Mechanical engineers, secretaries, morticians and pretty much everyone else who doesn't make their living as a food critic tend to imagine the reviewing life as a whirl of fine wine and mind-blowing meals. It is very rarely that, which is why it's such a distinct pleasure to encounter a restaurant as terrific as La Boucherie on Vashon Island, the Sea Breeze Farm side project that's the subject of this week's review. I'd happily review it every few weeks if I could.
But, alack, I'm forced to move on, which means my future relationship with La Boucherie will consist mostly of my dropping its name when asked where I like to eat.
Not surprisingly, that's something I'm asked pretty frequently. And while there are lots of places I love - I've sometimes been tempted to refer inquisitors to Voracious, where I'm perpetually writing about favorite restaurants and dishes - it's a question I still struggle to answer. That's because I suspect the question folks really mean to ask is "where should I eat next?," which means my yammering on about La Boucherie is worthless to someone who's only interested in pizza.
I want to help. But an astounding number of diners don't give me any guidance. An out-of-town guest once told me she wanted to meet for dinner at "a restaurant you really like," but didn't mention until we'd scored a table at The Walrus & Carpenter that she didn't eat shellfish. Wish I'd known.
To avoid future communication breakdowns, I've developed a fill-in-the-blank restaurant recommendation form that I'm hoping will be helpful to anyone seeking a suitable restaurant recommendation. Think of it as MadLibs for food explorers.
I'd like to dine out with my (noun) this (day of the week), and am having trouble finding the perfect spot. I always prefer a restaurant that (everybody/nobody) knows about. I (don't want to/don't mind to) wait in line; what really matters is the (food/service/value/ambiance).
I'm envisioning a restaurant where we can drink a (craft cocktail/pitcher of beer/foreign soft drink) while (reading/listening to a server recite/trying to translate) the menu. I'm (adverb) devoted to local, seasonal cooking, and I (verb) if the chef kills his own (noun) or forages her own mushrooms.
I don't eat (kind of food) or (kind of food), but I'm not picky. I love (type of cuisine). My favorite restaurant experience was in (city), where I ate at (name of restaurant). That place is so (adjective)!
I (enjoy/could do without) a leisurely, multi-course meal. I'm thinking my budget is about (price). Do you think that's doable? I just don't want (greatest restaurant fear).
Fair warning: No matter how you respond, I may still try to push La Boucherie, for all the reasons iterated in my review. Or, for a visual argument, check out Joshua Huston's slide show of images from the Vashon restaurant.