Chef Maria Hines tells all about her "rad" forthcoming place at Microsoft, le goodbye to Le Cordon Bleu, brand-new research on $15 and more.
1. MARIA HINES TO OPEN BOARDWALK AT MICROSOFT: James Beard–award winning chef Maria Hines is “super excited” that she’ll be opening a restaurant called Boardwalk on Microsoft’s main Redmond campus. The menu will be 85 percent organically sourced and, Hines promises, “The food’s going to be rad.” Rad means gastropub-style takes on boardwalk stuff like hot dogs, pizza and sliders. Her “fancy dogs,” for example, will include a lamb and pork version with pomegranate molasses and dried currants; duck and chicken with apple; a wild boar/pork blend with house-made fennel-bulb sauerkraut; and a “basic” edition made with grass-fed beef.
Boardwalk will be the only place on campus with a liquor license (and the only place with happy hour). Hines will install “a super-cool cocktail program,” with barrel-aged and tap cocktails, plus lots of local beer and wines (with local brewers and winemakers visiting to talk about their work).
Hines is extra-super-excited to “bring my whole band of misfits along with me, for sure, in terms of sourcing” — meaning local purveyors she uses at her Seattle restaurants Tilth, Agrodolce and Golden Beetle, such as Skagit River Ranch, Aspen Hollow Farms and Loki Fish Co. “I have a feeling the volume that this place is gonna do, it’s going to be really helpful for the farmers that I bring on board. It’ll be a nice check at the end of the month.” She also thinks of Boardwalk as an opportunity to help educate the Microsoft sphere about local, organic, seasonal food. It’ll be “a great way to infiltrate young palates on campus.”
Look for Boardwalk to open this spring — and yes, you’ll be able to go, even if you don’t work at Microsoft (though you’ll need to officially register upon arrival at the Mothership).
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2. AU REVOIR, LE CORDON BLEU: Long-lived cooking school Le Cordon Bleu is closing down all 16 of its U.S. campuses because of new regulations limiting federal funding of for-profit schools. The LA Times notes that Le Cordon Bleu “had been under scrutiny in recent years, as several lawsuits had been filed by former students alleging fraud and charging that the schools misled students about future job prospects.” On Facebook, longtime Tom Douglas chef Eric Stover opines, “Super awesome!!!! Screw those guys! Glad I walked away before owing them mucho!”
3. NEW $15 NUMBERS: Fresh U.C. Berkeley research provides a projection that the $15 an hour minimum wage will cause Seattle restaurant prices to go up… 3 percent. (For those who want to nerd out, here’s the study.)
4. BYE-BYE BAUHAUS: First the original beloved Bauhaus Books & Coffee on Capitol Hill shut down overnight. Then the other two branches quickly closed as well. Then owner Joel Radin also shuttered his Ballard pizza place, Zayda Buddy’s. He has not offered any insight into what the “many unforeseen circumstances” precipitating all this were, and his many employees are left without work right at holiday-time. Former workers at Zayda Buddy’s have a rent fund, to which people are giving generously. And the Ballard branch of Twice Sold Tales, which is located inside the Bauhaus there, has been granted a reprieve by the landlord — buying some books would help them during this obviously stressful and unpredictable time.
5. CHIPOTLE UPDATE: The CEO of the food-borne-illness-troubled chain visited Seattle to give employees a food-safety pep talk, just after the Chipotle in South Lake Union was closed by the Seattle health department for “failure to correct repeated violations.” (It has since reopened.)
NOW OPEN: AMANDINE BAKESHOP on Capitol Hill (should be stellar); SEATTLE MEOWTROPOLITAN in Wallingford (our first cat cafe!?); THE ESTATES WINE ROOM in Pioneer Square (two very good wineries, food as yet unspecified); FITZGERALD’S SPORTS BAR in Ballard (formerly Wingmasters, still serving wings); FROST in Bellevue (doughnuts and more); POTBELLY SANDWICH SHOP at Sixth and Lenora (another franchise that isn’t afraid of $15)
NOW REOPEN: CHARLIE’S on Broadway (now under the management of the Lodge Sports Grille, it appears much less divey, for better or worse).
FOOD EVENTS: Amuse your bouche with these events. Also: Those who love panettone should get over to Hitchcock on Bainbridge the morning of Saturday, December 19, for Saboteur Bakery’s pop-up (Matt Tinder’s panettone is out of this world). And those who love oysters (or just want to check out Bar Ferd’nand’s not-yet-opened new location) should get themselves to Les Huitres Volantes on Sunday, December 20.