Saturday, May 21, 2005


At first I was afraid, I was petrified

We wanted Chinese food. There are three places to get Chinese food in Ballard. One we won't mention as it scares my wife, one is a favorite of the very big and the very thin (yes, this is a puzzle - what kind of restaurant would be a darling for both gluttons and bulimics?), and the last is a Ballard institution. One might be wary of Ballard institutions as they might be a little petrified in their ways.

Kept thinkin' I could never live without you by my side;

But every place worthy of respect has to have a decent Chinese restaurant. You could be in the middle of the desert in Utah and you probably could still find a decent Chinese restaurant. In fact we were in the middle of Alberta two years ago, right across the border from Glacier National Park and we found a decent Chinese place. Is Ballard worthy of respect in having a decent Chinese restaurant?

But then I spent so many nights
Thinkin' how you did me wrong

The first time we went to Louie's was with my wife's father. He is the least adventurous eater alive. A lifetime supply of Beef and Bud Lite could be on the proverbial Desert Island and he would be happy as a clam. And Louie's does not require adventure when eating their meals. They are more Hunan and Mandarin in their menu and my wife and I really love Szechuan with their spices and peppers. Louie's struck us that first time as really, really bland and safe. We never really made a point to go back.

And I grew strong
And so you're back from outer space

Restaurants come and go with depressing frequency. The ones that go probably go because they have one or more things wrong in their operations - the food is not that good, the location is wrong, the kind of cuisine is wrong for where they are, the manager lets the service and morale of the place go to hell, etc. The ones that last know how to keep all the plates up in the air. There has to be a reason why Louie's has lasted so long. So after years of ignoring them, we decided to give them another try.

I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key

Did they care that we had forsaken them for so long? No, because they had a secret. It seems every Ballardite of a certain age eats at Louie's. There are no hipsters at Louie's, just hips that are too close to being broken. By all rights they had the right to tell us to get out of there - they don't need us yuppie scum.

If I'd've known for just one second you'd be back to bother me
Go on now, go walk out the door
Just turn around now
'cause you're not welcome anymore.

If this was a Belltown fancy-pants hipster place, we would have been ignored for fifteen minutes and then begrudgingly sat down between the kitchen and the bathroom, right by a huge table of brain-dead drunks screeching into their cellphones and posing as God's gifts to all lesser creatures.

Weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Did I crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die?

Not Louie's. They accepted us graciously, forgetting all about the times we haven't eaten there. We were given a table against the back wall and immediately waited on.

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live,
I've got all my love to give and I'll survive.
I will survive!

Louie's has survived because they know how to treat their customers right. Our waiter was impeccably polite and professional. Our water was continuously filled and we never had to wait for anything. This added to the enjoyment of our food. We did get the one chile dish on the menu - and it was appropriately hot and spicy. The chow mein and other stir fry dishes were very tasty even if they weren't spicy.

And so you feel like droppin' in
And just expect me to be free,
Now I'm savin' all my lovin' for someone who's lovin' me

I think we will drop in again, there is nothing like really being appreciated in a restaurant with good food. And while they aren't free, they are very, very reasonably priced (one would say cheap!). Hence the popularity for those on a fixed income. Besides us, there wasn't much of a yuppie contingent, no hipsters - just a lot of old time Ballard people enjoying their night out.

4 Blue Wigs
2 Hard Hats
1 Cellphone
0 Ironic Wool Caps


At 10/10/2005 9:48 PM, Blogger tom naka said...

Cool blog you have going here, I will check in often! I have a similar site about restaurant guide. It pretty much covers restaurant guide related stuff.

At 5/08/2006 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad for you. It is the only good chinese restaurant this side of the Rockies.

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