Friday, February 6, 2009

Dinner for three. Barrio.

My neighborhood has changed since I started working here nearly six years ago, and even more since I moved in three years afterwards. The eight or so blocks between my apartment and the lab is now a minefield of restaurants (in addition to the old pubs and clubs that stand steadfastedly against the yuppie tide), from an inexpensive Japanese(-American) noodle joint to a fancy gastropub, with Lark a few blocks out of the direct path. A new condo development has sprung from the shell of an old building, housing an organic pizza place and a Northwest-inflected Mexican restaurant, Barrio.

On K.'s suggestion we head to Barrio for dinner. I walk by this place almost every day, with its dark wood tables set for dinner even at seven in the morning. We are flummoxed by the towering wall of dark-metal-studded wooden doors, the main door handle somehow invisible to the naked eye. Oh. There's only one door. (Hint: it's on the left side, closest to the sidewalk). We are led to a table by the window, seated at what feels like a rather high table (we are short), on chairs that are heavy and uncomfortable. (They have deep cushions, but there is nothing to grip, so it is hard to move your chair unless you stand up). Through the window I can see K. sashaying down the street, and stand in front of the door, as we had, trying to figure out how to get inside. Nearly every other diner who comes in that night has that same problem.

We order tuna crudo and seared scallops to share, and a pork cheek tamale, the tortitas, and the tacos. Actually, we wind up sharing everything, from the crudo served with jicama chips to the tacos heaped with grilled steak, shredded barbecued pork shoulder, and bbq prawns. I rather like the tortitas, which are soft buns filled with that same pork shoulder, ancho chile chicken, and chorizo with a quail egg. It is all very tasty, and I wish I had ordered more. Another time. We finish with churros served with a thick chocolate sauce, crispy and light and rich. Definitely there will be another time.

On our way home my mother and I walk towards Lark, where the foie gras protestors are out in force. They are waving signs and yelling - they hadn't told me about the yelling - and making so much noise we can hear them halfway across the Seattle University campus as we head back up the hill. You have to admire their passion, even if you don't agree with their beliefs.

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