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challenging guest coming. Help! (SEA)


I have a guest coming in to town soon and going to eat with them anywhere is a challenge. If we go for Mexican this person wants beans and cheese and that is it. For Asian, just rice with some teriyaki like sauce on top. Italian - spaghetti (not al dente)or plain pizza. Chicken fingers are fine. Mac and cheese is okay. Burgers are requested plain with just ketchup.

Sounds kind of like a kid right? However, here is the thing. This person is very picky about these items. I would almost go as far as to say a connoiseur of these plain foods. So, where do you know of that has the best (insert ordinary food item)? I guess I'm looking for places that don't simply do a lobster and truffle mac and cheese to make the clients happy but a place that does a traditional mac and cheese but done really well. Or where have you had some chicken fingers and thought, "these are the best"? Thank you so much. I have been having trouble with this one and she's coming soon.

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  1. that is hysterical. The connosiuer of blandness!! Well, lets start you off w/ the "worlds best" mac-n-cheese/ - beechers. Can be found in the freezer at uspcale local gorceries, but would be a fun stop at the market, where you can see the cheese made.

    See the multiple burger threads for the varying opinions on that. I won't offer an opinion on that - don't want to disturb the hornets nest.

    I'd say somewhere in the ID for the rice option. How about Swingside Cafe (freemont) for itialian? Pretty straight up but more chow-worthy than say Bucca di Beppo or Spagetti Facotry. (or maybe that is what she is looking for -reliable chain?)

    good luck - curious to see what other will add - interesting challenge!

    1. The Icon Grill downtown does traditional foods like Mac n' Cheese and meatloaf that are very good, but even they might spruce these dishes up a bit more than your guest might enjoy. Worth considering however.

      1. The problem with this is that things chowhounds might really like yet consider “plain”, I am guessing, are going to be more then what you guest is looking for. The Beecher’s Mac & Cheese for instance while rather plain (no lobster or truffle) has a complex flavor profile due to the Beecher’s cheese itself.

        I would stick to places like, Dick’s, Red Mill (good burger nothing special ordered however it is wanted) But really I would cook at home for this person, you will avoid the hassle of finding someplace they are happy, and can spice up your own meal with whatever condiments you choose .Plus why spend the money at places that your friend is probably not going to enjoy that much anyway.

        Plain rice is CHEAP and you can buy a bottle of Teriyaki Sauce, or make your own, grill some chicken and vegetables (go to the farmers market nearest you everything is in season right now) and Voila for a tiny amount of $$$ everyone is happy. Plus you can have the shared experience of cooking together. With all the money you save you can buy a super nice bottle of Sake to go with your meal.
        Make some pasta, you cook yours al dente and leave his/hers in for an extra minute.

        Again a quick sauce made from fresh farmer’s market tomatoes is going to beat the pants off anything you have out and be soooo much cheaper. And splurge on a nice bottle of wine (put some in the sauce).

        People like this seem not to enjoy the restaurant experience where the emphasis is often on making the food exciting and complex. So save everyone time, money and hassle cook at home splurge on booze and have some quality experiences with your friend.

        1. My condolences. Really.

          1. Thank you very much for the feedback and sympathy everyone. We will be making some meals at home for sure but the guest's husband is a normal eater and would like to try some places here out.

            One thought, she is more adventurous when it comes to deserts. So perhaps a place to stop in to just for desert? I really liked the desert thali at Poppy but it is probably too wild for her. Where to go for deserts? And any other ideas about food are still welcome - we'll be doing one day at the market and so we can let her try some Beecher's mac and cheese. She might just have a Wonderfreeze corn dog though.

            3 Replies
            1. re: eat.rest.repeat

              B&O Espresso has a selection of desserts. Are they the greatest? With the possible exception of my favorite, the lemon sour cream pie, probably not. But at least there would be a large selection of both European and American desserts. Simply Desserts in Fremont might also work, but that's more of a take out place. Great berry pie.

              1. re: eat.rest.repeat

                What about dessert in the bar at Canlis?

                1. How about Zayda Buddy's, in Ballard? I'm not a connoisseur of American food, but they were publicized (Splendid Table?) as a great comfort-food spot. http://www.zaydabuddyspizza.com/

                  1. I can't imagine any of my *friends* (let alone acquaintances) giving this much thought to my eating preferences. I advise doing what you do and letting her figure out her own stuff.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: zoogrrrl

                      as zoogrrrl says, or, get a nice clean bun with a greyhound ticket inside!!!!!!!!!

                      1. re: zoogrrrl

                        The best idea I've heard yet!

                      2. I hate to say this... Chicken Now at Southcenter Mall has the best chicken fingers I've tried. They coat and fry to order. They are almost as good as home made.

                        1. Eats's Market Cafe in West Seattle has very good basic Mac and Cheese and other good basic food. Also has good deserts. http://www.eatsmarket.com/menus.php

                          Hudson's in Georgetown www.hudsonsseattle.com has really good chicken fingers.

                          El Gaucho has very good burger in the bar - expensive, but can be worth it.

                          B&O Expresso has good deserts too as does Dilettante http://www.dilettante.com/Mocha-Cafes...

                          Good luck and have fun.

                          1. Happy hours often offer very basic dishes and if you aim for ones that look more mainstream than foodie, you might find options there. McCormick's, Ivar's, Ray's, and Cafe Ponti come to mind, but there are tons of them...

                            1. My report: It really wasn't THAT bad (but it was pretty bad). The Beecher's mac and cheese was too strong a flavor and nothing else at the market really looked good to her so she did end up with a corn dog. But everyone else got whatever they wanted. We ended up eating at a generic Mexican place on 2 seperate occasions so she could have beans and cheese. We barbecued at home and that went well. A big hit was the Brown Bag Cafe in Kirkland for breakfast. We didn't end up getting any desserts anywhere. Overall though, she and her family were all very happy with the food up here :) Don't you wish you could taste the regional differences of a corn dog?
                              zoogrrrl - your statement kind of makes me sad. your friends should definitely give thought to your eating preferences. It is part of hosting someone.