Monday, February 20, 2017

Prime Rib French Dip at Cle Elum, WA Swiftwater Winery Awarded 2 of 5 DeliciScore™ on 18th of February, 2017 by Eater Brian A. - Skip this one

Active Orderer French dip Situation

I was sitting at home minding my own business when I got a Facebook Messenger message from my friend Brian, simply the picture below (a French dip line item on a menu) and the statement, "I am debating skipping the aioli".  Our conversation and review follows.


 I am debating skipping the aioli

I jump into action and provide some coaching

Do skip it.
Or get it on the side at least.
Do not allow them to ****ing ruin your sandwich.
Not OK.
Where this is?
Had mayo  on this one:

The French Dip Sandwich at West Seattle, WA's Shadowland Restaurant Awarded a 3 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Good) on this 14th day of January, 2017
The world's foremost expert on dipped sandwiches and jus.
It was a creammeal.
"And back to this "creaminess" issue: you can see I had mayo on my finger; the problems had already started. "
I got the aioli.
You can't properly rate their offering if you alter it from the suggested form.
[expletive #2]
Rate it zero and walk away.
You're doomed.

His brother, Matt, joins in

Mark it zero smokey

Looks good. Where?
Do Canadians have French Dips?
[Matt is going to Canada]

Relieved you didn't get sweet potato fries.
[joking about my lack of joy for sweet potato fries and his love for them]
I axed. Sweet potato fries were not an option

Brian's Meal Arrives


Take a "money shot" (dipped in hand close up. Jus-stained.
Thank God.
Nicely toasted. Meat is well.

Brian shares a money shot 


Good. Cheddar?
Caramelized units, too. Cheese crispy or chewy?

Brian's Review

I would suggest that if you ever come here, you order something different.
Ha ha
What was wrong with it?
Wow. Nosy
I have a need to know.
The aioli was sub par. Not enough candied onions
Jus was bland
No option for sweet potato French fries.
i see.
it was terrible.
Insufficient onion amount.
Bland jus.  Was the jus hot or thick?
Sweet potato fry failure.
very sad!
Thin jus
You can't get 5 stars on the Ashbach CompuScore if you don't offer sweet potato fries.
thin is bad.
I see.
Narrows the field a great deal.  Sad!
It's wrong to associate sweet potato fries with French dip sandwiches.
I'm not
It's not.
That would be like saying it's wrong to associate the sandwich with the jus
tying these three things together is wrong.
it's not okay.
the french dip sandwich is standalone and the sides don't really matter if the sandwich quality is high.  The pickle should suffice!!!

Jus is irrelevant to scoring
How could it be?  That is a very silly idea.
Come on


Friends don't let friends order French dip sandwiches pre-slathered with aoili.  It isn't okay and should be avoided.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Burger Dip (aka Yankee Dip) Sandwich at Bellevue, WA's Lil Jon's Restaurant Awarded a 4 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Really Good) on this 8th day of February, 2017 - Not bad!

Fanciness with Layouts from Instagram.

The place. I was on my way home from work and had basically skipped lunch so was starving.  I knew this place had dips so I gave it a shot.

It's a diner with fancy things like gumball machines.

Diner.  Got it?

And they have a menu, which is nice if you want to know what a place serves.


A variety of dipped-sandwich (French dip platform) options.


Other things, too, and breakfast all day.

My "view".

I suppose those things make milkshakes.

I didn't wait long and then my meal of food magically appeared!

There it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Nice looking. Jus is a lighter brown color but looks legit.  Nicely toasted bread.  Some pickle chips.  Golden fries.

You can see the butter on there.  Pickle chips also look appealing.

I like eating French fries sometimes.  I dipped these into ketchup.  I wanted to ALSO dip them into yellow mustard but none was on the table and I didn't want to hassle the limited staff.


Like I said, light colored jus but it was also delicious and authentic.

Green tasseled toothpicks to make sure things don't go flopping everywhere.  This is like a sandwich's brazier.

Beef.  It's not high grade burger or anything like that but sometimes I really like to eat burger.  And it doesn't have to be too fancy.

We dip French dip sandwiches.

And we get them soaked in jus.

And we eat them for enjoyment and nourishment.

We make progress on our projects.

We continue and try to use what his provided to us.

We see tasty remaining bits and we consume them.

Sometimes we succeed.

And we don't always have to pay a ton of money.

Raw Tasting Notes

  • Jus look.  The jus was a tan-ish/grayish color but that's okay.  It looks kind of different, but that's okay.  We are tolerant.  
  • Jus.  I drank the jus.  It was delicious and gets a 4 or 5
  • Sides.  I liked the simple yet delicious, refreshing and very effective pickle chips
  • Size.  This was a "classic size".  Not too big, not too small. Had no cheese but who needs it.
  • Bread. The bread was soft, nicely toasted and buttered 4 of 5.
  • Fries.  The fries were good and hot.  Where was my mustard!?!?! 
  • Meat (hamburger).  The hamburger patties were low (2 of 5), kind of greasy and even fatty tasting but when we combine that issue with delicious jus, things get good.
  • Sandwich and overall.  The sandwich alone, without the jus is a 2 of 5 (really not that wonderful) but when we place that sandwich into their delicious jus, it becomes a 4 or 5
  • Winning.  The jus is the great neutralizer here

Other stuff post facto

Estrella is a very sweet companion.

Sometimes it snows.

And sometimes we live at elevation where there is more snow.

Like for reals!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The French Dip Sandwich at Seattle, WA's Volunteer Park Cafe Awarded a 4 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Really Good) on this 29th day of January, 2017 - Great experience, really good sandwich.

It was a slow, Winter Sunday afternoon and I was hungry.  I talked my wife into taking me to the Volunteer Park Cafe, to which I had never been, although it had been on my list of places to go for their French dip.  Here we are driving through Seattle's famous Interlaken Park on our way up there.

And we arrive at Volunteer Park Cafe.  I had never even seen it although I have lived in Seattle since 2000.  It is a very cute, very neighborhoody place and there were hipsters galore.  Here we see two face redheads going into the place.  I'm not judging, only observing.

My new Samsung Galaxy S7 has some sweet modes on it.  Not sure what this one is called but it's kinda sweet.  You can see their long, communal table which I think is great.  The table is one of my favorite features of Brave Horse Tavern in South Lake Union.  It gives things a good, cozy vibe.

Another one of the fancy modes on my camera.  This is a panarama of the inside as a did a full whirling dervish impersonation to get this photo.

As we could tell from the hipsters outside, there were clearly liberal hipsters running this joint as well.  I think it's great.  People in Seattle right now (and all over!) are losing their minds over Trump in office and some of his new policies and executive orders such as his "Muslim Ban".

And they love and I'm sure miss Obama.  I'll admit it 100%, me too.  Oh, Donald, what are you going to do to us?

And so we joined a fairly fast line behind the two faux redheads.  The place was really bustling and incredibly interesting.  It had an old and comfortable feel to it.  It was well worn but from loving patrons.  The vibe was casual and vibrant and basically awesome.  I was extremely impressed.

There were little nooks and areas that felt so intimate and nice.

They had what appeared to be homemade freezerves and just great things that I wanted to eat.

Zoom in and you will see that the French Dip is their headliner sandwich.  So I was hopeful.  I felt like this place meant business.  And given that someone had told me about this French dip I felt it must be special.  But I am not someone who likes to get my hopes up very far so I was keeping my cool even though I did pee in my pants just a little, from the anticipation and pure glee!

There she is.  "French dip.  $13.  house made roast beef, caramelized onions, gruyere & horseradish cream on the side."  I was happy about the caramelized onions and gruyere is not very common.  And I was also pleased that they are clear that the horseradish cream is on the side which to me is far more appealing than slathered all over in such a way that it will absolutely ruin your enjoyment of this sandwich.

And here they are peddling great looking cakes as we wait in line.  While waiting, I was asked by one of the ladies by the counter if she could start any food for me, so I ordered the French dip.  I don't have a sign on me that says I review French dips but I think people, by now, would just see it in my eyes and absolutely know that I was there to nosh on that product.

Here is a table of hipsters.  The couple there each had their own black hats and I am nearly positive that their two friends also had identical black stocking caps.  Clearly some kind of fad.  Fighting the system together, I'm sure.  Or were they pro-Trump!?!? 

Checking out.

Some fun ornamentation they had going on.  I love owls.

I talked to these people behind me in line at some point.  They were fairly interesting.  After I told them of my French dip hobby/habit/problem/addiction, the lady thought it was great and disclosed that she'd always wanted to travel the country "looking for Johnny Appleseed".  I had no idea what that meant and said as much.  She tried to explain but I was convinced she was a complete and udder lunatic.  I just did a little bit of research on Mr. Appleseed and it turns out that the lady is perhaps not entirely insane.  There are apparently many historical sites dedicated to that historical figure.  Not sure what her blog would do to honor the feller.

Another view of the long table and the hipsters.

Jessica had gone and secured us a table while I had ordered.  She had had a large breakfast with her friend Jessica B. so she wasn't hungry.  But I did bring her a mimosa.  I continued to be impressed with all of the sights and scenes including our very unique table.

My order was quickly called and I dashed to grab it.  You'll note that the au jus cup is pretty well filled up but I needed to go back to ask the ladies to fill it up more.  In the beginning they had been very skimpy (sad!) with their au jus contribution.  We see here that the jus is dark and rich, the plate is nice and white, the sandwich and bread look quite good, there is melted cheese and my horseradish cream is indeed on the side.

Let's get up close and personal with this thing.  We can tell that the gruyere is very nicely melted.  We see the bread looking quite handsome with its little flour patches and whatnot.  The beef looks good, too.

We're digging the look of the melted gruyere.  Our mouth is probably watering by this point if not definitely.

We can look at the jus again.

And a ha!  We discover a very nice pickle spear that had not previously been disclosed or mentioned.  A nice and fresh treat.  We can't really refer to the pickle spear as a "side dish" for any reason so we'll just think of it as something supplemental.  We would later come to discover that--because the sandwich was not too large--that we would have wished that there was indeed a side to boot.  Yes, they sold chips and whatnot but how was I do know that this meal of food they were to give me for $13 would not be enough.  Yes, we are typically accustomed to getting fries or a side salad with our French dip so when that gift is not offered we get very sad.  Sad!

And we can take a look-see at the horseradish cream.  It did wind up being pretty good although I did not use it strategically, rather, I tried it out on my very last bite to see what I had been missing.  The only kind of horseradish that is really worth its weight in this context is not the creamy type but the real legit type that burns your nostrils. That's where it's at is in the nostril burning!  My mom and I absolutely love prime rib with good horseradish.

To me, it is very easy to appreciate the art and grandeur of this meal of food.  It is very pretty and simple, yet we also predict it will be fine and delicious.  Lots of words so far, right, for no tasting?  Well, we're going to get to that.  Right.  About.  Now!

Wait, one more picture of the beef.  Looks good and crispy.  Bread still looking really good.  And we can detect the caramelized onions if we stare really hard and cross our eyes.

At this point I am going to disclose my "raw tasting notes" so you can get a sense of what all was to follow and what I was thinking and writing at the time.

Raw Tasting Notes:

  • Really good bread.  I must have liked it.
  • Jus.  Au jus not hot, is dark, rich.  So it was good overall but could have been hotter, could have been more initially.  I know it didn't blow my mind but it was good.  4 of 5.
  • The onions are nice. 
  • The product overall is not especially salty, which is a good thing.  You can go too far with that. 
  • The sandwich is very good.  It is balanced and complex. 
  • Bread.  The bread is crunchy and chewy and gets a 5 of 5.  Afterward, I realized it had cut my mouth.  I don't think that scores negative points but it is a kind of difficult part of delicious bread.  I suppose I need to work up my mouth calluses.
  • There is some slight hint of pepper flavor in it, which is nice and enhances. 
  • The size is OK but nothing to write home about.  Because there are no sides, it was not the world's most filling meal. 
  • The onions brought a slightly sweet taste, which was nice.  Well-caramelized onions really are a treat on some dishes. They have an amazingly rich and delicious, smooth flavor.
  • The gruyere cheese is very nicely melted and was complementary to the rest of the sandwich. 
  • I felt that the horseradish (on the side) was good and cool.  It was herby, but when was I to use it?  I find this to be a superfluous gimick that's really not necessary.  It is nice and gives the sense that people care about their meat and its partner, the horseradish, but I think it confuses the purpose of the French dip meal.  Which one do I dip it in?  How many dips do I need?  An array of 50? 
  • Meat.  The meat was crunchy but not overly special or remarkable so gets a 3 of 5
  • Non-meat toppings.  The cheese and onions overall were a 4 of 5.  They were very good and additive.  I think you have to do something really special in this category to get a 5.
  • Overall 4 of 5.  This wasn't a perfect sandwich but it was really good.  The ambiance of the place in the neighborhood and the attention they paid to this very fine French dip sandwich is commendable.
  • Location 5 of 5.  Such a cute little out-of-the-way place I would love to go back soon.  Maybe next time with my own black hipster beanie and faux red hair!
  • In general, the flavor of this sandwich was not to die for.  

Okay, so now I am holding this thing and real things are starting to happen.  I took a bite and enjoyed the crunchy, chewy bread and the nice taste of the different and non-standard cheese and the onions.  Here we can much more clearly make out the caramelized onions, which were indeed additive and delicious.

But we know with French dips that we do not eat them all without dipping them.  So here I go with the immersion of the sandwich into its mate.

Let is soak good.

Oh, God, there it is!

There it really is, onions and cheese and rich jus and all!  Nom nom nom.  Yum yum yum.  Fast forward fast forward.

And I finally go for the last bite with the horseradish cream (plenty of it) to see what it is all about.  It was pretty good.  Not too heavy, was cold/cool and had a nice herb taste.  It was also additive.

And a tasty, crisp pickle spear for dessert and as a pallet cleanser.

Other fun things while there

This was a fun little garbage basket they had in the restroom.

And their sink was probably the tiniest I'd ever seen.  Like a sink for ants!

I did some sweet stuff with Layouts and Instagram after I had this thing and put that out onto the internet which people seemed to appreciate.  Making content for the internet (and people) is pretty fun.  You should try it sometime!