Date Night #16: As Local as it Gets

Ridge MeatballSometimes you don’t feel like a full-fledged date night – maybe you just got to town after a long drive or flight; perhaps you have to get up early (story of my life as an innkeeper); or suppose the day has slipped away but you want to stretch your legs on a temperate, dry evening.

Still, you have to eat, and you know that dinner won’t be found at this Seattle B&B (if you’re new to the blog, you may not know that the innkeeper rarely cooks dinner for herself or her long-suffering husband). Lucky for all of us that food is not far away. Two blocks from the inn turn left on Phinney Avenue North and for the next 30 blocks you’ll find restaurants, pubs, shops – simply local life in one of Seattle’s walkable neighborhoods.

We thought we were headed to our favorite dive, but sometimes we ingest too many bad calories there, so we found ourselves at yet another much loved spot: The Ridge. Located a few blocks after the main drag jogs over to become Greenwood Avenue, this casual, family-friendly place not only is named for the neighborhood, but it also names its menu items after local businesses. Some of the best pizza we’ve ever had includes Prost! (sliced Bavarian bratwurst, sauerkraut, green peppers, and Mama Lil’s peppers); and Two Birds (chicken breast, Gorgonzola, spinach, and artichoke hearts on a pesto base). Don’t worry, though, you can get more “traditional” pizza as well as create your own.

We like the pizza so much that we have never been able to resist ordering it, despite the fact that I’d been eyeing other peoples’ meatball sandwiches on several previous visits. Tonight, though, I vowed to branch out. Meatball sandwich it was. Mike followed suit by getting The Herkimer (mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, Mamma Lil’s Peppers). He proclaimed it delicious. Mine was good too – and will be even better next time when I ask for more sauce on the side. I think the fresh, beautiful, sub roll encasing the meatballs soaks up the sauce…plus I like my food extra wet. I think I can get just meatballs at happy hour. Anyway, for someone who doesn’t usually care for ground turkey, I didn’t leave a speck of meatball on the plate.

We had sat at the bar as we often do, but instead of trying one of their tempting cocktails or local brews, I was on Diet Coke tonight (saving calories, you know). Mike’s martini, however, was predictably good, meaning that he has never had a bad – or even mediocre – cocktail there.

Friendly service; casual vibe; and even an opportunity to support the local community center, firefighters, or Woodland Park Zoo by ordering up a “charity case” pizza, personify The Ridge as being truly by, for, and of the Phinney Ridge neighborhood. Now if I could just decide which of my own concoctions to submit for consideration so our neighbors could enjoy a 9 Cranes Inn pizza….

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