Knee High's New Brunch is Really Good
Knee High Stocking Co., the tiny Olive Way speakeasy, has been doing food in some form for awhile now, but softly launched a brunch a couple weeks ago, and is doing different things at dinner.
"In addition to doubling its capacity with a subterranean lounge and bar, KH has also expanded its menu and brand with Mama Kneehigh's Brunch and Pop-Up Dinner," they announced in a press release. "The concept menu features American classic comfort food with a Filipino twist, and has been inspired by co-owners (and sisters) Michelle Valko and Pamela Carpio, memories of the Filipino-American dishes they grew up with. The new brand is homage to mom Isabel, affectionately known as 'Mama Kneehigh.'"
I got a chance to pop in and try brunch this Sunday, and holy shit is it good. The concept sounds like every horrible "fusion" idea that ever went wrong, but if a Crab Rangoon wonton in a Bloody Mary is wrong, I don't want to be right. I had the "Cure-All Arrozcaldo," a traditional Filipino chicken and rice porridge with soft-boiled egg, and it was so curative I actually wished I was hungover enough to fully appreciate it. On its own, the dish was pretty darn good, but it's elevated by the housemade chili paste, spicy key lime vinegar, and garlic soy sauce that come standard on every table. In the right combination (I'd say a full dollop of chili paste, way more key lime vinegar than you think you need, and about a tablespoon of the soy sauce), those condiments take the arrozcaldo to a truly magical place.
For the sake of both novelty and journalism, I talked my companion into ordering the Hurri-cone, a waffle cone stuffed with "gooey Velveeta scrambled eggs, pork tocino, and duck fat fried home fries," and topped with Hollandaise, in case you weren't already going into cardiac arrest. It was not enormous, thankfully, and as delicious as it is hilarious, but I get the feeling it's more practical for Instagram than actual breakfast satiation.
For that more functional purpose, brunch also includes "The Plate," your standard American breakfast, albeit with Filipino meat options. There are also plenty of sweet things—tres leches French toast, for example—and an $8 bottomless Guava mimosa special with the purchase of any brunch entree and a first mimosa. I should also mention that their duck fat home fries are basically melt-in-your-mouth, savory potato candy. They sent us out some sriracha-glazed samples, and I would honestly have eaten an entire side plate of them, despite the ungodly amount of rice porridge rolling around in my stomach.
I did not expect to be this excited about brunch at a place I'd written off long ago as somewhere for bachelorette parties to play act as 20's-era flapper girls, but I am. If the pop-up dinner—served late-night on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays—is even half as good as my brunch experience was, I'd give it my wholehearted recommendation. Our server also mentioned plans for a future takeout window on the Olive Way side, designed to offer a savory companion to Pie Bar's walk-up window.
Bocado Will Bring Hot Dogs to Burdick
Really awesome hot dogs. Eater done scooped me in my own backyard, and delivers us the news that the boys from Phorale, South Park's amazing Vietnamese/Korean/Mexican/Whatever food counter, are opening a hot dog stand called Bocado down the road at the brand new Burdick Brewery tap room.
The dogs will be Sonoran style, which means they're wrapped in bacon—opulence is kind of Jimmy Bui and Young Cho's strong suit—and they'll be sold out of a shipping container in the parking lot. They're about six months away from an official opening, but Burdick owner Max Leinbach says that he'll have some summertime food in the meantime. Safeco Field chef Russell Goehle will be doing burgers and elote on the grill every Friday from 4pm on.
Inès Patisserie Changes Hands
The popular Madison St bakery will change hands soon, reports the Capitol Hill Times, becoming Semillon Bakery & Cafe. The current owners put it up for sale awhile ago, and though they weren't chomping at the bit to be out, they were ready to move on. Semillon will be run by Debbie Nam, a former IT project manager who gave up on tech to go into bakeries a few years ago, with dreams of running her own.
“What I liked is she was able to leave the tech industry and work in a bakery,” Belaid told CHT. “In fact, she’s working at a bakery now on the Eastside in Redmond.”
Amen to that. Nam's doughy dreams should come to fruition around September 1. If you're a fan of their macaron, fear not—they're staying.
Wallingford Gets Wheatier
Damsel and Hopper is a delightful bake shop that posts a lot of what I can only call "bread porn," and just softly opened a new retail space in Wallingford, Eater reports. One of my favorite pieces of writing is Henry Miller's famous defense of good bread, "The Staff of Life," so I'm always excited to see more of this in the world:
Miller might have found them a bit earnest, but I think he would agree with their sentiments about quality grain. They expect to be fully open in early August, and their store is in the Wallingford Center at Wallingford Ave and 44th.
Fried Shrooms on the Shore
Kidd Valley's latest location is on Pier 54. They open Wednesday at 10am, and welcome all comers to "experience the classic fast-casual institution with the addition of exciting new menu items and alfresco dining overlooking Elliott Bay and the Cascades." Mmm, yes, nothing like the experience of a fast-casual institution. Those fried shrooms ain't bad, though.
Coba/Carnivore Comin' Up
There are a couple other new joints mentioned in that Eater roundup: Côba, which bills itself as "Viet kitchen and ales," and Carnivore, a new Ballard bar whose kitchen is headed by former Mollusk chef Seamus Platt, and leans heavily to the meat and veggies side of things. It is, to be more precise, a Paleo thing. Perhaps Platt will have better luck with the Bulletproof Coffee crowd than SLU's coders. Or me, for that matter.
Former Bookstore Bar chef Eric Rivera's sous, Charlotte Glaves, is out, shortly after the man himself, Eater reports. It's a bit of cheffy schadenfreude, what with nitty gritty details of her firing and her candid commentary about Kimpton Hotels head chef/fixer Simon Dolinky, who they brought in after Rivera left, but I do love seeing a site that is normally very cautious, like Eater, wade in and report some potentially uncomfortable shit. News is news, baby.
Eater also reports that, having just won Burning Beast with some amazing beef tongue, she's already got herself busy helping Tamara Murphy out at Terra Plata, and is looking for a restaurant space of her own.