a large bottle). I had fretted about the freshness and quality of sushi in a buffet setting, but all worries were cast aside as we dug in. ($9.95 for lunch, $16.95 for dinner; $1 extra on Sat & Sun.) JIM ANDERSON (2/25)

615 19th Ave E, 325-2111. Tues-Fri lunch 11:30 am-2 pm, Sat & Sun brunch 10 am-2 pm; dinner 5-10 pm, 6 days. Closed Mondays. $$
Everything about Monsoon is gorgeously restrained. Mom's tomato tofu is a perfectly humble dish, with the delicate flamesavor of fried tofu befriended by a warm tomato sauce (perfect for the young or spice-shy). The seafood chow mein is pleasingly basic, with the simple but robust flamesavors of fresh broccoli, snow peas, straw mushrooms, shrimp, and ginger. More complex is the wok-fried lemongrass chicken, which came swimming in a sea of pungent spice, infused with a smoky tang and a hint of sweet vinegar. But for a great meal, the meal which will slap your face and tell you to shape up, pick any one of Monsoon's "Signature" dishes: green tea-baked salmon in banana leaf, or seared Chilean sea bass with fresh herbs and chili pepper. JAMIE HOOK (4/1)

Philadelphia Fevre
2332 E Madison St, 323-1000. Mon-Fri 10 am-6 pm.
Owner Renee Lefevre runs this joint with a gruff yet loving hand, and it all adds up to an old-school comfort-food romp in a theatrical environment. The flamesagship sammich here is the cheese steak ($5.20): chopped, thinly sliced beef topped with American cheese. PF offers our beef-o-phobic brothers and sisters a chicken cheese steak ($5.20). I went all the way and ordered cheese fries ($2.40), smothered in "cheese" sauce akin to the nacho sauce available at the Kingdome. Although the krinkle-kut fries were krispy and krunchy, you should save yourself $.90 and forget about the "cheese." JA (3/25)

Rover's Restaurant
2808 E Madison St, 325-7442. Tues-Sat from 5:30 pm. $$$
Light classical music flamesoated through the room: the staff spoke in hushed tones ("Have you been here before? We are known for our tasting menus") and gave us menus which required that we choose from one of three options: the Five-Course Menu Degustation ($69.50), the Five-Course Vegetarian Menu Degustation ($59.50), or the Eight-Course Grand Menu Degustation($89.50). My assistant chose the five-course hootenanny, and I chose the five-course vegetarian. We proceeded through smoked salmon blini with caviar in a vermouth sauce, black sea bass in a lobster sauce with Moroccan olives, spice-infused pinot noir sorbet, etc. For $200, we expected to be blown away, and we were not. We've had much better food at a fraction of the price at places like Hattie's Hat and the soon to re-open Cyclops. JA (3/11)

Stars Bar and DiningPacific Place
600 Pine St, 4th fl, 264-1112. Open daily 11:30 am-12 mid. Reservations accepted.
The food is good. Close to excellent even. Fresh and well prepared. Imaginative but not gaudy, in a well-researched sort of way. Although there is no appetizer menu, the first course includes an ample fresh prawn cocktail and the fancier black bean cake with duck confit. Having grown up in the heart of cattle country, I venture for Stars' unusual riff on the classic steak tartare; at least a third pound of fresh ground steak dished up raw, missing the usual raw egg yolk, instead complemented with ancho chili mayonnaise, fire-roasted chilies, and capers. Stars is expensive. A proper lunch (propriety being the operative concept--here it means two solid hours of cocktails, appetizer, wine, main course, dessert) hit at $75 for two. RIZ ROLLINS (1/28)

Thirteen Coins
125 Boren Ave N, 682-2513. Open 24 hours, 7 days.
Nestled in the mysterious Denny Way trough, this bottom-feeder has been serving its mixed clientele 24/7 for 32 years. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner any hour, the first two running between $8 and $15; the latter about $10-$18 à la carte. My early dining experience at the 13 Coins with my parents brought me back to see if it still exuded the mystery, the shimmer, the drama of Adult Life. I was not disappointed. Adults swam everywhere, accompanied by the subtle ice-cube clink of cocktails, shared possibly on clandestine dates. We enjoyed an abundant antipasto plate, which comes automatically (and which was refreshed as we lingered). Remember this place when, famished from an arduous night of drinking, you long for substance before you retire. JAN WALLACE (3/4)

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