This is short review about a tiny place – Bathtub Gin & Co. – a great little watering hole tucked away in a Seattle Belltown alley.

The lower level of Bathtub Gin & Co.

The lower level of Bathtub Gin & Co.

The bar has the feel of a prohibition-era speak-easy – minimalist décor, dark (but not gloomy) interior, shelves full (and I mean brimming) with beautiful bottles of various booze, and a few tables and chairs set up throughout its two tiny floors.  Even the exterior is discrete and you have to keep your eyes peeled for the tiny sign to the right of the nondescript door leading to this lair (located in a street between 1rst and 2nd Avenue).

Unlike a prohibition-era speak-easy, however, you are certainly not drinking moonshine.  The bartender would certainly not stand for it.

Cocktail and the bar's namesake.

Cocktail and the bar’s namesake.

Instead, he has a number of craft cocktails on offer, and if you’re feeling adventurous he’ll ad lib a drink to suit your mood.  And it is this feature that really sets Bathtub Gin & Co. apart from your average bar – the way that the set up and bar staff work together to create a feeling of intimacy and conviviality.

The drinks are all delicious, and there is something for everyone.  Cocktails are about $10 each, but (this being Seattle) there’s a happy hour menu of $7 cocktails.

If you’re in Belltown and in the mood for a special and original experience, look not further than Bathtub Gin & Co.  Just be sure to look hard, or you might miss it.

 

Bathtub Gin & Co. on Urbanspoon

A delicious baguette sandwich is a beautiful thing – especially when it’s done right.  I was consequently glad to come across Baguette Box in Seattle’s Capitol Hill area, because they do it right and then some.

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The delicious drunken chicken sandwich.

Baguette Box is a no frills, feel-good sandwich place with style.  We arrived right at opening on a lazy Sunday and were greeted by the friendly counter staff who made two great selections – drunken chicken (to foreshadow the next 2 days…?) and a veggie eggplant sandwich. Both were delicious.

The eggplant sandwich was well seasoned and did not have greasiness to it.  The texture was nice, too – smooth and creamy which contrasted with the bread’s crunchy crust.

The drunken chicken sandwich was similarly well executed.  It was spicy but not too spicy.  I appreciated that they didn’t go overboard with the sauce to make the sandwich soggy.  In fact, despite the depth of flavour, the sandwich had a lightness to it.  This was no doubt the result of the fresh ingredients.

In terms of value, Baguette Box is actually pretty good.  A filling sandwich (or rice bowl) rings in just under $8.  Oh…and did I mention that they serve beer?  I would definitely recommend this place for a pit stop on your way to Capitol Hill from Seattle downtown – a great spot to recharge, or load up on picnic goodies for a sunny summer day.

Baguette Box on Urbanspoon

Every time I come to Seattle, I come to Japonessa, a sleek and cheerful downtown sushi restaurant with a twist.  I am never disappointed, as Japonessa does a lot of things right.

Eel Cucumber Sushi and Salad

Eel Cucumber Sushi and Salad

No matter how busy the restaurant gets – and it gets plenty busy so be sure to make a reservation – I’ve always been greeted promptly and in a friendly way, and seated quickly.  I’ve never waited long to be asked if I’d like to get things started off with a drink, and a follow-up food order follows soon thereafter.  Which leads us to the food…

The food is an interesting mix of traditional Japanese sushi, sashimi, and some izakaya dishes (karaage, for example), as well as some dishes with a Mexican twist (thus, presumably, the restaurant’s full name: “Japonessa Sushi Cocina”).  Unlike some restaurants’ Franken-hybrids, the savvy cooks at Japonessa have found a nice balance between the kick and boldness of Mexican and other Central/South American cuisine, and more traditional Japanese cuisine.

One successful Japa-Mex marriage was the ginger chicken with a crown of tortilla chips.  There was the power of the ginger, the softness of the chicken, the smoothness of the sauce, and the crunchiness of the chips.  The eel cucumber sushi was also lovely, offering a bold and initial jolt of flavour which melted away into a clean after-taste.

The cocktails were also lovely, and there is something for every palate and dish selection.

This is a solid restaurant with consistently good service, dishes, cocktails, and products.  It’s also incredible value when you take advantage of their happy hour deals (which I shamelessly do without reservation).  I know I’ll be back.
Japonessa Sushi Cocina on Urbanspoon