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Archive for March, 2013

Proudly serving since “1948,”  Market House Meats is a meat shop and deli specializing in corned beef & pastrami. The first time I saw the huge “CORNED BEEF” sign calling in hungry patrons off the street, I immediately added it to my little list of places to try. Conveniently located on Minor Ave, it’s an extremely popular spot for people working nearby to drop in for some delicious sandwiches.  Entering the shop, you immediately notice a meat cooler filled with their vacuum sealed meats for sale and a small sign instructing sandwich goers to circle whichever sandwich you want and write your name on top. To make it even simpler, they only offer about four different sandwiches; famous Reuben, pastrami (hot or cold), corned beef (hot or cold), barbecue brisket and currently a Philly cheese steak. Here’s what I ordered on two separate visits.

markethouse.storefront

storefront off minor and howell

The Food:

markethouse.reuben

grilled reuben: house cured corned beef,  sauerkraut, swiss cheese, thousand island on marble rye $8.95

This was a great reuben! The corned beef was flavored awesomely with a perfect balance in their brine. They don’t skimp on the portions either – each sandwich had a mountainous mound of meat between the marble rye. The sauerkraut wasn’t too salty and accompanied the corned beef and swiss cheese perfectly. The one thing I noticed that took away from the sandwich is the fact that they put the grilled sauerkraut directly on the bread – causing the bottom slice of my sandwich to become extremely soggy from the juices. Perhaps having the meat and sauerkraut to be tossed/heated together could be a way to prevent this from happening – like in this video here.

markethouse.cornedbeef

pastrami & corned beef sandwich with swiss $8.95

The menu offers either a corned beef or pastrami sandwich, but you can get it mixed – which is what I got. You can also choose to have it cold or warmed – I went with the latter. Again, they piled meat (pastrami & corned beef) very high and topped it with melted swiss cheese. Like the reuben, both the pastrami and corned beef were rich in flavor and very filling. The bread was warmed and did a pretty good job keeping everything together. These sandwiches came with a side of lettuce, tomato, onion which I slipped in between everything and came together well. Instead of potato salad, I went with the coleslaw this time which was very average.  Pre-packaged slaw mix topped with some dressing.

My Conclusion:

As for the the sandwiches, I had no problem either one – both flavorful, fresh and filling. It was the employee making my pastrami/corned beef sandwich on my second visit, that turned me way off. It’s important to note, that everything made behind the counter is clearly visible and conversations can be heard anywhere you stand. As the older man began making my sandwich, he started grumbling angrily about how tired he was… something along the lines of “…I’ve been working 15-hours and have another f*ckin 14 to go!” The younger worker (who I believe is an owner from the video I posted), stood silently, as did I, and watched the old man prepare my sandwich. I heard him complaining about how “everything is empty”, when he had to refill the coleslaw and dressing after he mistakenly put potato salad in my order. I then watched him attempt to throw the to-go box, with the potato salad, away into a large garbage 6-inches away… he missed… horribly. This failed attempt obviously further upset the already disgruntled deli man, resulting in him forcibly shoving the box down into the garbage.  At this point he’s causing a spectacle, and the older woman who finished cashing someone out stood to watch the show. Personally, I don’t mind frustration at work, but if everything you do & prepare is in the open for customers to see, please put on your big-boy pants and act with some professionalism. There’s nothing more unprofessional and displeasing to see as a customer, than a grown man well into his 50’s,  stomp around throwing tantrums because he’s tired. I didn’t see anyone holding him captive and he wasn’t some indentured servant… go home if you missed nap time! Mind you, everything he’s done up until this point has been with the same pair of disposable gloves, so the next thing he does next really left me perplexed. He walked over to the sink to wring out a wash rag for some unknown reason, then without changing gloves, finished making my sandwich… grabbing the heated bread, placing the meats and then putting into box. Can you say, health code violation?! Now I am not naive to the fact this kind of stuff this happens all time time all over – but behind walls of the kitchen. It’s different when you see it first hand… I should have asked for a new sandwich made to Health Department Stands, but I didn’t feel like stirring an already hostile pot…  I was also in a rush & grumpy because I too, missed my nap time with my warm milk.

 

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The other night Cherry and I went to pick up our finished pieces from a “blow your own glass” spot in downtown Renton. As we were walking back to the car we were hungry and spotted this newer looking building standing out against the much older buildings nearby. Sitting on 4th Ave S between Williams and Wells, Whistle Stop Ale House is a locally owned and operated neighborhood pub serving American style foods accompanied with a nice selection of European beers and local microbrews. The first thing I noticed walking in, were the vintage bicycles hanging from the ceiling and the large old-fashioned wooden bar. There’s also a little wall separating the bar from the rest of the restaurant lined with old bar taps across the top. We were greeted when we entered and immediately seated. Before you read any further, I apologize for some quality of the pictures, I had to work with my cell phone camera which couldn’t handle the dim lighting too well.

whistlestop.entrance

entrance from 4th ave s.

whistlestop.bike

decor

whistlestop.bar

bar

The Food:

whistlestop.pestobread

toasted pesto bread: baguette topped with basil-pesto, tomato, red onion and melted provolone $6.99

Very simple but tasty appetizer. The 6 slices of baguette, which had a nice crunch, were stacked upright on a huge bed of mixed greens – like how you stack logs before a bonfire. The cheese was nicely melted and the pesto wasn’t overpowering. The onion and tomato added nice countering flavors each bite. The amount of greens they used under the bread was enough to be a full dinner salad! I should’ve asked for a side of dressing 😉

whistlestop.burgerdejuor

burger de jour: 1/3 lb. misty isle natural angus beef, roasted red peppers, crispy onion fries, provolone lettuce, tomato $10.99

The open-faced presentation was appealing in that it allows you to see everything inside the burger. The burger tasted fresh and clean but lacked seasoning. The seasoning it lacked however, was compensated by the onion fries which were crispy and salty and roasted red peppers which had some spice. The burger didn’t need ketchup or any sauce for that matter because of how moist the red peppers were. The provolone was also perfectly melted and blended everything together nicely. Aside from having a nice crunch, the fries were average.

whistlestop.windorstation

windsor station: 1/3 misty isle natural angus beef, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, *honey smoke bacon $ 10.49

The Windsor Station is your quintessential cheeseburger. It normally costs $7.99, but I splurged and paid an extra $2.50 to make it a bacon cheeseburger. The honey smoked bacon was thick cut, very flavorful and the burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare.  The cheddar cheese was nicely melted and everything else came together like a solid burger should. Normally a good thing, the burger buns were a little too soft for my liking for both Cherry and my burger. The mere lifting of the burger in my hands caused major imprints in the buns and I worried they’d begin to fall apart. I was able to finish the burger without the bun falling apart but it did require a the delicate handling of a professional.

My conclusion:

The Whistle Stop Ale House is a fun and family friendly pub that offers good local food and a beer selection that will please the masses. The best part of this visit was actually on our way out. I struck up a conversation with the restaurant owner, Jeff, who happens to be an awesome guy! He gave us a little background of how he got started and even offered a handful of recommendations for other mom & pop restaurants in the downtown Renton area. It’s always a gratifying feeling for me, when supporting the local businesses – us lil’ people gotta stick together! If you’re at all interested in finding out where else to eat in Renton (aside from Whistle Stop), then come by and ask Jeff yourself!

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