• El Mestizo, brand new on First Hill: If you've been looking for a great Mexican place—restaurant AND taqueria—here you go.
• Barracuda Taqueria near Seattle Center: Opening today, this just might be another great Mexican place—it's a taqueria brought to you in part by the people behind the superdelicious tamales at Bandits Bar. (What will we complain about now?!?)
• Hard Rock Cafe downtown: IT'S BACK! And if you call, like I just did, you might get this answer: "Hard Rock Cafe, this is Pete, how can I rock you?" WHICH IS AWESOME. The place (according to Pete) has a 300-person capacity music venue upstairs (along with a big bar). Also, Stevie Nicks' scarf collection! (I made that part up.)
• Hurricane Spud in the U District: This is apparently a fast food place specializing in sculptural skewers of fried potato spirals, a.k.a. "pornados" (that's potato + tornado; no porn is involved). Also: crazy variations on corndogs.
• Enza on Queen Anne: First the name change (from Sorrentino), now serving crepes.
BARS, BARS, BARS! They just keep coming:
• Chungee’s Drink ’n Eat on Capitol Hill: An odd little place with American-style Chinese food and, if your timing's right, local bar hero Kevin the Scotsman bartending: a cultural mash-up that Paul Constant enjoyed.
• Blush Lounge on Denny: a cocktail lounge where Minnie's (and then something else I already forgot) used to be.
• Flow Lounge on Queen Anne: a cocktail lounge where Opal used to be.
• Olympia Pizza III on 15th on Capitol Hill: The old-school pizza place is now twice as big, with the former Sonic Boom space dedicated to "The Bar," a spacious, dark, and comfortable drinking zone with lots of cushy booths and a gorgeous mahogany antique bar that came from the J&M in Pioneer Square.
• In the same vein, Taqueria Tequila in Greenwood: At last, this well-loved place actually has a bar that serves its namesake liquor thanks to an expansion into the space next door (and PhinneyWood.com has a nice photo of the Valentine's Day opening festivities with mariachi band)
• Vi Bacchus on Capitol Hill: No one can believe it lasted this long.
I am now extremely ready for lunch.