Tagged with " Blaine"
Feb 21, 2011 -

Paso del Norte Restaurant, Blaine Wa

I love living in the States because groceries and restaurants are so cheap! I can eat a nice meal out two or three times a week and still come out ahead in my budget.

I’d heard about Paso del Norte restaurant back in my south Surrey days two years ago. It’s funny how I spent four months living on the border with Blaine and never once came across. Not sure why! It reminds me of tales told by friends who grew up in west Berlin of their first adventures across the fallen Wall and discovering a whole other world on the other side.

Paso del Norte has a menu that compares to other American ‘Mexican’ restaurants as well as a few offerings, like fajitas, found at Tex-Mex establishments. They also have an ‘American’ menu with burgers and the like. I had my ‘usual’, a chicken burrito, and I really don’t know how to assess the meal beyond it being ‘adequately delicious’. These restaurants are starting to all resemble themselves!

Let’s start with the chips and salsa. The chips were, by far, the best I have ever had; light, crispy, non-greasy, and with only a hint of salt. I didn’t like the salsa, but that’s only because it was heavy on the cilantro, an herb that just does not agree with me. I didn’t have much time to tuck into the chips since my dinner was in front of me in mere minutes!

The burrito was flavourful and I appreciated the all white meat filling and the generous portion of melted cheese and sour cream on top. The refried beans were yummy! Some places just mush up beans, but these had some seasonings. The tomato rice was plain, which worked well with this meal since the other sides were so flavourful. Finally, there was some savory coleslaw. I prefer my coleslaw sweet, but I don’t turn my nose down at the savory kind! Everything was portioned American-style: huge!

I had a margarita with my meal. Tequila isn’t a favourite of mine, so I like margaritas in small doses. Tonight’s special was a 6oz margarita, which is a perfect size for me. I’m not a connoisseur of such things, so all I can say is that I liked it!

Dinner came to a mere $12.75. Turns out their Monday 6oz margarita is 99 cents!!! Guess who’s only going back to Paso del Norte on Mondays? 😀

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Feb 17, 2011 -

CJ’s Beachhouse Restaurant, Birch Bay

Tonight, I took a leisurely 25 minute stroll to CJ’s Beachhouse restaurant. All reviews, except for a very funny one, for this restaurant marked it as being an excellent choice for an affordable seafood dinner.

I got there and, to my surprise, discovered that I wasn’t in the mood for fancy, or healthy. I’ll make a side note here to mention that I’ve been making healthy meals at home since I got here, with lots of fresh produce! So, I ordered the prawns and fish, battered and fried, which normally come with fries and coleslaw. I opted for a garden salad with house dressing instead of more grease.

The meal started with fresh hot rolls. Next time, I will ask them to not bring me a basket of them because they are too yummy. They were yeasty and sweet, which is the only way I like white bread. It was very hard not to scarf them all down!

To drink, I asked for a pint of local brew and was brought a cloudy ale with a spicy finish from a Redmond, WA, brewery called Mac and Jack’s. Their website is pretty useless, so I have no idea if this is the only beer they brew. It was the perfect complement to the bland fish and a great for leisurely sipping with a good book.

The prawns and fish were adequate, with the portion being generous. I actually don’t like most batters, so I can’t give a fair review of this one. I just like the taste and texture of fish cooked in the breading (I know I’m weird 🙂 ). For seasonings, I had a choice of lemon, malt vinegar, seafood sauce (the red stuff with horseradish), and tartar sauce.  Lemon for the fish and red sauce for the shrimp worked for me tonight (another night I would have favoured malt vinegar, but I never eat tartar sauce). This was definitely what I was in the mood for and I savoured every morsel!

The salad was excellent. It was fresh and the veggies were crisp. No iceberg lettuce in sight, just a nice assortment of dark green leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, finely grated cheese, croutons, and a side of the house shallot dressing.

With tip, dinner came to $23, which was reasonable since I had the pint. Service was slooooow, but I had a book and wasn’t in a rush, so it was fine.

Next time, I will go for lunch since they have really nice under $10 deals between 11:30 and 4.

All in all, a nice supper by the sea, and I got in a long walk too!

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Feb 16, 2011 -

Down By the Bay

Been an odd couple of days. Yesterday, I awoke to clear conditions that propelled me out of the house mid-morning to grab an espresso at the café down the hill. But the day turned dark and windy and rain lashed down all evening and into the night.

I awoke to the same nasty conditions today, so I puttered around the kitchen and got started on my taxes. By mid-afternoon, the weather cleared and the sky opened up. I decided to go explore Birch Bay village and see if there was anything exciting within walking distance. Indeed! I found a liquor store and a couple of very reasonably priced seafood restaurants less than a half hour away. It’ll be nice to go out for dinner once a week and be able to have a couple of drinks since I’ll be walking back.

Some pictures of the bay. And a heron, who obligingly posed for me.

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